DISABLED People Against Cuts (DPAC) Ceredigion took to the streets outside the Guildhall in Cardigan recently to highlight the problems they face and the looming introduction of Universal Credit.

The group started back in September, with a few friends wanting better access for people with disabilities in the town and surrounding areas. Since then, it has expanded, with members joining from Aberystwyth and Pembrokeshire.

One of the group, Morvenna Richards, from Cardigan, said: “Universal Credit will be rolled out in Ceredigion in September.

“Many of us are concerned about the hidden cutbacks that will affect people with disabilities, individuals on low wages, entitlement to free school dinners for children of families on low incomes, a rise in cases of domestic abuse due to the 'one household, one claim' rule, people on fluctuating income, such as farmers, small business owners and those on zero hour contracts, as well as the long wait claimants have experienced in receiving their payments.”

DPAC also acts as a support group for people with all disabilities, physical, learning, sensory and mental health conditions. It holds regular meetings to discuss issues that affect individuals, families, carers and friends.

The group recently launched a regular open mic night, with the help of Steve and staff from The Cellar Bar, Cardigan. 'On one level' nights are held at street level, to enable wheelchair users to enjoy local music, poetry, and comedy acts.

Morvenna said: “By sharing our experiences, we can offer support to our members. We also work with other local groups and charities in Ceredigion, who can offer professional advice and support with many issues and obstacles we face, from adapted housing, to claiming benefits, completing forms and access issues.”

The group is currently campaigning to make Cardigan swimming pool more accessible for people with disabilities and wheelchair users.

“The pool has a fantastic hydrotherapy pool that would benefit so many people in our town,” added Morvenna. “At present, the nearest hydrotherapy pool is in Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen. The waiting lists for hydrotherapy are fit to burst.

“Making Cardigan pool accessible will save money for the NHS, cut waiting lists and travelling expenses to Carmarthen. We have been working with MP Ben Lake in making this possible and have the support of the physiotherapists and consultants, who have written statements of the benefits of hydrotherapy for people with chronic illness.”