A lookback at 2017

10 January 2018

By Sophie Lock and Victoria Hemmingway

2017 was another difficult year for health and social care and with lasting uncertainty surrounding welfare reforms, disabled people continue to be adversely impacted.

On top of this we had a turbulent political year with a general election and Brexit negotiations rumbling on.

It’s more important than ever that we make noise about issues affecting the lives of disabled people.

Here are just some of the actions we took over the year:

Social care

Thanks to our brilliant campaigners, 2017 saw us hand in a petition to the government with over 10,000 people calling for an end to 15-minute personal care visits.

Campaigners handing in petition to parliament

These visits, where disabled people are forced to choose between having a shower or a cup of tea, are undignified and isolating.

Earlier this week it was announced that Jeremy Hunt will now have responsibility for social care.

We will use this to continue the fight to get the right funding solution for social care once and for all.

Transport

Transport was another big focus of our work last year. We’ve been researching the issue and telling government bodies what needs improving about the UK public transport system. That’s why we’ll be doing more on transport this year.

Sign up to our mailing list to hear about our future plans.

Employment

Our new Untapped Talent campaign is calling for government and employers to do more to help disabled people find work. Shocking research commissioned during the campaign found one in five employers wouldn’t hire someone with a disability. We had four fantastic campaigners on hand to show the unique value disabled people bring to the workplace.

Anil, one of our campaigners

Through party conference events, briefings and meetings we spread the word about our campaign amongst politicians too. Our Early Day Motion in Parliament on disability employment received many signatures from representatives of all political parties demonstrating that this issue is high on the political agenda.

This year we will carry on campaigning for better employment opportunities for disabled people and we’ll be working with employers to find out what’s holding them back from being good disability employers.

Welfare and Benefits

Last year we raised concerns about cuts and changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments.

These benefits are vital lifelines to disabled people allowing them to live independently, access employment and remain a part of our community.

Through our work with the Disability Benefits Consortium we will continue to campaign and put pressure on the government to ensure disabled people are fairly supported through the benefits system.

International work

Leonard Cheshire Disability operates in 13 countries internationally supporting people with disabilities into education and employment.

Kate Osamor and Ola Abu Alghaib holding a sign saying "All disabled girls must have equal access to education"

To celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we showcased our international projects in parliament with MPs pledging their support for equal access to education for girls with disabilities.

The first ever Global Disability Summit is due to be held this year and we will be there eager to see what this will hold for disabled people worldwide.

Our campaigners

In the past year, you — our wonderful supporters — have made our work possible. Thanks to your commitment to improving the lives of disabled people you have made real change happen.

By signing our petition on social care and emailing your MPs, you ensured disability rights were a key focus during the election and thereafter.

Your campaign actions have led to a number of new MPs learning about our work, questions being raised in Parliament and awareness raised among new supporters and in the media.

Sharing our Untapped Talent video has spread the message that disabled people are a valuable group who must be invested in.

What now?

We’re excited for all that’s to come in 2018.

We want to hear your stories and opinions — so do email us at campaigning@leonardcheshire.org with what you think we should be focusing on in the next year.

Sophie Lock is a campaigns officer and Victoria Hemmingway is a public affairs officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability

Comments

carry on the excellent work!

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