By the Trailblazers team
On Wednesday 26th October, members of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers headed to Westminster to attend the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Young Disabled People.
This Inquiry, which was held in front of young disabled people, MPs and Peers, was to highlight challenges experienced when accessing sports venues.
As secretariat for the APPG, we also held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) where Heidi Allen MP was appointed as the new Chair of the Group. Kirsten Oswald MP has been elected as Co-Chair and Dr Lisa Cameron MP and David Burrowes MP have joined as Vice Chairs.
Following the launch of our Move the Goal Posts report in September, Trailblazers now had the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with panellists including representatives from the Premier League, Silverstone, Wimbledon and Southampton FC, alongside experts in accessibility like the Centre for Accessible Environments , Changing Places and Level Playing Field.
The event was a brilliant opportunity to share good and bad experiences, learn from others and talk constructively about making improvements across the industry.
Trailblazer Vicki Dennis gave a powerful speech and told panellists and Parliamentarians: “Sadly, disabled people like me are at a huge disadvantage in enjoying the games we love. I’m almost always split up from family and friends as there is only one space for a carer. Sport for me is all about the day out, being together, sharing the highs and lows.
“I would like to urge everyone here today to listen to our views. As fans we are committed to our clubs and to the sport we love, and we hope you can return that to us by committing to do all you can to improve access for disabled people.”
Tanvi Vyas, Trailblazers Project Manager, said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand about the good work being done by sporting venues and it was also really important to hear where accessibility is still failing.
“From booking and seating to basic needs like having an accessible toilet – there is still much to be done. In 2016 we can see improvements being made but we need to ensure access is high on the agenda to ensure young disabled people have the same opportunities as their friends, family and colleagues.
Trailblazers are keen to work across industry to ensure young people are involved in improvements and decisions that affect them.
We are very excited to have Heidi Allen MP as our new Chair and Kirsten Oswald MP as Co-Chair, with Dr Lisa Cameron MP and David Burrowes MP joining us as Vice Chairs. We’d like to thank our former Chair, Paul Maynard MP, for all his fantastic support throughout the years since we first launched the APPG in 2011.”
Heidi Allen MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled people, said: “I’m honoured to have been elected as the new Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People. The group is dedicated to removing the social barriers that prevent young disabled people from living their lives with the same independence and spontaneity as their non-disabled peers. I am very excited to be working with the group and Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers to help make a real difference to young disabled people’s lives.”
Kirsten Oswald MP, new Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled people, said: “I’m delighted to have been elected as Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People. The group is focused on making a change on issues which are fundamental to allowing young disabled people to live full and independent lives. The young people and my fellow MPs on the group are full of purpose. There is lots to do, and I look forward to getting stuck in.
For more information about the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People, contact Victoria Wright, Trailblazers Campaigns Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Disability United