Election 2011 Submissions from Other Organisations

The Wheel invites other community and voluntary organisations - big or small - and other representative organisations to submit their own Election 2011 manifestos and submissions to us for publication on this website.

Email your organisations Election 2011 response to paul@wheel.ie. Submissions should be in summary form and should also include a link to your organisations website / communication details.
 
Note: Election responses from individuals not representing an organisation are not invited at this time.
 
Please scroll down the page to view the different organisation submissions.

 
Special Needs Parents Association
 

What you should be asking your local candidates and why your vote matters?

 
What is your party policy on Special Education Provision and the support of children with special needs to get an Inclusive Education? 
 
This year, children with special needs and disabilities are having previously-allocated Special Needs Assistant hours removed in Irish primary and secondary schools. The number of SNA’s has now been capped at 10,575 for 2011, but beyond looking at a general allocation for schools that qualify, as of yet there are no plans as to how this can be implemented.
There still is no independent appeals process in place for a parent to lodge an appeal to regarding a decision of a Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO), regarding their child. Appeals will become commonplace in the future.
Will your party support more investment in integrated student support services in mainstream 3rd level education for students with intellectual disabilities and specific learning difficulties?
 
There is little provision outside smaller programmes currently being run in some Irish Universities, which limit places and opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities. Once they reach 18, the opportunity to continue with their education ceases in many areas. Institutes of Technology and Colleges of Further Education, have a lack of support services which could facilitate more students with special needs in achieving a 3rd level qualification.
 
Where does your party stand on Disability Legislation? Are you prepared to make their enactments a priority?
 
EPSEN Act 2004 has still not been fully enacted. Individualised Educational Plans (IEP’s) are recommended by the National Council for Special Education but are not a legal requirement. Modern Capacity Legislation is required before we can ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. This will give our children who are over 18 yrs. the right to make their own decisions. The Disability Act 2005 has yet to be fully implemented, particularly in relation to the Assessment of Needs for children over 5yrs and adults. 
 
How is your party planning on addressing the lack of therapies and waiting lists, particularly for Speech & Language and Occupational Therapy? Is your party in favour of Individualised Funding and do they propose to means test it? 
 
Families of children with learning disabilities often have no access to therapies and service supports once their child enters mainstream education, and are left with no choice but to wait for years on a HSE waiting list. There are currently over 23000 waiting for SLT. Children can be waiting 3 years plus. Waiting lists that have been further affected by the staff embargo in the HSE. Once our children reach the age of 18, access to all essential therapies diminishes further. Individualised Funding is one solution proposed to allow more choice and access to therapies, where and when they need them.
 
How does your party intend on facilitating children and adults with disabilities to enable them to participate equally in society?
 
The National Disability Strategy 2004 has fallen to pieces. An essential element of the National Disability Strategy is the completion of assessments of need for all people requiring support. Assessment of Needs only identifies what support your child or an adult requires with no obligation to provide those services when they would be of most benefit. The chance of Early Intervention is missed in many cases of Autistic and non-label children and has become almost a ‘postcode lottery’.
 
Will your party ring fence and maintain appropriate levels of funding for Disability Services, Residential and Respite Care and Community based schemes that improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities and special needs? 
 
Respite care, services, welfare payments and tax credits have also been affected and will face a further dramatic cut over the next few years. This combination of cuts has put unprecedented strain on parents and has reduced the ability for those trying to live independently of their parents.
Greater transparency is called for to ensure that funds are being spent appropriately by the HSE and Service Providers to ensure that efficiency and effectiveness is optimized in the Disability Sector. We can no longer afford decisions based on a 'save now-pay more later' ideology. Proper resources now will be more cost effective in the long-term.
The list is endless. Please add any questions that are relevant to your particular situation.
 
Find Out More
 
Should you require advice or support, a list of nationwide contacts is available on our website.                                          
 
Phone: +353 86 8123458 / 087 7741917
 
 
 

 
AONTAS
 

‘Raise your voice for adult learning’: AONTAS General Election Campaign

AONTAS General Election campaign coincides with the fifth AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival with almost 200 events taking place around the country the week of February 21st to 25th.

