Posted 24.6.2019

The DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) Programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, has recently awarded £100,000 in funding to Queen’s University Belfast to undertake a piece of research titled ‘Getting Our Voices Heard (GOVH)’.

We regularly hear stories of the abuse of disabled people, whether on the street or in their homes. In developing policies to keep people safe, it is imperative that disabled people themselves have direct influence on these polices. This research will explore how people with learning disabilities, and their organisations can best influence the policy and practice of adult safeguarding; this includes both disability hate crime and aspects of social care.

The research will be co-produced by a team of researchers, including those with a learning disability.

GOVH research partners working with Queen’s University include Compass and Advocacy Network, Association of Real Change, Praxis Care and Craft Trust, Richmond Fellowship Scotland and Mencap Cyrmu.

Dr Lorna Montgomery, Lecturer from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast and project lead said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding from DRILL and the Community Fund to carry out this much needed piece of research.

“The project will be carried out jointly by academic researchers and peer researchers with lived experience of learning disability. It will investigate how people with learning disabilities and relevant Disabled People’s Organisations can best influence adult safeguarding policy, and will conclude with co-produced recommendations on the best approaches to influencing adult safeguarding policy and its implementation at national and local levels.

“The GOVH project commenced in April 2019 and is due to be completed in the spring of 2020.”

Sylvia Gordon DRILL Programme Manager at Disability Action NI said:

“We expect the GOVH commission work to be central to the learning and legacy of the DRILL Programme through disabled people themselves influencing policy across four nations and demonstrating the effectiveness of co-producing research evidence.”

 The five year DRILL Programme is the world's first major research programme led by disabled people, for disabled people – and will help to inform future policy and service provision, as well as give a greater voice to disabled people in decisions which affect them. The DRILL Programme is a partnership led by Disability Action, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and Disability Rights UK. The DRILL Programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, is supporting 32 research and pilot projects on independent living across the UK’s four nations through almost £3million in funding.


  1. Based on the outcome of the GOVH research, and building on policy theory and the current evidence base around policymaking, recommendations will be made around how best to maximise influence on policymaking as it refers to adult safeguarding policy.
  2. For further information please contact: Sylvia Gordon, DRILL Programme Manager, Disability Action, [email protected], Tel: 028 9029 7880; Zara McBrearty, Communications Officer, Queen’s University Belfast, [email protected], Tel: 028 9097 3259;
  3. The National Lottery Community Fund - We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.