Posted on: Friday 5 August 2022
A forum which gives people with disabilities in Torfaen a voice has seen the number of people attending its meetings more than double.
Torfaen Access Forum was set up in July 2020 to highlight some of the problems people with physical and hidden disabilities were experiencing during the pandemic - such as arranging food shopping, getting access to information and a lack of exercise opportunities.
The group has since grown and now aims to raise awareness of the wide range of challenges faced by people living with a disability or long term physical or mental health condition in Torfaen.
Amanda Say, Taf Trustee, said: "I have been interested in making my local area more accessible for many years after becoming a wheelchair user after a car accident.
"My role as a coach for Riding for the Disabled has given me insight into the many challenges that different disabilities bring. I sit on the transport for Wales Accessibility Panel and travel on the train and visit railway stations looking at the accessibility and the improvements needed.
"I was so pleased when I discovered that Taf had been set up and I look forward to trying to help other people with a disability have a voice."
The forum meets regularly with other local organisations, including Torfaen Council, to discuss a range of issues such as leisure opportunities, healthcare, access to the countryside and disabled parking, with the aim of identifying possible solutions.
For example, the group has successfully campaigned for improved parking facilities in Cwmbran town centre and new gym sessions for people with disabilities.
Last year, the forum became a Disabled Persons Organisation and now works closely with Disability Wales. Members frequently take part in focus groups, conferences, research opportunities with Welsh Government and Disability Wales.
The forum's next meetings will take place at 10am on Wednesday 28 September and Wednesday 30 November. For more information, email Taftorfaen@outlook.com.
Torfaen Access Forum is one of a number of citizen panels supported by Torfaen Council. You can find out about the forums on our website.
You can also have your say on how Torfaen Council consults all residents in our public participation survey.
(Pictured: Taf trustees Professor John Hunt, Amanda Say and Jackie Rue)