Newham Coalition Launch

December 20, 2010

Newham Coalition was kind enough to send us an invite to celebrate with them in their launch. And it was celebratory and joyful with good speeches from the likes of Peter Beresford (his own article is at Community Care), singing by John Kelly and Rockin Paddy, comedy from Laurence Clark and music from Africa.

Dancers enjoying the music

Dancers enjoying the music

Speakers mentioned the social model, personal assistance, independent living, and user led organisations such as the Newham Coalition and their achievements thus far. I told them about DPAC and the protests we were having on the 15th in Central London and Simone Aspis told about a young people’s project and what they did, Sterre Brouwers as the young person involved in the project. Michelle Daley and Brian Stocker of Newham People First chaired the meeting and moved it along.

I found it very heart warming to have this celebration in the midst of the gloom of the announced cuts of disability benefits and services. It is to protect the achievements and services of such disabled people organisations and individuals as those in Newham Coalition that we should protest and fight to maintain.

Newham is one of the poorer boroughs in London, I couldn’t get a taxi after the event – luckily Michelle gave me a lift. The next day I learnt from a taxi driver (black cabs which are accessible) that they do not bother to cover taxi services after a certain hour because they depend on taxi card users and disabled people do not go out at night! And he claimed that disabled people in that part of London only go out to Bingo. What would happen when taxi card scheme get curtailed and taxi cards depends on verification from DLA which is being phased out. How are disabled people going to travel to access services, for social activities etc then? or even to the odd bingo night!

(More photos from DPAC flickr)

– Eleanor Lisney

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