A LOCAL campaigner says more support is needed to prevent disabled people from growing isolated as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Johanna Stewart has herself suffered from the suspension of groups including Inverclyde Buddies and Versus Arthritis since the lockdown started in March.

She is now reaching out to other people who attend the social groups to keep in touch.

Johanna says that she has benefited from weekly chats with the Your Voice team but believes more services are required to help those who are forced to stay at home.

Johanna, 45, who lives on her own in Greenock, said: "It has been tough, really tough, not being able to go out.

"Some days you feel so low.

"All our groups stopped because of the risks - keeping people safe comes first.

"But I can't see anything come back anytime soon.

"I don't think it is recognised enough that disabled people are more vulnerable to mental health problems."

Community-spirited Johanna, who has spina bifida, has been actively involved over the years in campaigning for disabled people in the area.

She champions Shopmobility, which gives disabled people independence in the town centre, and runs Inverclyde Buddies.

Johanna also stepped in to stop the Versus Arthritis social group from closing down in the past.

She has been trying to keep in touch with those who rely on the monthly get-togethers.

Johanna told the Tele: "I am particularly worried about the older people who go to the club.

"It is the only night out they get."

Johanna would also like to see disabled people get greater access to testing so that in time they have confidence to go out.

She said: "I think the authorities need to look at giving priority to disabled people, so that we can go out and get back into the community."

*Anyone from Versus Arthritis who would like to get in touch with Johanna, can reach her on 07515028739.