A new framework for disabled people to help remove barriers they experience in their everyday lives has been launched by the Welsh Government.
The ‘Action on Disability: The Right to Independent Living’ framework was officially launched by the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, at a coffee morning with Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People on Wednesday (18th).
The framework has been created following extensive engagement with disabled people and the organisations who represent them.
Focusing on the work being carried out across the country, it sets out the principles, legal context and commitments which will underpin all of the Government’s work with, and for, disabled people.
The framework’s main aims are to:
- Improve access to help, advice and services for disabled people in Wales
- Promote equality of opportunity
- Enable disabled people to more easily and readily access resources and mainstream services
- Focus on the key issues identified by disabled people and set out what the Welsh Government can do to remove the barriers they face.
Craig Channell, 37, a member of the Bridgend Coalition, spoke about what the new framework meant to him:
The framework is to do with our rights as disabled people and to make sure everyone is doing all of it; making sure everyone is protected with education, housing, the services out there and things like that.
Hopefully there’ll be more support for people with disabilities. I think it’ll help us get to know our rights, my friends will know what support they can have. It’s great knowing we’re being included into the framework like this.
Kimberley Webber, 38, also a member of the Coalition, said:
There’s a lot more people out there backing disabled people than I knew and there’s not a lot of help at the moment but looking forward with this framework, plenty more people can help us. Even though we are disabled, we still have feelings. It’s knowing who you can approach with questions and people you can talk to for answers, which I didn’t have before.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt, said:
This framework encourages firm action, giving the lead to those most affected by it.
The barriers which disabled people face are not just physical obstacles, they’re also the hurdles and blockages created by people’s and organisation’s attitudes.
Through in-depth conversations with a diverse range of disabled people, we quickly established local action would be crucial, so the framework has been created to reflect this and strongly encourages public services, employers and organisations at every level to take responsibility.
Rhian Davies, the Chief Executive of Disability Wales, said:
Disabled people comprise 26% of the Welsh population, yet encounter multiple barriers on a daily basis. These include ingrained poverty, lack of access to the local high street and public transport, challenges in obtaining appropriate support in the education system and discrimination in the workplace.
Through the Framework for Action on Disability: the Right to Independent Living, the Welsh Government commits to systematically tackling these barriers and demonstrating leadership across the public sector and among employers in challenging negative attitudes and outdated stereotypes. A more equal Wales requires all citizens to prosper and achieve their full potential.
The success of the Framework will be measured by the extent to which disabled people as a whole enjoy the same rights as others, are treated with respect and play a valued role in contributing to Welsh society.
Underlying the whole framework is the ‘Social Model of Disability’, a way of viewing the world which has been developed by disabled people. It states people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference, and recognises certain barriers makes life disproportionately and unfairly harder for disabled people.