Guernsey States accused of not doing enough for islanders with disabilities

Paula is blind and had to privately fund her walking cane. Credit: ITV Channel

Guernsey States has been accused by disabled islanders for not doing enough to support them.

Many people with disabilities are being forced to privately fund crucial equipment themselves, as it is not being covered by the States.

This includes children who are seeing the issues first-hand, leading to questions on how their essential equipment will be funded as they get older.

Paula Chivers is visually impaired and relies on a cane to retain her independence.

She had to pay for her cane privately and through charities, with little help from the States.

"You don't really understand until you've got a disability. But when you're born with it, you've just got to carry on.

"That's how it is, but it would be nice if they did help sometimes."

Paula Chilvers Credit: ITV Channel

The States of Guernsey say it is willing to pay for equipment for disabled islanders, but the islanders that this could benefit are not being made aware.

Islanders say that the process for applying for money is too complicated, which is putting families under enormous strain.

Anthony is disabled and requires specialist shoes to help him move around, but he has only ever had one pair at a time.

Anthony's father, Ian Mc Mahon said: "It's emotional.

"You feel ignored, I feel as if I am letting him down, his mother down. But it's hard for me as a father."

Ian Mc Mahon Credit: ITV Channel

However, people were given the opportunity today (8 June) to put their concerns directly to the island's politicians, with States members agreeing that more needs to be done.

Deputy Tina Bury, of Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee, said: "The system is too complicated at the moment and that's why the States has recognised previously that the system needs to be improved.

Deputy Tina Bury, Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee Credit: ITV Channel

"It's really important that people understand that help is available, obviously means tested, but it is available to people to apply for.

"We do know it is not as simple as it needs to be right now."

Officials will now decide what needs to be done to improve the situation for islanders with disabilities, and their recommendations will be presented to the States this year.