PUBLISHED: 10:40 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:02 23 August 2010
HUNDREDS of people are planning to march on Downing Street with a petition demanding crucial funding for equipment for the disabled. The news comes a week after North Kent Independent Advocate Scheme (NKIAS), based in Swanley, marched through Bluewater s
HUNDREDS of people are planning to march on Downing Street with a petition demanding crucial funding for equipment for the disabled.
The news comes a week after North Kent Independent Advocate Scheme (NKIAS), based in Swanley, marched through Bluewater shopping centre to raise awareness of the issue.
Members want the government to fund specialist equipment that allows disabled people to speak and use computers, known as a Liberator. Louise Flatman, director and co-founder said: "The last march was absolutely brilliant. We need to spread awareness of this issue. The thing that's unique about this march is that it's disabled people marching on behalf of other disabled people. They're speaking up and taking an active role, which is fantastic. Some of the people marching are severely disabled but they are determined to do it."
Neither social services or Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are obliged to pay for the equipment, which costs about £6,000.
Currently disabled people have to cover the cost themselves or rely on donations from charities.
NKIAS currently has 1,700 signatures on the petition but needs at least 3,000 before they can take it to number 10. Mrs Flatman added: "More and more people are signing up by the day - we got over 800 signatures at Bluewater, but we still need more. We're nearly half way, so need that final last push!"
Over 200 disabled and non-disabled people marched through Bluewater last Tuesday including support workers, families, councillors and members of the public.
NKIAS was set up as a not-for-profit company in 2005 to provide advocacy to people with learning disabilities but now helps all vulnerable and socially excluded groups.
To sign up to the petition visit website www.nkias.co.uk