Exploring people’s potential to work and highlighting the onus on employers to champion inclusion is in stark contrast to the government’s punitive approach in this area.
Controversial plans to force people into work, unveiled by the chancellor in the autumn statement, demonise disabled people as work shy.
Punishing those who fail to find jobs by withdrawing their benefits or forcing them into mandatory work experience is brutal. It also reinforces the scrounger narrative that self-advocates, campaigners and families have fought hard to shatter.
What we need, as Shaun Webster and Dominique Burley of voluntary sector partnership Forum Central argue, are real jobs for those who can and want to work, alongside cultural change in the workplace. This, as Webster and Burley write, would mean “people not only get into work but also move up the ladder once they have a job”.
And, as parent campaigner Becky Whinnerah says in our feature on the creation of an inclusive brewery: “It’s down to bias and prejudice that people end up being stuck at home. What a sad waste, and what a complete joy it would be to all of us if people took part in their communities.”
Full participation in communities is what this magazine has always advocated, and we know this can be made possible when support is tailored to individual need and led by the views of those with lived experience.
For those of you reading our first articles of 2024 in our debut full-colour digital edition (thanks to our brilliant cover star Teresa Hartchild, pictured above, for the wonderful photos) do let us know what you think of our new look for a new year, as well as your thoughts on the issues we feature.