Charity's chief executive appeals for help for disabled people in poverty
THE chief executive of a charity which runs respite breaks for disabled people and their carers in Southport is calling for urgent action to help families in increasing poverty.
Revitalise CEO Chris Simmonds has responded to the new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), UK Poverty 2017, in calling for urgent financial support for disabled people in poverty.
Staff at the charity, which runs the Sandpipers centre in Southport, providing respite breaks for disabled people and carers from the region, have already noted increasing demand for hardship support in recent years.
As a result, Revitalise has increased its funding support to help those facing increasing hardship and poverty by around 400% in the past five years. By the end of January 2018, Revitalise will have provided funding in excess of £650,000, helping over 1,300 people in financial hardship take much-needed breaks with the charity.
Chris Simmonds has responded with concern to the report’s finding that families in poverty are disproportionately affected by social isolation and ‘relationship distress.’
He said: “The media is right to focus on the upswing in children and older people in relative poverty, but let’s not forget that the most vulnerable people in society are also disproportionately affected.
“It is extremely concerning to find 30% of households with disabled members are living in poverty – that’s 50% more than households unaffected by disability. We are working hard to make our contribution to combating this and our financial support for respite breaks for those experiencing hardship has increased four-fold over the past five years in response to increasing demand, but clearly more needs to be done in terms of statutory support.
“JRF’s research also reveals a clear link between poverty and a disproportionate strain on relationships. Relationships between disabled people and carers are already under huge stress and support must be in place before they reach breaking point. Half of our guests told us that a break with us could have or did prevent their relationship from breaking down.
“According to Carers UK, unpaid carers save the UK economy £132 billion each year. As long as disabled people and carers continue to live in poverty, with all the accompanying problems this brings, the cost to society down the line will be huge if we allow relationships to break down.
The charity's Christmas Appeal is raising funds for the Revitalise Support Fund, which provides support for disabled people and carers in financial hardship. For more information, visit revitalise.org.uk