Disability Rights Movement - By Victoria Brignell, AoD Chair

Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. The rights this landmark legislation gave disabled people were not given to us quickly and easily. We had to fight for them fiercely over decades.
 
The disability rights movement began in earnest in the 1970s as more and more disabled people became determined to break down the barriers they faced. The Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation was set up in 1974 and a decade later the first UK centres for Independent Living were formed.
 
In the early 1990s the Direct Action Network and other disabled people’s organisations added to the pressure on the Government to bring about equality and inclusion. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people became involved in the campaign over the years. Some handcuffed themselves to buses, some threw red paint over the gates of Downing Street and some took part in large protests in Parliament Square.
 
Disability rights campaigners also targeted the media. Demonstrations were held outside television studios to protest against telethons that raised funds for disability charities. Disabled people argued that such programmes degraded and demeaned them, depicting them as people to be pitied instead of as people who had the ability to play a full role in society.
 
A key inspiration for the disability rights movement has been the Social Model of Disability. This says that people are disabled not by their impairment but by the design of the physical environment and the way society is organised. The development of this Social Model of Disability gave the disability rights movement the drive it needed to press for change. 
 
From the early 1980s onwards, 14 attempts were made to persuade the Government and MPs to introduce civil rights for disabled people. Eventually, in 1995 the Disability Discrimination Act was passed by Parliament which made it illegal for public bodies and companies to discriminate against disabled people. In 2010, the Equality Act replaced the DDA, expanding disability discrimination law further.
 
However, equality for disabled people is still a long way off. Disabled people are still more likely than non-disabled people to be unemployed and live in poverty. Research suggests that only half of disabled people in the UK had a job before the pandemic compared with about 80% of non-disabled people. Many disabled people still lack access to some public buildings and transport, are still suffering hate crime and are still being denied the social care they require. The UN Disability Committee has condemned the UK for failing to protect disabled people’s rights.
 
Progress has been made in the struggle to achieve a fully inclusive society, but the disability rights movement is needed now as much as it ever was. Action on Disability is proud to be part of this movement.

Latest News

AoD - Services and Team

Action on Disability remains fully operational. It continues to be business as usual, although much of our team will be carrying out their roles from home where they can, in line with Government guidelines.
 
You’ll still be able to contact us on the phone and online. Our phone system enables us to redirect your calls straight to our staff working from home. To contact us please call 020 7385 2098.
 
Action on Disability has a fantastic team which delivers the Employment, Youth, Welfare Benefits and Direct Payments services. The AoD team is growing and we would like to introduce you to Ellen, one of our new staff members. Ellen joined the AoD team in November as Office Administrator. She assists the team on reception, with general administrative tasks and helps work on AoD’s website, social media and e-newsletters.

AoD - New Developments

AoD is exploring the possibility of developing a new Adult Service. We anticipate that this service will provide disabled adults with social, educational and skills based opportunities, amongst other things.  

We are in the early stages of consultation and will be creating online surveys and offering online (Zoom Webinar) forum opportunities for you to contribute your thoughts and ideas. If this is something that interests you and/or you would like to be involved in the development of this potential new project, please contact info@aod.org.uk. We will keep everyone informed with updates as this new project develops.

AoD's new home - Clem Atlee Court Update

Work is progressing on AoD’s new home in Clement Atlee Court despite the inevitable Covid-related delays – and we now hope to get the keys in early July 2021. Our aim throughout has been to design a Centre that is fully accessible as well as welcoming and inspiring. Each aspect of the building has undergone scrutiny and we thank our tireless volunteer architect, Maria, for her hard work.
 
We also give thanks to the support of Shepherds Bush Housing Group, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham council and AoD’s successful fundraising – from the GLA, the Wolfson Foundation, Screwfix and our members which has ensured most aspects of the build are now paid for. However, there are still more funds to be raised for vital equipment and furniture. If you would like to donate – please visit our website: https://www.aod.org.uk/donate/
 
We will be sending further updates on Clem Atlee Court, AoD’s new home latest this month!

Digital Inclusion Project - Get involved!

Last month we announced the launch of an exciting Digital Inclusion project Action on Disability is working on thanks to having received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Government.
 
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has affected our volunteer-led peer support groups and the people it supports as well as our members and the local community. This project aims to tackle the isolation and loneliness that has been felt by many this year.
 
We are offering 1:1 training sessions on how to use technology remotely so that you can stay connected with family and friends. We would love for you to get involved, to find out more information, please contact Stella on stella.anaman-gillan@AoD.org.uk or call 020 7385 2098

AoD Youth Service

Action on Disability Youth Service, following National Youth Agency and Government Out of School provision guidelines are continuing to deliver our full-term time and holiday offers.

These projects will be restricted and offered to a limited number of young people, enabling us to ensure all risks are managed. For more information, please contact Action on Disability on reception@aod.org.uk or call 0207 385 2098

AoD Employment Service - Enterprise Project

The Employment team have still been delivering its service and have been involved in a variety of enterprise projects.  During lockdownt the H&F/L’Oreal supported internship supported interns have had regular catch-up meetings with their mentors from their placements at 245, with them also setting homework and research projects to keep the interns engaged and included.

