Strengthening the Voice of Disabled People In Bristol: Self-Organisation, Co-Production, and Decision Making

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Since the late 1980s, Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) - which are controlled by the disabled people they represent - have been a constant presence within the city in the form of campaigning and lobbying groups, providers of services, or venues for peer support and empowerment. Through the work that DPOs have done, and the challenges they’ve raised to policies and practices which disempower their members; the way in which Bristolians think about everything from social care to public space and community politics have been affected.

Despite over thirty years of activity and a significant impact on Bristol’s civic life, limited attention has been paid to DPOs in Bristol by those interested in the city’s community history, or those who investigate its social policy. Instead, DPOs within Bristol have taken the initiative to describe their own histories, activities, demands, and visions of Bristol’s future themselves: with the Bristol Disability Equality Forum’s (BDEF’s) Forging Our Futures project developing an historical account of the development of DPOs and the Disabled People’s Movement in Bristol, and this report giving an account of the current position and activities of DPOs in the city, along with the challenges they face to increasing disabled people’s influence over decisions made about their lives.

The current moment allows us to capture both the strength and resilience of DPOs in Bristol as a whole, alongside very real threats to the growth and continued existence of some DPOs - which threaten the representation of disabled people in local decision making processes and their support to take greater control over their lives.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol
Number of pages128
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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