It’s been an interesting – and, being cautiously optimistic here, positive - few weeks in engaging with policy makers around the issues facing disabled people. I say a few weeks; actually, it’s the culmination of a growing volume around some critical – and urgent – concerns facing the sector.


There have been some welcome moves forward; we recently welcomed the assertion by the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, that people with chronic long term health conditions shouldn’t be subject to ongoing reassessment on their work appropriateness. We are looking forward to an imminent Green Paper which we hope will set out a much more progressive and inclusive landscape for supported employment that can finally begin to close the disability employment gap.


Decision makers beginning to understand the issue

We are also very pleased by the indications from new ministers and other MPs that they understand the huge (and unprecedented) funding pressures now facing the sector in which we work, and that they are committed to doing something about it. We very much look forward to working with them to do just that.


People we support sitting with a support worker looking at an iPadIt's time to understand what social care is

But the problem remains that social care isn’t a vote winner. Why? Because most people haven’t had a brush with it, save perhaps with older relatives who need vital care towards the end of their lives. And, whilst everyone understands what the NHS is there for, many people don’t understand the term “social care” or what it covers.


To prove the point, an IPPR report some years ago asked the public whether social care should be free at the point of delivery. And most respondents said no, it shouldn’t. Then the researcher explained what social care was…. At which point, most respondents said “yes of course it should be free”. The problem is compounded by the fact that many people don’t really understand disability or see the huge spectrum of need. And so what too often remains invisible is the high number of disabled adults for whom social care is literally a lifeline.


Much more needs to be done to boost the understanding of what social care does and – crucially – how it not only relieves pressure on our other public services (notably – but not only - the NHS) but also creates quality of life. For people who have been denied it for far too long.


What does social care mean to you?

So, with that in mind, we are re-launching our Postcards from the Edges project to give a platform for people to tell us just what good social care means to them.

Have your say in the campaign here