Drumchapel Disabled Action

Only In It For The 'Dough!'

At the time of writing this piece, the Paralympic Games 2012 are in full swing and new heroes of British sport are born. Ellie Simmonds in the pool, Sophie Wells in Equestrianism and Scotland's own Aileen McGlynn at the velodrome, have added their names to the roll call of Murray, Hoy, Ennis, Farah, and other Team GB medalists that have given us an unprecedented summer of sporting success, providing a nation sized endorphine rush.  A feel good factor, that no legal or illegal substance, nor politician, could ever hope to administer or match

The Paralympics are not as you may think a celebration of disabled athletes, they are a celebration of what it is possible to achieve if you have a disability. This is exactly our philosophy at Drumchapel Disabled Action in Glasgow.

From humble beginnings over 20 years ago, a small group of disabled people got together in people's living rooms and church halls to share their common experience and support each other with friendship and camaraderie. Moving to a permanent building, Antonine Court, helped this 'band of brothers' grow the community and the services on offer, to what we have today, Glasgow's only purpose built centre for people with physical disabilities.

Antonine Court provides day opportunities, with an extensive range of activities for all. We don't involve ourselves with the medical aspect of a person's condition, we see the person and deal with them holistically, offering complimentary therapies, such as massage, reki, relaxation techniques, exercise as well as arts and crafts, computing, cooking and a reading group.

However, the most important aspect is something that we don't offer, it comes from the members themselves, it's 'Socialisation.'  The chance, for our users, to chat and meet with friends, and give and gain mutual support. We know from experience that there are large numbers of stay at home people with disabilities, who could manage their conditions better if they had a chance, or had the desire and choice to come to a centre such as ours.

In Glasgow, this choice is now available. Traditionally the funding for our centre came in block grants from the Council. Now, we have the introduction of 'Self Directed Support' where the person with a disability is granted a budget from the council, and they can choose how this is spent on their care, something the disabled movement has been advocating for a long time, the right to choose. This brings new challenges for us as a centre, in relation to the funding, as we have to attract people to spend their budget with us. We have indications from the majority of our Users that they will be spending that with us, which we as an organisation are grateful for, as we support 10 jobs in Drumchapel which is classified as an area of 'Multiple Deprivation.'

Therefore, we have to provide services that people want, and now under this new funding model, to all disabled people in Glasgow, not just our traditional areas in the G13, 14 and 15 postcodes.  Soon, we will market our services to the rest of the city, with the trading name of, Potentia.

Securing external or project specific funding assists us to make activities more stimulating or provide new services.  Recently, The National Lottery provided us with funding for Music Therapy, The Robertson Trust and Children in Need have given us grants for our Youth Club, and of course the Bakers Trust awarded us £800 last year to enhance our cooking education and skills.

This £800 allowed us to re-equip our training kitchen and also provide new equipment, the biggest individual spend being a Kenwood food mixer, which has really seen our home baking taking off, some of which we are able to sell.

The majority of our Service Users were not born with their disability; it has developed over time or has been caused by sudden trauma, like a stroke.  A stroke can leave its mark on a person in many ways, for example, limited use or weakness in limbs. Our training kitchen gives people like this the chance to adapt and re-learn the simple kitchen skills they once took for granted, for example, making a cup of tea, cutting and spreading butter on a slice of bread, making a small simple meal. The grant also helped us buy the adapted equipment needed for such tasks.

I would like to thank your Deacon, Sir Michael Bond, and the members of the Bakers Trust for the award which enabled us to enhance our service. I warmly wish the Bakers Trust Award Scheme great success in the future.

Stephen Daly - Chairperson

sdaly@potentiascotland.org.uk

If I may, I would like to dedicate this piece, and the Grant Award to the memory of John Elliot. 'Duke' as he was known, due to his love of John Wayne movies, accompanied me, and our Centre Manager, Louise Lawson, when we had to give our presentation to the trust award panel. John died one week later and was a great loss to our community, and me personally. Thank you Duke.