Disability - doesn't mean - Inability. 

Story shared 30.6.2021

TheFDF’s Centre for Independent Living (CIL) is a grassroots organisation that provides a wide range of equipment, services and social activities, as well as, impartial, confidential, information, advice, guidance, comfort, support and practical help to people living in Wales who have a physical and / or sensory impairment, including their families and their carers.

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

The FDF works primarily with the most isolated, unsupported disabled people in our community; the pandemic highlighted how vulnerable physically disabled people are.

We saw real terror and fear that was almost tangible. To have food parcels delivered without a choice as to the content. Prescription supplies disrupted left many people experiencing more anxiety and many slipped into mental health issues where there hadn’t been before.

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

Unlike other agencies the demand for support from TheFDF grew. Working from home created challenges for the staff, and service users who struggle with the telephone and online communication; not everybody has access to the internet, ipads, smart phones or family / friends to support them.

We noticed a significant increase in hate crime, mental health concerns, self harm and tensions between disabled people and their carers. We made 5 referrals to North Wales police for welfare visits.

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

The NET funding enabled us to recruit an additional member of staff to help with the demand and to make weekly befriending calls, there is no time limit and we are adding more recipients every week.

What challenges/opportunities do you see ahead?

Returning to normality this new wave of the Delta variant has raised more concerns and we have noticed some people returning to self isolation with the increase in new cases.

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.

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

TheFDF is led by the disabled people across North Wales hence the reason for our growth and success at the grass roots; the need is identified by those with the lived experience not those in the Welsh Government who fund 'nationals' who fail to deliver.

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.


Read more about TheFDF’s Centre for Independent Living (CIL)