Participation House Foundation – London is a non-profit charitable foundation established to provide ongoing, donor-directed, financial support to Participation House Support Services – London and Area.

Participation House Support Services – London and Area is a community-based organization whose purpose is to provide assistance to people with severe physical, developmental and/or multiple disabilities. The assistance offered is dependent on the needs and wishes of those individuals requesting support service.

Our Foundation Vision

To meet the ongoing and future needs of those supported by Participation House Support Services – London and Area and those who could benefit from those services.

You can make a difference

We believe everyone deserves the very best we can provide and in turn they will enrich our lives by their presence and participation. Participation House Foundation – London has identified four key focus areas for donor support:

Equipment

For people meeting the challenge of multiple disabilities, up-to-date and well-maintained equipment is essential to maintain health and support independence and community involvement. PHSS spends more than $100,000 each year on equipment, supplies and furnishings  and even so, much remains to be done.

Each year a list of equipment needed for the upcoming 24-month period is identified. The items range from something as simple as a shower commode to sophisticated communications devices or a $25,000 air bed that helps prevent pressure ulcers.

Our goal is to raise money to purchase the most urgently needed pieces of equipment or bridge the gap between government funding and the real cost of equipment for the people we support.

Housing and Accessibility

PHSS homes are very special places. From the outside they look like any other warm and comfortable family home. Inside, wide hallways and specially designed kitchens and bathrooms make them ideal for the people we support. Each person has a private bedroom that is a reflection of his or her personality. There is nothing institutional about the furnishings or equipment yet they are able to accommodate even those with severe physical disabilities. PHSS house quickly become homes, much loved by those who live there.

Although some government funding is available to renovate or build barrier-free homes, it is generally not sufficient to meet the full cost of construction. Government requirements at the city and provincial level related to zoning and safety mean the pool of available resale houses is limited. Escalating costs of new construction have also impacted our ability to build new homes within government allocations. PHSS currently has over 51 locations in London and area but sector-wide long waiting list attests to the need for more.

Once built these homes, like any other, require regular maintenance and repair. Power wheelchairs and other specialized equipment take their toll on walls and flooring. Renovations are also required as needs of the people we support change. Outdoor ramps and gardens must also be maintained.

Participation House Foundation is raising funds that can be accessed to provide bridge funding for new construction, the purchase of resale houses and subsequent renovations, and ensure our existing homes are kept in top condition. Participation House Support Services understands its responsibility as a good neighbour to properly maintain our homes, both inside and out, to ensure continuity in the neighbourhood. Private funding and/or gifts-in-kind are welcome to create new homes when operational funds are available from the government.

Transportation and Travel

Most of those supported by PHSS face significant mobility challenges. Many are not able to get around without a wheelchair. When they want to leave their homes to participate in community activities, a van equipped with a wheelchair lift is essential.

Currently, PHSS has a total of 24 vans and vehicles combined to meet the transportation needs of more than 51 locations. This means many residents have trouble getting to and from activities. Public paratransit is overburdened and subsequently unreliable. The spontaneity of activity such as going to see a movie, window-shopping at the mall or grabbing a coffee with friends at Tim Horton’s is not an option when paratransit must be booked days in advance.

An accessible van costs approximately $54,000, with annual maintenance, gas and insurance costs of about $15,000.

Like anyone else, the people we support sometimes need a chance to unwind, have new experiences, see the world and visit distant family and friends. But travel, whether for a holiday or to compete in a bocce ball tournament, is difficult because of the additional costs for a full-time attendant. Private funding would allow more people to take holidays  a pleasure most of us take for granted.

Education, Training and Therapy

Education, support and advocacy are ongoing needs for the people we support and their families. Additional funding would allow more people to participate in conferences and other educational activities.

Our staff members, too, have ongoing education needs to ensure they can provide the best possible care and support. Government funding covers basic required training in areas such as first aid and CPR. It is more difficult to find funds for leadership or values training or training in specialized computer skills.

There is also a gap in the provision of speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy for the people we support. Although these services are funded by the government on a very basic level, adults with disabilities are not given a high priority and often wait a long time for assessment and service. With more funding we could purchase therapy services and train our staff to maintain programs created by the therapists.