Strengthening Voices, Realising Rights

Deaf and disabled people
Existing collaboration

Aims and activities

Aims and questions

Strengthening Voices, Realising Rights responds to evidence that austerity cuts and welfare reform are stalling progress towards equality and inclusion for Deaf and Disabled people.

The initiative aims to help spur a renewed emphasis on Deaf and Disabled people’s rights through:

1. Providing funds to user-led organisations to:

  • support individuals to assert their rights and obtain entitlements to lead independent good lives in the community
  • carry out work to ensure that the collective rights of disabled people are protected, promoted and fulfilled

2. Investing in the sector’s capacity by supporting Deaf & Disabled People's Organisations (DDPOs) to become more connected, impactful, resilient and sustainable

3. Sharing learning within the UK funding community to contribute to disability-inclusive funding practices and strategic approaches to supporting the issues championed by DDPOs

4. Piloting the involvement of people who identify as Disabled to provide expertise stemming from lived experiences, to inform and shape decision-making.

The fund has 3 elements:

  • Individual grants to increase the capacity of DDPOs, and support Disabled people to exercise their rights and access services
  • A capacity building programme to support DDPOs to grow in effectiveness
  • Strengthening DDPOs' advocacy capabilities. This is a ‘learn and adjust as the programme develops’ component.

Phase 1 of the programme, which launched in 2018, focused on advice and awarded c.£1.3million over three years. Trust for London and City Bridge Trust are considering extending this phase for a further two years.

Phase 2 of the programme opened in 2020, focusing on policy advocacy and campaigning. It has so far awarded c.£900,000 to fund user-led campaigns, including:

  • to better support disabled parents
  • to transform services to better support disabled young people transition into adulthood
  • an adult social care project working at a borough-wide level
  • a larger project from a coalition of 5 Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations campaigning to abolish charges to adult social care services provided in people’s homes.

Deaf and Disabled people have been severely impacted by austerity and more recently by the pandemic. The need to bolster the disabled people’s movement for change is now greater than ever.

Tania Bronstein
Programme Manager

How to get involved

The current funders of this programme are keen for more funders to get involved. Interested funders can contact Tania Bronstein at Trust for London.

Who's involved

The money comes from a pooled fund which is managed by Trust for London, and currently supported financially by Trust for London and City Bridge Trust.

Learning and Resources

A formative evaluation of the programme is taking place, to enable its key stakeholders to understand how the initiative is working and provide real time insights to strengthen and improve delivery.  This evaluation will be shared in future to help other funders to improve support for the user-led disability sector.

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