And in these difficult economic times it is an important way for the
organisation to communicate with existing and potential customers and
Just like any business partnership it needs to grow and evolve. When
we have something to say we like to alert the media and when they want
our view on a particular issue they will often ask us to comment. It's a two-way thing.
So when local radio station JACK fm called me recently to do an
interview I was happy to oblige.
I had to comment on a survey which suggested that many families with
disabled children were struggling to survive financially, even before
the full impact of planned benefit cuts was felt. Some families were
even going without food and heating.
I said that the Counting the Costs 2012 survey was commendable but
perhaps a similar survey should be made that covers the cumulative
impact of cuts in benefit, social services and specialist employment agencies.
There are precious few jobs for disabled people at the moment and
advice and information lines are being cut. The message from the
government is basically ‘don't get old and don't get sick', in other
words the same old Tory mantra.
I also remarked that HAD, despite being hit by total local government
funding cuts, is determined to carry on helping disabled people, young
and old. Indeed we have launched a benefits advice service and our
information and advice line is well-established and highly thought of.
And our OTs are carrying out more and more assessments, both at
private and care homes, giving advice on the best and most suitable
mobility products available as well as safety issues.
The survey, carried out by Contact a Family, also touched on the
stigma associated with claiming benefits for disabled children. HAD is
experienced in this field - our partnership with Hertfordshire
Police's Disability Hate Crime initiative was launched almost two
years ago. It offers victims the opportunity to come and talk to us in
confidence at our Woodside Centre HQ instead of directly to the police.
At the top of this piece I mentioned the importance of the local media.
Unfortunately the national press and in particular certain tabloids,
adopt an unnecessarily negative approach to many disability issues.
The term ‘benefit scroungers' is often used despite the fact that only
about 1 per cent cheat the system.
It's also a shame that topics like the so-called pasty tax take centre
stage when meatier issues such as disability rights rarely get a mention.
The time might be right for a change. I hope so.
HAD PR ADVISOR