THE DISABLED MOTORISTS FEDERATION - STRIVING FOR INCLUSION!
As approximately 12,000,000 people (about 20 per cent of the United Kingdom's population) are affected by disability, with many more thousands of people undertaking the roles of carers, it is important that the needs of such a significant proportion of the population are addressed as efficiently as possible.
The Disabled Motorists Federation (DMF) was established over 40 years ago with the principal intention to address motoring-support requirements for disabled people (irrespective of the nature of their disability) and their carers who failed to qualify for assistance from central government funded schemes.
Regrettably, throughout its history, the DMF has not received any funding towards helping it to fulfil these objectives and, consequently, it continues to remain staffed entirely by volunteers.
Over the last six years the federation has diversified into addressing more than just the motoring requirements of disabled people, and it is now striving towards creating more socially inclusive and equal societies and environments that can be enjoyed as much as possible by disabled people as those experienced by non-disabled individuals.
More recently, the DMF has been fortunate in establishing harmonious relationships with Merseyside Police and with representatives from the Liverpool offices of the Crown Prosecution Service in order to highlight and help address problems relating to disability hate crime. By doing so, the federation hopes to further develop these relationships, thereby helping to ensure maximum safety of disabled people in their communities.
In October 2008 the DMF's vice-president received a community project award from Merseyside Police for a scheme, which is ongoing, that addresses the safety and security of disabled people, encouraging them to lead more active, inclusive and fulfilling lifestyles.
It is hoped that through the extensive publicity which the DMF will gain from being included in the 2010 edition of the Parliamentary Yearbook and on the related website that the federation will be able to establish relationships with more police forces and law-enforcement organisations throughout the United Kingdom.
Central and local government relationships
The further development of relationships with both central and local government departments remains a key issue as far as the future success of the DMF is concerned.
Through its vice-president, the federation continues to be actively represented at many forums arranged on behalf of central government. Some of these forums have taken place within the Palace of Westminster but, more recently, they have been held at such venues as the QE2 Conference Centre, BMA House or the ICC Birmingham.
The most recent forums attended related to health matters (which either the NHS or the Department of Health required addressing).These included improvements to trauma care services and also examined ways to improve national nursing and midwifery services. This forum was hosted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The DMF has previously been represented at stakeholder meetings at Westminster organised by the Department of Transport, which have addressed the needs of disabled people using rail-travel services.
The federation continues to give totally free advice to both central and local government departments on issues relating to disability.
The DMF launched its 'new look' website, www.dmfed.org.uk, on the 13th October 2009 and, provided that other charities and 'not for profit' organisations are prepared to arrange reciprocal links, the federation will be pleased to create networking opportunities through the appropriate pages of its website.
All issues can be addressed, including community projects, education, sport, recreation and leisure facilities, which can enable disabled people to gain increased opportunities to participate in society and also perhaps help towards reducing existing levels of unemployment within the disabled population.
Like all charities, the future of such organisations as the DMF depends on not only safeguarding existing membership but also recruiting new members, and it is hoped that many more people (who agree with our aims and objectives) will join the federation in the future. You do not need to be disabled to become a member of the DMF.
Health and medical matters
Among the most visited pages of www.dmfed.org.uk are those relating to health and medical issues. The DMF would welcome input from doctors, surgeons, research scientists and other members of the medical profession who are striving to find new methods to counteract the numerous and varied causes of disabilities.
Perhaps, as the Parliamentary Yearbook and website are such high-profile publications, members of the medical profession will be encouraged to take advantage of this invitation.
Promoting breakthroughs in new medical and scientific technology is important, not only from within the United Kingdom but also by encouraging exchange of information with overseas-located expertise, which in turn may help towards saving many more lives in the future.
The DMF also wants to increase relationships with NHS trusts, primary care trusts and their appropriate hospitals and community healthcare services.
To help towards generating future income for the federation, the DMF is keen to enter into commercial relationships with UK and foreign companies. Opportunities exist with companies, particularly those in the motor industry (and its associated organisations), finance, tourism and hospitality, telecommunications and the retail sectors.
However, to all commercial companies considering such relationships with the federation in the future, please be assured that arrangements will be subject to legally binding agreements.
Now that you have had the opportunity to read the information contained within this editorial, which has highlighted the importance of creating greater levels of social inclusion, equality and diversity for disabled people and their carers, you will join the Disabled Motorists Federation.
Membership can be arranged 'on-line' by visiting www.dmfed.org.uk or by contacting appropriate federation personnel, whose details are displayed on the website.
The Disabled Motorists Federation would like to acknowledge the opportunity and support it has been given by Blakes to appear on the 2010 website and in the 'hard copy' edition of the Parliamentary Yearbook. The federation trusts that this will represent the beginning of a long and harmonious working relationship with Blakes in the future.
National Vice President
Disabled Motorists Federation (RegisteredCharity No: 1012874)