DRILL Blog and News

News: Fully Funded PhD Opportunity.

In collaboration with Cardiff University Business School and Disability Wales, the DRILL Programme is delighted to announce a fully funded PhD opportunity to research ‘What Works in Wales? Developing an evidence base to inform a kitemark for employers to address the disability employment gap’. The aim of the project is to identify an evidence base of ‘what works’ for disabled people in employment, to contribute to the creation of a Disability Standard for employers. Forming part of the DRILL legacy, the student will work with DRILL partner organisation, Disability Wales during the PhD to develop an evidence base to address the disability employment gap. This three- or four-year PhD studentship is funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Cardiff University Business School. Background DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) is an innovative five-year UK-wide programme led by disabled people, for disabled people and funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BLF). Launched in 2015, DRILL will conclude in August 2020. The Programme is a four-nation project, led by Disability Action NI in partnership with Disability Wales, Disability Rights UK and Inclusion Scotland. DRILL promotes coproduction and collaboration between disabled people and their organisations, academia, research bodies and policy makers. This collaboration between DRILL, Disability Wales and Cardiff University is one example of the growing connections between disabled people’s organisations and universities throughout the course of the DRILL Programme. To date the programme has funded 32 diverse, coproduced research and pilot projects across the UK. Several DRILL-funded projects have explored issues directly relating to the employment of disabled people, including the following: – Barriers and enablers to employment: Black disabled people living with Sickle Cell Disorders (SCD) (led by De Montfort University) – Legally Disabled (led by Cardiff University) – Getting On and Staying On (led by Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service) – The Bridge: Changing attitudes and communities by turning skills and experience into earnings for self-advocacy organisations and self-advocates (led by Barod CIC) Research and pilot projects, such as these, have enabled disabled people to have a direct influence on decisions that impact on their independent living, particularly in relation to policies, legislation and services. PhD project aims and methods This PhD research is in collaboration with DRILL, Disability Wales and Cardiff University Business School. The student will work with Disability Wales during the PhD to develop an evidence base to address the disability employment gap in Wales. In June 2018, Disability Wales Chief Executive Rhian Davies was a keynote speaker at a launch event organised by the Learning and Work Institute Cymru and the Welsh Government. This made 6 recommendations: one was to ‘develop a Wales Disability Standard’: a kitemark for employers to be part of the Welsh Government ‘Employability Action Plan’, which the student, in collaboration with DRILL and Disability Wales, will help develop. Much existing research on the disability employment gap concentrates on the number of disabled people out of work, often driving the short term political objective of getting disabled people off benefits and into any kind of work and overlooking the importance of job quality and careers. Building on DRILL-funded research from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this project aims to highlight what disabled people themselves regard as best practice in employment. The research will focus on 3 key questions: 1. How can findings from the DRILL programme, which used co-production as a research methodology and provides unprecedented insights into disabled people’s experiences of society, the economy and polity, inform employment policies and practice? 2. What factors contribute to the persistent disability employment gap in Wales? 3. What already works for disabled people in employment and how could future initiatives build on existing initiatives/practice to inform the development of a Welsh standard for employers? Stage one will involve a secondary analysis of relevant data from DRILL projects – using data archived at the UK Data Service – alongside a documentary analysis of regional sources to develop an understanding of the Welsh context. Stage two will develop ‘profiles’ of good practice, drawn from regional, national or international examples of organisations, occupations, or successful social policy or third sector initiatives. Creating ‘profiles’ will entail interviewing key actors and stakeholders as well as evaluating the stated outcomes. Where appropriate and ethical, media will also form part of the data collection. Visual media might, for example be appropriate to record evidence of inclusive and accessible technology, or built environment. Building upon existing DRILL networks, it is expected there will be scope for members of the four National Advisory Groups (NAGs) or the Central Research Committee (CRC) to form part of the PhD project steering committee. This will ensure coproduction, enabling disabled people to feed into future research and policy and service provision. The ultimate aim is to identify an evidence base of ‘what works’ for disabled people in employment, to contribute to the creation of a Welsh Disability Standard for employers. In turn, it is envisaged this will also positively influence policies and practices in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For more information and how to apply.

