Autism and mental care awareness © Can Stock Photo / vetre

Group calls for disability funding to continue

A local grassroots organization is drawing attention to the need to keep funding available for those with developmental disabilities.

The Windsor Essex Family Network held the gathering Thursday night at Ambassador Golf Club. It was designed to lobby the province to continue funding for independent facilitation, a concept in which people trained in certain disciplines work one-on-one with people who have developmental disabilities, autism and other challenges.

Michelle Friesen of the Windsor-Essex Family Network told BlackburnNewsWindsor.com that the standing-room-only event was a way for people to express their concern over this potential loss of funding.

“Families who have had a particular support for their sons and daughters, and sisters and brothers who have had developmental disabilities, are getting together because they’ve learned that that support is going to end at the end of March this year,” said Friesen.

This funding was part of a four-year pilot project begun by the province, which is due to end on March 31. This loss of funding could affect 1,400 people with disabilities, plus thousands more across Ontario who help these people live everyday lives. Friesen said these people provide a unique and vital service to those who are disabled.

“An independent facilitator is an individual who is trained and knows a lot about the community, who helps the person take a look at what they want to do with their lives, what kind of things they are interested in and help them make connections in the community,” said Friesen.

Those who would like to know more about the movement to continue funding for independent facilitation can visit the official Facebook page and the official website.