County Councillor Carole Haythornthwaite

New champion for disabled people­­­­

County Councillor Carole Haythornthwaite has been announced as Lancashire's new Champion for Disabled People.

She takes up the post after being appointed at last week's cabinet meeting and is now looking forward to supporting people with disabilities and the organisations that work with them.

The role of the Champion for Disabled People is to advise the cabinet and officers to ensure the county council supports disabled people to live active, independent and healthy lives. 

The Champion for Disabled People has £10,000 per year to fund their activities, including grants to local voluntary, community and faith groups. 

County Councillor Haythornthwaite said: "I'm very pleased to take up this important role.

"In the past I supported people with a range of disabilities when I worked in a Jobcentre and more recently in community settings. I want to put my experience to good use now as Champion for Disabled People.

"I will do my best to help people overcome their disabilities and try to ensure they are fully integrated into all aspects of life within our county.

"I'm looking forward to getting started, finding out more about the crucial role local organisations play and considering ways I can support them with their important work at the heart of our communities.

"I've been working with the previous Disabled People's Champion to ensure I'm up-to-date with the work that's taken place so far."

County Councillor Carole Haythornthwaite takes over the role from County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick following his appointment as Chair of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee.

While in the role, County Councillor Swarbrick used his grant allocation to provide grants to fund:

  • A community magazine project in Skelmersdale allowing them to take on a journalist who is a wheelchair user.
  • British Sign Language interpreters for five sessions of the Deaf Rights Group.
  • 64 high contrast computer keyboards and £877 for 4 Orbit Readers to support visually impaired people for Galloways Society for the Blind. 
  • 9 sensory tents with texture tower and other sensory equipment for Cloverleaf Advocacy, which provides self-advocacy and peer support to people with autism across Lancashire.
  • A contribution to match-fund a fully accessible play area in Greaves Park, Lancaster.

County Councillor Swarbrick said: "I was pleased to award many grants to support the vital work of disabled people's groups during my time in office.

"I also carried out advocacy work to improve access to county council services for the deaf and hard of hearing community, picked up the roll-out of the Street Charter trialled in Preston with Lancashire Visually Impaired Forum, and worked closely with stakeholders to reinvigorate the Lancashire Autism Partnership, which I will continue to co-chair.

"I have enjoyed supporting people across Lancashire and I wish County Councillor Haythornthwaite well in her new role as Disabled People's Champion."

For more information about the county council's Champions and grant funding they can provide to voluntary, community and faith groups, visit the county council's champion grants webpage.