This page provides three case studies that shoe how the way that members are working together has been evolving over the last year. Each case study takes the work of a different project group and the different ways in which they are now working:
- Building grassroots partnerships – from the physical activity and sports project.
- Building a community of practice – from the Volunteering project.
- Evolving in a cross-sector regional networks – from the Transport project
1. Building grass root partnerships
The DAA Physical Activity and Sport Project started in June 2015. Its aim is to increase the opportunities for disabled people to take up physical activities where they live. The project supports the non-sport sectors to explore the provision of physical activity as a way of tackling a number of challenges that our communities face, including poor health, social isolation, community cohesion and worklessness.
The project group began by offering support to the wider DAA membership through a networking event in November and the development of a DAA resource page. The networking event was an important opportunity for English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), the project lead, to build partnerships with organisations outside of the sports sector to take forward the next step of their Charter for Change.
Following on from the event, EFDS continues to develop local partnerships between the sports sector, the disability sector and other non-sport sectors at the grass roots level. EFDS is now working with members of the Project Group to produce some bespoke training material and hold a series of regional events around the country; the result of which will be to increase sport and physical activity participation of disabled people.
The connections and links that the membership of the Disability Action Alliance provides has enhanced EFDS’s development work to make active lives possible.
2. Building a community of practice
The Volunteering Project group has been working towards increasing more opportunities for disabled people to take up volunteering roles. The project group developed and launched the Volunteer Charter in December 2014. It sets out core principles that the group believe organisations should adopt when recruiting and working with volunteers that are disabled people. Organisations are invited to pledge support for the Charter and take the necessary steps to ensure that its principles are applied in practice. Organisations that do not directly work with volunteers, but want to promote the principles of the Charter, are also encouraged to pledge.
The Charter, now a year old, has over 120 organisations pledged to it. This means over 120 organisations that have committed to a series of actions to ensure that they are upholding the Charter principles. However, through this process the group received a number of requests for support from some organisations to implement the principles more fully into their ways of working. This is itself seen by Jemma Mindham of Volunteering Matters, the project’s lead, as a success of the project as it means that organisations pledging truly want to make a difference and are actively seeking support to do so.
Equally, over the last few months a number of good practice examples of work have been forthcoming from pledgers, with products being created to share information with other organisations looking to make improvements. In this way the group is beginning to fill the knowledge gap it identified; a real community of practice is starting to emerge around volunteering for disabled people. Members of the group are now looking to build on this success by increasingly encouraging shared learning and support. They are aiming to form a strong community of practice to support organisations that pledge to the Charter, offering practical tips and advice on where they can find resources and other types of help.
Other evolutions of this group include a smaller group of the original project members starting to explore funding options to help strengthen the Volunteering Charter community of practice by creating a robust support offer for organisations pledging. Jemma Mindham is also making links with the Lancashire North West regional network, who have expressed an interest in learning from her work on the Charter to take forward actions themselves.
3. Evolving cross-sector regional networks
One of the key successes for the Disability Action Alliance has been the on-going development surrounding the Transport Project. The project was initiated by DAA steering group member, Stephen Brookes of the Disability Hate Crime Network, to improve the travel experience of disabled people. Another motivational factor for Stephen was that this work could ultimately help to lower disability hate crime incidents on public transport.
Over the last few years this project has evolved from creating a ‘safe journey card’ for the Blackpool area into strong local cross-sector partnerships that have led to raised awareness of disability-related issues. As a result significant progress has been made in ensuring that the whole journey process for disabled people in Blackpool is far better and a safer experience.
Achieving this success involved creating partnerships between Blackpool Transport, local authorities and community based disabled people lead organisations. Following successes in Blackpool, the project group soon attracted regional and national representation from the transport sector, public bodies and voluntary organisations. The group is continuing to look at ways of expanding this work through its member’s networks and localities, creating cross sector partnerships around the country.
Encouraged by the improvements in attitudes to disabled people on public transport in Blackpool, Stephen Brookes is taking this activity still further by creating a network of organisations in the Lancashire North West region. The Lancashire North West regional network is starting to work together to tackle a range of themes, not just transport. Themes include creating more volunteering opportunities and public appointments for disabled people and tackling disable hate crime and bulling in schools.
These themes emerged from issues encountered by the transport project group through their work on transport. Recognising how issues interlink and the need, therefore, for a collective approach to tackle them, several project members felt that creating a regional network was a natural evolution of their work. In this way several members of the network are able to further their own organisational aims within their local area, drawing on the experience and support of other organisations in the area that recognise the interdependencies between all of their work.