SPECTRUM 2017 Disability Manifesto out now!

There are more than 13.3 million Disabled People and people with long-term health conditions in the UK – a very sizeable part of the electorate in 2017.

We believe it is essential for Disabled People’s voices to be heard in the debates around the 2017 General Election – not only because they represent a large number of votes but, more importantly, because they are deeply affected by so many of the key issues at the heart of political debate.

On the 25th May 2017, SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living will be launching our Disabled People’s DISABILITY MANIFESTO – a pragmatic and realistic range of proposals which shows how the Government, any Government, could address the unfairness, the indignities and the discrimination that Disabled People have faced because of austerity measures.manifestocover2017

 

The launch of the DISABILITY Manifesto will be the start of our campaign to bring the needs, and the solutions that Disabled People are proposing, to the eyes and minds of the electorate, and into the minds of politicians and policy makers.

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Disability Rights at Stake in the EU Referendum

130John Evans OBE has fought tirelessly for over 30 years, for the rights of  Disabled People across the UK and Europe.

In this exclusive video interview with SPECTRUM, he explains why remaining in Europe is so important for Disabled People. He argues the EU has protected the rights of Disabled People and has pushed for more action to be taken on improving access. Not just physical access but also accessibility on the Internet which is increasingly important. John has already written extensively on this subject and we recommend you read our earlier blog post where John outlined the case for voting to remain in the EU.

 

 

As John points out, this is a decision that will not just affect us, we need to think about the young Disabled People who come after us. Do we want to risk the rights that we have fought so hard for over thirty years,to be chipped away at, or repealed all together?

John will be voting to Remain in the EU on Thursday. We hope YOU will too!

 

‘Together we are stronger’ SPECTRUM on the EU

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As the EU referendum campaign begins its final week before the vote on Thursday, many people on both sides of the debate will breathe a sigh of relief that’s it’s nearly over.

The shocking murder of Jo Cox will hopefully lead to a more dignified conclusion to the campaign.
SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living took the decision fairly early on in the campaign to support the Remain In side of the debate. We are pleased to see that the majority of Disabled People’s Organisations who have expressed a view have joined our position that Disabled People’s lives have been improved by Britain being in the European Union and that our rights will be protected better by remaining in the EU.

As one of our closest allies, John Evans has pointed out, many of the laws around accessibility and human rights have originated within the EU. Whilst none of these laws would change overnight if we were to leave, there is a clear and present danger that Disabled People’s rights and entitlements would be undermined if we were to leave the European Union.

We are aware that migration is an issue that many people feel strongly about, however one of the strengths of Britain is the diversity of our different communities. SPECTRUM has always felt that diversity should be celebrated and welcomed. Southampton, the city where SPECTRUM is based, has many citizens from other EU countries. Over 10% of staff at Southampton General Hospital are from other EU countries. Dedicated doctors, nurses as well as other support staff who keep our NHS running. Many EU citizens work in the social care sector too, supporting Disabled People to live independent lives within society. Despite this, locally we have real difficulties recruiting staff to work in social care. How much worse will be the recruitment crisis if Britain leaves the EU.

SPECTRUM has made a short video interviewing our CEO, Ian Loynes.

 

We will also posting a list of links you may want to look at, ahead of the vote on Thursday, to inform your decision.
SPECTRUM thinks you should vote to remain, but we believe Disabled People should think through the options and make their own decision. Think about what matters to you. Do you want to live in a country that respects equality and human rights? Do you welcome diversity within your community and reject prejudice?

It’s now up to YOU! As Berni Vincent, our Volunteer and Training manager, said ‘I think Disabled People should most definitely vote. Our votes have been hard won over time. Together we are stronger.’

The SPECTRUM Effect

SPECTRUM’s 30th Anniversary

This post is written by Ian Loynes, the CEO of SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living.

This week is a momentous week for SPECTRUM

30 years ago this Thursday, Simon Brisenden called the first public meeting that founded SCIL (Now SPECTRUM)

​To mark this occasion, we have organised a​ ​30th Anniversary Conference on Thursday 6th November​ where we will be celebrating our achievements, and discussing the future of Independent Living​.

​We are having the whole conference videoed and this will be placed on our YouTube channel as soon as possible after the event, to allow you and THE WHOLE WORLD to share in what I will call ‘The SPECTRUM Effect’.

Our YouTube channel can be found at the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/user/southamptoncil​
(If the link doesn’t work, search for SPECTRUMCIL on YouTube)

To whet your appetite, we have had two articles published in last Wednesday’s Guardian newspaper – We encourage you to read both as they nicely highlight what we have achieved, and the challenges and opportunities we have to face in the future.

