A Neath Port Talbot woman is giving a big thumbs up to Direct Payments. Lisa from Neath has Down’s Syndrome and Learning Disabilities. She previously attended a Day Service each week, but felt that this was not the right place for her as she wanted to become more independent and participate more in her local community.

After speaking with her social worker, Lisa now has a Direct Payment. She uses this to employ two Personal Assistants (PAs) who support her to achieve her goals. With their support Lisa is now working as a volunteer in two local Charity Shops. She catches the bus to work, gets more exercise and goes for an evening meal with her PA once a week.

Direct Payments are available to people who have been assessed as being eligible to receive care and support services from the Council, but would prefer to arrange their own support. They give people the freedom to make key decisions about who supports them and how and when this support is provided.

The Welsh Government, through the Social Services and Wellbeing Wales Act, is encouraging greater use of Direct Payments across Wales to give more flexibility and choice. Neath Port Talbot Council is delivering a campaign over the next few months to raise awareness about Direct Payments and how they work.

Direct Payments have made such a difference to Lisa’s life that she has agreed to share her story as part of this campaign. She will feature on posters, banners and leaflets.

Lisa said:

“I have always wanted to have a job in the community. With the support of my PAs I now volunteer in 2 charity shops. In the shops I help customers with their purchases, ask people if I can help them and tell customers the price of things. It makes me feel very useful.

“I am happy to share my story about Direct Payments, so that other people can see how they work for me”.

Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said:

“I am delighted that Direct Payments are working so well for Lisa and that they have made such a difference to her life.

“Direct Payments offer a more flexible way for people who are eligible for social care services to access them. They give people the freedom to manage their own care and support arrangements to best suite their personal wishes and lifestyle.

“We want to raise awareness of Direct Payments. Hearing about how individuals like Lisa use them will help people to understand how they work. I would like to thank her for sharing her story.”

If you have a relative, friend or colleague who is eligible for or already receiving care and support from Social Services and you think they might benefit from receiving a Direct Payment instead, find out more at www.npt.gov.uk/dp or ask them to speak to their social worker.

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