2017–2018 was another very busy year for Inclusion Scotland. We not only worked to influence policy, notably on Social Security, we also supported disabled people through the Access to Elected Office Fund to become policymakers themselves. Fifteen were elected as councillors.
Through the ‘We Can Work’ internship scheme , not only did the interns acquire new knowledge and experience, so too did their employers. We also took action on employment by making this the theme of this year’s Disabled People’s Summit. This focused on ‘Employerability’ – what employers need to do to make work accessible to disabled people, because it shouldn’t always just be about our ‘employability’.
At local level, our project in Highland has been getting to the heart of what empowerment means to disabled people in their communities. At international level, with Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations in Scotland and across the UK, we called attention to the UK Government’s breaches of our human rights under the UN Convention. We also began to explore the potential implications of Brexit for our rights.
No one denies the scale of the barriers we confront, the damage inflicted by austerity and the failings of social care. But during 2017–2018, disabled people showed that sometimes our actions really can help to bring about positive change towards disabled people’s inclusion, equality and the fulfilment of our human rights.
Dr Sally Witcher, OBE