'There's not enough people in Government with disabilities' says Chorley charity champion who is fighting for change
A Chorley man who has cerebral palsy has made a huge difference to disabled young people in the community but wants to see change at a national level.
Oliver Moores, 21, wants to give a voice to disabled people and says there needs to be better representation of people with disabilities in senior government roles.
The wheelchair user has overcome several health challenges in recent years, including hip reconstruction surgery and scoliosis of the spine.
“In my opinion, there’s not enough people with disabilities in top government roles to influence decision making," he said.
"I think it’s key, because you can’t truly understand what it’s like to live with a disability and the policies that affect disabled people until you’ve been in that situation.”
Olly studies Business and Management with Marketing at Edge Hill University and hopes to use his experience, along with his negotiating skills, to fight for better representation for disabled people.
“I believe that people have disabilities for a special reason and my reason is to help others," he said.
"I want to use my disability to make the world a better place and more equal for everyone."
The Ormskirk university awarded Olly with the Adam Bell scholarship which recognises students who make a significant contribution to the community and those who demonstrate dedication, compassion, and resilience.
This is due to his impressive, life-long support of children's charity Barnardo's and he plans to use the scholarship to pay for his travel to attend meetings and volunteer.
In 2019, Olly was named as Barnardo’s Young Achiever of the year in recognition of his volunteering work at the charity’s 'Include Me 2' children’s centre in Preston.
As a child, Olly attended the centre himself and he is keen to give something back.
“I received a lot of support from Barnardo’s when I was younger, so I feel like I am giving back to them in a way," he said.
"Although Barnardo’s has always been fantastic, I haven’t always had access to the best support as a child, so I saw this as an opportunity to give the children the support I never had access to but wish I did.”
He has also been a member of Barnardo’s 'POWAR' group, which gives a voice to children with disabilities and special educational needs in Lancashire.
Dylan Williams, team manager for Barnardo’s in Lancashire said: “Olly has been an active member of the Barnardo’s-run Participation Service since 2018.
"It has been a pleasure to see Olly grow with confidence throughout this time and develop his ideas.
"He has made numerous positive changes to services and influenced decision makers at senior levels, to ensure that young people are heard and supported.
“Olly has also been an active volunteer in our Lancashire Break Time service where he has been supporting young people with additional needs."
Mr Williams says that children who use the Break Time service 'really look up to Olly' and see him as an incredible role model.
"It is a pleasure to support and work with Olly and to see him thrive in everything he has taken on board," he said.
Although there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK according to the Scope charity, there are no more than 20 current and former MPs and ministers with disabilities.
Disability News Service, estimated that the last General Election in 2019 caused the number of MPs declaring a disability to fall to just five- there were previously seven disabled MPs.
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