The Policy Council of the States of Guernsey is commissioning a study into the needs of disabled islanders. An ‘invitation to tender’ will be advertised this week to attract research companies who are interested in bidding for the project which is due to be completed by Summer 2012.
This is a major step forward – the first ever study of how many disabled people there are in the island and what support they need to maximise their independence. Guernsey’s new Disability Officer will use the results as a basis for a Disability Strategy for Guernsey and they will also be used to plan the development of States services.
Chair of the Social Policy Group, Deputy Hunter Adam, said:
“Although we have services for disabled people, we know they are rather sparse in some areas. For example, until we know how many people with disabilities there are on the island, we won’t know how many respite care beds we need.”
Shelaine Green, Chair of the Guernsey Disability Alliance, welcomed the project:
“As the Minister admits, support for disabled islanders has been neglected by the States in the past. One of the reasons we are so behind the times here is that the States don’t know how many disabled people there are in Guernsey and what different kinds of support they need to live an independent life. This research is an important and vital step in putting that situation right.
“Individually, members of the Guernsey Disability Alliance know what’s missing. For example, someone caring for a disabled member of their family knows that there isn’t enough respite care. Someone trying to get a job knows it is much harder than it needs to be.
“But it has been difficult for us to get the States to consider improving this situation when there’s no hard data with which to plan and prioritise. We are hopeful that this research will remove that barrier and that the Disability Strategy that results will be full supported by States members. Guernsey has a lot of catching up to do”.
Channel TV covered the story in their news bulletin on Friday 12th August.