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Annual Report 2006

Chairs Report

Over this past year we have been focused on driving forward the culture change needed to break through the most significant barriers facing disabled people and to this end we remain committed to partnership working with others who share our vision and values.

As a disability organisation led by disabled people we recognise the importance of disabled people being involved in the decisions that will affect them and we have been extremely active over the last year supporting and encouraging disabled people to be involved in consultation both locally and nationally as well as keeping people well informed of the many changes that could impact on their lives.

Demand on our services continues to grow and I am very grateful to all our staff and volunteers for their professionalism in meeting this demand and delivering a quality service.

I would like to acknowledge the role played by the Manager Lauren Robinson and her deputy Jacki Hiles in making Darlington Association on Disability an organisation that is envied by other towns. This is particularly important at a time when the Government is calling for all towns to have organisations such as ours in its “Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People” strategy.

I am immensely thankful to all our financial supporters and offer them our warmest thanks. However the constant struggle to secure core funding is ever present and it is this funding that is vital if Darlington Association on Disability is to continue to take a leading role in changing negative attitudes that prevent disabled people participating fully as equal citizens.

Last but not least I would like to thank my fellow trustees, for their continued hard work and commitment to Darlington Association on Disability.

Gordon Pybus


Impact Report 2006


Access Interest Group
Better Play Project
Carers Support Service
CSCI Service User Involvement Project
Dimensions Disability Initiative
Direct Payment Support Service
Disability Equality Training
Information Service
Parents Forum
Volunteer Project

Access Interest Group

Aims in 2005-6

Highlight good practice around access issues

Involve disabled people in the work of the Access Interest Group

Raise access issues and concerns with planners and providers

Promote the Disability Discrimination Act and other legislation


Third ‘Access for All’ awards held in partnership with Darlington Borough Council to recognise and encourage organisations and businesses striving to be accessible for everyone

Visit from Pendle Council to look at the partnership work between the Access Interest Group and Darlington Borough Council. Following the visit Pendle Council produced a recommendation document based on Darlington 's model of good practice. Pendle Council also intend to set up their own disability group.

Paid administration support secured for the Access Interest Group

Continued work with Darlington Borough Council Highways Department to prioritise the provision of dropped kerbs following completion of a survey

Put together a recommendation document for access requirements whilst work is being carried out on the Pedestrian Heart.

Continued to work closely with Darlington Borough Council to make progress towards making all of its public buildings accessible, including plans for the Arts Centre and a sensory room within the Dolphin Centre

Made links with Police probation officers. Probationers spent time at DAD gaining an understanding of disability and access issues

Businesses and individuals continued to seek and act on advice given on Disability issues

Aims for next year

In addition to carrying forward the aims from this year the Access Interest Group intends to-

Work with Darlington Borough Council to develop and produce their Disability Equality Scheme

Continue the popular ‘Access for All’ Awards

Encourage disabled people to take up their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act

Review the format of meetings for the Access Interest Group and explore the possibility of themed meetings

Received agreement from Darlington Memorial Hospital to attend a future Access Interest Group meeting

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Better Play Project

Aims in 2005-6

Increase opportunities for inclusive play within DASH

Work with individual children and families to locate and use opportunities for inclusive play and leisure

Provide training to DASH staff, volunteers and Community Partners

Work with external organisations to become more inclusive

Seek funding and support for a bridging service to ensure the continuation of the project

Market and deliver training to external providers

Work at a strategic level to improve inclusive play for disabled children in Darlington and Sedgefield

Ensure that inclusive play remains high on the planning agenda for health and social services  


Positive feedback from parents in a report on the restructuring of DASH prepared by a student from the University of Northumbria.  

Range of joint activities provided in partnership with other organisations

32 children experienced inclusive play supported by the Better Play project

Inclusive play training delivered to DASH staff and external partners through Kidsactive

Training package developed, comprising four short courses including Communication, the Disability Discrimination Act, Disability Awareness and Inclusive Play

Enabled two DASH co-ordinators to attend PIP (Planning Inclusive Play) Training to extend their skills in working in inclusive play settings

Planned and delivered a Sportsability programme, in partnership with Darlington Borough Council Leisure Services and the Children's Trust. The six week programme allowed disabled children to experience a variety of sports

Secured 3 year funding from the Big Lottery to continue the development of inclusive play and leisure, which began in March

Aims for next year

Combine existing work with children, young people and their parents into a new service - Children and Young People Service (ChYPS)

