£283,000 for new National Lottery funded research projects

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Three Scottish projects are among the latest to have been awarded grants, totalling £283,000, as part of a previously funded £5 million research programme into independent living for disabled people.

The projects have been awarded funding from the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a five year UK-wide scheme launched in 2015, and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

All funded projects will be led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions, in partnershipwith academics and policy makers. DRILL aims to fund innovative projects exploring in new ways how disabled people can live as full citizens in our society - and what changes and support will make that happen in practice.

The successful Scottish projects receiving funding are:

Researching the costs and benefits of good self-directed support’ – by the University of Stirling, with the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL) and Independent Living in Scotland. This project received £92,000 of funding.

‘Researching rented accommodation for disabled people’ – by Horizon Housing Association, with the University of Stirling and Housing Options Scotland. This project received £92,000 of funding.

Examining the barriers faced by people with autism’ – by the University of Glasgow.  This project received £99,000 of funding.

Dr Sally Witcher, Chief Executive Officer of Inclusion Scotland, the Scottish partner for the delivery of the UK programme, said: “There is still a long way to go before we disabled people are able to have full choice and control over our own lives. However the research to be carried out by the University of Stirling, the University of Glasgow, Horizon Housing Association, and their partners - alongside the projects already funded by DRILL -will begin to address this in ways that have rarely, if ever, been tried before.”

“By funding research driven by disabled people’s own perspectives and priorities, derived from our lived experience of the – often invisible - barriers that exclude us,DRILL will promote innovative approaches to progressing independent living.”

“It will also fundamentally change the traditional relationship between researchers and disabled people. Disabled people will no longer be positioned as the passive subjects of other people’s research investigation but will instead be equal partners in the development and practice of disability research.”

Professor Kirstein Rummery from the University of Stirling said: “Social care is underfunded because it is currently seen as a drain on the economy. We know that investment in social care can significantly improve the lives of disabled and carers but until now we haven’t known what the real benefits to families, communities and society are in economic terms. This project will establish a baseline for good self directed support based on the experiences of disabled people and carers, and then model the *real* costs and benefits to society, enabling us to predict what return can be expected on an investment in self directed support.”

Dr Marion Hersh from the Univrsity of Glasgow said: “Autistic people are central to this project. Everyone involved, project partners, advisory committee and research transcribers, is autistic, which may be a research first. We are carrying out the research from our perspectives, as autistic people, and looking for solutions that draw on our strengths and use strategies that are natural to us. We will be investigating the strategies used by autistic people, including logic, reasoning and rules, to understand social situations, other people’s reactions and empower themselves; and the barriers, including stereotypes, misconceptions and systemic issues to using our strengths and appropriate strategies to understand and participate in decision making, the economy and community.”

Isobel Anderson from the University of Stirling said: “Our funding will deliver new research on the experiences of disabled people seeking adapted and accessibly designed social housing, identifying what support they may require with the application and offer processes. We will also work with housing and service providers so that our data can speedily influence lettings practice in the social housing sector, to enhance housing outcomes for disabled people as a fundamental pillar of independent living.”

DRILL has also announced that it is calling for applications for new research or pilot projects. More information is available from www.drilluk.org.uk