Thursday, December 24, 2009

British man with MD takes access issues to government

From The Cumberland News in the UK:

A Carlisle man who suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy has presented a petition demanding improved transport, education and leisure services for disabled people across the UK to Downing Street.

Disabled campaigner David Gale (pictured left), 25, took his year-long fight to No 10 on behalf of Trailblazers, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s pressure group of 16 to 30-year-olds.

He also met the Minister for Sport, Gerry Sutcliffe, and Carlisle MP Eric Martlew.

In the past year the Trailblazers have published three hard-hitting reports which revealed:

Wheelchair users regularly pay more to use public transport than their non-disabled peers.

One in 10 disabled students don’t have accommodation, cooking and dining facilities that are integrated into mainstream university life;

Four out of five young disabled people say they cannot pursue a leisure activity spontaneously because access is so often restricted.

David said: “This is the culmination of a year’s hard work investigating the state of the UK’s facilities for disabled people.

“Our investigations show there is a lot to be done to give disabled people the same experiences on transport, in education and at leisure venues as our non-disabled peers.

“I hope this petition and the launch of our Inclusion Now report will be the catalyst for change.”

Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe said: “The young people behind the Trailblazers campaign are doing a fantastic job of highlighting the difference leisure activities like sport can make to people’s lives.

“There should be no barriers to people who want to take part, whether they’re playing or watching - that’s why it’s so important that these inspiring stories are heard. I wish the campaign all the best for the future.”