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Empowerment in Action!

November 28th, 2017

400+ GDA members meet Council Leaders, ahead of International Day of Disabled People

GDA's 16th Annual Learning Festival kicks off today, ahead of International Day of Disabled People, with over 400 GDA members gathering to meet Council Leader Susan Aitken, and Depute Leader David McDonald, and share their priorities for equality in Glasgow.

The conference will open with the premier of GDA's new short film 'Empowerment in Action', coinciding with the launch of our latest Annual Impact report.

Empowerment in Action!

Access - support - belonging - having your voice heard GDA members share their thoughts: what does Community empowerment mean to you?


Through Q&As and Roundtable discussions, GDA members will then share their experiences of barriers and inequality in Glasgow, and revisit our 5 Manifesto asks with Council leaders, discussing ideas and actions to tackle the exclusion and inequality disabled Glasweigians face, and create a Fairer, more Accessible Glasgow.

Councillor Susan Aitken confirmed last week that ‘Inclusive Growth’ will be Glasgow’s overarching priority, and today GDA members will underline how disabled people’s inclusion will be crucial to the city’s success. 

GDA members have no shortage of ideas for solutions to the barriers faced, but essential to them all is greater inclusion of disabled people in all areas of life in Glasgow: including City Deal planning, tackling poverty, and reviewing Social Care funding, to make Glasgow's growth truly inclusive.

“Disabled people make up nearly a quarter of Glasgow’s population,” says GDA founding member Susan McGinlay. “And we live at the sharp end of some of the most pressing issues facing Scotland today: poverty, social isolation, and a huge crisis in social care funding – these are just 3 of today’s key issues in which disabled people are experts, because we live the impacts day to day. We know what works and what needs to change – they’ll save thousands of pounds if they listen to us!” 

Taking office earlier this year, Cllr Susan Aitken called for a “Revolution in community empowerment” and committed to “helping communities grow capacity and resilience to make confident decisions” with more say over council spending. 

GDA’s Chief Executive Tressa Burke said “We warmly welcome this chance to demonstrate what disabled people can achieve as an empowered community of interest, when support and investment is there to build confidence and capacity. We look forward to working ever more closely with Glasgow’s new administration, and the Council as a whole, sharing our expertise and collaborating to dismantle the many barriers that hold disabled people back from full and equal participation in Glasgow.”

Run by and for disabled people, GDA arranges taxis, Personal Assistants, and accessible information and equipment, to bring disabled people together through programmes of learning and capacity building, including today’s Annual Conference and Learning Festival - the biggest yearly gathering of disabled people in Scotland, if not the UK. The continuous aim is empowering disabled people to come together, support one another, have their voices heard and collectively influence those who have the power to change things. As one member, Ryan, describes: “That is empowerment in action! We need access and support, to remove the barriers, so we can participate. Otherwise we are stuck in the house, staring at four walls, with no voice and no hope.”

The conference will be followed, as it is every year, by a celebration of the skills and learning shared by GDA members throughout the year, as 400 members attend a variety of learning workshops throughout the afternoon, from chair-based exercise, to music making and meet the animals! 

Follow the action over on Twitter @gda_ _online #empowermentinaction #IDDP #CoProWeekScot #GDAFest17

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