Getting Practical


Independence is one gift that many of us take for granted. Specialist disability equipment such as wheelchairs and adaptions to the home can transform peoples lives and those around them. Why not get involved as member of our industry to provide skills and equipment through our PPP program. How can you stay independent?



How to look after your mental health


It’s important to take care of yourself and get the most from life. Below are 10 practical ways to look after your mental health. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time. Anyone can follow this advice. Why not start today?

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Retaining Independence
Lung cancer awareness

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing and difficult experience for anyone. It often brings fear, isolation, and loss of self-esteem and independence, which can have a significant impact on an individual who is suffering from cancer and their loved ones’ mental wellbeing. Support from the industry can make a huge difference to someone who is going through a distressing cancer journey and give them the independence they need to lead as normal a life as possible.

Recently, the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) was able to give 51-year-old Paula Green the independence she needed while living with cancer. Paula, whose husband had worked for a large electrical wholesaler for many years, was referred to EIC by her husband’s employer after struggling to move around the house independently following the cancer diagnosis and further complications in her health.

Paula was suffering from chronic fibrosis of the lungs and had developed incurable lung cancer, with two tumours in each. Until May 2018, Paula had been receiving chemotherapy, but this resulted in numerous infections and admissions to hospital, and it was decided she would stop the chemotherapy treatment. The pain then spread to her back, and a shadow was found on her spine. Due to her devastating condition, Paula had difficulties in moving up and down the stairs without support from her husband. Fortunately, Paula and her husband had a toilet downstairs but were desperately in need of a stairlift.

EIC agreed to fund this but, due to health and safety reasons the Charity first had to employ the services of an Occupational Therapist (OT) to carry out an assessment and ensure that Paula would be safe to use the lift and determine if there were any other mobility needs that EIC could provide. EIC was also required to contact the housing association to gain their permission. They were very helpful and sent out a surveyor to check the structure of the property. The surveyor confirmed that everything was good to go ahead, and they had no objections for the stairlift to be fitted and also highlighted that Paula was in need of a wet room to be installed.

The Charity arranged for two quotations for the stairlift from national companies, and as soon as the housing association agreed to fund £1,500 towards the costs, the Charity fitted the stairlift in Paula’s house to allow her to move around independently.

Additionally, the Charity also got in touch with the local council regarding a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which was needed to install a wet room in Paula’s house. The process of applying and obtaining a DFG can be very lengthy, depending on the area that an individual lives, but where there is a terminal illness this process can be fast-tracked, and the OT was very quick in completing her assessment and marking her report as high priority. The housing association gave their permission, and the work was completed in two months. Paula was very pleased with the result.

Sadly, not long after Paula was finally able to live more independently, she contracted pneumonia and passed away. Following the devastating news, EIC offered advice and support to her husband during this distressing time.

Going through cancer treatment and bearing the effects of symptoms and side effects can lead people to feel as though cancer has taken over their life, which can result in feelings of loss of control and mental distress. Together as an industry, we can make a difference in our colleagues’ lives and ensure that those who are already suffering from a difficult cancer diagnosis are receiving the help they need.

If you or someone you know has been affected by cancer and requires support, please contact the EIC support team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0800 652 1618.

Alternatively, if you would like to show your support for someone who is struggling following their cancer diagnosis, sign up to become a partner of the Electrical Industries Charity’s Employee Assistance Programme or download the powerLottery app and tap the app to play.

For further information, please contact, Jess Vailima: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Stepping towards independence with EIC
1 in 75 men


Being diagnosed with cancer can come as a huge shock to anyone and can bring confusion, anger and uncertainty which can be difficult to cope with financially emotionally and physically.

According to Cancer Research UK, each year, around 7,800 new cases of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer are diagnosed in the UK. Mouth and oropharyngeal cancer are more common in men than in women, affecting 1 in 75 men and 1 in 150 women at some point in their life.

Once a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness not only do they have to deal with the stress and upset it causes them and their family, it also brings with it a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in other parts of their life. In many cases, it becomes overwhelming, and it is difficult to know where to start or whom to turn to for help and support.

