Disability in Jersey: The 'significant effect' of the pandemic on thousands of lives

The coronavirus pandemic has had “a significant effect” on islanders with disabilities in Jersey and slowed down efforts to improve their lives.

That is the conclusion of a progress report on the government’s own disability strategy which has been in place since 2017.

Two new disability inclusion officers were employed last October to help keep the plan on track, but the minister in charge says there’s much more to do.

2020 has presented a number of challenges right across our community, but it has presented additional challenges for disabled Islanders as access to some services was affected by public health restrictions and key opportunities to meet with friends and carers were limited due to Covid-19.

Deputy Judy Martin, Jersey's Social Security minister

One family have been sharing their own experience of the past year.

Caroline Costello’s 16-year-old son Adam has autism and ADHD. She tells Gary Burgess that lockdown has been a particularly challenging time.


Statistics on disability in Jersey:

15,000

People in Jersey with a disability.

41%

People with a disability experience difficulties getting around Jersey.

60%

People with a disability find it difficult to take part in community activities.


Jersey’s disability strategy has five key aims, to ensure islanders with disabilities:

  • Have support to communicate and access information;

  • Have greater access to the island;

  • Have good health and wellbeing;

  • Have access to education, employment and enriching activities; and

  • Have equal rights and experience equality.

The government’s key priorities for 2021 are:

  • To ensure discrimination legislation is available in accessible forms;

  • To create a group of disabled islanders to advise on the accessibility of buildings;

  • To create a volunteer driver scheme network, to promote opportunities for disabled islanders to be ‘active citizens’ by becoming jurors, board members or politicians; and

  • To set up an annual event where disabled islanders can meet their elected representatives.