News: Chronic Illness Inclusion Project Newsletter (November issue)

Launching “energy impairment”

From now on, “Energy Limiting Chronic Illness” is the term we’ll be using to better represent you and voice your concerns. From all our focus groups and survey responses, the concept of energy impairment seems to best convey what people with chronic illness want policy makers and society in general to understand and take account of. We were looking for a term that is not disease-specific, but conveys what it means to identify as a “spoonie”.  In the language of Spoon Theory, energy impairment means lack of spoons, due to extreme fatigue or fatiguability, often involving pain and cognitive difficulty.

Energy impairment is not the same as everyday aches and tiredness and can be extremely debilitating. Until this is understood by those who make decisions about our lives, we will continue to be excluded from policies and services designed to address disadvantage among disabled people.

Next steps

We have now finished the focus group research and the data collection phase of the project. It’s time to start sharing the findings with you in a series of blog posts I’ll be writing in 2019, as we develop our manifesto for changing policies and perceptions around energy-limiting chronic illness. We’re planning ways to consult with you to ensure we reflect all your views and cover your priority areas for change.

This is the time to grow our movement as we develop the manifesto. Please share our new website in your networks and encourage your followers to sign up to our mailing list and like our Facebook page.

Write for our blog series

We are looking for more contributions to our blog series. This time on particular themes:
Belief and disbelief with chronic illness – how important is to be believed about our illness? What are the consequences of disbelief? Where are the battlegrounds of belief/disbelief in our daily lives?
Access – what are the changes we need in order to get out and about more easily with energy impairment. You could consider using mobility aids, accessing public spaces, using public transport, visiting shops and restaurants. Think about changes in public attitudes as well as practical adjustments.

If you want to write a blog post please email me at [email protected] with the subject heading “blog post” and I’ll pass on your email to our blog editor, Fran Halsall.

Thanks and best wishes,
Catherine

Please click on the link below for further information

Chronic Illness Inclusion Project

Also visit the project page by following the link http://www.drilluk.org.uk/chronic-illness-citizenship-mobilising-collective-voice-social-change/

Vlog: Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living

The ‘ImaYDit’  project has produced the following Vlog providing a greater insight into the transition from childhood to adulthood for disabled young people. It is coproduced with up 10 young disabled co -researchers who are engaging with up to 50 young disabled participants to explore the opportunities for moving forward into independent lives.

For further information about the project please follow the link http://www.drilluk.org.uk/imaydit-i-made-imagining-young-disabled-peoples-transitions-time-major-societal-change/

 

Blog: Exciting ongoing research: 4 Nations Research project on attitudes and disability

Northern Ireland section: ‘‘Is It Me?’ How do attitudes in the adult social care system impact on the independent living choices of disabled people’.

This blog is an update on the exciting project regarding attitudes towards disabled people in the context of adult social care that we are currently conducting. The project is funded by the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) and the Big Lottery Fund, and is led by Disability Action NI (DANI). The project has the ambitious goal of conducting co-produced disability research, by setting up a Research Partnership comprised of disabled advocates, activists and a representative of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC). The Research Partnership makes all the decisions about the project together ensuring that the lived experience and expertise of disabled people is always prioritised.

History and structure.

The ‘Is It Me?’ Project started in May 2018 and the final report for the project will be ready in September 2019. The project has provided a great opportunity to discuss the under researched topic of attitudes and their impact on independent living choices, at a time when the adult social care system in Northern Ireland (NI) is being reformed. The project is divided in four stages: stage 1 is focus groups with disabled people; stage 2 is a focus group with professionals in the adult social care system; stage 3 is individual semi-structured interviews with disabled people; and stage 4 is an online survey for social work and social care workers. Ethical consideration and approval has been sought and successfully granted by the independent DRILL Ethics Committee, comprised of experienced disability studies scholars who have advised us on how best to conduct ethical co-produced disability research.

What we have done so far.

