Championing the rights of disabled people to be treated fairly and equably has been a cause close to my heart since I became MP for Wansbeck.
Consequently I have spoken out on a number of issues affecting disabled people including the odious ‘bedroom tax’ and the testing regime facing those who are seeking benefits they should be eligible for as a matter of course.
It is a fact that two-thirds of the 600,000 people adversely affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ are disabled and need someone to fight their corner against this legislation introduced by the Tories with the support of their Lib-Dem coalition bed-fellows.
Finding that right kind of help can often be challenging, which is why an organisation such as the Wansbeck Disability Forum is doing such a wonderful job.
Set up four years ago, the forum is now based in the Life Centre at the old police station in Ashington, offering help and advice on a raft of issues affecting disabled people including housing needs, benefits or adaptations to property.
Two particular issues members are keen to help with are domestic violence affecting disabled people and hate crime against those with disabilities.
Anyone needing to contact the forum for help and advice can do so through the Life Centre or by calling Karon Cook on 07765 461814.
I am proud to say I have accepted an invitation to become patron of the forum and will do all I can to assist with their work.