A new service, launching this week, aims to make it easier for people with disabilities in Somerset to make their voices heard.
The Somerset Disability Engagement Service, run by AJM Healthcare, will work with Somerset County Council to deliver its engagement and consultation with disabled people throughout the county for the next two years.
For the County Council and partners, Sedgemoor District Council, Mendip District Council, South Somerset District Council and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, the service will provide opportunities to better understand the needs and concerns of disabled communities in order to improve services to them.
There are many support groups for disabled people in Somerset covering a wide spectrum of different types of disabilities. Through the new service, AJM Healthcare will be building relationships with existing disability groups in the area to help create a network, empowering people with disabilities to have a say on a wide range of issues.
New online channels, including social media, will act as key forums for people to swap information and give their views.
The new service will also work with disabled people to make sure local buildings and services are accessible, with training provided for businesses to help improve accessibility for everyone in Somerset.
Statistics show that almost 100,000 people in Somerset have a long-term condition or disability which limits their day-to-day activities.
Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s really important we involve more disabled people in decisions which affect their daily lives. This partnership will make a huge difference in making sure we actively engage with all people to create more effective and inclusive services.”
Becky O’Donovan, Partnership and Engagement Officer at AJM Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to use innovative ways to engage disabled people in Somerset and we look forward to working in partnership with local organisations to improve accessibility across the county.”
For those interested in getting involved, information about the Somerset Disability Engagement Service can be found by visiting the website at https://somerset.disabilityengagement.services.