Disability Advice and Support Service & Government Consultation

It is business as usual for our Disability Advice and Support Service. Do contact us for support with your PIP and DLA applications. It can initially look like the same questions are being asked; guidance on what information to include for each question can make all the difference.

We will be contributing towards the Government’s consultation for the review of PIP (deadline 23 July) and encourage others to do the same.

Do email us at info@stepping-forward.org.uk for an appointment with our adviser Kevin Jackson.

Details about the open consultation can be found here:

Ending the Year with the Winter Draw

We have our winners! A big thank you to the Deputy Mayor of Reading, Cllr Glenn Dennis, for coming along to our office in Caversham, Reading, on Friday 8 December and drawing the winning tickets in our Big Charity Draw. Fourteen charities benefited from the Draw this year, all selling tickets and raising funds for their vital work.

The first prize of £1,000 of John Lewis vouchers was won by ticket number 08510 purchased from Berkshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre.
Second prize of a toy hamper went to ticket number 04274
Third prize of a festive hamper went to ticket 13380.

All winners have been contacted. We are grateful to everyone who buys tickets and supports this annual initiative.

Our thanks again to the David Brownlow Foundation for supporting our raffle prize this year.

DLA and PIP Tribunal Appeals in 2023

We have started the year 2023 with lots of tribunal appeals for clients. Our Benefits Adviser assists people to prepare for the process and accompanies people to the tribunals. All tribunals for our clients have been on the phone or online this year.

Changes in rules in recent years mean that many people are finding that they are not being awarded sufficient points to receive an award. This impacts on people in multiple ways. As well as providing financial support, evidence of a PIP or DLA award can often be requested by other service providers as a way of demonstrating support needs.

Please contact us if you need help with DLA or PIP applications. We especially recommend that advice is sought when going from DLA to PIP, as we see many clients losing awards during the transition.

Support In Difficult Times with the Disability Advice & Support Service

We are very busy with the Disability Advice and Support Service as people contact us for benefit applications/renewals and support for equipment.

In the last month we have helped people to access specialist furniture, mobility scooters, battery power packs, fridges etc. We recommend that people get help wherever possible with DLA and PIP applications – and especially with the move from DLA to PIP – as it can often be difficult to know where to detail some support needs on the forms. Our service extends to advice and support on attending Tribunals, and each month we support clients to go through this process.

We are grateful to The Earley Charity, Berkshire Community Foundation and Awards For All for supporting this work.

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 www.justgiving.com/campaign/disabledpeopleukraine 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 info@stepping-forward.org.uk 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 (virginmoneygiving.com)


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: info@stepping-forward.org.uk and we will get back to you ASAP.