Date: 27 Sep 2017
The SCOTTISH ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT ALLIANCE (SATA) is making two awards this year which have strong connections. They are both to young ladies with a disability, and both are about the attitudes which other people take to them. Both the recipients have suffered in the way they have been unjustly treated by others, and both have taken steps to try to show how people can help them rather than put them down.
The recipients are Grace Warnock, a young lady from Prestonpans not yet in her teens, who suffers from a condition which has no visible outward signs, has received abuse for using an accessible toilet simply because she didn’t “look disabled” and Karen Sutherland, a young lady not long out of her teens, uses a wheelchair, so she does “look disabled” but has been on the receiving end of uncooperative attitudes on buses from both other passengers and drivers.
Their experiences have driven both to action, and their enthusiasm has rallied support from friends and beyond in actions to promote the human rights and equalities of people with a disability whether physical, mental or cognitive.
The basic principle is that people with a disability should not be disadvantaged by the way they are treated, compared with those without a disability. In most cases where this principle is broken the cause is ignorance or lack of awareness of the needs of those with a disability, rather than malice. Making laws and regulations do not in themselves change people’s understanding or attitudes.
SEStran nominated Grace for the award, George Eckton partnership director said “I was hugely impressed at the young scot awards of Grace’s campaign that I wanted to nominate her for this transport award. Speaking with people that raised awareness of hidden disabilities and the confidence this initiative gives them to travel are clear benefits of this campaign. The Gracie’s sign addresses many issues of accessibility and we are pleased to have one in our offices. Certainly, for SEStran this campaign contributes to our outcomes for a more accessible regional transport network across the south east of Scotland. It’s also fantastic to see grace win the award as we build up to the year of young people 2018 winning an award for thinking of others.”
“Grace’s Sign” has been installed in hundreds of locations across the country and Karen’s Video has had thousands of views on social media and beyond. Grace and Karen are commended because they did not sit back and do nothing but devised a plan of action and got others to work with them to implement it successfully. If you are interested in finding out more or you might like to get one for your organisation please click on Gracie’s sign below.