Camden charity begins journalism training to empower disabled

Journalism trainee Ellie Spigel with her carers

Journalism trainee Ellie Spigel with her carers - Credit: J.Spigel

A disability charity is providing journalism training to empower marginalised people to tell their stories and effect change.

Camden Disability Action (CDA), based at the Greenwood Centre in Kentish Town, has launched a community journalism scheme which allows participants to publish their articles in press and campaign around issues such as street access.  

The first course is being delivered this month, with further programmes scheduled for February and March.  

Robert Spigel, father of trainee Ellie, 30, who has multiple learning disabilities and epilepsy, told the Ham&High: "My daughter loves being out and about in Camden with her support workers.  

“For the first time, with this training, hotline and website I'll be able to tell her stories and help everyone understand the challenges she faces moving around Camden’s streets."  

The training supports disabled people to use texts, voicemails, videos, photos, chat-app messages and emails to outline their views and highlight their struggles faced in the community. 

It is designed to allow them to make their voices heard without having to rely on engagement workers or journalists. 

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Once trained, participants will be able to use their phones to send through reports to a hotline number which will store the information on a web-based dashboard.

From there, CDA – a user-led organisation set up by disabled and deaf people in 2015 – will edit the stories and post them online, with the reporters’ consent.  

The first cohort of trainees will be focused on the Covid-19 safer travel scheme and how road changes introduced during the pandemic have affected them.  

If, for example, trainees saw a disabled parking bay removed or created, they could use their phone to voicemail a report through to the hotline number – or take a video and send the story via WhatsApp. 

Disabled people who live, work, study or volunteer in Camden can sign up to the scheme.  

To enrol, contact Tom McDonough, CDA’s community journalism project leader, on or 07908 746 927.  

For more information on CDA visit the charity’s website:  

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Participant Mary Hynes with Robert Spigel and a Sustrans staff member in Kentish Town

Participant Mary Hynes with Robert Spigel and a Sustrans staff member in Kentish Town - Credit: Camden Disability Action