Network SQ is a Lottery-funded project that is developing a network of local businesses and volunteers to provide services, free or for a charge, to disabled people and their families, to avoid them having to constantly travel into Edinburgh.
Claire Edwards is leading Network SQ on behalf of the Edinburgh Development Group (EDG ). She said: “It’s about bringing together small organisations in the area who are interested in providing their services to local families with a disabled family member or a disabled person themselves. As families in South Queensferry with a disabled family member told us it was very difficult to access local services and activities there.
"It’s about them having more choice about how they spend their day and enabling them to have more choices in their hometown. They might learn a new skill to help support them with their mental health and wellbeing.
"We have had people join Network SQ who provide massage and Tai Chi and we have got someone wanting to help with financial advice. Another who provides health and safety training. Potentially this will bring businesses more customers.”
The project is also offering free ‘confident about disability’ workshops. These cover the social model of disability, person-centred practice, the Equalities Act 2010 legislation and how to adapt and adjust your service to meet the needs of disabled customers.
"One of the things that came out of talking to local organisations was a lack of confidence around how do you adapt your service to be more welcoming and inclusive for a disabled person?
"As a result we developed this workshop, which we can deliver for free to organisations in the South Queensferry area. We have delivered it now to three local groups and we know that it works.
"We are in the final year of our Lottery funding so we are focusing on providing this free training and attracting more members to Network SQ. We have already increased local awareness and confidence around disabled people, that is a real positive.”