Young Disabled people presented their new Youth Inclusion Charter at Action on Disability’s International Day of Disabled People at Novotel West London’s conference hall on Monday 4th December. It is thought to be the first of its kind in the country. Over 120 people attended the event to celebrate Independent Living. Young disabled people want the right to have their voices heard, to have equal access, to ensure fair treatment and to help each other create positive change. They called upon four key partners to support the Charter by agreeing to their 18 principles, including:
- Changing people’s perceptions about Disability;
- Making sure they have a voice and are heard;
- Being valued as equals, not patronised;
- Remembering there is, ‘Nothing about us, without us’ (supporting representation and inclusion).
All key partners (Action on Disability, Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation, H&F Youth Council and London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham) have agreed to sign the Charter. They will work in co-production with young Disabled people to co-design and co-decide on youth-related support and services. This is part of the commitment to the vision of shared Independent Living across Hammersmith and Fulham.
Sharon Holder, Chair of Action on Disability, stated, “We are committed to supporting the new Inclusion Charter. It is very important for us to do more to engage with our young Disabled people to ensure that their voices are properly heard. Without them, Action on Disability does not have a future. They are…our future. We are reshaping our work to see more young Disabled people actively involved in services, strengthening their rights, their choices and control over their lives.”
Gareth Dixon, Chief Executive of Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation, also stated, “We have already introduced an Inclusion Network co-designed with young people so one of our outcomes was to strengthen youth organisation’s relationships with local Disabled People’s Organisations. Young people like Daniel, Mariah, G3 and others that I have met at AoD have been part of teaching me so much and to see their work up here, being signed by people who have the power to make change is a fantastic moment.”
Cllr Alex Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Children and Education, ended by saying: “We are delighted to have signed the Charter, recognising how important it is to listen to our young people in this Borough. We made a commitment to the Independent Living Vision, meaning we will continue to work with local residents to understand their needs and ensure that we can deliver support and services to make the Borough more accessible and inclusive. We have the Youth Council, Action on Disability Youth Council and YHFF Inclusion Network working together to make positive changes for our young people right across Hammersmith and Fulham.”
Daniel, one of the young Disabled members responsible for creating the new Youth Inclusion Charter, spoke powerfully, saying “Throughout our lives, as children and young people, we have seen adults making decisions for us without communicating with us. Some of their decisions were not what we wanted. They don’t see how we are different from their generation. We want more inclusive education, training and job opportunities. Society must not exclude us. We are strong, diverse, Disabled young people. We want to be more independent. Allow us to make a real difference for younger Disabled people for the future.”
For more information, please contact:
Contact: David Buxton
Tel: 020 7385 2098
SMS only: 07720 916515
About Action on Disability
Action on Disability (AoD) was founded in 1979, supporting Disabled people, their families and carers mainly in Hammersmith and Fulham, and across West London. AoD is now one of the leading Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) led and run by and for Disabled people.
AoD seeks to promote disability rights, equality and inclusion. It works to achieve a society where Disabled people are able to make informed choices and have control over their lives at home, work and wider community.
AoD provides Employment, Youth, Welfare Benefits and Independent Living services across West London.