Supported interns Tom and Aya have enjoyed completing Barista training with Fair Shot café and have been learning the process of making a good cuppa with frothy milk!

The supported interns also had interview preparation and took part in mock interviews, roleplay and even dressed in business attire for the interviews.

The interns have also been shrinking crisp packets in the college kitchen for their enterprise project. The keyrings will be on sale and all profits donated to the Fair Shot Café. 

We heard from one of our interns, Tom who is on the L’Oreal and Hammersmith Supported Internship and his experiences this term.

“Hey, all! My name is Tom, and I’m 21 and part of the L’Oreal/Hammersmith Supported Internship. I like Doctor Who, Star Wars, DC Lego and Fallout! Due to the current global pandemic, placements aren’t possible. However, we’re doing a social enterprise project, and for the past 6 weeks another intern and I have been doing Barista Training! Both have been incredibly rewarding, challenging and engaging – pushing me further than I thought either would do. 

I was chosen to be part of the Barista Training at Fair Shot café. It was a daunting task at the beginning, but I soon learned how to man both a 3-group coffee machine and touchscreen till. There was a day where one of the tutors wasn’t available, and I was asked if I could teach the others about the coffee machine instead. I gladly accepted. It’s an amazing experience that I certainly enjoyed.

Due to the pandemic and lack of placements, I’m also catching up on several OCN subjects in the classroom at college. Some of which are to help my assertiveness, conflict resolution as well as helping my personal confidence and self-awareness. This features a lot of online work through Google Docs and Google classroom.”

Covid-19 Vaccinations

Good news – The Covid-19 vaccine roll-out has begun! The vaccine will be issued in line with a phased national priority list. Vaccinations will be initially given to residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for adults, followed by all those over 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers, the over 75’s and the over 70’s and clinically extremely vulnerable followed by the rest of the population in age category.
 
There is also lots of helpful advice and guidance about Coronavirus, testing and vaccinations which can be found here: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19
 
Helpful information about the vaccine:
In the UK, there are two types of COVID-19 vaccine, with a third having just been approved. They all require two doses to provide the best protection.
 
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people.
 
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.
 
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.
 
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and two doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus. So, it is important to follow the guidance in your local area to protect those around you.
 
To protect yourself and your family, friends, and colleagues you still need to:
• practise social distancing
• wear a face mask
• wash your hands carefully and frequently
• follow the current guidance:  www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Covid-19 Testing in H&F

We can all help stop Covid-19 by getting a test. Under lockdown, you are still allowed to get one. 
 
1 in 3 people with the virus have no symptoms, so getting a test is the best way to protect those around us. Testing helps identify cases and shows us where the virus is spreading. If we know who has the virus, we know where we need to take action to help stop it.  
 
H&F Council has set up testing centres at Shepherds Bush Library, Sands End Arts & Community Centre and at the Council offices at 145 King Street, Hammersmith. Temporary testing sites will also be visiting other locations around the borough. These rapid tests are for people with NO symptoms (such as a cough or high temperature).  Your results will be available within an hour.
 
You can walk into these sites to get a test, but please book a time if you can, to speed up the process. Thousands of our neighbours have already done this.  
 
You can book a test online for you and your family. For details of opening times, and to book your test, please visit the H&F Council website: www.lbhf.gov.uk.  If you are unable to book online, please call the H&F CAN helpline for assistance: 0800 145 6095, open 8am to 6pm seven days a week.
 
If you have any Coronavirus symptoms you need to book a different NHS test here: Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Commonwealth Disabled People's Forum Free On-line Disability Equality Capacity Building Course

By Richard Rieser, General Secretary CDPF – 24th January 2021

The Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum is running a free on-line Disability Equality Capacity Building Course. Information about the organisation and how to sign up is listed below.
The Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum is an organisation representing Disabled People which works to improve their position, wellbeing and human rights.

We know that worldwide the pandemic disproportionately impacted on disabled people and their families and showed up the cracks in Governments’ undertakings to treat disabled people fairly and equitably.
Disabled activists, their organisations and leaders need to have a good understanding of the oppression we face as disabled people regardless, of our impairment.

The Course will consist of 14 modules delivered weekly, on-line, consisting of an hour’s presentation on the topic, access to a Course book chapter, completion of course activities (all available for 1 week prior to seminar) and attendance at a weekly 90 minute interactive seminar on a Friday (run twice at 8am GMT and 4pm GMT).

To apply you must complete the application form and return it to martha.aldridge@commonwealthdpf.org by 4th February, 2021.

We are particularly looking across the Commonwealth for younger disability activists and will give preference to girls and women up to 50 % applicants followed by those who have been involved in a local or national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO /OPD). We will seek balance across countries.

We are still finalising funding with our partners Action on Disability and Development and with our funders the Disability Rights Fund and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

If you are interested in signing up for our newsletter or becoming a member of AoD, please register here: https://www.aod.org.uk/join-as-a-member/

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