A celebration of 40 years of Disability Wales
- Wednesday, 18 January 2012
A celebration of 40 years of Disability Wales: 40 years championing the rights of disabled people across Wales; Breaking down barriers past, present and future
Today, Disability Wales will launch its 40th Anniversary celebrations with an evening reception held in The Senedd, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay.
Jane Hutt AM, the Minister for Finance and Leader of the House (whose responsibilities include Equalities) will host the event which will include presentations reflecting on the achievements of Disability Wales, the progress of the disabled people’s movement over the last 40 years, and the landscape ahead. Disability Wales will announce its exciting schedule of celebratory activities planned for 2012 including the launch of:
‘The story at 40: the lives and times of disabled people in Wales’
An oral history film project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund researching the memories and experiences of disabled people born in 1972 and living in Wales. The project will reflect changing policy and attitudes towards disabled people over the past four decades and will be produced in the context of Disability Wales' 40th Anniversary.
Disability Wales will involve disabled volunteers in researching and presenting the history of disabled people in Wales. Disabled people born in 1972 will share their stories, memories and experiences. Events, resources, including a film, will be produced and materials acquired will be archived to enable both disabled people as a community and the general public to learn about the heritage of disabled people in Wales.
Disability Wales would urge anyone interested in becoming involved in this inspiring NEW project to come forward and contact the organisation.
Commenting on the award Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said:
“Heritage is not all castles, museums and old buildings. Recording memories is an important and popular way of learning about our past and sharing this with present and future generations. This project will create an important record and lasting legacy of the tireless work of Disability Wales in the words of the people who have campaigned to improve the lives of disabled people. As the organisation launches its 40th anniversary celebrations this is the perfect time to seek out the wealth of as yet untold stories.”
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales, states:
“Disability Wales was established in 1972 as the ‘Wales Council for the Disabled’ following Welsh Office recognition that a national coordinating voluntary body was required to liaise with central and local government that could speak on behalf of disabled people on matters of common concern.
Forty years on, in a climate of cuts in benefits and services to disabled people, the need for an organisation that represents the views and interests of disabled people to government remains as crucial as ever, notwithstanding the transformation in legislation, social policy and public attitudes towards disabled people.”
For four decades Disability Wales has contributed significantly to the development of disability related policy in Wales, pioneered innovative services, established new organisations and initiated campaigns to secure the rights, equality and independence of disabled people.
Equalities Minister, Jane Hutt said:
“Disability Wales provides a huge amount of support to disabled individuals across Wales by giving them a voice and helping to ensure that their needs are met.
“They also make a valuable contribution to the development and delivery of Welsh Government policies and programmes across the piece. I’d like to congratulate Disability Wales on their 40th anniversary and wish them well for the future.”
Vital to Disability Wales' success over forty years is the role and support of its membership, enabling the organisation to speak to Government authoritatively on the everyday experiences of disabled people with the purpose of informing and influencing policy to improve the lives of disabled people in Wales.
Andrew Hubbard, Chairman SAIL (Swansea Association for Independent Living), a member organisation of Disability Wales explains the benefits of the organisation:
“Over the last 40 years we have moved forward, often against a tide of ignorance and discrimination from ‘people with disabilities’ to ‘Disabled People.’
Disability Wales, once ‘Wales Council for the Disabled’ has grown and developed into the organisation leading the way towards Independent Living for disabled people in Wales.
SAIL working with Disability Wales develops our collective voice and strength as we campaign together to establish our Human rights to live where and how we want.
The politics of disability and the definition of the Social Model over the last 40 years means we have shared values and strengths to challenge barriers that ‘disable’ us.
As a disabled people’s organisation (DPO), the benefit of working together with Disability Wales is we no longer need to hide away as ‘medical problems’ but join together to fight against social isolation and welfare rights discrimination.”
Find out more about Disability Wales at www.disabilitywales.org