Jo supported young disabled campaigners last week when they took their fight for better disabled access for transport, education and leisure venues to No. 10 Downing Street.
The Trailblazers, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s pressure group of disabled 16 to 30 year olds, have been investigating the state of transport, education and leisure facilities for disabled people in the UK over the past year. They presented a summary of these three reports called Inclusion Now to Parliament on Tuesday, as well as handing in the petition at No. 10. Jo then gave a short speech to 50 Trailblazers in support of their campaign.
The Trailblazers’ research made some shocking discoveries, such as:
• Wheelchair users regularly pay more to use public transport than their non-disabled peers and are made to feel like second-class citizens on public transport because of a lack of awareness from staff and inaccessible stations
• One in 10 disabled students doesn’t have accessible accommodation, cooking and dining facilities integrated into mainstream university life
• Four out of five young disabled people have had problems using leisure facilities that aren’t disabled friendly.
Commenting, Jo said:
“It is shocking that in the twenty-first century Britain, young disabled are denied access to many services and leisure activities which other young people enjoy. We must do more to ensure that the needs of disabled people are always taken into consideration at all stages in the building and running of transport, education and leisure facilities.
“I applaud the work these young campaigners are doing, and I hope that together we will be able to make a real difference to everyday life for disabled people.”
Trailblazer Ambassador Tanvi Vyas said:
“We’re grateful for the support of Jo Swinson. With her backing we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to bring about real change for young disabled people.”
The Trailblazers have produced three reports released earlier this year: End of the Line on transport; University Challenge on education; and Calling Time on leisure facilities.