New Mural project for Bristol

Group of Black, Asian and white Disabled people of different ages and genders. Everyone is pointing to a piece of paper on a table.

BRIL and Disability Murals are inviting Disabled people, asylum seekers and refugees to join us for a new mural project.

We will be working together to make a new mural for Bristol. We want the mural to show other people about:

● Our experiences of the Covid pandemic.

● What our lives are like.

● What we want and what we need to change.

If you, or someone you know, wants to take part here is some information:

You don’t need to be good at drawing! You can put your ideas in words, drawings or photographs.

Everyone will be given everything they need to take part. An artist will then help put all the ideas together into one big mural, to be shown in Bristol.

If it’s safe we will meet up, or we can talk on the phone, or meet on the internet. We will decide together what we want other people to know about our experiences during Covid. 

When the mural is finished we will have a big celebration. We will invite people who we want to see the mural and to understand our messages.

We want people to work together to try make things better for all of us.

If you are interested and would like know more, please get in touch!


Or e-mail:

Or phone 07986 897234

BRIL. Disability Murals. The Quartet Foundation. University of Bath.
Logos: BRIL. Disability Murals. The Quartet Foundation. University of Bath.

This project is being funded by the Quartet Community Foundation, Joan Hawkins Grassroots Fund and the University of Bath.

Find out more about Disability Murals at:

Government Fails Disabled People Again: About us but not with us.

Press release: Wed 28 July 2021

Disabled People reject new ‘tick box’ national disability strategy.

Houses of Parliament, London, with Westminster Bridge in foreground. Image: Marcin Nowak, Unsplash

Disabled people and our organisations[i]  across the country have expressed outrage at the Government’s decision to go ahead with the launch of a national disability strategy[ii]  that is not a strategy, does not address key problems, does not reflect the issues and priorities of Disabled people and was not developed with Disabled people organisations[iii].

We have been waiting for 10 long years for a strategy that will tackle the growing poverty, exclusion and discrimination we face and set out a transformative plan for social justice, equality and inclusion. This so-called strategy does neither of these things.  

The lack of meaningful engagement with Disabled people and our organisations in the development of this so-called strategy has been so bad that a group of Disabled campaigners are taking the Government to court on the grounds that consultation was so poor as to be unlawful[iv]  

A spokesperson for the DPO forum said:

“Disabled people have been ignored yet again by this government. We know Disabled people have been disproportionately harmed by austerity, cuts to public services, cuts to benefits, a broken social care system and the Government’s on-going failure to protect and support Disabled people through this pandemic[v] . Working with Disabled people and our organisations to develop a disability strategy able to tackle these deep inequalities was an opportunity this Government has chosen to ignore. Instead, its pressed ahead with a tick box exercise producing a non-strategy not fit for purpose and that has limited credibility with Disabled people.”

Unlike the big disability charities that claim to speak for Disabled people, but do not represent us, Disabled peoples’ organisations are united in our opposition to this so-called strategy and once again call on the Government to start working with Disabled people, not against us.

Disabled people make up 20% of our population with many more people becoming disabled as a result of long covid. A key part of this governments ‘levelling up’ and ‘building back better’ agenda must be a disability strategy that embeds the Convention on the rights of Disabled people (UN CRPD)[vi] into domestic law and addresses the complex and deepening inequalities we experience. We call on the Government to put this tokenistic non-strategy aside with its raft of re-hashed policies, random actions and vague promises for future consultations, and start really working with us so we can get our equality and inclusion back on track.

[i] Names of DPO Forum England members: Alliance for Inclusive Education, Chronic Illness Inclusion, West of England Centre for Independent Living, Disability Sheffield, Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living, Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA), Equal Lives, Disability Rights UK, Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Disability Positive, Equality Together, Choices and Rights (Hull& East Riding), Breakthrough, Spectrum CIL, National Survivors Users Network, Sisters of Frida, Disabled People Against Cuts, Liberation, Inclusion London, People First,  Shaping Our Lives, Disability Stockport

[ii] Details of NDS strategy launch here:

[iii] Disabled peoples organisations are organisations that are run and controlled by Disabled people.


