The Disabled Motorists Federation
With approximately 12 million people affected by disability (about 20% of the UK's population) who are in turn supported by about 6 million carers, it is important that as much as possible is done to create more inclusive, equal, diverse and safer societies for such a significant percentage of UK residents.
The Disabled Motorists Federation (DMF) (Registered charity No 1012874) was established over 40 years ago with the original intention to give advice to disabled people (irrespective of the nature of their disability) and their carers on issues relating to motoring and transport matters.
Although established for so many years and despite the fact that during this time the DMF has been called upon on several occasions to give free advice to appropriate central and local government organisations (our Vice-President Peter Lyne, having participated in discussion forums held at the Palace of Westminster which have addressed issues relating to improved transport facilities and creating greater levels of social inclusion for disabled people within their respective communities), the federation has failed to qualify for any regional or national development grants and remains (like so many other charities) entirely staffed by volunteers.
The way ahead for the federation is that apart from continuing with its existing clubs, it also wants to encourage more people (be they disabled or non-disabled) to become individual or 'affiliate' members of the DMF and take advantage of the many and varied membership benefits which currently exist or are being created.
These include car purchase schemes, (we have no intention to be critical of the efforts of Motability who undertake excellent work on behalf of more severely disabled people and the federation has enjoyed friendly relationships with senior personnel from Motability for many years), accommodation discount facilities with leading hotel groups and we are currently developing accident management services, introducing a range of insurance services (in particular travel insurance for disabled people) and we already have access to a full range of legal services provided by a long established, Merseyside based firm of solicitors.
Their services include commercial law, civil law and conveyancing. Do not worry if you do not live in Merseyside because as members of The Law Society the company whose details can be found on our website, will have contact with an appropriate legal practice in your area who can deal with your needs.
In July of this year Peter Lyne was appointed to serve as a member of the Service Users' Panel of National Voices (a London based charitable organisation which in turn has well over 200 other charities in membership). More recently, he has been requested by National Voices to help develop the size of the existing Service User's Panel.
Although a charity, National Voices work very closely with H.M. Government's Department of Health and the NHS and address many issues relating to improvement of existing healthcare services.
To expand the size of any organisation, there has to be greater levels of networking and the DMF is keen to address these issues. Regrettably, many non-disabled people believe that disability only extends to wheelchair users. They do not take into account the needs of people with 'invisible' disabilities and the implications which these medical conditions can have on their carers and families. More equal, inclusive and safer societies need to be generated to help extend the 'arm of support' of the DMF to such people.
Within the last few months our Vice-President has strengthened relationships with Merseyside Police (who have a very positive attitude towards dealing with and counteracting the problem of disability hate crime).
This relationship has come as a result of him winning a community project award in October 2008 for his work in developing motoring support services. More work still needs to be done with this as well as creating greater levels of public awareness that these facilities are available through the DMF.
The DMF wants to increase the number of its existing relationships it has with such organisations as hospitals, NHS Trusts and PCT's. We would be delighted to receive communications from doctors and surgeons who are undertaking specific research or pioneering new treatments towards counteracting the 'myriad' of causes of disability as well as with research departments within universities.
Only recently, the DMF have been successful in exchanging website links with UK Biobank (the large scale health survey programme jointly being developed between Oxford and Manchester Universities). All relevant information we receive can be promoted through our website, which continues to hold prominent positions on the web pages of most search engines.
Apart from the development of medical related issues and the desire to increase networking relationships with other charities and Third Sector organisations it is vitally important that the DMF make it clearly evident to representatives from the industrial and commercial sectors (including retail chains) that there are many opportunities in the future to do business with the DMF and its numerous associated organisations.
Help us to create a better, more inclusive and fairer society for disabled people.