Direct Payments Help Paralympian Table Tennis Champion

PeoplePlus’ Direct Payments Services have helped Paralympian Robert Davies to rebuild his life after a rugby accident.

Robert Davies was born in Abergavenny in 1984, a semi-professional rugby player. In September 2005, while playing in a home game against Ynysybwl RFC, a collapsed scrum left him with a broken neck. He was air-lifted to hospital by a helicopter, which half an hour earlier had rescued his twin brother from a road accident. Robert was treated at the University Hospital of Wales where he was initially informed that he would not recover movement in his legs and arms. After moving to Rookwood Hospital specialist spinal unit in Llandaff, he regained some use in his arms and hands. During his rehabilitation he met Welsh table tennis player Sara Head who introduced him to the sport. During this time he was referred for direct payments by Powys Social Services so that he could start rebuilding his life following the accident. With a team of Personal Assistants paid for by his direct payments, he went from strength to strength and moved up the table tennis rankings.

A direct payment is where local authorities and/or health commissioners give assessed care funding as a cash payment to people in need of support, rather than directly provided social care services. Direct payments give people a greater control over their lives and how their care is delivered by promoting independence, choice and inclusion.

PeoplePlus offers a range of person-centred services to support people to manage their direct payments. Our skilled team of advisers work with each individual to ensure the right support package is built and maintained.

Robert comments “Direct Payments are invaluable to a person in my situation. I am physically disabled and without direct payments I’d have probably been living in a care home, or if not I’d be almost house bound waiting around for care teams and district nurses!”

Robert, who plays with the paddle strapped to his hand, joined the Great Britain team in 2007, competing in class 1 single events, and class 1–2 team events. In 2011 he competed in the British table tennis open and took the gold in the Men’s Single class 1 category. That same year he entered the European Championships in Split, Croatia. He and fellow British player Paul Davies took the silver medal in the class 1 Men’s Team competition. In 2012 he represented Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, which saw him come second in his league.

In 2012 Robert travelled to Italy to compete in the 2012 European Championships. There he picked up two gold medals, in the men’s singles. Following his European success, in October 2013, Robert was confirmed as the world number one in the class-1 category. Two years later Robert defended his European title in the Class 1 final in Vejle, Denmark. He followed this by retaining his team gold, this time alongside fellow Welshman Tom Matthews. At the Rio de Janeiro paralympics in 2016, Robert won Gold.

Direct Payments allow me to live! They enable me to live without being held back by my care needs. I arrange support for when and what I need not letting my disability rule my life but I rule the disability! DP’s have made a huge impact on my life allowing me to travel the world, my care needs haven’t held me back they’ve just had to travel with me! I don’t know where I’d be without DP, probably depressed, however I’ve become Paralympic Champion since my tragedy, and the DP’s have had a massive part to play in that!”

Robert was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to table tennis



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