The battle for better rights for the disabled can be an exhausting one for activists, one campaigner has said.
Writing for the Metro News as Disability History Month (November 16th-December 16th) drew to a close, the actor, presenter and disabled rights campaigner Samantha Renke said that she loves what she does, but can often be left feeling a sense of “veja vu”.
“Many of the conversations I’ve been having through Disability History Month are the same from the previous year and the one before that,” she explained, adding: “In fact, I feel a lot of the time I am flogging a dead horse; all talk and very little action.”
Such sentiments might be familiar to those who have been seeking some kind of financial or practical help form local authorities and others to get their homes fitted with facilities that enable them to live with more independence and dignity. Having disabled toilets in the UK should be an obvious provision when people are in need, but many have to wait too long.
This and other practical problems often go unresolved, with Ms Renke observing: “Infrastructure is still incredibly ableist.”
However, she noted, there are some shining lights among companies and organisations that have done more to help people with disabilities to thrive. She gave the example of Apple, which had a campaign showing disabled people using assistive technology. This “showed how technology is such a powerful tool and worth investing in,” Ms Renke remarked.
Disability toilets are, by comparison, a simple technology and a key step forward will be for more homes to be built with them.
Among developers some may be optimistic about on this point is Thirteen Group, a housing association operating in the north east and Yorkshire that includes home adaptations among its core activities as it seeks to provide a more holistic approach, which includes trying to help unemployed tenants into jobs.
It has just announced a tendering process for construction partners to help it deliver another 3,270 new homes by 2028 in partnership with Homes England.