UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) lost its last paid member of staff last summer, when its chief executive Jaspal Dhani was made redundant, and since then has been run by trustees and volunteers.
It has now been able to confirm that its short-term future is secure, although it still has no office and no staff.
Julie Newman, UKDPC’s acting chair, said: “The financial position is that we have got enough money not to be insolvent.”
UKDPC will be contacting all of its members in April with an update on its financial position, and on plans for a general meeting, which will include the first new elections to its national council for about two years.
There will also be a vote for a new permanent chair, the first for seven years.
Newman said she was optimistic about UKDPC’s future. “It is an exciting time because at last we have got a clean slate. It’s a good opportunity for change and renewal.”
She said she was confident that UKDPC would survive. “I think it will, because the need has not gone away, but what that future will look like is down to the members.
“The basic principles which UKDPC operates on, which are very much driven by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are unassailable: human rights and civil liberties, and supporting disabled people to live independently in the community according to those principles.
“There has to be a national voice for disabled people’s organisations. There has to be some sort of opportunity for collective response and collective guidance for individual disabled people out there, as well as small, individual disabled people’s organisations (DPOs).
“If we don’t work alongside each other, the chaos which has been building over the last few years for individual disabled people and for organisations of disabled people will never be challenged.
“The only people who can challenge what is happening to us effectively is us.”
She said the funding problems faced by UKDPC were shared by other DPOs.
Newman said there was a need to move away from the “old benevolent grant-making model of charity”, but that this would be a “real challenge”.
Asked where funding would come from instead, she said: “I honestly don’t know and I think that’s the challenge.
“We have to keep applying for grants as a human rights-based organisation.”
But she said this might need to be done with the support of UKDPC members, as the organisation no longer had the infrastructure to administer grants.
27 February 2014