Support for Disabled People in Ukraine

‘The whole world needs to know that people with disabilities in Ukraine are left behind
. We are valuable and we need your support’.

Tanya Herasymova, project coordinator at Fight for Right NGO.

Stepping Forward have set up a fundraising page here to generate funds for the Ukrainian NGO Fight for Right. All funds will be sent to the NGO which is working to support and evacuate disabled people in Ukraine.

‘Fight for Right is working around the clock to evacuate Ukrainians with disabilities and support those who have evacuated to nearby countries following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For people with disabilities who face barriers and inaccessibility at all times, war brings an additional, overwhelming feeling of fear and helplessness; not to mention a direct threat to their lives. Ukrainians with disabilities have far fewer options for evacuation.

We are fighting for every life. Please support our efforts. All donations directly support evacuations and the provision of resources to Ukrainians with disabilities.’ From the Fight for Right website.

Fight for Right Chairperson Yuliia Sachuk said: Right now, people with disabilities are the most affected group by the war in Ukraine. There are disabled people trapped, there are disabled people dying; we have been left behind.

Stepping Forward have set up this page to gather funds which we will send directly to Fight For Right to support their vital efforts to support disabled people in Ukraine. Please support us if you can, adding GiftAid where possible. ALL funds will go straight to Fight For Right.

Fight for Right’s team of volunteers has grown from three individuals to a group of over 30 people working tirelessly to do everything possible to fill the gaps and help people with disabilities in Ukraine as they fight to survive.

Tanya Herasymova, the project coordinator at Fight for Right says ‘There are many more individuals who still need evacuations, medications, and legal support. Our fight to evacuate Ukrainians with disabilities is a round the clock effort, and we sincerely appreciate each and every donation that has been made so far’.

For more information, please click these links:

Fight for Right is fighting for disabled Ukrainians and you can help them

Sun Protection for People with Albinism

We are working with Altruist SunScreen, Medical Assistance Sierra Leone and Sierra Leone Association of People With Albinism to provide essential sun protection for people with albinism. Altruist has gifted the Association 3 pallets of sunscreen but we need to collect it from the depot in Kent and ship to Sierra Leone!  The three pallets contain over 4,000 tubs of 200 ml sunscreen and are worth over £18,000. They will be given free of charge to people with albinism. We have launched an appeal on Black Friday to raise the £1400 required. Please consider supporting us. 

Showing of Award-Winning The Reason I Jump with Director’s Q & A

Stepping Forward held a charity showing of The award-winning The Reason I Jump on Sunday 10 October, with a Q&A featuring the Director Jerry Rothwell, Autistic Advisor to the film Emma Dalmayne and Roland Penn-Timity who features in the film with his family in Sierra Leone.  Funds raised on the night, including through a raffle, will support the work of the Sierra Leone Autistic Society who are featured in the film.  Stepping Forward have been working with the Society for over four years. We are grateful to our speakers and to the wonderful new venue The Reading Biscuit factory for their support and interest in this initiative.

Based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida, THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory descriptions of his autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.

Acutely observed moments in the lives of each of the characters are connected by passages from Naoki’s writing, in which a young Japanese boy journey through an epic landscape, gradually discovering what his autism means to him, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps.

The film distils these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

The film can be seen at selected cinemas and is also now on DVD. A link to a trailer is below.

The Reason I Jump – Official U.S. Trailer – Bing video




Disability Advice & Support Service

Our Disability Advice and Support Service is busy supporting people to access DLA and PIP as well as support for specialist equipment, furniture or other items. Changed circumstances may mean that people may be entitled to new forms of support, eg Carer’s Allowance.

Contact us at to make an appointment.

Sierra Leone Autistic Society Features in ‘The Reason I Jump’ film

The film ‘The Reason I Jump’, inspired by Naoki Higashida’s book of the same name, was released in the USA this weekend. Jes & her mother Mary Penn-Timity – co-Director and founder of the Sierra Leone Autistic Society (SLAS) feature. In response to offers of support as a result of publicity around the film, SLAS and the film’s Director Jerry Rothwell have asked us to set up this page to support the Society’s important work. Do support the Society if you can; all funds will be sent to SLAS to support their work in Sierra Leone. We have been supporting the work of SLAS for over three years, with play resources, technical assistance and capacity-building. 

Support Sierra Leone Autistic Society (


Benefit Advice for Disabled People and Carers

The DLA/PIP service continues by phone for now. We know that lots of people are experiencing changed financial circumstances. If you are not sure if you may be entitled to support, eg for Carers Allowance or Universal Credit, contact us for a telephone appointment with our Benefits Adviser.

Email: and we will get back to you ASAP.


Clarification on NHS Guidance Re Access to Treatment During COVID-19 Pandemic

The attached NHS letter clarifies treatment guidelines for people with learning disabilities, autism and other diagnoses. 

There was some initial misinformation about access to treatment, which have now been clarified by NHS. The attached doc should be shared with clinicians on admission so there is no confusion; health workers are under huge amounts of pressure and making difficult decisions within the current context, with rapidly changing guidelines.

This document can clarify immediately that a diagnosis does not exclude a person from access to best practice treatment.  


Following government advice this week, we are continuing to support clients but are now arranging to do this on the phone. If you have an appointment with us we will be in touch to confirm the new arrangements. We are part of community initiatives to support community members during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or someone in your house has a disability and you need practical assistance, including specific items (or you are representing someone in this situation), please do not hesitate to reach out and we will do our very best to assist with our small team of volunteers.


Thank you for the Christmas donations!

Many of our wonderful supporters made a donation to Stepping Forward’s Disability Hub project over the Christmas period in lieu of buying a Christmas present. We are truly grateful for your support and commitment to this initiative. We are close to half way there and have until July 2020 to find the outstanding £70,000. If you have ways to lever support amongst your organisations and companies or want to do a challenge this year, we would love to hear from you. Email us at

Winter Ball raises funds for local disability organisations

MORE than £11,000 was raised for disability charities in Reading at our Fifth Winter Ball  at The Hilton on Saturday 16 November  – bringing the total raised from this annual event to more than £60,000!

The fundraising and networking ball for organisations working on disability issues in Reading involved a total of seven local charities: Autism Berkshire, Reading Mencap, Parenting Special Children, Green Health Thames Valley, The Engine Shed and the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, Berkshire Phab and Stepping Forward.

More information is in the Reading Chronicle. Contact us if you want to join in or sponsor us for next year 2020!!!

Image below shows Sam and Sanjay Seetanah enjoying a welcome glass of bubbly.