Disabled people in Surrey trial personalised support service

Disabled people in Surrey are among the first in Britain to get the chance to decide how to spend the money they get from the Government.

People in Epsom and Ewell and Reigate and Banstead and those in four other local authorities around the UK can now combine money from state funding to be spent on whatever they think most appropriate to their needs.

Called Trailblazers, the new personalised service allows disabled people to buy their own support services or equipment, along with providing advice to help them choose services and decide how to spend their money.

Councils, Jobcentre Plus and disabled people’s organisations will work with disabled people to develop individual support plans.

Someone with a learning disability, for example, may get help from Supporting People to learn skills like cooking and budgeting. They may also get support from Work Choice, which helps people find a job.

Tim Wood, development manager at Epsom-based charity Through the Roof, which supports disabled people and their families, said: “Through the Roof believes that every disabled person is an equally valued member of community life, and so these Trailblazer pilots should be welcomed as long as disabled people receive, and actively influence, the services they need, not just receive what the state thinks they need.”

Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller, said: “This is about increasing personalisation and putting disabled people in charge of their own decision making – instead of telling them what they can and can’t spend their money on.

“Disabled people should have the same choices and opportunities as everyone else and I am convinced that this will help to deliver the greater independence that disabled people tell me they want.”

Michael Gosling, Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We are committed to making sure disabled people get the help they need to lead their lives how they want.

“We will make sure we more than play our part in establishing services for people with disabilities that really put them at the heart of decisions and give them more control and choice about how they receive support and care.”

The Trailblazers received a total of £7m as part of the scheme.