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New report on how people find out about equipment to help them to live independently published today by the AT Alliance

27th September 2010

The Assistive Technology (AT) Alliance today publishes a report “The AT Information Network: Mapping the Information Environment, the Challenges and Opportunities” that looks at how people find out about equipment for daily living (also known as “Assistive Technology”).

The report summarises the findings from the first two years of a three year project funded by the Department of Health and covers specific research on what information is currently available and gaps that have been identified and recommends criteria for developing a quality source of information. It also covers the development of partnership working between the four AT Alliance member organisations: the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF), Assist UK, Ricability and the Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST).

The AT Alliance has published the report findings from the first two years of the project early as they are particularly relevant in the current political and financial climate.

The report can be downloaded as a PDF from the AT Alliance website – www.at-alliance.org.uk.

A new website guide ‘All about Equipment’ (www.allaboutequipment.org.uk) has also been developed as a result of the collaboration between the Alliance members.

The project is now in its last year and will culminate in 2011 with a final report and an event to showcase all of the work and findings.

Notes for editors

  1. Assistive Technology (AT) is any product or service designed to enable independence for disabled and older people – Definition, King’s Fund consultation meeting, March 2001
  2. The AT Alliance is made up of four leading national charities providing impartial information about assistive technology (Assist UK, Disabled Living Foundation (DLF), the Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) and Ricability.

    About the AT Alliance members:

    Assist UK leads a UK wide network of locally-based Disabled Living Centres. Each centre includes a permanent exhibition of products where people can try a variety of assistive technology solutions and get impartial and free advice from professional staff and disabled people (www.assist-uk.org).

    • The Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) provides information, advice and training to support independent living and choice for those who need assistive technology. Its services include a database of equipment called DLF Data, a national Helpline, free factsheets, one of the largest equipment demonstration centres in the country and a number of online services, including a guided advice tool AskSARA and free-to-use advice websites on daily living equipment, ‘Living made easy’ (www.dlf.org.uk, www.dlf-data.org.uk, www.asksara.org.uk and www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk).

    • The Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST)works with organisations across the AT community in statutory, voluntary and private sectors to advance innovation in product design, to encourage the adoption of technology by disabled and older people and to support AT service improvement (www.fastuk.org).

    Ricability is a national independent consumer research charity that produces free, practical information for older and disabled people. It carries out a range of research, product testing and evaluation, mystery shopping, and information and helpline evaluation. Ricability produces consumer reports, engages people in consumer testing and engages in consultancy to support organisations to provide accessible information about AT for disabled and older people (www.ricability.org.uk). The organisation also has websites for specific product information and reviews (www.ricability-digitaltv.org.uk and www.product-reviews.org.uk).

  3. In April 2008 the Alliance received three years’ funding from the Department of Health for a project entitled “The Assistive Technology Information Network for the Future”. The project aims to bring together the experience and expertise of these four organisations and develop stronger collaborative working.

For further information

Contact: Steve Hawe, Development Director, DLF, Tel: 020 7432 8013, Email: steve.hawe@dlf.org.uk

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