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.
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.
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