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Disability group founder asks for donors to dig deep

News | Published:

AN ORGANISATION representing the rights of disabled islanders is calling for financial support to help ‘break down barriers, influence government policy and effect real change’.

Guernsey Disability Alliance founder Rob Platts is looking for volunteers to run a friends group to raise a maximum of £65,000 a year so that it can continue to run effectively when funding for executive director Karen Blanchford ends. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 20630994)

Guernsey Disability Alliance founder Rob Platts is looking for volunteers to help form and run a Friends of the GDA group.

Mr Platts said the group is needed to raise funds for the alliance, which will be changing the way it operates when funding for its executive director, Karen Blanchford, expires in April.

‘Whilst the disability and inclusion strategy [passed in 2013] had a sluggish start because of a lack of government resource, there is now considerable momentum,’ he said.

‘Resources have been found to accelerate progress. Disabled people have a right to be closely consulted and involved in the plans, policies and legislation which affect us – and that’s precisely the GDA’s role.

‘The next two years will be particularly important and busy for the GDA. Guernsey is close to establishing discrimination legislation and an equality and rights organisation.

‘However, we are struggling to fund the communications and one paid staff vital to our work and vital to support and co-ordinate our member volunteers. We need between £48,000 and £65,000 a year to operate effectively.’

Mr Platts is asking islanders to ‘dig deep’ and support the alliance, which is not funded by the government.

‘We all have a right to participate fully and be properly included in all aspects of island life. However, in Guernsey, disabled people face a multitude of physical and attitudinal barriers. Some still lead isolated and segregated lives.

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‘Before the GDA existed no one realised that there are 13,000 people in Guernsey who have long-term conditions which affect their daily lives.

‘Nor did anyone realise that there are at least 2,000 voluntary carers, who receive very little support.’

He said the funding would enable the alliance to continue guiding the States’ implementation of the disability and inclusion strategy, including the realisation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Under the proposed new operating model, Mrs Blanchford will remain involved with the We All Matter Eh? services, while Rob Harnish will lead the social policy team.

Both will continue to provide input into the implementation of the disability and inclusion strategy.

n For more information, email robplatts@guernsey.net or call him on 255494.

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