Underpinning DESSA’s strategic plan is an inclusive equality framework, setting out key strategies – advocacy, mainstreaming participation and supporting families experiencing disability– within which support is given to disabled people and community organisations thus enabling disabled people live fuller and active lives and participate on an equal basis in Irish society. Networking, capacity building and policy development were the means with which these strategies were implemented.
Advocacy – To support individuals and families to self-advocate in relation to their rights and to develop the capacity and understanding within community organisations of advocacy as a tool of social inclusion.
Mainstreaming Participation – To support individuals to access everyday services within their communities and enable community organisations facilitate the active and equal participation of disabled people in community life.
Supporting Families experiencing disability – To develop and deliver a family support model of engagement between community organisations and families.
DESSA is core-funded under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) until mid-2019. As part of DESSA’s core remit this entails the delivery of direct training, advocacy and information support services to individuals and families with lived experience of disability and to organisations supporting them. Providing capacity, informing, dispelling myths and challenging attitudes and assumptions are all part of this frontline service delivery.
DESSA will also continue to support community organisations to develop an awareness of Government policy on disability and engagement in policy implementation through information provision, training and facilitation of established policy fora. It is essential that the community development sector is fully informed on current Government policy, in particular the Transforming Lives process and the National Disability & Inclusion Strategy.