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Introduction to the Disability Campaign

"There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more." - Robert Hensel

What is the problem?

As of 2019, there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK (Scope, 2019). Despite this, our society remains structured around the able-bodied. The way we traditionally view and talk about ‘disability’ is itself deeply flawed; often placing the burden on disabled people themselves. Assuming what they can and cannot do, based on a world that has not been designed to cater to their needs. This approach ultimately results in them being regarded as a problem, rather than a disenfranchised and neglected community of human beings.

As a result, the world we live in continues to let down those with disabilities. 1 in 4 disabled people currently feels forgotten by the government (Scope, 2020). This is hardly a surprise, given the fact that those with disabilities are eleven times more likely to die from coronavirus than an abled individual (BBC, 2020). In addition to this, living with a disability means that a person's monthly expenditure will be, on average, £538 higher (Scope, 2019).

The adversity facing disabled individuals is not confined to matters of accessibility. The stigma and misinformation surrounding disabilities is its own hurdle. 25% of those with a physical disability do not use public transport because of the negative attitudes they believe they would face from other passengers (Independent, 2018).

Disabilities are not always visible. Nor are they always physical. This presents a problem too, less visible, obvious disabilities can often be met with derision or disbelief, which perpetuates the stigam that surroudns them.

The way our culture thinks about disabilities needs fixing. The way our institutions, organisations and buildings are built needs changing.

What's being done?

A more accessible and equal existence for disabled people is being advocated in many ways.

Scope has done important work in terms of tackling negative attitudes and stigma around disability, improving transport accessibility and campaigning to protect disabled people from being overlooked during the COVID pandemic. They have also been working to safeguard the future of those with disabilities by ensuring that innovations in technology are inclusive.

The Royal Institute for Deaf People (RNID) has been driving and funding the development of technology for hearing loss, while working to change public perceptions and policies concerning deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus.

Shape Arts, a disability-led arts organisation, has been training cultural institutions to be more open and available to disabled people. They run participatory art and development programmes and provide opportunities for disabled artists. All with the aim of improving access to culture for disabled individuals.

What can you do?

The systemic and pervasive nature of these issues can make them seem overwhelming and impossible to change. But you can make a difference.

Our app will guide you through actions that you can take to support the disabled community:

  • Donating to Disability Rights UK. Your contribution will be used to help disabled people live independently and combat poverty within the disabled community.
  • Joining the #WorkWithMe campaign. Helping disabled people find employment and making businesses more inclusive.
  • Sponsoring a guide dog puppy.
  • Volunteering for The Disabilities Trust Group or Leonard Cheshire, or by joining the RNIB campaigns network.
  • Expanding your knowledge of disabilities by exploring our learning materials.

With your help, we can build momentum for real, long-lasting improvement. Download the now-u app to make a start and become part of a community dedicated to change.

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