Disability Wales at risk of closure following funds shake-up
Following a Welsh Government funding change, as from the 1st of April 2016, DW will lose 68% of its income after its recent application to the Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant Scheme was turned down and risks closure in less than four months’ time.
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales explains:
“Since 1972 Disability Wales (DW) has received core funding from the Welsh Government’s Department for Health and Social Services to enable it to represent the voice of members with the aim of informing and influencing government policy. It has enabled DW to successfully influence priority issues for members such as Independent Living, Hate Crime and Access to the High Street as well as providing information and support to disabled people’s organisations around Wales.
“Welsh Government decided to replace core funding arrangements to national third sector organisations with a new project based grant scheme called the Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant. The narrower focus of this grant aimed at delivery of social care services meant that DW as a rights and equality based umbrella organisation no longer fitted the funding criteria.”
Wendy Ashton, Chair of Disability Wales states:
“Losing the core grant from Welsh Government is a devastating blow particularly at a time when disabled people, who make up one fifth of the Welsh population, are experiencing cuts both to benefits and services.
In his speech to DW’s Annual Conference on 8 October, the Minister for Health and Social Services Prof Mark Drakeford AM paid tribute to the ‘impact’ which Disability Wales has had on the new Social Services and Well-being Act as well as the ‘exciting projects’ it is delivering including the development of citizen-led co-operatives to support people with managing their Direct Payments.
Disabled people form one fifth of the Welsh population and face higher levels of poverty than any other group of people with protected characteristics, a situation worsening by the day following continued UK government cuts in benefits and services.”
Simon Green Disabled Activist and Chair of Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People, a member of Disability Wales states:
“Without Disability Wales there will be no national representative pan-impairment, barriers focussed body able to co-ordinate the views of disabled people and their organisations across Wales
“I think it will have a massive impact not just on Disability Wales but all the groups it represents including Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People. Bridgend Coalition have benefited from being a member of Disability Wales for many years and if it wasn’t for Disability Wales we probably wouldn’t exist”
“DW is in negotiation with Welsh Government regarding a short-term support package whilst a longer term solution is identified. However, DW requires an urgent response and time is limited as we approach Christmas and the end of the financial year! After more than 40 years as a national voice DW has less than four months to ensure its survival. Who will fight for disabled people’s rights if DW is not there?!”
Now the future looks uncertain for Caerphilly-based disability rights organisation.