[v] (C. Putz and D. Ainslie, 2020), ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability status, England and Wales: 2 March to 14 July 2020’. Available at:




DPO Forum members:

Alliance for Inclusive Education

Breakthrough UK

Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living

Choices and Rights (Hull & East Riding)

Chronic Illness Inclusion

Disability Positive/

Disability Rights UK

Disability Sheffield

Disability Stockport

Disabled People Against Cuts

Equal Lives

Equality Together

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People

Inclusion London


National Survivors Users Network (NSUN)

People First,

Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA)

Shaping Our Lives

Sisters of Frida

Spectrum CIL

West of England Centre for Independent Living

Adult Social Care – Mark from BRIL on BBC Radio Bristol

Mark Williams from BRIL, with BBC Radio Bristol logo in the background.

BRIL is a part of a national campaign to stop people being charged for social care.

This week, BRIL founder Mark Williams spoke on the John Darvall Show, on BBC Radio Bristol, and asked Councillor Hellen Holland from Bristol City Council some questions about our campaign.

You can listen to the show here:

Starts 26 minutes in (at 26:45)


John Darvall, BBC Radio Bristol:
Let’s go to Mark. Mark, who is from Bristol, he is from BRIL, which is Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living. They’re a group who campaign for improvements in social care and the right to live independently. Mark is disabled, he has a personal assistant who helps him with his care, and acts as his speaker. So we’ve recorded this for you to hear.

Mark Williams, BRIL:

So what we’d like to ask Bristol City council is, First of all, can they ensure there will be no cuts to Adult Social Care?
Secondly, we ask that the council use powers that all local authorities already have, to end all charges for Adult Social Care, as they have done in Hammersmith and Fulham. These charges are discriminatory attacks on disability that causes debt, and are a major barrier to choice and control.

John Darvall:
Mark there, with the help of his assistant who was speaking for him. Helen Holland, Mark alluded there to the how, you had mentioned a little bit earlier, you talked about how councils are doing things differently, and you’re looking at different ways of doing things. Do you think Bristol could ever get to the point where it abolishes extra charges for Adult Social Care?

Councillor Helen Holland, Bristol City Council:

Well the first thing to say is I know Mark very well, and so it’s great to hear him. I think, as I said, that I’m happy for Bristol to be seen as a high spender, but I would like that to also mean that we’re a high performer. So, part of it is about trying to spend the money better and do things that more people, either with disabilities or older people, that they want us to do so that it’s the solutions that they, that they want. And that’s about transforming the services. It’s also about giving those people more say in how we commission the service, and also about more say about how they spend their money. So a lot of people now are on direct payments and they can choose how they employ their carers, how they spend their money.

You know one person, what they wanted was to have the membership as a national trust so that they could get up to Tyntsfield, and and go and enjoy the space out there. And that’s fine, so long as we can justify that that’s helping with their wellbeing. So there’s all sorts of things that we are doing. And I think that what that boils down to, is people having more say and more choice. But can I just come back very briefly to the point about making decisions in a crisis, because that might not only be for older people might not it, it might be for younger people with long term conditions.

And I think that that’s the value of talking to you John today, and doing programmes like this and how it’s being more on people’s radar. But you, really uncomfortable though it is, you really do need to sit down with people and say, What do you want further down the line? So that you’re not making those decisions, at a crisis, and that you’re more aware of what the options are.

BRIL would like to know what you think about this.

Please email us at:

Independent Living – Deaf & Disabled People’s Experiences During COVID-19

Collage with photos and swirly patterns in green, yellow and purple. Group of six disabled people around the number ‘6’. COVID Alert Level symbol. Hospital with a ‘We are nearly full’ sign. Black person using a wheelchair wearing a mask, on a bus. Nurse wearing a mask, at a NHS COVID Vaccination centre. Image of the Coronavirus. Person taking part in a Zoom meeting using a laptop. Group of three Disabled people, with a poster behind them titled ‘Human Rights Act.’

