Council sets actions around disability
3 Dec 2019
Belfast City Council has underlined its commitment to creating a more accessible, inclusive city, and encouraging disabled people to participate in civic life.
The Council launched its Disability Action Plan at City Hall today (Tuesday), on International Day for People with Disabilities.
The action plan sets out firm commitment from Council to address a number of key issues around disability by 2022, including:
- promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people;
- targeted recruitment policies;
- disability awareness training
- encouraging people with disabilities to engage and participate in civic life.
Speaking at today’s event, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Peter McReynolds said: “Our Belfast Agenda is committed to creating a city where no one is left behind; one that supports inclusivity and engagement with all of its citizens.
“It’s vitally important that as a public body we look beyond the necessary legislative requirements to consider how we create a city that is accessible for everyone. We have an important role to play in ensuring that people with disabilities feel that they are part of our city, that they have a voice, and that they are visible and equal participants in civic life.”
Steven Mifsud, managing director at Direct Access made the key note address, speaking on ‘What is an accessible city?’
Named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK for 2019 by the Shaw Trust Power 100, Steven said: “This is an ideal opportunity on the UN Day of People with Disability to explore and discuss what works in different cities around the world to make them accessible for their visitors and residents.
“Direct Access are pleased to be part of this day to discuss how we introduced the first quiet space for people with autism on the UK rail network at Crewe, the campaign to increase the number of Changing Places toilet facilities and how this can even be done in historic cities such as the Roman Baths in Somerset.”
Other speakers included Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, director for operations at Employers for Disability (NI), who spoke on how we can address barriers in the workplace, and a number of people with disabilities shared their own personal stories about some of the daily challenges of working life.
One such story came from Briege Blake, a former theatre nurse who was diagnosed with MS five years ago and unable to continue her nursing career as a result.
To find out more about the Council’s Disability Action Plan, visit: www.belfastcity.gov.uk/disability