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Disability Voices: Understanding the lives of disabled people in Cumbria

Back on the 3rd December 2022, Healthwatch Cumbria announced its new project; ‘Disability Voices’. Since then, the team have met local communities all across the county, speaking to over 750 people either living with, working with or caring for someone with a disability. Now, we are very excited to publish their full report.

It was recognised at senior level throughout Cumbria that the voice of those living with a disability in Cumbria had gone ‘quiet’. As it is such an active and outspoken community, this was concerning. Therefore, as a result Healthwatch Cumbria decided to undertake an engagement project with the purpose of amplifying the voice of people living with disabilities in Cumbria. 

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority generously provided funding to support Healthwatch Cumbria carry out this vital work on behalf of local communities across the county.

We wanted to hear people’s own experiences of living with a disability. Including what daily life is like; the worries, frustrations and barriers. We wanted to discover if there has been any difference from life five years ago, to learn what a good life would look like for someone with a disability, and to hear what changes need to be made. With a wider aim of improving the lives of disabled people throughout Cumbria.

For this project, participants could self-describe as ‘disabled’, under the definition of a disabled person set out by the 2010 Equality Act. The Act defines someone as disabled if the person feels that their daily activities are limited significantly due to their mental or physical impairment.

In this project Healthwatch spoke with adults who:

  • Are disabled
  • Care for someone who is disabled
  • Work with people who are disabled

In total Healthwatch engaged with a total of 758 people across Cumbria. This was via 54 focus groups, 202 case study interviews (which recruited a total of 596 participants), an online survey (which had 155 responses) and 7 social media comments detailing personal experience.

Healthwatch worked with the University of Cumbria to produce a final report, which brought together the experiences that were shared with us during the engagement. The report also includes a list of recommendations and Healthwatch next steps based on the feedback. 

We are very excited to announce that the full report, is now published on our website. It can be found here. 

Healthwatch encourage you to have a read of the report as it highlights what it is like to live with a disability in Cumbria, through the words of those with lived experience.