AONTAS is using the Festival as an opportunity to get event organisers and AONTAS members to show how adult learning can play a significant role in our economic recovery, the rebuilding of our communities and the reform of our political structures.  The campaign centres on two key issues:

  1. The adult and community education services are stretched to meet the current demand for adult learning. Despite increasing demand, the blanket public sector recruitment embargo means less staff to meet that demand.  Adult Education Officers, Community Education Facilitators, Adult Literacy Organisers, Information Officers - all of these roles cannot currently be replaced if existing staff retire, develop illness or go on maternity leave. Out of a total of 49 Adult Education Officers positions in the VEC, nine are currently vacant due to the recruitment embargo.
     
  2. There is a huge interest and enthusiasm for adult learning - but it needs to be affordable. Transport and childcare costs are real barriers to adults taking part in education. A drop in the number of mature student applications this year suggests that a third level education is now out of reach for many adults.

As a membership organisation, AONTAS has consulted widely on the priorities for adult learners and for adult and community education providers. 

Here’s what we have been told:

Provider priorities

  • Retain the Minister for Lifelong Learning to provide a voice for adult learning within the sector, and help raise the visibility of the sector.  This Minister should work across three key departments – Education and Skills, Social Protection and Department of Enterprise and Employment, in order to ensure greater policy coherence.
  • Maintain the existing adult education infrastructure. Redefine ‘frontline’ in the context of the adult education services, recognising the role of adult education personnel such as AEOs, ALOs, CEFs and Information Officers within adult guidance, roles which go beyond administrative duties.  The application of the embargo to additional services offered by VECs (eg LMA measures) should be lifted.
  • Strengthen the role of adult guidance in supporting the role of activation policies.  Adult guidance ensures that adults have access to training and education appropriate to their needs, thus resulting in greater levels of retention and ultimately best use of scarce resources.  

Adult Learner priorities

  • Make education affordable for adults – transport and childcare are two big costs that adults have to budget for if they return to education.  The loss of eligibility for the higher Education grant for those on the Back to Education Allowance is a particular barrier to those on who want to progress – from an Access/PLC or VTOS course onto third level.
  • Provide accurate and up to date information about adult learning information on adult learning is currently provided by a number of agencies and actors.  Changes in the criteria for courses and entitlements, along with new training and education responses must be communicated effectively to ensure that adults can be supported into training and education that is right for them as soon as possible.
  • Provide access to education which is meaningful, flexible, and leads to progression onto employment or further education. Short courses which lead to dead ends are not the answer.  Many adults need support and advice to make important choices about retraining and changing careers.  State investment in adult guidance is vital in helping adults make these choices.

AONTAS has provided members and organisers with a campaign toolkit to encourage adult education providers and adult learners to ask questions and get specific commitments from candidates going forward for election. The toolkit is available for download at: http://www.aontas.com/download/pdf/raise_your_voice_for_adult_learning.pdf

In addition, our advertising campaign in the lead up to the campaign promotes the value of adult learning by featuring three different adult learners.  You can watch three short you tube videos about their learning journeys at: http://www.youtube.com/user/aontasireland.

For more information contact Niamh Farren, Communications Officer, 01 406 8220/087 911 0569

Website: www.aontas.com/www.adultlearnersfestival.com

 

 
Educate Together
 

Election 2011 - 5 Policy Priorities

 

Educate Together's Election 2011 5 Policy Priorities - Choice at Primary Level

 
 
 
 

 
Irish Rural Link
 

IRL calls on all Parties to set out Rural & Regional Development Policies

The eagerly awaited manifestos of the two main parties have as yet failed to outline any vision for Rural and Regional Development post Election 2011. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael manifestos published this week focus on some of the hot topics in economic terms, but those expecting to find any proposals for regional development or enlivenment of rural areas will be sorely disappointed.

The manifestos issued to date have focused on the EU/IMF controversy and a preference for export-led job creation, with a notable absence of policy on local economies and spatial development strategies. Manifestos form the remaining three parties are awaited, and while a number of policy documents have been published on the Labour Party and Sinn Fein websites, no policies on regional and rural development have yet been forthcoming.

According to Seamus Boland, CEO of Irish Rural Link, rural communities have suffered the brunt of recent cuts, carbon taxes, reduced incomes and the loss of essential services. He continued: “the absence of regional development policy in the manifestos sends a strong signal that this regional development policy has been allowed to slip off the political agenda”.

The “refresh” of the National Spatial Strategy in late 2010 was perceived by Irish Rural Link as weakening the position of rural areas for future development as part of a regional approach to growth.

