Darlington Association on Disability Logo showing the letters D.A.D. breaking through a wallDarlington Association
on Disability
Centre for Independent Living

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Darlington Association on Disability was established in 1986 as a voluntary and charitable organisation led by disabled people. It exists to promote independence and choice, and supports disabled people and carers through the provision of services, support and information and by tackling issues locally and nationally. DAD promotes the social model of disability, and as part of that remit is actively involved in promoting disability equality and awareness of anti discrimination legislation.

DAD acts as a focal point for consultation with disabled people and carers. It also manages a range of services / projects to support its aims.

Learning and Skills

Learning and Skills are running FREE Volunteering Level 1 and Level 2 Awards
This is free course to understand the role and responsibilities of a volunteer, how to build strong, working relationships, improve
communication skills and understand the value of equality and diversity. This course will help you develop the skills you may need to become a
Level 1 (8 weeks)
Starts: Monday 2nd March 2020
Ends: Monday 4th May 2020
Venue: The Coleridge Centre
Level 2 (8 weeks)
Starts: Monday 11th May 2020
Ends: Monday 6th July 2020
Venue: The Coleridge Centre
Booking is essential. To book a place or for more information please contact Learning & Skills:
CALL: 01325 405601 TEXT: 07932 869325 EMAIL: l&s@darlington.gov.uk
WEB: www.darlington.gov.uklearningandskills

Consultations stopped due to unprecedented demand on hospital services 31 January 2020

Due to unprecedented demand on inpatient hospital beds and taking into consideration patient, carer and stakeholder feedback the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in County Durham and Darlington have decided to stop the consultations on stroke rehabilitation and ward 6 at Bishop Auckland Hospital (BAH) with immediate effect.†† NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG, NHS Darlington CCG and NHS North Durham CCG believe that the clinical proposals presented for both ward 6 and stroke rehabilitation are valid, however the current level of demand for inpatient beds has far exceeded expectations and this needs to be taken into account.† As local leaders responsible for planning and buying healthcare for the local population, the CCGs have taken a number of different factors into consideration when reaching the decision to stop the consultations.† They, along with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust remain committed to the long term future of Bishop Auckland Hospital. The CCGs have also carried out further analysis of the complexity of patientsí health conditions and given the unprecedented pressure faced across the health system during the winter have concluded that the proposed model of care is not deliverable at the moment. Significant improvements are being made to the community element of the stroke pathway and there is an acknowledgement that additional therapy support is also required for hospital based stroke rehabilitation and ward 6.† This means that there will be dedicated therapy provision made for stroke services on both Bishop Auckland Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham (UHND) sites and additional resources will be made available on ward 6 to enhance the level of therapy for patients.†† The consultations recently resumed following a pause just before Christmas due to the General Election. The local NHS will continue to review services across County Durham and Darlington to ensure high quality services are available to all, whilst ensuring where possible care is delivered close to home.† The CCGs would like to thank everyone that has contributed to the public consultation to date and apologise for any inconvenience caused. Background information about the consultations is available on the CCG websites:






Mencapís Wills and Trusts

Mencapís Wills and Trusts team are holding free a free Planning For the Future seminar for parents and carers of someone with a learning impairment in Durham on Tuesday 24th March from 12.30 pm Ė 2.30 pm, as well as many other area across the country. During the seminar you will find out how you can ensure your loved one will continue to live a fulfilling life, with financial security - giving you peace of mind. A solicitor who specialises in this area of the law will also be there to answer any questions. Follow the link for more information and to book your free place.


