man in a wheelchair with woman

Ten of the UK’s national disability charities are criticising the government for failing to protect vital services for disabled people during the pandemic, warning many services are at risk of collapse.

According to the Disability Charity Consortium, vital services that help the UK’s 14 million disabled people are struggling to continue after failing to secure emergency coronavirus funding from the government.

“Whilst some money has been made available for mental health, autism and learning disability it is nowhere near enough to match the demand for services,” states the consortium.

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In particular, the collection of leading charities claims that essential services for those with physical disability have been hit especially hard, having missed out on any emergency funding so far.

At the end of April, in an open letter to the chancellor, Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children warned that its emergency equipment loan service was at risk if it did not secure £1 million in emergency funding.

Alleging that the government is failing to represent the interests of disabled people, the Disability Charity Consortium highlights that the lack of a coherent strategy to specifically support disabled people through the pandemic and beyond is leaving many services suspended and facing a perilous future.

The Consortium members consist of Scope, Sense, Mind, Action on Hearing Loss, Business Disability Forum, Mencap, National Autistic Society, RNIB, Disability Rights UK and Leonard Cheshire.

In a joint statement, Disability Charities Consortium Co-Chairs Neil Heslop, CEO of Leonard Cheshire, and Mark Hodgkinson, CEO of Scope, say: “Despite repeated efforts to raise the issue, it feels like the UK’s 14 million disabled people, particularly those with physical conditions, are being forgotten and allowed to fall through the cracks.

“Providers of services are facing spiralling costs, a rapid drop in income from cancelled fundraising activities, but huge surges in demand as a result of the crisis, creating the perfect storm.”

Disability Charity Consortium members say essential services may have to stop, potentially leading to ‘unthinkable consequences’ for the future.

According to the group of charities, social care services are facing substantial staffing and personal protective equipment purchase costs with organisations spending up to £800,000 a month on PPE alone.

Meanwhile, helplines have seen calls soar by up to 80 per cent. Charities have also rapidly digitised services and programmes to keep them running during the lockdown.

“Right now, we are collectively supporting millions of disabled people who are anxious, isolated and alone,” continues Heslop and Hodgkinson.

“Our staff are providing vital services, information and support under incredibly difficult circumstances. Sometimes we are the only place that disabled people have to turn.

“We want to be there for every disabled person who needs us, but this could soon be an impossibility. Disability charities, large and small, are at risk of disappearing at the very time that disabled people need us most. Without vital funds, we will have stark choices to make about cutting services or, in some cases, closing our doors.”

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https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/wheelchair-image.jpg?fit=1000%2C702&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/wheelchair-image.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettCoronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Sector NewsGovernment & Local AuthoritiesInvestments & FundingNewsroomSector NewsThird SectorAction on Hearing Loss,Business Disability Forum,coronavirus,DCC,Disability Charity Consortium,Disability Rights UK,funding,Government,Leonard Cheshire,Mencap,mental health,Mind,National Autistic Society,Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children,pandemic,RNIB,Scope,SenseTen of the UK’s national disability charities are criticising the government for failing to protect vital services for disabled people during the pandemic, warning many services are at risk of collapse.According to the Disability Charity Consortium, vital services that help the UK’s 14 million disabled people are struggling to...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals