Disability History Month (16 November to 16 December) explores the history of disabled people’s struggle for equality and human rights.
This year’s theme is Disability, Health and Wellbeing. During the Covid-19 pandemic, health inequalities for disabled people were starkly exposed. They were more affected in terms of loss of life, and many barriers to services that already existed got worse.
Sheffield City Council has been working with Disability Sheffield to promote resources and initiatives to improve health and quality of life for disabled people.
These include online Energy Saving Workshops for those with learning disabilities held by Speakup Self Advocacy, and the We Speak You Listen event held by Sheffield Voices. At this event they asked what services people need to stay well and live their best lives in the community.
My whole self
We want everyone to be able to bring their full selves to work. To be able to talk about their family lives, the conditions that affect how they think, feel and experience the world. We want them to talk about the disabilities and health conditions experienced by them and their loved ones. And we want to provide a supportive environment where people can talk about their disabilities and impairments, especially the hidden ones, without fear of stigma.
We know that many employees will experience mental health problems during their careers. COVID means more of us will have experienced mental ill health and exacerbated problems we already face. Now we can step back and think about how we can create a Council which supports people to achieve their full potential.
Mental Health First Aid England has produced excellent resources to help us create an environment where we can bring our full selves to work (as well as resources to support healthy minds while working at home).
Out and about enjoying our city
We aim for Sheffield to be a truly inclusive city and we know that disabled people want to explore the delights of the steel city as much as anyone. To do this easily and worry free, access information is crucial and we have an ongoing contract with AccessAble to provide this. Use their website to look for accessibility guides and routes in Sheffield.
One of the best ways we can improve our health and wellbeing is to get outside and this should not be harder for those of us with physical disabilities. We encourage all our employees where possible to use active travel to get to work, and if you are interested in cycling but feel it’s not for you, check out Sheffield Cycling 4 All.
Accessible public transport is essential to allow disabled people to travel around easily. We know our public transport system needs improving and we have a forum which meets regularly to advise on how to improve access to transport services for disabled people and move towards equal access. Transport 4 All is a city-wide pan-disability group of disabled transport users that meets quarterly with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and public transport operators in the city.
Sheffield’s Disability History
For those of you interested in the history side of Disability History, Sheffield has a proud history of achievement, innovation and creativity by disabled people. You can find out more in this video we made for UK Disability History Month 2019.