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About Living Options Devon

We offer a range of help and support services for people with a long term health condition, disability and / or who are Deaf, where British Sign Language is their first language.

Humble Beginnings

Solid Foundations

Living Options Devon has significantly grown from its humble beginnings.  The charity began with just one employee and Peter as a volunteer, to now encompass a wide range of support services for disabled people, people with a long term health condition, and members of the Deaf Community across the south west.

“I’m sure the organisation is more than capable of going on to bigger and better things. We’ve got a lot of good staff, a high quality team and I’m sure they will take it to another level. I’m only pleased that I’ve been able to play a small part in that”.

Peter Swain Founder of Living Options Devon

The Heritage Ability Team winning the National Lottery Heritage Award
Heritage Ability team being awarded the National Lottery Heritage Award
A group of Living Options Devon staff at the Exeter Office

Thirty Years

The charity continues Peter’s legacy striving to improve the service provision for disabled people in the community. 

Peter’s research in the early 1980s, along with that of those he volunteered with, centered around the extra provision for disabled people and what was available at that time by the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Thirty years on we pride ourselves on still championing the needs and rights of disabled people and members of the Deaf Community (who use British Sign Language (BSL)).

User Led and Disability Confident

Being led and run by disabled and Deaf people helps us understand the issues facing disabled and Deaf people.  We have established trust and credibility within the community, and have a strong commitment to partnership working, particularly through joining up with other charities to provide better services for disabled people.

Find out more in our Strategic Overview.

Exciting Future

Providing that extra service provision that Peter outlined in the very beginning remains our focus today. We offer services, information, and advice that give disabled people and members of the Deaf Community the skills and support they require to overcome barriers such as:

  • discrimination
  • access issues
  • social isolation
  • communication barriers
  • lack of opportunities

We empower them to live the lives they want; to enjoy independence; gain employment; to know their rights and to find the courage to voice those rights and with your support will continue to do so.

Two

Our Impact

Two people in the outdoors, a green wood on a sunny spring summer day, the person on he left is in an all terrain mobility scooter and the other person is walking alongside.

Our latest Impact Report provides an insight into our work and is our
opportunity to let you know some of what we have achieved over
the past two years to improve outcomes for people with
disabilities and Deaf people.

We engaged and supported 15777 people with disabilities and Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL).

Just under 6000 disabled and Deaf people were provided with emotional and / or practical support to improve their wellbeing, particularly essential during the Covid pandemic.

Read our highlights and achievements in our latest Impact Report 2019-2021

Staff wellbeing and promoting inclusivity

Living Options Devon works hard to ensure we do all we can to support the health and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers, enabling them to provide effective services for our beneficiaries.

97% of our staff feel well supported.

93% of our staff would recommend LOD as a great place to work.

97% believe LOD is dedicated to diversity and inclusiveness.

94% believe that LOD treats its staff and volunteers equally and fairly.

84% reported that their work gives them a feeling of a job well done.

87% reported that LOD have ensured they have all they need to work effectively from home.

76% strongly agreed or agreed that their access needs have been met so they can work from home. For 12% this was not applicable.

Staff were asked how happy they have felt at work in a given time period. On a scale of: 0 (not at all happy) to 10 (completely happy). 83% scored 6 or above; 73% scored 7 or above. The average answer was 7. 62% of staff reported that this was fairly typical of how they have felt working at Living Options Devon.

Staff wellbeing and promoting inclusivity

Some examples of how we promote inclusivity and support staff wellbeing across all areas of our organisation.

