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DLF launches The Alf Morris Fund for Independent Living

In honour of an extraordinary life, devoted to the most vulnerable members of our society, the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) is proud to announce The Alf Morris Fund for Independent Living, which was formally launched at a reception in the Speaker’s House in Parliament on 24 June 2014.

Alf Morris, MP for Wythenshawe, the world’s first Minister for Disabled People and subsequently Lord Morris of Manchester, was one of our foremost social reformers. His greatest achievement, The Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act (1970), transformed the lives of millions of disabled people in the UK and worldwide. It was the first legislation to recognise disabled people’s rights in areas as diverse as access, education, employment and mobility, and became the pattern for similar laws enacted throughout the world.

Yet in 2009, Lord Morris wrote “There is still much work ahead if we are to fulfil the ideals I expressed when I asked the House of Commons to give my Bill a Second Reading 40 years ago.” He believed that people were too often forced into institutional care when, with the right information, support and advice regarding aids to daily living, their independence could be maintained.

The new Fund will honour Alf’s legacy by helping people to access the resources now available to keep them independent. The Fund recognises that fairness and informed choice are central to human dignity and its goal, to quote Alf’s own words, is “adding life to years” rather than just years to life.

Guests at the reception included family, friends and representatives of the many voluntary organisations to which Alf had given his support. The keynote address was delivered by his former Cabinet colleague, The Rt Hon The Lord Owen CH. Other contributions were made by: Sir Bert Massie CBE, former Chair of the Disability Rights Commission; Derek Kinrade, co-founder of the National Information Forum; Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North; and the Speaker himself, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

Lord Morris of Manchester had been involved with DLF since its establishment in 1969. He was its longest-serving Vice-President, remaining active in that role until his death in August 2012.

Quotes:

“It’s often said that you can’t do anything in politics but Alf demonstrated that an individual MP’s commitment to a cause could create major change in public life.” The Rt Hon The Lord Owen CH

“Alf based his entire political philosophy on the views of disabled people.” Sir Bert Massie CBE

“Alf was a true Parliamentary hero.” Karen Buck MP

“Speaker’s House should be used to mark and celebrate great causes…. Independent living is a great cause.” The Rt Hon John Bercow MP

“Alf Morris simply laid the foundations for a compassionate administration across the political divides. It is apt that the Disabled Living Foundation has taken up his mission in his name.” Derek Kinrade

If you have specific questions, please email Jonathan Evans via Jonathan.Evans@dlf.org.uk

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