Behind the scenes of the Steering Group

Raising awareness and visibility of disability wherever we go!

When people talk of the York Disability Rights Forum Steering Group, it can feel a bit abstract or distant. So, who are we and what do we do?

York Minster on a sunny day

Who are we?

We are a group of 10 or so people, most of whom have a disability and live in York. We are the disabled people and allies who lead YDRF by listening to other disabled people in York. Across the Steering Group we have a range of disabilities, life experiences and knowledge but we know that being a good ally, whether you’re disabled or not, requires active work and reflection.

We don’t claim to represent all disabled people in York, but we aim to amplify the community’s voices and encourage society and organisations to listen and take action. So that we can understand what disabled people in York are concerned about, we have an annual survey, engage proactively on social media and talk to disabled people in the city. We also actively read and learn about disability issues locally, nationally and internationally.

We are aware of the importance of intersectionality when it comes to activism and hope to build more and more diversity into the Steering Group, and the forum as a whole, over time.

Intersectionality is about how someone’s different identities mean they are more or less affected by a form of oppression. For example, a black disabled person experiences oppression as they are black, and oppression as they are disbaled. This means they experience disability differently to a white disabled person.

What do we do?

There’s a lot of things that go on ‘behind the scenes’, including regular meetings of the Steering Group and running open meetings that give everyone and anyone a chance to meet the Steering Group and have their say.

It’s important to us that we collaborate and work with other organisations in York. For example:

  • We’ve been working with York Bus Forum and Age Friendly York around improving bus stops – sign up to the newsletter to be kept up to date!
  • We recently spoke to York and District People’s Assembly about the need to campaign for better benefits
  • We’re also working with York Cycle Campaign, MySight York, and other local organisations.

We speak at local events which offer great opportunities for networking and raising the profile of YDRF and issues that affect disabled people in York. We attend workshops and respond to consultations to represent the views of members. For example, representing the community’s view on the changes to Blue Badge parking in the city centre.

To help raise awareness of issues affecting disabled people, we’ve written for the York Press, participated in York Disability Week and York International Women’s Week and use social media.

Newsletters and our blog help forum members and disabled people in York keep up to date with what we’re doing, upcoming events that might be of interest and ways that people can have their say, such as local consultations.

Some of the work we do to help things tick over include responding to emails, checking the planning applications each week in case there’s anything we need to have a say on and ensuring the website is up to date and as accessible as possible.

We’re also working on all the nitty gritty things that mean we can become a registered charity. This means we can apply for more funding opportunities which in turn means we can do more for disabled people in York!

How can you get involved?

We’re always looking for disabled people with passion to get involved with the Steering Group, so if you can bring time, energy and a variety of skills, please get in touch!

If you’d like to join the forum as a member or ally, please head over to the Join Us page and fill out the form!

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