A New Path for the PIF - Katie Goldfinch

In early 2021, we launched our Practical Intervention Fund (PIF). The idea behind it was to provide a straightforward way for disabled, deaf and neurodivergent people to request small, practical items related to wellbeing or relaxation. This was especially important during the height of the pandemic, when accessing these kinds of items was particularly difficult for many disabled people. In the following three years there’s been a clear continued need for the PIF – but this year, we’re doing it slightly differently. This post will explain the changes and give details on how you can apply.

In previous rounds, applicants filled out a form telling us what they wanted to apply for. We then talked to each successful applicant to clarify the details of what they wanted, and for successful applications, organised the purchase of each item. This meant applicants had lots of choice, but it was difficult for us to make sure that the items asked for were good quality or ethically produced. We’re working to improve our environmental sustainability and ordering from some of the large-scale online retailers doesn’t fit in with this effort. We also didn’t have much control over how and when items were delivered – which was often complicated and frustrating for the people receiving them.

As well as this, the number of applications we get for the PIF has more than doubled, and the cost of items has increased too. Knowing that people are in need but not always being able to help is challenging for us as a small, disabled-led team with limited capacity. So, we started to think about ways we could use our resources differently to provide high quality items for as many people as possible, while also looking after the wellbeing of everyone who helps to deliver PIF.

Luckily, delivering the PIF over the last three years has helped us to understand the kinds of items that many people find helpful – and we’ve found some great suppliers for them too. So, this year, we’ve focused on buying some of our most commonly requested items. Bulk buying means we can get the best possible deals and have more control of which companies we buy from.

The Touretteshero Practical Intervention Fund logo in a bright grassy green with block text at the centre that says PIF. Exploding from the centre are photos of some of the items available in this round of PIF which include fidget packs, weighted blankets, nouse canceling headphones, ear plugs and chew toy packs.

This new round of PIF focuses on items that support sensory requirements. The items are:

• Noise cancelling headphones (suitable for older teens and adults)
• Noise reducing earplugs (adult)
• Noise reducing earplugs (kids, various colours)
• Weighted blankets (kids and adults, various weights and colours)
• Sensory chew toy packs
• Fidget toy packs

We have a limited number of each item, so it’s important that you only apply if you (or someone you’re supporting to apply) would definitely find one of these things helpful. You can apply for only one type of item. To apply, you need to:

• Live in the UK
• Be deaf, disabled, neurodivergent, and/or chronically ill. This includes those who have a mental health condition or experience mental distress, as well as anyone waiting for, or experiencing barriers to, accessing a diagnosis
• Be unable to purchase the item yourself

You can apply using our online form, or you can download an application pack containing plain text, audio and easy-read versions of the form. You can also submit video or audio applications to the contact details below.

Because of the increased interest in the PIF over the years, we won’t be able to provide an item to everyone who applies. We acknowledge that application processes can be time-consuming and stressful, so we’ve tried to make it as straightforward as possible. If you’d like any support with making an application, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with Katie at solidarity@touretteshero.com, or on 07903 224 323.

The deadline to apply is Friday, 19th July at 6pm.

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