My Life My Choice
Disabled people are 50% more likely than others to face barriers in accessing online and digital services, according to research – largely due to inaccessible websites and resources. However, there are also issues around the affordability of devices. For example, the 2021 NHS Digital report found that only 5.1% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment.
Pure Innovations was established in 2005. The people it works with face challenges due to disability or health-related issues, and it supports them to live fulfilled and independent lives with a sense of purpose and belonging.
Belfast-based social enterprise NOW Group launched its Family Service to support expectant and new parents that have a learning disability or autism after identifying that these individuals faced specific issues. There are over 36,000 adults estimated to have a learning disability in Northern Ireland and research suggests that one in 15 women with a learning disability have children. This means there is an estimated 1,200 mothers with a learning disability in the country.
The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety
The Centre usually directs its personal safety and self-defence courses at survivors of domestic violence, but it was prompted to develop a course for the blind and visually impaired after reading that these individuals are more than twice as likely as sighted people to be attacked, and often live in fear. The course, which combines personal safety advice with practical self-defence skills and counselling techniques, was developed in consultation with two blind men, both of whom were so inspired by the confidence they gained that they themselves trained to become course instructors.
People with autism face many injustices and difficulties. They are more likely to be unemployed, have a greater risk of mental health problems, and are at increased risk of other health issues. Autistic people will die, on average, 16 years earlier than their peers. A quarter of autistic people will not speak a word during their lives. Autistica decided to reinvent itself and pioneer new ways of working with people to address the issue. The charity has changed its organisational mindset and now considers itself a “force for change”.
There are 10 million disabled people in the UK and less than 8 per cent are estimated to be achieving the recommended levels of physical activity. Aspire provides practical help to those who have been paralysed by spinal cord injuries. It wanted to create more disabled role models working in the fitness industry, and established InstructAbility, which provides free, accessible training to unemployed, disabled people.
Studies show that 40 per cent of deaf people will develop a mental health problem at some point in their lives – twice the rate of the hearing population. Despite this, only a few deaf people can negotiate barriers in the mainstream care pathway. BSL Healthy Minds, delivered by SignHealth, is the only national Psychological Therapy Service with a specialist workforce who are all deaf or deaf culturally aware, and fluent in British Sign Language (BSL). It is the only Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service for deaf people.
The Disabilities Trust
The Disabilities Trust sought to quantify the extent to which brain injuries were the cause of social and personal problems, including the risk of homelessness and contact with the criminal justice system, and carried out the UK’s first ever prevalence study of brain injury in a homeless population.