This week I attended a parliamentary event to pledge his support for the ‘Any Disability’ sign campaign.
This newly launched symbol has been designed to be easily recognisable and represents a range of both visible and invisible disabilities. It has been designed by Lucy Richards, in partnership with the Scottish charity the Life Changes Trust.
One of the catalysts for the creation of this sign was the horrendous abuse a young person received whilst queuing for a disabled toilet. Grace Warnock, who has Crohn’s disease was abused because her condition, like many others, is not visible.
This is sadly a common occurrence. Recently, Chron’s & Colitis UK have discovered that more than 9 in 10 people would challenge someone they perceived to have no clearly defined disability for using an accessible toilet. Moreover, Fish Insurance found that 39% of people said someone who displayed a valid Blue Badge but did not appear to have difficulty walking should not be entitled to park in a disabled parking bay. They also noted that a further 18% thought even Blue Badge holders who displayed some difficulty walking, such as those with a limp or prosthetic limb, should not be allowed to use disabled parking facilities.
We need to be doing so much more for those with disabilities. All too often we hear of stories where someone with a hidden disability is refused access to services that they need. That is why I fully support the ‘Any Disability’ sign campaign.
It is time that we educated everyone in our society that disabilities can be invisible as well as visible. That is why the new design for the proposed sign would be an excellent addition to our highways and other publicly accessible points. Changing the signage means that people will be more aware that disability doesn’t just mean being in a wheelchair – as all current signage indicates.
I very much look forward to continuing to support this campaign and urge people to adopt the signage so that we can break down barriers for those with disabilities.