A Welsh charity has been awarded new funding to support disabled people and prepare them for the potential impacts which the UK’s exit from the EU may have on their day-to-day lives.
The UK is due to leave the EU at the end of January and after that will enter a transition period which will last until December 2020.
Although the majority of current EU rules will remain the same throughout the transition, the Welsh Government has continued to support people, businesses and organisation across Wales to prepare for any changes associated with the exit.
The project, run by umbrella organisation Disability Wales, will:
- Provide engagement opportunities tailored around disabled people’s needs;
- Produce information and signposting in accessible formats;
- Host discussions about the possible longer-term impact on medications, services and benefits.
A number of regional events aimed at local disability organisations will be held across Wales and a national summit will be hosted in Cardiff Bay next month.
The £72,000 project will run in partnership with the Brexit Civil Society Forum and will also see the establishment of a virtual disability policy network.
Anita Davies, 47 from Bridgend, spoke of her concerns after two types of her medicinal eye drops, which prevent her from losing her sight, were discontinued.
I worry how people with a disability will have their rights affected; we have the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act and various other acts relevant to Wales, some which are based on European law.
During this process there must be a push for the needs of disabled people and those with poor ill health to be at the forefront of decisions being made. Our rights need to be protected, we need to have access to services and equipment to support our everyday lives.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt, who is responsible for equalities, said:
In just over two weeks the UK will be leaving the EU and, regrettably, we believe this could likely impact disabled people disproportionately. This funding will help to ensure disabled people have adequate support and knowledge to prepare for any negative effects which may have daily consequences.
An absolute key feature of this project is that it will be informed by, and engage directly with, disabled people to ensure the support and resources are appropriately designed, such as being delivered in Easy Read and British Sign Language.
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales, said:
Our project will enable concerns to be raised with and addressed by key decision makers as well as provide up-to-date, accessible information, the lack of which so often fuels fear and anxiety.