Sam’s campaign for blue badge inclusivity
National Star student Sam Vestey is campaigning to get the blue disabled badge changed to make it more inclusive.
The 20-year-old from Bishop’s Cleeve is often challenged about using disabled areas such as parking spaces.
‘There are many people like me with disabilities that effect our mobility over time which means we need wheelchairs for when we are tired,’ says Sam.
‘However, because we can walk a lot or a little of the time, we get many people questioning our need for a disabled badge asking if we are disabled or not, especially if we don’t look disabled on the outside.’
Sam, who is due to start his second year at National Star next month, has a chromosomal condition called DiGeorge Syndrome and survived a pineoblastoma brain tumour as a child.
‘DiGeorge Syndrome gives me a cleft pallet which affects my speech and scoliosis which effects my back. I have no learning disabilities and have normal intelligence,’ says Sam.
‘Just because people can’t see my disability, they don’t understand how much pain I am in and how fatigued I get. That’s why I have a disabled badge.’
Representing unseen disabilities
Sam is calling for the disabled badge to be more inclusive and to include a standing figure to represent unseen disabilities.
‘I’m not blaming anyone as even I do this, but over time I have learnt that we need to think outside the box as only people that know you very well know that how your disability affects you on a daily basis,’ says Sam.
‘If we had a stick figure standing up as well as one in a wheelchair, people would understand that there are people with hidden disabilities who get worse over time or hidden disabilities in general. I would also like more information talking about this on the sign as well.’
Sam has been passionate about this campaign for years. He gave a speech on it when he was in Year 8 at Cleeve School. He has decided now is the time to act.
He has already contacted his local MP Laurence Robertson and Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk and isn’t planning to stop there.
National Star, a Gloucestershire based charity, which supports young people with complex disabilities and learning difficulties, is backing Sam and his campaign.
‘National Star is passionate about helping young people with disabilities become equal and active citizens in control of their own lives. That is exactly what Sam is doing with his campaign and we applaud his determination,’ said David Ellis, Chief Executive, National Star.