Saturday 15 May 2021

From 11.00 am to 1.00pm

This event is a chance for Deaf and Disabled people to have their say on what has happened to them during the Covid-19 pandemic, learn about other people’s experiences and share ideas about what the right to Independent Living means, during and after COVID-19.

With presenters including:

● Ellen Clifford, author of ‘The War on Disabled People’

● Andree Lee, People First Self-Advocacy

● David Melling , Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

● Mark Williams, founder of BRIL

Book a free ticket here

The event will be on Zoom.

People can join using a computer, laptop or tablet.

You can also join in using a phone if you do not use a computer.

To find out more e-mail:

Or text / phone : 07592 007246

Listen to this post

Artwork by @JamieDoughty11

Come and ask the future Mayor of Bristol your questions

Easy Read 'Ask The Future Mayor Your Questions Poster'
Easy Read ‘Ask The Future Mayor Your Questions Poster’
Play audio of Easy Read Leaflet

If you are a Deaf or Disabled Person living in Bristol, this is your chance to ask the person who will be Mayor of Bristol your question.

There will be Zoom meeting on

Wednesday 28th April

From 7.00-9.00 pm

Candidates from the four main parties have been asked to talk about issues that particularly affect Disabled People:

Conservative, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties. 

They will also answer questions that people have sent in.

If you would like to attend or send in a question please contact Alun from the Bristol Sight Loss Council at 

or ring 07779 169019

by Wednesday 21st April.

Organised by:

Bristol Sight Loss Council

Bristol Disability Equality Forum (BDEF)

Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL)

Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (CfD)

Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN)


Know Your Human Rights!

Person using wheelchair and standing Black Disabled person, pointing to Human Rights Act banner. White Disabled man raises fist. Text: Know Your Human Rights! Tuesday 27th April. British Institute of Human Rights logo. BRIL logo.
Listen to information about the Know Your Human Rights event.

Tuesday 27th April

2.00pm to 3.30pm

Please join our event with:

The British Institute of Human Rights

At this online event you can find out about

● Human rights law. 

● Real stories about Disabled people’s rights. 

● Advice about challenging local policies.

● Visiting rights in hospitals, care homes, mental health services and GP surgeries.

To book your place, or if you have any questions about the event, please email

Or text BRIL and your message to : 07592 007246

You can send questions in advance

The event will have BSL interpreters

Four for Justice

Statue of Edward Colston being pulled down from plinth.
Crowd hold banners.  Bristol buildings frame the scene.
Blue sky.
Statue of Edward Colston being pulled down from plinth. Crowd cheer and hold banners.
Bristol buildings frame the scene. Blue sky.

By George A. Ayres

Written on 25th January 2025

The Court is in session

For acts of suppression

Against four who stood tall

For good in the long haul

Four who fought for justice

Brave they encompass

The passion of justice

Against injustices

Tyrants inherent

Both past and present

From within slavers’ ships

All remember the whips

To deaths in custody

Cruelties abundantly

– – –

Summer saw a statue go for a swim

Winter witness wrath of unjust whim

They picked four to send a dressing, 

Down Against those that gave Bristol’s blessing

By removing that ill idol of a slaver 

History will fulfil for great justice’s favour

As we will now honour the brave calls

Just as honouring the protests of St Pauls

– – –

Stand for four for justice

Against the corrupted

We will judge those for chains

Revelling in making pains

They prefer us all to cower

Before their reigns of power

Silence is what they aim

Yet we won’t play their game

Silence on injustices

Is not our substances

We stand tall with the four

Who stood with justice’s chore

Stand against oppression

As Court is in it’s session

– – –

This poem was written by George, a member of BRIL.

The poem was a reaction to the Colston 4 case.

You can read more on the Alternative Bristol website:

​UK Disability History Month 2020

Wednesday 18 November to Friday 18 December 2020

UK Disability History Month.
Black text on a yellow circle, within a Black Triangle.

Access: How far have we come?
How far do we have to go?

