Newtownabbey family back call for pandemic’s impact on disabled people to be investigated

A Newtownabbey family are backing calls for the British Government to ensure disabled people are at the heart of next year’s Covid inquiry.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:46 pm

Disability charity, Sense, has published new research today (Wednesday), highlighting the impact of the pandemic on disabled people.

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of disabled people want the Inquiry into the UK’s handling of Covid to investigate their experience, and fear if it doesn’t, the same mistakes will happen again.

That’s according to new research by the national disability charity, Sense, which has launched a new petition calling on the Government to put disabled people at the heart of next year’s inquiry.

Wendy and Allan Newbronner with their children Rhys, Dean and Carter.

Published today, the findings of a survey of over 2,000 disabled people and family carers, reveals that nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of disabled people believe their needs have been ignored, and have not received enough support during the crisis.

Wendy Newbronner (47) lives in Newtownabbey with her husband and three sons, Rhys(19), Dean (16) and Carter (10). All three sons are deaf and have complex disabilities, supported by Sense.

When the pandemic took hold, the family received advice to shield. The whole family did their best to keep each other’s spirits up, but keeping up with routines and schooling was exceptionally challenging.

Wendy says she is calling on the inquiry to recognise the impact on disabled people.

She explained: “The first lockdown was particularly challenging with the closure of school. Autistic children depend so much on routine, so having that removed made things very difficult.

“It was particularly difficult for us because our children have classroom assistance in school, and we didn’t have that at home.

“I have to speak up because otherwise children and young people with disabilities don’t have a voice. Their family members who speak out for them are not being heard either. Because of this, I am supporting the call for disabled people to be at the heart of the inquiry.”

Richard Kramer, Sense Chief Executive, added: “The experience of disabled people must be at the heart of this inquiry.

“We have to investigate the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on disabled people and the decisions and policies that have led to this outcome.

“Never again should disabled people have to experience the lack of information, support and consideration that they have during this crisis.

“We must learn from the mistakes that have been made and ensure disabled people are no longer and will never again be treated like second class citizens.”

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Click here to read Charity is ‘lifeline’ for Newtownabbey family

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