Secure match funding for first year of new service

Develop systems for consulting and involving children and young people

Support the development of a local inclusive play strategy

Support 10 children to access inclusive play and leisure activities

Continue to ensure high quality play opportunities through DASH

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Carers Support Service

Aims in 2005-6

Raise awareness of the Carers Support Service and encourage carers to identify themselves

Provide support to carers through the provision of information, advice and groups

Maintain the Carers Register. Increase the number of carers on the register from 943 to 1000

Encourage and support carers to monitor and shape local services through consultation and involvement

Improve the quality of services through involvement in Darlington Carers Strategy and by delivering training on carers awareness and assessments to Care Managers and other professionals


Increased the number of carers on the Carers Register to 982

10 Fact Sheets available providing specific information to carers

Guide for carers of people with Mental Ill-Health printed

Conference held during Carers Week where carers were given the opportunity to share their views with policy makers

Ensured that all carers groups had input into planning and development of local carer services

Successful grant application in partnership with Darlington YMCA secured the development of a local computer facility with an opportunity for carers to receive training

Piloted an outreach service at Darlington Memorial Hospital

Provided 424 individual support sessions to carers

Administered the Carers Short Break Holiday Fund which distributed £6643 from the Carers Grant to enable 39 carers and 2 young carers to take a short break

Recruited a Health Link Worker to raise awareness and support for carers in GP surgeries

Identified and secured funding for a second Complimentary therapist following the positive evaluation of the Saturday therapies

Aims for next year

In addition to carrying forward the aims from this year, the Carers Support Service intends to:-

Train GP Surgery staff on carers issues and identify a carers champion in each surgery

Develop a Healthy Living course

Work with the Carers Strategy Steering Group to move forward the development of staff training at Darlington Memorial Hospital

Distribute the guide for carers of people with mental ill health

Replace support groups with regular daytime and evening social opportunities for all carers

Run an Introduction to Caring course for new carers

Work with Social Services to develop mechanisms for sharing key information to enable both services to map carers

Prepare for the forthcoming Tendering process

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CSCI Service User Involvement Project

In July 2005 the Commission for Social Care Inspection (the Commission for Social Care Inspection) commissioned a piece of work - the Service User Involvement Project - using the skills and experiences of nine user-led organisations (one per CSCI region) to try out different ways of engaging service users locally in inspection activities. DAD was asked to bring together a group of people - ‘Experts by Experience’ - with sensory impairments, who work with DAD on this short-term project.


Explore ways of providing CSCI with a range of mechanisms with which to improve their inspection process, focussing on obtaining information from, and involving, people with sensory impairments

Deliver training to local Commission for Social Care Inspection Inspectors

Support Experts by Experience to accompany Inspectors on 10 inspections

Develop a toolkit of information for Inspectors

Produce a report for the Commission for Social Care Inspection detailing the work done by the project and outlining ways in which the Commission for Social Care Inspection could better engage with people with sensory impairments


Brought together a group of people who experience sensory impairments to look at ways of improving communication between inspectors and service users in residential homes in the region

Held three consultation meetings where members gave their views on issues that inspections in residential and nursing homes should be focusing on with regard to equality and inclusion for residents with sensory impairments

Delivered Disability Equality Training to 21 Inspectors. Very positive feedback was received

Six inspectors were accompanied by Experts by Experience on a total of 10 inspections

Reviewed the CSCI comments card from an Independent Living perspective and made recommendations on access to the card for people with sensory impairments

Worked on removing some of the communication barriers that prevent inspectors from seeking the views of people with sensory impairments and deaf people

Developed an on-line Toolkit for Inspectors and Residential and Nursing Homes managers to use, which outline ways of removing barriers to effective communication

Gave a presentation on the pilot project to 200 home owners/managers.

Aims for next year

The project was time-limited but the Commission for Social Care Inspection have indicated that a longer term project will emerge from the findings. DAD may have an opportunity to tender for some of this work.

