April-social-post

AoD April E-Newsletter

April 2021 E-Newsletter

Almost a year has passed since Tom Kenny passed away, a much loved colleague of Action on Disability. In this newsletter, along with an update on AoD we would like to reflect on what he meant to some of his colleagues and how his work still lives on.

Tom's colleagues testimonials

“We first met Tom in 2012 when he took on the hard task of organising us as volunteers to accompany people going through the difficult, distressing and painful experiences of attending DWP assessments and Tribunals – and he made it easy for us to take part. 

He trained us, cheered us on, kept us informed, connected us with the people who asked him for help, and made it a really rewarding experience. 

He always saw the people, as well as their problems, and he wasn’t afraid to get angry about the injustices they were subjected to. He had the driest wit and the best lie detector of anyone we’ve ever known, and it was an absolute privilege and joy to be part of his volunteering team at Action on Disability”

Lorna Richardson, Linda Shampan & John Grigg

So, we approach one year since the passing of our hardworking, dedicated, much-loved (and at times much-tolerated!) dear friend and colleague Tom Kenny. He always took a keen interest in how people were, when he was in the office. In/when volunteering with him, he often quoted some key phrases to me regarding benefit matters:

Fundamentally: “It’s about the rules”

With only so much evidence: “You’ll have to make a judgement call”

Taking a bit too long: “You’re over thinking it!” 

Also, He would do humorous exaggerated characterisations especially during mutual morning greetings with John!

To Tom, we’ll always remember ya, me old mucker!

Justin – Welfare Benefits Volunteer

Tom's legacy lives on...

April saw another success story for the Welfare Benefits team. It saw a long-standing case which had been worked by both Tom Kenny and our new Welfare Benefit Advisor, Jacqueline and saw one of our clients awarded Enhanced Daily Living and Standard Mobility after a tribunal case. It’s another example of how the late Tom Kenny’s influence, passion and hard work is still benefiting our clients today, for which we are very grateful.

In other AoD April news...

BIG Thank you to AoD Staff and Volunteers!

Senior management would like to thank all the hardworking staff & volunteers at Action on Disability. The last year has been trying for all and we want all staff to know that we appreciate and acknowledge the hard work and creativeness that has kept all your services running even during national lockdowns. We appreciate you all achieving so many milestones with us and growing our services to what it has become today! We know you have worked very hard, and we truly admire your dedication.

Welfare Benefit service update

From April 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is restarting its pilot in trying to combine the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment with the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessment.

From May 2021, the DWP will be re-starting face-to-face assessments for PIP and ESA/Limited Capability for Work.

The £20 uplift in Universal Credit has been extended to the end of September 2021.

From April 2021, Universal Credit claimants will be able to pay their advances off over 24 months, giving them longer to repay, so allowing payments to be taken at a lower rate. This isn’t available to existing claimants but if you are struggling with deductions to repay your advance, you can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to pause them. 

From April 2021, the maximum rate of total deductions from Universal Credit goes down to 25% of your standard allowance. This means that you will be able to keep a bit more of your Universal Credit.

People on Working Tax Credits, and some working people on Child Tax Credits, will receive a £500 lump sum payment, which is due to go out by 23 April 2021

Employment service update

Most of the Interns from the supported internships are settling into their second work placements, learning new skills within a work environment ready for paid employment. Here is Oliver in his security placement with 245, Hammersmith

Direct Payment Support service update

April marks one year since we launched the Direct Payment Support Service in Hammersmith & Fulham. We deliver this service in partnership with @Ruils and we would like to thank them for their support and knowledge, they have been vital to the delivery of this service.

In the past year, we have recruited three Independent Living Advisors, received over 80 referrals from social services and residents, provided information and advice on over 400 occasions, delivered 22 DP Peer Group Sessions via Zoom and held 22 training sessions for Social Workers.

We continue to ensure that the service is co-produced and involve residents in our planning and delivery. Find out more info about the service or to join the direct payment peer support group, please email: dppeersupport@aod.org.uk

Youth service update

This Easter holiday saw the AoD Youth service run a fantastic holiday project which saw up to 26 young people. There were plenty of activities ranging from workshops about relationships, yoga sessions and burrito cooking classes. We would like to thank all our partners at Tender UK, Lumi Foundation, Eat Club for helping make it such a success. We would also like to thank Chelsea Football Club and Amici Dance theatre for their ongoing work engaging our young people. Young people also had access to free lunch and snacks everyday supported by Let me Play.

