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New research funding to help disabled voices be heard

The issues and challenges facing disabled people will soon be better understood thanks to new research made possible with a £5 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Disability Action Northern Ireland and their partners Disability Rights UKDisability Walesand Inclusion Scotland have been awarded the grant to carry out Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) project over the next five years. The research will focus on the extent to which disabled people are able to live independently whilst gathering their opinions on how changes could be made.

Prejudices and a predominantly medical view of disability can still lead to negative attitudes towards disabled people including those who are considering starting their own family or trying to get into education or employment. One of the consequences of negative attitudes towards employment and work is that disabled people earn less and are more likely to end up living in poverty.

With this in mind the new research will aim to build on existing knowledge and develop evidence from disabled people on the issues they face to help influence and inform policy and practice and provide greater opportunities for disabled people to live independently while challenging negative perceptions about disability. The research findings will include ideas from disabled people on how they believe change might be brought about.

Pilot projects will then be developed using the findings to shape future policy and bring about real improvements to the lives of disabled people across the UK.

Peter Ainsworth, Chairman of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Prejudice and assumptions can blight every aspect of a disabled person’s life, from raising a family to finding meaningful employment. This funding will mean that those affected by disability can make their voices heard and put people directly affected by disability at the heart of how their needs are addressed.

Kevin Doherty, Chief Executive of Disability Action Northern Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to secure this funding. It’s a massive opportunity for disabled people to tackle issues that affect them in their day-to-day living and I am proud that Disability Action Northern Ireland and our partners in the UK will deliver on the project.”

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Notes to editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £32 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.


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