I saw little to mark Disability History Month 2023 other than an article on 4th January in the Camden New Journal (CNJ). This is in stark contrast with the fanfare made over Black History Month. The CNJ article about disability history month states that judges know more about the wine in their clubs than about disabled people. Unless there is more publicity in local and social media to mark such events, our rights will continue to be ignored.
Many of our problems stem from organizations’ attitudes, cultures, prejudice and ignorance. These must be challenged and changed; otherwise day-to-day casework will continue to grow – Mick Farrant.
Yes, we have “Voices” on the Camden Disability Action (CDA) website but how many access them? The Disability Oversight Panel (DOP) has public meetings but very few Councilors attend, even those who are supposedly champions. This does get some publicity in the CNJ.
Surely CDA has a central role to play here in championing our cause. I understand that CDA is involved in case work but many of our problems stem from organizations’ attitudes, cultures, prejudice and ignorance. These must be challenged and changed; otherwise casework will continue to grow.
My battles with the Council, most recently over Blue Badge applications, are but one example. I am informed by the head of that department, that he is making changes as a result of “lessons learned”, but he repeatedly fails to tell me what these are. I am still awaiting information on the reasons for his turning down 1,389 applications las year, information on the process and a copy of the appeals procedure.
What we need is more publicity and for CDA to be THE major overarching organization for that publicity. It did a splendid protest on the failure of Transport for London to install action of a lift and Kentish Town Tube but little else in terms of campaigns.
Central to many decisions about disability are Council meetings in the newly refurbished Judd Street Town Hall. A joint visit between CDA and the chair of DOP a to see how fit for purpose it is for disabled people would be valuable and is the kind of work I think CDA should be getting involved in. Such a visit would be good publicity for CDA and, perhaps, for the Council.
I did, in fact, visit myself as part of a deputation before Christmas and noted that there was nobody to help disabled people and notices were not in large print.
If we are not even seen to exist we will be ignored and continue to be deprived of our legal rights – Mick Farrant.
The latest edition of the Camden Council (winter 2023/4) magazine has full page spreads on the Black History Season and the LGTQ+ forum. Nowhere are the needs of disabled people referred to. Indeed, the word itself is totally absent. Nor is there a picture of any person with a visible impairment or condition, despite the fact that 17.7% of Camden residents are recorded disabled according to the 2021 Census.
If we are not even seen to exist we will be ignored and continue to be deprived of our legal rights. In my view, CDA needs to be more proactive in publicizing disabled people’s challenges and successes and campaigning for our rights with the DOP and other disabled people’s groups using local media.
An interesting place to start might be to conduct a small survey to see what percentage of the local population know of CDA’s existence and activities.