Press Release: Local Deaf and Disabled People's Advice Service Funding Cut
Merton Centre for Independent Living is disappointed to announce that Merton Council has decided not to continue funding our unique home-visiting advice service for local Deaf and Disabled people.
Merton CIL is the only user-led pan-Disability organisation in Merton, and recently celebrated our 10th anniversary, you can see a film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecTQIfU4Doo
The organisation provides a valuable specialist Advice Service which is accessed by some of the most disadvantaged people in Merton, who are often unable to access alternative services.
Last year Merton CIL supported 332 individual Deaf and Disabled People with accredited advice and casework, and provided information, signposting and guidance in a further 170 cases. Through this work, Merton CIL contributed £689,259 to the local economy in 2017-18 and half of service users were more confident following our support and 47% said their wellbeing had improved. This is a significant return on investment for Merton Council, who last year provided the organisation with a grant of £80,000.
Merton CIL are concerned that our unique delivery of advice via home visits, and representation at benefits Tribunals and assessments, is not replicated elsewhere in the borough as standard.
For Disabled people who cannot access alternative advice services, it appears that no comparable alternative service is being funded by Merton Council. Merton CIL’s capacity to support this most disadvantaged group will be significantly reduced due to the removal of Strategic Partnership funding by Merton Council. Unfortunately this will result in the closure of our housing and independent living advice service.
Merton CIL will still be able to offer advice and representation to Deaf and Disabled People in the following areas:
- Welfare Benefits advice, including support to prepare for and attend Tribunals
- Community Care advice, including support to prepare for community care assessments and reassessments
- Hate crime advice, including support to report a hate crime or hate incident
Merton CIL would like to once again thank all funders, and individual donors, as well as members, supporters and service users for their ongoing support, and staff, trustees and volunteers for their hard work. We would particularly like to reassure local Deaf and Disabled People that we will continue to support their voice in addressing strategic and policy issues in Merton.
Notes for the Editor:
Merton Centre for Independent Living is a grassroots, user-led Deaf and Disabled people’s organisation run by Disabled people, for Disabled people, across the full spectrum of disability. We deliver a range of services to Deaf and Disabled people in London Borough of Merton.
For more information contact:
Roy Benjamin, Chair
Telephone: 020 8540 3959
Lyla Adwan-Kamara, CEO