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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow Disability Alliance: Making funding go further to serve Glasgow's disabled citizens

The whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts - never is this famous quote from Aristotle been truer than when talking about Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA).

For the total impact that this vibrant charitable organisation makes is much bigger than the 1226 members it directly supported last year, through 5885 learning programmes, coaching, peer support, a busy calendar of events and a plethora of engaging activities.

This is how Tressa Burke, chief executive at the Glasgow Disability Alliance, describes the influence and effect of their Disability Equality Programme, funded by Integrated Grant Fund (IGF).

With more than 3500 members the GDA aims to build 'connectedness'; that reduces isolation and builds resilience and relationships, develops capacity and provides pathways for disabled people towards independent living. And, the wider effects in terms of societal and economic benefits and health improvements- is well documented.

Councillor Soryia Siddique, executive member for communities and citizens, saw this for herself and heard from members during a recent visit to one of the charity's discussion forums.

GDA is backed by Glasgow City Council through its Integrated Grant Fund (IGF) providing funding to organisations to deliver high quality and much needed services at a local level and to citizens across Glasgow.

The GDA is one of 435 projects funded by IGF, targeting priority areas including alcohol and health and wellbeing, youth employment and young people, vulnerable people and families and helping to build sustainable, safer and fairer communities

GDA membership is a good representation of the issues facing Glasgow's disabled population which now stands at around 25% based on 2011 Census data.

This community development organisation was founded more than 10 years ago to give a voice to Glasgow's disabled community. The organisation acts as a collective to be a representative voice of disabled people and an enabler to overcoming barriers and providing opportunities for this sector of society.

Tressa says: "Disabled people have borne the brunt of eight years of austerity, with more than 50% of the cuts hitting our vital support and services. More than ever, Glasgow Disability Alliance values its investment from Glasgow City Council and our 3500 members firmly believe that this support is vital.

"Combined with a cocktail of funding from the Big Lottery and Scottish Government, the IGF money, enables us develop and deliver programmes and activities which increase the confidence, connections and contributions of disabled people so that they can live fuller lives, with choices and with the support they need".

The IGF grant and in particular council backing for the GDA and its programme gives weight to a much larger funding award, which if not secured would seriously impact the sustainability of the organisation and the lives of many disabled people.

Councillor Siddique, said "Through funding GDA for over a number of years the council has shown confidence in the organisation's ability to produce positive outcomes. More importantly it validates its work within the city and allows other funding sources to be sought on the back of it to ensure the charity's longevity and sustainability. By funding organisations such as GDA we are helping to create a vibrant and diverse Glasgow where disabled people play their part in local communities and have the same freedom, dignity, choice, control of their lives, equal to other in the city.

"We recognise the vital work that GDA does in empowering disabled people, building support networks and providing pathways to services and activities that build confidence through learning, peer support and accessible programmes. Our investment in GDA is a demonstration of our confidence in the organisation and is a catalyst to the charity receiving funding from other sources.

By working together with GDA and other city agencies we know that we can have profound impact on thousands of lives across the city."

'Confident, connected and contributing', are both the organisation's goals and also the themes of GDA's Learning Festival. A one-day, free, event open to disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to provide debate and views on topics that affect them, meet other people, hear their stories, take part in fun activity based workshops kick-started with a performance from GDA's Purple Poncho Players.

The Learning Festival is on Thursday 1 September in the Glasgow City Hotel. Registration in advance is essential on 0141 556 7103 as places are limited.


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