The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) understands how difficult cancer diagnosis can be. This is why EIC has teamed up with many UK charities to ensure that those who are going through a difficult cancer journey have a shoulder to lean on in their hour of need.

Recently EIC offered their support and gave independence to Howard Field, who was referred by Macmillan Cancer Support and struggled to cope following the devastating mouth and throat cancer diagnosis.

Howard developed cancer of the throat and mouth in 2014, which resulted in the removal of his teeth and the partial removal of his jaw and tongue. Since the life-changing diagnosis, he underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and developed gout as a result of this treatment. A year later, cancer returned, and Howard underwent a further operation to remove more of his jaw. He has since been having MRI scans every six months to keep cancer at bay.

Due to his condition, Howard can only eat pureed food, and his cancer nurse specialist recommended he eats three meals a day from Wiltshire Farm Foods who provide nutritionally balanced food, which comes ready prepared. However, each meal costs £5, and he could only afford one per day and substituted the rest with a soup which was affecting his vital nutritional intake.

On top of his distressing illness, in 2017, Howard had an infestation of scabies mite in his rented apartment which resulted in him losing all of his belongings including bed, mattress and all of his clothing and left him sleeping on an airbed.

Howard contacted EIC for assistance to help him to improve his quality of life by replacing the essential items that were lost during infestation. He also applied for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to help with the daily living costs.

EIC supported Howard during this challenging time by offering to purchase his food and provided him with an initial grant of £1,000 for replacing the essential furniture and clothing. Additionally, EIC also partnered with Florence Nightingale Aid in Sickness Trust (FNAIST) who pledged £500 for Howard’s new bed, and the Independence at Home (IAH) charity offered a further £200 towards his bed linen.

Furthermore, the Electrical Industries Charity continues supporting Howard by providing him with a £35 per week to fund his Wiltshire Farm Foods as he is still struggling to secure his PIP income. The Charity is also working with Howard to help him return to work in an adjusted capacity, potentially as a driver for an electrical wholesaler or tutoring with JTL. Howard is excited by both prospects and is looking forward to creating a better quality of life for himself.

Life can change in a blink of an eye at the most unexpected time, which can turn our lives upside down and leave us with uncertainty for the future. During this time, the support from the industry can make a huge difference and give people within the electrical industry who are struggling to cope following their cancer diagnosis the independence they need to continue leading as normal a life as possible.

If you or someone you know has been affected by cancer and requires support, please contact the EIC support team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0800 652 1618.

Alternatively, if you would like to show your support for a colleague who is struggling throughout their cancer journey, sign up to become a partner of EIC’ Employee Assistance Programme or take part in powerLottery by downloading the EIC’s powerLottery app and tap the app to play.

For further information, please contact, Jess Vailima: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Habit making and breaking

Research about breaking old habits and forming new ones.

‘Researchers from University College London examined the new habits of 96 people over the space of 12 weeks and found that the average time it takes for a new habit to stick is 66 days; furthermore, individual times varied from 18 to a whopping 254 days.’ This means that the development of new habits takes about as long as it takes to break old ones: at least two months, but this varies dependent on the person. ‘According to psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, sometimes a habit can be broken quickly: "In extreme cases, the habit can be broken instantly, such as if you happen to become violently ill when you inhale cigarette smoke or nearly get hit by a bus when texting and walking.” But in most cases, it's going to take longer than that, and you should probably allow for at least two months.'

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Breaking bad habits – tips on giving up
unwanted habits one at a time.

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How to break a bad habit at neural level – scientific reasoning behind effective habit-breaking.

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Relationship issues – understanding the characteristics of a silent agreement (unspoken rules of a relationship)
and how these can negatively impact a relationship.

Relationships Quote 1

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How to look after your mental health using exercise

Where do I start?

Once you have decided that you want to be more physically active, there are a few points worth thinking about. Apart from improving your physical and mental wellbeing, what else do you want to get out of being active?

Ask yourself whether you’d prefer being indoors or out, doing a group or individual activity, or trying a new sport. If you’re put off by sporty exercises or feel uninspired at the thought of limiting yourself to just one activity, think outside the box and remember that going on a walk, doing housework, and gardening are all physical activities. Also, would you rather go it alone or do an activity with a friend? Social sup port is a great motivator, and sharing your experiences, goals and achievements will help you to keep focus and enthusiasm.

