Borders services receive cut of £700k to help disabled and carers

TWo Borders organisations are to receive a share of £700,000 being distributed to charities nationwide to help them expand and improve the information and advice they provide to thousands of disabled people and carers.

It was announced last week that Borders Independent Advocacy Service and Borders Direct Payment Agency will be rewarded with grants to the tune of £15,816 and £17,925 respectively.

The money will help them and similar charities across Scotland who work with people who have physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health issues, dementia and sensory impairments, supporting them to access the care services they need.

It supports the goals of the Scottish Government’s national Self-Directed Support Strategy, in particular that people are assisted in their desire to live as independently, for as long as possible, in their own homes and communities.

The strategy and the Self-Directed Support Bill, to be introduced by the Scottish Government in the coming months, will put people who receive social care services in the driving seat.

They will be able to have a big say in what services they think will best help them to live in their own homes and communities - giving disabled people the chance to change their lives for the better.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “This funding will enable organisations to work with more people, from different backgrounds and communities, for longer periods of time and in more creative ways.

“This is vital in supporting people who receive social care services to have a real say in how the services they need to live independent lives should be delivered.”

Praising Self-Directed Support and welcoming the local grants, MSP for Berwickshire and Roxburgh, John Lamont said: It is fantastic news that these two Borders charities will be receiving these funds. It represents a lot of money that will go a long way to helping them better support and aid those with disabilities.

“Self-Directed Support is a worthy initiative that will help individuals live more independently and choose where their support funding goes.

“What is important now is that the SNP maintain this investment to ensure that it continues to help those who are disabled in the Borders for many years to come.”

The 10-year Self-Directed Support strategy, drawn up with the support of COSLA and stakeholders, aims to make Self-Directed Support the mainstream route for funding of support services. It is hoped that as many people as possible will take advantage of this route.

Self-Directed Support, encompassing direct payments, provides individual budgets for people to buy or arrange their own support packages to meet their assessed personal, social and healthcare needs.

More than 3,500 people across Scotland are already choosing to use Self-Directed Support, but the Scottish Government aims to increase this number.