Arkbound Foundation and BRIL are hosting an online project for UK Disability History Month.
We would like to include different experiences and creative ideas about ‘access’ and ‘accessibility.’

If you have artwork, film, music, poetry or anything you would like to share, please get in touch!

We can offer anyone who takes part a small payment.
To find out more email:


Disability History Month 2020.
Access: How far have we come? 
How far do we have to go?

Poster with Arkbound and BRIL logos.

BRIL’s first year… what’s next?

Daphne Branchflower, seated in wheelchair wearing red jumper. Ellen Clifford holding Microphone. Mark Williams speaking into microphone.
Photograph courtesy of John Pring, Disability News Service

In 2019, a group of people in Bristol got together to talk about what the idea of ‘Independent Living’ means.

Independent Living can mean different things, to different people.

But the group agreed it should include:

● Having equal choices and decisions,

● Having support that meets our needs,

● Being fully included in the community.

We also agreed that Independent living does not mean being in institutions, being left your own, or having to fend for yourself. In other words, the ideals fought for by Disabled people over the last 50 years.

However, some of us felt that these ideas were being taken over, and being mis-used to mean something totally different.

Disabled people in the group had faced cuts to their support, and then been told that this would ‘encourage independence.’ We knew people in supported living, Disabled school children, asylum seekers and people in the mental health system that were having their support taken away. Again, the excuse from authorities was that this would ‘teach’ them to not need any support.

In the summer of 2019, Daphne Branchflower, one of founders of the group that became BRIL, died. Daphne had been part of the Disabled people’s movement for many years, fighting for our rights until the very end.

The group felt that we needed to do something.

At an event called ‘Untold Stories’ about Disability history at the Arnolfini in Bristol, Mark Williams talked about these ideas and whether a new group might be needed. After a few months of planning, BRIL was launched in September 2019.

Since then, BRIL has grown into a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO), run by and for Disabled people, autistics, people with chronic illness and people who experience mental illness / distress.

Some of us have been involved in campaigning for many years, while others are new to disability groups. But what we all share is a commitment to changing things, to being honest and to making decisions as a group.

However, the Covid-19 Pandemic hit us, and some of plans had to be postponed… So we agreed straight away to focus on:
● Holding regular online peer-support meetings,
● Making accessible and EasyRead information,
● Fundraising so we can help isolated Disabled people including asylum seekers and older people to get access to the internet,
● Campaigning for our rights during Covid.

One of BRIL’s main wins, so far, has been getting NHS England to change their hospital visiting policy, by working alongside Disabled writer Fleur Perry and human rights layers from Rook Irwin Sweeney.

Where to next? A Disabled People’s Commission for Bristol...

BRIL is, and will always be, about working together. At BRIL’s first meetings, we were joined by people from groups including Bristol Disability Equality Forum, the Carers Support Centre, the Social Work Action Network, WECIL and Wiltshire CIL.

Along the way we have worked with arts groups including the Arkbound Foundation, Misfits Theatre Company and the Urban Word Collective.

We have been in contact with Disabled people’s organisations, user-led groups and migrants rights groups in Bristol, the South West and across the country.

We have also joined two national networks who have supported us to grow: ROFA (Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance) and NSUN (National Survivors and Users Network.) It was through NSUN that we secured funding to build this website and expand our online peer-support meetings.

For many years, people in Bristol have discussed different ways of bringing together the different Deaf, Disabled and mental health user-led groups in our area.

Since Covid-19, the need for this is ever more urgent. The pandemic has revealed the inequality and discrimination that Deaf people, Disabled people and mental health users/survivors face.  It was with this in mind that BRIL met recenty with members of Greater Manchester Disabled People’s Panel, to learn from their experiences.

We were then very pleased to hear at WECIL’s annual general meeting the Deputy Mayor for Bristol, Councillor Asher Craig, give her support for the idea of a Disabled People’s Commission for Bristol. This is something that many of us have talked about, and we know that people really want this to happen.

Until then, BRIL will carry on campaigning for our rights, being a place to share experiences and ideas… and reminding everyone that we all depend on each other!