North East Charities Present a Manifesto for a Better Normal for Disabled People

Disability North is one of a group of North East charities calling for change across our region as part of a ‘Manifesto for a Better Normal’. The campaign sets out the ways in which disabled people have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and calls on government, services and businesses to learn lessons and put plans in place to ensure the North East is a fairer place for disabled people.

Across the country, disabled people have been at the sharp end of the COVID crisis. The Office for National Statistics reported that COVID-related deaths among disabled people are around twice that of non-disabled people. Disabled people are more likely to have been affected by shielding, and by isolation and anxiety. Vital care and support have been either withdrawn or reduced as the country has prioritised fighting COVID-19.

This manifesto sets out how disabled people in our region have been affected, in areas such as access and inclusion, health and social care, employment and benefits. It was drafted by a group of disability and human rights charities including Difference North East, Disability North and Inclusion North. It finds that, while many impacts of COVID-19 have been negative, some of the ways we have responded have had positive benefits for disabled people. It calls on organisations to plan and act now to learn the lessons before the next wave of COVID, or another pandemic hits us.

Richard Boggie, speaking for the disability rights charity Difference North East, said “One in four people living in the North East has a disability. They are entitled to be protected from the effects of this crisis under Equality and Human Rights law. But too often they’ve been let down and have suffered terribly as a consequence. We know it’s been a difficult time for authorities and businesses, but too often disabled people have felt like an after-thought. So, we want to help to put that right. This report will help organisations get it right, and all the charities involved are willing to help. If lots of organisations make small improvements in how they include disabled people, then we could make a massive difference across our region.”

The full report, along with an easyread version, can be found on the Difference website

ALSO- Difference North East’s launch party is taking place online on Saturday 19th September at 10.30am. We look forward to welcoming disabled people, friends, carers and family to ‘Celebrating Difference – please see the event page for details and to book your free place.

  • Be inspired – by a great line-up of speakers, including legendary Paralympian, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
  • Be entertained – by live performances and animation from local disabled artists
  • Be heard – help shape Difference’s priorities for future campaigns

The event will be BSL interpreted and live captioned)

Disabled people’s organisations are also welcome, and why not display an e-poster to share your work? Just send one Powerpoint slide to by Friday 11th September – best poster wins a special prize!

Thursday 3rd September 2020