Access to Elected Office Fund
The Access to Elected Office fund is a scheme administered by Disability Wales and funded by Welsh Government. The fund exists to assist disabled people who want to stand for election in Community and County Council elections.
What is covered by the fund?
Funding is available to reduce barriers that people living with disabilities face when seeking elected office. You can apply for assistance with the additional cost of support to overcome impairment related barriers that would enable your participation in the election. This could include:
- Assistive aids, equipment and software, adaptations to equipment and training in its use
- Travel around the constituency if you cannot use public transport
- Personal assistance
- Communication support workers such as BSL, Interpreters, Palantypists and Lip speakers
The financial assistance awarded by the Fund is available to meet costs incurred from the close of nominations to the declaration of the election result.
How to apply for the Access to Elected Office Fund
First, you should consult the Electoral Commission website to confirm that you are eligible to stand in the election. Once you have confirmed your eligibility and intend to stand you should contact Disability Wales. The application form is available on the Disability Wales website, the link to the website can be found in the contact details section below.
Phone: 02920 887325
What is the Access to Elected Office fund?
What is the Access to Elected Office Fund Wales?
The Access to Elected Office Fund is financed by the Welsh Government and delivered via Disability Wales. And the aim of this fund is to ensure the political participation of disabled people. It's really important that when we're making decisions about our community that everybody in the community is represented and part of that decision-making process. And when we look at our current elected politicians, that's not currently reflected. So we really want to ensure that disabled people can feel that they can start that political journey, doesn't happen overnight, but you have to start at the beginning, and you need support to do so. And that's what the Access to Elected Office Fund is all about, to remove some of those barriers that disabled people will naturally face in that political process.
I think it's a good idea. I think that it'll encourage more disabled people, perhaps to step up, people it wouldn't have in the past, thinking "well, I can't do that, because I wouldn't be able to do things on my own, I would need help". And perhaps they haven't got people to help them. The Access to Elected Office Fund allows me to have an assistant with me to help, things I couldn't do without that help are enormous. So that's one example where the Access to Elected Office Fund can really help us as disabled people participate, in political engagement. We can campaign, we can engage, try to persuade people to vote for us.
I did stand for the Senedd. And it was...It was vast. It was trying to get out to 60 odd thousand people. And it's, when you realise that the costing of everything and this fund was there for that to help me pay for help. I would definitely, definitely encourage people to apply for it, because it is a new fund, and especially because it's a new fund because it'll show the Welsh Government how much that fund is actually needed to encourage more people who've got different needs to actually apply and actually stand in elections. I think it's important for disabled people to engage with politics and everything because they've got a different perspective on life, and they're the only ones that can sort of explain what it's like to be visually impaired, in a wheelchair, have a hearing impairment. And so you can't experience it unless you've lived it. So it's easy to assume what it's like and put things in place that you think would benefit, but half the time it doesn't benefit.
So in order to access the Fund, a disabled candidate would fill in an application, it's a very straightforward process, and I know that sometimes forms put people off, but actually there's support available to complete the form. So don't let that put you off if you're interested. The panel is made up of people who have got disabilities or who have got...you know, they've done a journey, that journey, they're the right people to be there because they'll understand, and they'll know what you're asking for and what you need. There's a lot that can be done for disabled people when they're really well supported and they have all of the accessible requirements that they need, people can do a lot and people can make their voice heard. People can really represent a massive part of the community. There is nothing worse than listening to a councillor, blabbing on about something he doesn't know anything about. But a disabled person, talking about what affects him and his life, he knows what he's on about. You've got to make as many people as you can, aware of not just your personal situation, but of others that are like you, and worse than you. It's the only way to... It's the only way to change it. And we need everybody to be aware that their voice needs to be heard. And if we can get those ideas, and those comments from people with lived experience of disability at all levels, then it's going to make Wales a better place for disabled people to live.
English BSL video
What is the Access to Elected Office Fund Wales? The Access to Elected Office Fund Wales aims to remove the barriers faced by disabled people seeking elected office by providing assistance towards the cost of reasonable adjustments and support. The fund is administered by Disability Wales with funding from the Welsh Government. Following the successful launch of the Fund for the 2021 Senedd Cymru Election, Welsh Government has given approval for the Fund to be made available to disabled candidates standing in the 2022 Welsh Local Government Elections.
