DRILL Blog and News

More than £1 million for 10 new research projects led by disabled people

 

Ten new projects across the UK have received between £40,000 and £150,000 of National Lottery funding each, to explore how disabled people can live as full citizens in our society and what changes and support will make that happen in practice.

 

Over £1.15 million worth of funding has been granted as part of the  DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a £5 million scheme led by disabled people and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

 

Each research or pilot project will be led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions; they will be developing approaches and questions, working alongside academics and policy makers. Disabled people who often struggle to have their voices heard will be shaping research – such as people living with dementia, learning disabilities and mental health issues.

 

Grants were approved by the DRILL Central Research Committee, which is chaired by Professor Tom Shakespeare. He said:

 

“I welcome this next batch of timely, targeted, transformative projects funded by DRILL. From developing new social care models to improving access to the justice system for people who are deaf, these projects address some of the key barriers which affect disabled people’s ability to live independently across the UK.”

 

The 10 successful projects will be led by:

 

England
ALLFIE (The Alliance for Inclusive Education)
De Montford University
NDTI (National Development Team for Inclusion)
Cheshire Centre for Independent Living
University of Worcester

Northern Ireland
British Deaf Association (Northern Ireland)
Mental Health Foundation
Positive Futures

Scotland
Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experience of Dementia

Wales
Barod

 

Launched in 2015, the DRILL programme is fully funded by National Lottery funding through the Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales. DRILL is funding more than 30 research and pilot projects over a five-year period, all led by disabled people.

For further information on the projects visit www.drilluk.org.uk

Blog Post: DRILL – The Next Steps

 

Being involved in a project like DRILL is both exhilarating and frustrating in almost equal measure. Recently the exhilaration has been at the forefront, partly because this month we move another step down the road by announcing over £1 million for another ten research and pilot projects across the UK which will help support disabled people to live independently.

 

The frustration is inevitable when you look at the environment organisations like ours (Disability Rights UK, Disability Wales, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Action Northern Ireland) operate in.

 

Disabled people’s organisations struggling to stay afloat, disabled people battling for benefits and services and a new secretary of state with a questionable track record when it comes to disability rights.

 

Part of my frustration comes from us having to decide which great projects don’t get the funding from DRILL they applied for – and it’s safe to say that frustration was shared by the group of disabled experts who made the final funding decisions. We needed a mix of projects which offered up a decent cross-section of geography, impairments and subject areas, and that meant that some really fantastic ideas didn’t make it over the finish line. We are sad about that and hope that some of those may find funding streams from other sources.

 

On the flip side, it’s exhilarating to look at the depth and richness of the projects which have been successful in their applications. People have come to the DRILL project armed with passion and experience and commitment and creativity. From researching accessible toilets (Scotland) to finding ways for self advocates to earn money (Wales) through to getting better access to the justice system for deaf people (Northern Ireland) and finding out why we don’t have more disabled foster carers when the fostering system has a huge gap to fill (England); and that’s just four of the ten successful that will get underway this year. If you want to find out more about the projects DRILL is funding, do go to the project page, which has all the details.

 

The £1 million or so for these new projects also marks a change in emphasis for DRILL. Up to now, much of the focus for us has been on scrutinising projects and working with organisations to help them develop their funding bids. In 2018, our focus moves to the myriad of projects and research which are underway.

 

We’ll see some of our early projects finish and produce resources and findings which will help support disabled people to be more independent. We’ll also see some interim results from other projects which will help us build our knowledge and understanding of the barriers disabled people face and how they can be challenged.

 

There are exciting times ahead!

 

Kamran Mallick
Chief executive
Disability Rights UK

 

Blog Post: Humare Avaaz – Our Voice (Part 2)

 

Read Blog Post: Humare Avaaz – Our Voice (Part 1)

‘So, why do you want to research into the barriers to independence faced by disabled Asian women, surely everyone knows what the barriers are?’ Well, on an anecdotal basis and having lived the issue for some 25 years we can understand why the question might be asked. Triple disadvantage: disability, a BME group, being women – possibly a fourth, stigma/discrimination within their communities both as women and specifically as disabled women. One problem however, we didn’t think anyone had actually asked disabled Asian women, hence the project name: Humare Avaaz – our voice. Our desk research has shown this to be so.

