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The St Helena report and the gap in media

SHAPE praised as advisers cite unknown scale of disability

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The role of St Helena’s disability charity, SHAPE, has been singled out for praise by UK aid advisers.

But they say help for disabled people is “fragmented”, with too little knowledge about the problems people are coping with.

The success of SHAPE – short for St Helena Active Participation in Enterprise – shows the role civil society groups can play, says the report on the annual Development Assistance Planning Mission, which looks at the challenges facing the island.

SHAPE trains disabled people in craft skills at the old school building in Sandy Bay, and provides them with work such as making and selling jewellery. It has also set up a recycling service.

The aid advisers’ report, agreed with St Helena Government negotiators, notes a need for “a thorough analysis of the number of disabled people on island and types of disability/capability issues, linked to levels of disadvantage and vulnerability.”

The findings “will undoubtedly impact” on health and social services planning, it says.

It also says a contract for SHAPE’s services should be continued.

It adds: “Whilst provision for disabled people remains fragmented, we welcome SHG’s recognition of SHAPE as a front-line service delivery agency.”

The government also needs to consult on concerns in the community, it says.

SHG is set to policy on managing disability.

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