The links to these two articles are:
http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2014/oct/29/thirty-years-of-independent-living-for-people-with-disabilities
http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2014/oct/29/choice-and-control-are-still-key-for-people-with-disabilities

On behalf of SPECTRUM, I ​thank you for your support and interest.

Tackling Hate Crime Together

The latest figures released from the Home Office in October 2014 show that there were just under 2000 Disability hate crimes in England and Wales in 2013/14, an increase of 8%. It is not clear what is the cause of the increase. It may be that police are identifying and recording Disability hate crime more accurately. It could also be due to Disabled People being more aware that they should report these types of offences to the police. Some argue that the portrayal of Disabled People as ‘benefits scroungers’ in the media has adversely affected society’s perception of Disabled People.

Whatever the cause, it was an apt time for SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living and Hampshire County Council to co-host an event on hate crime. The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders interested in tackling hate crime. The event was particularly positive as people affected by all types of hate crime (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender, traveller community) participated. This meant there was a wide range of experiences and viewpoints in which to draw upon.

In addition to the affected communities themselves, representatives from other agencies such as the police, local authority, housing associations and Crown Prosecution Service were also present to give their views on tackling hate crime.

Some of the common themes from the event were the importance of education particularly for young people to understand the negative effects of name calling, intimidation on people who are from a ‘minority’ group. Communities need to know how they report hate crime and how it will be investigated. People need to have confidence that the issue will be taken seriously and other stakeholder agencies need to know how to proceed if hate crimes are reported to them.

In summary, the event was a useful opportunity for everyone to think about how we need to all work in partnership to tackle hate crime and how that will improve all our communities for the better.

SPECTRUM will be producing a full report on the day shortly, which will be available on the website.

Getting Businesses to be Disability Confident

Disability Confident is the name of the government’s new initiative to encourage organisations both large and small to recruit more Disabled People launched at a conference on the 19th July. s300_disability-confident-960 If the conference is anything to go by, the government is keen to get their message across.

Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People was largely relegated to a compere’s role, as David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith, and Vince Cable were rolled out one at time to deliver the big policy announcements and demonstrate the government were serious about this issue.

To help support employers overcome barriers and become Disability confident, the Government will:

  • roll out a new £500,000 2-year government campaign targeting employers’ and workforce attitudes to hiring Disabled People
  • support the roll out of business-led commitments to hire more Disabled People
  • support Disabled People and media organisations increase media representation and portrayal of Disabled People in mainstream programmes
  • provide opportunities, through changes announced this week to Access to Work, for employers to engage Disabled People on work experience, traineeship and supported internships
  • provide streamlined advice and support for employers on hiring and keeping Disabled People in work through our guidance on employing Disabled People and people with health conditions

The new service for employers will focus on supporting them to become more confident about hiring Disabled People.

These announcements were slightly blunted throughout the day as none of the speakers would address how the welfare reforms fitted into this bright new world of Disability Employment. Access to Work was quite rightly praised by virtually every speaker, although other programmes seemed less clear as to how they would deliver real outcomes.

The conference was very much targeted at businesses so most Disabled People had to just watch it on the live internet stream and the comments via Twitter were predictably scathing about this. Maybe the government has forgotten the ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ motto already.

To be fair, there were some very impressive Disabled Entrepreneurs and Business People who spoke very powerfully about their experiences and views. Unfortunately this always seemed to be followed by a non Disabled Speaker calling them ‘inspirational’ which became quite tiresome quite quickly. The key role that Disabled People’s User Led Organisations could play in supporting businesses and Disabled workers was also not covered.

These kind of conferences always feel a bit like they’re preaching to the converted but hopefully this 2 year campaign will assist in increasing the number of Disabled People in employment so that it will become less ‘inspiring’  and more just part of everyday life.

Breathing New Life into Personalisation

The Hampshire PEP are pleased to announce that their Conference this year will be held on the 20th of March in Winchester, featuring a wide range of speakers, including Michelle Daley, Bob Rhodes, Shahana Ramsden and Sarah Carr.

We hope to be able to show people that personalisation is not just about social care, but is also affecting the way people get support in education and employment. There will be plenty of interactive workshops throughout the day, as well as an opportunity to question our expert speakers and  the Director of Hampshire Adult Services, Gill Duncan.

We are sure it will be an informative day as well as being a lot of fun. It is also a great way to meet other people and network and we hope it will encourage more people to get involved in User Led Organisations in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

For more information, please download our joining pack with all the details of how you can be part of this exciting event.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @HantsPEP