Successful Launch of New Kirklees Disability Network

Priorities and way forward agreed

We held a successful network launch on 14th June, 2022 in Huddersfield, where we heard from inspirational speakers who live with disabilities. We also heard from the Council about their Inclusive Communities Framework and Co-Production Board, and from colleagues who work in Leeds Disability Network.

Over 50 people were present and agreed a Disability Network and strategy was needed in Kirklees, and started to discuss what some of the priorities for its work might be. Here are the summarised discussions below based on significant feedback at the event and during our extensive consultations:

  • The Network needs to be independent
  • Making the Disability Network meetings an example of best practice in terms of inclusion eg sharing presentations and workshops in advance, taking in to account all access requirements, help for people with visual and other impairments access to refreshments at meetings
  • Provide opportunities for people with disabilities to be consulted about new services or plans through local sounding boards
  • Opportunity for people with disabilities to shape services and plans for buildings and streets
  • Disability Network should be able to influence local plans of Council and Health and provide constructive feedback; one suggestions is to work with the Council to develop a Kirklees Charter to promote inclusive environments and town centres
  • Misuse of pavements – parking of cars, scooters and bikes, tables and chairs preventing ease of movement
  • Lack of toilets
  • Lack of respite services
  • More opportunities to socialise and to access sports and fitness activities including wellbeing activities, gardening and walking groups
  • Better understanding of specific needs of people with disabilities from Black and Ethnic Minority communities, young people, LGBT, older people, women
  • Improve understanding and practice in services, schools, private sector and shops of issues facing people with disabilities
  • More help using computers and the internet

Next Steps

Over the summer, at the end of July/August, we would like to hold a smaller meeting for people who are interested in being part of a planning group to take forward the Network. They would help to shape work plans or contribute useful ideas. The meeting could look at:

  • how the network will work
  • the resources that are needed
  • potential funding
  • some initial actions/work to be undertaken
  • future network meetings

Finally, one of the contributors at the launch, Marina Poppa from Callaloo Carnival Arts shared the link below to a video by Richard Boggie, who’s poem makes some very important points about the lived experience of disability.

If you would like to be part of this new network, please email Mithu Komarnyckyj


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