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Being a journalist does not protect you
In years gone by…

After writing about his crippling disease Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and thanking readers for their messages of support, here our Editor Phil Parry continues his campaign for more facilities for the disabled.

In my continuing, if sporadic, campaign for more aid for the disabled, I salute the Editor of The Ross Gazette, Jo Scrivin.

In a full editorial, she has described in emotional terms the appalling difficulties facing disabled people today.

Jo Scrivin – life for the disabled ‘eye opener’

She tells how the last few weeks have been “a real eye opener” as her mother started to use a wheelchair to get around.

Jo herself used a wheelchair for some months several years ago, and thought things had moved on.

She writes:  “I can remember the frustration of not being able to get close enough to view things, or having to apologise as people walked into me…”

These are a real problem for disabled people

Jo continues:  “I naively assumed that in these advanced technological times, life would be easier for people with disabilities. 

“I have found that this is really not the case.

“Disabled toilets with doors (her mother) cannot open are among some of the issues she has faced, but ofcourse the biggest problem is simply getting from one place to another if there is a slope or high kerbs.

“Surely if we can send people to the moon we could find easier ways for people who have limited mobility, and are often in pain, as my mother is, to get into and out of a vehicle more easily.

Come on inventors!

“It is … a shame that some of the brilliant inventors, such as the Richard Dysons of the world, do not come up with real, practical aids that could transform life for the disabled.”

Hear, hear!

I would like to add an issue of my own which can easily be sorted out.

Using a stick is no match for an uneven pavement

Disabled people like me using a stick, trip on uneven paving slabs and bumpy tarmac repairs to pavements, which do not seem to exist in the same quantities on the continent.

Sometimes I have to walk on the smoother road, rather than endure trying to struggle along on uneven pavements.

There must be something wrong if a disabled person is forced to walk in the road instead of on the pavement.

I must confess when I started out as a go-getting cub reporter in my 20s, first on the South Wales Echo then at the BBC, I never expected to be afflicted in this way 30 years later!

I also pay tribute to Allan Jones a steward at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.

Disabled people need help to see gigs at the Motorpoint Arena

As part of his role, he makes sure people attending performances who are physically or mentally disabled have the support needed to reach their seats or vantage point to watch the gigs.

Allan said:  “It’s called ‘live access’, so if you need extra help with a wheelchair for instance you ring a dedicated line in the box office.

Allan Jones – ‘treat disabled people with dignity’

“You are then booked in to be looked after by the live access team.

“Before a concert I get a list of names of people and they access the venue via a ramp which is outside the box office.

It’s all about treating our disabled customers with dignity and respect.”

People like Allan and Jo should be in the New Year honours list.

Tomorrow – Welsh Government figures tell us why the blockage in Brexit negotiations could be “devastating” for the economy of Wales.  

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The Eye
The Eye is edited by Phil Parry. Phil is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year. His programmes have won in the current affairs category of the Royal Television Society and BAFTA Cymru. Phil has presented Panorama programmes, Newsnight films and BBC 2’s Public Eye. For 10 years he was the face of BBC Wales TV current affairs programme Week in, Week Out. He was a reporter on the evening TV news programme ‘Wales Today‘ and has presented numerous daily radio programmes. Phil has also worked on local and UK newspapers. If you have a story you wish us to investigate then get in touch. We treat your disclosures in total confidence and with the journalistic integrity you would expect from our professional team.

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