News from Guernsey Disability Alliance

Transport Matters, Eh?

 As part of the We All Matter, Eh? campaign, disabled islanders have been recording videos of their experiences of public transport in Guernsey. The videos are being posted on the We All Matter, Eh? website , Facebook page and Twitter feed.

 States members are due to debate the Environment Department’s new Transport Strategy at the end of April and both the majority and minority reports include proposals to make it easier for disabled people to get around the island.

See the Guernsey Disability Alliance website for more details.


Our AGM was held on 20th February at the Ron Short Centre.  We were grateful to all those who attended.  We were updated on what Wigwam had been doing over the past year and what the plans were for 2014.   One of the main things was that Wigwam is working with Collas Crill to become an LBG.  This status will allow us to enter into contracts such as rental agreements and employment contracts whilst safe guarding the Committee members.

Wigwam will be celebrating 15 years of supporting families this year and we will be holding a Family Fun Day on 5th July at Le Rondin.  There will be lots of fun activities for everyone.  More information to follow, but mark the date in your diaries.

After Jenny Hooper spoke about Wigwam Young Adults and the work they have been doing.  Nikkie Kerr was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a painting.  The painting was of Grand Harvre, Nikkie's favourite bay.  The presentation was in honour of the work which Nikkie has.  We are all very grateful to Nikkie for her commitment to Wigwam over the years and we will continue to build on the good work.



Sporting Opportunities

News from the GDA.  

The Guernsey Sports Commission hosted a series of consultations with representatives of different sports and other organisations to identify ways to provide better access to sports. Some of the initiatives planned for 2014 include running workshops for coaches to upskill their knowledge on how to make their sport more accessible, starting from simple changes to the way sessions are run at grass route level to supporting and nurturing talented athletes. Inspiration and knowledge is hoped to be gained from a serious of guest speakers, including Danny Nobbs, Paralympic shot putter, who will visit the island in January.

Meanwhile Sarah Whitchurch, a local wheelchair athlete, has embarked on her own very inspiring sporting journey. In 2013 she took part in the Guernsey and Jersey Half Marathon, Castle Swim, Skipton Swimarathon and, with the support of donors, has just purchased her own brand new racing wheelchair. Read more

Jo Turville from the Guernsey Volleyball Association has launched Sitting Volleyball, a paralympic sport similar to volleyball with the main difference that players sit rather than stand. Sessions that have already taken place had a good take up and Jo is hoping to promote the sport further in the coming year, especially with children. Sessions are aimed at players of all abilities and help on saturday mornings at St Sampson’s High.  To read more visit the GDA website 

Guernsey Disability & Inclusion Strategy

Wigwam Support Group are fully supportive of the Guernsey Disability and Inclusion Strategy that will be debated in the States on Wednesday 27th November 2013. 

The Guernsey Disability Alliance reports:

"After three years in development, the island’s first Disability and Inclusion Strategy has been published. 

It will be debated by the States of Deliberation on Wednesday November 27th 2013.

To quote from the States report:

 “The Disability and Inclusion Strategy aims to improve the quality of life of disabled Islanders and their carers though changing attitudes.  Its general objective is to sustainably transform society so that disabled people and carers can be active and engaged socially, economically and culturally”.

“The main proposals in the Strategy are:

1. to improve the information that the States provides to disabled people, to carers, to businesses and to the general public;

2. to start the process of developing legislation to prevent discrimination against disabled people and their carers;

3. to extend the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Guernsey; and

4. to make the States of Guernsey a more disability-friendly employer and provider of services."



We All Matter Eh?

A group of islanders, and their families, have shared their stories of living with disability in the island of Guernsey. During the last year, they’ve been recording themselves on video and a new video will be posted up on the We All Matter Eh? website every day between now and the end of November.

 To quote:

"We are doing this because we thought that if you understood some of the barriers that we face in our day to day lives, you might be inspired to help us make something very important happen in Guernsey.  

On Wednesday November 27th 2013 the States (our government) will vote on whether to introduce the first ‘Disability and Inclusion Strategy’ for the island.  This will include starting work on a law to protect disabled people and carers from discrimination. 

Let’s send out a big message to our Deputies as they go into the States Chamber for the debate that everyone in Guernsey matters.  Please join us on the steps of the Royal Court at 9am on Wednesday November 27th 2013 for 30 minutes of history."


What’s the situation now?
We don’t feel included

Imagine living in a society that isn’t made with you in mind.  A society that is full of barriers.  A society where it is hard just to get to and from the bus stop.  Where it is a battle to get information about the basic support you need.  Where employers are reluctant to hire you. Where people assume you are much less capable than you are.

For many disabled people like us, that society is Guernsey.  Today.  In the 21st Century.


Guernsey has no discrimination law

People may not mean to discriminate against us, but they do.  And in Guernsey discrimination against disabled people is NOT against the law.  95% of the world’s population lives in countries that have signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Guernsey hasn’t.

That’s why we are asking Guernsey’s Deputies (our equivalent of MPs) to vote for the island’s first Disability and Inclusion Strategy at their meeting on Wednesday November 27th 2013.

What needs to change?

Bring down the barriers

Whilst our impairments or disabilities are all different, one thing we all have in common is that we face barriers just trying to get on with daily tasks other people take for granted.

Some barriers are obvious – like a building that has lots of steps.  But the way a company recruits its managers and staff can be a barrier too, especially for people with communication and learning difficulties or mental health issues.

Change attitudes

The biggest barrier is attitude.  Most of the time people aren’t deliberately negative or unhelpful.  It’s simply lack of awareness and understanding, combined with a natural reluctance to do things differently.  Disability just isn’t something people think about much or know much about.  

Get everyone involved

We know change won’t happen overnight.  But the first step is for our Deputies to vote for the Disability and Inclusion Strategy on Wednesday 27th November 2013.

And we really need your help to make this happen.  Because we all matter, eh?


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