Mike Harrison, secretary of SATA, said "We are pleased that we continue to find worthy recipients for these awards, recognising a range of innovation, long service, dedication and much hard work for the benefit of disabled travellers."
SATA is making two awards this year which have strong connections. They are both to young ladies with a disability, and both are about the attitudes which other people take to them. The basic principle is that people with a disability should not be disadvantaged by the way they are treated, compared with those without a disability. In most cases where this principle is broken the cause is ignorance or lack of awareness of the needs of those with a disability, rather than malice. Making laws and regulations do not in themselves change people’s understanding or attitudes.
Both the recipients have suffered in the way they have been unjustly treated by others, and both have taken steps to try to show how people can help them rather than put them down.
Grace Warnock, a young lady from Prestonpans not yet in her teens, who suffers from a condition which has no visible outward signs, has received abuse for using an accessible toilet simply because she didn’t “look disabled”.
Karen Sutherland, a young lady not long out of her teens, uses a wheelchair, so she may “look disabled” (but certainly does not "behave disabled") and been on the receiving end of uncooperative attitudes on buses from both other passengers and drivers.
Their experiences have driven both to action, and their enthusiasm has rallied support from friends and beyond in actions to promote the human rights and equalities of people with a disability whether physical, mental or cognitive.
“Grace’s Sign” has been installed in hundreds of locations across the country and Karen’s Video has had thousands of views on social media and beyond.
Grace and Karen are commended because they did not sit back and do nothing but devised a plan of action and got others to work with them to implement it successfully.