These organisations and schemes support young people with physical disabilities in the UK. Make sure you’re getting any extra support you need to achieve your life and work goals.
We believe that all young people, including those with disabilities, should have the opportunity to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential. Sadly, our society still puts some barriers in the way. Overt discrimination, unconscious bias, and simple thoughtlessness can all have a significant negative impact.
It’s against the law to discriminate on the basis of disability in the UK. What this means is that businesses and organisations are not allowed to treat you less favourably than an able bodied person. That includes with regards to access to services, education, and employment.
Fortunately, help and support for disabled young people is out there. So if you’re experiencing discrimination, struggling to access employment, or just need a little extra support, we’ve compiled this list of resources to help you:
Disability Rights UK
Disability Rights UK is one of the UK’s leading charities run by and for people with any kind of disability. Their website offers a huge amount of advice and links to various resources for disabled people, covering everything from practical tips on independent living to ending disability-based hate crime.
They also have a helpline for disabled students.
Motability is a scheme which helps disabled people get access to a car, mobility scooter, powered wheelchair, or wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Anyone who receives a higher rate mobility allowance can apply to join the scheme.
The Percy Bilton Charity
The Percy Bilton Charity is a grant-making trust provides one off grants of up to £200 for necessary household expenses for anyone with a serious long-term disability or mental illness who is on a low income. The application has to be made on your behalf by a Support Worker working for the council or an NHS Trust. Expenses they can help with include household appliances, carpets and flooring where there is a health and safety concern, and essential clothing.
Scope is the UK’s disability equality charity. There is a huge amount of information on their website on everything from friendships and relationships to travel, money, legal issues, and employment. They have a free helpline on 0808 800 3333 where you can get urgent help, advice, and emotional support. You can also ask for support by email if you prefer.
They also have an online community where you can connect and chat with other disabled people, and an extensive employment support programme to help you find a job and thrive at work. The Career Pathways programme is specifically for young people aged 16-25.
Access to Work
Access to Work is a government scheme delivered by Jobcentre Plus. It offers advice and sometimes financial grants to help people with disabilities, mental health conditions, and long-term health issues into work. Examples of the kinds of things that can be funded include a BSL interpreter for interviews for Deaf candidates, a support worker to assist with personal care needs at work, help towards taxi fares if you can’t use public transport to commute, and special equipment to make the workplace accessible to you over and above the reasonable adjustments your employer is legally required to make.
The Snowdon Trust provides grants to students in the UK with physical disabilities and sensory impairments. Grants range from £200 to £3000 and help to cover the additional costs that students incur as a result of their disability. Costs they can cover include things like note-takers, BSL interpreters, specialist software, and wheelchair-accessible accommodation.
They also run the Snowdon Masters Scholarships scheme, which helps exceptionally talented disabled students to fulfil their potential by providing funding of up to £15,000 per year in course fees, plus a living costs allowance, to enable the student to study for a Masters degree.
Trefoil Personal Development Grants
Trefoil is a charity offering Personal Development Grants to young people up to the age of 25 who have additional needs including psycho/social difficulties and physical disabilities. The grant should support personal, social, or emotional development, and/or promote independence for the applicant. Any eligible young people in the UK can apply, but priority is given to those living in Scotland.
AFK Life & Work Programme
AFK (formerly Action For Kids) is a charity serving disabled children and young people. Their Life and Work Programme is for young people aged 19 or over with a disability who want to enter the workforce and live more independently.
Participants work with a Job Coach to develop an action plan, learn interview skills, develop their workplace know-how, and complete placements to build experience. Support continues even after you’ve found a job.
AbilityNet supports people with disabilities to reach their full potential at home, in education, and at work through the use of technology. Their aim is to “provide a more accessible digital world,” and they provide specialist advice, training, information and free resources. The “My Computer, My Way” section provides advice and support for people who are Deaf, hearing impaired or visually impaired, as well as those who have mobility issues or learning disabilities. You can call their helpline on 0800 048 7642 during office hours, or request help via the online form.
Whatever your disability, you deserve to access the support you need to follow your ambitions and reach your potential. All these services and more are available to you. There’s no shame in asking for help.