Approximately 40% of Ireland’s population live in Rural Areas. Helen Dunne, Policy and Communications Officer with Irish Rural Link commented that rural voters need to see the full picture, including the spatial perspective of proposed policies, in order to make informed decisions on polling day. She continued; “it is of concern to a large portion of the electorate that such a key issue has been allowed to fall through the cracks in the campaign to date”.  

ELECTION 2011 – TOP 5 RURAL ISSUES   
 
1. EMPLOYMENT 
 
  • Create employment in rural areas and give young people a reason to stay in Ireland. Tackle emigration. The ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute)has forecast that approximately 1,000 people per week will leave Ireland in 2011. 
2. VIABLE COMMUNITIES 
 
  • Curb the systemic dismantling of these communities through lack of investment in rural infrastructure, unemployment and migration and introduce ruralregeneration programmes. 
  • End the closure of post offices, shops, schools and Garda stations, removal of transport and banking services.
3. CREDIT AVAILABILITY 
 
  • Guarantee fairness in the banking system for rural customers. The Irish taxpayers have bailed out the banks only to learn that it will now be more difficult for people living in rural areas to access mortgages.  
  • Ensure access to credit at affordable rates for Small to Medium Enterprises. 
4. ENERGY 
 
  • Publish and implement the Energy Affordability Strategy that was promised in 2009, but still has not materialised. 
  • Ring+fence carbon tax income to alleviate rural fuel poverty and introduce measures to help households switch to greener fuel alternatives to coal/turf/oil or inefficient vehicles. 
  • Introduce a new retrofitting programme based on grants alongside income tax credits so that people not in employment can also benefit.
5. ISOLATION 
 
  • Introduce congestion free high speed broadband for all premises. There are still over 24,000 premises that cannot access broadband in rural areas, and in many areas, fibre optic cables have been laid but are not connected.
  • Improve and integrate Rural Transport services by linking with Health Services and other public transport operators, and ensure repairs to rural roads are carried out. 
  • Tackle Rural Crime and reduce the number of break+ins through improved community policing, and supports for monitored house alarm systems in remote areas.  

Read the full Irish Rural Links Rural Manifesto here.

For further information, please contact (anytime):

Seamus Boland (Chief Executive) 086 2491153  /  Helen Dunne (Policy & Communications Officer) 087 6527928.

http://www.irishrurallink.ie

 


The Carer's Association

Election 2011: Act Now for Ireland’s Invisible Workforce

Family Carers are one of Ireland’s greatest national resources. Despite this Carers are dissatisfied and frustrated with their current situation. Many are overburdened, feel undervalued and unrecognised and are unable to have any life of their own. As a result the sustainability of family care is under threat and will become increasingly jeopardised unless the fundamentals of Carer policy in Ireland are given a new direction and impetus - one that fits with the realities of caring in Ireland today.
 
This manifesto has been produced following ongoing consultation with Family Carers so that all election candidates and political parties can know and address the issues faced by Carers and ensure that the voices of caring families are heard in Election 2011.
 
The Carers Association calls on Ireland’s political parties to act now and make the following commitments for Family Carers:
 
Pledge to publish the National Carers Strategy
 
Irelands ageing population and the shift towards community health care makes it imperative that Carers are put firmly at the centre of the Government's agenda. The publication of a National Carers Strategy, setting out the Government's vision for family and informal Carers and establishing a set of goals and actions in areas such as income support, health care, services, housing, information and transport, is a vital first step in recognising the enormous contribution of Carers and will be integral in supporting our health services.
 
Carers needs are diverse and cannot be addressed by a single Government Department. The National Carers Strategy provides a timely opportunity to promote interdepartmental collaboration and information sharing in responding to these needs.
 
Pledge that every Carer will have the right to an adequate income, have opportunities to work and have a life outside of their caring role
 
Family Carers are one of the most socially excluded groups in Irish society and face significant hardship and disadvantage as a direct result of their care-giving responsibilities. Caring can adversely affect a Carers’ financial situation, if a Carer has to give up work to become a full-time Carer or meet the significant financial costs associated with caring such as fuel costs, special dietary requirements, transport and medical expenses.
 
Carers also experience social isolation and often miss out on important social relationships, including those associated with work, education, or leisure. The disadvantage experienced by Carers is further compounded for those Carers who experience overlapping or multiple disadvantage, for example young Carers living in a one parent family, those living in remote areas or those who are unemployed.
 
