GDA celebrates successes of 2021 with big hopes for 2022

GUERNSEY celebrates International Day of People with Disabilities today by recognising the achievements of member charities of the Guernsey Disability Alliance.

Purple Tuesday at the beginning of November was one of the Guernsey Disability Alliance’s successes of 2021. The campaign sought to improve the customer experience for disabled people. (Picture by Chris George Photography)
Purple Tuesday at the beginning of November was one of the Guernsey Disability Alliance’s successes of 2021. The campaign sought to improve the customer experience for disabled people. (Picture by Chris George Photography)

The day aims to promote rights and wellbeing and to increase awareness of people with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The theme this year is leadership and participation of persons with disabilities working towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid-19 world.

GDA social policy director Carol Le Page said that progress made with the discrimination legislation was one achievement this year.

‘It’s been a productive year for social policy. We’re hopeful that things will move quickly and we can concentrate on getting legislation past the post and we’ll be speaking to deputies and any other influencers. Next year we will be celebrating some big wins,’ she said.

The drafting of the legislation has begun and it is likely to be put to the States for approval in early 2022. The aim is to promote and protect rights to equality of status, opportunity, treatment and non-discrimination on the basis of various grounds of protection.

‘We use this day as a celebration and it’s a good opportunity to raise awareness,’ said GDA partnership director Karen Blanchford.

‘Before Covid, we would do a big lunch and charities would present on what they had achieved during the year.’

For Purple Tuesday, a campaign that took place last month, the GDA worked with local businesses and experts to raise awareness of the spending power of disabled people and their families.

Mrs Blanchford also highlighted the redevelopment of Grow Ltd’s premises and training accomplishments made at Guernsey Mind as notable areas of success this year.

Mind’s services have been used by 502 people since February and 75 have been trained in awareness and managing mental health in the workplace.

A suicide first aid course in the Channel Islands was also introduced by the charity.

Mind general manager Jo Cottell said: ‘The day highlights the needs of many in our community who live with disabilities every day of the year.

‘Poor mental health can have a substantial, adverse and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which may be in addition to physical challenges.’

The charity launched its therapy service this year in response to an increase in the numbers of people seeking support for mental health.

‘There’s no one size fits all when it comes to recovery from mental health difficulties and we work with individuals to find the most appropriate help for their needs,’ she said.

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