As a result of implementing the new Strategic Plan Living Options Devon will achieve the following outcomes
- Involve people with disabilities and Deaf people to become more influential so that better decisions are made with them, not about them.
"Having been involved in a gymnastics accident whilst at college over forty years ago, I became involved with LOD from its beginning in 1990. LOD has been central to my life for over twenty years and my role as a Trustee is more hands off but no less rewarding and in its way, very challenging. In my view we have made a big difference to the lives of many physically disabled, sensory impaired and Deaf people and will continue to do so in future"
- Inform people with disabilities and Deaf people to enable them to make choices which meet their needs.
Sarah from South Devon
Sarah was one of our advocacy clients who was paying an agency to provide her with personal care. This was very expensive so Sarah contacted the LOD Haven Advocacy team to find out how she could receive personal care assistance without using an agency. The advocate placed adverts in newspapers for a Personal Assistant, and also kept in regular contact with Sarah, offering companionship and support during a very difficult time. Thanks to the Advocacy team sarah found a new Personal Assistant who provides personal care for less money than an agency would charge. This has made a big difference to Sarah as she no longer has to worry about the cost, and she is very grateful to the Advocacy service for their help.
- Assist people with disabilities and Deaf people to feel valued and develop their confidence to reach their full potential.
"When I was registered blind (Macular Disease), I felt I had lost my identity and worried about how we were going to pay the bills if I couldn't work. After a year or so I saw an article in an information magazine for people with disabilities, introducing LOD and inviting those who were hearing or sight impaired to voice their opinions about Health and Social Care service. That was the beginning of my new life. Within a couple of years of LOD support and encouragement, I developed skills I didn't know I had and gained up to date qualifications. These enabled me to become a Disability Equality/Awareness Trainer for the organisation and the following year, a Disability Access Auditor. I have a full and busy life now. Through my involvement with LOD I have bee able to use my experience to turn my life around and help other people with disabilities gain confidence and develop their skills. If I can do it anybody can!"
- Bring people together creating the widest community for people with disabilities and so reduce loneliness and isolation
"I became ill 12 years ago. I am mostly housebound. Over time I realised that most organisations representing people with disabilities tend to concentrate on issues around access and activities. Whilst these are of upmost importantce, they didn't reflect my experience and my life. Although I use a wheelchair, I am too weak and have too many cognitive problems to pay wheelchair skittles, for instance. I can't use the wonderful sounding Trampers to access the countryside. And I can't attend meetings to get my voice heard.
The staff at LOD have understood this, and helped me to both be included and have my sat. When LOD started producing their Positive Devon Living magazine, not only did they wlecome an article from my perspective of being housebound, but have asked me to write others and pay me a small reward for my efforts too.
I am also a member of the Devon Disability eNetwork, a small group of people who, for varying reasons, find attending meetings difficult. We are able to discuss, via a teleconference and closed Facebook group, issues that are relevant to us.
These two outlets have enabled me to have a say, and I hope reflect to others, the wide range of problems that being seriously and chronically ill can cause. When you are housebound, by its very nature, you are isolated. You are likely to have many health problems. Getting through each day can be a huge struggle, and throws up its own massive challenges. It has been a relief to have an outlet for this, and to share with others in a similar situation, and as a group to take issues forward to other organisations and ultimately 'make a difference'."
- Provision of high quality services and projects, which are led and run by people with disabilities and Deaf people.
Brian & Gaynor
One example of a free service we offer is The See Hear Centre (SHC). People in North Devon with hearing and visual impairments were not receiving the advice and support they needed as the nearest equipment centre was in exeter (100 mile round trip with poor public transport). LOD supported a User Advisory Group to find the funding to set up The LOD See Hear Centre in Barnstaple.
Brian is part of the SHC service user group. Despite the fact he has no useful sight, he helped set up the Centre and has now taken the step to train and serve as a Trustee for Living Options Devon. He is also planning to volunteer for the Community Support Services project offering telephone support. SHC has provided him with the route to put his skills into practice.
Gaynor has been profoundly deaf since birth. She recently changed career and gained a professional qualification and job, however she struggled to communicate reliably on the phone. SHC staff helped her solve the problem and she is now a respected, confident work colleague. Through SHC, Gaynor is also providing peer support to other people who are deaf and of working age as she knows she has a lot to offer from her own life experiences.
- Encourage seamless services for people with disabilities and Deaf people through partnership and consortium working.
The LOD Countryside Mobility scheme offers improved access, independence and freedom in the countryside for people with limited mobility, living in and visiting the South West region. Working with a wide range of countryside partners 'Tramper' all-terrain mobility scooters and wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats are available for use at more than 20 countryside sites and visitor attractions.
In the first year in operation, more than 500 people were enabled to take part in activities that were previously inaccessible to them in the countryside and 98% of members report the services provided are of good or excellent quality. The scheme is a true user led project that has been successfully developed by working closely with disabled people.
Claire took her father, Ronald, to visit the 'Tamar Trails' in Devon where a Tramper is available for hire and said: "I didn't expect my father to be able to do much more than sit in a chair while he was staying with us for a short break recently. He has suffered with severe back problems for the past two years and walks with very great difficulty. He had to give up driving several years ago and really misses this independence. Most of this days he now spends confined to the house. He enjoyed a very happy afternoon on the tracks exploring the woodland and enjoying being out in the sunshine. I am sure that experienced the greatest feeling of independence since the onset of his mobility problems. I myself felt quite proud of the achievements that my father was able to make with the benefit of the scheme, and had never expected to see him enjoying the outdoors again in the way that he used to"