We have completed stages 1 and 2 of the research, and the experience for both the Research Partnership and the participants has been positive and very informative! We facilitated four focus groups with disabled people in several locations across NI (Belfast, Cookstown and Derry/Londonderry). We engaged with 28 disabled people in these focus groups and had passionate discussions about the types of attitudes disabled people have experienced and how these attitudes can be both a barrier and an enhancement to independent living. We have spoken to people with various disabilities and long term conditions, who come from all corners of NI, and the various perspectives provided has ensured that the focus groups are shared and inclusive space.

We also facilitated a focus group with professionals in the adult social care system with the help of the NISCC. We wanted to speak to managers in the adult social care system, in order to get a rounded picture of how people perceive attitudes as either a barrier or an enhancement. What was fascinating about this focus group was that the managers recognised many of the issues and positive examples raised by disabled people. This has which confirmed that a vast majority of participants in the adult social care system would like to see it reformed, to account better for the impact of attitudes on independent living choices.

What comes next.

Our next stage will be stage 3, or semi-structured interviews with disabled people, where we will continue the discussion on attitudes and their impact on independent living in much more depth. The interviews will start at the end of January 2019 and will take place over a few months. We aim to get in touch with many different people, in order to give a platform for some voices that do not get heard often. We are excited about the opportunity to research attitudes further and put forward the lived experience of the participants at the core of our final recommendations.

Contacts

If you are interested in hearing more about the project, or if you want to get in touch with the Research Partnership, please contact the lead researcher Ivanka Antova from DANI at [email protected], or by calling 028 9029 7880.

For further information on the project please click on the link http://is-it-me-how-do-attitudes-within-the-socail-care-system-impact-on-the-independent-living-choices-of-disabled-people/

Blog: Greetings from the British Deaf Association Northern Ireland!

So far we have made great progress with our DRILL project, which focuses on Implementing Article 13 of the UNCRPD:  Enhancing Deaf People’s Communication Access to Justice in Northern Ireland. We have been working in partnership with Queens University (Belfast), Syracuse University (New York) and Rowan University (New Jersey).

As I mentioned in my previous blog, there are a lot of barriers for Deaf people accessing the justice system. This is largely due to the fact that, for many Deaf people, their first language is British Sign Language or Irish Sign Language – not English. As part of the research project, our academic researchers interviewed police officers for their experiences/knowledge of working with Deaf people, at the same time, we organised information/ training sessions for Deaf people at a police station. We have been working tirelessly with our partners to try to break down these barriers. Great examples of this are the events we arranged with the local Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI). We invited Deaf people to come along to tours of two police stations in Northern Ireland. This was an eye opening experience, particularly for the police officers involved. Having the Deaf people in the station meant that they could see that there were many obvious barriers to communication. Each group was given the opportunity to ask questions which proved challenging for the police officers as they were unable to answer some questions due to their lack of experience of working with Deaf people. It was a very worthwhile trip for all involved!

We are looking forward to our second Deaf Advisory Group (DAG) meeting. We are excited about the amazing guest speakers who will attend including: Emma Gilbert, who is involved with PLOD. PLOD stands for Police Link Officer for Deaf people and is a scheme that promotes equal access to the police for people in England who are deaf or hard of hearing. The purpose of this scheme is to build and maintain relationships with the deaf community within the county and for PLOD officers to act as a contact point for the public, staff and officers in the force who have or may have contact with deaf people. PLOD is made up of police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) and staff members from across the force. Andrew Geary, a police officer in Ireland who is also a father of a Deaf child is hugely passionate in supporting Access to Justice in Ireland for Deaf people. He is very keen to get involved with and PLOD based in Ireland, as well as Johnny Hamill, a police officer in Omagh, who is training to become a Police Link Officer for Deaf People in Omagh and Fermanagh. These will be trialled for few months and if successful, consideration will be given to having it right across Northern Ireland. We are also currently working on evaluation forms to make sure we get the feedback from Deaf people when using the PLOD. The group are all passionate about supporting the Deaf community in Ireland and Northern Ireland. We are very honoured to be working closely with these professionals with the aim of developing resources that will support their work and make their services more accessible for Deaf people.

