Tony Neal

Tony Neal

What inspired you to apply to be a Trustee of Disability North?

When it comes to Disability, I am extremely passionate.

At the core of everything I do is people. I have always had to fight- against exclusion, for inclusion, whether it be at school, work- for my children. I want to pass on my experience and knowledge so maybe those following don’t have to fight as hard.

I am a firm believer that we can all thrive with the appropriate support and appropriate environment.

I would like to be able to be part of continuing the excellent work that you have already undertaken, look at building a new strategy and even improve on the figures already displayed.

In your view what are the biggest issues currently facing disabled people in the North East?

Accessibility is one. Throughout the North East, there are restrictions to public transport. Buses often do not reduce in height to enable access, lack of dropped curbs etc. That is one example of accessibility that I have experienced, but other problems might be a lack of lifts, or public transport is full and so on.

Negative attitudes of people towards disability, stereotyping, stigma, and discrimination and more are challenges people with a disability face every day.

Much of our disabled community face exclusion from parts of society other people take for granted, feelings of exclusion lead to feeling less important, less included. This can lead to the feeling of isolation and being alone.

There are extra barriers to overcome that may not be visible to the public. Not just a physical barriers, but also Systemic barriers, work-based barriers, communication barriers and as I have already mentioned technology/digital barriers.

What skills and values are you bringing to your trustee role at Disability North?

My passion for doing the right thing for others. I want the ability to share my lived experience of physical disability and neurodiversity to the benefit of others.

I have always had to fight for inclusion.  I want to pass on my experience and knowledge so maybe those following don’t have to fight as hard.

The reason I became a co-chair of our lived experience network was to make a difference, be that person who can facilitate that difference and not have to rely on others.