What the Bristol Disability Commission is, what it does and its members

The Bristol Disability Equality Commission

The Bristol Disability Equality Commission (BDEC) was set up in September 2021, with 11 members appointed in February 2022 to identify barriers faced by disabled people in the city. It's separate from the council.

The BDEC works with all people and groups in the city. All members of the commission are disabled people, and only disabled people can be members.

Bristol Disability Equality Commission vision

The vision of BDEC is that disabled people want to live and are proud to live in Bristol. This is because Bristol will take away barriers that stop disabled people being treated equally and having the same chances as everyone else.

What the BDEC does

The Commission takes a leading role to:

  • remove barriers that stop disabled people being included fully in the life of the city
  • check that barriers have been removed

The BDEC work in Bristol is based on the Social Model of Disability and human rights.

The model says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference.

Barriers can be:

  • physical, such as buildings not having accessible toilets
  • people's attitudes to difference, such as assuming disabled people can't do certain things


  • prioritises what disabled people have said is most important to them
  • believes coproduction where people work together with organisations to design and improve services is very important, disabled residents and decision makers work together as equal partners
  • works with disabled people to plan, design and review strategies to remove barriers
  • works with groups and organisations to make sure they understand coproduction
  • asks groups and organisations to use coproduction in their work with disabled people
  • works in a way that is inclusive and accessible
  • works to make Bristol a city that includes, respects and values disabled people from all communities

BDEC members

There are 3 types of membership:

  • individual disabled people
  • organisations of deaf and disabled people
  • disability organisations who are not run and controlled by disabled people

There is a maximum of 15 members on the commission.

Individual members

Chair: Alun Davies MBE

Vice-chair: Megan Belcher

Anela Wood

Beth Richards

Laura Welti

Lynn Parfitt

Marie Mighty

Devon Lowndes

Members from organisations of deaf and disabled people

Justin Smith of Bristol Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Gordon Richardson of Bristol Disability Equality Forum

Val Stanfield of Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living

Ruth Pickersgill MBE of West of England Centre for Inclusive Living

Updates and contact

Twitter : https://twitter.com/BristolDEC

LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/company/bristol-disability-equality-commission/

Email bristoldec@gmail.com