2023 New Year goals

Friends of Enable and people in the disability community share their hopes for the year ahead.

Co-chair of trustees, My Life My Choice

Credit: My Life My Choice

I would like to see more people with learning disabilities connect from all around the world, to get together and share experiences! We would like to see more people with learning disabilities to learn how to travel independently through our peer-to-peer Travel Buddy Scheme! We hope to encourage other organisations to take up the scheme too! We hope to see more progress with our We Can’t Wait Campaign and get people with learning disabilities higher up the hospital waiting lists! 

Nik Hartley
Chief executive, Spinal Injuries Association

My hope for 2023 is that out of the strains and challenges faced by the health and care sector, the seeds of truly transformative improvements emerge.  For spinal cord injured people, the goal must surely be access to health services when and where they need it, without fear of sub-standard or inappropriate care and support, that is too often today’s experience.

Jolanta Lasota
Chief executive, Ambitious About Autism 

After speaking to nearly 2,000 autistic young people and their families last year, we know many have serious concerns that proposals in the SEND Green Paper could make the already broken SEND system worse. In 2023, we hope the government will listen to their voices and make a public commitment to the protection of SEND funding and rights, to avoid writing off an entire generation of autistic young people.

Fergus Crow
Chief executive, Winston’s Wish

There’s not enough grief support for children and young people across the UK, and disabled children and young people who are grieving are doubly disadvantaged by the lack of understanding, awareness and confidence out there in how to support them through their grief. That’s not right and it is not fair – we want to change it. This coming year one of our organisational goals is to increase the numbers of children and young people we support with SEND and to make more connections with organisations who support children, young people and families with SEN/D. We can’t do it alone, but together we know we can achieve great things.

Helen Walker
Chief executive, Carers UK

In 2023 we hope to see the Carer’s Leave Bill become an Act. This would give employees with an unpaid caring responsibility for an older or disabled relative a landmark new right to five days of Carer’s Leave. It would allow millions of people to better manage their work while being able to support their relative as they need to, for example, with medical appointments or after surgery. Our State of Caring research released in November 2022 found carers struggling with the cost of living, were very short of social care and were having extra challenges around getting health care.  We need to see extra, more targeted progress on all of these areas. For the medium to longer term we hope the Government will publish a national carer’s strategy so that carers across the country are given the practical and financial support they need to care well and safely.

Richard Kramer
Chief executive, Sense

The last couple of years have been extremely challenging for disabled people, with existing inequalities compounded first by the pandemic and more recently by the cost-of-living crisis. It is my sincere hope that in the next year we will see the Government recognise and properly address these issues. We will continue to campaign at Sense for targeted financial support for children and adults with complex disabilities and those who are deafblind so nobody is left behind. I also hope that the Covid Inquiry, which has its public hearings in 2023, will allow disabled people to share their experiences of being too often forgotten about and let down during the pandemic. There is a lot for decision makers to learn from these experiences in order to create a more equal society for disabled people.

Jen Blackwell
Founder and director, DanceSyndrome

Credit: DanceSyndome/Gray Hughes

I am very excited about next year because one of my dreams is coming true and my charity is going to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. I do have Down’s syndrome but that doesn’t hold me back. All I can say is go for your dreams. Dream. Believe. Achieve. My dream is to travel the world with my dance and I can’t wait for everyone in Edinburgh to see our performance! We are changing the world through dance.

The Euan’s Guide team

In 2023 Euan’s Guide wants to hear from you! We’re looking for even more people to continue sharing experiences of disabled access information on the Euan’s Guide website. We’re also looking for more people to make even more accessible toilets safer – we’ve distributed 125,000 of our Red Cord Cards so far but this is just the start. Autumn 2023 will see us launch the 2023 Access Survey and we’ll be looking to amplify the voices of our community once again!

