CLAIRE Thomas harbours an ambition to help others.

The 29-year-old has defied her own disability - Claire was born with Cerebral Palsy - a condition which affects her muscles.

But Claire, who is wheelchair-bound and a quadraplegic, isn't going to let it stand in the way of striving for the qualification she is eager to achieve.

"It affects my muscles and I get a bit stiff. It affects me but it doesn't stop me from doing anything," she says.

"I just get on with it."

Claire's advice to those in similar circumstances is: "Just take each day as it comes but always stay positive."

Claire's inspirational attitude is clearly behind her quest is to achieve an NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care.

She explains how her inspiration to pursue a career as a youth worker came from accompanying youth workers at disability conferences.

"I always wanted to do an NVQ because I like helping people," explains Claire.

"The terrible thing about Cerebral Palsy is that it affects the body, but my mind is fully active - I just need help putting the pen to paper!"

For eight years Claire has lived at Staveley Birk Leas owned by the family-run Czajka Care Group. Established in Saltaire in 1983, the business provides quality care for more than 250 retired and disabled people.

Since starting her NVQ five months ago, Claire has been supported by her carers, Cath Yeardley and Hannah Ryan who spend 14 hours a week helping Claire with her research and writing up her coursework. It is anticipated Claire will complete the course in the next two years.

Cath says: “Claire is an incredibly determined and bright lady and it’s a pleasure to be able to help her achieve this goal.

"All of the ideas are her own, we just help her by writing up notes and typing out her coursework. We sometimes use our very own training centre to do the work in as it’s a quiet and ideal space.”

Claire is also heavily involved in many aspects of life at Staveley Birk Leas. She interviews new staff and also helps on reception.

Claire says: “I previously attended Portland College where I completed a three year course in Independence. The NVQ is the next step in my learning journey and I simply couldn’t do it without Cath and Hannah’s help.

"I would like to encourage other people who have conditions like mine to never give up on their dreams and not to listen to people when they tell you that your goals are too unrealistic.”

Czajka Care Group’s Staveley Birk Leas Nursing Home provides care for up to 60 people, aged 18 years upwards, who have physical disabilities and are unable to look after themselves in their own homes.

Czajka Care Group Managing Director; Konrad Czajka, says: “We always pride ourselves on putting the wants and needs of our residents first, and our support of Claire as she embarks upon the NVQ, is just one example of how our team delivers this.

"Claire is such a clever lady who not only works hard, but wants to contribute to our home environment. That is why we have encouraged her to help in the interviewing process and also be involved on reception as she gets a lot of enjoyment from playing an active role at Staveley Birk Leas, and we also benefit hugely from her viewpoint.”