This is the latest Disability Rights UK newsletter (21/9/20)- as always it’s a good read with links back to their website for details on the main stories.
We Belong Campaign:
Do you want to influence government policy? Disability Rights UK wants to hear from as many disabled people as possible about the issues that affect us and the kinds of changes we want to see in society and in government policy. This month, we are launching our We Belong campaign. As the government prepares to launch its National Strategy for Disabled People, its time for us to feed into it and have our say on the shape of our future.
You can tell us your views about what matters to you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send us audio or video of you talking about the things that matter to you.
We are also holding a series of online discussions on different themes, bringing together a diverse group of disabled people: experienced campaigners, high profile disabled people and anyone with something to say. The first two discussions are seeking the views of disabled women and disabled people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The discussion with disabled women will be held from 12pm-1pm and then again from 6.30pm-7.30pm (choose your session) on Wednesday 30 September, and the discussion with disabled people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds will be at the same times on Thursday 1 October (again, choose your session).
If you’re interested in attending any of these discussions, please email email@example.com by Wednesday 23 September. Tell us a bit about yourself and what matters to you, as well as letting us know about any online access needs you might have.
There are more discussions planned throughout October, and what they are about is up to you. Tell us what issues are important to you, and what change you would like to see in society, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and if there is enough interest in a topic we can organise a discussion about it.
DR UK Kamran Mallick said: “It’s so important that we get our views directly to the heart of government so that we get a strategy that truly focuses on the things that we, as disabled people, know to be the most important.”
Boy wins grammar school discrimination case
A visually impaired child has won his 11+ discrimination case against Reading Grammar School.
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “This is an important victory. Schools should not need reminding of their legal obligations to disabled children. The path to an equal society starts in childhood. It is right and just that disabled children receive parity of opportunity in education in order to fulfil their academic potential and achieve their best educational outcomes.”
School refuses reasonable adjustments to secure child’s safety
A disabled child from Ramsgate whose brain is at physical risk of displacement has been refused reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act which would keep her safe at school drop off and pick up because of the school’s Coronavirus procedures.
Her mother, Hannah Frost, had asked St George’s secondary school to make provision for her daughter Francesca, who has cerebral palsy, a learning disability, a clip on her heart and a piece of gauze holding her brain in place, to be allowed through the gates to the school car park at the start of classes to avoid being jostled by other pupils.
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “We would urge schools to do their utmost to put reasonable adjustments at the heart of their returning to school plans, and exercise creativity and flexibility. If returning to school is to be a reality for children with SEND, we need to see schools truly developing personalised solutions for SEND pupils.
“This is one story of many we have heard about children being failed by schools using Coronavirus as an excuse not to make reasonable adjustments to ensure the safety of SEND children.”
The NHS’s updated process for discharging patients from hospital raises significant concerns, reports the Patients’ Association.
The process risks patients being sent home before they are fully ready and without taking their views about their condition into account. It also enables the NHS to place considerable expectations on family members to deliver care and support.
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “We have heard too often that disabled people’s care has been left to friends and family during the pandemic. We share the concerns of Carers UK and the Patients’ Association about the lack of inclusion of patient voice in this guidance.”
Biggest increase in redundancies since financial crash
The UK labour market has lost almost 700,000 jobs since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak in March, according to ONS data reported in the Financial Times.
DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Whilst these figures are for the workforce as a whole, there will undoubtedly be massive implications for disabled employees. The Chancellor’s job package for young people did very little to support young disabled people to get onto the employment ladder.
“We urge government to put specific plans in place to support disabled job seekers. These should include employment programmes targeted at disabled people, specialist disability job coaches and improvements to the Access to Work scheme.”
Replacement train travel must be accessible – ORR guidance
Train operators will now have to make better provision for disabled passengers during rail disruption such as engineering works, according to new guidance published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “These changes are long overdue and to be welcomed.”
Lockdown 17 times harder for disabled people due to inaccessible housing
Lockdown was considerably harder for disabled people in the UK due to inaccessible housing. That is the key finding of a new YouGov report commissioned by housing association Habinteg.
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “A quarter of the UK’s 14 million disabled people do not have a home which meets their needs. The government has started its consultation now on improving accessibility standards for new-build homes. It is critical it keeps the bar high on the new standards that will result from this. Disabled people need adaptable homes which work for all accessibility requirements, and for life.”
The government has finally published its updated Guidance for Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups in the Delivery of Direct Payments and Personal Health Budgets in light of Coronavirus.
The APPG next meets at 2pm on Tuesday 29 September. The meeting will look at the impacts of Coronavirus on disabled people and welfare-related deaths. The APPG will be chaired by Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Debbie Abrahams MP. If you wish to attend, email Roberta at KIROSINGHR@parliament.uk
Save the date
The DR UK AGM will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 25 November. More details will follow soon.
Back to school SEND survey
Special Needs Jungle, the parent-led SEND website, is running a survey on parental experiences of returning to education settings this autumn.
Public Health England has launched a new campaign aimed at helping children and young people’s mental health. Over half of parents say their children’s mental wellbeing has been one of their biggest concerns during the pandemic and over a third of children are reporting heightened worry and stress.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is asking disabled people, those living with a long-term health condition, and their families to share their experiences through the Tell Us About Your Care survey.
You can also call the CQC to complete the survey on your behalf on 0330 995 0400 (afternoons are quietest), choose Option 1 and quote, ‘CQC’ when your call is answered.
Accessible Homes Week
Habinteg is running Accessible Homes Week this week (14-18 September). This year, it is focusing on the role of accessible homes during lockdown. It’s asking disabled people to share photos of their accessible homes, and hosting a series of blogs from disabled people and sector leaders.
This autumn, the East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) will take up residence at Plexal, an innovation centre and co-working space in East London. It will be one of the first accessible entrepreneurship communities that features a specially designed programme, for start-up, business leaders and design thinkers who are disabled or whose work focuses on accessibility.
The Zone is a collaboration between several partners including DR UK, UCL, Plexal, Here East, and Global Disability Innovation Hub. DR UK Chief Executive Kamran Mallick said: “I believe that diversity of experience results in greater, more impactful innovation. DR UK is bringing the lived experience of disabled people into the heart of the ELIEZ programme.”
Exercise during the pandemic – co-production resources
Many leisure centres, gyms, sports and activity clubs have now re-opened as lockdown eases for some of us.
Now that our usual places of exercise have reopened and many of us have returned to our usual leisure and physical activity providers, DR UK’s Get Yourself Active project is encouraging leisure providers, disabled people and disabled people’s user led organisations (DPULOs), to work together to successfully co-produce solutions to inaccessibility in the new pandemic landscape.
If you are new to co-production (working together to design and create a service), the Get Yourself Active team at Disability Rights UK offers online resources aimed particularly at the sport and physical activity sector, to help you.
We would love to hear your success stories and share models of good practice. Please get in touch with the Get Yourself Active team: email: email@example.com or call 0203 687 0784 if you would like to share examples of accessible co-production solutions to new Coronavirus safety measures.