 

This finding poses a possibly worrying question. Has policy on and support for disabled Asian women been based on conjecture and assumption, e.g. that disabled Asian women benefit more than women from other communities from a close knit and extensive family support network such that culturally sensitive social care support is not required? Does support take account of the diversity among Asian communities? Indeed, previous funded community research of ours indicates that extremely poor wellbeing/health can be the result of exploitative support expectations of ‘hidden carers’, i.e. the so-called network has caused a form of disability.

 

On to the next possibly contentious point. We run a day care and development centre. We accept that ‘day care’ is anathema to the social model but we are pragmatists. If a fully functional family support network was there perhaps we wouldn’t exist. In our experience, while such support networks may exist they operate at a social level and cannot meet more complex and formal needs.

 

So, what does the social model mean to our clients? Does the social model and political objectives within the disability movement have any relevance to our project and research subjects? They certainly do for the project team because we understand the context, it’s our job to. But this is co-produced research; what do our co-researchers and research subjects think. The answer is ‘not a lot’. In fact, the very concept of independence is novel for most, even having discounted those whose intellectual impairments, limited education or widely ranging social factors prevent them fully considering the concept. Each focus group has presented the same issue; how to research into barriers when ‘Barriers to what?’ requires extensive explanation and discussion. Some, of course, are ‘politically’ aware but most have lived a life of systemic dependency with a voice that has never been heard.

 

Independence in terms of being able to go shopping, do the housework, get married is perhaps not what we expected to hear but it‘s what we’ve often heard. What has politics got to do with such issues? Is there a disconnect between some disability lobbyists and the views of at least some disabled people? Our role is to present what our research subjects tell us, not to be a proxy for them or lobbyists within the disability rights movement. It’s important that what we might wish to lobby for in other circumstances does not influence our co-research or influence the conclusions that we and our co-researchers draw from its findings.

 

Next episode – ‘What is research?’

 

Find out more about the project – Humare Avaaz (Our Voice) – exploring the experiences and barriers faced by disabled Asian Women

Blog Post: Humare Avaaz – Our Voice (Part 1)

 

Humare Avaaz – our voice. We thought it was a great name for community research into the barriers to independent living faced by disabled women in London’s Asian Communities. And so it has proved to be. However … It’s funny how you underestimate or don’t anticipate things!

 

The Asian People’s Disability Alliance (APDA for short) is a true DDPO. It was founded on the principle of co-production, or whatever it was called 25 years ago. We have an experienced project manager with an academic background and a well-known and experienced lead researcher, an expert in the field. What could go wrong? Well nothing actually went wrong, in fact the reverse, but boy, what a learning curve. Talk about tales of the unexpected.

 

‘This should all be reasonably straightforward’, said he. The methodology was simple and tried and tested. The implementation plan was elegant and the budget was sufficient. However, none of us had been involved in co-produced community-research in which the co-researchers would be disabled, few have is our understanding. Perhaps we should have seen it coming, financially we had anticipated appropriate support costs but the best laid plans etc.

 

It’s just the way it is. It has proved far more time-consuming than anticipated to arrange training, focus groups and interviews etc. only to have to change plans at the last moment for perfectly good reasons. Oh for the simplicity of quantitative research! But that would achieve very little for Humare Avaaz.

 

We also underestimated the interest our own service users would bring to the initial focus groups, designed to set the agenda. Interest isn’t really the right term; more a release of pent up frustration at not having been listened to for, in some cases, decades. Humare Avaaz really is a great, even emotive, name.

 

A carefully prepared-for first focus group, prepared for in the sense of structuring it around reasonably expected responses – we’ve doing this for a while after all – not in the sense of the antithesis of co-production, was ‘interesting’. Money spent on an iPad and a note-taking app with a synchronised recording facility absolutely saved the day. We naively thought that reasonable meeting protocol would apply! Just as well all present were happy for the groups to be conducted in English! On reflection, why would we assume that that the hitherto voiceless would follow the rules of those easily heard! Such a meeting was a complete novelty.

 

Just when we thought we had sorted out initial teething problems, one of our original partners pulled out – they had lost their core grant funding. This delayed the steering group but was fortunately easily solved with the proactive support of Disability Rights UK.

