Lives Unlimited awarded Big Lottery funding

Lives Unlimited awarded Big Lottery funding

Lives Unlimited - a York based group for disabled people, friends and family members - has been awarded some funding from the Big Lottery Fund (Awards For All), to set up a project to help disabled people or older people to have more control over their lives through circles of support.

Over the last few years the lives of some of the group’s members have been transformed by having a circle. And now they want to share this idea with others. The person needing support is assisted to invite family, friends and neighbours people who love and care about them - to meet together on a regular basis to help them think through things they want to do in their life and then make them happen.

This may be seemingly small things like having someone to go to the pictures with, playing snooker, having friends round, or it might be something big like moving into their own home, getting a job or going on holiday.

The disabled person is in control, deciding who to invite to be in the circle and how the circle works. A facilitator is usually employed to undertake the work required to keep the group focused.

Lives Unlimited members were among the first people to use personal budgets in York - a new way of receiving care or support which can include wider options, as well as statutory services. They have found that they are now more involved in their local community either through paid or voluntary work, small businesses, friendships and being supported to use public transport and access mainstream services.

Sarah Wood, the co-ordinator for the Lives Unlimited Circles project, said:

“The idea of having your own budget can be scary and having a circle can help. Members of Lives Unlimited already support a family member with a personal budget and have positive firsthand experience of the fantastic benefits of being in control of their own lives”.

Thanks to the grant from the Big Lottery, Lives Unlimited is offering to support 10 disabled people or older people to set up and sustain a circle. They will provide a facilitator to support the person to bring a circle together and plan with them, then help to make the plan a reality.

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