WMCU member Coventry University and partners from the charity sector, disability campaigners and local government have been given £100,000 from previously awarded funding as part of a £5 million research programme into independent living for disabled people.
Supporting the West Midlands Combined Authority’s objective of improving life chances for all, especially those facing disadvantages, the project will explore the quality and usefulness of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for young disabled people and how they might be improved.
EHCPs are supposed to support disabled children and young people to be more independent by detailing the best way to meet their needs, but often are not more than a tick box exercise.
The project has been awarded funding from the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a five year scheme led by disabled people and funded by Big Lottery Fund.
Managed by Coventry University, the project will be led by young disabled people, who will be working alongside academics and policy makers. Partners in the project include Grapevine, the Alliance for Inclusive Education (Allfie), disability campaigner Zara Todd, Coventry City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.
Dr Anita Franklin from Coventry University added:
“The quality of EHCPs has received little attention, with many plans not meeting the needs or rights of disabled young people. This research, being undertaken by disabled young people, will help us identify the best way to develop EHCPs which really make a difference and support young people to be more independent.”
Launched in 2015, the DRILL programme is fully funded by Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales. DRILL is expecting to fund a total of up to 40 research pilots and projects over a 5-year period, all led by disabled people. Around £1,000,000 has been allocated in this round of applications.
DRILL has also announced that it is calling for new applications for research or project funds. More information is available from www.drilluk.org.uk.