Welcome to the July 2023 Action on Disability E-Newsletter. Below you can find out about all of our key services and other important information!
Action on Disability is always looking to grow its community so if you have forwarded this by a colleague or friend, and would like to hear more about AoD then sign up to our newsletter here!
What’s in this months newsletter:
- AoD latest job opportunities
- Youth Service Update
- Welfare Benefit Service Update
- Our Place Project Update
- Employment Service Update
- Articles from Employment service members
- Other news
AoD Youth Service Update
AoD Youth service is now delivering a Youth project as a subcontracted provider for LBHF. The main contractor is Let Me Play. What this means is that we will, and have continued to deliver a weekly youth club at the Masbro Centre every term time Thursday evening, a Junior Club every term time Friday after school at Normand Croft Community School, and holiday projects. We have now started our summer holiday project which is running for 4 weeks from Tuesday 25th July to Thursday 17th of August.
This project is free to LBHF young people and where absolutely needed, we will provide a free transport service. The project is open to young people aged 11yrs to 25yrs and runs from 9am to 3:30pm. We will offer lots of exciting and fun activities including Music, sports, local day trips, dance and cooking. Eligible young people will all have access to a free healthy home cooked hot meal and physical exercise thanks to Holiday Activity Funding. Thanks to Dr Edwards & Bishop King’s Fulham Charity Young people will deliver an open day towards the end of the summer.
AoD would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mariah, Elliot, Bailey and Shannon on completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme. Once again, young people who access our service have proven themselves in committing to the scheme and as a reward, they were presented with their award certificates at a reception at Buckingham Palace
Thanks to funding from Youth Music young people celebrated a wonderful showcase performance event at Lyric Hammersmith where a large crowd enjoyed wonderful music performance form all of the young participants. Young people would like to thank Felix form Tigersonic studios for all of her support in encourage creativity. Our Youth club at the Masbro Centre hosted a large delegation of Ukrainian officials who were here to explore the way in which young people access and enjoy our projects. They also meet with young people form our youth board who presented the delegation with their Youth Manifesto.
As is always the case, AoD Youth service would like to thank all of our supporters and funders including LBHF, John Lyons Charity, City Bridge Trust, Youth Music, Dr Edwards & Bishop King’s Fulham Charity, Addison Youth, Young Hammersmith and Fulham Foundation, London Youth, the Urban Partnership Group at the Masbro Centre, Normand Croft Community School, and Lyric Hammersmith
AoD Welfare Benefit Service Update
Our Welfare Benefits advice service provides support to ill and disabled people of all ages living in Hammersmith and Fulham, with a free and independent benefits service. We support with all welfare benefits up to and including 1st tier Tribunal level. Our specialist advice workers and volunteers operate by appointment only, so please contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting. Some of the benefits with which we can assist are:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- PIP – Personal Independence Payment
- Universal Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax
Since the 01st of April 2023 our Welfare Benefits team and volunteers has supported with 78 new Benefits advice cases. This has resulted in backdated lump sum payments for clients of £124,206.80. This represents Increased weekly payments for clients of £5,861.41. The total figure for weekly income over the course of one year amounts to £304,793.51.
We have continued to work with our colleagues from Citizens Advice H&F and with H&F Law Centre to ensure local people have access to the right advice. We are also in the process of exploring ways we can improve links with health services and have participated in several advice sessions with partner organisations. In the coming months, we plan to have a presence to provide advice at AoD’s Our place Coffee Morning.
If you have accessed advice and support from our Welfare Benefit Service, then we would love you to complete this survey HERE!
AoD Our Place Project
We hosted the first Our Coffee Morning a couple of weeks ago, which was a huge success! it was great to see so many members come together for what will be the first of many!
Action on Disability Our Place Project hosts a variety of groups which we would love for you to get involved in! If you are interested in joining any of the below groups, then get in touch with Terry by email: Terence.email@example.com or call 07824 959798
Our Place groups:
- Gardening Group
- Health & Wellbeing Group
- Writing for Wellbeing Group
- Coffee Morning
- Yoga Group
Creative Group and many more to come!
AoD Employment Service Update
Both of the Supported Internships held their graduations, celebrating their achievements made whilst completing their three work experience placements and classroom based learning in preparation towards gaining paid employment.
The next Cohort of Interns will start in September and we welcome any employers wanting to get involved by hosting work experience placements each term, mentor training will take place in August.
Currently we work with many employers who host valuable placements where interns can gain transferable skills, employers include Nando’s, Hammersmith and Fulham council, RBKC council, 245 Hammersmith, Bellrock, Nourish Hub, BBC Earth and more.
See pictures below from the 2023 Hammersmith and Fulham and RBKC Supported Internship graduates
The employment team will now support the graduates throughout the summer into paid employment roles including updating CV’s, interview preparation, researching and applying for roles, interview support, work trials and more.
