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First resilience fund project helps people with disabilities claim benefit entitlements

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Dozens of videos that help people with disabilities get to grips with their benefit entitlements have been published online thanks to support from Brunel University London’s new Business Resilience Fund (BRF).

Hillingdon-based disability charity DASH became the first organisation to complete a project under the new initiative, which aims to support local organisations by giving them access to Brunel’s academic research staff.

Having ‘shied away from digital and online services’ in the past, DASH teamed-up with Brunel’s Niki Ashby and six of her students to produce a series of 44 videos that help the charity’s clients navigate and understand their Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments and make benefit applications independently.

The Brunel team also assisted DASH in devising their first ‘digital strategy,’ allowing the charity to go on to successfully secure funding from two bodies, with further applications already in the pipeline.

“For organisations such as DASH, being suddenly thrust into the digital world has left staff and clients disorientated and without support,” said project lead Niki Ashby, a senior lecturer in Digital Film Technologies at Brunel.

“SMEs without existing in-house digital skills were finding themselves excluded from funding calls to help with the transition. This project has helped to tackle some of the challenges faced by DASH, whilst simultaneously providing a unique experience for Brunel’s students to develop their skills in a professional setting.”

Formed in 1984, DASH is a registered charity that aims to promote independence and provide those with disabilities the skills to become more confident in everyday life. Their services include helping people to budget and manage money, and support with understanding and claiming disability-related welfare.

Vanessa Bonner, Chief Officer at DASH, said: “This project has focused us as an organisation to properly explore the additional services and support that we can provide online. Prior to the pandemic we shied away from digital and online services and working with the team from Brunel University has given us the confidence to step outside of our comfort zone.”

To find out more about Brunel’s Business Resilience Fund, please visit:


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