South Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine is backing Disability Agenda Scotland’s (DAS) call to raise awareness about the positive contributions of disabled people and help to end the stigma and discrimination which they still experience.
Ms McAlpine, who is deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group (CPG) on Learning Disability, met with representatives from DAS during an event in the Scottish Parliament.
DAS is an alliance of Scotland’s six major disability charities Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Capability Scotland, ENABLE Scotland, RNIB Scotland, SAMH and Sense Scotland.
Following the publication of DAS’s Equal? Still not, why not? report this week which details the experiences of more than 80 people who live with a variety of disabilities, the alliance is calling for action to ensure greater support and opportunities for disabled people. DAS wants to see a concerted effort to reduce the disability employment gap by improving the ways employment services work, as well as effective coordination to ensure the new social security systems are underpinned by a commitment to human rights, dignity and respect.
Ms McAlpine said:
“I’m pleased to support DAS’s call for the many positive contributions of disabled people in our communities to be highlighted as well as negative perceptions of disability to be challenged and stigma ended.
“I want all barriers still being experienced by disabled people in Dumfries and Galloway to be removed so they can have equal access to services such as public transport or getting the individual support needed to take up training, employment and other opportunities in their everyday lives.
“I have been a long-term supporter of the Usual Place in Dumfries which provides an excellent example of how specially designed training facilities can open up new opportunities for people of all abilities.”
Delia Henry, Chair of DAS, said:
“We’re delighted Joan McAlpine MSP recognises more needs to be done to support disabled people to fulfil their personal career and life aspirations, experience a more dignified and empowering system of social security, reduce isolation and end the stigma of disability so that they begin to feel like equal members of society.”