Fareham family delivers 40,000-signature petition to 10 Downing Street calling for appointment of a disabled children’s minister

Aimee White, Emily White and Dan White outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, January 23. Picture: Byron Melton
Aimee White, Emily White and Dan White outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, January 23. Picture: Byron Melton
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AS THEY delivered Scope’s ‘vital’ petition to the corridors of power, the White family said: ‘This is just the beginning’. 

The Fareham trio topped off months of campaigning for the charity as they handed a plea to appoint a minister for disabled children and families to 10 Downing Street this afternoon.

Dan White, Emily White and Aimee White with the Scope petition calling for the appointment of a minister for disabled children and families. Picture: Byron Melton

Dan White, Emily White and Aimee White with the Scope petition calling for the appointment of a minister for disabled children and families. Picture: Byron Melton

Since November Dan White has led Scope’s call for the role in the hope of building a government-led support network for thousands of UK families like his own. 

Now those in power must listen – after his 12-year-old daughter Emily, who has has spina bifida, knocked on the door of prime minister Theresa May and lodged the petition today.

‘This means the ball can start rolling,’ said Mr White, a 46-year-old campaigner and columnist. 

‘The government has been putting in ministers for other social causes like loneliness and suicide prevention and now we are owed a minister for disabled children and families.

‘Another generation can’t go through the same fears and anxiety we have – it’s not fair.’ 

Mr White and his wife Aimee, a blogger, have been campaigning to highlight the lack of information available to parents of disabled children at the point of diagnosis. 

If a minister for disabled children and families is appointed they believe a ‘one-stop shop’ could give people in their position a support network to turn to, without fear of isolation. 

Mrs White, 43, said: ‘As a parent of a disabled child it’s very hard to find information and to get things like benefits you have to jump through hoops.

‘Only now I’ve discovered we’ve got free parking at the hospital, after 12 years, and it’s things like that would be so much easier if someone could just say “look, this is what you need”.’ 

When the White family partnered with Scope to raise awareness of the petition, a target of 10,000 signatures was set. 

To the people who helped smash that target – including her teachers at Portchester Community School – Emily said: ‘Thank you so much to everyone who has signed the petition because it means families like ours could get the support they need after so many years.’ 

Mr White said he hopes backing for the document will continue to soar. 

To view the petition, visit tinyurl.com/yaazwuch