  • We actively attract and recruit disabled people for our job opportunities – some posts have requirement to have lived experience. We ensure our recruitment process are accessible using alternative formats, communication support etc.
  • We discuss access needs with all new employees and ensure staff are offered reasonable adjustments when required. We employ a Disability Champion to offer advice and guidance to ensure employees have the support they need in place We regularly review people’s needs in review and appraisals. We adopt an open door policy – ensuring no-one needs to wait for support or feel they can’t ask for more / different adjustments.
  • All staff are encouraged to discuss interests in being involved in new projects / changing their role to work in a different project / upgrade their position with their managers – disability access needs are supported in any role in the organisation and are never a barrier to promotion
  • All employees undertake disability and Deaf awareness training.
  • We have developed a ‘Keeping Well at Work’ process to enable individuals and their managers to understand negative impacts on wellbeing in the workplace and how individuals would like those impacts to be managed to maintain good mental health.

Why Accessibility Matters – Our products, solutions, and training

We are your local user-led Disability Confident Leader, which means we encourage and support other businesses to become an inclusive, disability, and Deaf-friendly business. We do this through the delivery of quality training, services, and products, designed and delivered by people with lived experience of disability.

Our Funders and Partners

Blue badge with the National Lottery funded logo

It is thanks to the generous support of our funders and partners that our teams are able to deliver our range of support services.

We work with a range of organisations who specialise in particular areas to deliver the support, information, and advice that you need. We are funded both regionally and nationally. To find out more visit our dedicated funders and partners section on our website.

Get Involved

There are many ways you can get involved with our charity whether it is coming along to one of our events, or volunteering to help us deliver our services.

Why not become a trustee or host a fundraiser for us?

Find out more on the get involved section of our website.

Our Financial Information

Our income and expenditure can be viewed on the charity commission website.

Phonic FM – Accessibility Matters

Our Radio Show ‘Accessibility Matters aired each month last year and covered information on our support services and hot topics and raising awareness of the things that matter to our service users.

It is a great source of information on our charity and what we do, it also has some lovely interviews, stories, and uplifting beats.

Our Support Services

The Hub

Your first point of contact with Living Options Devon, our friendly Hub team connects you to the support services, advice, and information that you need.

Learn more

Time To Talk

Our free, confidential listening support and advice helpline, for those with a disability and/or long-term health condition.

Learn more

Counselling Service

6 free sessions of accessible counselling to people with a disability and members of the Deaf community (British Sign Language Users) across Devon.

Learn more

Get Active Together

Supporting disabled and Deaf BSL users to become more active and engage in sport and physical activity

Learn more

Deaf Led Services

As British Sign Language users and members of the Deaf Community, the Deaf Led team know first-hand the issues faced by Deaf people and the best advice and support to give to overcome these.

Learn more

Countryside Mobility

Providing easy access to the countryside for anyone who has difficulty walking, through an off road mobility scooter hire scheme
Explore the South West with freedom and ease.

Learn more

Devon Advocacy Service (DAC)

The Devon Advocacy Consortium working together to provide free and independent advocacy services for people over sixteen across Devon and Torbay.

Learn more

Victim Care and Support

Free confidential support for victims of crime

Learn more

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service (IMCA)

The Devon and Torbay IMCA Service provides independent safeguards for people who lack capacity to make certain decisions.

Learn more

Our News

Accessible Adventures With Casey

Last year we visited Haldon Forest Park and met with Casey Newton where we spent the afternoon filming a three […]

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New films support vaccines and health checks for people with a learning disability

We were pleased to be able to contribute to such an important resource working in partnership with NHS Devon and […]

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£20,000 funding to help local Deaf and disabled community become more active

We are delighted to have received £20,000 in funding from the Peter Harrison Foundation. The fund will be used to […]

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Devon, Plymouth and Torbay VCSE Assembly

Devon, Plymouth and Torbay VCSE Assembly Update If you are a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation in Devon, Plymouth […]

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A message from our Chair of Trustees and Chief Executive

Season’s Greetings from Living Options Devon “To our funders, partners, volunteers and friends, thank you for all your support during […]

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Living Options Devon celebrates after receiving National Lottery funding

Living Options Devon celebrates after receiving National Lottery funding Living Options Devon is celebrating today after being awarded £431,654 in […]

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