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Over a pale green background with Equal Lives' logo in the top right, are the navy-blue words 'Membership Update January 2022'. Stood underneath the text, on a dark blue floor, are four graphic Equal Lives characters (left to right); a masculine-presenting, brown-skinned person. wearing a grey head wrap, and with a limb difference (their left arm ends at the elbow), a dark-skinned, feminine-presenting person, with short, tight brunette curls, stood using a walking stick, an androgynous-presenting person with brown hair, fair to tanned skin, with no visible signs of disability and a closed-mouth smile on their face, and a fair-skinned, feminine-presenting, possibly older person, with a short, grey bob hairstyle, with their right hand raised signing ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ in BSL.

Membership Update
January 2022

From reading our blog ( ), you will have seen that the early results from the survey told us that “isolation” and “accessing medical treatment” are two of the biggest barriers you faced.  Once we have read all your responses, we will let you know the outcomes and where we will be focusing our priorities this year. Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey and for sharing your thoughts with us.

At our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in December, Shaun McGarry was voted in as our chairperson. We would like to extend our thanks to Shaun for standing for this role and his continued commitment and support to Equal Lives. If you identify as disabled and feel passionately about positive change for disabled people, then perhaps becoming a Trustee and joining our friendly and dedicated Board is for you! You can read more about becoming a Trustee on our blog:

Our Membership Officer, Lisa, attended an online meeting for organisations across Suffolk to connect and share news relating to mental health and wellbeing. Lisa is very excited that these sharing sessions will keep Equal Lives updated on opportunities that will be of interest to our members across Suffolk, which we can share in our e-bulletin and on our Facebook member’s page.  You can check out what support and information Suffolk MIND has to offer on their website, and sign up to one of their many free courses,

Our CEO Ben Reed regularly attends the Disability Related Expenditure (DRE) reference group meeting, which is coordinated by the Public Office and set up following the outcome of a judicial review on social care charges. The group is working together to represent disabled people who use the service and pay towards the care they receive. At a recent meeting the group offered to be part of the “financial assessment process” so disabled people are represented throughout the process. Details were shared about a new team that has been set up to answer people’s questions about their Disability Related Expenses. The team can be contacted on 01603 222133 option 2 or by emailing

If you are paying towards your care and would like to join the group, please email us at membership ( for an informal chat about how you can be part of the discussion.  You can read more about DRE at:

As always you can contact the membership team if you would like to find out how you can be more involved with Equal Lives. We are excited to offer our members a new and free opportunity to become an Equal Lives Champions. You would be the first to hear about opportunities to get involved with research, consultation and even media interviews. Becoming a Champion will give you a deeper insight into our work and how you can help us campaign for the changes you want to see. If you would like to know more, email us for a chat at:

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