* This post is written by one of our volunteer content creators. *
AYL’s Grant Assistance Scheme – Also Known As GAS
WHY I DECIDED TO SET UP A GRANT ASSISTANCE SCHEME FOR AYL:
After working with Access Your Life for a while I noticed a trend amongst our users’ feedback in the comment sections under social media posts- they always seemed so impressed with products we share from our trusted partners and users’ reviews but would mention how expensive things are. We never want our users to think that we are all rainbows and sunshine and simply oblivious to how expensive life with a disability can be, after all – our team is run by disabled people and we too have to pay for all those additional extra costs. I decided to approach our directors Lauren and Felix with the prospect of setting up the Grant Assistance Scheme after I successfully managed to raise almost all of the money towards my wheelchair by combining my English degree skills and prior wheelchair knowledge, to apply for charitable funds when getting my perfect chair this time last year.
I’d hate to think that money would be the deciding factor for anyone in this world to be stopped from living life accessibly. When you speak to disabled people about how they would spend their money if they won the lottery and it’s often they aren’t expecting anything beyond a human right really, they aren’t asking for fancy mansions or to go on all-inclusive fancy holidays on private jets: sure that would be nice and if it was accessible we’d all take it. But more often than not we want access to the best medical care they can, we want to be able to live comfortably knowing we have all the care support we need and could live just like anybody else. I know here at AYL we regularly talk about how amazing it would be to have access to hydrotherapy any day of the week. There are so many pots of money out there sitting just waiting to help chronically ill and disabled people and their families- I just wish everyone knew how to access them!
IT WAS AT THIS POINT A GRANT ASSISTANCE SCHEME WAS CREATED:
As a disabled student, I know all too well the concept of having to watch my money. I am fortunate enough to never have struggled hugely financially as my family can support me occasionally- I know my privileges here that being said, I still struggle with the extortionate costs that come alongside being disabled. I had 4 wheelchairs and scooters and thousands of pounds down the drain, wiping my savings due to buying the wrong products- We often have so many users tell us about the money they have wasted on the wrong product and we don’t want this to happen to anyone else!
I struggled for years and years before finally realising I was able to use a wheelchair. Internalised ableism sadly means lots of people will struggle with symptoms but continue to exhaust their bodies as ‘they can walk’- getting a wheelchair on the NHS in the UK sadly doesn’t help break down these stereotypes and due to funding, it is incredibly hard to get a wheelchair through wheelchair services. Often the wheelchairs you are provided with are not ones made for your body, incredibly heavy, too big, too small etc.
The grant assistance scheme is there to help all the ‘inbetweeny people’ who aren’t eligible for full government support, as I was there! Including those of you waiting on PIP applications, new Motability cars, or assessments. Even those of you wanting a bright orange chair with glittery flames on the side, flashing wheels and all-terrain capabilities – it may take us a little longer to gather various funding streams, but we can get there!
TAKING THE STRESS OFF OUR USER’S SHOULDERS:
As a disabled person, I know how much paperwork we have! Many chronically ill people describe themselves as their personal admin assistants for me it doesn’t sit right with how difficult support is to access, particularly for those like myself who live with chronic fatigue or other disabled people who may find the process to be overwhelming or challenging. I long for a world where the benefits system wasn’t so broken and disabled people and their carers were looked after more. As someone who has a degree in English and is pretty good at writing, I thought setting up the GAS would be a perfect way to use my strengths to help others access the support they may not know they are eligible for. The majority of the AYL team has also experienced the overwhelming and seemingly unattainable process of finding the right equipment for their needs. Allowing us to collectively provide a variety of support services such as our equipment request form.
HOW IT WORKS:
We can source relevant funding streams, provide assistance with application forms, and offer guidance with creating fundraisers.
A process that is hard to independently navigate, as you have to find a corresponding charity and navigate their ever-changing application criteria. So, by filling out the online form and telling us as much as you can about your needs, we can help you with your search!
Once completed, you will be asked to pay for your preferred support package. Providing you with instant access to our most trusted suppliers, who have kindly offered to deduct the cost of this service from your final product bill. Essentially allowing you to utilise this scheme free of charge! If you require assistance completing any of our forms, please call 07594650130 and leave a message with your name and number. Our case manager will get back to you as soon as possible.
As you can see, we essentially act as your referee, so we can apply for charitable funding on your behalf, which we hand-pick based on your eligibility, required equipment, and financial total. So what are you waiting for? Click here to begin your joinery towards a brighter, more independent, and comfortable future! The world is yours to explore!    Lauren P