Kevin Crawford woke up one morning to find his life changed forever. His ongoing health conditions and bone deterioration culminated in a trapped nerve that left him in agony and unable to move. Recovery has been a very slow process for Kevin, involving surgery on his spine, during which time he had to come to terms with a drastic change in his mobility. Finding himself new to the world of living with disability was an eye opener for Kevin and his wife Dhyani who suddenly found herself as a carer - as they struggled to find out what services, support and activities were available in their hometown. It was then that they decided to set up Clydebank Disability Group which later changed it's name to The Big Disability Group following demand from other areas outside of Clydebank. We recently changed our name again in 2023 to expand the reach of our services.
It became a registered charity on 23rd February 2018.
Since it was founded in June 2017 the charity has experienced incredible demand and continues to help thousands of people each year.
From its humble beginnings from a laptop at their kitchen table Improving Lives has grown quickly. Despite relying solely on donations, a couple of grants and the passion of our volunteers the charity has continued to provide more and more support. In 2022 we took over a larger premises from the Independent Resource Centre in Clydebank and although it was a big move it proved to be the right one.
Improving Lives evolved from just providing accessible details about what support and organisations were available to providing in depth personal support plans, welfare and disability rights, our own support groups and space for other community groups to use. We host an annual information and support open day every year that attracts close to 300 members of the public, run our monthly Disability Action Group which identifies local issues and works to address them and have introduced disability martial arts to West Dunbartonshire through our Disability Karate Class.
Improving Lives is still a small charity which gets by thanks to the generosity of our supporters but we are proud to now employ 5 members of staff and be a Disability Confident Employer. We still rely on the amazing dedication of our board members and volunteers to provide the scale of service that we do.
Improving Lives continues to expand its services to meet the needs of the disabled community, their families and carers as well as working alongside other charities, organisations and health and social care professionals to help create a one stop shop for all things disability related in West Dunbartonshire and surrounding areas.