Third Force News (25/09/2015) - The world’s first disabled people led research programme launched in Scotland this week.
Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (Drill) will fund around 40 research proposals and projects across the UK over the next five years, in a bid to create a database of evidence of approaches that enable disabled people to achieve independent living.
The programme is led in Scotland by Inclusion Scotland and partnered across the UK by Disability Action Northern Ireland, Disability Wales and Disability Rights UK.
Cuts to benefits and care packages have a had a devastating impact on many disabled people, leaving them in poverty and with support merely to survive, but not to live
It will be delivered in partnership with academics and policy makers but disabled people will, however, take charge throughout. They will be at the forefront of designing projects and funding streams will be based on disabled people’s priorities.
The programme is fully funded by a £5 million Big Lottery Fund grant and funding decisions will be made by a central research committee, which is made up of a majority of disabled people.
Dr Sally Witcher, chief executive of Inclusion Scotland, which is a national network of disabled people, said: “Cuts to benefits and care packages have a had a devastating impact on many disabled people, leaving them in poverty and with support merely to survive, but not to live.
“While clearly beyond the power of the Drill programme to reverse these, it offers fantastic new opportunities to fund innovative ways of removing the barriers from participating in all aspects of society as equal citizens.”
Independent living is defined as all disabled people having the same choice, control, dignity and freedom as any other citizen to achieve their goals at home, in education, at work, and as members of their community.
Results from the research will be used to inform future policy and services and to give a greater voice to disabled people on the issues that impact on them.
Jackie Killeen, Big Lottery Fund director for Scotland, said: “I’m excited about this project as it clearly has scope to create a step change for disabled people and their ability to live independently.
“What’s key for me is that it is asking those with lived experience of disability to directly feed into the research.
“Partnership and co-production really strengthen this work and we hope the project’s results will go on to provide an evidence base to inform future policy and service provision across the UK.”
Source: Third Force News