Parliament for disabled people under threat

The future of the Disabled People’s Parliament hangs in
the balance as it faces a funding crisis, writes Derren

The British Council of Disabled People said the parliament was
“on hold” until new funding was found. It has applied
for a £150,000 grant from the Community Fund to pay for its
running over the next three years.

However, BCODP failed in a similar bid to the Community Fund
last year and, if unsuccessful again, will be forced to have a
“rethink” and look for alternative funding streams,
finance officer Sheila Blair admitted.

The parliament was heralded as a major breakthrough for disabled
people’s rights when it held its first – and, so far,
only – parliamentary session last October, following grants
of £119,000 from the European Year of Disabled People and
Comic Relief.

However, it only managed to attract 70 members instead of the
180 it hoped for, and the money was quickly used up on developing
the concept, finding a venue and paying members’

Blair said the original bid to the Community Fund had asked for
the funding of all members, but the new bid has been slimmed down
and would mean not all members could be sponsored.

If successful in its bid, BCODP plans to hold more parliamentary
elections in the summer and have a cabinet in place in time for its
next full meeting in October. There are also plans to set up policy

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