Funders update: NHS ICB Q4 2022/2023 

NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board

NHS BLMK ICB Funders Update Q4 2022/2023 

(updated 26 July 2023)

The Disability Resource Centre has been working to reduce inequalities in all areas of life, for disabled people, their family and carers for nearly 30 years. This has evolved over time and below is a snapshot of examples of just some of the work the charity is doing in 2023 that aligns with the NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership’s five strategic pillars and seven enablers.

Living well

The Disability Resource Centre works with the community to make all areas of life accessible to people with disability and long term health conditions. The charity follows the social model of disability and helps organisations realise the tremendous positive outcomes by educating them to make their workplaces and services accessible to all which benefits everyone, rather than to make special adjustments or adaptations to suit a few. 

For example, last year the charity worked with the Beds, Cambs and Herts joint police forces to help them achieve a Disability Confident Leader award. The charity are also working with other organisations including the management team for Ampthill Festival to assist festival goers with reduced mobility (read the blog post about how the charity helped the organisers), and have plans to expand this type of accessibility consultancy work. 

UPDATE – Photo: The Ampthill Festival took place in July 2023, and although it was pretty rainy it didn’t dampen the attendees’ spirits.

At the individual level, The Disability Resource Centre runs a variety of accessible training courses (in person across the BLMK area and online), which aim to build confidence and motivation. They also prepare people to either retrain or re-enter employment, which is an enabler for both economic growth and reducing inequalities. 

Physical disability may bring a high incidence of poor mental health which can be caused by the financial stress of not working, when perhaps caring for a family member. The charity has many years of experience and a team fully trained who offer welfare benefit advice and financial management training. More recently the charity has been able to provide a key worker for anyone wishing to access this level of support.

The Disability Resource Centre always encourages the use of peer support groups and are in the process of setting up new peer leader training. The charity runs their own mental and emotional wellbeing courses, using a variety of different methods, plus yoga (always adapted), meditation and mindfulness, and art therapy. Later this year will see the introduction of a journaling course and a book club.

There are several organised exercise sessions and training courses on the basis that the biopsychosocial model works well for most. All are instructed by appropriately qualified staff or freelance tutors. For example for exercise sessions there is a level 4 trainer, which includes injury and rehabilitation.

The Disability Resource Centre's Warm Hub in Dunstable January 2023

Photo: The Disability Resource Centre’s Warm Hub in Dunstable January 2023.

Fuel poverty 

The first warm hub was set up using the BLMK social prescribing funding as it was very low cost. The charity received an additional grant from Central Bedfordshire Council and a voucher from Asda to enhance the provision and increase the range of activities on offer. In addition to a workshop which deals directly with the financial elements of the crisis, were crafts and a free meal of homemade soup and bread. 

Chelsea Smith of The Disability Resource Centre in Dunstable

Photo: Chelsea Smith of The Disability Resource Centre in Dunstable, welcomes visitors to the centre.

Ageing well

The biggest users of The Disability Resource Centre’s services are those aged over 65 years to 85 years. Historically this end of the demographic, as a previous centre for independent living and the assessment for equipment (and also the sale of new and second hand aids) is well known. The way in which the charity works encourages the individual to talk with the advisor to address all the issues underpinning their initial enquiry. The conversations are recorded on the database as contact/enquiry/issue so that the right level of support or advice and/or referral can be provided on each issue. This holistic approach includes everything around the enquirer. 

Many of the older customers are in generally poor health, isolated and feel excluded. The conversations and plans will focus on what they need to do to prevent any worsening of their condition and who (as in organisation) they can talk to find out more. The charity works closely with as many VCSE partners as possible to ensure that everyone can add as much value as possible. 

A recent example is when The Disability Resource Centre worked closely with the local Tibbs Dementia team to provide benefit advice and employment retention advice to a person who was referred to the ch from Tibbs, who had newly diagnosed early onset dementia.

Community Dental Service survey Co-Production

In Q4 2022 the charity worked with Healthwatch and the Community Dental Service to survey residents of BLMK in accessing health care services. This was by means of a digital and paper-based survey, sent out to people in wards of potentially high need. Over 1,000 responses were received and compiled.


Older people do not always have family members to aid them with digital information, which is disadvantageous.

The Disability Resource Centre worked closely with the Vodaphone charities.connected campaign with local authorities and national support to bring older people a free SIM card, household vouchers and help them complete online forms, which are linked to state aid. The charity team also encouraged those that can learn basic IT skills and to encourage independence in this way – also reducing the demand on the service providers.

Communication – Marketing

The main communication campaign was focussed on education in the effective use of the universal NHS services; which services to use and how to access them.

The charity also ran information sessions on Seasonal Affective Disorder and suicide prevention. 

The Disability Resource Centre’s website and social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are updated and always disseminate information from the NHS and Local Authorities with regard to any current initiatives.

Skip to content