Five questions with . . . Chris Ford

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Five questions with . . . Disabled Person’s Assembly community networker for Dunedin Chris Ford

1. What is your role with the Disabled Persons’ Assembly and how long have you been in it?

My role is as a Kaituitui (community networker) and I will have been in the role five years this coming November.

2. What does it involve?

It involves networking with local community stakeholders such as, for example, the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, government agencies, Southern DHB, etcetera on issues that directly or indirectly affect disabled people and their families/whanau. DPA is a disabled person’s organisation (DPO) which is an organisation run largely by and for disabled people.

3. What else do you do outside of DPA work?

I am politically active as well as being an amateur astronomer. I also love reading, listening to music, internet surfing, being with friends, writing and am thinking about getting into digital photography and/or painting through getting into a course.

4. What are the biggest issues for disability accessibility in Dunedin?

The biggest issues for disability accessibility are access to public transport such as buses, buildings and physical spaces such as footpaths. DPA works closely with both the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council on these issues. Access to the new hospital when it’s rebuilt will be another crucial issue. I’d like to draw politicians’ and people’s attention to the recently launched Access Alliance campaign at accessalliance.org.nz/.

5. What projects are the DPA working on this year?

Obviously access issues and we’re planning on some other initiatives around employment as well. One of our major projects will be co-ordinating with other disability organisations to hold a disability issues election forum before the general election in September. Watch this space!