County Durham Time to Change Hubs Attitude Survey

In March 2019 County Durham was selected as one of eight new national Hubs to receive funding with the aim of helping change the way people think and act about mental health problems. The funding has been awarded by national mental health campaign Time to Change, follows the success of an application by Investing in Children (IiC) and Durham County Council, supported by local NHS bodies and voluntary and community sector organisations with in the Stamp It Out campaign group. The County Durham Time To Change Hub's 'Mental Health Attitudes Survey' is open to any individual living or working in County Durham, both young people and adults. The survey is open until 14 February 2020 and the results will help inform the priorities for the future of the County Durham Time To Change Hub and the County Durham mental health anti-stigma campaign group Stamp It Out. To access the survey, click here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HLT255T

Support us with Amazon

You can now support DAD every time you buy something from Amazon buy registering with Amazon Smile If you are already registered just go to Amazon smile and choose Darlington Association on Disability. If not its quick and easy to register if you are on line shopping.


Healthwatch Darlington

Healthwatch Darlington are working in partnership with Healthwatch England all this week (13th-19th January 2020) encouraging the Darlington
public to tell them more about their experiences of health and social care, what works and what they would like to improve as part of
their #SpeakUp2020 campaign.
People can tell them their views all week simply by clicking www.healthwatch.co.uk/speak-202


ThildFair State Inquiry

Congratulations to Lauren, one of DAD's Young Leaders, who has been successful with her application to join 24 other young leaders from across the UK to be part of the ChildFair State Inquiry.

Funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, this is an ambitious and thoroughly youth-led project that will produce a vision for public services and communities that is genuinely owned and championed by the younger generation who can take it forward into reality.

Well done Lauren!

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for DAD!

Our intrepid explorer, Emily Newton, has now set off on her long journey to climb one of most famous mountains in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise funds for DAD.

Can you please support her to get to the top by helping her achieve her amazing fundraising target for DAD?

Emily has covered all her own travel and accommodation costs so every penny will go directly to DAD. Emily has already raised over £3000 for DAD with a fantastic fundraising ball supported by friends, family and local businesses at The George Hotel in Piercebridge.

Emily now needs everyone’s support to reach her target of £4000 so please give generously if you can or send a message of support and encouragement. You can donate on Emily’s fundraising page, OR go directly to DAD's Virgin Money web page

Are you interested in museums?

Would you like to raise awareness of the issues faced by disabled people within local museums or influence and advise the future direction of the museums?

Friday 11th October 2019, 10.30am to 12noon, Preston Park Museum and Grounds

Tees Valley Museums Group are developing a Disability Action Group to provide advice and support to museums in the Tees Valley on how to improve access to their venues, exhibitions and services.

"We are holding an event at Preston Park Museum at 10.30am on Friday 11th October where you can come along to find out more about what is involved in being part of this group.

As part of this there will be a talk by the artist Simon Mckeown, an award winning internationally exhibiting artist renowned for his work which touches on and considers disability as well as our digital futures. Refreshments will be available.

For further information or to book a place please contact Jo-Anne Cole or call 01642 528867. Please let us know if you have any access or dietary requirements."

(Tees Valley Museum Group is a consortium of the 5 local authorities and is made up of Preston Park Museum & Grounds, Kirkleatham Museum, Head of Steam Darlington Railway Museum, Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Dorman Museum, Museum of Hartlepool and Hartlepool Art Gallery)

An Accessible Home is a Human Right

Our Chief Executive, Lauren Robinson, has featured in a national newsletter this week, The Housing LIN, having been invited to write a blog about the role of Disabled Peoples User Led organisations in Housing and people’s rights to an accessible home.

Improve your heart health

Do you want to improve your Heart Health?

If so, why not join our Hearts Delite Project. Come along to our launch event on 29th July, 11.30 - 14.00 at The Independent Living Hub. Please visit this link to see a PDF poster of the events. To book a place or for more information, phone: 01325 254840 or email the Hub

Help shape the future of the NHS and care

Disabled people, those living with a long-term health condition and their families, now have the opportunity to help shape the future of services in England by sharing their experiences of the NHS and the care system with the regulator for the NHS in England - The Care Quality Commission (CQC). We received an outstanding response to our previous request for feedback to the CQC, and would like to take the opportunity to give those unable to respond at the time the chance to share their experiences of the NHS and care services with the CQC.