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Aims in 2005-6

Provide inclusive play opportunities for disabled children living in Darlington and the surrounding districts

Provide play in a safe, welcoming and fun setting to ensure that all children and young people who use DASH enjoy themselves

Continue to support other mainstream play and leisure settings in working towards inclusion


132 children used DASH between summer 2005 and Easter 2006

Provided 1200 places over this period

Ran 4 playschemes on two sites to cater for children of differing ages and needs

Achieved Ofsted ‘Good’ rating

Provided a wide range of free play, structured activities and outings which gave children the opportunity to play in an inclusive setting and have new experiences

Employed a team of 24 sessional staff

Recruited, trained and supported over 70 volunteers over the year

Provided a broad range of training to staff and volunteers including:

Kids active inclusion

Disability Equality

Manual Handling

Policies and procedures

Child protection

Non-violent crisis intervention

Paediatric resuscitation

Working with volunteers

Working with parents and carers

First Aid

Aims for next year

Provide inclusive play opportunities for disabled children living in Darlington and the surrounding districts

Provide play in a safe, welcoming and fun setting to ensure that all children and young people who use DASH enjoy themselves

Continue to support other mainstream play and leisure settings in working towards inclusion

Ensure that Ofsted continue to rank DASH as a good or excellent setting

Secure longer term funding for DASH

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Dimensions Disability Initiative

Aims in 2005-6

Continue to develop as a user led initiative

Promote the Social Model of Disability and a positive image of disabled people

Promote self progression and inclusion in respect of education, training, leisure, voluntary experience and employment

Recruit a sufficient numbers of referrals ensuring that Dimensions Disability Initiative reaches full capacity


39 members accessed Dimensions

Continued to campaign for ‘effective consultation’. This has included:-

Darlington Borough Council Transport Provision

The Green Paper: Proposals for the future of Social Care.

Darlington Borough Council Equalities Consultation

Community Carnival

Developed and maintained strong links with Social Services Department and Health Services and reinforced the Social Model approach by offering Social Services and Occupational Therapist students work placements

Piloted an Outreach Service supporting disabled people to access Dimensions

Continued to work with Darlington Borough Council Social Services Department and other local organisations on promotion and the recruitment of new members

Personal Development Plans have been devised by all members

87% of members have accessed education, training courses, voluntary work and or community projects

Two members have devised and delivered courses to other members:-

The Art of Calligraphy - levels 1and 2

Deaf Awareness

Six members received Adult Learner Awards

Contract secured by Dimensions Art and Design with Darlington Football Club to design and deliver 200 Valentine Cards which were presented to guests at a promotional dinner

Continued to support members who wished to prepare for employment. This included accessing-

‘Make Work Happen’ conference

Job Centre Plus

Advance Employment

Six members completed exit strategies which have led to further education, new learning opportunities and employment prospects

Aims for next year

In addition to carrying forward the aims from this year Dimensions Disability Initiative intends to-

Explore ways to recruit young disabled people (18 - 25 years)

Develop additional disability related courses

Secure funding for additional learning opportunities

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Direct Payment Support Service

Aims in 2005-6

Provide support to people who use or are considering using a direct payment

Provide flexible and responsive support to enable service users to manage their direct payment and achieve control and choice over how they live their lives

Promote service user involvement at all levels in the development of direct payments

Promote and support equality of access to direct payments


109 people supported by the Direct Payment Support Service to use direct payments

Received and supported new referrals from 81 service users.

90% of service users used their direct payment to employ a personal assistant, giving them the greatest control over how their assistance is provided

Increased the number of referrals from carers and parents of disabled children

Information on direct payments, D.A.D and the role of other organisations produced in community languages

Racial equality training delivered to staff

Resource pack under development to provide support for projects within DAD to be accessible to people from minority communities

Resources acquired to enable information to be provided in a pictorial format

Doubled the number of people using direct payments from minority communities as a result of active engagement with communities to deliver information about direct payments

Promoted direct payments to 20 different community organisations

Developed and facilitated an active peer support group and User Involvement Forum

Increased the awareness of the use of ‘self assessment’ as a tool to achieve independence

Held a Celebration Event in July attended by over 50 people which brought disabled people and other stakeholders together to recognise the achievements of direct payments and to identify the work which still needs doing to make independence a reality. Alan Desborough from the National Centre for Independent Living spoke at the event which also included Moveable Feast, a disabled person's theatre and training company

Aims for next year

In addition to carrying forward the aims from this year, the Direct Payments Support Service intends to:-

Ensure direct payments are available to people with mental health needs

Find solutions to the barriers which some people encounter in accessing a direct payment. This work will include people who do not wish or are not able to become employers

Improve the ways in which employers are supported

Continue to work actively to promote direct payments as an option to people from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities

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Disability Equality Training

  Aims in 2005-6

Promote the Social Model through Disability Equality Training (DET) and Disability Awareness

Enable disabled people to have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Social Model. Using skills and confidence to share and promote this knowledge to others

Generate unrestricted income for DAD.