Pledge to Provide Adequate Services for Family Carers and Support Carers own Health and Wellbeing
 
Caring can have a significant impact on Carers health and well being, ranging from back injury to stress, worry and depression. Carers are considerably more likely to be in poor health, both physical and emotional, than people without caring responsibilities.
 
Research shows that Carers often ignore their own health needs because of the demands of their caring role and the costs involved in seeking medical help. It is important that Carers find a balance between caring and looking after their own health needs. Respite care is regarded as one of the key support interventions to alleviate the stress of caring and to support the health and wellbeing of the Carer.
 
Provide supports for Young Carers
 
It is estimated that Ireland could have as many as 28,000 Young Carers aged under 18 years and 52,700 aged under 25 years. Despite this, there is no single dedicated Young Carer support group or service in the country. In 2009, the Office of the Minister for Children commissioned a study on the issues affecting Young Carers in Ireland. The study identified a continuum of caring whereby some caring experiences amongst young people has a largely positive impact while for others the role involves a level of physical or emotional caring that impairs the child’s health, development or welfare.
 
Specific negative impacts identified in the research include absence from school or distraction while there, social isolation, illness, worry and resentment and the loss of normal childhood activities and experiences.
 
Promote equality and social justice for Family Carers
 
The inequality and injustice facing Family Carers is blatant. Fulltime caring places carers in a vulnerable position of inequality, working exceedingly long hours, inadequate or no supports, high stress levels, lacking essential skills training and with no time for their own needs. Carers face further discrimination when health services assume that families will automatically provide care regardless of whether this impacts on their human or civil rights. A major issue for policy development relates to the value society places on unpaid work such as caring.
 
To date, society has tended to value only work for which payment is received and ignores the value of work such as unpaid caring. This lack of appreciation can be seen clearly in Government's failure to publish the National Carers Strategy.
 
 

European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) 

Making Europe Work - EAPN Ireland General Election Demands

General Election 2011 comes at a critical juncture in Irish history. The next government will have to pick up the pieces of a society undermined by a deep economic, social, and democratic crisis.  The challenge must be to put Ireland on the path to a fairer, more equal and more inclusive society.  To do this the new government will need to drive a more progressive European Union.

Despite progress which has been made in reducing poverty and social exclusion, recent years have witnessed startling unemployment increases, an undermining of frontline services, reductions in direct income supports for the most vulnerable, decreases in the minimum wage, and increased taxes for those on low incomes, resulting in raising indebtedness and poverty.  The realities facing those experiencing poverty are further undermined by the decimation of much of the community infrastructure which supports them and the institutional infrastructure dealing with poverty, equality and human rights.

Despite some progress during the Celtic Tiger towards the target to end consistent poverty in Ireland by 2016, consistent poverty increased from 4.2% to 5.5% between 2008 and 2009 and in the same period the percentage of those in material deprivation went up by 25% with over 17% of the population now unable to afford at least two basic essentials. 14.1% of the population is at risk-of-poverty, however the risk is much higher for children (18.6%), unemployed people (24.8%), lone-parent families (35.5%), those not at work due to illness or disability (21.7%) and single adults under 25 (23.3%) than the general population.  Specific groups remain intransigently over represented in terms of their experience of poverty and exclusion including people with disabilities, members of minority groups including Travellers, asylum seekers, LGBT communities and those living in disadvantaged communities; 65% of children living in poverty are in one-parent families. Across the social spectrum women continue to disproportionately carry the burden poverty and social exclusion.

The Irish deal with the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank demonstrates that the EU rhetoric that there can be ‘no sustainable growth unless benefits accrue to all’ is mere window dressing in an agenda which focuses almost exclusively on growth-enhancing initiatives and the need for fiscal consolidation, pressurising Member States to reduce public deficits quickly and suppress wages.  The EU has just committed to lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020 and yet it is rapidly getting further and further away from realising that objective. 

The EU is not a stand alone institution which can hand down dictats without accountability but rather it is the sum of its member states.  It is up to the governments of Europe to move in a new direction, if they want the EU to succeed as a common project.

