get2gether’s role in the disability community

get2gether’s role in the disability community

Increasingly, safe spaces for disabled people are becoming rare with the cost of living crisis taking a
strangle hold. get2gether is only one of several charities who has been hit by this crisis. What is get2gether’s role in the disabled community? Is it simply to give members a good time? Or is
it something more?

The disabled community has gone a long way from where it was 20 years ago. Yet is it something it
celebrate when it is not yet perfect? Disabled people for years were put up as circuses as “Freaks”. Their disabilities used against them for profit and ridicule even beyond the curtain. Their wage often poor from bad management or greedy carers. Their pension too little to live off when they retire, many returning to more poverty and an early grave. And while freak shows are no longer popular, today people with disabilities are often under paid, viewed unfairly as being “only capable of doing a half job”. New stories as early as 2023 showcase disabled people being fired after decades of hard work for seemingly no reason. And for years, other disabled people were locked away in institutes or hospitals like the infamous
Gogerburn and Lennox Castle. The supposedly welcoming closure of these places was not without
complications. There was no safety net for the people leaving these hospitals and many were left
homeless or with families ill equipped to take care of them. Many ended up in hostels with no
trained carers and the new environment proved too much for many.

The world is not built for disabled people – a fact I find when trying to create in-person events. There’s either no lift, there’s no/not and fully equipped access toilet, staff are untrained, no access parking, music is too loud, entrances have a step or more – access for disabled people is an afterthought because we’ve been an afterthought. When the conservatives introduced the bedroom tax, disabled people were hit the hardest as many need an extra room for carers. Was that considered? Most likely not. And if so, I doubt anyone cared.

Why should it be so radical for disabled people to live like “people”? We no longer tolerate being
locked away like animals in slaughterhouses so why is still surprising or shocking to see disabled
people out and about? At the chip shop enjoying their meal? At the cinema? Enjoying a coffee at a
popular bar? Walking home at night? Why should they be subjected to unwelcoming eyes that range
from surprise, curiosity, or displeasure? I count “surprise” as unwelcoming.

In get2gether, everyone is welcome. Everyone is encouraged to be who they are. There are opportunities to learn life lessons denied such as love, LGBT and human rights. And get2gether is a member led charity – the very people who society easily casts aside are running a successful ten year
charity. This shows it’s lack of opportunities and not the disabled people to blame. We need to continue to do better and to remember that a disabled person is a fellow human being with dreams and feelings. Both often ignored. And what is that ok to do? Because it’s “for their own good?” No – it’s because no one can be bothered to invest in their dreams. get2gether does. We do.

Emma McCaffrey, get2gether Ambassador

See more from Emma McCaffrey here


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