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Housing Associations celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDOPD)

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Housing Associations celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDOPD)

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Published by HearFirst for HearFirst in Housing and also in Communities

Ashton Pioneer Homes’ employees, Paul Rayson (left) and Paul Temple taking part in a simulation exercise to understand how various eye conditions affect people in different ways Ashton Pioneer Homes’ employees, Paul Rayson (left) and Paul Temple taking part in a simulation exercise to understand how various eye conditions affect people in different ways

Housing providers from across the country are celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDOPD) this week to promote disabled people’s participation in social life.

The day, which was proclaimed on December 3, 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly, was established when a World Programme of Action for Disabled People was set up to promote the full participation of disabled people in social life and development as well as prevention and rehabilitation measures.

The aim of the IDOPD increases the awareness of gains to be derived from integrating people with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Housing providers in particular, are embracing and managing to find ways to meet their tenants’ and residents’ needs by promoting equality and diversity and disability awareness training within the workplace.

Somerset-based Yarlington Housing Group and Ashton Pioneer Homes in Greater Manchester are just two organisations which have a strong commitment to ensure their staff are disability aware and arrange mandatory disability awareness training for all staff.  As an added focus, Ashton Pioneer Homes have arranged their training to coincide with IDOPD.

Ashton Pioneer Homes’ Chief Executive, Tony Berry said, “The aims of IDODP tie in closely to what we are trying to achieve here in Ashton Under Lyne.  One of our key objectives is for us to promote the involvement of all our tenants, staff and partners and enjoy the gains that go with that.  I attended the training myself and it highlighted what further improvements can be made, in particular to the accessibility and information provided on our website.” 

Also attending the training were staff members, Paul Temple and Paul Rayson who both work as painters and decorators for Ashton Pioneer Homes.  They commented, “It was interesting to learn how various eye conditions affect people in different ways.  We understand now how important it is to ask people individually what their needs are and not make assumptions.

“The training has helped us to re-focus and move from what disabled people cannot do to what they can achieve if the support, resources and aids are provided.”

The courses are being delivered by training specialists, HearFirst.  Since 2002, HearFirst has trained in excess of 20,000 employees within the housing sector on a variety of courses to raise awareness and ensure they comply with the Equality Act.

Julie Ryder, Director of HearFirst, said: “I had my first hearing aids fitted in 1992, aged 21 - the same year as the first IDODP.   Until then, I was blissfully unaware of the prejudice and discrimination that disabled people face.  As I attempted to carry on with life, it became obvious that there was more than my hearing loss holding me back and other people’s attitudes were as disabling as the condition itself. 

“HearFirst trains, educates and supports service providers to make real changes for people with disabilities. All the organisations we work with, share one common goal, to help staff improve customer service to a wide range of people as well as ensuring they comply with the 2010 Equality Act.”

Sue Crosland, Learning and Development Co-ordinator from Yarlington Housing Group said, “Having training delivered by tutors who have disabilities themselves is a real eye opener for our staff.  From the moment they enter the training room they are inspired, motivated and challenged into thinking about disability in a different light.”   

HearFirst’s affordable courses are both interactive and practical and new open courses on Disability Equality and Awareness (January, 24 2012) and Equality and Diversity (January, 26 2012) have just been announced for next year.

For more information on Deaf, disability awareness and BSL training, please contact Julie at HearFirst on 01706 872816 or visit www.hearfirst.org.uk

To commemorate the IDOPD in your community, the United Nations is asking for ideas to be emailed to enable@un.org

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