This is not the EU the Irish people signed up for, and we want to know how the next government will play a positive role in shaping a Europe which can make a real contribution to ending poverty and social exclusion.  We are asking all General Election candidates to commit to:

General Election Demands

  1. Ensuring that in monitoring and evaluating the Europe 2020 strategyfor smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that the European Commission and the member states give equal attention and urgency to addressing economic, environmental and social priorities.
  2. Ensuring that the EU takes action to realise its target to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020.  This includes meeting national targets and monitoring other member states to ensure they meet theirs.
  3. Driving a renewed process of reporting and stakeholder participation at the heart of the European Platform Against Poverty.  People experiencing poverty and their representative organisations must be at the heart of the decision making process. This includes securing the continuation and expansion of EU funding programmes and structural funds to ensure their accessibility to national and local level community and voluntary sector organisations.
  4. Working towards the adoption of a Framework Directive on Services of General Interest, and sectoral directives on social and health services, including the development of equality and poverty impact assessments in the design and delivery of public sector services.
  5. Securing the full implementation of the European Commission Recommendation on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market (2008), emphasising the significance of an integrated approach to ending poverty and exclusion that addresses adequate income, access to quality services and access to an inclusive labour market.
  6. Protecting the incomes of low paid workers in Europe, including the reversal of cuts to the minimum wage and recent taxation of the low paid in Ireland, along with the renegotiation of relevant provisions of the Irish (and other) agreements with the EU, the IMF and the ECB.
  7. Fighting for the adoption of an EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Income Schemes, ensuring an adequate standard of living for all EU Citizens and, at a minimum, raising basic income above the poverty threshold. A first step should be the reversal of cuts to social welfare payments in Ireland.
  8. Promoting the establishment of an inquiry into high pay and the impact of income inequality in the European Union and ensure that the findings are acted upon.
  9. Ensuring the full implementation of the Lisbon Treaty’s Social Clause, and support the development of a transparent and effective process for the social impact assessment of all EU policy.
  10. Ensuring the full implementation of the Energy Package and particularly the requirements to address energy poverty in the common rules for the internal market on electricity. A key step would be ensuring the national action plan on energy poverty is completed through wide and effective consultation and implemented in full.
  11. Fighting for strengthened EU anti-discrimination legislation, including the fight against discrimination on the basis of socio-economic status. This includes ensuring that national equality, inclusion and human rights infrastructure is adequately funded and fully independent, and ensuring the EU implements the Gender Pact.
  12. Working towards realising the full potential of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which was given legal standing through the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
 

National Adult Literacy Agency (Nala)

NALA Priorities for 2011

The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) in 1997 highlighted the extent of literacy difficulties among Irish adults. According to the survey, one in four Irish adults has a significant literacy difficulty. This remains the most up-to-date information on adult literacy levels in Ireland. The most recent results from the OECD (PISA) point to a dramatic decline in standards among Irish 15-year-olds in literacy and mathematics.

Current situation

Even with the policy commitments and increased resources in further education in recent years, there is insufficient progress in addressing adult literacy.  404,200 people in the labour force have a Junior Certificate level qualification or less.  People with literacy difficulties are at greater risk of social exclusion and are among the most disadvantaged in Irish society.  

The Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science believes that, to address the “unacceptable” adult literacy levels in Ireland, a concerted, planned approach to adult literacy development is “the most urgent requirement”.

Ireland now faces a far more difficult economic situation and much changed labour market.  These circumstances increase pressure on people who may need greater and more targeted literacy support to take part in society and improve their chances of employment. 

A solutions focus.

Three initiatives can make a critical difference in tackling the adult literacy and numeracy challenge.  They involve new thinking rather than new funding.  They contribute to the reform agenda in public services, and are either cost neutral or involve minimal resourcing. These are integrating literacy, family literacy and flexible provision.

1.  Integrating literacy and numeracy development into all publicly funded education and training

Integrating literacy means designing and delivering education and training programmes in a way that also develops literacy and numeracy at the same time.  This will produce the “double duty dollar” effect, where the state pays for vocational training, but gets a second return – improved literacy and numeracy levels. International evidence clearly indicates the efficacy of the integrating literacy approach.  Adopting an integrated approach is cost neutral, but it involves the prioritisation of continuous professional development and training budgets. 

What is required: The Department of Education and Skills and relevant providers deliver on the integration of literacy across further education and training programmes. 

