Voting for the Scottish Charity Awards has been open for almost a week and we have been overwhelmed with positive messages of support from those who used the fund. We really appreciate all the likes, shares and comments on social media.
A group of our members went along at the Scottish Parliament for the Fairer Scotland for Disabled People debate on Tuesday. This included some fund applicants, two of whom we supported to being elected for Edinburgh City Council, Ashley Graczyk (Conservative, Sighthill/Gorgie) and Susan Rae (Green, Leith Walk). We also had Colette Walker along, who has been a fantastic participant in our Access to Politics work, you can read about her experiences by clicking here. Ryan McMullan came along, he was one of our previous Parliamentary Interns with Jenny Marra MSP of Scottish Labour, and he contributed to the Access to Elected Office research project we did last year.
One of our access fund recipients, newly elected councillor Jenny Adam-McGregor even got a special mention in the debate from her brother George Adam, MSP for .
“As the minister said, the [Access to Elected Office] fund which is administered by Inclusion Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government enabled 39 disabled candidates to take part in the local elections, and 15 of them were successful, spread over 12 different councils. I should declare an interest, as my wee sister Jennifer—or, as she likes to be called now, Councillor Adam-McGregor—was one of the successful candidates, joining the ranks of SNP councillors throughout Renfrewshire. Her success is down to her own hard work and her ability, but let us not forget the support of Inclusion Scotland, which was there for her all the way.”
As well as discussing the Fund, the debate covered motability cars, accessible housing, access to employment and more. The Bill put forward by Jeane Freeman MSP was passed with an amendment from the Scottish Labour Party. You can read the full debate by clicking here
After the debate, Josh Robertson who stood for the SNP in North Lanarkshire said:
“The need to fight for survival is profound and real in many of our lives. As disabled people we can be met with suspicion and ridicule when we ask for help. However, the new movement we have started with the Access to Elected Office Fund will ensure that we have our say in public policy and help our fellow citizens achieve their right to thrive”
Heather Pugh, who stood for Labour in Edinburgh had some feedback for Ethan and Naomi.:
“Naomi Waite is one of the most genuinely nice people I’ve ever met. Her patience has no end and her capacity for helping people to be all they can is amazing. Ethan is a fantastic ambassador for Inclusion Scotland and long may he be so. He has the ability to let you feel comfortable enough to open up and discuss your needs like no one I’ve met anywhere else.”
Its clear to see the impact of the Fund and our wider work in removing barriers for disabled people in politics.
You can vote for Inclusion Scotland to win the People’s Choice Award in the Scottish Charity Awards by clicking the following link. https://goodhq.org/scottish_charity_awards_2017/inclusionscotland
You can also choose to share your experience of working with us while you vote by clicking “vote and share experience”. Voting closes on 5pm on the 26th of May.