Posted 03.08.2021

Active Independence is a Disabled person's user led organisation. They are a small charity based in South Yorkshire who offer advice, training and advocacy to anyone encountering the many barriers facing Disabled people, and those who support them.

What difference has the pandemic made to the communities you serve?

Tremendous difference – most of disabled people are faced isolation, loneliness, lack of support. Severe difficulties with closure of essential support services and inability made deterioration of conditions.

What impact did you see on your services as a result?

We have seen an increase in demand for our services – particularly Advocacy and, now restrictions are easing, there has been an incredible increase in demand for help to recruit PAs whilst we are experience a real shortage of people wanting to come into care – too much competition from a glut of similarly paid jobs e.g. hospitality/warehouse.

What has the NET funding enabled you to do for those people you help?

This funding has been critical to us being able to continue without the additional stress of seeking the ongoing funding – particularly when we were under tremendous pressure supporting PAs to access vaccines January/February.

What challenges/opportunities do you see ahead?

Obviously we worry this funding is coming to an end so we are back on the Funding treadmill.

The people we support we are already beginning to see cases of long COVID and the results "deconditioning" due to inactivity and isolation over the past 18 months and increased stress and anxiety is as a result of delays in benefit assessments.

The future of DPO’s - Why DPOs are important and why we need to invest in them and protect them in the future?

We believe it is vital DPOs continue to exist – it is our lived experience that is critical to our success.

People come to us and trust us because they know we are 100% on their side, we have insight and understanding into the barriers they face and will continue to work and strive to tackle these barriers.

Most DPOs are small organisations and so vulnerable and fragile to funding fluctuations – sadly some DPOs who grow into larger organisations we feel do lose some of their grassroots values it is important to their core, purpose and values.

Read more about Active Independence