Sam Latif
Company accessibility leader, P&G

I’m really excited to continue to lead P&G’s global journey towards creating a more equal and accessible world – both within our organisation, and in wider society – into 2023, and beyond. As someone with sight loss, I’m particularly proud of the work we have driven to include NaviLens technology (a colourful QR code which enables people like me to shop independently by reading key product information aloud) across a number of our brands, including Pantene and Ariel. Moves like this not only ensure those with low or no vision feel included, they also enable businesses and brands to open themselves up to a much more diverse consumer base; to be a Force for Good, and a Force for Growth.

Sue Stubbs
Chief executive, Autism Together

I am so proud of the commitment, spirit and hard work shown by our staff teams over these past pandemic-hit years. For 2023 I am hoping that we find Covid is well and truly behind us, with our frontline staff able to say goodbye to daily mask wearing, while seeing the people we support continue to grow through their achievements and experiences.

Kathryn Rossiter
Chief executive, Thrive

I hope that 2023 will be a breakthrough year for therapeutic gardening with formal recognition for the role it can play in the nation’s health and wellbeing. I’d also like to shine a light on the skills and expertise of the practitioners who deliver exceptional therapeutic gardening programmes across the country. Happy New Year from Thrive and get gardening!

Matt Stringer
Chief executive, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

This last year we’ve all continued to feel the aftershocks of the pandemic and even though 2023 looks set to have its challenges, particularly stemming from the cost of living crisis, I am hopeful that we can address these current issues and effect some meaningful long term change. I am passionate about creating a fairer and more equal society for blind and partially sighted people, and to ensure our voice is heard we will continue to find creative and innovative ways to grab people’s attention and challenge the status quo. On a personal note, I’m looking forward to my children finishing their university studies and moving on energetically and positively with their lives.

Claire Turner
Chief executive, Carers Leeds

In 2023, Carers Leeds would like to reach even more carers who have their own disabilities, or who are caring for someone with a disability with the right information, advice and support. We also want to do more to ensure that Carers Leeds truly is an equal, inclusive and diverse employer for staff and volunteers with disabilities.  

Diane Lightfoot
Chief executive, Business Disability Forum

We know what the barriers to disability employment are. We want 2023 to be the year when they are finally removed. Much of this is about improving and reforming existing support processes, such as Access to Work and Statutory Sick Pay, to make sure that they work properly both for the people who need them and for employers. We also want to see the introduction of a Tech for Life approach to join up provision. Technology is so often a game changer but at the moment, people often only get access to assistive technology in education and then once they are in employment, with a critical gap in between when they are trying to find and secure a job.

Kate Lee
Chief executive, Alzheimer’s Society

We’ve made great strides this year providing help and hope to everyone affected by dementia, but there’s still so much more to do. We desperately need to reach more people, helping them face some of the hardest and frightening times with our vital support. As we look to 2023, we’re also committed to remaining a force for change, using research and influencing to make sure the Government is prioritising dementia and pushing for breakthroughs that will change the lives of people affected by dementia now and in the future.

Mark Winstanley
Chief executive, Rethink Mental Illness

It’s fair to say it’s been a tough few unprecedented years, and I know a lot of people will be continuing to feel the pressure this is all having on their mental health. So I’m hoping that 2023 brings some positivity and we start to feel some of that pressure begin to ease. I’ll also be making sure I put time aside every day to look after my wellbeing, and I’d encourage everyone to be kind to themselves and do the same.

Tim Cooper
Chief executive, United Response

This year marks United Response’s 50th Anniversary giving us a chance to reflect on how on how much has changed in the lives of disabled people over the last fifty years. In particular we will be focusing even harder on how we enable disabled people to realise their talents and contribute to the life of their local communities.

