Stairlift being fitted by an engineer in a woman's home

Organisations that run services that enable independent living are being offered free training to improve the way they use disabled facilities grants (DFGs) after reports have highlighted the lack of clarity surrounding available support.

DFG budget rises

Offered by Foundations, the government-funded national body for Home Improvement Agencies, the training will be available for local authorities, housing associations and independent living charities keen to benefit from the recently announced increased DFG allocations for 2019-20.

Split among local authorities across England, the DFG budget rise of around eight percent to £505million a year will be used to pay for a range of work – from simple home modifications to major adaptations – in order to help people with disabilities and long-term conditions to live in their own home.

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Lack of clarity

Despite the increase, a review of DFG published last year by the Department for Health and Social Care highlighted how both the delivery of grant-funded work and awareness of the support available varies enormously from area to area.

Additionally, a recent survey carried out by charity Versus Arthritis reinforced the findings of the review, emphasising that 47 percent of people with arthritis who regularly use aids and adaptations were unaware of the help available through DFG via their local authority.

Free training

To address this, Foundations is offering training, quality assessments and workshop facilitation free of charge to organisations involved in providing support to help people living independently.

Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, said: “It might be that you’re not sure whether your DFG system is working effectively. Perhaps you have a waiting list, an underspend, or both. We can facilitate a workshop for you that will streamline your procedures – for free.

“Ultimately, this is about ensuring this funding gets to vulnerable people who need it most to pay for work – whether it’s a stairlift or assistive technology – that will enable them to live safely in their own homes and in the process, help reduce avoidable hospital admissions and better manage care needs.”

Foundations say by using the DFG Quality Standards, councils, housing associations and charities can assess how good their service is and what they need to do to improve, either by carrying out a short self-assessment process or with free help from Foundations’ staff.

In addition, Foundations is also offering free training on DFG basics that covers legislation, regulations and guidance.

Organisations that are interested in accessing support should email Foundations at info@foundations.uk.com

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