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Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency

Steps to Mainstreaming Participation

Participation to Inclusion – Steps to Mainstreaming Participation Framework

Based on the terms of reference and findings of the evaluation, the following pages outline a template for
a revised programme design.


Field Proposal Responsibility
Programme Concept 

To write up a one/two page concept sheet such that projects have a contextual understanding of ‘social’ activation and social participation as preparatory to social inclusion actions for and with people with disabilities.

Communication of concept

Programme should be placed in context and communicated with reference to UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities and DSFA Sectoral Plan implementation.


Programme design



Promoters might explore the provision of a hot meal in the middle of the day, as is the practice in at least one project currently running.

Projects should identify, where appropriate, partners, organisations and associations who would wish to be associated with the activities of the Programmes.

Co-operation and collaboration with local structures, such as County Development Boards might be advisable to embed project actions in the local structures.


Engagement of participants

Participants should be engaged taking account of their prior learning (if any) and proximity or remoteness to services and civil society.

Organisations and associations of people with disabilities/family members should be encouraged to participate at this stage of project development.

Mobilisation of participants & peer support

Where potential participants are, for example Deaf, they might be encouraged to invite others who can offer peer support.


A half-day or full day workshop with project promoters, funders and support bodies appears to iron out preliminary hitches.

Supporting projects using a simple set of suggestions and guidelines, drawn from the experience of existing projects, printed or by web, would facilitate the roll out of the initiative.

Development of course content

Planning for simple outcomes for and with individuals participating is helpful for individuals participating and for funders.

Projects should be flexible in adapting the course content to the interests and opinions of participants and particular barriers they may face in society, particularly in relation to step one and two of the Framework. It is also increasingly public policy in day services used by people with disabilities.

Collaboration with project
partners & participants.
Development of course content

Participants understanding of how social information and social protection works and are used, could be enhanced by visits to Citizen Information Centres, local Advocacy Projects and Centres for Independent Living.

Projects & their
& Funders

Course promoters might bear in mind that long sessions may pose difficulties for some participants and schedule timetables according to preferences.


A short data sheet on the numbers enquiring about course participation, numbers enrolling and numbers staying the course should be maintained.

The recording of information on the destination of ‘graduates’ is an invaluable source of information on success.


The closing of programmes can be marked for participants by attendance certificates and photographs.