5 March 2012

We'll Work If You Just Enabled Us Instead of Terrifying Us With Welfare Reforms!

I've been meaning to write a post about my involvement in Benefits Camp 2012 for ages but have only just got around to it. If you've posted about the event and I haven't mentioned you please let me know and I'll update.

 "Benefits Camp 2012" was an event organised by futuregov  which took place on the 3rd February 2012,  basically people from all walks of life were invited to come and give suggestions about how the benefits system could be improved to better enable us to work, and how the lives of those on benefits could be improved generally. I was in group 7 which discussed "Jobs Flexible working and enterprise", I took part online through skype along with Lisa Ellwood (AKA creativecrip ),Claire Jones (AKA OTClaire ), Lisa Egan, Joseph Smith (@joesmithdesign on twitter) and Janet Davis Our group was led by Lucy Watt (@lucy_watt on twitter). Lucy has written a great blog post about the event with a video, if you'd like to see it click her name it's linked, the other team members names are also links to posts they have made about the event or more info about them where available. It was a really interesting experience and made me feel I was really making a difference however small and I thank those who organised it for this, I made new friends that day and we are continuing to develop the project we started. Click here for the site that detailed what all the groups at the event discussed if you would like more information.

Our group had to make our suggestions then make a presentation to all the other groups, and in 1 hour we created this website to illustrate what we had done: Work-Life Balance - Making it simple.

The site alone shows what disabled people can achieve when enabled to work together in a way that suits their individual needs. My social anxiety and anxiety based depression meant that making a trip to London just for this event wouldn't have been worth the stress and extra medication. But by being allowed to take part online through skype which is much less stressful for me, I was able to contribute just as well as someone who was sat in the room. Others who took part through skype had physical disabilities which would have made it difficult for them to attend in person too, but we all took part and worked together to achieve quite a lot in one hour. Imagine what we could produce if we were enabled to have paid jobs like this as the norm, if all employers would consider taking on someone in an office style job who perhaps couldn't come in everyday due to disability but could attend every meeting online? The technology exists to do this and has done for years, it's cheap and simple to use.

The government are changing the welfare system too quickly and not giving society enough time adapt to disabled peoples needs and enable us to work alongside everyone else. The problem is not with disabled people, it's with our outdated workplaces that are failing to utilize modern technology and fully enable every member of society. Many of us would benefit from becoming self employed and working on a freelance basis from home, we need better and more systems in place to enable us to do this. Disabled people are some of the smartest most innovative people in society as we have had to adapt to accommodate our illness’s. If the government and society as a whole does not do more to help us achieve this it’s their and the British economy’s loss.

There are already many disabled people who work and are enabled to do so through DLA, but that is going now to be replaced with PIP and thousands won't qualify. How many will have to give up work as a result? The Government is even moving backwards now.

Expecting thousands of disabled people to just suddenly go out and magically find jobs in a society that is not yet well enough adapted to enable us all to work as easily as everyone else is inhumanly cruel and will result in poverty and distress for many of us. We want to be productive members of society and work, enable us to do so and we will!  People have already taken there own lives over the welfare reform bill, how many more have to before the government finally makes this stop?

1 comment:

Anji said...

reading your post about your participation using skype made me think. My son works for a telephone company who employ people who work from home. They often need new recruits. Would you like me to send you details. I know the job might not suit everyone. Just let me know if you want more details