Wheelchair blockade protest of social services over waiting lists

A crucial meeting has been arranged after members of a civil rights action group formed a blockade outside the city council’s social services department in Birmingham.

About 20 members of the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network stopped people from entering Louisa Ryland House in Newhall Street by chaining together their wheelchairs to form an immovable barrier in a bid to highlight what they say is a failure of the authority to take their needs seriously. They claim the council has not been forthcoming in working with the organisation to thrash out strategies to cut waiting lists for home adaptations and address what they say is a shortage of wheelchair-friendly homes.

The demonstration reached a peaceful conclusion when Peter Hay, director of social care and health services, agreed to meet the group on Friday.

Network member Steve Gravey was among those who campaigned.

He said: “The demonstration was a qualified success. The aim was to get disabled people in Birmingham what they need.”

A city council spokesman said: “We’ve always maintained we are happy to meet with DAN representatives and discuss their concerns.”