It’s UK Disability History Month (18 November until 18 December).
Disability History Month is an annual event that provides a platform to focus on the history of disabled people’s struggle for equality and human rights in the UK, and highlight the current inequalities and barriers disabled people face in society, and often at an institutional level. The UN’s International Day of People with Disabilities is also marked during the month, every year on the third of December.
The themes for UKDHM 2021 are Disability and Hidden Impairment and Disability and Sex and Relationships. Covid-19 itself, as well as shielding and lockdowns uncovered many of the existing inequalities faced by disabled people.
How can I get involved?
It is incredibly important that we all take responsibility in how we can challenge ableism (a form of discrimination and prejudice against disabled people or those perceived to be disabled). There are a number of ways you can get involved this month.
Spread the word about Disability History Month!
We have put together two Teams’ backgrounds and an email banner to go in your email signature so that Disability History Month is visible to all.
You can download them below:
Hold a team session with this Disability History Month presentation
A presentation has been developed by colleagues from North Yorkshire County Council to help highlight the importance of Disability History Month, and key moments in the history of the fight for disabled people’s rights in the UK, and to raise awareness about:
- the social model of disability;
- invisible disabilities; and
- other key topics that are important to understand in relation to disability rights.
As well as raising awareness, the sessions are also an opportunity to look at how you can use the discussions and reflections you have and put these into action.
For example, consider in your teams and organisations what things you can do within your organisation to improve the experience of our disabled people who use our services, disabled people in our communities, and disabled staff members who work and volunteer in your organisation.
It is important to note the importance of lived experience and meaningful engagement with disabled people first and foremost.
In line with the NYSAB joint engagement and communication strategy, making sure disabled people have access to spaces to be able to voice their concerns and share their experiences and drive change is key, and this slide deck should not be seen as a replacement for conducting meaningful engagement to hear from disabled people.
Engage with and support forums, groups and self-advocates
The North Yorkshire Disability Forum (NYDF) is a user-led forum that aims to improve the lives of people with physical and/or sensory impairment in North Yorkshire. It is supported by the council to provide a collective voice for disabled people to inform the strategy and service development of NYCC and other statutory bodies to raise awareness of accessibility for disabled people, and to improve access across North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board works to make services better for people with a learning disability. It promotes the independence, rights, choice and inclusion of people with a learning disability, autistic people, families and carers across North Yorkshire. Meetings are co-chaired by a self-advocate with a learning disability and/or autism and a community member.
The voice of self-advocates—people with a learning disability and/or autism – is at the heart of the Partnership Board’s work. Self-advocates speak up about things that are important to them and other people with a learning disability and/or autism. You can find out more about self-advocacy by watching this video https://youtu.be/FDj3ELFEfVA
Harrogate Mental Health Service User and Carer Involvement Group is supported by North Yorkshire County Council and Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust. It brings together mental health service users, carers and people who work in mental health to improve services. Contact Wendy.Clark@northyorks.gov.uk for more information.
York Disability Rights Forum is led by disabled people and works to promote equal access to human rights for all those with disabilities who live or work in York. The Forum aims to be a collective voice, to raise awareness of issues affecting disabled people in York and create positive changes.
Find out more here: https://ydrf.org.uk/