The CQC acknowledge that they have not previously planned the future of NHS and care services with input from disabled people and their families, so they are asking that we invite you to share with them, in confidence, your experiences through their Tell Us About Your Care programme. It allows you to provide the CQC first-hand with your experiences – during hospital stays, GP visits, accessing care services, etc. You can also do so anonymously. The simple to complete questionnaire will ask you for details of the location of the establishment and to describe your experiences as a user of their services.

The Tell Us About Your Care page can be located via this link. Once you have completed the questionnaire, we ask that you share this email with your family and friends so that they too can offer their own experience.

If you are unable to complete the survey online, please call us Monday – Friday on 0330 995 0400 and choose Option 1 (afternoons are quietest) and we can complete the survey for you and send your response to the CQC on your behalf.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be a key provider of evidence to help shape the future of your care.

Learning Disability Newsletter: Issue 9 (Easy Read)

In this issue of the learning disability newsletter you can find out about the NHS Long Term Plan, looking after your eyes, Summary Care Records, learning from people’s deaths, getting medication right for children and young people, personalised care,.getting support in the criminal justice system and the NHS 111 helpline.

People's Parliament

DAD supports the work of Darlington’s People’s Parliament, a self-advocacy group for people with learning impairments and / or Autism.

In 2017 a partnership was formed between DAD and Darlington Building Society to support self-advocacy and the work of Darlington’s People’s Parliament.

This short video from People’s Parliament thanks Darlington Building Society for their support and explains a bit more about the work of Darlington’s People’s Parliament.

For more information about People’s Parliament please contact Jenny Byers on 01325 489999.

Stop Speak Support Day focussing on cyberbullying.

Lauren, one of DAD's Young Leaders, has been working with other young people from the Anti-Bullying Alliance, NSPCC and The Diana Award to write and produce this video which is being used to launch the Stop Speak Support campaign.

As part of her involement in this work Lauren attended the Anti-Bullying Week Parliamentary Event at Portcullis House in Westminster and attended the Stop Speak Support campaign launch.

Find out about how you can get involved in Stop Speak Support and make the internet a better place to be

Legal costs for Charity Welfare Exemption VAT appeal

DAD Trustees have decided to support this very important appeal by Cheshire Centre for Independent Living as the outcome could affect the future of many Disabled People's organisations and individuals who are employers and need a payroll support service to assist them. Please visit this link for more information.

Independent Support

Unfortunately DAD will no longer be providing Independent Support to families and young people, further details can be found here.

Keeping in touch with DAD

An important part of DAD’s work is our partnership with local people, which supports our aim to improve the lives of disabled people, children and carers locally. From time to time we contact people to give updates on our work and other local and national issues which impact on the lives of disabled people.

For us to continue to keep in touch with you after the 25th May 2018, we need your permission to contact you in the future.

If you have not received a consent form to complete, you can email us or complete the online consent form and give us permission to continue to contact you and keep you updated.

Please visit the Privacy Statement page to see how we handle personal data and how we meet the new legislation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Autism and Labelling

Please visit the Disability Equality Training page to read Alisha's blog. Alisha is one of DAD's Young Leaders and she wrote this blog as part of her work with FLARE. DAD thinks this blog is so important that we are incorporating it into DAD’s Disability Awareness training.

Participation and Co-Production

DAD supports and encourages co-production and children and young people’s participation as a result of which a new section called Participation and Co-Production has been added to the website.

DAD is a safe place to be

'Safe places' are open to anyone (adults or children) who feel threatened, intimidated or anxious and provide a point of contact and offer a range of help - from a chance to talk to someone over a cup of tea, to help with reporting an incident to the police.

All Safe places in Darlington will display the logo below.

Safe Place logo with making our Community a safe place text

Follow this link for a full list of 'Safe Places' in Darlington.

