What do disabled people want in York

Last night, we held a meeting to talk about what you want us to work on in the coming year. Our annual survey helped us establish three priorities:

  • Health and Care
  • Attitudes and Awareness
  • Physical Accessibility

The discussion doesn’t stop now, if you were unable to attend, you can tell us how these topics affect you, and what you want to be improved. Email us, talk to us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram) or leave us a voicemail on 01904 326781.

We wanted to sum up last night’s discussions to help us identify how we can tackle the issues. In addition to the topics we highlighted, there was a recognition for the need to connect with other disabled people and we hope spaces like our Facebook group can help with that. These spaces are important because things like bus passes, Blue Badges and the care system are hard to navigate and we all need somewhere to ask for advice. If you need help with anything disability related, please get in touch. We may not know the answer, we may not be the right people to help, but we’ll do our very best to get you to the people who can help or who do have the answer.

Health and Care

  • We already knew that the mental health crisis line needs improvement and last night confirmed this.
  • There were issues about not being listened to, or valued as experts in our bodies by medical practictioners.
  • The way the NHS is set up has a disconnect between mental health and physical health which means when you’re in hospital, for example, you have only have one part of your health being considered.
  • For people who have autism but not learning disabilities appear to be falling through the system or aren’t being recognised as needing additional help, whether it’s social care or other support.
  • The pandemic has created a fear around going into hospital because of DNRs.
  • We talked about GPs and how there is an assumption that you can use the internet. If you do have to ring there are often long wait times and generally you have to ring first thing in the morning to get an appointment which is often not something disabled people can do. Some receptionists have not spoken respectfully to disabled people when they have got through on the phone, leaving people distressed.
  • Blood testing has moved to the community stadium and that has made things more difficult.

Attitudes and Awareness

  • The Sunflower Lanyard scheme had potential to be very helpful, however there was concern about people being able to just buy them and use it as a way of not having to wear a mask. It feels like there needs to be education about who has them, why they need them and what support that person might need.
  • For people with autism, appointments that start with questions like do you need to stim helps make that space feel more comfortable and welcoming.
  • Invisible disabilities, ambulatory wheelchair users and awareness that people can have physical disabilities and the same person can have mental health disabilities.
  • That disabled people are people sadly seems like something there needs to be more general consideration of.
  • Some people think they know about disability and therefore don’t seek out training or find out about disabled people. Unfortunately these are often people who have a basic understanding that accessibility is about having a ramp and nothing more.
  • Disabled people experiencing domestic abuse was discussed.

Physical Accessibility

  • Tension between providing accessibility, including Changing Places in listed buildings leads to exclusion in the name of preservation.
  • Obstacles such as bins and recycling boxes are often left on the pavement, in the way. Including at the bottom of one resident’s ramp, blocking the way in or out.
  • The recent increase in A boards and other street furniture and pavement cafes is creating problems.
  • “Look Up” campaign to encourage people to look up from their phones and avoid bumping into disabled people, especially important in busy places.
  • We talked about green spaces and how some of York’s green spaces do need barriers. This makes accessing the spaces more difficult and there is a lot of variation in the quality of barriers. Further, information about the kind of barrier a place has would help us decide if it’s somewhere we can go. It was felt like disabled people end up stuck on the edges of green spaces.
  • Interestingly, Museum Gardens does not open until after the footstreets are closed off to Blue Badge holders which makes it harder to park up and visit them.
  • Some cycle routes suggest they are accessible to mobility scooters etc but in reality there can be the need to manouvere around tight corners etc which creates problems.
  • In terms of pavements, there are some which have a steep camber, there can be tree stumps in the way or roots pushing through the surface and lack of maintenance can result in leaves on the paths and pavements which become very slippery.
  • Venues which charge for both disabled person and carer make themselves financially inaccessible and also fails to view a carer as an essential need.

Use the comments or get in touch in other ways to share your views about these issues.

3 thoughts on “What do disabled people want in York”

  1. Pingback: Get involved! - York Disability Rights Forum

  2. Who is the we that you are talking about? Clearly not the wider membership and all its potential diversity. No acknowledgement of older people, LGBTQ+ , BMI groups, neurologically and physically diverse people.
    What about having live zoom meetings for discussion by everyone or finding accessible places to meet pref during the day light hours

    1. Thanks for the question. ‘We’ tends to refer to the Steering Group in this particular blog post as it’s the Steering Group who do the organisational bits behind the scenes such as organising meetings, sending newsletters and running our annual survey. The three priorities came from what members told us in the September 2021 annual survey. We then asked about them on social media and in newsletters to get more information, as well as hosting an online meeting to discuss them. That’s where the detail around the priorities came from.

      In terms of how we move forward with the priorities, we’re holding some zoom meetings this month which we hope will become focus groups where everyone can get involved in the work. In terms of face to face meetings, we held one in December but it’s difficult when you have disabled people and the risk of covid. Hopefully as the weather improves and it gets warmer, there’ll be the opportunity to have meetings which are outside and so very ventilated!

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