Campaigning through the seasons
Saturday 29th December 2018
Our Head of Campaigns, Una Summerson, outlines how this year we have supported more families than ever before to campaign.
With your help we've been able to shine a light on cuts to short breaks, school transport and financial support in Parliament, in Downing Street and in the media.
From snow into spring….
We started the year with a High Court win for parent carers campaigning to stop the closure of Nascot Lawn respite centre in Hertfordshire. Meanwhile in Hampshire and elsewhere we expressed concern about the decisions to close respite centres.
In response, we hosted a successful webinar about using the law to challenge cuts to services with Alex Rook and Steve Broach, two specialist public lawyers. The webinar looks at how the law can be used to influence cuts to local authority services and is still available on our Youtube channel.
Our School Run Crisis campaign was highlighted on BBC Breakfast. The campaign was also shortlisted for an award.
Other highlights included supporting parent carer Nikki from Lancashire to give evidence in Parliament on employment support for carers. You can read Nikki's blog here
Meanwhile, in Wales the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act was passed. The introduction of the new system will not happen until September 2020. Until the law changes, the current system of support for children with SEN will remain in force.
Whilst the sun shone outside yet more families are forced to take legal steps against cuts. This time families in Surrey lodged a legal challenge against the decision to cut more than £20 million from services for disabled children. And we supported parents in Coventry to challenge post-16 school transport cuts. We also worked with Channel 4 News on a feature about Ludlow Road respite centre in Worcestershire, shortly after the council announced plans to keep the centre open.
Families also helped us deliver two petitions to the Prime Minister at Number 10, Downing Street. More 10,000 people signed our petition on the school transport legal loophole. 5,000 more signed our petition to stop the £175 million cut to child disability payments under Universal Credit.
As temperatures soared further BBC Panorama aired 'Fighting for my Child'.Three extraordinary families let cameras into their homes to see what it takes to give their children the care they need on a daily basis.
We worked with the producers, putting them in touch with the families. The programme also highlighted our new research on the £1.5 billion funding gap for disabled children's services through our joint campaign, the Secret Life of Us.
You can watch the programme via this link https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bc2ch6
As the leaves fall…
Our campaign to stop the £175million cut to child disability payments under Universal Credit hits the headlines. Thanks to more than 1,000 of you writing to your local MPs, almost 100 MPs sign an Early Day Motion in Parliament showing their support too.
In November, our Chief Executive, Amanda Batten gave evidence in Parliament on the need to strengthen support for families in education, health and social care. Read more here
We finish the year, with our hard hitting Counting the Costs research into family finances. The research found a sharp rise in families going without the essentials including NHS therapies and specialist equipment.
The findings also show why our Family Finances Helpline is so important. But funding for the Family Finances Helpline will run out in just six months' time. We face the very real possibility of closing this lifeline. Unless we can raise the money to keep it open.
Please donate to our Lifeline Appeal today and help save our Family Finances Helpline.
In the last year alone, we've helped families secure an extra £2 million in financial support. That's £5,200 per year per family. That's money they didn't know they were entitled to until they called us.
For every £10 you give to our Lifeline Appeal, Contact can secure £130 into the pockets of families with disabled children.