Further information sessions that will focus on accessing the justice system are in the planning stages. We believe it is so important that Deaf people have a good understanding of the range of services available. In addition to this we are arranging British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language Equality training for professionals in the justice sector across Northern Ireland. All the above will be keeping me busy over the next few months!

Our partners will also be busy carrying out a scoping exercise and preparing their own research with the aim of providing evidence based research that will improve accessibility so that Deaf people can have more positive experiences when accessing the justice system in the future. So far our academic researchers interviewed our ‘Justice Focus Groups’. Within this group there were police officers, solicitors, barristers, prison officers and many more professionals. They were happy to be involved in assisting with the gathering of evidence from their own previous experiences of working with Deaf people. The researchers uncovered a lot of very useful information that can be used to address where the main barriers exist for Deaf people and how we can work together to tackle this in the future. I can already see how this research will have a positive impact on improving accessibility in the justice sector. I am so excited to read the final report when it is finished!

I was delighted with the feedback we have been given from those involved in the tours. Many Deaf people commented that, as a result of attending the tour, they felt more confident and knowledgeable about how to access a police station. This confidence will hopefully make them more likely to go into their local police station in future, if necessary.  As was previously stated, the police officers involved in the tours were quick to realise that they need to look into how their service can be more accessible. As a result of the tour they were made aware of the importance of their officers being able to communicate with Deaf people in-case they arrive at the station unexpectedly. It is clear that the events so far have had a massive impact on those involved. It has made the barriers more evident which has been a catalyst for positive change going forward. I feel confident that the upcoming events and research will delve into this deeper and I look forward to continuing to improve accessibility for Deaf people throughout the justice system.

For further information about the project please follow the link enhancing-deaf-peoples-communication-access-justice-northern-ireland

News; Focus group for the “Is it Me?” Project

Adult Social Care Research and Action

We are inviting disabled people in the North-West area to our session on research and action for the adult social care system in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 16 November 2018

From 12.00pm to 13.00pm

In Disability Action, Derry

58 Strand Rd, Londonderry BT48 7AJ

If you are a disabled person living in the North West Ulster area you are invited to take part in our session in adult social care. The session will start with a focus group on attitudes impacting on independent living choices. You will be part of a focus group with around 15 other disabled people.  The focus group will be facilitated by Ivanka who is the lead researcher.  This discussion will focus on the attitudes you have experienced in relation to social care and independent living.  You don’t need to be an expert to take part  – it is just your experience that we want to hear.

We will cover all travel expenses for those attending and all the papers are available in a range of formats on the day – just let us know your requirements when you book.

To register for the focus group and for reasonable adjustments, please contact Ivanka Antova on Telephone: 028 9029 7880 or email [email protected]

For further information on the project please follow the www.drilluk.org.uk/is-it-me-how-do-attitudes-within-the-socail-care-system-impact-on-the-independent-living-choices-of-disabled-people/

News: 2 upcoming events Access to Justice for the Deaf Community NI

The British Deaf Association are facilitating 2 upcoming events in Belfast this October. Please visit links for more details.

Access to Justice Poster 2018 (5) BDA 2

5th  October 2018

Police Service for
Northern Ireland
Tour & Information Session
Come and find out about the processes
used in a police setting, have a tour
of the facilities and a chance for a
questions and answers session.

PSNI Counsultation BDA 1

18th  October 2018

The Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Police Service of Northern Ireland now need your help in order to plan how they will deliver policing in your community.

For further information about the project please visit implementing-article-13-uncrpd-enhancing-deaf-peoples-communication-access-justice-northern-ireland

News: DRILL Focus Group on Adult Social Care Research

We are inviting disabled people in the Mid-Ulster area to our session on research and action for the adult social care system in Northern Ireland.

