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The Cabinet Office's Disability Unit has launched a Regional Stakeholder Network to help create a better picture of the lived experience of disabled people in England.
Each region in the network is tasked with:
- amplifying the voices of disabled people and disability organisations in their regions
- reporting to the government on issues such as housing, employment and transport
- helping to develop the new National Strategy for Disabled People
The selected regions will be led by a chair who is independent of government. Each chair has been selected based on “their understanding of disability issues specific to their regions, their expertise in disability policy and its effects at grassroots level”. They will work with the Disability Unit to deliver meeting opportunities for network members to share their experiences and views in order to help inform future policy.
A news release from the Department of Health and Social Care explained how many of the chairs are disabled people themselves, while others work in disabled people’s organisations or organisations that support disabled people. A number also hold voluntary roles which will enable them tap into issues and concerns of their local networks and reach more disabled people.
The chairs are:
East of England: Naomi Tomkys OBE, CEO, Sky Badger
Greater London: Ruth Owen OBE, CEO, Whizz-Kidz
North East: Michael Potts, Board Member, Veterans Advisory and Pension Committee
North West: Lynne Turnbull, CEO, Cheshire Centre for Independent Living
South East: Barry Ginley, Director, Tamstone Consulting Ltd
South West: Samantha Everard, CEO, Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE)
West and East Midlands: Louise Mckiernan, CEO, Birmingham Disability Resource Centre
Yorkshire and the Humber: Liz Leach Murphy, Founder/Managing Director, Imagineer CIC