2. Family literacy provides a win-win scenario to policy makers 

Literacy standards in primary schools have not changed in 30 years.  Two-thirds of pupils in the most disadvantaged schools achieved at or below the 20th percentile on standardised tests (compared to 20% nationally) and performance declined as pupils progressed through the school.  

Family literacy programmes improve the literacy practices of parents and other family members and has a very significant knock on effect on school performance of children. This offers opportunities to break inter-generational cycles of under-achievement.

What is required:  Family literacy programmes are in place for all DEIS schools, involving the VEC adult literacy services.

3. Flexible high quality adult education and training provision

In spite of the expansion of adult literacy learning opportunities, less than 10% of adults with literacy needs are accessing literacy tuition.Critically, the typical literacy learner receives only 2 hours provision per week. It is essential to respond with targeted and flexible learning opportunities for people who wish to develop their literacy and numeracy. This means providing adult literacy and numeracy services across a wider range of settings, including the workplace, and by different modes, including distance and blended learning, intensive options and at weekends. 

What is required:  Extend the range of quality learning opportunities prioritising people with less than a Level 4 qualification (below Leaving Certificate), within current resources.

For further evidence and supporting information, contact:

Inez Bailey, Director, National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA)

Website: www.nala.ie   /   Email: ibailey@nala.ie   /   Telephone: 01 4127900

 


Disability Federation Ireland (DFI)

Securing Our Future

An estimated 750,000 people in Ireland have a disability, or mental health need, amounting to 18.5% of the population. Together with their families, they constitute a significant proportion of voters in the forthcoming national election. People with disabilities want to live independently and to participate in their community – just like others already do. This means creating an environment in Ireland that enables their participation. Ireland has national strategies in place that reflect this goal. What we need now is a Government determined to carry the strategies through and advance toward our shared goal, despite the economic challenges. Otherwise people with disabilities will continue to experience the harsh consequences of exclusion and become further excluded.
 
The actions of the new Government will decide whether this movement to
freedom and participation for people with disabilities will succeed or be
lost. According to surveys by the Central Statistics Office:
 
  • 41% of 18-64 year olds with disabilities are at work compared with 71% of others in the same age group;
  • 38% of working age adults who are unable to work due to illness / disability are at risk of poverty;
  • 17% of people with disabilities aged 25-29 years attained a third level educational qualification versus 29% of others in the same age category;
  • 36% of people with disabilities are aged 65 or older.
The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is seeking the following commitments:
 
1 - A Programme for Government that has threaded through it actions supporting people with disabilities as equal citizens.
 
The next Government must implement, on an urgent basis, a practical plan for advancing the National Disability Strategy in partnership with other key stakeholders. Initiatives, including the Value for Money Review of the HSE’s Disability Services Programme, the National Housing Strategy, the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities and disability-proofing of public policy measures, need to be actively managed, with time frames for putting them into operation. Irish society has set out on a journey towards a better future for all its citizens, and it must keep focus and not lose sight of the ultimate goal of full and equal participation for disabled people.
 
If you were a teenager who is visually or hearing impaired, wouldn’t you want the school curriculum and materials that enable you to keep up with the rest of the class?
 
2 - Ensure access for people with disabilities by protecting benefit payments and public services on which they depend.
 
Many people with disabilities incur extra costs just to be able to do ordinary things, and the next Government needs to recognise this in setting benefit levels. People with disabilities also rely on both disability-specific health and other services and on public services available to the general public such as transport and recreation facilities. The number of people with disabilities and the level of support need is growing. Disability-proofing budgetary measures is essential to avoid undermining the accessibility of these services. Otherwise people will be precluded from such basic opportunities as meeting up with
friends or improving their education.
 
If you developed a disability such as multiple sclerosis or a mental health need, wouldn’t you want to keep your job by adopting flexible hours, home working and office aids?
 
3 - Support self-determination of people with disabilities by building their capacity and that of their families and the voluntary disability organisations who work with them.
 
Exercising self determination requires confidence, self knowledge and information about the opportunities available. For a group that has long been largely confined to ‘special needs’ services, changing to become participants in mainstream society requires support. Voluntary organisations who understand the effects of the disability and know the person can facilitate access to the services and opportunities that person seeks. But this role of disability organisations needs to be recognised and appreciated by the Government.
 
If you couldn’t dress or cook for yourself, wouldn’t you want a Personal Assistant so that you could continue to live in your own home and be part of the community, instead of having to live in a hospital or nursing home?