Thirteen charities who help autistic and disabled people and those with a learning disability who are struggling with the effects of the pandemic are to benefit from £2.4m in government funding.
The money is designed to support people’s physical and mental wellbeing by funding services to provide practical support for disabled children, set up and expand helplines, provide mental health and wellbeing support for both staff and disabled people, and support advocacy.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately (pictured) said: “I know this last year has been a particularly difficult time for disabled people, autistic people and those with a learning disability.
“COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on them and we are doubling our investment in this fund to ensure people of all ages receive advice and support. It will help vital charities offer projects which are improving the physical and mental wellbeing of thousands every day.”
The new funding, which follows £1.2m provided in July 2020, will fund support, including:
Practical support for disabled children and their families, such as distributing sensory equipment and play at home kits, as well as virtual education, learning and play opportunities;
Helplines providing information and expert, tailored advice to support disabled people and their families throughout the pandemic as well as COVID-19-specific digital resources, including to ensure disabled people understand their eligibility for the vaccine;
Online courses and wellbeing calls to support the emotional and mental wellbeing of disabled people and provide virtual support to reduce social isolation during the pandemic;
Supporting frontline staff working with disabled children and adults through qualifications in Positive Behaviour Support; and
Supporting those seeking to access advocacy services to ensure disabled people and their families and carers are able to make their voices heard.
The Government said it had provided billions of pounds worth of additional welfare support during the COVID-19 crisis on top of £4.6 billion to support local authorities to cope with added pressures, including in adult social care, to make sure disabled people are able to access the support they need throughout the pandemic.