What OfSTED said about DASH…

‘Children are confident and self-assured to lead their own play.’

‘Staff effectively foster children's emotional well-being. They are caring and reassuring to children who are fairly new to the setting. This helps children to develop strong bonds and secure attachments and to settle quickly in their surroundings.’

‘Partnerships with parents are positive. Staff communicate well with them and provide feedback about their children's activities and daily routines.’

‘The quality and standards of the early years provision - Good’

On Tuesday 8th August our Honey Bears play scheme was inspected by OfSTED as part of the routine inspection process, giving the play scheme an overall rating of Good.

We are delighted with the outcome of the inspection and the hard work of the Children and Young People’s Service and the volunteers who support DASH to ensure that we continue to provide a high quality service.

A full copy of the report can be found here

New hate crime service acts as the Voice of Victims

A NEW and unique service to support victims of hate crime was launched at an event on July 25th 2017.

The Hate Crime Advocacy Service (HCAS) works directly with victims and witnesses of hate crimes and incidents to help them through the process of prosecution. It can also help them to cope with the crime to which they have been subjected.

Darlington Association on Disability, QuerKey CIC, and Show Racism the Red Card have partnered with Ron Hogg, Police, Crime & Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington to create this unique advocacy service. By being a buffer between the victims and the various agencies from the Police to the Crown Prosecution Service or the courts, the advocates can enable better experience and outcomes from the criminal justice process.

Ron Hogg said: “Not all victims need an advocate but hate crime victims are more likely to need one. The knowledge and expertise of the three organisations is now available to victims. My intention is that victims should remain at the centre of any prosecution and this project will go a long way to improve how victims of hate crime cope and recover from the experience of crimes targeted at people just because of who they are or what faith they have.”

Laws are in place to protect victims of targeted behaviours relating to race, faith, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. HCAS draws on the expertise of three organisations which offer support for victims of all strands of Hate Crime.

Each agency has expertise in their sector and together they will provide a unique service for victims of crime. Victims of all types of hate crime can benefit from using the service.

Emma Roebuck, Director QuerKey CIC said: "The voice of the victim is seldom heard in the prosecutions of crime. This leaves the victim adrift and without the opportunity to move beyond the crime and back into normal life. This project will give that voice from the point of reporting to beyond the court room."

Lauren Robinson, Chief Executive at Darlington Association on Disability said: “Many disabled people are not aware of Hate Crime but are victims of bullying, name calling and other actions on a daily basis, due to their impairment. This leaves people feeling powerless, isolated, angry or vulnerable. The Hate Crime Advocacy Service will give victims somewhere to turn to where they know they will be listened to. Anyone who feels they have been a victim of Hate Crime will be able to receive support from the service. Speaking to an advocate who has experience of Hate Crime may be all that someone needs to support them to cope.”

Olivier Bernard, ex Newcastle player and owner/manager of Durham City Football Club, has worked with Show Racism the Red Card for many years. He said: “I first arrived in the North East in 2000 and was welcomed with open arms. The region is now my home and I love being treated as ‘North Easterner’. Since becoming owner of Durham City FC, the people of Durham have been incredibly welcoming too.

“I am really pleased that this new service will now be available to those who have not been as fortunate as me. Hate Crime has no place in our towns and cities and I would strongly encourage everyone to show the same spirit of acceptance towards members of their communities, irrespective of their identity, as they have shown towards me.”

Victims or witnesses of a hate crime can obtain free, confidential support by email at: hcasdurham2017@gmail.com or call 01325 267359.

Further Hate Crime Information

For advice on how to report Hate Crime, please visit the Hate Crime section where advice for reporting is at the top of the page as well as more information.

Share your experience

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are seeking responses from people living with a disability on their experience of using the services that they regulate; hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, care at home services, for example. There are only 5 questions, you can answer anonymously and your answers will help the CQC’s aim of improving the overall quality of care in England. Please follow this link to their website.

