A Leeds based charity for people with learning disabilities has been awarded £150,000 from previously awarded funding as part of a £5 million research programme into independent living for disabled people.
CHANGE, the organisation for people with learning disabilities, will run the project, called ‘Learning By Doing Together’ in conjunction with academics from Leeds University Business School. It will explore the best ways to get more people with learning disabilities paid jobs as peer support employees, by organisations which run services for learning disabled people.
It’s been awarded funding from the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a five year scheme led by disabled people and funded by Big Lottery Fund.
The project will be led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions, who will be working alongside other organisations as well as academics and policy makers.
These include The Brandon Trust, Keyring Living Support Networks, The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust and a wider network such as NHS Employers and Health Education England, academics and practitioners.
Evan Odell from Disability Rights UK, which is supporting DRILL projects in England said: “We’re delighted to be funding this project, run by and for disabled people. The results will help support disabled people to live more independently, and be part of the communities they live in.”
Philipa Bragman from CHANGE added: “Only a tiny percentage of people with learning disabilities are in paid work. If organisations delivering services to people with learning disabilities employ more disabled people, not only does it create interesting and purposeful jobs for people with learning disabilities; it creates an inclusive workforce and a better service. It also shows other learning disabled people the art of the possible, and helps to shape and influence the culture of an organisation”.
Dr Elizabeth Oliver, from the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) at Leeds University Business School said:
I'm excited about this project because it provides an opportunity to co-produce knowledge as part of a research project that is designed with impact in mind. We want to draw on all the different sources of expertise within our inclusive project team to learn about what works and to reflect about what that means. Then we want to tell others what we have learned.
Notes to editors:
The DRILL programme is being delivered by Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland.
Each country has a National Advisory Group, including disabled people, academics and policy makers, who provide advice, scrutinise research proposals, make recommendations and help promote and disseminate the findings. A Central Research Committee, made up of disabled people, academics and policy influencers from across the UK makes the final decision on which research proposals receive funding.
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £538 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.