This month saw Jasmine’s last day at the AoD’s holiday project after almost 14 years! Jasmine said “Thank you for everything, I have the best time ever. I will miss you all” AoD wishes Jasmine luck in her bright future.

We would like to thank LBHF, John Lyons, City Bridge Trust and The Felix Project for their ongoing support.

Move it Mondays, produced in partnership with DanceWest and AoD is offering free online dance classes. They are a fun way to get fit, learn routines and develop confidence. The classes are fully accessible and suitable for everybody. For more information on how to take part, please email: projects@dancewest.co.uk

This Easter holiday saw the AoD Youth service run a fantastic holiday project which saw up to 26 young people. There were plenty of activities ranging from workshops about relationships, yoga sessions and burrito cooking classes. We would like to thank all our partners at Tender UK, Lumi Foundation, Eat Club for helping make it such a success. We would also like to thank Chelsea Football Club and Amici Dance theatre for their ongoing work engaging our young people. Young people also had access to free lunch and snacks everyday supported by Let me Play.

This month saw Jasmine’s last day at the AoD’s holiday project after almost 14 years! Jasmine said “Thank you for everything, I have the best time ever. I will miss you all” AoD wishes Jasmine luck in her bright future.

We would like to thank LBHF, John Lyons, City Bridge Trust and The Felix Project for their ongoing support.

Move it Mondays, produced in partnership with DanceWest and AoD is offering free online dance classes. They are a fun way to get fit, learn routines and develop confidence. The classes are fully accessible and suitable for everybody. For more information on how to take part, please email: projects@dancewest.co.uk

Digital Inclusivity Project comes to an end

AoD’s Digital Inclusivity project – made possible by the National Lottery Community Fund – came to an end last month. The project has led to many of our peer support groups such as the Knitting, Writing for Wellbeing getting back up and running with members being able to reconnect together on zoom.

The members shared their feedback: “Jess had lots of patience. I’ll use zoom. I want to surprise my uncle abroad with my Dad standing next to me!”

“During the Covid pandemic we have learnt how to be together in spirit while apart physically. We have all evolved into sustainable and adaptable beings. Staff at AoD have been immensely proud of our happy and thriving community!”

Join and have your say

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is currently working on new website pages which reflect their Independent Living vision.

LBHF is keen to increase the visibility of the information and advice available to residents who require community support. They are working on incorporating the new independent living website into the council’s main website.

The LBHF are committed to co-producing the new webpages with residents and would love to have your input into what you would like to see included in these web pages.

If you are interested, please join our online zoom session hosted with LBHF and Aod on Monday 17th May at 11.00 am. Email: info@aod.org.uk or call 020 7385 2098 for more information

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Action on Disability relies heavily on the generosity of its members, volunteers and supporters to carry out its work. We use the money we receive to work with, empower, and represent disabled people.

 

ACTION ON DISABILITY REMAINS OPEN

As COVID-19 continues to affect all our lives, we want to let you know that during this lockdown, Action on Disability will remain fully operational.

The health and safety of our service users, employees, volunteers and suppliers remains our highest priority while we continue to provide you with the support you need from us: Welfare Benefits, Direct Payments, Youth and/or Employment.

It continues to be business as usual, although much of the team will be carrying out their roles from home where they can, in line with the Government guidelines.

You’ll still be able to contact us on the phone and online, we’ve also introduced virtual support so that we can organise online meetings and/or technical support via Zoom or other video chat platforms. Our phone system enables us to redirect your calls straight to our staff working from home. Please find all of the numbers listed below:

 

General Enquires: 020 7385 2098 

Welfare Benefits Adults : 0203 080 0382

Welfare Benefits Children: 0203 080 0381

Direct Payments Support: 078 2499 0072

Youth: 07557 273657

Employment: 07825 925969

 

Please continue to check our website and social media as we’ll keep you updated with our latest news. In the meantime, from our team to yours, please stay safe and we’re always here to help.

All the best,

 

AoD Senior Management Team