The City Bridge Trust was established in the same year that the Disability Discrimination Act was signed (1995). Through our work, the funding we make available and the voice that we have: we try to be an ally to disabled people. Our focus is on reducing inequality and growing stronger, more resilient and thriving communities for a London that serves everyone – but there is no doubt that disabled people still face significant disadvantage and discrimination.
Over the last 25 years we have seen the valuable support, training, advice and services that Charities, Community Groups and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) provide. We have also seen that for some organisations, the pathway to accessing funding can be dark and difficult to navigate. Funders want to be inclusive and accessible but don’t always use the right language or methods of communication: we will struggle to support communities if we don’t know how to reach or communicate with them. One of our colleagues, James Lee, recently wrote this blog based on his own experiences as a disabled person and research he conducted for The National Lottery Community Fund, outlining how us funders can take positive steps forward in the way we work with disabled people.
A straw poll of some of our friendly fellow funders showed that there is work to do to make our funding offer more accessible. One of the big gaps we’ve spotted is the lack of information that funders make available in an Easy Read format. For those of you not familiar with the term, ‘Easy Read’ is a way of presenting written information to make it easier for people to understand. Easy Read uses short sentences, avoids jargon and sentences are often accompanied by images which help to explain the meaning.
A wide range of audiences can benefit from information being made available in an Easy Read format – and there are many organisations who can help you produce information in this format. We are proud that our Bridging Divides funding strategy is available in Easy Read and we hope that by having this conversation, we can encourage a wider range of organisations to think about how they can be more inclusive and accessible – starting with the way that we share information.
With that in mind, we have worked with an illustrator, Kitty Strand, to put together some new images to help communicate some of the common themes in grant funding that can be difficult to explain in words. See below for the first three images. They are free for anyone to use and whilst they are only a handful of images, we hope they can encourage further conversations about working with disabled people and our fellow funders in an accessible and inclusive way.
Consider this an open invitation to our fellow funders and disabled people: we want to do more to promote the use of easy read, so join us for a conversation.