Eric Griffiths, from Salford has been awarded ‘Person of the year’ at the 2021 Sense Awards, celebrated for a lifetime of campaigning for the rights of disabled people.
Eric, 57, who has Usher Syndrome and is deafblind, was a major winner at this year’s Sense Awards, which celebrate the achievements of people with complex disabilities. Eric lives with his partner Charlie and has been volunteering and campaigning with Sense for 37 years. He has spoken out on issues such as loneliness and accessibility in his local community. Through his campaigning, he has been invited to join the Board of Transport for Greater Manchester to share his experience of disability and provide recommendations to the council on how to improve transport accessibility.
Most recently, Eric has campaigned on the Government’s handling of the pandemic. He found the lockdown difficult as information was not presented in an accessible way, leading him and many other disabled people to feel left behind and ignored. Due to his hearing and sight impairment, he struggled to access basic services such as GP appointments and supermarkets. This left him isolated, but he remained motivated to speak out about how disabled people should be better supported in society.
Throughout the pandemic Eric also cooked and delivered meals to isolated and elderly residents in Salford. He plans to continue campaigning for the rights of deafblind people in the community.
Eric Griffiths said:
“Winning this award means the world to me. I hope I can make people sit up and listen to what disabled people have to say and make it a more inclusive society.”
Sense Chief Executive Richard Kramer said:
“We are delighted to present Eric with the 2021 ‘Person of the Year’ Award and congratulate him on all his achievements. Eric has been an incredible Sense campaigner for many years and has spoken openly about his experience as a deafblind person. He sets an example we should all aspire to in making the world more inclusive and accessible for all.”
The Sense Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people with complex disabilities, as well as the staff, carers, family members, volunteers and fundraisers who support them.