Living Options Devon (LOD) is a user-led charity championing needs and rights, and providing vital support so people with disabilities and Deaf people (who use British Sign Language (BSL)) are empowered to live the life they choose. By working together, we can achieve a world where disabled and Deaf people are equal members of society.
The charity was founded in 1990 by Peter Swain OBE, following a sporting accident which left him disabled. Peter is the Chair of the Trustee Board. 80% of our Trustees, 50% of staff and 80% of our volunteers are disabled or Deaf. Being led and run by disabled and Deaf people ensures our charity has first-hand understanding of the issues facing disabled and Deaf people and we have established trust and credibility within the community. We have strong commitment to partnership working, particularly through joining up with other charities to provide better services for disabled people.
Disabled people are three times more likely than non-disabled people to have no formal qualifications; 40% of disabled children in the UK live in poverty and on average, it is estimated that 62,000 disability hate crimes are carried out each year (Papworth Trust, 2014).
Living Options Devon aims to provide those who need our help with the tools and the support they require to overcome barriers such as; discrimination; access issues; social isolation; communication barriers and lack of opportunities; to live the lives they want: to enjoy independence; gain employment; to know their rights and to find the courage to voice those rights.
“When I was Registered Blind I felt I had lost my identity and worried about how we were going to pay the bills….With LOD support and encouragement, I developed skills I didn’t know I had and gained up to date qualifications. Through my involvement with LOD I have been able to use my experience to turn my life around and help other people with disabilities gain confidence and develop their skills.”
Grants and donations enable us to do this through campaigning, research and provision of vital support services. We:
• Inform disabled and Deaf people to enable them to make choices which meet their needs;
• Bring disabled and Deaf people together to reduce social isolation and have a stronger voice;
• Enable disabled and Deaf people to influence people who make decisions that affect their lives both locally and nationally through training and support;
• Increase choice and independence through service provision and partnership working to improve services.
Every year, over 8,000 disabled and Deaf people benefit from our charitable activities. To see what we offer, visit our Support and Help page