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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A Brief History of DAD

First established in 1986 and the very first Annual Report is now online.

First aims were to:

Increase access

Bring ALL disabled people together

Regular social evenings

The organisation was originally based at Walkington House with 1 paid secretary. The Church used it in the evening, so typewriter, word processor, photocopier and telephone had to be unplugged and put away in a cupboard at the end of the day!


Took over local parent run playscheme

Appointed Lauren Robinson as Co-ordinator

Began to recruit volunteers


Christine Bennett joined, giving increased admin skills

DAD began to expand

Set up Volunteer Project

First Access Guide produced

1990: moved to Friends Meeting House in Skinnnergate. We had 3 staff.

1993: moved to Horsemarket

1993: Shopmobility started up.

1994: Carers Support Project launched

1996: Information Service launched

1998: Access Interest group launched

1998: Dimensions Disability Initiative launched

2000: DAD marked the millennium with a flurry of activity. We published our first newsletter, keeping members up to date and creatively called ‘Voice of the Millennium’!

We also launched a DAD membership scheme and held a competition to design a new logo, resulting in our current iconic brick wall and DAD ‘breaking through barriers.’

In this year, DAD also published its Information Guide, a handy resource of local and national disability information. The website was also launched.

2001: 3 three volunteers and staff also became qualified trainers to deliver accredited Disability Equality Training. DAD has been delivering Disability Equality Training ever since.

2002: Direct Payments Support Service launched on behalf of the Council, based at Pease House.

DAD held its first General Meeting at Dimensions, West Lodge for members to have a say in future developments and influence the work of DAD.

2005: Saw the launch of the Wheelygood website; an innovative accessibility map for Darlington Town Centre designed by DAD with funding from the Council’s Local Transport Plan. It went on to win the Institution of Highways and Transportation Accessibility Award in 2006.

2005 was Year of the Volunteer. DAD held a recognition evening for all our volunteers, now numbering 160.

The Parents Forum was launched.

2006: DAD worked with the Council to produce its Disability Equality Scheme.

2007: Shopmobility celebrated its 40,000 customer.

2008: DAD became a Company limited by guarantee and in November the Parents Forum was re-launched, subsequently parent led and set up as a separate organisation CDCD (Carers of Disabled Children in Darlington.)

2009: DAD became a third party reporting centre for disability hate crime and Young Leaders began.

2010: Saw an explosion of activity within DAD. This was the year Carers Support Service went into partnership with YMCA to deliver Young Carers Project. Mentoring for Independence Project began at Dimensions, Citizen Experts began to be recruited and DAD began to support the Learning Disability Parliament.