Disability Pride Brighton 2019

The third annual Disability Pride Brighton event held last month was a huge success, attracting more than 3,000 people.

Disability Pride Brighton is an annual event that works to raise awareness of the diversity and value of disabled people with visible and invisible impairments or conditions.

It is organised by a diverse committee of people with disabilities, which is funded by the Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery in the South East.

Jenny Skelton, Founder and Chair explains why the event is so important: “We want to celebrate our identities and feel less isolated in the city, as well as engage with non-disabled people.”

According to a ComRes survey, carried out between June and July 2018, one in four employers have expressed reluctance at employing a disabled person which makes it difficult for the 19% of working age adults who are disabled to gain meaningful work. This is despite employers’ legal obligations under the Equality Act to treat people equally.

To challenge perceptions, Disability Pride launched the hashtag #ComingOutAsDisabled at the event. Jenny said: “Several of my friends and committee members have faced disability discrimination in the workplace and in their day to day lives. Disabled people should feel free to ‘come out’ and be accepted for themselves as a natural part of human diversity without the fear of discrimination.

“That’s why this event is so important – to start breaking down those barriers. It was a wonderfully inclusive event. We had so many comments from people about what a wonderful day they had, and that is why we do it.”

Jenny came up with the idea for Disability Pride after her daughter experienced an incident of disability discrimination. Since it started in 2017, the group has grown significantly and garnered support from the community, local council and other organisations.

Speaking about Disability Pride Brighton, local MP, Peter Kyle, said: I’ve loved supporting this and see it grow over several years. It really shows what a few caring but passionate people can achieve. It’s a chance for the disability community to come together, to celebrate and socialise, and for people like me to meet and listen to as many people as possible.

Speaking at the event, Peter Kyle MP also addressed the growing concern over the impacts of welfare reform on disabled people: “I hear you loud and clear when so many people today told me about the horrors of the current welfare system that too often limits opportunities rather than creates them. I hear you and I will redouble my efforts I promise.”

Disability Pride Brighton was the first event of its kind in England and its inaugural event in July 2017 attracted over 2,000 attendees.

The 2019 event was its biggest yet and began with a short parade along the promenade led by Unified Rhythm – a carnival band with over 80% disabled members.

The event was officially opened by Alison Lapper MBE; Brighton and Hove Mayor, Cllr Alexandra Phillips; Caroline Lucas MP; and Jenny Skelton, Chair of Disability Pride.

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