It was excellent to see the recent Disabilities Festival on Christchurch Green in Wanstead.

Supported by Redbridge Council and Vision, the event saw people coming together to celebrate in community.

But it was one ill informed comment on social media that brought home how important such events are.

An able bodied person sounding off about what was happening on the Green, 'How dare they interfere with the normal activities of the day for the able bodied?'

This person was quickly informed by a disabled person just how important the event was to her

The original complainant would have done well to inform themselves exactly what was going on before leaping into print on social media. But then when in the social media age has actually knowing the facts been a prerequisite to not sounding off?

What the episode brought home is how invisible the disabled are to the able bodied in the population.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cllr Paul Donovan wants more equality for disabled peopleCllr Paul Donovan wants more equality for disabled people

This has become more of a personal reality over recent years, as my hearing has deteriorated. Little adjustment is made in daily life. Adjustments have to be made but that shouldn't all be down to the individual. 

The one thing that becomes clear is how many others have similar problems but struggle on in plain sight - invisible.

One person who has been an inspiration to many in the area is Churchfields councillor Rosa Gomez. 

A Columbian human rights activist, Rosa was shot in 2010. She is now blind and has little use in her arms. She suffers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite these huge obstacles, Rosa became active in the Woodford area. She stood as a Labour councillor in 2018 and won. Her service to residents was so good over the next four years, that she was returned with an increased majority last year.

Life though has not been easy for Rosa, more could have been done to make her life as a councillor easier. Disabled people are entitled to have reasonable adjustments made to help them cope.

Rosa's excellence in the role of councillor was rewarded last year by a shortlisting in the category of Recovery and Resilience in the Local Government Inform Unit national awards. There was recognition of her excellent public service.

Rosa is an inspiration to anyone who meets her. And she has urged more disabled people to come forward to get involved in politics.

Champions like Rosa, athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson, actress Rose Ayling Ellis and others show what can be done.

The challenge going forward is to make it possible for more disabled people to achieve their hopes and dreams. That means creating a really inclusive society. 

At the moment there is too much virtue signalling across the equality agenda. Anyone can get up and spout the rhetoric on equality, making it happen is often a very different matter. 

There really needs to be some proper auditing and inspection processes to ensure that private and public bodies, like councils, are really practicing equality. Otherwise, it can all be window dressing. One thing for sure is that plain ignorance is no excuse for inaction. 

Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and blogger (