The Disabled Children’s Partnership

The Disabled Children’s Partnership is a coalition of more than 45 charities that joined forces earlier this year to campaign for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families.

For more information and to support the campaign please visit the Disabled Children’s Partnership website

Darlington Learning Impairment Network

Darlington Learning Impairment Network have produced their third open letter about the language we use and how this can impact on people’s life.

People’s Parliament with DAD’s support have been involved with this and is worth a read as it is an important reminder that we reflect and think carefully about the language and words we use.

Being disabled in Britain: a journey less equal

Being disabled in Britain is a review into disability inequality in Great Britain. It builds on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s statutory five-yearly report on equality and human rights progress in England, Scotland and Wales.

Support DAD

DAD is always grateful for any support given in these very difficult times. Work is underway to re-focus efforts to attract any help, support or finance into DAD and our support page has had a re-write with further developments to come as well as being moved higher up the website index bar. Please take a moment to read the page and contact us if you have any suggestions. Thank you.

DAD is looking for new Company Members.

Can you support us by becoming a Company Member of DAD?

Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) is a charity limited by guarantee this means it is a charity and a company.

DAD runs projects and schemes that have members like Shopmobility, Carers, Young Leaders, Stakeholders and the Independent Living Hub for example. We are pleased to have so many members of groups and projects getting actively involved but it has led to some confusion over the membership of DAD itself.

The confusion comes from the misunderstanding around DAD Membership. Many people who are members of these groups, projects and schemes believe they are members of DAD, but unfortunately they are not.

To be a DAD company member you must be a member of the company and DAD would like as many people as possible to be a DAD company member whether they are already members of a group, project or scheme within the organisation or not. Volunteers, service users or anyone who is interested in disability or carer issues are welcome.

Company membership is free; however, anyone wishing to be a member must agree to the company Memorandum of Articles agree to abide by them. The Memorandum of Articles can be translated or read out and explained if that is what someone prefers.

DAD company members and only DAD company members can vote at the AGM or any General Meeting. Only DAD company members can become Trustees of DAD and only DAD company members can make changes to DAD’s Governance. DAD aims to ensure that disabled people and carers have control over their own lives and by becoming a DAD company member you will be helping us to continue our essential work.

Please apply now to be a DAD company member. If you think you are already, please still get in contact with us so we can check.

There is a facility now for membership to be applied for online, to do so please visit the DAD Membership section

To check if you are a DAD company member or for any other enquiries, please contact Judith on 01325 489999 or email Judith Gledhill

Care Act 2014

The Care Act received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014. It has replaced previous care and support law and will provide:

• A minimum eligibility threshold across the country - a set of criteria that makes it clear when local authorities will have to provide support to people.
• A local authority duty to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual needing care. They will also have a new duty to provide preventative services to maintain people’s health.
• The care system to be built around each person - through Personal Budgets.
• Carers to be entitled to an assessment in their own right.

Factsheets have been produced to accompany Part 1 of the Act and will come into force on 1st April 2015 (unless otherwise noted).

DAD Stakeholder Forum - register your interest now!

Darlington Association on Disability is a user led organisation. To help us to be as user led as possible we hold a regular Stakeholder Forum. Members of the Forum consist of all the Trustees, the Senior Management Team, service users or their representatives, representatives from DAD projects, interested DAD members and other DAD staff when relevant. The Stakeholder Forum has a non-decision making role, but offers opportunities to bring new ideas and influence DAD Trustees and the Senior Management Team. For example, DAD members could:

• bring ideas and concerns about our day to day operations;

• suggest how alternative funding might be obtained;

• contribute to or challenge our policies;

• put forward proposals on how we could do even more for disabled people and carers.

