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BBC Interview: Andrew Barge, Chair of Trustees at Living Options

Published 24th February 2022, in News, Uncategorised

Following the announcement to remove COVID restrictions by the Government, Living Options was asked for our opinion about this change.

Andrew Barge, our chair of Trustees spoke to BBC Radio Devon’s David Sheppard about what Living Options is hearing from our disabled Deaf communities in Devon.

David Sheppard
BBC Radio Devon

What are you hearing from the people that Living Options help?

Andrew highlighted that vulnerable people in Devon are worried about mixing in society following the lifting of restrictions because they are still concerned about potentially contracting COVID which could impact their health considerably.

Andrew said that these had been challenging times during the pandemic for a lot of concerned disabled people. Disabled people had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Of people whose health had suffered as a result of COVID, 80% of those were linked to people with existing conditions.

Are disabled people going to be more vulnerable following the lifting of restrictions?

Reacting to the pandemic, Living Options has learnt how to mitigate problems for disabled people. Disabled people have felt they’ve been left behind during the pandemic. There needs to be recognition from society that self-isolating disabled and elderly people should be treated kindly and with respect.

Andrew asked that people should be tolerant that these vulnerable people may still wear masks despite the change in restrictions and asked people to be friendly, kind and considerate as they reintegrate into society.

Should this considerate approach be legislative?

Andrew pointed out that there was significant goodwill from society at the beginning of the pandemic but this is waning now that people want to get back to normality. Living Options’ important message is that people are still vulnerable and Andrew ask people to appreciate that we’re not all the same and some people are still concerned about getting COVID.

Listen Now

The full recording of Andrew’s interview can be found on BBC Sounds.