Doddie has teamed up with Rachael Hamilton MSP to call on the Scottish Government to extend the Blue Badge Scheme to people living with motor neuron disease.
The campaign asks the Scottish Government to change the criteria for a blue badge to allow those who live with MND to have automatic access to the scheme, rather than have to go through the lengthy process of a desk assessment.
Ms Hamilton took the initiative to launch the campaign after constituents living with MND highlighted difficulties in obtaining a Blue Badge.
Scotland’s blue badge scheme was extended in December 2017 to include carers and relatives of people with conditions such as dementia, autism and Down’s Syndrome, but not those living with MND.
It is estimated that around 230,000 people in Scotland hold a blue badge, allowing them to park on roads without charge and normally without time limit. Around 75% of blue badge holders say they would go out less often if they didn’t have one.
Ms Hamilton hopes that the support of Doddie Weir will help bring a positive change in the Blue Badge criteria, so that those living with the condition can park more closely to their destination.
Doddie said: “Motor neurone disease is unpredictable. It can be fiercely aggressive and a third of those who receive this terrible diagnosis die within a year, more than a half within two years of receiving this devastating news.
“I have been determined to maintain a level of independence and I want to be out and about, seeing my sons play rugby at weekends, helping with the work of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and living my life to the full. But as time goes on, like fellow sufferers of MND, this becomes more difficult. Not everyone has six months to wait for the blue badge system to kick in.
“Fortunately there are not too many of us in this exclusive club but I believe everyone who is diagnosed with motor neurone disease should automatically be entitled to a blue badge, this will enable families to live a dignified and as full a life as possible while coping with this terrible disease.”
Rachael Hamilton, Scottish Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: “I want people living with MND to receive an automatic entitlement to a blue badge without having to go through a desk based assessment. Currently, only those in receipt of a qualifying state benefit have an automatic entitlement to a blue badge.
“Constituents first got in contact with me several months ago, making me aware of the difficulties of obtaining a Blue Badge.
“Given the nature of MND, people can suddenly require extra support at short notice, and the extension of the Blue Badge scheme would be one way in which a simple change could make a huge impact.
“By teaming up with Doddie Weir, I hope that the campaign will raise awareness that the criteria needs to change.
“I hope the Scottish Government will listen and make the simple yet necessary changes to extend the Blue Badge Scheme”.