TODAY, leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire is proud to announce a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund in Wales, which will be used to help disabled people across Wales to get their voices heard.

Glyn Meredith, Director for Wales of Leonard Cheshire, said “We are delighted that this award will enable disabled people across Wales to identify and push for changes in their local communities. The ‘My Voice, My Choice’ project will enable groups of disabled people to drive community change, by providing them with campaigning and advocacy skills.”

The funding will enable 12 My Voice My Choice projects and Citizen Panels to be established across Wales over the next 3 years. The award comes following a successful My Voice, My Choice pilot project in Swansea, which led to the formation of the Swansea Disability and Inclusion Panel. The Panel’s Chair, Kat Watkins said:

“It is wonderful that My Voice, My Choice is going to run in other areas of Wales. Each area of Wales has specific needs that only the citizens of that town or city know about and when you factor in disability it is even more vital that the citizens who are affected by the specific problems to have the ability to instigate change. Too often the voices of disabled people are drowned out and never given a platform to help make a difference: it is only through using the voices of disabled people that real changes happen.

Simon Green speaking at My Voice My Choice workshop in Swansea about disability hate/mate crime.

“The Disability Inclusion Panel has given me- and the rest of the panel- a platform to tackle the issues that disabled people face in Swansea. We have initially prioritised making the beach accessible to those with mobility equipment. Many of us cannot access the beach, despite it being on our doorstep. I’m proud of the working of the Panel in pushing for change.”

Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund Wales committee said: “The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes.  We are looking forward to seeing how Leonard Cheshire use what they have learnt from their Swansea based pilot to now help disabled people right across Wales. National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK, last year we supported over 14,000 projects to turn their great ideas into reality and make a difference in their communities.”