For our latest member spotlight we caught up with Jason Lamont, CEO of disability charity KCIL, who support hundreds of disabled people across Kingston.
“As I was appointed as CEO of KCIL in May 2020 the last year has been one best described as a challenge. Fortunately, the team was already set-up to work from home so all I had to do was take over the running of a disability charity that has been at the forefront of the independent living movement since 1968 from my dining room, via Zoom, during a global pandemic.
We quickly pivoted to become an online service and were able to continue supporting hundreds of disabled people across Kingston. Our work in the Accessibility field continued with us advising on changes to blue badge parking, pavement café’s and accessible toilets. Sadly, we had to cancel all our planned events and charity fundraising which caused our revenue to drop off a cliff. As the Mayor Margaret Thompson had KCIL as her charity of the year I roped in some friends and we managed to raise money running up and down the Thames for 13 miles! The Royal Borough of Kingston were also incredibly supportive and funded the set-up of a Befriending scheme. We supported many people who had barely left home since March 2020 and although the funding has now ended, we are still supporting many of these vulnerable people.
As restrictions are easing, we are in the office and can finally meet some of the people we support just like the old days! Our team is also geared up to assist local businesses with Accessibility as they open their doors. People may not know that 75% of disabled people have had to turn away from businesses due to substandard accessibility. This means that millions of people across the country, with an estimated spending power worth £249 billion are not being given the opportunities and service they deserve.
The team at KCIL have the professional accessibility qualifications and lived disability experience to make organisations more accessible and inclusive through our Access Services, awareness training, and workshops. We work with local businesses to help them to improve accessibility across all sectors in Kingston and promote our local “Access Champions” to hundreds of people across the borough via our newsletters and social media promotions. We receive and follow up reports of positive and negative Accessibility and nothing makes us happier than hearing about businesses that are working hard to ensure they are open and inclusive for all.”
We love hearing from our members how things are going. If you would like to write a Member Spotlight, contact Joelle.