Below picture is an intern who has successfully become a Nandoca! Securing paid employment at Nando’s
Our Follow on coordinator is also working hard to find previous Supported Internship graduates paid employment opportunities, below is Sally enjoying her volunteer role at a Bagel shop
Our In work support is growing at a smooth pace with more disabled people being supported at work with a support worker or job coach via funding through Access to Work.
Support worker- A support worker can support by completing 20% of the role that the client cannot complete due to their disability, this support is consistent.
Job coach- A job coach can support by using prompts, reminders, making resources including task lists and picture prompts to support a client at the start of a role or new tasks and will taper the support once the client is independent in the role.
We will assist the client with the process of Access to Work and work with the employer, client/appointee to create a support plan.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is some feedback from a mother of a client we have been supporting in work.
“AoD have been working with my son Matthew, now 25 years old since 2017 in various capacities. He has ASD with learning difficulties, and in that time they have supported him through a fantastic internship with GSK where he learned a lot of work skills, especially on switchboard and front of house. They then supported him to job search, and provided a job coach to settle him in to a paid apprenticeship as an office junior with Mitie at Heathrow.
It became clear during this that Matthew would need ongoing 1;1 support to manage his work, as indeed he had needed at school. AoD were fantastic in applying on our behalf for funding for this from the DWP, flying with expertise through forms I would have found intimidating and confusing. They then provided a full time support worker for Matthew at work, sorting out all the finances and paperwork for this with the DWP, which has saved me countless hours of admin, which as a mother with 2 children with disabilities, I am so grateful for.
Covid hit, and workers were cut at Heathrow, including Matthew, but once again, AoD helped Matthew to job search and apply for an apprenticeship with Ealing Council. This has been a challenge for him but once again they have provided help and expertise at difficult meetings, good advice, and a support worker for him, even helping with his work at home on weekly study days for the past 19 months, and finding someone who understood maths well enough to help him revise and pass a failed maths test, due to which he has just passed the re-take!
We are so grateful to AoD for supporting Matthew, and also for helping to share the load we experience as parents in helping Matthew to navigate life”
Action on Disability invited Andrew to find out about the employment service in more detail and here is what he had to say:
‘Action on Disability is a non-profit charity-based organisation based in Hammersmith and Fulham, London. The organisation improves the lives of disabled people by providing better access to opportunities in employment and education. They are also interested in championing the rights of disabled people in a society that is far from equal.
I had the pleasure of conducting an interview for Louisa, who covers employment development and access support needs for the service. During this article I’ll be dipping into parts of the interview to provide an interesting perspective on what the organisation has to offer.
One of the most important subjects discussed in the interview was the organisation’s political agenda. The service is very much committed to improving the lives of disabled people and upholding egalitarian social politics. They actively challenge existing social configurations which define disability in our modern context. As is explained on their website, the service follows the ‘social model of disability’; ‘which recognises that people are disabled by barriers in society, not their impairments.’
By propagating this social attitude, the organisation serves to disseminate a better engagement with disability across society- most notably in employment and education. However, they understand there is much urgent work to be done by the government for the advancement of disabled people in society. In our interview Louisa commented on railway stations in the UK being underdeveloped for disabled people, not all of them being adapted for disabled access.
An article published by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee discusses these issues further.  It is clear from the article; the committee do not believe the rail service is sufficiently up-to-date for disabled people. In fact, they have said the network is ‘substantially inaccessible’ for the disabled population. In the reading matter, they provide statistics such as:
- Only 64% of stations have handrails on both sides of stairs and ramps.
This leaves people with disabilities affecting their mobility no extra-provision or support.
- Only 11% of stations are staffed at all time.
This leaves people with disabilities without much needed additional assistance. For instance, when operating machinery. In the absence of this kind of support, the disabled person may well find themselves in problematic circumstances and without direction.
I find it particularly interesting that ‘less than 20% of 1st class accommodation (in public transport) has space for wheelchair users.’ It would seem in this situation that a group of disabled passengers wishing to travel first class have been ignored.
To gather information about some of the wider issues for disabled people in British society, I’ve personally examined some parliamentary statistics. The number of people reporting disabilities has increased, gradually, by millions since 2002. There is also data, given by the office for national statistics, documenting obvious disparities existing between disabled and non-disabled members of society from the year 2021. The statistics showed that disabled people were less likely to have a degree and more likely to have no qualifications; they also provided evidence of substantially lower employment rates for the disabled than their non-disabled peers.
Combatting these problems, Action on Disability provide employment and education opportunities for disabled people. They work closely in partnership with West London College where there are courses and internships to enable disabled people to graduate to the world of work. The unpaid placements and internships the organisation have to offer can often lead to careers for disabled clients.
