Residents celebrate International Day for Disabled People in Islington

L-R front row: Islington Council's executive member for health and wellbeing Cllr Janet Burgess, Cha

L-R front row: Islington Council's executive member for health and wellbeing Cllr Janet Burgess, Chair of the IPBN Sandy Marks, Mayor of Islington Cllr Teresa Debono and leader of Islington Council Cllr Richard Watts with Dandelion Dance Group and the Pearly King and Prince of Finsbury outside Islington Town Hall. - Credit: Archant

Performances and celebrations entertained hundreds of the borough’s disabled residents at Islington Assembly Hall on Wednesday.

The packed event to mark International Day for Disabled People gave some of the most vulnerable people in Islington and their carers the opportunity to find out more about which services are available to them from the council and local support organisations, as well as giving them a change to show of their talents.

Members of the charity Music for People and dance group Freedom and Dandelion, which are made up of local disabled people, performed as part of the event.

There were also speaches covering topics including direct payments and personal budgets and guests were invited to take advantage of free health checks, hand and head massages, and a buffet lunch at the afternoon event hosted by Islington Personal Budgets Network and the Council.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “This annual celebration is a great opportunity to champion disabled people’s rights in the borough and it was fantastic to see such a great turn out.

“It’s vital that we continue to support our most vulnerable residents and fight against the unfair benefit cuts introduced by the Government, which threaten disabled people’s ability to exercise choice and independence in their lives.

“One of the things made clear in Islington’s Employment Commission is that the vast majority of our disabled residents want to work. That’s why we’re doing more to help them access local jobs and training.“

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Islington residents can access information, advice and services relevant to their care and support needs via the council’s Links for Living website

Users can use the directory to browse a huge range of local organisations and services including debt advice, housing, transport, carers, day centres and things to do.

Sandy Marks, Chair of the Islington Personal Budgets Network, said: “This year’s event was bigger than ever with over 250 people attending and loads of great entertainment, information and pizza! But this is more than just a celebration.

“There has never been a more vital time for disabled people, carers and people who care about fairness and social inclusion to get together, network and join forces to fight the relentless attacks on disabled people’s rights and livelihoods. We want Islington to be a beacon of hope for disabled people and to nurture the fight back against mean-spirited policies and cuts from central government.”