Inclusion Scotland hosts Scottish launch of the world’s first disabled people led research programme today in Glasgow

This evening sees the Scottish launch of the world’s first disabled people led research programme at The Lighthouse in Glasgow.

Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) is an innovative research programme led in Scotland by Inclusion Scotland and partnered across the UK by Disability Action Northern Ireland, Disability Wales and Disability Rights UK. This ground breaking UK-wide programme is fully funded by a £5 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund. DRILL is expecting to fund a total of 40 research proposals and pilot projects over a 5 year period.

In what we believe to be a world first, disabled people will take the lead throughout. They will be at the forefront of designing projects. Funding streams will be based on disabled people’s priorities. Funding decisions will be made by a Central Research Committee, with a majority of disabled people.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with academics and policy makers to build a better evidence base about approaches that enable disabled people to achieve independent living – to have choice and control over their lives in ways non-disabled people take for granted. This will be used to inform future policy and service provision, and give a greater voice to disabled people on the issues that impact on them.

CEO of Inclusion Scotland, Dr Sally Witcher OBE said:

“Cuts to benefits and care packages have had a devastating impact on many disabled people, leaving them in poverty and with support merely to survive, but not to live. While clearly beyond the power of the DRILL programme to reverse these, it offers fantastic new opportunities to find innovative ways of removing the barriers that prevent disabled people from participating in all aspects of society as equal citizens.”

Paul Gray, Scottish Government Independent Living Champion and Director-General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive NHS Scotland said of the DRILL launch:

“The launch of DRILL is very timely, following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Draft Delivery Plan on implementing disabled people’s rights under the UN Convention. I am delighted to be involved in the launch event, and to support this important contribution to independent living in Scotland”.

Professor Nick Watson, Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Glasgow and Director of ‘What Works’ said:

“Giving control to disabled people and their organisations will ensure that the research commissioned by the programme addresses disabled people’s priorities and needs and that it will provide evidence that will shape future policy and practice development, bringing about real improvement in the lives of disabled people in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Dr Jim Elder-Woodward OBE, Independent Convenor of SILC and member of the DRILL National Advisory Group said:

“The Big Lottery Fund is to be congratulated for their foresight and trust in disabled people; for research done by disabled people on the world which disables them is much more powerful and revealing than research done on disabled people by those from that disabling world. The Lottery money will be used by disabled people not just to investigate the issues pertinent to their lives and their social, economic and civic emancipation, but to find the solutions we need.

Jackie Killeen, Director for Scotland, Big Lottery Fund said:

“I’m excited about this project as it clearly has scope to create a step change for disabled people and their ability to live independently. What’s key for me is that it is asking those with lived experience of disability to directly feed into the research. Partnership and co-production really strengthen this work and we hope the project’s results will go on to provide an evidence base to inform future policy and service provision across the UK.”

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