SIA in Whitehall and Westminster – new season, new beginnings
The first of regular blogs from our campaigns team.
The end of summer this year brought personnel changes to the campaigns team. Dave, who has moved into SIA’s people team – and to whom we’re grateful for all the support through the transition – is a hard act to follow, but we hope to make him and the rest of our team who have made us feel very welcome, proud. Neither Glyn nor I felt like we were new members of staff for more than a couple of days. In a good way, of course. We were quickly embraced into the fold and equally quickly, we got down to the real work.
As the weather was trying to decide whether to remain warm or turn cooler, our activities in and around Westminster began to warm up. We had a telephone call with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (UN) and discussed the possibility of SIA becoming an accredited non-governmental organisation with the United Nations. Subsequently we have been invited to apply for accreditation. This will enable us to participate in the UN sessions of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
We responded to the Government’s Disability Action Plan consultation and reached out to the Cabinet Office’s Disability Unit with whom we collaborated to hold a public meeting to discuss it. We are grateful to our service team colleagues, Carol and Gary, for their help in organising the meeting with the lovely volunteers.
We were also asked to help facilitate people with spinal cord injuries to be able to receive their Covid booster as priority patients; subsequently we put together a letter based on the recommendations by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and it is now on our website, where members can access and print it, to show GPs and healthcare professionals.
SIA was invited to a roundtable with the shadow minister for care, Andrew Gwynne MP and we had a good discussion about the carers sector, the difficulties people with spinal cord injuries have in accessing specially trained carers, especially with regards to bowel and bladder care.
In the same week, as part of our wider networking with the care and support alliance, we met with Helen Whately MP, who is the current minister for care. We discussed similar issues as well as asked about any plans the government has, to incentivise the care sector as a rewarding career path, to provide structured and specialised training provision.
As you can probably tell, it has been a busy month for the campaigns team. We have a few other meetings with the government and other politicians already pencilled in, as well as our All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting in the coming weeks, so watch this space.
In the meantime, if we can help you with anything, do let us know by emailing [email protected]
Dharshana and Glyn