By Frances Ryan in The Guardian.
In times of deep inequality and shrinking services, politics is often framed like a David and Goliath battle. You see it in the mothers who this week challenged the London developers trying to stop their “social housing kids” playing in segregated play areas. Or the teachers and parents in Cambridge marching against Westminster’s crippling school funding cuts. But what you rarely hear is that behind every victorious David is a whole team lifting them up.
Possability People in Brighton is one such team. For the past 30 years, as well as providing other services, the charity has been running an advice centre for the local disabled community, dealing with anything from housing information, bus passes, help with care and food bank referrals to benefits applications. This is the smallest of teams – three part-time staff and a bank of volunteers, most of whom are disabled or chronically ill themselves – but for the people it reaches, the impact couldn’t be bigger. If your learning disability means you struggle to fill in complex forms, the advice team will help you get your benefits. If you’re facing eviction, the team will calm you down and look for accessible housing suitable for your wheelchair. It is the definition of a helping hand for people who need it most. “The reality for many people coming to our door [is] sometimes they’re too anxious even to open letters from the DWP [Department of Work and Pensions] without our support,” Geraldine Des Moulins, who runs the service, tells me.
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