Chris Askew
Chief executive at Diabetes UK

In 2022 Diabetes UK and JDRF UK announced the generous £50 million donation from the Steve Morgan Foundation, which saw the launch of the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge. In 2023 we look forward to awarding funding to the most innovative, collaborative research projects that will drive breakthroughs and lead the race towards a cure for type 1 diabetes.
We hope that the FDA’s approval of teplizumab, the first immunotherapy that could delay type 1 diabetes for up to three years, will pave the way for this life-changing treatment to be made available to people at high risk of type 1 diabetes in the UK.
In 2023 Diabetes UK remains committed to ensuring that everyone living with diabetes gets the support and care they need. Through our Diabetes is Serious campaign, we will continue to call on the Government to prioritise prevention of type 2 diabetes and the recovery of diabetes care, as well as tackling the backlog in appointments.
We look forward to seeing the full implementation of NICE guidance on diabetes technology that was published in March this year so that everyone who can benefit from life changing diabetes technology can access it.
In 2023, we hope that even more people with type 2 diabetes will have the chance to put their condition into remission through access to remission programmes.

Catrina Farnell
Don’t Screen Us Out

After I became disabled, I had a mantra that I kept saying. ‘Be Kind’, I told myself, and from that point on I was going to be kind, yes to others (as I always would try to), but I promised to be kind to myself and my body. It was the biggest gift I could give myself. In lockdown I created an activity book named ‘Be Kind’ in honour of this freeing philosophy and all the money went to charity. In 2023 I want to continue to spread my message of kindness in my new role as Manager of People First Keighley and Craven, and in all the self-advocacy work we do. It’s a particularly important message in our workshop that we’ve co-designed with Bringing Us Together, aptly named ‘Be Kind To Yourself’. I hope this simple message of kindness continues to be a guiding light for myself and others, and that the light spreads far and wide and connects people again. The recent rise in divisive culture and prejudices have previously left us in the dark and separated from one another. In 2023 I believe that kindness will be the key to lighting our way back to each other again.

Nanette Mellor
Chief executive, The Brain Charity

We are proud to be riding on the crest of the neurodiversity movement wave by shining a light on the inherent skills and talents within the neurodivergent community. One of our key goals will be to introduce the idea of neurodiversity and the positive benefits of a neurodiverse world to as many people as possible.

Shantel Irwin
Chief executive, Arthritis Action

Our charity’s vision for 2023 is to empower people with arthritis to take control of their condition and lead a more active life. We also wish to do more to tackle the health inequalities currently being seen across the country – our recent research revealed that those in economically deprived areas are more likely to be impacted for longer, be forced to give up work, and be less likely to receive support. We’re looking forward to providing support and resources for people across the country and help to close this divide!

Brian Jones
Chief executive, Carers Network

Credit: Carers Network

2022 has been a difficult year for carers, particularly with the continuation of Covid and the impact from the cost-of-living increases. We look forward to 2023 with trepidation for those carers and their families that we work with yet balanced with a level of excitement with the launch of the first Bi-Borough Carers Strategy developed in collaboration with Carers Network Westminster. In order to successfully fulfil our mission, we must continue to evolve and develop innovative approaches to handle the challenges that come our way and we are excited to be launching new initiatives in 2023 that will aim to extend the support that we provide to carers, particularly within those communities that we have often been unable to reach.

Sir Tom Hunter

I hope all at Enable and those you support can see next year through healthy and happy…And we see you all at the Kiltwalk raising funds for what you know to be incredibly important supporting those you help.

Stephen Darby
Darby Rimmer Foundation

I would like to see more development on the United2EndMND campaign as 12 months ago, the government promised £50 million towards MND research however it is proving difficult to access the funds.

Jordan Jarrett Bryan

2023 is the year that disabled people take over the world like robots and take control of their own equity. I know someone will find the inclusion of the word ‘robots’ and ‘disabled’ in the same sentence offensive but I don’t care. The revolution will be televised (and on YouTube, Apple TV, Netflix, Google TV etc) and I’m gonna be leading it.

George Webster

Credit: CBeebies

My hopes and goals for next year are to achieve my 100th parkrun, keep on doing my CBeebies work which I love, and for more people like me being represented on TV and the wider media to show that we can dream big and we can shine like stars.

