Newsletter May 2020

4 May 2020


From Caroline MacDonald, Chair of Trustees

Welcome to our second Difference newsletter. I hope you are well and managing to find ways to cope with the challenges of the current crisis. In this update we can tell you about some of the ways we’re trying to support disabled people regionally and nationally. Our campaigning will have most impact when we can draw on personal experiences, so please do continue to log your experiences on our website.

I am delighted to welcome our new Development Manager, Richard, on board. He started work on 18 March, just as the lockdown was about to start. He can be contacted at and you can read more about Richard’s background on our website.

And please spread the word! The more people join us, the stronger our voice will be.

Best Wishes,


The current crisis clearly impacts on us all, but it presents particular challenges for disabled people. We have been contributing to regional and national campaigns to help make a difference and protect our rights.

We were particularly concerned about how disabled people would be treated under NIHCE guidelines on NHS treatment, so we were pleased to be able to support Disability Rights UK’s campaign to ensure that the NHS treats disabled people with equal respect and dignity in line with our rights.

We are also part of the Disability Benefits Consortium, led by MIND, and are supporting a campaign to get an increase to disability benefits equivalent to the £20 a week emergency increase to Universal Credit. You can read more about the campaign in this briefing.

Regionally, we’ve been helping to share some of the excellent guidance and resources being produced to help people follow the rules and stay safe. Let us know if you want help to promote your service or campaigns, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date.


Social Rights Alliance North East (SRANE)

To be successful in our work at Difference we are going to need to work in partnership with other organisations promoting the rights of disabled people and fighting for a fairer society more generally. We have therefore joined the SRANE network run by the charity Just Fair. SRANE seeks to promote the application of human rights in our region – read more about their work on the Just Fair website.



We are aware that our website needs further work to make it more accessible, particularly for those with a visual impairment. We’re looking at ways to improve this over the coming months – please bear with us, and let us know your suggestions on making the website easier to use for everyone – email


Picture This

Young person shooting a bow into a target, he's wearing a blue hoody and sitting in a manually propelled wheelchair holding an arrow and bow.

Thank you to those of you, like Siobhan, who sent us photos for our website and social media work. We’re still looking for more photos that show the breadth of our membership and present a positive image of us getting on with our lives. You can post them on our Facebook page, with a brief description of the image, thanks. If the photo contains others, please make sure you have their consent also.



Our two current research questions for you (all respondents entered into a £10 Amazon voucher draw).

  1. What stops you as a disabled person from going out of the house? I mean, if you’re undecided and you know it takes effort and energy, what is it that makes you think, “yes, I will go”, or “no I won’t”. Email answer to:
  2. Is it possible that philanthropy (donations to good causes) can help in the lives of disabled people? another way to ask this would be, what small projects could be funded in the region that could have a good impact on the disabled community? Email answer to: