Charities and advocates for the disabled community have shown support for Oxford City Council’s call for government funding to help the inclusive reopening of the city.
It comes after city councillor Marie Tidball wrote to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government requesting the reversal of a decision which stipulates that it would not pay for stewards providing accessibility support.
A report by the Oxford Mail detailed how the call has now been backed by charities and support groups Elmore Community Services, My Life My Choice, Oxfordshire Association for the Blind and Connection Support.
MHCLG has allocated £134,950 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund for the council to introduce safety measures helping people get back to work and shops.
The local news outlet detailed how the council is using this funding to introduce a range of measures that include advisory one-way pavements in the city centre, but alongside that is also employing 12 city centre stewards who will help with advice and support for anyone who needs it, but also give personalised accessibility advice to people with disabilities.
However, the stewards are not eligible for RHSS funding.
Responding to this, councillor Marie Tidball, cabinet member for supporting local communities, said: “As a disabled woman myself, I know that it is essential for the protection of the health of disabled people and their inclusion in our society that measures taken to exit lockdown consider their elevated risk of contracting coronavirus.”
Adding: “To comply with their public sector equality duty and United Nations guidance on developing a disability-inclusive response to coronavirus, I would ask the government to think again and listen to the voices of disabled people and their advocates. We need to be able to reopen our city in a safe and accessible way, and we need government support to do this.”