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The case for independent living

The case for independent livingIndependent living refers to a range of potential sources of support for people affected by MS. An internationally-defined definition of independent living for disabled people generally refers to the following:

  • Information (on a wide range of topics, not just MS)
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Advocacy
  • Access to support services (social care and health services, Access to Work etc)
  • Counselling
  • Technical aids (telecare, aids and adaptations)
  • Transport
  • Employment
  • Access to the built environment
  • Income/benefits

Independent Living event, ExeterA key area of national policy, which is of particular significance to the independent living agenda for people affected by MS, is that of 'personalisation'. Julie Jones, OBE, chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) describes personalisation as '... thinking about public services and social care in an entirely different way – starting with the person rather than the service. It will require the transformation of adult social care'.

Local activity
In the South West, the MS Society is working with people affected by MS and local authority personalisation leads. During the summer of 2009, for example, the Society organised two personalisation events in Devon, through which helpful channels of communication have been established. This ongoing and developing process is described by MS Society Vice-chair and trustee, Stuart Nixon, who chaired both events, as one in which people affected by MS and Devon County Council are now actively engaged. A report of the most recent event can be downloaded here

The national picture
The MS Society has a national Independent Living programme and the following videos feature the Society's strategic lead for independent living, Brenda Joyce, talking about what the programme hopes to achieve and how, as well as providing examples of some of the projects developed to date. She also details how people can get involved in the independent living programme.

Further information  
Independence, Well-being and Choice: Our Vision for the Future of Social Care for Adults in England
Department of Health, 2005
Download here
Improving the life chances of disabled people.
Department of Work and Pensions, Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Office 2005
Download here
The Equality and Human Rights Commission
The commission works with organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to reduce discrimination and promote equal opportunities for employees, customers and the users of services.
View here
The Office for Disability Issues
The ODS is working towards equality for disabled people and describes itself as 'the guardians within government of the vision of equality for disabled people by 2025'.
View here
The National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL)
Campaigns for the rights and equality of disabled people.
View here
The Independent Living Fund (ILF)
An Executive Non Departmental Public Body of the Department for Work and Pensions acting as a national resource 'dedicated to providing financial support to disabled people and advancing standards of independent living'. 
View here
Personal Budgets for People Affected by MS
A report of a summer 2009 discussion group organised by the MS Society in Devon
Download here
View the MS Society's range of free publications
Download here

The case for MS speech and language therapy

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