Disabled people deserve better than a society that holds them back wholesale

Ruth Owen by Ruth Owen
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This is a very exciting week for Whizz-Kidz for two reasons. Firstly we are delighted to be the People’s Postcode Lottery’s featured charity. Since 2013 we have received £900,000 in funding from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. This money has made a huge difference to the lives of so many young wheelchair users, helping Whizz-Kidz provide the equipment and services young disabled people need to reach their full potential.

By playing the People’s Postcode Lottery, you are also playing a role in a disabled child’s life journey, and so I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank all the players for helping make our work possible.

We also have good news this week for anyone wanting to apply for support from Whizz-Kidz. We have launched our new application platform, which has been designed to make applying for all of our services quicker and easier for our service users.

Our new application platform – which can be found here  – allows young people to apply for all of our services – Ambassador Clubs, Camp Whizz-Kidz, Wheelchair Skills training and Work Placements – in one place. It also allows parents and carers to easily apply online for Whizz-Kidz mobility equipment.

This project has been the result of a lot of hard work by the team here at Whizz-Kidz, and I hope you’ll find this new process a much more streamlined way of accessing our services. We are so proud of all of the services we offer to young disabled people, and I am confident this will mean not only that our services are easier to access, but also that many, many more young people will sign up to use them.

A new report out this week from the Equality and Human Rights Commission made for upsetting, if unsurprising, reading. The report, Being disabled in Britain: a journey less equal, concludes that disabled people in the UK are being left behind in society. The report focuses on six key areas; education, work, standard of living, health and care, justice and detention, and participation and identity, and finds that in every one of these areas, disabled people experience disadvantage.

We know that young wheelchair users, particularly those on the cusp of adulthood, simply want the same opportunities to participate in society as their non-disabled peers. Whether this is by joining the workforce, going into higher education, or simply exploring the world around them without barriers, the young people we support have the same ambitions, desires and plans as anyone else. It is incredibly disappointing then that so many are being held back by inequality.

We are living through incredibly complex times, which is why Whizz-Kidz will continue to keep a close and critical eye on the situation for young disabled people living in the UK. We will continue to champion the right of every disabled young person having equality of opportunity, and the chance to realise their ambition. But we can’t do this alone; we need your support, and the support of businesses and the Government, to make this a real possibility.

Lastly, April is – as you of course know – London Marathon month. In my next blog I’ll be celebrating the incredible fundraising – and training – efforts of #TeamWhizzKidz. I hope you’ll join me in cheering them on Sunday 23rd April!

By the time you read this, I will – travel permitting – be enjoying a short break in the sun. Air travel is all-too-often a stressful and complicated process for wheelchair users, so I will let you know in my next blog how I get on. Here’s hoping that I have some examples of excellent service to share with you!

Until next time.

Ruth

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