 

So, what is our co-produced meaning of ‘independent living’? What are the barriers faced? It is our voice after all. Next time …

 

Stay tuned for part two of the blog in the New Year!

Find out more about the project – Humare Avaaz (Our Voice) – exploring the experiences and barriers faced by disabled Asian Women

Health and Care Research Wales- Supporting Social Care research Survey

 

The new Social Care Research Strategy sets out a vision ‘For Wales to be internationally renowned for its excellent social care research that supports the people of Wales by informing and improving social care policy and practice.’  In order to achieve this people who use services, people who provide services and the public in general need to be more aware of research evidence and how it can be applied to their lives. The Strategy will be launched in the next few months and the implementation will support activities that will achieve this vision.

 

Health and Care Research Wales have a training programme that supports research in Wales. However, there is a need for an increase in training that has a social care research focus. We want to make sure that the training meets the requirements of people involved in research. We have developed a survey for people interested in social care research to help us understand what the training programme should include.

The links below will take you to the survey. The closing date for the survey is 1st January 2018.

 

 

 

Catherine Poulter. Social Care Research Manager. Health and Care Research Wales.

 

 

Blog Post: Leading Disability Research

 

Hello, my name is Keith Lynch and I am the Vice-Chair person of People First (Scotland) and   I want to tell you about the research we did with support from DRILL.

 

Before I do that I want to tell you a little bit about People First. Our organisation is a user-led learning disabled person’s organisation. This means that all our members and all our Directors have learning disabilities. We hire the staff that support us to do the work we chose to do.

 

The title of our research project was ‘Does it matter? Decision-making by people with learning disabilities’.

Since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities there has been a lot of attention on how people with learning disabilities make decisions.

 

The UN Convention says that no person with a disability should have their right to make decisions taken away. We agree with this. In Scotland, more and more people with learning disabilities are having their right to make decisions taken away from them by Guardianship orders.

 

Some of my former colleagues who were Directors on the People First Board have been put under Guardianship orders, and are no longer allowed to make decisions for themselves.

 

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has said that Guardianships should be replaced by supported decision-making.

 

We wanted to know more about decision-making by people with learning disabilities because we want to persuade the Scottish Government to change their laws. We also wanted to know what kind of support helps people to make their own decisions.

 

To do the research we partnered with researchers from a company called Animate Consulting. They helped us by telling us how to do research and the different ways we could do the research. They also did most of the reading and wrote the final report for us.

 

I was involved as a peer researcher and also sat on the steering group. The steering group met with the researchers once a month to talk about the research. We made all the big decisions that had to do with the research like coming up with the research questions, making sure we had enough people to take part, and commenting on the report draft by the researchers.

 

As a peer researcher I was supported to facilitate focus groups of members. I also did a couple of one-to-one interviews. For me this was a great part of the research. I enjoyed meeting members that I had not met before. It was also very interesting to hear how people felt about making decisions. We found that making decisions matters very much to people with learning disabilities. Most people said that making their own decisions helped them feel confident and in control.

 

I think it’s very important that we have been able to share the views of people with learning disabilities in our report and show what they think good support looks like. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience of being involved in the DRILL research.

 

If you want to know more about the work we do you can have a look at our website www.peoplefirstscotland.org/news/.

 

We are delighted to be the first DRILL project to publish our report. This research has been important to us for many reasons and especially because it highlights that there should be ‘nothing about us, without us’.

> Read the Research Report – ‘Does it matter? Decision-making by people with learning disabilities’

 

Keith Lynch,
Vice-Chair People First (Scotland)

Final call for applications for DRILL funding is now closed

The Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning Programme’s (DRILL) final open call for applications is now closed.  DRILL is fully funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is delivered in partnership by Disability Action, Disability Rights UK, Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland.

 

DRILL is led by disabled people and funds coproduced research and pilot projects to find solutions about how disabled people can live as full citizens and take part socially, economically and politically.  To date almost £1.5 million has been committed to projects in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Find out more on these projects here.

 

In the final funding call which closed on 8 August 2017, we received over 100 applications from across the UK.  DRILL will now begin a process of assessing the applications by using our National Advisory Groups (NAGs) and the Central Research Committee (CRC).  It is anticipated that applicants will be aware of the outcome by the end of November 2017.

