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Pioneering £1 million award is a first for Wales

14 November 2018

Innovate to save participants

Disabled people will be able to benefit from shared care and more social opportunities, thanks to Innovate to Save.

In a first for Wales, leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire has been awarded an interest-free loan of £1 million to deliver group leisure activities, creating better opportunities for disabled people, in a way that also saves the public sector money.

Innovate to Save is delivered in partnership by Y Lab, the public services innovation lab for Wales, which is a partnership between Cardiff University and Nesta. It aims to find, test and support the best new ideas for Wales’ public services.

The Welsh Government-funded loan will allow Leonard Cheshire to give disabled people the choice to pool together their direct payments for care and enjoy activities as a group rather than on their own, if they choose.

As well the obvious social benefits this will bring for individuals and their communities, this reduces the cost of one-to-one care hours where they are not wanted, making it a pioneering new model for public sector spending.

The nationwide launch follows the Leonard Cheshire trial in Anglesey, ‘Innovation for Active Communities’. Participants took part in activities including drama workshops and photography sessions.

One young participant, Gary, said: “It has boosted my confidence and opened up more opportunities for me.”

Personal assistant Martin Gallagher, who supports Gary, added: “He’s got more of a choice of what he wants to do, who he wants to do it with and where he wants to do it and when.  I think the flexibility and creativity around that is a fantastic enabler for any person.”

The charity’s £1million award will enable it to extend Innovation for Active Communities across Wales over three years. Disabled people will be able to login online to select their care preferences and join a burgeoning community led by need, common activities and interests.

Co-Lead and Head of Programmes at Y Lab Rob Ashelford, said: “Supporting projects to take on risk finance is a key outcome of the Innovate to Save programme.  Leonard Cheshire has embraced both the opportunity and the programme, developing exciting ideas into tangible opportunities that can be implemented to improve the service they offer.”

Leonard Cheshire has developed and trialled an innovative new approach to conducting group activities with the people they support. We are excited to be able to continue working with them as they scale up this programme of work across Wales.

Professor James Lewis Director of Y Lab

Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Minister for Finance, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to announce £1m for this project through the Innovate to Save programme.

“The Innovation for Active Communities scheme will allow disabled people to access training and voluntary work and increase their ability to make informed decisions about their care, support, and how they spend their time.”

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