So at the end of last year I was looking on the web , as you do , and an event caught my attention – the SNP will host it’s first ever conference specifically for Disabled Members, so I contacted them to see if I could get involved in any way. They asked me if I would like to do a workshop and I said yes , I am co-running the workshop with my good friend Fran Macilvey, an author and public speaker from Edinburgh.
Fran, like myself, was born with Cerebral Palsy and has shared her life experiences in her autobiography “Trapped- My Life With Cerebral Palsy”, which was published in March 2014, and is am Amazon Bestseller.
This event , organised by Disabled Members from the SNP , is an opportunity to nurture skills and encourage debate in a way that feels comfortable and in a space that empowers us. In recent years , the SNP have recognised how women’s campaigns have successfully contributed to the party . By learning from the success we can address the under representation of Disabled People in politics , where representation in parliament would have 20 – 25% Disabled Members, currently there are only 4 of 650 MPs in Westminster , and 6 out of 129 MPs at Holyrood who self – identify as being a Disabled person.
Nicola Sturgeon, who will be addressing the conference , believes in equality of opportunity, and the SNP is committed to Article 29 of the United Nation convention on the Right of Persons with a Disability by ensuring disabled people can fully participate in political life. The conference has been designed as an unrivalled opportunity to discuss key topics and issues of the day, as well as offering a place to meet and network with fellow members. On the day those attending will hear from inspired keynote speakers like the CEO of Inclusion Scotland , the Chair off All Party Parliamentary Disability group, and the Minister for Mental Health and more.
This is another milestone to providing strategies to overcome barriers for disabled people in politics , I think this is an excellent initiative by SNP, to be the first party to hold an event like this , and I hope that this will just be the start of many upcoming events. I’m excited about running the workshop , it’s called Finding Your Voice , we are going to be talking about confidence , we are the first workshop of the day , and it is about a 45 mins workshop . In my next column I will tell you what the event was like on the day.