Bristol Disability Equality Forum

Bristol Disability Equality Forum

At a glance


  • Campaigning
  • Financial inclusion
  • Human rights
  • Learning disabilities / difficulties
  • Mental health
  • Older people / later life
  • Physical disabilities
  • Social care

Other details

Geographical remit: 


We are a pan-disability Disabled people-led charity based in Bristol.  We are a membership-based organisation fully accountable to them. 

We are working towards an inclusive society, one where Deaf and Disabled people are respected:

- their needs are met,

- their independence, choice and control of their own life is assured,

- they are valued as the asset they are, and

- no longer living in poverty.

Our primary services focus on supporting all Deaf and Disabled people to: have a voice and influence in all matters affecting them, to advocate for themselves, provide peer support, take up volunteering opportunities and get involved in collective advocacy within all sectors, on issues our beneficiaries tell us are priority issues for them. 

We also provide the following services:

- opportunities to come together,

- information, advice and signposting to our beneficiaries,

- awareness raising for the general public and

- training and consultancy to the statutory, business and VCSE sectors.

Our services - current and future - are desperately needed as the UK has moved from a position of advancing our beneficiaries' rights in the 90's and early noughties to dismantling them.  For example, many Deaf and Disabled people's support services have been completely withdrawn or savagely cut, hate crime has escalated, research has confirmed that approximately 50% of Disabled people are living in poverty, and the percentage of Disabled people in employment has barely increased in a decade.   Alongside this many of the intentions behind the 1995 and 2003 Disability Discrimination Acts and the 2010 Equality Act have failed to materialise, resulting in high levels of social and economic isolation.

Whilst these are national phenomena, our work has been successful in a range of areas, making Bristol City Council more 'equality - friendly' that most other authorities in England.  Sadly, with the cuts to statutory sector funding, this still leaves Deaf and Disabled people significantly disadvantaged. 

Some of our most recent successes in improving the lives of our beneficiaries include:

a. getting Bristol City Council to make it an essential condition of any grants they provide that the services their grants fund must be accessible to Deaf and Disabled people and the economically disadvantaged;

b. securing one of the best results in the country for Independent Living Fund users when it closed;

c. launching a Bristol (Deaf and) Disabled People's Manifesto (July 2016), which we have already got a local political party and Bristol Community Health to commit to.  This manifesto covers areas of disadvantage to be addressed across all aspects of life and all impairment groupings;

d. getting the Council to drop £1m of proposed cuts - some for just a year, others for the full term of a 3year Budget.

As with most equalities' community-led organisation we are currently very small but working to grow the organisation, both in terms of reach and provision/influence.


Much of our work involves engaging with decision-makers in the statutory, VCS and business sectors, and politicians, to address the systemic and attitudinal barriers Deaf and Disabled people experience; advocate for improved policy, practice, and an environment (and public transport) designed not to exclude Deaf and Disabled people; to ensure they have the support that meets their needs, and to promote Deaf and Disabled people's expertise in what those needs are and how they can best be met.

We seek to achieve this through a variety of means, from:

i.    campaigning and lobbying,

ii.   ensuring Deaf and Disabled people are consulted about all that affects them,

iii.  raising public awareness of the barriers they come up against,

iv.  collective advocacy and providing opportunities for them to engage with decision-makers and get their voice heard,

to providing:

v.   peer support,

vi.  a signposting service,

vii.  Drop-Ins,

viii. community development and policy/project/service delivery proposals,

as well as advice and consultancy to organisations and businesses.

Thanks to a generous one-ff donation of just under £6,000 we have recruited a volunteering co-ordinator and will be launching a new project to provide peer support for people attending Employment Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment assessments, in January 2017.

No current opportunities

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