Overcoming Barriers

It can be a bit scary making changes to your life, and most people get anxious about trying something new. Some common barriers, such as cost, injury or illness, lack of energy, fear of failure, or even the weather can hinder people from getting started; however, practical and emotional support from friends, family and experts really does help.

Body image can act as a barrier to participating in physical activity.[36] People who are anxious about how their body will look to others while they are exercising may avoid exercise as a result. For women, attending a female-only exercise class or a ladies-only swimming session may help to overcome anxiety as a barrier to initially starting to exercise.

Exercising with a companion can also help to reduce anxiety about how your body looks to others and may be particularly helpful during the first few exercise sessions. The environment can also influence how you feel; gyms with mirrored walls tend to heighten anxiety, as does exercising near a window or other space where you might feel ‘on show’.

Make Time

What time do you have available for exercise? You may need to re-jig commitments to make room for extra activities or choose something that fits into your busy schedule.

Be Practical

Will you need support from friends and family to complete your chosen activities, or is there a chance your active lifestyle will have an impact on others in your life? Find out how much it will cost and, if necessary, what you can do to make it affordable.

Right for you

What kind of activity would suit you best? Think about what parts of your body you want to exercise and whether you’d prefer to be active at home or whether you fancy a change of scenery and would prefer to exercise in a different environment, indoors or outdoors.

Making it part of daily life

Adopting a more active lifestyle can be as simple as doing daily tasks more energetically or making small changes to your routine, such as walking up a flight of stairs.

Start Slowly

If physical activity is new to you, it’s best to build up your ability gradually. Focus on task goals, such as improving sport skills or stamina, rather than competition, and keep a record of your activity and review it to provide feedback on your progress. There are many apps and social networks accessible for free to help.


It’s really important to set goals to measure progress, which might motivate you. Try using a pedometer or an app on your smartphone to measure your speed and distance travelled or add on an extra stomach crunch or swim an extra length at the end of your session.

Remember, you won’t see improvement from physical conditioning every day. Making the regular commitment to doing physical activity is an achievement in itself, and every activity session can improve your mood.

At home

There are lots of activities you can do without leaving your front door and that involve minimal cost. It can be as simple as pushing the mower with extra vigour, speeding up the housework, or doing an exercise DVD in the living room.

At work

Whether you’re on your feet, sat at a desk or sat behind the wheel during your working hours, there are many ways you can get more active. Try using the stairs for journeys fewer than four floors, walking or cycling a slightly longer route home, or using your lunch hour to take a brisk walk, do an exercise class or go for a swim. The change of scenery will do you good, too.

Out and about

Being out of doors is a prime time for boosting your activity levels, and research suggests that doing physical activity in an outdoor, ‘green’ environment has greater positive effects on wellbeing compared to physical activity indoors.

Making small changes, from leaving the car at home for short journeys or getting off the bus a stop earlier, to higher-intensity activities like joining in with your children’s football game or jogging with the dog, can help to boost your mood.

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What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.

It aims to help you:

  • become more self-aware
  • feel calmer and less stressed
  • feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
  • cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
  • be kinder towards yourself.
  • Many people find practising mindfulness helps them manage their day-to-day wellbeing, but it doesn't always work for everyone
    (see our page on is mindfulness right for me?)
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How does mindfulness work?:

The way we think (and what we think about) can affect how we feel and act. For example, if you think or worry a lot about upsetting past or future events, you might often feel sad or anxious.The theory behind mindfulness is that by using various techniques to bring your attention to the present (usually focusing on your body and your breathing), you can:

  • Notice how thoughts come and go in your mind. You may learn that they don't have to define who you are, or your experience of the world, and you can let go of them.
  • Notice what your body is telling you. For example, tension or anxiety can often be felt in your body (such as in a fast heartbeat, tense muscles or shallow breathing).
  • Create space between you and your thoughts, so you can react more calmly.
  • The Oxford Mindfulness Centre has more information about how mindfulness works.
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Money and mental health


Money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.


