Social Innovations - RDSP

Social Innovations - RDSP

02 June 2016

We recently profiled Social Innovation Generation (SiG), a Canadian organisation leading the way on social innovation in the country. We think they’re a great model to draw inspiration from for our ambitious idea – Social Innovation NI.

SiG have a wide range of initiatives and off shoots that are helping to grow social innovation in Canada and positively affect the lives of Canadians on a daily basis.

Following on from our blog on the MaRS Centre for Impact Investment, nother one of these we’re going to look at in a bit more detail is the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

The RDSP is a Canada-wide registered matched savings plan specific for people with disabilities.

Anyone can contribute to an RDSP- family, friends, neighbours -  it gives people who want to help a way to do so, and is a truly innovative way for people to give.

The money can be invested to grow. Depending on someone’s income, any money saved immediately triples in value. Once investment decisions are made, it can really start to grow.

The RDSP is exempt from most provincial disability and income assistance benefits. It does not get clawed back and it does not reduce people’s disability benefits payments.

People with disabilities can choose what to do with the money when it comes out- there are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, giving people a real sense of independence around their financial affairs which lends to their overall sense of wellbeing.

This method comes as a bit of a shock to those of us from Northern Ireland who are used to a benefits system that is seemingly mired in bureaucracy and hierarchy.

Lots of people currently collecting the likes of Disability Living Allowance would be given the chance at more independence and consistency if a product like RDSP could be designed and implemented in Northern Ireland.

At the Trust, we believe that solutions like this are more likely to be found when sectors and organisations collaborate and work innovatively towards a common goal.

Our idea of a one stop shop for social innovation – Social Innovation NI – could allow for these collaborations to happen. We hope it can be the first step along a road that will lead to the public, private and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sectors working together to find the best solutions to existing social problems.

If you’d like to hear more about Social Innovation NI, or would like to get involved, don’t hesitate to contact Paul Braithwaite who heads up the Trust’s work in this area. He can be easily reached via email or Twitter.

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