A new campaigning organisation – named after one of Manchester’s “finest civil rights campaigners” – will fight to remove the barriers to elected office faced by disabled people in the city.
The Trust Lorraine Foundation (TLF) was launched in Manchester on Saturday by Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) and Breakthrough UK.
It is named after the late Lorraine Gradwell, who helped found both organisations and played a significant role in putting Manchester at the heart of the disability rights movement in the 1980s and 1990s.
The new organisation will work with disabled people in the Manchester area who aspire to elected office, for example as members of parliament or local councillors.
It plans to push political parties to commit to “true diversity”, and campaign for the government to re-open the Access to Elected Office Fund (AEOF).
AEOF, which provided grants of up to £40,000 for disability-related costs for disabled people standing for the UK parliament and in other English elections, has been closed since the 2015 general election, supposedly while the government evaluates its success.
The new foundation plans to monitor progress towards increasing the number of disabled people in elected office, and to campaign for voting to be more accessible to disabled people.