Louisa explained the organisation likes to see the progression of all their clients, describing them as ‘butterflies’ who begin their journey cocooned and emerge with brilliant prospects. As an organisational provider, the service supports their disabled clients through internships in college up until, and after, their graduation dates. In this way, the organisation is very efficient for establishing career pathways for disabled clients.
The service helps disabled people into the diving pool of employment. Individually, the service provides disabled people with job coaches and support workers to get them into positions in the working world. The job coach is there to promote the independence of the client; the support worker provides 20% of the attention given to employment and education for the individual; and the client is given 80% of the role. The attitude of action on disability is ‘we work with you, not for you.’
‘We work with you, not for you’ is a notion the service use to empower its disabled members. It gives its members confidence in their capacity to make decisions and choices themselves. This sense of worthy independence is important for disabled people in a world where there is much disparity in social power; which is one of the social problems Action on Disability is committed to overcome.
Once established in suitable working positions, Action on Disability’s job coaches provide in-person support for the disabled client at their place of work until they are comfortable taking responsibility for the position independently.
The organisation has partnerships with companies such as Nando’s and 245
Hammersmith. The service has been very successful finding employment for clients in hospitality roles. The interviewee, Louisa, said she would like to see more opportunities in admin and sports offered to clients.
Constantly improving, developing and expanding; the service is interested in developing substantial partnerships with businesses and employers. Especially with regards internships and employment opportunities for their clients. Committed to propagating correct workplace practice toward disabled members of society, they offer training to employers which includes teaching on the social model of disability.
In line with a developing network, the organisation is also interested in recruiting new job coaches and support workers for their expanding service.
I would like to conclude by stressing the positive influence of this organisation on the lives of disabled people in British society. The actions they are taking for disabled members of the country are a step towards more substantial advantage for people that have not had the benefit of general social equality. Currently located in a brand-new building with a soothing atmosphere, the organisation has a space for disabled people which provides an advantage for future plans and prospects.’
 DPTAC: working towards a fully accessible railway;
Donna Fenner, one of AoD’s trustees shares her experiences of Action on Disability and what it has done for her:
“My life has definitely changed. It all started with Disability & Equality, Coproduction training with Action on Disability. Blown away & inspired by the vision and those involved, I dug deep and used my voice, my personal story & experiences which connected me to others.
I became one of the new co producers presenting AoD working in multiple coproduction groups. I then became a Trustee of Action on Disability and became co-chair of the group (HIFCIG) along side co-chair Cllr Sharon Holder.
We both also co-chaired The National Co-production week event with LBHF which we had the pleasure of the new mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham join us at the event.
I would encourage all residents to get involved with AoD, as this could also be life changing for you too. It starts with the first step, getting in contact with AoD to find out about the coproduction training.
My life has definitely changed.” – Donna, Action on Disability Trustee
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Transport for London (TfL) has created a new landing page for disabled Londoners which provides a summary of the support available all in one place. It can be accessed here:
TfL is also in the process of creating a similar landing page for care workers and informal carers.
Who to contact for support
If you have questions about the support available or the application process you can contact TfL’s contact centre by one of the methods below. Phonelines are open Monday to Friday, 08:00-20:00.
You can also request a paper version of the application forms for the scrappage scheme or grace period.
By online form or webchat:
By phone: 0343 222 2222
By textphone: 020 7649 9123
Londoners on certain low income and disability benefits (including Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment), sole traders, businesses with up to 10 employees, and charities can apply for grants to scrap, or in some cases retrofit, their older, more polluting vehicles. For individuals scrapping a car or motorcycle, the grant does not need to be spent on a new vehicle and there is an option to receive annual bus and tram passes.
From the end of July, eligibility for the scheme will be expanding to include all Londoners receiving child benefit and London-registered businesses with fewer than 50 employees. From the end of July charities will also be able to apply to receive funding to scrap or retrofit up to three vehicles (up from one currently).
The scrappage scheme website is here:
A temporary exemption (“grace period”) is also available for some people and vehicles. Not-for-profit organisations operating minibuses for community transport and people receiving certain disability benefits or using a wheelchair accessible vehicle can apply for a temporary exemption from the ULEZ charge. The grace periods also apply to the existing inner London ULEZ.
You do not need to live in London to register for these grace periods and you can also apply on behalf of a nominated driver if you do not drive. More information is available on the TfL website:
Reimbursements for some NHS patients
Certain NHS patients are also able to claim a reimbursement of the ULEZ charge when travelling to hospital appointments if they have been assessed by their doctor or nurse as too ill or vulnerable to use public transport. The patient reimbursement scheme is administered by participating NHS trusts, so patients are encouraged to check with their treating hospital if they may be eligible.
More information is available on the TfL website:
Individuals and organisations can also benefit from deals on subscriptions, rentals and purchases of cars, bikes, e-bikes and vans, whether they are eligible for a scrappage grant or not. More information is available here: