Eleven new disability research projects receive £1 million as DRILL calls for new bid

Eleven projects across the UK are the latest to receive between £39,000 and £150,000 each of previously awarded funding to explore aspects of how disabled people can live as full citizens in our society.

The projects, which include exploring employment opportunities, housing and social care services for disabled people, are the latest to be funded by DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a £5 million research scheme led by disabled people and funded by Big Lottery Fund.

The announcement coincides with DRILL’s call for new bids for funding, which is announced this week – it is looking to allocate another £1 million.

All DRILL projects are led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions, working in co-production with academics and policy makers.

The latest grants were approved by the DRILL Central Research Committee, which is chaired by Professor Tom Shakespeare. He said:

“Once again, a terrific set of applications to the DRILL scheme. The Research Committee are delighted to be able to support work about  adapted housing, autism, young disabled people, disabled parents and other important issues, from all parts of the United Kingdom. It’s particularly rewarding to see the strong new relationships which are emerging between disabled people’s organisations and university researchers.”

Sadly none in Cumbria but do check out the successful projects:

Find out more


Co-producing technology: harnessing digital solutions for social care

Message from our Founder – Liz Ashall-Payne

Co-producing technology: harnessing digital solutions for social care: The report is based on a recent workshop, which explored how people who use services contribute to technological design and are changing the delivery of social care.

The Cumbria Neurological Alliance is in discussion with Liz Ashall-Payne to see how we can support the work of ORCHA

ORCHA is the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications. Their main purpose is to carry out independent and impartial reviews of health and care related apps and to present this information clearly through thewebsite and professional platforms. They use a clinically and academically validated framework to thoroughly assess apps and present the results in an easy to search app database.

Live platforms make it easy to find relevant apps by category or keyword, and the relevant apps reviewed are summarised with two main scores – Value and Risk, as well as identifying key functions of the app.

This scoring and function system makes it easier for you to identify and compare the best apps for your needs, so you can achieve the best outcomes, with a better understanding of possible risks, to support your health and wellbeing needs or goals.

ORCHA powered clinical platforms can provide tailored functions to professionals to help find and recommend apps to their patients to enhance treatment plans.

By working with healthcare, the government, and developers, it is ORCHA’s mission to help deliver improved visibility of better and safer apps.

Watch this space!

Barrow GP and residents – leading activities to improve health and happiness

The following update has been received from BetterCareTogether:

Barrow locals have begun training to lead activities to improve the health and happiness of local communities as part of a scheme to reduce social isolation in Barrow in Furness.

 ‘Furness Wellness Days’ which are based at Walney Cottage, Barrow-in-Furness were introduced to bring the community together to promote health and wellbeing through a range of different activities.

 The initiative was launched following conversations with members of the public who all explained that happiness improves their ability to manage their own illness within the community. Happiness is also directly affected by social isolation, for example Age UK have suggested that feeling alone and vulnerable can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing. This is an increasing concern as Age UK have reported that two fifths of older people say the television is their main source of company.



Ivan Drozdov Communications and Engagement Coordinator
bettercaretogether (Morecambe Bay Clinical Strategy)
 Moor Lane Mills, Moor Lane, LANCASTER, LA1 1QD 01524 518638

Note:  Dr Farhan Amin GP instigated these workshops with the support of therapists from the World Health Innovation Strategy based in Carlisle.  Contact Gareth Presch at

for further information

MS Society survey on wheelchair services in South Cumbria

Yvonne Trace Regional External Relations Officer (Greater Manchester, Lancashire & South Cumbria) of the MS Society and one of our committee members is carrying out a survey about wheelchair services in South Cumbria.

If you or someone you know lives in South Cumbria and uses a wheelchair please read this

wheelchair flyer

and complete this survey

Your details will be kept in confidence but we want to get as many views as possible.

Image result for wheelchair images




Brain Research Trust – call for grant applications

The Brain Research Trust has launched its first national call for project grant applications. The charity is looking to fund projects in these areas:

  • Acquired brain damage: research into interventions that promote recovery at the impairment level, particularly those that bring together enhanced plasticity or stimulation with rehabilitation
  • Neuro-oncology: research addressing the biology, treatment and diagnosis of primary brain tumours and associated neurological complications
  • Headache and facial pain: research addressing the fundamental causes, mechanisms and relief of headache and facial pain

The application deadline is soon – 29 March. Visit for details.

Rehabilitation – let us know if you have problems accessing services

Why is rehabilitation important?

The aim of rehabilitation is to help you regain your former skills where possible, and compensate for skills lost, to the best of your ability. When you are living with a neurological condition, undergoing rehabilitation can be a key factor in determining your quality of life. It is therefore important that you have access to appropriate equipment and to appropriate health and social care professionals, as necessary. Such professionals may include speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation physicians, orthotists and care managers.

You may benefit from rehabilitation in hospital or at home and at any stage of your condition. However where an acute or emergency episode has occurred, as for example with head injury, the greatest progress is often achieved over the following two years. In such cases a speedy referral to rehabilitation services is important. Rehabilitation usually ceases when it no longer produces sufficiently marked changes. However,sometimes rehabilitation is needed to prevent things getting worse. Although it may not achieve measurable improvement, it is still worth while.

You should be reassessed regularly or as necessary, especially if your condition is changing. You may have to ask and keep asking either your GP or specialist for this to happen. This reassessment can be carried out by a rehabilitation physician, by your hospital or community rehabilitation team. The way this service is organised, and the procedures for referrals and assessments, varies throughout the country.

In Cumbria we have been involved in two reviews of neurological rehabilitation services.  The first has been county wide, including the CCG and the Cumbria Partnership Trust.  The second is a review of specialist rehabilitation across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Please let us know if you have experienced problems accessing rehabilitation.

‘Alterline in a Box’ New training resource

The Brain Tumour Charity recently produced an new training resource ‘Alterline in a Box’ which links with the findings from their ‘ Losing Myself: the reality of life with a brain tumour’ report

The training can be incorporated into team meetings and Helen Hills can explain more about the different support and information options that The Brain Tumour Charity can offer. If any teams are interested please give her a call  07710 709 440 or if you need any of their resources, leaflets or Newly Diagnosed packs please let her know.


Helen Hills Operations Manager, North Mobile 07710 709 440

Sharing Knowledge – North East & Cumbria (run by In Control and Inclusion North)

The course is free and will run over five two-day sessions between October 2016 and February 2017.

What is Sharing Knowledge about?

This is a new course for the North East and Cumbria area which will identify, train, support and sustain a network of people – citizen leaders – who believe that things can be better for disabled people and their families. The course will take place against a backdrop of ‘self-directed support’.

The course is designed for vulnerable people, their parents/relatives and people who support them through their work in social care, health and education in the North East and Cumbria. By ‘vulnerable’ we mean people with learning disabilities, sensory impairments, physical impairments, people with long-term or serious health issues (physical and mental) or people with a learning disability who are at risk of exclusion and need support in order to live happy and healthy lives.

Sharing Knowledge is about building new alliances which will become powerful and make real differences to the future of vulnerable people. The programme will build on work already done across the area through investing in parent/carer and self-advocate leadership and will contribute to more effective partnership working.

It will provide information and build participants’ skills so that they gain the knowledge and confidence they need to campaign and advocate for a better future for themselves and other vulnerable people in our society. A strong values base of inclusion and equality underpins the programme. Participants will be listening, learning, planning and creating together.

Who is Sharing Knowledge for?

 They want people to apply for a place on the course who have first-hand experience of issues that affect vulnerable people and their families. People who think that life for people who need extra support could be better and who want to improve the way things are now – but don’t always know where to start.

There will be 35 place available. To be eligible to apply, you must also either be a resident in the North East or Cumbria, or be involved in providing support to someone who is a resident. This could also be a person working in social care, education, health or leisure.

Looking for people who are:

  • Passionate about everyone’s right to be included as full citizens in local community life.
  • Committed to action.
  • Committed to working with other people to make life better for vulnerable people who need extra support.

The Course Programme

The course is residential and runs over five months from October 2016 to February 2017. The session’s run on two consecutive days, once a month. Each session will run approximately from 9:30am until 5:00pm.

Course participants will learn about:

  • The history of social care and why things are the way they are.
  • Person centred planning and support planning.
  • What’s possible and practical.
    • Getting the right support, rites of passage and peer support.
    • Communication and assistive technology.
    • Housing options and innovative respite.
    • Dispelling the myths about Autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
    • Health and postural care.
  • Being in control of the care that you need.
  • Understanding and relating to the system locally, making change happen and making plans for the future.

For an application pack and more information, please contact:

 In Control Support Centre

Carillon House Chapel Lane Wythall B47 6JX Email:

Tel: 01564 821 650

Cumbria Rural Health Forum

Cumbria Rural Health Forum Logo

At the end of March this year, the Cumbria Rural Health Forum completed a programme of work to develop and implement key themes from the Cumbria Strategy for Digital Technologies in Health and Social Care. The members have now completed the reports for all activities and uploaded them to the website.

You can read about the Strategy here and see reports of the various Digital Think Tanks and survey work here.

Jae-Llane Ditchburn and Professor Alison Marshall have also recently published an academic paper about the Forum, which is available here.

The work on digital technologies in Cumbria has fed directly into the NHS Local Digital Roadmap for Cumbria and will be developed further with partners within two administrative areas – West, North and East Cumbria