Rashmi Becker
Founder, StepChange Studios         

Credit: StepChange Studios

Social care has been in desperate need of investment and reform for decades. I hope 2023 sees the government be bold in providing the investment and conditions that enable disabled people in care to have a quality of life that is currently absent for too many. Dancing makes people happy and boosts wellbeing. We want to support even more disabled people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy dancing in 2023 and to support more organisations to provide dance and fitness spaces that are inclusive.

James Wythe
Healthy Living James 

Credit: Clare Winfield

For those also suffering with invisible illnesses (such as M.E) in 2023 try to focus on putting yourself first and what makes you happy rather than trying to please others.

Caroline Rassell
Chief executive, Parkinson’s UK

My resolution is to continue to learn, listen and be guided by the lived experience of people affected by Parkinson’s. I am particularly keen to learn more from those who we have yet to reach in our community and work together so that more people feel supported.

Jamie Gault
Chief executive, Access For Carers Surrey

Continuing our collaboration with partners across Surrey, we’re working towards reaching and supporting even more unpaid carers in the county, helping them to feel more in control of their lives, more supported and better able to care.

Sonya Chowdhury
Chief executive, Action for ME

My goal for 2023 is to see the successful publication of the government’s National ME/CFS Delivery Plan. I hope that the Plan really does deliver for the 250,000+ children and adults with ME/CFS across the UK.

Ryan Macdonald
Military Matters project lead, Housing Options Scotland

For a successful 10-year anniversary event in 2023, that helps to celebrate the work we do and highlight our services to the Armed Forces Community.

Mary Reed
Chief executive, Wiltshire CIL 

In the last two years we have asked over 2000 disabled people in Wiltshire what a good life looks like to them, they told us that they want what everyone wants; purpose, hope, homes in communities where they feel they belong, are valued and included, real relationships based on mutual respect and appreciation and the right support at the right time to make all this possible. They also told us that we aren’t their yet, and at times they feel written off for being different. So in 2023 our mission is to get there.

Ellie Goldstein

Credit: Gucci/Vogue Italia/David PD Hyde

I wish for more of my hopes & dreams for 2023. To model in New York and maybe one day be in the cover of Vogue. To continue to spread the word that you can achieve whatever you want with or without a disability! Never change who you are! Ellie. 

Frank Gardner

Go ice kayaking in Antarctica with old school friends – and not fall in! Get my next Luke Carlton spy novel into the Sunday Times top ten when it comes out in the summer. Return to Ukraine for another reporting stint for BBC News.

Claire Bates
Supported Loving 

For Supported Loving our hope is that everyone has the opportunity to meet a partner and find love and that unnecessary barriers are broken.

Jo Aiyathurai
Chief executive of Learn and Thrive, and full-time Mum

Don’t miss out! While I intend to remain passionate and driven about building resources for children and young people with learning difficulties, I must remember to take the time to be present in my own daughter’s future. As a young person with Down’s syndrome, she benefits from the resources, but this year I will ensure she gets more ‘Mum’ time and less ‘CEO’ time. Sometimes as parents, the challenges become all-encompassing, and we forget to stop and revel in the joy!

Nick Moberly
Chief executive, MS Society

In 2023 – our 70th anniversary year – one of our major goals is to successfully open our revolutionary mega-trial, Octopus. It’s multi-arm multi-stage design will transform the way we test potential treatments to slow or stop disability progression in MS. We’ll also continue to campaign for people with MS who are being hit especially hard by the cost of living crisis. 

Tom Pursglove MP
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

In the new year, I want to get out there and meet more disabled people – it’s been an inspiring part of my job so far and I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2023. I am also excited to start work on our new Disability Action Plan and I’m looking forward to bringing forward our new Health and Disability White Paper – both of which will set out our plans to improve the lives of disabled people up and down the country.

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The views expressed her are not necessarily that of Enable Magazine or DC Publishing.

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