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Disability round-up 2022

As we look forward to a new year with fresh possibilities, it’s always good to take the time to review the past year. 2022 has been a year of landmark firsts for the disabled community, with BSL becoming its own legal language to the development of new accessible facilities. In a world where it’s always easier to focus on the negatives, we like to round up the very best that humanity has to offer.

Below is a complete guide to the triumphs of 2022 and the inspirational people that made them happen.

January – March

The year kicked off as usual with a list of New Year’s Honours from the Queen. Among the recipients of MBEs were Paralympians Maisie Summers-Newton and Reece Dunn. Both were chosen for their incredible achievements in swimming. Fellow Paralympian Gavin Walker also was awarded an MBE for his contribution to wheelchair rugby. 

Another awardee, Natalie O’Rourke, was honoured for raising over £1 million to save stables in London that are designed to help disabled people spend time with horses.

In local news, a guide dog litter with 16 puppies was born in Leamington Spa. This was one of the largest litters for guide dogs and meant 16 more people would be able to benefit from assistance in their daily life. 

In March, MPs also backed the bill that has legally recognised British Sign Language as an official language in England, Wales and Scotland. 

April – June

As the weather started heating up, funding was allocated to create 500 brand-new accessible toilets across England. April also saw a bill being passed by the government to give people with Down’s Syndrome a voice in the UK. This was to culminate in government-issued guidance on specific needs and suggestions for how to meet them.

Jamie McAnsh accomplished his childhood dream of climbing to Everest’s base camp. As someone living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, he did so on crutches, proving that we can all smash our goals.

The music industry was booming this summer, but Lizzo’s album received criticism for one song that contained an offensive lyric to the differently abled. She re-recorded the song and issued a public apology.

July – September

In the height of summer, the Paraorchestra headlined the Bluedot festival and August saw global pop star Beyonce come under fire, like Lizzo, for an offensive lyric, which she also re-recorded. 

Wheelchair user Sarah-Victoria Bailey was delighted to become a Ms Great Britain finalist, hoping to show that the beauty industry is becoming a more inclusive space. Just a month later, Barbie launched its first inclusive range of dolls, featuring Barbie with hearing aids, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair. A Ken doll was also produced with the skin condition Vitiligo. 

In September, the UK government issued a £150 cost of living payment to help disabled people manage the increase in energy bills. The Tapestry by Props brewery in Bristol launched with a full staff of adults with learning disabilities, creating employment opportunities and a fantastic launch party for Bristolians.

October – December

In October, two bravery awards were given to the 5-year-old boy who achieved the feat of becoming the youngest amputee to walk up Snowden. To represent England in the world cheerleading championships, a disability-inclusive cheerleading team was chosen. 

November saw the first disabled astronaut announced. British Paralympian John McFall, famous for his achievements in sprinting, was chosen to join the team. 

In December, the Royal National College for the Blind celebrated its 150th anniversary, which was marked by King Charles visiting the school and meeting students in Hereford.

Looking forward to 2023

As we look forward to 2023, there will be many challenges ahead. The cost of living crisis is a worry for everyone, but the government appears to be creating new grants to help the UK cope with these changes. A Disability Action Plan is also being created by the government and is set to be published in 2023, with the hope of improving accessibility and the services we rely on most.

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