On 3 December 2018 the Government launched the Enable Fund to help disabled candidates with the additional costs they face when standing for political office. This can include BSL interpreters, personal assistance costs, accessible technology, additional transport costs and the like.
Any candidate with a serious physical or mental impairment can apply to the fund. However, any grant awarded must be used to overcome specific obstacles faced by the disabled person. It can’t be spent on campaigning or campaign materials. It exists to help disabled candidates overcome the many barriers to standing for elected office, and as a visually impaired candidate myself, I know how useful additional funding would have been.
When I stood in the May 2018 London local elections I was extremely fortunate to stand in a multi-member ward with two fantastic colleagues. Without their support I would have struggled to canvas, attend public events, work with Connect, and much more.
It is fair to say that money is only ever a partial answer to the problems that disability throws up, but even a partial answer is better than no answer at all. Let’s hope this is just the beginning when it comes to levelling the playing field for all in the democratic process.
The fund currently runs until May 2020 so will be of most benefit to candidates standing in the 2019 local elections and the police and crime commissioner elections in May 2020. Of course it will also help disabled candidates in any other elections that happen over the next 18 months.
It’s essential that as many people as possible are aware of the fund as the risk with these things is always that the help remains unclaimed because nobody realises it is available. Please share this information with anyone you know who might benefit.
More details can be found at:
* Allan Tweddle joined the party in 2015 and is an approved council candidate for the London Borough of Bromley for the 2018 local elections.