Touchpoint Service at Inclusion Barnet
Touchpoint is a Lottery funded service that is designed, led and delivered by disabled people, including people with long-term conditions and mental health issues.
Touchpoint works alongside people to find creative solutions to issues they are facing and support them to advocate for their rights, so they can confidently access those resources independently going forwards.
What was your response to Covid-19?
During the pandemic Touchpoint has witnessed the barriers that disabled people experience multiply exponentially and this has been directly reflected in the complexity of the cases that Touchpoint has seen during this time.
These barriers have often related to:
- the frequently conflicting advice regarding risk management from different government and healthcare experts;
- facing increased stigma about what it means to be disabled in a social context dominated by fear of physiological difference and contagion and in which a narrative of ‘survival of the fittest’ is becoming increasingly normalised;
- having many of the resources which were in place to ensure their choice, control and independence disappear overnight
- a sudden and often sustained withdrawal of healthcare in the management of long-term conditions to make way for covid-19 services.
Face to face meetings are only happening in an absolute emergency and Touchpoint are supporting people via phone, video-calls, live chat and email. Staff have been able to actively use their own parallel experiences of the above to support people of Touchpoint to navigate these challenges and ensure their voices are heard and their rights recognised and met.
What is the impact and benefit for people?
Through the pandemic, Touchpoint customers have consistently reported increased confidence in overcoming the new COVID-related barriers to accessing the resources and support they need. They attribute much of this confidence to their experience of working with a fellow disabled person who is themselves demonstrating what it means to challenge and overcome similar barriers in real time.
Is the solution sustainable post-Covid?
The Touchpoint Service is funded by the Lottery Community Fund until August 2021. We aim to fundraise to continue to the service beyond this date.