Posted 12.08.2021

Recent stories we’ve shared highlight the importance of Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) across the UK.  Ongoing emergency funding is needed to build on the achievements of this DPO COVID-19 NET Emergency Fund and the determination of DPOs to support disabled people locally.  

A clearer understanding of the value of DPOs and how they differ from non-user-led disability charities is needed.

The future of DPOs is dependent on ongoing emergency funding needs of the DPOs. We, Disability Action NI, Inclusion Scotland, Inclusion London and Disability Wales, are calling on governments and mainstream funding bodies to support DPOs.

Stories from DPOs across the UK have shown that it was only with the vital support of the DPO COVID-19 NET Emergency Fund that they were able to continue to support disabled people throughout the pandemic and, for some, funding was a lifeline enabling them to remain operational.

This fund was inundated with applications with over £3.4million applied for - far exceeding the £1,092,906 of emergency COVID-19 funding - showing the scale of need in response to the crisis.

Ongoing emergency funding is needed to build on the achievements of the DPO COVID-19 NET Emergency Fund project and the determination of DPOs to support disabled people locally.  

Glasgow Disability Alliance, Scotland:

DPOs have a wealth of experience, skills, knowledge and values to make sure diverse disabled people are front and centre of our organisations, our work and our communities. This is especially vital now that there is greater competition in terms of access to funding and seats around the tables of power. We are in danger of being pushed aside by those who claim to represent us, but are not us.

Mae Murray Foundation, N.Ireland:

Had it not been for emergency funding, we would have struggled to function. Investment in and protection of DPO’s is crucial to the long-term support of disabled people and their families.

TheFDF’s Centre for Independent Living (CIL), Wales:

FUNDING, FUNDING, FUNDING! Our new work in North West Wales is not funded by anybody but we received 25 referrals in the first month many of these are very complex situations. It saddens me to sit in meetings where staff from heavily funded organisations are begging for referrals; clearly there is something radically wrong with the way government and health board funding is distributed.

Action Disability Kensington & Chelsea, England:

The fear and uncertainty engendered by the ongoing crisis (and frequent lack of clear direction from those in power) are creating a mental health crisis timebomb. This is particularly true amongst disabled people who often experience the greatest isolation and lack of access to essential services. At the same time, whilst funding for community support services appeared relatively abundant last year, it has become very scarce this year.


Active Independence, England:

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 Personal Assistants to access vaccines January/February. Most DPOs are small organisations and so vulnerable and fragile to funding fluctuations.

Glasgow Access Panel, Scotland:

NET funding helped to keep our organisation in operation through a difficult time in our funding, having recently lost our main funder of a number of years (Glasgow City Council) due to their Integrated Grant Fund being replaced and their criteria altered. 

Deaf Action Scotland:

Having the additional resources to allow us to support people to adapt to new technology was critical to the success of our work, and none of this would have been possible without the support of NET.

Destined, N.Ireland:

The funding received from NET supported the organisation to replace the funding lost through a lack of fundraising opportunities.

Read more stories from DPOs

Inclusion London one of the DPO COVID-19 Coalition partners, recently launched a research report 'Understanding the needs of DDPOs in England' - relevant to other regions of the UK.

Read the report here