 

Thank you for your interest in the DRILL Programme.

 

Dr Sally Witcher OBE
Chief Executive Officer, Inclusion Scotland  

Kevin Doherty
Chief Executive Officer, Disability Action

Kamran Mallick
Chief Executive Officer, Disability Rights UK

Rhian Davies
Chief Executive Officer, Disability Wales

 

Blog Post: DRILL through history, beyond the present for the future

Tony O’Reilly

Taking a look at the world today it seems that the equality agenda, has taken a backward step. Brexit and the quest for the leadership of American democracy has been characterised by many as a global manifestation of a backlash against progressive forces that sought to promote equality for all. We are left simply to reflect on the apathy or cacophony of angry voices as a guide in choosing moral leadership to uphold the nobility of human rights and the future of democracy. Gone in an instance is the history of struggle and endurance that must inform and shape progressive forces in our future.  It is in this history that lies our desire to look beyond the dark clouds of our history, from the politics of superficial opposition to the politics of inclusion.

 

Such progressive forces perhaps, through the lens of rose tinted glasses of a dreamer, were often rooted in the social conscience of the civil rights movements so prevalent it appears in the Europe and United States of the 1960s.  In the idealism of the young Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, my hero of the Russian Revolution of the 1980s and 1990s (not the one of 1917). His policies of glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika  (“restructuring”) gave so much hope for the flowering of human rights…..

 

When DRILL was first conceived by the four disability organisations involved and funded by the National Lottery, they didn’t imagine it would measure up to advancing the human rights of disabled people as other movements had progressed in the 1960’s. It will be a quiet revolution and one where information and knowledge alone will be mightier than any single street protest that preceded it. As for my heroes, in this wider modern and new revolution, it has to be the people who conceived this ambitious undertaking, despite the global doom and gloom, they have chosen to continue this struggle fighting with all their might for what is right; no matter the odds or the weight of history. My views, your views, our views, do matter. If DRILL says anything, it proclaims precisely that.

 

Two things are certain. You and me when we work in solidarity with each other:  we become an us. Together we make a difference. Alone, without the other disabled and non- disabled, we our drowned by popularism – which by definition excludes the minority, no matter how reasonable or compassionate our voice. Secondly, by the very nature of DRILL, and indeed our movement we will always challenge popularism born of ignorance, fear and despair.  The struggle for equality and human rights and the desire for knowledge and enlightenment is exactly that.  It is keeping faith in the good, in the struggle for a better tomorrow, bound neither by the past or the present, by a hard or soft Brexit or dare we say any resident in the White House.

 

This is an edited extract.  Tony’s full blog can be viewed here – June – Tony O’Reilly Blog

 

Tony O’Reilly is a member of the North West Forum of People with Disabilities and the Northern Ireland DRILL National Advisory Group.  He has been an activist in the human rights movement for over 25 years.  He is a dreamer and a doer.

Eleven new disability research projects receive £1 million as DRILL calls for new bids

 

Eleven projects across the UK are the latest to receive between £39,000 and £150,000 each of previously awarded funding to explore aspects of how disabled people can live as full citizens in our society.

 

The projects, which include exploring employment opportunites, housing and social care services for disabled people, are the latest to be funded by DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a £5 million research scheme led by disabled people and funded by Big Lottery Fund.

 

The announcement coincides with DRILL’s call for new bids for funding, which is announced this week – it is looking to allocate another £1 million.

 

All DRILL projects are led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions, working in co-production with academics and policy makers.

 

The latest grants were approved by the DRILL Central Research Committee, which is chaired by Professor Tom Shakespeare. He said:

“Once again, a terrific set of applications to the DRILL scheme. The Research Committee are delighted to be able to support work about adapted housing, autism, young disabled people, disabled parents and other important issues, from all parts of the United Kingdom. It’s particularly rewarding to see the strong new relationships which are emerging between disabled people’s organisations and university researchers.”

