The Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance, a network of disabled people and our organisations in England, is asking for support for a bold new vision for independent living* for the future. (* The phrase ‘independent living’ is not about disabled people doing things on our own, it means having choice and control over our own lives, being included in the community and having the same chances to take part as other people.)
The social care and mental health systems are currently in crisis and as a result disabled people’s rights to an adequate standard of living, to dignity and inclusion and to equal participation in society are being taken backwards.
In its present state, the system is not fit to respond to current needs, let alone predicted greater needs in the future. Disabled people’s experiences of support are subject to a post code lottery and differ considerably depending upon impairment.
Disabled people and our organisations are calling for a better system guaranteeing consistent levels of adequate support. This will not only benefit us and our families but will strengthen wider society, save costs in other areas and produce social and economic benefits.
Our vision of a national independent living support system is set out in the position paper “Independent Living for the Future” which you can download above or below for the easy read version.
Please sign up in support using the form at the end of this page and help us reclaim disabled people’s futures by making our vision a reality. [The form is published on the DPAC website and can be found by clicking here]
Sadly, I couldn’t attend Thursday’s meeting at the Houses of Parliament, but Ellen Clifford of DPAC kindly read out the following message on my behalf:
The Welsh Independent Living Grant was given to former ILF recipients as a temporary measure while future arrangements were discussed. In November 2016, the Welsh Government announced they would be scrapping the grant and transferring all funds to local authorities. This could not be allowed to happen and we have campaigned tirelessly and imaginatively to push the Welsh Government into making a u-turn. Independent Social Workers and extra funds have been promised by the Welsh Government to ensure former ILF recipients can remain in their local communities.
Even though the #SaveWILG campaign has been a success in protecting the rights of former ILF recipients, the Welsh Government are not planning to extend these rights to disabled people who missed out on the ILF. Our campaign has produced a positive result for approximately 1,300 of us, but this does not mean we can forget about those who never received the Welsh Independent Living Grant. We do not believe any disabled people with high support needs should be purely at the mercy of cash strapped local authorities.
The tripartite system that the ILF established – between recipient, local authority and independent social worker – should be something that we all receive. I would welcome the opportunity to be part of the ROFA campaign and share the skills and tactics that we have built up during our successful campaign. Please do keep in touch and let me know how the people of Wales can get involved. There may be a different legal system in Wales to contend with, but I believe that any Welsh Political Party would welcome the opportunity to work with the UK Government to protect disabled people with high support needs.
Many thanks for allowing me to be part of your discussion and let us hope that this is the beginning of a new campaign that will result in justice for disabled people and their families.