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AYL’s Grant Assistance Scheme

Jan 30, 2023

* This post is written by one of our volunteer content creators. *

WHY OUR GRANT ASSISTANCE SCHEME WAS CREATED:

After volunteering with Access Your Life for a while, I noticed a trend amongst our user feedback within the comments sections of our social media posts. They always seemed so impressed with the products and partners we recommended but would continually mention how expensive and unattainable everything was. We never want our users to think that we are all rainbows and sunshine, making us 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. So, I approached AYL directors Lauren and Felix about setting up a dedicated funding service for AYL users, which later became our Grant Assistance Scheme.

MY EXPERIENCE:

I knew how difficult it was to find the perfect chair and source the necessary funds. I had just successfully managed to raise almost all of the money towards my first bespoke wheelchair by combining my English Language and Linguistics skills, with AYL’s professional recommendations. Allowing me to order a Quickie Life manual wheelchair and powered Alber E-Fix attachment, a life changing combination that aids my independence as a disabled person. It's genuinely the best thing to come out of my disability journey, as it gave me my life back! I've started to be able to live again instead of just going through the motions of every day whilst stuck inside. So why should money be the deciding factor that prevents anyone from accessing suitable equipment?

We simply want access to the best medical resources for our individual needs so we can live independently and comfortably. Here at AYL we regularly talk about how amazing it would be to have access to a hydrotherapy pool any day of the week, or a secondary wheelchair that can navigate my local pebble beach. Yet there are so many pots of money out there just waiting to help chronically ill and disabled people, I just wish everyone knew how to access them!

WHY OUR GRANT ASSISTANCE SCHEME IS NEEDED:

As a disabled student, I know all too well the concept of having to watch my money. I am fortunate enough not to have struggled hugely financially, as my family can support me occasionally and I know my privileges. That being said, I still struggle with the extortionate costs associated with being disabled. Before ordering my bespoke wheelchair, I had four wheelchairs and mobility scooters that were all unsuitable and in turn, emptied my savings and wasted thousands of pounds. I know I’m not the only one to have experienced this the entire AYL team has faced the same struggle at some point. We also regularly hear from users who are frustrated with the amount of their time and money wasted on the wrong products, as it caused their quality of life to suffer.

You may be wondering why this happens, but before AYL there was no way for users to truly assess how well a device meets the user’s individual needs. Leaving you with no choice but to base life altering decisions on a sales pitch from a supplier or unrelated online sources. Now AYL’s review directory ensures users do not have to fight so hard to gain access to the best medical resources and equipment for their needs.

Internalised ableism doesn’t help this problem. It took years before I finally realised that I didn’t need to fear using a wheelchair as it would positively benefit my life. I know others who will struggle in silence or continue to exhaust their bodies as ‘they can walk’ or ‘it isn’t that bad’.

Sadly, getting a wheelchair via the NHS in the UK doesn’t help break down these stereotypes. The lack of funding means it is incredibly hard to get a wheelchair through wheelchair services. Or you are often provided with a wheelchair that is not made to fit your body, is incredibly heavy, not fit for purpose etc.

That is why AYL’s Grant Assistance Scheme is so needed. It particularly helps the ‘inbetweeny people’ who aren’t eligible for full government support, as I was! It can also help those waiting on PIP assessments, new Motability cars, or care reviews by removing one less battle for you to fight and one less problem to worry about. Even those of you who want a bright orange chair with glittery flames on the side, flashing wheels and all-terrain capabilities may take us a little longer to source the best supplier and gather various funding streams, but we can get there!

HOW IT WORKS:

Designed to help users access suitable equipment, AYL’s Grant Assistance Scheme can identify charity grants, aid with writing applications, and create fundraising pages. Giving you the best chance of achieving your funding targets.

To sign up simply fill out our online form, tell us about your needs and wants, and select your preferred payment method. AYL purely has to charge an initial fee to keep the service running, but our partners have kindly offered to deduct this cost from your final product bill. Essentially allowing you to utilise this scheme free of charge!

We now have our wonderful case manager Isobel running this service and providing support to so many people across the UK. So, if you have any questions or require assistance completing the online forms, please contact her on:

Mobile: 07594650130 

Email: equipment@accessyourlife.co.uk

As you can see, the entire process is significantly easier than trying to independently access funding streams, source suitable equipment, and locate trusted suppliers. So, what are you waiting for? Begin your journey towards a brighter future, as the world is yours to explore!

A pink banner with information on the writer of this blog - Lauren! Along with an image of Lauren standing in front of a lake. She is wearing pink coat and smiling directly at the camera.

Lauren

ABOUT THE AUTHOR...

Lori

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