New programme aims to empower people with disabilities

Council convener David Parker: 'What we need now is for people to consider the strategy carefully and provide their own comments, either by completing an online questionnaire or coming along to one of the events."
Council convener David Parker: 'What we need now is for people to consider the strategy carefully and provide their own comments, either by completing an online questionnaire or coming along to one of the events."

Inclusion in all decision-making processes is just one of the suggestions made in a new document which aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the Scottish Borders.

The Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership, which comprises Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders and various community organisations, has published a draft strategy which outlines the six key ‘ambitions’ of the body, and is now asking residents to give their feedback on the proposals. 

These include enabling people with physical disabilities to participate fully in education and paid work, helping people with physical disabilities to ‘live life to the full’ in their homes and communities, and encouraging people with disabilities to participate as active citizens in the Borders.

The strategy’s key points are accompanied by practical steps to assist in achieving its aims, including asking a disabled person or representative to pass comment in all decision-making processes.

The hope is that this will ‘empower’ people with physical disabilities and further encourage them to participate as citizens in the community.

Steps to tackle discrimination and reduce stigma are also included, by promoting the rights of people with disabilities, and engaging with landlords to ensure the needs of disabled people are met.

Councillor David Parker, chair of the partnership’s strategic planning group, said: “The partnership is deeply committed to not only providing services that support the health and wellbeing of people with a disability in the Borders but also enabling them to participate in and contribute to the communities they live in.

“The strategy sets out a range of proposals that will help us to achieve this, along with our overall aim of doing all we can to improve and develop opportunities for people with a physical disability and their carers.

“It has been developed with input from a wide range of local stakeholders who are to be thanked for their contributions which have made sure that the views of people with a disability and their carers have been represented throughout.”

The consultation will run from Tuesday 3rd April until Monday 2nd July, and feedback forms are available online via the Scottish Borders Council’s website (www.scotsborders.gov.uk) or in local council-run libraries.

A series of information events are also being held where residents can find out more about the proposed strategy and provide feedback:

Monday, April 16: Gytes Leisure Centre, Peebles, 1-4pm

Monday, April 23: Duns Rugby Club, 1-4pm

Monday, April 30: Town Hall, Hawick, 1-4pm

Thursday, May 10: Abbey Row, Kelso, 1.30-4.30pm

Monday, May 14: Eyemouth Community Centre, 1-4pm

Monday, May 21: Focus Centre, Galashiels, 1-4pm

Councillor Parker added: “What we need now is for people to consider the strategy carefully and provide their own comments, either by completing an online questionnaire or coming along to one of the events.

“Their feedback is extremely important so we can make sure we have everyone’s views on the proposals.”