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7 Families: campaigning for social security and independent living support

DR UK is involved in the 7 Families project because we want to test and show the difference it can make to get fast, effective support for independent living and getting back into work when you unexpectedly become disabled or develop a serious health condition.

This project is a platform to campaign for improved social security and independent living rights, for everyone.

The public in general are not aware of what it’s like to rebuild your life after the onset of serious disability. If they were they would be far more vocal about the need for a truly supportive social security system, they would demand improvements to employment support and social and health care. This project is a significant opportunity to raise public awareness.

We plan to show the gap between what the experience could be like, with good resources and support – and what the reality is for the millions who wait months for PIP assessments, who have no information about what is available, who can’t get access to decent support to get back into work, who can’t start the process of obtaining an adapted car or help at home, and (in so many cases) give up on having a decent life. Even when people have sufficient money – for instance, compensation after an accident – they lack good information and support and are therefore sometimes open to exploitation or end up with support that isn’t useful to them.

The project will show in real life terms what the experience could be like for individuals and families,  what barriers exist – and what helps to get a life back on track as quickly as possible after acquiring an impairment. The key to our awareness raising will be people’s experiences, for instance Wendy, who tells her story here:

Wendy from HTF Media on Vimeo.

DR UK believes that effective, timely support should be available to everyone – not just those who may be in a position to insure themselves in case they lose income. Why should decent support not be available to the person who cannot afford insurance? At the moment there is a 2-tier system and our campaign is for that to change. We already campaign for an end to PIP delays and for rights to independent living. The 7 Families Project will raise wider public awareness of what is needed and why – by shining a light on the sharp differences between what is possible and the experience of most people in Britain today.

In all of our work with commercial organisations we reserve the right to speak out wherever and whenever we need to in the interests of disabled people’s rights  – and this is explicit in all agreements. We know that insurance companies have sometimes failed disabled individuals, and people more widely, and we are absolutely committed to speaking out if we see anything happening that infringes disabled people’s rights. All of the companies involved in the project understand we are using the project as a platform to campaign for improved social security and independent living rights.

4 November 2014