Disability news 2020 round-up
By: Philippa Harrington, On: 28 December 2020
2020 has been a year to remember, and one we didn’t expect! But as they say, it’s beneficial to our physical and mental health if we focus on the positives rather than the negatives. And thankfully, the news hasn’t been all doom and gloom – we’ve just had to look harder to find the good bits! Here is our 2020 disability news roundup; we hope you find a story you enjoy and can relate to.
Do you know of any other important pieces of disability news that we’ve forgotten? Get in touch, we’d love to talk about it!
The New Year presented us with a positive start! We saw disabled journalist John Pring continue to campaign for a big change on Universal Credit forms – asking the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to add a free prescriptions tick box to a reworked version of the form. John’s hard work sparked peaceful protests encouraging the DWP to speed up the process of creating a new Universal Credit form so those with disabilities could request the medication they need but can’t always afford. Click here for more information.
This month, we found out that visitor attraction giant Merlin Entertainments were offering free passes to disabled children aged 2-18, through an exciting and generous charity called Merlin’s Magic Wand. For those who didn’t manage to get a free visit, discounts are also being offered on annual passes for Legoland, Alton Towers, Madam Tussaud’s, and more. Why not check if you can apply on behalf of a loved one today? Click here.
In March (the beginning of national lockdown), we saw lots of lovely charities club together to provide emergency relief funds for those in need – particularly for those who define themselves to have a disability. One of the largest relief funds included £1.9m via the Money Saving Expert website, which intended to help out small charities providing urgent help through the Coronavirus pandemic.
Spring has sprung, and good news is flourishing! This month, Labour Shadow Minister Vicky Foxcroft vowed she’d be a ‘good listener’ for those with disabilities, and also said she would prioritise concerns around the Coronavirus pandemic and disabled people. To find out more about Vicky’s pledges and the schemes she is going to push forward, read more on the Disability News Service website.
All Tesco stores began to open priority shopping slots to disabled customers this month! This followed the short-lived supermarket food crisis at the wake of national lockdown, whereby customers panic-bought items such as pasta, toilet paper, and milk in large quantities. Tesco hoped the priority slots would help those who had minimal opportunities to get out and do their shopping, for example- if their carer was able to take them weekly.
In June, two national charities – Turning Point and Learning Disability England – challenged NHS doctors who had unlawfully added DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate Orders) to medical records of those with learning disabilities without consenting family members first. This was a massive movement, and now means the public are more aware of the rights they have in relation to poorly family members and the documentation filled out in hospital. Read more here.
We heard some progressive news in July, whereby people with certain disabilities were to be exempt from wearing a face covering. Public Health England is consistently updating guidance on exemptions, which include those who cannot physically put on, wear, or take off a mask, and individuals who rely on lip-reading and facial expressions to communicate. See a working list of face-covering exemptions on the gov.uk help pages.
This month, exemption cards for those with an age, health or disability exception were introduced for those not able to wear a face-covering or shield. If you are exempt and you’d like to print an exemption card to carry for your own comfort, see here.
In September, the news that Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) could apply for a shared fund of £1.5m was still fresh in our minds. The funding was intended to use on crucial support for disabled people for essentials such as food, medicine, and guidance.
October marked the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, which we all know and respect.
Another anniversary to celebrate! But this time, we took the opportunity to reflect on Disability History Month. November also saw a 37p (per week) rise in benefits for those with disabilities.
December already – can you believe it? We can’t either! In exciting news, there are lots of accessible, Coronavirus friendly days out to help get you into the festive mood. Some of our favourites include:
1. Harry Potter’s Hogwarts in the Snow, Hertfordshire
2. Santa Steam Trains, Leicestershire
3. Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall, London
For more Christmas trip ideas suitable for those requiring disabled access, click here.