BuDS and a Year of Success

Consistently providing accurate and reliable information 

Here at BuDS we thought it was about time we paid homage to our wonderful trustees, volunteers and staff members who have dedicated their time to keep our projects running and our community supported through such uncertain times. Over the past year many organisations and charities have struggled to adapt to the developing situation. Of course, there are many success stories, and we think we are one, so please indulge us while we blow our own trumpet! 

Throughout the pandemic, the BuDS Covid-19 IAG team have been consistently providing quality information with the help of our experts in statistical analysis and epidemiology. We have kept up with the many changes in advice and guidance from the government whilst ensuring the wellbeing and safety of disabled people is at our heart. 

The BuDS IAG team are enormously proud of our risk posts, which we put out as often as we are able too, with supporters praising the posts for being ‘unbiased and informative’. We will continue to report on the risk of the unfolding pandemic for as long as you need us to.  

Between the 12th of January and the 8th of February 2021 our Facebook posts have organically reached 117k people, of which, 40k of those people shared, liked, or commented. Since last February, we have updated our followers 192 times in relation to the unfolding developments, including updates on shielding, vaccines, risks, myths, and fake news. As all-consuming as the pandemic can seem sometimes, we do also continue to post about ‘non-Covid’ related news that is of importance to disabled people.  

Fair4All Card

In January this year, many supermarkets decided to make mask wearing in their store’s mandatory. Our disability rights expert reported on the legal rights of disabled people when navigating the murky waters of exemption.  

In light of the changes happening in shops, BuDS decided to bring forward the launch of our Fair4All Card for disabled people. The Fair4All Card is a secure photocard issued by BuDS to local disabled people who can prove that they are entitled to claim specific reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 and/or exemptions under the Coronavirus Regulations 2020 and 2021. The scheme is voluntary but is intended to make life easier for both disabled people and the shops and services they use.  

The Fair4All website was recently launched at the beginning of February with the actual Fair4All Card launching on Monday 8th March. Therefore, the wider Fair4All team will be working alongside supermarkets and local councils to promote the importance of the project. The team have been working tirelessly and have received many applications. 

Insight Polls: we are listening

Throughout lockdown, it became apparent to BuDS that disabled people and people at risk of coronavirus (PARC) were dealing with increased adverse effects due to the pandemic. It has been widely reported that PARC are more likely to experience isolation and loneliness because of lockdown. There is also a worry PARC are more likely to struggle getting daily essentials and accessing services.   

With the help of our volunteer statistical analyst and technical consultant BuDS aim to use the data we collect from the insight polls to shine a light on where disabled people feel they are being let down. We will soon start publishing weekly reports on our findings, including how we think we can support you. We also hope to use the data to help us lobby for change within local government and improve access to services for disabled people both in Buckinghamshire and nationwide.  

Reach4Work

The Reach4Work programme offers people who are skilled and semi-skilled volunteering work within BuDS, with every volunteer role adapted to suit the individual. Reach4work supports individuals who are unemployed to gain highly employable skills whilst making a significant contribution to the community, by volunteering. 

The project is accessible for everyone, as everything is online so you can join without leaving the house. Volunteers will be working in a diverse multidisciplinary team covering an exciting range of projects. The Reach4Work programme offers volunteers support and training to learn new skills and upskill. BuDS are also working alongside the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – so it does not affect benefits. 

Through the Reach4Work programme, BuDS’ current aim is to move 30 young disabled people closer to work or hopefully into work by providing them with advice, guidance, and experience. 

BuDS have volunteers working at every level within the charity, which means you can volunteer at your own pace. Even as a new volunteer there are opportunities to quickly make a big impact that will impress future employers. We also have a large network to help you find paid work. 

Supporting disabled people with everyday life. 

BuDS understands that whilst fighting for meaningful change in disability policy is important, disabled people also face everyday issues that have a big impact on their quality of life. BuDS also supports individuals with living and traveling independently, ensuring disabled people can access essential services and events. BuDS also provides opportunities for disabled people back into work and providing advice for benefits. BuDS has provided disability employment advice to all district councils in Bucks, NHS Bucks, major local employers including Intel PLC, Equitable Life, and over 200 local companies and organisations. 

We focus on delivering permanent, sustainable change which benefits a high number of disabled people by tackling problems and removing barriers, most important to disabled people themselves.  

We have formed strategic partnerships with a wide range of organisations, voluntary sector bodies and local councils and the NHS. Our projects and partnerships have delivered results that have helped 41,000 disabled people in Bucks plus many more across England.  

We are a truly diverse inclusive organisation made up primarily of disabled volunteers, with all impairment groups represented and a strong focus on mutual peer support. 

Championing our expert volunteers, plans to expand and the BuDDies recruitment drive.  

Here at BuDs, our volunteers, staff members and Trustees have a variety of skills and expertise in several professions. We have volunteer Social workers, marketing communications experts, professional writers, statistical analysts, and team’s specialists. We are a truly diverse charity and always looking for new people with new skills to join our team. Whatever your skill or experience is – we have a role waiting for you! 

The global pandemic cruelly highlighted the importance of social connections and sadly, many people have learnt that isolation and loneliness can be life threatening.  

Therefore, BuDS have re-launched the Buddies scheme for 2021. We are looking for volunteers to support disabled people through the BuDS telephone Buddy service. As a Buddy, you will be paired up with someone who has identified themselves as isolated and speak with them on a regular basis, offering support and companionship. 

If you a good listener and want to support someone who is struggling with isolation – then BuDS needs you. 

Please email us on volunteering@buds.org.uk for more information.