There’s a direct relationship between disability and poverty. That’s the uncomfortable truth that isn’t often talked about. It’s a truth that many live with. It’s just part of their life and is, for far too many, a day-to-day reality. People with disabilities have below-average income and above-average costs. That economic gap forces many into poverty. We don’t think that’s fair.
We can’t change the system, but Perth and Kinross Disability Sport absolutely believe we can make a difference in our own way. That’s the reason we’re committed to never charging any of our participants for the opportunity to get active. We eliminate the financial barrier that could otherwise stop people from taking part. Having fun, getting healthy and discovering a new passion shouldn’t be restricted to those wiCadyn's Storyth the ability to pay. That’s one of our central philosophies.
"The cost of adaptive equipment to support our son is huge. A standard bike may cost £300-£400, an adaptive bike to suit his needs costs £3,000-£4,000. This is just one example, additional costs include fuel money to hospital appointments, often in Dundee, unpaid time off work, equipment for the home to make life easier, the list goes on.
Having an organisation like PKDS and other clubs too that recognise this really does make a difference to us attending sessions every week." - Parent
Many of our team and board have family members with a disability, for many, it’s the reason they got involved in the first place. We hear first-hand from them the financial pressure that they experience. While their stories help us understand, they don’t show the bigger picture. As a team, we wanted to really understand the lay of the land. That meant going a bit deeper. That meant delving through research so you don’t have to. Here’s just a fraction of what we found.
● 48% of people in poverty in the UK are in a household with someone with a disability. *
● There’s a 58% higher poverty rate if there’s a disabled person in the household.
● Life costs you almost £7,000 more on average each year if you're disabled.
● And for 20% of people with a disability the costs soar to over £12,000 more per year. *
This is just the tip of the research iceberg. There are countless other studies that all highlight thevery real challenge faced by so many. Everything points to a simple fact. Households with a disabled family member face increased costs, which can’t be covered by their limited income.
That pushes them into poverty, and, in many cases, significant debt. In many cases it’s a cycle that is almost impossible to get out of.
"For some 2020 has put a financial strain on the household budget and usually one of the first expenses to go when cutting back is normally clubs, memberships and sports. As you offer this type of community fitness for free it means we can continue to come and get all the benefits of the activities without worrying or stressing about how to pay for it.
From a parents point of view, I was fortunate to take part in some of the sports with my son the other night and it was a fun hour of bonding and non-screen time plus for that hour I wasn’t thinking about money or coronavirus or stressing about adult life problems, how liberating." - Andrew (Parent)
The events we run and activities we showcase on our social media are why we exist. Those experiences and the smiles, laughter and friendships formed is what gives everyone at PKDS the ultimate satisfaction. We can only do that at no cost to our participants or their families by working hard to secure funding. It’s a massive part of what we do. And, it’s very much the unseen element of our work at PKDS.
There are a number of central funds that we regularly apply to and we’re proud of our success rate in securing this invaluable funding. We’ve also been very fortunate to have received some very generous donations from people who believe in what we do, many of which have family members who have benefited from what we do. And, of course, thanks to the efforts of our remarkable community, we’ve raised considerable amounts of money through sponsored events.
Like many charities, we’ve felt the full force of Covid. While it is a worrying time for the sector, we remain committed to never asking our participants to pay for their activities. That means we’re constantly exploring new ways to bring in much needed funds so we can continue to make the impact we want to make.
And, in the process of doing so we’ll add our voice to countless others calling for reform to a system we believe is unjust. It’s time the link between poverty and disability was broken.
* Source: Scottish Household Survey
** Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2016