Closure of York Independent Living Network, December 2019.

After much consideration we have decided to close York Independent Living Network.  This will happen at the end December 2019.  We make this decision mainly because of our lack of capacity in being able to sustain and organise a network of disabled people in York.  This is not because we think a network of disabled people and their allies is no longer necessary or relevant.  Rather we believe that there should be greater involvement of disabled people in all aspects of social and community life, and that this is vital to achieving a truly inclusive society. However, we at this time are not able to commit to the effective facilitation of such a network, so therefore have decided to take a change in direction.

We have however made arrangements for some of our remaining resources to be used to set up a human rights forum of disabled people and their allies.  We believe that we need to bring together a wide and diverse group of disabled people, draw on human rights thinking and take action to achieve greater inclusion.  This forum will be coordinated by the York Human Rights City Network during 2020 and we hope it will spark the further and ongoing organisation and action of, by and for disabled people. Further details will be announced later this year, at our York Disability Pride event on 7th Dec 2019.

We would like to thank all those that supported us over the years. Especially, the late Lynn Jeffries, Chris Edmundson and Keith Chapman. Marije Davidson for continued support and focused thinking, and our colleagues at Lives Unlimted, York People First, Healthwatch and many others.

Thanks again – Stephen Lee Hodgkins and Abi Bubb (Trustees).

Chris Edmundson (died 13/05/19) Advocate and Activist of Disabled Peoples Rights.

00028.00_10_01_13.Still001

It is with great sadness that we hear that our dear colleague and fellow Chris Edmundson died recently following a traffic accident. We worked alongside Chris as colleagues, he was the treasurer of YILN, but also as friends and shared with him a vision for society where disabled people were celebrated, enabled and included.

Chris joined YILN as treasurer over eight years ago following him completing his degree.  Chris was a fabulous support to us all, both practically and empathically.  Always willing to pick you up in his van as well as taking a keen interest in what was going on for you in your life, and offering balanced and constructive reflections. He was funny with a great sense of humour and a lovely smile, interested in politics and forever planning ways to make things more accessible and fair.

Chris was involved in a range of community activities and civic forums, such as the Equality Advisory Group.  He also was involved in work to improve support around direct payments, supporting individuals as well as helping to shape local policy. And Chris was very suited to this as he had an excellent understanding of the impact of both attitudes and environment on the life chances, opportunities and potential of disabled people.  His lived experience as a disabled person and his take on how change could be brought about made him an excellent advocate and activist.

As we fondly remember our friend and colleague we are reminded that, while some progress has been made around the profile and inclusion of disabled people in York, there is still much to do as Chris was always reminding us.  We hope that in remembering we can further some of the change needed that Chris was so very focused on.

The funeral service will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Acaster Malbis, York, on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019, at 11:30am, followed by a private cremation. Family flowers only please but if so desired donations in lieu of flowers for Martin House Children’s Hospice and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Further details here – https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/announcements/deaths/deaths/17661403.CHRISTOPHER_CHARLES_EDMONDSON/

Our thoughts and love to Chris’ family and friends.

The Very Lovely Keith Chapman

keith

‘I have been driven, not by any particular faith, religion, ambition or rewards but have endeavoured to put in some support somewhere it is needed and to be part of an organisation in my own city working with others with the same goal in life’. Keith Chapman 2014.

We were very sad to hear that our dear colleague and fellow trustee Keith Chapman had passed away on 16th January aged 70.  Keith was an active community champion with great voice for speaking up and highlighting issues.  As a trustee of YILN he brought great passion and practicality for both social justice and everyday accessibility for disabled people in York.   He was also someone that would help light up the room with a great deal of energy and a laugh.

Just before Christmas I visited Keith at his home to interview about his memories of Lynn Jeffries, who helped set up YILN.  Keith shared loads of his great memories about Lynn and said that she was someone that always spoke up, always had an eye out for where things could be made better and that  that made her a champion in his mind.

Just after Christmas Keith phoned me to say he’d approached who was struggling to use an an indoor walking frame outdoors in the street, asked them about it, told them about a possibly more suitable one and then offered to get onto their GP and others to see it sorted.  Like Lynn, Keith always had an eye out for things, and something to say about how they could be made better.  His everyday activism is something we will miss for sure.

It was a great pleasure to work with Keith, he was a real community champion and we will remember him as such.  Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.  His funeral will be on FRIDAY 23rd FEBRUARY 2018 at York Crematorium at 1.40pm.

 

Remembering Lynn Jeffries – Disability Rights Campaigner, York, UK, (1956 – 2014).

Made as part of York Disability Pride 2017 celebrations, this short film remembers Lynn Jeffries who played a key role in setting up York Independent Living Network (www.yiln.org.uk). Lynn Jeffries was a disability rights campaigner in York. She made a significant contribution to equality and inclusion work in the city. Lynn passed away aged 58 in August 2014. This film includes some memories from people who knew and worked with her.

Lynn was a champion of disability and human rights in York and many people have remarked about her power and tenacity to speak up about both individual and collective experience as a disabled person.  She was also a good enabler of others to express their voices. A key message from the people I interviewed for this film was about the importance of, when you note something not right, to say something about it. Speaking up can be a hard thing for all of us to do, but there is great value in doing so.  Getting the tone right is however another matter.

While aspects of accessibility appear to have improved for some disabled people, there are many things that still need to be changed.  And as Lynn knew getting disabled people to speak up about their everyday lived experiences of the barriers that prevent independent living can be transformational.  The more people that speak up about being left behind the more likely we are to achieve a truly inclusive and accessible future.

So in remembering Lynn Jeffries, we are reminded that in 2018 we must strive to speak up more because as she taught us, sharing our lived experience as disabled people can literally change the world.

Thanks to Ali Cowen, Marije Davidson, Keith Chapman, Rita Sanderson, Sian Balsom, Chris Edmundson and Diane Roworth for taking part.

Music by the Karen Sheader band ’08 Bar Room Bolloxs’. See here https://soundcloud.com/user3356865/08-bar-room-bollocks

Direct Payments in York; Current Issues and Future Direction.

Summary:

This post presents our position on the current issues and future direction for direct payment support in York.  It outlines the background, purpose of this work and our current position. It also includes six themes relating to current issues and concludes with seven recommendations that we believe will improve direct payment support in York and the quality of life of disabled people and their families. Continue reading

What is Disability Pride?

Made as part of York Disability Pride 2017 celebrations, this short clip explains what ‘disability pride’ means for us. Big thanks for the wonderful and powerful voice of Imogen who tweets as @shewritesall and blogs at UpsideDownChronicles.com for helping make this happen.  Continue reading

York Disability Pride; Fri 1st, Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd Dec.

I want to fly free

Join us over the weekend of 1st, 2nd and 3rd December 2017 to celebrate disability pride in York, with comedy, theatre, dance, music, spoken word and art. With Creative movement and dance perform ‘Take Flight’ at York Disability Pride Cabaret on Fri 1st Dec along with , , , , .

Read more here.