 Tuesday 9 October 2018

From 13.30pm to 14.15pm

In Youth Resource Centre, Cookstown

74 Fountain Rd, Cookstown BT80 8QF

If you are a disabled person living in the Mid-Ulster area you are invited to take part in our session in adult social care. The session will a focus group on attitudes impacting on independent living choices. You will be part of a focus group with around 15 other disabled people.  The research will be undertaken by Ivanka who is the lead researcher.  This discussion will focus on the attitudes you have experienced in relation to social care and independent living.  You don’t need to be an expert to take part – it is just your experience that we want to hear.

We will cover all travel expenses for those attending and all the papers are available in a range of formats on the day – just let us know your requirements when you book.

To register for the focus group and for reasonable adjustments, please contact Ivanka Antova on Telephone: 028 9029 7880 or email [email protected]

For further information on the project please visit is-it-me-how-do-attitudes-within-the-socail-care-system-impact-on-the-independent-living-choices-of-disabled-people/

 

Blog: (ALLFIE) Let’s work together to make secondary schools more inclusive: Could you tell us about your experiences?

As a Disabled researcher, my academic research into British schools has shown that most Disabled children feel they are excluded at school and often bullied. I now work with the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE). As a Disabled-led organisation, we have been particularly concerned about school budget cuts and the impact that cuts have on children with special educational needs or disabilities. Families believe that thousands of children across the UK with special educational needs are currently unable to receive the support that they need. Our recent campaigns around this issue won support from the Local Government Association.

We have recently been funded by Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning (DRILL) to conduct a research project about Accessibility Plans. We are exploring the experiences of Disabled pupils, their parents and educators in schools. We hope this project will support work to enable Disabled children and young people to feel more included and part of their school communities in every way.

The project will explore the stories and opinions that people share in focus group discussions to understand any gaps between the aims of the law, and the real-life experience of people in schools. The project advisory group includes a Disabled academic and a parent of a Disabled child to make sure these perspectives are considered in how the research is done.

The Equality Act 2010 and the Equality Duty 2011 highlight schools’ responsibilities to produce Accessibility Plans. Accessibility Plans are intended to help Disabled children and young people to make best use of the education, benefits, facilities and services available to them. Schools and local councils are required to plan for:

  • Increasing access for Disabled pupils to the school curriculum. This covers teaching, learning and the wider curriculum of the school, such as participation in after-school clubs, leisure and cultural activities or school visits.
  • Improving access to the physical environment of schools. This covers improvements to the school buildings and outdoor areas, as well as physical aids to access education.
  • Improving the delivery of written information to Disabled students. This includes making things like handouts and timetables available to Disabled pupils. The information should take account of students’ impairments and learners and parents’ preferred formats and should be made available within a reasonable time frame.

In principle, Disabled children should feel more included in their school community and have a more equal educational experience as a result of the improvements made through schools’ Accessibility Plans.

Schools must, and academies should, publish their Accessibility Plans on their websites – but there is no requirement for schools or academies to share this information with OFSTED. Inspectors may consider Accessibility Plans as part of their pre-inspection analysis, but the information is not routinely recorded or collated centrally.

In my initial research for this project, I also learned from Freedom of Information requests that not all local councils in England have an accessibility strategy in place for the schools they are responsible for. Even if they do, many of these are either insufficiently detailed or out of date.

Most local councils in England do not monitor how many schools have Accessibility Plans, as this is not a legal requirement, and neither does OFSTED – so there is no evidence to demonstrate how effective the plans are for Disabled children and young people. It is also unclear how well-informed parents are about the Accessibility Plans of their children’s schools, or how much they have a say in creating them.

The impact of this oversight can be felt by Disabled pupils and their families. As they begin to think about the transition to secondary school, Disabled young people and their families may struggle, fight and compromise in order to achieve a reasonable outcome for their children. In most cases Disabled students are not only required, but also expected, to leave behind their friends and attend a school deemed accessible by their local education authority, only to find upon arrival that the school may not be as accessible as they had initially been led to believe. If nothing changes for the pupil, it is almost irrelevant that there is even a plan in place. An Accessibility Plan must be effectively implemented if it is going to make a difference to students’ lives and improve their ability to access education alongside their siblings, friends and classmates.

