Saturday, 6 November 2010

Cuts and Campaigning

Dear Bendy Girl

I recently went to a fascinating talk given by Neil Coyle Director of Policy of the Disability Alliance (DA). Their aim is to break the link between poverty and disability.

Some of the talk was around the background of where we are now and how the Dynamic Benefits led to the creation in Government of the 21st Century Welfare and their principles.

As you know the ‘potential improvements’ to our benefit system include a Universal Credit – a one size fits all model. A savings generator rather than to transform people’s lives and tackle poverty.

No mention of support, genuine job opportunities, supporting employers, sustainable or even enough work etc etc (Statistics can be found here).

We are all in this together! Disabled people did not start in an equal position. Disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty already.

The DA need real people to speak up before the total effect of changes has such a devastating impact – case studies are essential.
So Bendy Girl I sent Neil Coyle your The Broken of Britain (A collection of real life stories) website which he said was very useful and he would be happy to add something to the site when they launch the research on DLA. (Dont worry i will remind him!)
So if we could urge people to send you their personal stories it could help make a difference.

Neil also urged that we all of course work with local councillors and MPs to highlight the impact of the proposals.

ACT NOW has put together an Impact Assessment report regarding the proposed cuts in public spending on people with Autism.

Disability Now warns of hard times ahead.

And the Ouch message boards are bursting!

Draft letter you can adapt and send to your MP

  I recently went on a one day Campaigning course – here is a brief summary of my notes which may help anyone wanting to take any of these issues further.

Good campaigns run by local people can make make a difference.

You need to ensure your aims and objectives are clear and concise.
SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound

Gather accurate information and evidence to support your case.
Examples include personal stories, questionnaires and surveys, good practice examples and relevant local or national statistics.

Timing is important, find out when to start influencing the decision makers.

Lobbying your local council. You can influence your council in a number of ways:
Contact your local Councillor. Use the Opposition. Use the Local Paper. Submit a Petition: Lobby the Leader, Executive and Cabinet, and use your local MP Locally and Nationally.

Use local media. When it works well, local media can be extremely useful in advertising your campaign to a wider audience. It can influence key decisions made by a range of people including, local councillors, MPs, business people and even help change public opinion.
It’s all in the first sentence – you need to sum up as much of your story in one sentence as possible and answer the questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. This is a great way to check if your story is news. If you can't sum it up concisely in a few lines of text, then perhaps it's not a news story.

Have a good sound bite. You can either put this in a quote in a press release. It can capture the imagination and get you more coverage and impact.

Letters to the editor. The letters to the editor pages are some of the best read pages in local papers. If you do send a letter, brief friends and colleagues so that when your letter is printed, they can respond and keep the story going. If the newspaper receives a number of letters on one issue, then it might prompt them to do a news item or a feature.
Phone-ins.These are the radio equivalent of letters to the editor.

Campaign stunts are effective way of getting media and public attention.
C and i will have to think of something! Any ideas?!
Hope all is going well Bendy Girl
Love Casdok xx


kathleen said...

Thanks- this is very useful information for anyone regardless of where they live. As for campaign stunts..I'll have to think on that..if I come up with something I'll come back :)

Mrs. C said...

Ahhh... it took me a few clicks to figure out that what you were saying (I think, correct if wrong) is that "poverty" and "poverty when you have a disability" are different because you must spend more of your very limited income on services (rides if you can't drive, convenience foods if you can't cook, etc.) and that because of this, we need more individualized plans.

Which sounds great to me. Truth to tell, most people aren't uncaring but never have to sit down and think about those things, what it is like for people going through this.

At the risk of offending, might I add that paperwork and the like needed to get help in the first place would be particularly difficult for people whose disability entails a level of disorganization and/or inability to figure out which services are available and who to ask? At least here, it's daunting to figure these things out. If there is any help to be had in the first place...

Maddy said...

I keep up with 'Best of Today' for the news but it's all thoroughly depressing at the moment.

I do think that trying to keep ahead, optimistic and positive is critical and these kinds of campaigns display an underlying solidarity.

Anonymous said...

Targetting disabled people to bail out the bankers and save their bonuses - whats next?

Jean said...

really useful post! xxx

Marita said...

A fantastic post thank you. I'm bookmarking this one for future reference.

Ron said...

Hello Dearest Casdok~

Once again, you share such valuable information. I will have my friend in Florida read this post because I know she will find it very helpful.

Hope all is well with you and C!

X to you both!

Akelamalu said...

I do hope the Government's new measures don't affect you and C adversely. :(

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Great information and a useful reminder to stay focused! Good luck with your campaign x

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Thanks for these helpful tips. Love to you and C! xo

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Good luck! You are a warrior and the cause is just.

Debs said...

What an impressive post, you certainly know what you're talking about. Good luck.

Ellee Seymour said...

I know through my work with Headway that finding jobs is very important for those with a disability who are able to work and want to integrate with society and live fulfilling lives. So yes, write to your local papers. There is a strong Big Society ethos here and local people should get involved and support and help those who need it, who want to make a valued contribution and gain recognition for it.

Debbie said...

This is very educational and eye-opening.

Anonymous said...

As always, a very informative post.

CJ xx

jazzygal said...

Very informative and helpful post Casdok. I will be keeping it in mind.Well done.

xx Jazzy

Paulene Angela said...

I've always believed the whole system needs a good shake-up.

However all I see with drastic cut backs is the obvious,less money going around the system, the wheels slowly down. Let's face it, disability creates jobs and those receiving benefits, it's really not to party and waste but to spend of food, living, therapies, help, looking for work, studying, surviving etc. The money is all going back into the system.

The government needs to be reminded that it is the peoples money that they are playing with and not theirs.

Amazing that they found so much money to bail out the banks, but that money is not returning to the system only making some fat guys even fatter.

As Bob Marley sang "Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up for your rights.