Memo's from Sophia Nicholls, Executive Secretary of ASNA.


Creating small ripples...

In 2014, founder of the Disabled Access day Paul Ralph had a positive experience boarding local buses in his hometown of Lothian in Edinburgh. He had such a good experience trying something he never thought he would be able to try, he wanted to share it with the rest of the world so he founded the "Disabled Access Day'.

Paul uses buses regularly because he knows he can board any bus in Edinburgh.

This experience became an idea that there should be more opportunities like this out there for disabled people who see things they would like to try but aren't quite sure how they'd get on. A series of focussed 'try something new' events and opportunities that otherwise wouldn't be so easy to arrange.

16th March 2021 would have been that 'try something new' day for people with disabilities. Covid 19 put a hold on this event as the lockdown does not permit travel unless necessary.

I was wondering about the need for Disabled Access day. Why is it necessary to host such a day in the UK today? Is there still a need for this? Surely, every public facility or service is accessible for all? Yes...No..?

It can still be a real challenge for families who have young people / adults with severe learning disabilities or mobility challenges to use the most basic of facilities when out and about. The recent 'Changing Places Campaign speaks to this need. When Matthew was using a wheelchair, my experience of public toilets with him was very challenging.

Celebrating 20 years this year, ASNA is taking this time to recognise those who have campaigned for change for people living with disabilities and special needs over the last 20 year. We recognise the longstanding and new leaders in this space who have a passion and commitment to this ministry. When asked what she would like to see in the next 4 years, Beatrice Kastrati, the newly appointed coordinator for disability ministry in the North of England for the Seventh Day Adventist church said ' churches that see access as mainstream'. 20 years on and we are still in need of champions both in faith based and non faith based institutions and organisation to advocate for places of belonging and inclusion for everyone.

As you consider disabled access day or any other disability awareness day, try to see what small change you can make in your corner of the world. What ripple can you make in your locality towards a wave of change for people living with disabilities. This is what ASNA is doing in the UK. Our short film shows the effect of small changes in the campaign for a world without barriers to inclusion and belonging.

Happy disabled access day!

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