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Here are some examples of how your mental health and your money worries might affect each other:

  • If you can't work or have to take time off work, your income may be affected.
  • If you feel very 'high' during a period of mania or hypomania, this can lead to impulsive decisions about money that make sense at the time but leave you in lots of debt.
  • You may spend money to make yourself feel better. Spending can give you a temporary high.
  • You might feel anxious about doing things like talking on the phone, going to the bank or opening envelopes.
  • You may feel forced to do a job you don't like in order to pay the bills or pay off your debt.
  • You may lose the motivation to keep control of your finances.
  • You might find that spending any money at all or being in debt can make you feel very anxious – even if you actually have enough money.
  • Dealing with the benefits system or being in debt may make you feel stressed, anxious and worried about the future.
  • You may not have enough money to spend on essentials or things to keep you well like housing, food, heating or medication.
  • Money problems can affect relationships and your social life, which can have a knock-on effect on your mental health.

What can I do to help myself?:

Sorting things out can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task. Try taking things one step at a time. These suggestions might help get you started:

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The 50/30/20 Rule of Thumb for Budgeting:

You've reviewed your spending and created a budget, and now you know exactly how much you spend on your home, your car, discretionary spending, and how much you divert to your retirement accounts. That's all good, but what about your other savings, such as for an emergency? How does your financial allocation compare to the amount you should ideally spend and save?

Harvard bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren coined the "50/30/20 rule" for spending and saving with her daughter.

So how does the 50/30/20 plan work?

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Budgeting – how to manage your money and identify issues with spending.

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People with disabilities

There are around 13.3 million disabled people in the UK (almost one in five of the population)

Only 17% of disabled people were born with their disabilities. The majority of disabled people acquire their disability later in life. Around 7% of children are disabled, compared to 18% of working age adults and 44% of adults over State Pension age

There are two million people with sight problems in the UK. That’s around one person in 30. It is predicted that by 2020 the number of people with sight loss will rise to over 2,250,000

There are approximately 10 million people (1 in 6) in this country with a hearing loss. 6.5 million of these are aged 60 and over. Around 2 million people use hearing aids.

Families with disabled children

In the UK, there are 800,000 disabled children under the age of 16 - that equates to one child in 20

99.1 per cent of disabled children live at home and are supported by their families

The annual cost of bringing up a disabled child is three times greater than that of bringing up a non-disabled child

For disabled children, the most common impairments are social and behavioural (33%), learning disability (31%) and stamina, breathing and fatigue (31%)

The average income of families with disabled children is £15,270, which is 23.5% below the UK mean income of £19,968. 21.8% have incomes that are less than 50% the UK mean.

Disability equipment market:

Some 1.9 million households contained at least one person who felt that their condition meant that they required some adaptations to their home. The most common adaptations needed were:

  • Grab rails inside the home
  • A bath/shower seat or other aids to use
  • A bath/shower
  • A shower to replace the bath
  • A special toilet seat

The market for equipment for people with a disability in the UK is estimated to have increased by 12.4% between 2009 and 2013. During 2013:Mobility equipment, including daily living aids, wheelchairs and scooters, was the largest sector in the market for equipment for people with a disability, accounting for 31.3% of the market total by value. Daily living aids, comprising hearing and speech aids, accounted for 20.7% of market total. Artificial joints, limbs, eyes and other parts of the body accounted for 17.9% of the market total.

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Measuring the benefits of home adaptations

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It’s now 25 years since the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) was introduced by the Government to fund adaptations that enable people to continue to live in their own homes. Since then it has had a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of lives, with around £1.4bn being spent across England in the last five years.

DFGs fund a whole range of work from ramps and stairlifts to wet floor rooms and extensions, reducing the risk of people being admitted into care or hospital as well as enhancing their wellbeing by increasing their independence. Adaptations also allow informal carers to cope better and reduce the risk of breakdowns in support.

Research by Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies, has revealed that people who do need to move into residential care having previously adapted their home with the help of a DFG have delayed the move by four years on average compared with those who haven’t had a DFG. At around £29,000 per year for a residential care placement, this can be a significant saving.

