Our clients are central to everything we do at DAS and as a Disabled Peoples Organisation we are well placed to know what our clients’ need are. We have a strong record over many years of adjusting and responding to the individual needs of clients.
One of our trustees has lived experience of disability and is also a part-time client advisor at the front-line of the service and therefore is well positioned to represent the voice of the client at the charity oversight level.
We deliberately orientate our recruitment to favour, wherever feasible, providing employment to disabled people or supplying them volunteer opportunities. A number of our volunteers are people or relatives of people who have benefited from the service in the past whose appreciation of, and gratitude to, the service has led to them returning to help out and give something back. Overall, two thirds of us have direct experience of what it means to be disabled today.
We constantly ask our clients for feedback on whether the service is meeting their needs and how it could be improved. Each interview we conduct concludes with the completion of a client survey to this end. This case study illustrates how this process feeds into our planning.
The circumstances of the pandemic are very challenging for our team, a number of whom themselves had to shield, as well as for the majority of our clients. Many of those too have had to shield and there is much published information to show how disabled people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We feel that DAS responded very positively to what our clients were telling us about their needs during this period which led to the enhancement and greater resourcing of our crisis service and the establishment of our Listening Service designed to alleviate the impact of isolation and loneliness during lockdowns and shielding.