COVID-19 has “supercharged inequalities already faced by disabled people” and left them to face “the same storm” in “different boats”, a leading organisation says.

Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) has around 5000 members and has issued 500 food packs for 500 people during the pandemic.

The organisation works across an area with the highest proportion of people with disabilities in Scotland.

It held a virtual conference last week which involved 130 people with disabilities as well as local and national politicians.

The event was “an opportunity for representatives of the thousands engaged by GDA since lockdown to voice their views” to Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie MSP and Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken, who were keynote speakers.

And it highlighted “the need for change and improvement to disabled people’s lives during the global pandemic”.

These problems, GDA says, have been “supercharged” during the crisis. Between March and June, it has made 4500 wellbeing check-in calls and carried out in-depth research which found that 55% of respondents were worried about food, money or medications.

Eight in ten were unaware of local services that could help them cope.

More than one in seven were worried about isolation and nine in ten were worried about their physical and mental health. Another 40% were struggling to access information in the formats they needed and around 40% were digitally excluded.

One person said the obstacles they face have “sky-rocketed”, while another said they are “more reliant” on their family than ever before, stating: “There have always been inequalities for disabled people in society but I’ve never felt it more than now.”

Further insights are to be published in the organisation’s upcoming report.

Chief executive officer Tressa Burke said: “There is something about the way the responses to the crisis have happened that has unwittingly let the people fall through the cracks.

“How can we be in a position where we are getting food to 500 people? What about people who aren’t in Glasgow? We can only go so far, we can’t go everywhere because we don’t have the funding or the staffing structure to do that.

“We have lost a number of members to Covid-19. Far more are still affected by the inequalities, including barriers to work and benefits, and cuts to care packages.

“Not everyone has been set up to survive in the same way. Disabled people are already in a bad position. This crisis has supercharged those inequalities.

“Disabled people know what works, what doesn’t and what needs to change.”