It’s common sense that a well-adapted home will allow someone with a disability to stay living there longer.



The effectiveness of housing adaptations

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Money well spent is the first large-scale study of the outcomes of public expenditure of £250 million a year on housing adaptations in England and Wales.

The research is the result of a unique partnership between housing and occupational therapy professionals and researchers. It presents, for the first time, evidence about the effectiveness of housing adaptations for older people and disabled people of all ages (including children).


Public spending on housing adaptations - permanent or fixed alterations to make homes more suitable for disabled occupants and their families - amounts to more than £220 million every year, and both numerical demand and unit costs are growing. This research examined the effectiveness of these investments from the point of view of those who have to live with them. The study found that:

  • Minor adaptations (grab rails, handrails, etc.) produced a range of lasting, positive consequences for virtually all recipients. Of a range of benefits reported, 62 per cent of respondents suggested they felt safer from the risk of accident as a result of the work done and 77 per cent perceived a positive effect on their health.
  • Major adaptations (bathroom conversions, extensions, lifts, etc.) in most cases had transformed people's lives. Before alterations, people used words like 'prisoner', 'degraded' and 'afraid' to describe their situation; following adaptation work, they spoke of themselves as 'independent', 'useful' and 'confident'. Asked to give the adaptation a mark out of 10, the average score awarded was 8.9.
  • Where major adaptations failed, it was typically because there were weaknesses in the original specification. This was most likely where assessment had been constrained by rigid rules. In some cases, policies intended to save money resulted in major waste. Examples included extensions that were too small and/or too cold to use, and cheap but ineffective substitutes for proper bathing facilities.
  • The evidence from recipients suggests that successful adaptations deliver many of the government's key objectives: they keep people out of hospital, reduce strain on carers, and promote social inclusion. Benefits were most pronounced where there had been careful consultation with users, where the needs of the whole family had been considered, and where the integrity of the home had been respected.
  • The researchers conclude that spending on adaptations appears to be a highly effective use of public resources. They suggest that an investment of health resources to increase over-all funding for adaptations could well be justified.



EIC disability adaptation/repairs


Across the UK we have 1 in 4 homes providing a carers support role usually with a sick child, partner or elderly parents. So, we can provide respite breaks, mobility equipment and any kind of large-scale disability adaptions that may be needed in the family home to help keep families independent.
  • In 2017 the EIC awarded 72 grants for disability adaptations & repairs totalling £114,843
  • In 2018 the EIC awarded 53 grants for disability adaptations & repairs totalling £82,715



Practical Participation Programme

Our invaluable stakeholders within the electrical industries are perfectly placed to support this initiative.

The Practical Participation Programme harnesses your specialist skills in terms of time, equipment and materials - providing practical help where it is needed most.

You will work alongside the EIC (and our leading charity partners) in solving, or contributing to solutions, for those in desperate need of your help.

When will we ask for your participation?

Some of our clients have insufficient heating; or issues with electrical or energy systems, thermostats and essential appliances or fittings.

Our complex case management often involves small-scale building rectification or modification works, often related to disability access.

In certain circumstances we take on fundraising challenges for a specific cause. Practical assistance in terms of materials, skills and equipment can go a long way to delivering large-scale solutions.

Practical Participation Programme

Strong partnerships

As a partner of the EIC you will be making a significant contribution to improving lives for apprentices, employees and their families, right through to retired colleagues.

We believe that for every opportunity to give someone in need a hand-up there is a solution...

Opportunity to assist a 14-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

PPP SOLUTION: We helped purchase a specialised powerchair (£24k) AND landscape the garden to make it wheelchair friendly.

Opportunity to assist a family in critical need

PPP SOLUTION: “Even though I could do much of the electrical work, remodelling our home so our family could care for our seriously ill baby would not have been possible without the EIC.” Under the Practical Participation Programme CEF provided over £7000 of materials.

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Useful Links


9 ways you can improve your mental health
Improve mental wellbeing
Work out your benefit entitlement


Disability equipment and home adaptations
Benefits calculator
Care services equipment