 

Lead partners on the latest projects to be awarded funding are:

England

  • Change (Leeds)
  • Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (RICA)
  • Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service
  • University of Coventry
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living

 

Northern Ireland

  • Praxis

 

Scotland

  • University of Stirling
  • Horizon Housing
  • University of Glasgow

 

Wales

  • Cardiff University

 

Launched in 2015, the DRILL programme is fully funded by Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales. DRILL is expecting to fund up to 40 research pilots and projects over a five-year period, all led by disabled people.

 

Potential projects have until 8th August to put their bids in for the new round of funding.

 

More information on DRILL can be found on the main Funding page.

Details of the funded projects can be found in the Projects Section

Blog Post: DRILL Calling!

 

Our ground-breaking DRILL Programme is now well underway as we announce the latest tranche of projects awarded £1 million in total as well as the call for the second round of proposals to fill some of the research gaps and identify solutions to barriers faced by disabled people in achieving independent living.

 

We have been thrilled by the sheer number and quality of proposals (over 200) received from across the UK for research and pilot projects led by disabled people, in co-production with research experts. This demonstrates an appetite amongst disabled people to build our own knowledge and test innovations to enable disabled people to participate fully in society.

 

New DRILL Projects

DRILL funded projects enable disabled people pose the research questions and co-design the whole approach, with research partners. The questions disabled people put are simply not the same as those often asked by academics and professionals. DRILL’s research will reveal new knowledge, new insights, that could lead to new solutions and new ways of doing things that will make a real difference to disabled people’s lives in the UK.

 

For example, disabled people are consumers with cash to spend and will want to ensure that purchases are good value as well as meeting their requirements. The project Rate it! to be delivered by lead partner Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (RICA) will involve disabled people in producing product reviews, offering a peer perspective.

 

Several of the projects funded relate to independent living at different points in the life cycle.  The University of Coventry leads on a project to define quality and rights-based Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for disabled young people whilst Wiltshire CIL’s project ImaYDiT will explore the transition from childhood to adulthood. Horizon Housing in Scotland’s initiative Match Me will look at the rented accommodation needs of disabled people whilst the University of Stirling will research the costs and benefits of good self-directed support. Support for disabled parents will be investigated by the University of Bedfordshire and partners.

 

Given the topicality of tackling the disability employment gap, the DRILL portfolio now includes some innovative projects focussing on barriers to the job market. These include CHANGE’s research into employing peer support workers with learning difficulties in services to people with learning difficulties; Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service’s project to explore employer perceptions on barriers to work; and Cardiff University’s research – Legally Disabled? – into the specific barriers to disabled people’s employment in the legal profession.

 

We are particularly glad to have funded projects that are led or co-led by people who often have little or no voice at all. These include: research led by Praxis in Northern Ireland into the experiences of people with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities regarding decision making processes; and the University of Glasgow’s initiative to examine barriers faced by people with autism.

 

Together with the ten small project and fast-track grants awarded in 2016, DRILL’s portfolio now consists of 21 projects totalling £1.5m. Competition has been fierce and we know that there will have been disappointment among bidders who were not successful this time. We are delighted to announce therefore that there is another opportunity to apply for funding.

 

Calling New Proposals

Our approach and priorities for the 2nd Call is based upon several factors: what disabled people told us at the DRILL roadshow events in 2015; the insight provided by the funding applications received in the 1st Call and; our ongoing engagement with disabled people across the UK. As before DRILL projects must be about one of the following 4 themes:

 

  • Participating in the economy, or
  • Participating in civic and public life, or
  • Participating in the community and social life, or
  • Participating in anything!

 

Based on the projects funded to date, we have identified several gaps so this time we will be particularly interested in proposals that seek solutions in specific areas. Full details can be found in the Guidance.

 

Most importantly we are looking to fund projects that have been developed in coproduction with people with lived experience of disability or long-term health conditions. We want the DRILL Programme to include a wide range of different experiences and perspectives. We are keen to fund a range of projects which tap into the diversity of people and experiences in the UK.

 

Legacy

Over and above the findings and recommendations that all DRILL projects will generate, is the legacy we aim to achieve in linking Disabled People’s Organisations with researchers. For the first time in the history of the UK Disabled People’s Movement we will have the academic partners and the skills to set the research agenda, prioritising and posing our own questions on the issues of most importance to us and thereby sustaining DRILL’s work well into the future.

 

 

Rhian Davies

Chief Executive, Disability Wales

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