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Wiltshire marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Published 16 January 2020
Wiltshire marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Wiltshire Council is working with partners to ensure people with disabilities have access to opportunities and the right support to reach their full potential.

Today (3 December) the council joins groups across the globe to mark The International Day of Persons with Disabilities a date celebrated since it was first introduced by the United Nations on 3 December 1992.

The event aims to promote awareness and mobilise support for issues relating to the inclusion of people with disabilities. This year's theme is 'The Future is Accessible', calling on everyone to take responsibility for working towards a future where barriers for people with disabilities no longer exist.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Wiltshire Council Deputy Leader said: "We are doing so much better than before but there is always more we can do and an organisation of our size really can lead the way on this. People with a disability should have access to equity of opportunity so they can reach their full potential and enjoy a full life. Today is an important time to make sure we are doing everything we can. The theme this year is The Future is Accessible we want to do our part to make that a reality for Wiltshire."

The council is working on a range of measures to ensure people with a disability have equitable opportunities.

The council has a Wiltshire Employment Support Team (WEST), which assists people with a disability to find and sustain paid employment.

It also operates Wiltshire Supported Internships, a personalised study programme, giving the opportunity to increase skills for employment with the chance of gaining a job as a result.

Travel Training is another service which supports people to become independent travellers to access their local communities and get to school and college.

As an employer, Wiltshire Council is part of the government "Disability Confident" employer scheme an accreditation which requires a range of measures including ensuring those with a disability who meet the essential criteria are offered an interview when applying for a job.

The council is also spearheading a new approach to ensuring those with a disability have joined-up support from a young age into adulthood. The programme called Whole Life Pathway, aims to co-produce whole life services for a range of needs, building resilience with individuals, families and communities. The scheme is part of the wider Families and Children's Transformation (FACT) Programme.

The council recently adopted a new equality action plan to ensure the overall experience of visitors and staff using our buildings considers a range of conditions, not just accessibility, to ensure equitable access.

Wiltshire Council's Community Team for People with Learning Disabilities is also working closely with commissioners, families, carers and providers to ensure that people with learning disabilities are supported to live independent, fulfilling lives. There is a renewed focus on ensuring that the voices of people with learning disabilities and their families are heard and that services are developed accordingly. In a recent knowledge café event more than 20 people with learning disabilities attended answering questions about what they value most in life and how services should be developed. The knowledge café was a  huge success and another one is planned for 13 January 2020. Wiltshire Council's in-house provision is developing services that meet the needs of people of all ages, working to overcome the barriers that people face and supporting them to make positive changes in their lives.

"Today is an important time to make sure we are doing everything we can. The theme this year is The Future is Accessible we want to do our part to make that a reality for Wiltshire."

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