We will hold focus groups for the project in four regions in England – concentrating on Leeds, London, Bristol and Manchester. In each location, there will be three focus groups: one for Disabled young people and children, one for parents of Disabled learners, and one for educators and professionals. The focus groups will be held in October and November 2018, starting in Leeds.

Dates and times – Leeds focus groups:

Parents – Monday 8th October, 11:00-13:00

Disabled children & young people – Wednesday 10th October, 16:00-18:00

Educators and professionals – Friday 12th October, 16:00-18:00

 

Location:

John Lewis Community Hub meeting room, Leeds City Centre

Victoria Gate, Harewood St, Leeds LS2 7AR

Further groups will be held in other regions throughout England in autumn. Even if you don’t feel well-informed about Accessibility Plans, why not get involved and share your own experiences with us?

Even in schools where Accessibility Plans are in place, participants may feel they are not generally implemented or have not been regularly reviewed. Better understanding of this area should help Disabled learners and their families challenge inadequate Accessibility Plans. The findings will inform policy and debate on this subject at a national level. The project will help ALLFIE in pressing for change and may assist education providers producing the plans, as well as local authorities guiding Disabled learners.

Learning about a diverse range of people’s first-hand experience will help us work toward empowering future generations of Disabled people by increasing their education opportunities and removing barriers. Help us help you to get Accessibility Plans which really work.

If you are interested in getting involved in the focus groups, or would like more information about the project, please contact me at [email protected].

Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you feel may be interested in our project.

For further information on the project please visit

Blog: Mental health and physical activity in Northern Ireland. Mental Health Foundation.

Most people know that engaging in physical activity is not only important for our physical health, but also for our mental wellbeing.

Much of the existing research focuses on the impact of physical activity on depression, with multiple studies finding that physical activity is associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms. The Royal College of Psychiatrists states that a moderate level of exercise can be as good as antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

The relationship between physical activity and mental health appears to work both ways1, with increased physical activity resulting in better mental health and vice versa. Not surprisingly, then, those with severe mental health problems are less likely to engage in physical activity and are more likely to be physically unwell.

The evidence for the positive effects of exercise on a range of mental health problems is growing, with studies demonstrating that exercise can improve the lives of people with schizophrenia2.  Despite this, exercise interventions are often neglected in mental health care3 and the mortality gap for people with serious mental health problems continues to widen. This is particularly pernicious in Northern Ireland, a country in which the recent political turmoil has exacerbated the mental health crisis to catastrophic proportions.

The Mental Health Foundation, along with several partners, including Queen’s University Belfast and three Recovery Colleges (Northern Recovery College, South Eastern Recovery College and Western Recovery College), has received funding from DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning) to conduct a one-year pilot study to address the high levels of physical ill-health and preventable deaths of people with serious mental health problems in Northern Ireland.

What the study will involve

Co-production will inform the entire study. Individuals with lived experience of psychosocial difficulties will receive accredited training from Queen’s University Belfast to become peer-researchers on this study. They will then have an instrumental role in co-producing the programme design, research methodology, analysis, research findings recommendations and promotion.

The physical exercise programme, targeted to people with a range of serious mental health problems, will be developed from a series of co-production workshops with people with lived experience, and consultations with recovery colleges, sports organisations and health professionals.

Participants will undergo tailored health checks to determine the programme’s impact on participants’ physical and mental health measures. The sustainability of the programme will be explored via interviews and consultations with partners, and recommendations and next steps will be identified.

The shocking fact that more people in Northern Ireland have died by suicide in the past 18 years than were killed during 30 years of conflict highlights the urgency of the situation. Mental health problems can no longer be ignored, and innovative, creative approaches and solutions should be explored.

This is exactly what we seek to do with our partners through this large-scale physical exercise programme designed to empower people with serious mental health problems to incorporate physical activity into their lives. Not only does this innovative study seek to develop the evidence base for physical exercise interventions in mental health, it also hopes to provide practical solutions that will improve the delivery of services in Northern Ireland.

For further information please visit (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/mental-health-and-physical-activity-northern-ireland

& project page

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