DAD projects, particularly new ones or ones that have changed over time use the Forum to explain what they do and how, as well as encourage members of the Forum to voice their opinions.  All proposed new projects can use the Forum as a valuable sounding board.  Any Forum member is able to put relevant items on the agenda within a set timescale.

We propose to hold a Stakeholder Forum two or three times a year, taking up a full morning or afternoon. We propose to vary meeting dates to include school holiday periods so young people can attend as well as term time to accommodate those with childcare needs.

If you are a DAD service user, DAD volunteer, DAD member or representative of a DAD project and you wish to be a member of DAD’s Stakeholder Forum please contact our Chair, Gordon Pybus, to register your interest. Email Gordon Pybus or phone 01325 489 999.

DAD Statement on Consultation

DAD welcomes the opportunity for consultation, and will endeavour at all times to provide information and advice which, if followed, would result in the best possible outcome for disabled people.

DAD recognises that consultation often forms one part of a larger decision making process, and that outcomes may not always reflect the balance of views that DAD has provided or the outcomes that it has advised.

Organisations must not expect DAD to endorse decisions made, following a process of consultation or advice-giving, where the final outcome does not reflect the views of, or advice provided by, DAD or gives the impression in any way that DAD does endorse said decisions.

Third Party Reporting Centre-Press Release

Hate Incidents and Crimes are generally reported straight to the police, however, if people would prefer not to, or need support they can now report any hate incident/crime against a disabled person through Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) during office hours, 9:30 - 5, Mon - Fri.

A hate incident is any incident which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived to be motivated by prejudice or hate against disabled people.
For example - Name calling, verbal abuse or harassment
A hate crime is a hate incident which does constitute a criminal offence, and again is motivated by prejudice or hate against disabled people.
For example - Attacks, physical abuse and Graffiti
The victim, a witness or any other person who knows or believes a hate crime/incident has taken place can make a report.

So why report it? The third party reporting system allows you to report a hate incident/crime to the police through DAD by giving us as little or as much information as you wish. All reports are kept confidential. By reporting it, it will enable the police to act upon such incidents and also build up patterns of behaviour and areas within the community where hate incidents and crimes are being committed, enabling them to allocate resources more effectively.
Safety and security, and the right to live free from fear and harassment, are fundamental human rights.

Gordon Pybus, Chair of DAD said “It is vitally important that disabled people should always report any hate incident or crime because what could be just name calling one day could easily escalate into a serious incident even leading to a fatality.”

Mike Cleasby, Valuing People Co-ordinator (Darlington Borough Council) said “The Council is committed to working in partnership with people with disabilities, DAD & the Police to increase public confidence and reduce the fear of crime. This scheme will allow an alternative way for people to report hate crime incidents, and will show perpetrators that we have a seamless approach to tackling this issue.”

Inspector Mark Button, Darlington Neighbourhood Team said “The police in Darlington recognise the importance of such an initiative that would improve the process of reporting such incidents, and we will fully support this integrated partnership approach to ensure it’s success.”

If you would like to report a hate incident/crime or for more information, please telephone 01325 489999 or email DAD

How you can support us

Make a donation

Our trustees and staff are working hard to save DAD’s services and we would appreciate any support you are able to give. One way to acknowledge the difference DAD has made to your life would be to make a regular monthly donation to DAD.

Visit our page on the justgiving website JustGiving to make a secure online donation. The page also allows you to follow our fundraising activities and sponsor an activity. You can also make a donation by calling in to any of DAD's offices. A regular donation to DAD would enable us to continue with our work, supporting disabled people and carers. If you would like to make a regular donation by Direct Debit please contact our Business Support Officer, Judith, at Enterprise House.

Mission Statement

Darlington Association on Disability is an organisation led by disabled people, which exists to promote independence and choice.

DAD supports disabled people and carers through the provision of services, support and information and by tackling issues affecting disabled people both locally and nationally.

Safe Place logo with making our Community a safe place text

Investor in People logoDial UK Serving the Disability Network logo