Disability Wales (DW) is the national association of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) striving to achieve rights, equality and independent living of disabled people in Wales.

DW promotes the adoption and implementation of the Social Model of Disability, which identifies that it is environmental, organisational, and attitudinal barriers that disable people and prevent their full participation in society not their medical conditions or impairments.

Who we are

DW is managed by a voluntary Board of Directors drawn from disabled people active in local and national disability organisations across Wales. Most of our staff are disabled people with many years’ experience working in both a professional and voluntary capacity for various disability organisations in Wales and beyond.

DW’s unique role within Wales is being an umbrella organisation that champions the rights and equality of all disabled people regardless of physical or sensory impairment, learning difficulty or mental health condition. We recognise that many disabled people will have other identities which may result in intersectional discrimination.

What we do

DW engages member campaigns, consultations, research and policy development in order to influence the development of government policy and practice in respect of disabled people. We provide information, training and support to members across Wales through social media as well as conferences, seminars and events. DW identifies a strong and thriving network of disabled people’s organisations as vital to achieving both effective and innovative national policy and local service delivery.

How we are funded

DW is an independent, not for profit organisation established in 1972 that receives grant funding from Welsh Government’s Equality Division.

Disability Wales runs a number of projects which have a range of funders. These have included Big Lottery and the Fawcett Society, Spirit of 2012.

As is the nature of working in the third sector, ongoing funding is never a certainty. You can support our work by becoming a member or making a donation donate now.

Our achievements

DW is an innovator and since our establishment in 1972, has achieved many ‘firsts’, including:

Access Building Awards Scheme (1979-91) and the first ever Access Design Guidance Notes (1978)

Development of new national and local disability organisations in the fields of sports, the arts, young people and access (1980s – )

First programme in Wales to train disabled people to become Disability Equality Trainers (1992)

High profile campaigns on Access to the High Street, Disability Hate Crime, Independent Living and Welfare Reform (2008- )

Actively contributed to development of Social Care Charging Measure 2011

Successfully campaigned for the introduction of Welsh Government’s Framework for Action on Independent Living (2013)

Active engagement in development of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act (2014)

A partner in the world’s first research programme led by disabled people (Disability Research in Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) (2015 to date)

Establishment of the first user-led co-operative in the UK run by and for Direct Payments recipients (2017)

• Representation of Disabled People from Wales at the United Nations in Geneva at the first examination of the UK Government regarding the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (2017)

• Distributing Covid-19 Emergency Grants to 9 Disabled People’s Organisations across Wales on behalf of the National Emergencies Trust and Welsh Government (2020)

• Successfully lobbying Welsh Government for and receiving funding to set up the Access to Elected Office Fund in Wales to assist disabled people standing for elected office in the Senedd and local government elections (2021)

If you are developing a project that can benefit from involvement or co-production with disabled people then get in touch to find out how we could work in partnership with you.

Become a member today and become part of what we do