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Disabled woman who wanted to join Ladies Group asked 'are there no disabled groups you can join?'

Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
A woman who lost her leg to septicaemia and wanted to join a ladies' lunch club was asked: 'Are there no disabled groups you can join?' according to the Mail.

You can read the whole article here.

She responded to an advert offering 'meeting for coffee, walking, cinema, meals, and generally having fun with new friends' and claims she got the following response:

'I think you wrote to me last year about joining the group.If you are the same lady, you said you were 61 and used a wheelchair as you were disabled.

At the time I wrote back to say that this group of ladies are extremely active and I would hate anyone to feel left out of any activities that we get up to.Also as well as doing lots of active things they talk a lot about what more can they do as they want to keep as fit as possible to halt the aging process.

To be honest I would sit and worry about you a lot because how could you get involved and would it not make you feel really bad that you could not participate?

Are there no disabled groups at all in the area?' 

Scope's Richard Lane said:
'Unfortunately, we hear from disabled people who have been turned away from clubs and activities in their area, just because they're disabled.Unwelcoming attitudes can lead to disabled people feeling isolated and excluded from community life.

To help improve attitudes we need to increase familiarity with disability and disabled people.'


What do you think? Have you ever faced a similar experience? 



Scope
Senior online community officer

Replies

  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,188Community champion Pioneering

    There are two issues I have with this article.

    1st, typical of the Daily Mail it uses its headlines to manipulate its readers to its own view point. Reading the comments sections to its stories often leaves me wondering if many of its readers get any further than the headlines. If it had just been a lunch club, as the headline suggested I might feel differently.

    2nd I believe Richard Lane was spot on that the issue is we need to increase familiarity with disability and disabled people.

    From what I read I don't believe there was an intention to discriminate, there was a genuine concern as to how much the lady would get from being part of the group and the potential for the person to become isolated within the small group due to the nature of their conversations - activities to help keep fit - and some of the activities they do.

    These are the type of conversations I have had, usually away from the person affected, to see what can be done to reduce such isolation, or sensitively with the person to see what can be offered and there is a realistic expectation from both sides.

    An example of the first concerned a family with an autistic daughter with sensory issues who never attended open days. It was decided to ask those providing services to be set up an hour early so the family can attend before the main event when not many people were around. I then extended a personal invite to attend prior to the main starting time. When the family did not turn up I put together a 'goodie bag' of things which the child could have got had they attended. Popcorn, candy floss, some small prizes and a drink and took them round to the family. In eight years it was the first time anyone in the community had thought about them.

    I think it is a shame that neither suggested a meet up to discuss the concerns, Or that the lady was not invited to join in and see how things go, but to let her know what the concerns were. Let her decide if it was right for her or not.

    In this particular case I do believe the question regarding disability groups within the area was out of genuine concern and a belief that such a group would be more inclusive.

    Reading the comments after the story I certainly do not think trying to embarrass people like this works to either improve familiarity with disability or disabled people.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

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