COUNTY Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors are celebrating after their campaign to get Worcestershire County Council to support those with invisible disabilities succeeded.
The motion, unanimously supported by councillors, supports the campaign led by charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK and includes encouraging venues providing accessible public toilets to install new signage.
This is to help stop stigma and discrimination towards people with ‘invisible illnesses’ such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
The signs produced by the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK have two standing figures and a wheelchair user with the words Accessible Toilet and the logo ‘Not every disability is visible’.
The council has agreed to investigate installing a form of this sign. The debate also strongly focused on ensuring that there needed to be better education for all in tackling discrimination of those accessing facilities and the proposals also include working with schools and libraries to promote inclusive attitudes to disabilities to prevent potential embarrassment.
Coun Dan Boatright, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Pershore and proposer of the motion said: “In the UK one in five people have a disability and 80 per cent of these disabilities are invisible.
“There have been instances nationally where such individuals using an accessible toilet have been accused by staff members of being ineligible to use them, including those with temporary impairments, such as having knee surgery or a broken bone. This has caused considerable distress to individuals and unnecessary conflict.”
“While preparing this motion I spoke to a number of residents, family and close friends. I was struck by the stories many had, from veterans being told they ‘didn’t look disabled enough’ to use a facility, to those with cancer and serious injuries being told that they could not have keys to accessible facilities as they were not entitled.
“As someone with an unseen disability it was encouraging to see such support for this proposal and look forward to more inclusive attitude towards the use of these facilities.”