Living Options Devon has been awarded a grant by the National Lottery Community Fund, in association with the government as part of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.
In April the government set out an extra £750 million of coronavirus funding for frontline charities. £370 million of this was set aside for small to medium sized charities which are at the heart of local communities, making a big difference during the outbreak. This money is to be distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund as part of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.
The Fund has two key objectives:
- To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the Covid-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
- To reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by Covid-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.
We were delighted to find out this week that we have been awarded a grant through the National Lottery Community Fund, enabling our charity to continue to deliver its services and support in the community.
Living Options Devon Chair of Trustees Andrew Barge said “We’re absolutely thrilled to be awarded the funds, and extend our thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, and the government for the provision of this grant. The funds allow us to continue and extend our support and services across the south west for those who need us most during the pandemic”.
What will the charity continue to focus on over the next six months and beyond?
Living Options Devon is a disabled persons’ user led organisation. The charity offers a vast range of services and support, to disabled people, people with a hidden disability, people with a long term health condition and Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL). Since March the charity has been conducting the majority of its support services online. It swiftly adapted to meet the needs of its beneficiaries, many of which are classed as the most vulnerable and isolated during this crisis. No longer able to host daily, face to face meetings at its offices and community hubs, the charity now hosts one to one webchats and chat and share groups online with its beneficiaries.
The charity has a dedicated team managing a free peer support helpline, giving people the opportunity to chat, get information and advice. The Time to Talk team are available over the phone, via text, instant messenger or facetime. They continue to see an increase in people contacting them; initially for support and advice during lockdown and latterly to provide reassurance and a friendly ear to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.
A beneficiary of the support helpline recently said “Talking to them and going to them with my questions and ideas have helped me keep my positivity up. It has really helped having someone to talk to. I felt listened to and understood”.
Living Options Devon also provides important services and support to the local Deaf Community, through the delivery of its Deaf Get Active and Volunteer project which encourages Deaf people to get into sport. Usually the team host activities throughout the week, such as netball, football and badminton. However, during the pandemic they have been streaming videos of activities and classes through their social platforms. Last month Deaf Get Active partnered with local organisation Park Yoga to deliver the very first BSL interpreted Park Yoga sessions on Facebook.
The team continue to see an increase in those accessing the service, along with the Deaf counselling team, who with the grant aim to reach more people in the Deaf Community who are experiencing anxiety and mental health issues.
Beneficiaries have the opportunity to join the charities online group Devon Disability Network. The group, who have lived experience of disability, attend online meetings and discuss emerging issues as a result of the coronavirus, ensuring equality of access for all across the region. They were invited to take part in the charities ‘What matters to you?’ coronavirus survey. The results from this survey have been fed back to the local authorities. The engagement officer continues to gather information and undertake consultations with beneficiaries to ensure that disabled people and Deaf people in the local area have a voice, and are part of shaping future services that impact their daily lives.
Diana Crump CEO of Living Options Devon said “The coronavirus has been particularly hard for our services users, receiving the grant is so encouraging for us. All of our services will be ‘Covid safe’ and we are optimistic that we can now reach even more people who are experiencing from mental health issues, anxiety, isolation and loneliness as a result of the pandemic. Supporting them in regaining their confidence to get back to living their lives and accessing the services they need to do this”.
Living Options Devon is a well respected user-led organisation which works to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people can live the life they choose. Set up in 1990 LOD is a registered charity (Charity N0. 1102489) and a company limited by guarantee (No. 4925281). Based in Exeter and Barnstaple, our charitable aims mean we we can offer services across the South West and share good practice throughout the UK. Being led and run by people with disabilities and Deaf people ensures LOD has first hand knowledge and understanding of the issues facing service users and so is very well placed to increase the influence and voice of Deaf and disabled people. We do this by providing education, training and services which enable people to live the lives they choose.
We are happy to provide all information about Living Options Devon and its projects in alternative formats by request. Please contact us using the details above.
There are a number of ways you can contact us:
By telephone: 01392 459222
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By SMS: 07856 426940
By post: Living Options Devon, Ground Floor Units 3-4, Cranmere Court, Lustleigh Close, Matford Business Park, Exeter EX2 8PW