Glasgow Disability Alliance

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Members at our Connecting Christmas event December 2020

Rallying together, through a year like no other

As we approach the end of a year like no other…

…it’s safe to say that 2 things have remained consistent: disabled people have faced the sharpest impacts of the challenges this year has thrown up – and GDA has done everything in our power to support them through it.

We have suffered losses – to our health and wellbeing, our dignity and independence – many of us have lost family and friends. Times like these show just how vital community can be – to provide information, support, connections, and the sense of purpose that sustains us. And while many disabled people are cut off from the communities around us – GDA has bridged gaps this year more than ever before, doing all we can to ensure no-one is left behind.

Thanks to our strong disabled people’s community network built over 20 years, with flexibility from our funders and new funding being levered in from Scottish Government, Big Lottery, Glasgow City Council and Impact Funding, our year end stats now show that throughout 2020 we have been able to support:

  • 6000+ disabled people engaged through Wellbeing Checks, to share their experiences of barriers and connect in to vital information, services and supports
  • 3000+ individuals connected with Lifeline deliveries of food, medication, welfare rights support and other essentials
  • 405 received in-depth support from our Wellbeing Project, to help them cope with isolation, bereavement, and mental distress
  • 350 disabled people supported to come together, through 500+ online or phone learning opportunities and peer support activities
  • 460 disabled people provided with kit, connectivity and Digital coaching to get online, and tackle Digital Exclusion, through GDA Connects
  • 987 disabled people involved in sharing their concerns about social care and over 800 of these supported to access vital services, information and opportunities to remove barriers and build resilience.
  • 73 individuals received in-depth coaching, counselling or practical casework support through our Future Visions Project 

Yesterday at our ‘Communities Connecting at Christmas event, 120 disabled people came together, joined by the Minister for Older People and Equalities, Christina McKelvie MSP and Professor Nick Watson, Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Glasgow, to reflect on lessons learned this year, and celebrate the strengths and resilience disabled people have shown.

Breakout workshops included ‘Coping With Christmas’, run by GDA’s Wellbeing Advisers, Lauren and Krystyna, alongside other fun, creative and active learning that has run throughout the year, and a festive singalong to end the day on a high.

In a new film shown at the event, GDA members reflected on the friendships, connections, resilience and sense of purpose they have built during the pandemic, with GDA’s support:


‘The proactive support that GDA has offered has been second to none’
‘It’s like a big family on zoom’, with ‘great camaraderie’.
‘It makes you feel like a person, not just a charity case – you’re a person and they care about you and it makes you feel so valued and so much less alone – we are all people we’re not just numbers.’

Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, thanked GDA ‘for stepping up in such a remarkable way’. 

GDA have provided thoughtful, pragmatic, practical and sometimes unusual support to your members – and have also supported me and the Scottish Government with a direct line to all those issues, helping us react very quickly. Supporting people and helping us understand the challenges, pitfalls, and opportunities has been invaluable too. The GDA community, you’ve absolutely proved the value of kindness, compassion, the extraordinary capacity you have to adapt, bend and flex to what COVID has thrown at us all – we’ve learned a lot from you and the work that you’ve done. We could not have reacted the way we’ve reacted as a government without your participation, your drive and determination – your need for change.’  Christina McKelvie, MSP – Minister for Older People and Equalities

GDA has worked hard to identify people who might feel isolated, lonely or vulnerable over the Festive Season and has planned activities to combat isolation during this period. In addition, information with emergency contact information has been sent to GDA members including Breathing Space and the Samaritans.

Huge thanks to all our funders, allies and supporters for helping and enabling us to shore each other up during this incredibly challenging year.

From all of us at GDA: we wish you a peaceful festive holiday, and look forward to connecting again in 2021.



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