Disability forum celebrates first anniversary

BLISS=Ability celebrating one year of being an independent group. 'Manager Bill Harrington (L)
BLISS=Ability celebrating one year of being an independent group. 'Manager Bill Harrington (L)

A FORUM helping to give people with disabilities more of a voice is celebrating its first year in business.

IDEA (Independent Disability Equality Access) aims to bring people with physical and learning disabilities together to talk about issues affecting their quality of life.

It was launched by South Tyneside Homes to find out more about the needs of those requiring more support and help with everyday living.

Last year, it was taken over by Bliss=Ability, based in New Green Street, Laygate, South Shields, and it is now run as an independent group.

The forum is also open to carers and those working with people with disabilities.

Meeting facilitator Bill Harrington said: “The forum was started by South Tyneside Homes. About a year ago, they were going to close the forum, but we wanted to keep it going, so we relaunched it as an independent group.

“It provides a place where people can come and air their views on issues affecting their quality of life, a place where they can get advice on help and support available and take part in consultations, and it also acts as a social event.”

The forum has already taken part in consultations about access to the new library planned for South Shields, and earlier this month it held a discussion about parking at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The forum holds meetings on the last Wednesday of every other month, and Mr Harrington says people are welcome to raise issues they would like to see looked at.

The next forum meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 25, at 10am until noon at Bliss=Ability’s premises.