In December 2020, Difference submitted the following letter to the Government’s Disability Unit, outlining our priorities for the new national Disability Strategy.
We had some serious concerns about the consultation process, which we felt was under-resourced and did not adequately involve Disabled People’s Organisations.
Manifesto for a Better Normal
The Coronavirus crisis has been a terrible, damaging time for many disabled people in our region. The impact has been felt in many ways – physical, mental and financial. However, this period has also opened up some new ways of delivering services and introduced new ways of working that are more accessible for many disabled people.
As we head into a huge recession, with backlogs in healthcare and the threat of further waves of COVID, disabled people face more damaging impacts that threaten to erode any progress we have made towards equality over recent years.
Now is the time to take stock, learn from our mistakes and plan for a fairer, better normal for disabled people.
A group of north east user-led charities, including Difference North East, Disability North, Inclusion North, United Response, Newcastle Vision Support, Just Fair, Recoco and Skills for People, has worked together to come up with a ‘Manifesto for a Better Normal’. Based on our experiences of supporting disabled people before and during the COVID crisis, we have set out aspects of policy and practice that have let disabled people down, and those that have helped and could continue to help as part of a new approach.
Contacts: full contact details are contained in the report for all those charities that have contributed to the Manifesto. Difference contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
EPIC Example – Alphabetti Theatre
Here’s an example of a great EPIC plan that’s been put in place at Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre. They’ve taken the opportunity of the forced closure to make some great changes to Alphabetti’s building, facilities and systems, with the overall aim of improving access for disabled audiences, performers and staff.
EPIC Example – Difference North East
Difference is working with a number of north east organisations and individuals to address the issue of digital exclusion in our region. We believe that good digital access is essential for accessing goods, services and information. It is no longer a luxury, but a right that we should all enjoy.
We are particularly keen that the needs of disabled people are considered, and are looking at ways of improving knowledge, skills and confidence about digital accessibility and assistive technology in our region.
Read our latest blog on this campaign.
Check out the excellent campaign website to find out more and see how you can support this work.