AN inspiring law graduate with cerebral palsy has set up a unique charity to help young physically disabled people in the Capital.
As a teenager attending mainstream secondary schools, Joshua Hepple struggled to fit in and suffered for years from isolation and prejudice.
But now the 23-year-old is on course to become a lawyer and along with mum Seonaid Cooke he has established the new charity TalkTime Edinburgh.
It will offer free one-to-one counselling for people aged 16 to 25 years old with physical disabilities.
Joshua, who is studying for a law conversion course at City University in London, said: “It is essential for people to feel they can talk about what’s going on. Disabled people in schools are often isolated and find it difficult to fit in.
“The resources for young LGBT people are vast yet there’s no replication for disabled people.”
Wheelchair user Joshua moved to Telford College to study for his Highers and began to thrive, thanks to the specialist support available for students there.
He became involved in student politics and has become a disabled rights activist and campaigner for charities such as Amnesty International, for which he was president of the student society at Stirling University, where he achieved his law degree last year.
He has also delivered disability awareness training for front-of-house staff at the Fringe.
The new charity will open its doors in Leith on Thursday and the pair believe it is the first of its kind in the country.
Seonaid, who lives in Trinity, said: “This is going to be a group of young people who are very difficult to reach.
“When you have children who are drug addicts or on the streets, they are very visible and running about causing chaos.
“We know it is going to be a bit of work to reach these young people but we are very committed to doing it.”
The team have recruited a fully qualified counsellor and are hoping hire more staff when they have a solid client base. The charity will run from rooms in The Junction on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 7pm.