Enabling Wales

Enabling Wales celebrates

Disability Wales is celebrating the achievements of the Enabling Wales project which finishes this month after a very successful three year run.

A unique project, Enabling Wales was set up to deliver:

“An enabling society in which disabled children and adults enjoy the right to independent living and social inclusion”

Graduates of the training course, in Active Citizenship, Equality and Democracy, have already gone on to create change in campaigning on disability equality issues, locally and nationally.

Nathan Lee Davies, course graduate said:

“Two years ago, I had a very important decision to make: Do I swim or do I sink in the face of cuts to benefits and the support I am entitled to?

I knew I had to keep fighting for what is right – both for me and others – but I did not have any idea of where to begin.  The Enabling Wales programme changed all of this by giving me the knowledge and encouragement I needed to become a disability rights activist.

I truly believe that the Enabling Wales course changed my life for the better.  It empowered me and taught me that the only thing I have to lose are my chains.”

 

Enabling Wales is a Welsh Government funded project run by Disability Wales in partnership with DEWIS CIL and the Wales Co-operative Centre. The project has been working to strengthen and establish Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in parts of Wales where disabled people are under-represented. Training programmes have developed disabled young people as ambassadors.

Today’s celebration will also launch two new Centres for Independent Living, created as social enterprises, and the Enabling Wales toolkit and website to support the continuation of the work.

Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales’s said:

“Enabling Wales has empowered disabled people to change their own lives and others’.  We live in times where the rights of disabled people are increasingly under attack and we must challenge this in our local communities and at the highest levels of Government.

The more information and knowledge disabled people have, the stronger we are together in fighting inequality and social injustice.” 

Young activist Mair Elliott said:

“Since completing the Young Enabling Wales project, I have gained some incredible experiences. My campaign work has been fruitful and I have become an accomplished spokesperson (something which I never thought possible in the past).

The skills and knowledge I learned from the course has made an immeasurable difference to my work and confidence. In October 2016 I was awarded a Welsh Government award for making a difference, which really allowed me to see how my work has impacted Wales.”

 

Disability Wales awarded £600,000 Welsh Government funding package

Disability Wales has been awarded a funding package by Welsh Government totaling £600,000 over the next three years, which means that it is no longer at risk of closure this March as feared following the news before Christmas that it lost its core grant due to changes in Welsh Government grant making arrangements.

Disability Wales has received core funding from the social services division within Welsh Government for over 40 years enabling it to act as the voice of disabled people’s organisations in Wales promoting rights, equality and independence.

The change from core to project funding under the new Welsh Government Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant Scheme meant that DW no longer fitted the criteria so lost its main source of funding when it was not awarded a grant under the scheme.

Financial support to DW under the new package will be transferred from the Social Services and Integration Division delegated budget to the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.

Responding to the news about the funding announcement, DW’s Chief Executive Rhian Davies stated:

“Following a traumatic few weeks for the organisation, it is a huge relief to have secured the future of Disability Wales at a time when widespread cuts in benefits and services mean that the need for a national organisation to champion disabled people’s rights could not be greater. The agreement to award this funding package demonstrates that Welsh Government values the contribution made by DW over many policy areas”.

DW’s Chairperson, Wendy Ashton stated:

I am delighted that DW will be able to continue our vital work including delivery of our exciting and innovative projects Enabling Wales, Citizen Directed Co-operatives Cymru and DRILL. I take this opportunity to thank our members and indeed everyone who has supported us over such a difficult time, the goodwill towards the organisation has been overwhelming and certainly heartened us all.

The funding package means that DW is no longer at risk of imminent closure, nevertheless the organisation’s income will be substantially reduced. Over the next few months DW will undertake a strategic review involving Directors and staff to reassess priorities and identify other funding opportunities to ensure a more sustainable future.

 

Notes

Disability Wales is the national association of Disabled People’s Organisations striving to achieve the rights, equality and independence of all disabled people.

Link to Cabinet Statement

Link to press release announcing loss of funding