A Plea to Those in Power; Leave the DFG Alone!

Carolyn Voisey by Carolyn Voisey Additional Needs

Carolyn Voisey

Carolyn Voisey

Mum to one incredible little dude, I work full time in higher education and have my own small business as a jewellery designer/creator. I love noth...

This last fortnight has been crucifying; the joy that is building work continues to plod ever onward, and as it goes forward the reality of trying to get everyone doing what they should be has taken its toll. It is like herding cats.

On a ‘normal’ build, the people you deal with would probably be the builders, building inspectors, electricians and the other trades. On a SN build however, you need to add in the Council/whoever is managing the DFG in your area, OT’s, social workers (if you have one), physiotherapists, charities (for funding the bits the DFG doesn’t even come close to) and suppliers of SN equipment such as hoists, hi-low baths, specialist flooring...

Honestly, it’s a behemoth of a project.

Not helped I should add by lack of communication between aforementioned individuals.

In our county, the DFG is no longer managed by the local council but at County level; in Staffordshire this is now outsourced to a third-party company who take a chunk of the DFG money as a fee, but who do everything for you from getting quotes to project managing the job. The cost of hoisting also comes out of the DFG grant itself, so by the time you’ve finished paying fees etc, you lose a significant amount of the money that was designed to make life easier for those with disabilities/chronic health conditions.

You may well get a hoist, but you may not have any rooms suitable for it to be fitted. We are in an unenviable position in that we started our build under the old scheme (DFG managed locally, we did all the hard graft with quotes etc, hoisting covered by OT as a statutory need), however are now trying to work our way through the minefield that is the NEW system, and no-one from the local or county councils are actually talking to each other.

This has resulted in more c*** ups than I care to list.  The poor OTs and physios are stuck in the middle as no-one is communicating anything to them, and families like ours are left to try and untangle the mess that ‘streamlining the DFG process’ has caused.

So, in a plea to whoever makes these ridiculous decisions – stop it.

Families like mine are already surviving on the very edge of the abyss. The DFG is the only way we can make our homes suitable for our loved ones; stop making an already dreadful process worse and start supporting those who, through no fault of their own, desperately need support.

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