CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Peter Jay, outreach and development officer, British Polio Fellowship

What was your first job?

I contracted polio in 1946 when I was three years old. It was decided that when I left school I should learn a trade. I chose to become a barber and had my own shop soon after my 16th birthday.

What does your current role involve?An unexpected after-effect of polio has been the emergence of symptoms including fatigue, lack of strength and stamina and breathing difficulties.

There is no known cure for these new problems, but much can be done to alleviate some of the symptoms. My task is to find the thousands of polio survivors throughout the country and give them information on how to retain an independent life.

Roughly outline your career path? I was forced to give up my business 12 years ago because of my post-polio health problems. I became involved with the British Polio Fellowship as a volunteer fundraiser and welfare visitor. About a year ago, the charity was awarded a grant to initiate an outreach programme.

I started last October and although it's part-time, this is my first paid position since my enforced retirement.

What training or course has most enhanced your career?

Undoubtedly being trained to deliver a self-management course for people living with a long-term health condition.

What is your biggest career achievement? Finding more than 600 people affected by polio in the first few months who had not heard of us.

What's your advice for people starting out in the sector? Learn as much as you can about the condition and be a good listener. It is not enough to be sympathetic.

Are there any other charities you support financially, or with time?I have total commitment to the British Polio Fellowship because it receives no government funding whatsoever.

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