Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Greetings

It’s been a great year here at PureshPower and I wanted to thank all of you for your continued support and readership. I have enjoyed sharing my views on all things disability – both the good and the not so good!

Real inclusive change will happen but the road is still long and we all have much to do throughout the journey. I hope you will continue to join me in supporting the efforts of all those pushing for positive change.

I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and that Santa brings all your Christmas wishes. May the New and Coming Year bring you every happiness and success in all your endeavours.

See you in 2010..............

Friday, 4 December 2009

Disabled Students

Back in August, I wrote about the issues that need to be addressed by disabled students who wish to attend University i.e. accessibility, access to appropriate care options etc.

On top of all these issues, it would appear that their worries are now being further complicated by the Student Loan Company (SLC).

Figures show that in addition to giving out £43m less in funds this year, they have also failed to provide the vital funding to disabled students with only one in every five receiving the appropriate funds needed for specialist equipment and assistants. Many disabled students are now struggling to cope and many see “dropping out” as a real threat. Yet it would appear that there is still tens of millions of pounds sitting unallocated some two months into term-time.

In real terms, this allocated funding means that approximately 12,000 disabled students are waiting for funds to support their learning needs as only 3,294 applications have been processed out of the 15,371 submitted. Campaigners believe it will take some 75 weeks to clear the backlog of claims.

The president of the National Union of Students, Wes Streeting, has said "This is a staggering amount of money and reveals how big the problem is. Students can't get by without that money. It's disgraceful that so many disabled students are waiting for their allowances."

Unlike previous years, the processing of applications, which are complex and need medical evidence, has been taken over by SLC and they are failing to deliver this vital funding. SLC have apologised to those students caught up in these delays and have said "We recognise that the work is more complex than general loan application processing, and so over the last two months we have doubled the size of the team working on the cases."

Unfortunately apologies will not help those disabled students struggling to cope without the specialist equipment and support they need – only real action can do that and therefore SLC need to sort this issue now and learn from their mistakes in preparation for the next academic intake.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

International Day of Disabled People

Today is the United Nations International Day of Disabled People which aims to promote an understanding disability issues, the rights of disabled people and the benefits that inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of life may have on our society.

Important facts to remember are:-

1. Almost one in ten people are disabled
2. 20 per cent of the world population living in poverty are disabled
3. Exclusion of disabled people is still prevalent in the world denying many
the basic rights of food, education, employment and access to health

The United Nations International Day of Disabled People was originally instigated to commemorate the anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the World Programme of Action in 1982 regarding disabled people.

The theme for this year’s International Day of Disabled People is “Making the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) inclusive”

Social change can be achieved through various means but adopting the Social Model of Disability is paramount as this is a more modern approach to viewing disability than the Medical Model.

I ask three things of you today:-

1. You help celebrate the achievements of disabled people across the globe.
Disabled people make a rich and diverse contribution to the communities in
which they live and work;

2. You consider whether you are doing enough to support an inclusive society;

3. You reflect on how far the disability movement has come and yet how far we
still have to go in making long lasting changes.

Happy United Nations International Day of Disabled People to you all!