Who is eligible to apply to the Fund? You are eligible to apply to the Fund if you are a disabled person wanting to stand in the 2022 Welsh Local Government Elections, and need help toward the reasonable adjustments to overcome the impairment related barriers, that would otherwise prevent you from standing. You are eligible whether you are intending to stand for a Local Authority, such as a Borough, City or County Council, or your community or town Council. You can apply whether you are standing for a political party or as an independent.
What expense can be claimed. The expenses you can claim back from the fund includes things like assistive aids, equipment and software, adaptations to equipment and training in its use, travel around the constituency, if you cannot use public transport. Personal assistants, communication support workers, such as BSL, interpreters, palantypists and lip speakers. The Fund cannot assist you with the normal costs of campaigning that would be incurred by a non-disabled candidate. Here are some examples of some costs that you could apply to the fund for help with. Dyfrig is severely sight impaired, and finds it difficult to negotiate the obstacles in the way when leafletting and canvassing the houses in his ward. He can apply to the fund for financial assistance for a personal assistant to accompany him while canvassing and leafletting.
Bethan is a wheelchair user and faces barriers in the use of public transport to get around her ward to canvass and attend political hustings. She can apply to the fund to cover the additional cost of taxis. Habib has dyslexia and has difficulty reading and responding to emails from voters. He can apply to the fund for screen reader assistive technology to read his emails. Denisa is hearing impaired and she feels excluded from political hustings because without a BSL interpreter she is unable to follow and contribute to the debate. She can apply to the fund for assistance with the cost of a BSL interpreter. The financial assistance awarded by the Fund is available to meet costs incurred in the time period from the close of nominations, all the way to the declaration of the election results.
How do I apply? First you should consult the Electoral Commission website, to confirm you are eligible to stand in the election. Once you have confirmed your eligibility to stand, you should look at the information and application on the Access to Elected Office Fund Wales project page, at the Disability Wales website. Or, email email@example.com for an application form in your preferred format.
How to complete the application form? To apply for assistance from the Fund, you will be asked to complete an application form. The form can be provided in accessible formats, and is available in English and Welsh. If you have difficulties completing the form yourself, we can arrange for someone to go through it with you and complete on your behalf. The form prompts you to think about the reasonable adjustments you require in relation to these five areas. 1. Assistive aids, equipment and software. 2. Adaptations to equipment and training in its use. 3. Travel around the constituency if you cannot use public transport. 4. Personal assistants, communication support workers such as BSL, interpreters, palantypists and lip speakers. 5. Any other reasonable adjustment not covered above. For each of these, you will be asked to describe the impairment-related barrier you face, the reasonable adjustment you require to overcome the barrier, and how these relate to your planned campaign activities. Before completing the application form, you should set aside some time to think about your campaign plans. Will you be doing a door-to-door canvassing? Attending political hustings? A social media campaign? How much support will your campaign team be able to provide, and what reasonable adjustments can they make for your impairment-related barriers.
What campaign activities will you be undertaking, and how much of that activity do you expect to do yourself? Then you will need to think about the impairment related barriers you might face during your campaigning activities. What reasonable adjustments would enable you to overcome those barriers? If you are uncertain about this, please contact us, and we will be happy to discuss and make suggestions. The more detailed information you are able to provide about your planned campaigning activities, the easier and quicker we will be able to ensure any support awarded can be put in place.
How are decisions made? Once your application is received, Disability Wales will calculate the type and the amount of support you require. This will be set out in a document which we will ask you to approve. An anonymised will be presented to the decision-making panel, consisting of members with lived experience of disability and of making reasonable adjustments. They will review your application against the Fund criteria. We will notify you of the decision. If you are successful, you will receive an award letter and a copy of our terms and conditions to sign and return. If you are unsuccessful, you will be given feedback and Disability Wales will discuss your options.
How to contact us. You can contact the fund by calling Disability Wales on 02920 887325, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org