Contact the team: 0117 947 9911

Do you want to email us for assistance? Contact: [email protected]

The Critical Need for Enhanced Funding and Social Investment in Disabled People’s Organisations

Leaflet with the text 'Hear our voice'

Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) play a pivotal role in advocating for the rights and inclusion of Disabled people. Despite our significant contributions, DPOs often face severe funding challenges that limit their capacity to drive meaningful change. Addressing this funding shortfall through increased social investment is essential for fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.

Underfunding of Disabled People’s Organisations

DPOs frequently operate with minimal resources, making it difficult to sustain our operations and expand our impact. This chronic underfunding hampers our collective ability to provide crucial services, engage in advocacy, and develop innovative programs that address the diverse needs of Disabled people. For example, as highlighted by the Diversity Forum, there is a pressing need to reframe funding strategies to prioritise inclusivity and accessibility. Their research underscores the importance of directing more resources towards DPOs to ensure their sustainability and effectiveness.

Benefits of Increased Investment

Investing in DPOs yields substantial benefits for both Disabled people and society as a whole:

  1. Empowerment and Representation: DPOs provide a critical platform for Disabled people to voice their concerns and influence policy decisions. Enhanced investment enables DPOs to amplify our advocacy efforts and ensure that the perspectives of Disabled people are represented in societal debates and legislative processes.
  2. Service Provision: Many DPOs offer essential services such as peer support, independent living assistance, and advocacy. Increased financial support enables us to expand our services and reach more individuals in need.
  3. Policy Change: DPOs play a crucial role in advocating for disability rights and pushing for policy changes that promote accessibility and inclusion. With better investment, our advocacy efforts could lead to more significant policy changes and improvements in the lives of Disabled people.
  4. Community Building: DPOs foster a sense of community and solidarity among Disabled people. We provide safe spaces where individuals can connect, share experiences, and support each other. Enhanced investment would strengthen community building among Disabled people and improve our overall wellbeing.

Social Investment and the Disability Movement

Social investment in DPOs is not a charitable act; it is an investment in social justice and equality. By supporting DPOs, funders can help dismantle the barriers that Disabled people face and promote a more inclusive society.

As a member of DPO Forum England, WECIL contributed to the development of The Disabled People’s Manifesto, which calls for greater investment in DPOs as a key strategy for achieving disability rights and inclusion. This manifesto highlights the importance of funding DPOs to ensure that Disabled people have control over their lives and can participate fully in society.

Addressing the Funding Gap

The Diversity Forum’s research indicates that Disabled people are significantly underrepresented in decision-making roles within the social investment sector. This lack of representation further exacerbates the funding challenges faced by DPOs. By prioritising the inclusion of Disabled people in leadership roles, funders can better understand and address the unique challenges that DPOs face. Moreover, many funding bodies and investors have historically overlooked the specific needs of Disabled people, leading to a critical gap in support. This oversight not only limits the effectiveness of DPOs but also perpetuates systemic inequalities.

Practical Steps for Funders

Funders can take several practical steps to bridge this gap:

  1. Inclusive Funding Criteria: Develop funding criteria that specifically recognise and prioritise the unique needs and contributions of DPOs.
  2. Capacity Building: Provide funding for capacity-building initiatives that enable DPOs to strengthen our infrastructure and expand our reach.
  3. Long-Term Funding: Shift from short-term project-based funding to long-term, sustainable funding models that allow DPOs to plan and implement comprehensive strategies for change.
  4. Engage with DPOs: Funders should actively engage with DPOs to understand our challenges and co-create funding strategies that address these needs.

Enhanced funding and social investment in DPOs are critical for empowering Disabled people and promoting social inclusion. By supporting Disabled People’s Organisations, funders and policymakers can help create a society where Disabled people are valued, included, and able to live the lives we choose. It is time for a concerted effort to ensure that DPOs receive the resources they need to thrive and continue their vital work.

For more detailed insights, you can read the original article on the Pioneers Post website here. Learn more about the Disabled People’s Manifesto here.

Skip to content