Increase awareness of DAD's work throughout Darlington and the surrounding areas

Secure new contracts for Disability Equality and Disability Awareness Training

Examine the possibility of becoming a member of the Open College Network North East and devising new accredited courses


Training delivered to a wide range of professionals representing organisations in Darlington and the surrounding areas. This has included contracts with the following organisations;

Commission for Social Care Inspectorate (CSCI)

Darlington Borough Council

Sedgefield Positive Inclusion Partnership

Pioneering Care Partnership

Darlington College (Darlington & Catterick sites)

180 participants received a full days training.

99% of participants evaluated the training as ‘very relevant (74%) or relevant (25%)’ to career development.

Tutors presentation skills, interest and knowledge were rated by 98% of all participants as either excellent (76%) or good (22%).

Over 230 participants received Disability Awareness Training. This included staff, volunteers and students from the following organisations:

Darlington College students

DASH volunteers

Sedgefield Borough Council Leisure Services staff

Interest from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, following local training, to roll out Disability Equality Training nationally

Staff from the project invited to join the British Council of Disabled People (BCODP) DET Steering Group as consultants to explore accreditation of DET across the network

DAD commissioned by BCODP to do a piece of work examining the financial implications of Open College Network membership, accreditation of a training course and running a Training for Trainers course.

Aims for next year

Continue to provide training to a wide variety of organisations, increasing DAD's profile throughout Darlington and the surrounding areas

Continue to secure new contracts for Disability Equality and Disability Awareness Training

Examine the possibility of extending the number of qualified trainers employed by DAD.

DET participants' comments

“Many thanks for an informed, interesting and enlightening training session delivered with passion and insight”

“This was one of the best courses I have done in recent years. Thank you very much”

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Information Service

  Aims in 2005-6

Provide high quality information and advice on a wide range of subjects, to meet the needs of disabled people and carers

Review location and delivery of service following restructuring of Disability Options

Maintain the Community Legal Services Quality Mark and achieve DIAL Quality Standard level 1 following full audit

Enable disabled people to independently access information increasing choice and control

Launch the new online version of the Information Guide


Responded to 326 enquiries over the course of the year. The most frequently requested topics were equipment and adaptations, holidays and benefits

Assisted individuals to obtain funding for holidays and equipment for independent living

Reviewed the working arrangements with Social Services and the Community Rehabilitation Team, and agreed to provide a monthly information session from Hundens Lane Centre after moves are complete

Continued work in maintaining the Community Legal Services (CLS) Quality Mark at General Help Level. Passed the annual audit by the CLS. Work to maintain the quality mark included monitoring and reviewing record keeping procedures, obtaining service user feedback and conducting case file reviews

Continued work to meet the full audit requirements of the Dial UK Quality Standards Award at Level One. Audits have been put on hold at the moment due to Dial UK re-structuring

Secured funding from Community Legal Services to update and re-launch the DAD Information Guide

Completed an on-line version of the Guide.

Aims for next year

Continue to provide high quality information and advice on a wide range of subjects, to meet the needs of disabled people and carers

Maintain the Community Legal Services Quality Mark and achieve DIAL Quality Standard level 1 following full audit.

Enable disabled people to independently access information increasing choice and control

Monitor the Information Guide and ensure that the information is correct and kept up-to-date

Re-organise and re-assess the information on file to ensure it is up-to-date and relevant

Set up an information service session in partnership with Social Services at the Community Rehabilitation Service at Hundens Lane

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Parents Forum

Aims in 2005-6

Raise awareness of the Parents Forum and encourage parent carers to become members of the forum

Support parents to attend the forum and ensure they are involved in the decision making mechanism within the Children's Pathfinder Trust


Increased the number of forum members to 75

Increased the number of parents attending Forum meetings

Produced a regular news sheet in an accessible format after requests from parents for local up to date information

Developed a web page for parents with meeting dates, details of meetings and news sheets included

Ensured that parents of disabled children under the age of 3 were involved in the development of the Early Support Programme in Darlington

Delivered a training course for carers providing skills in speaking with confidence in meetings

Participation of parents and carers in Darlington Childrens Trust used as an example of good practice by ‘Pathways to Success’, a good practice guide for disabled children's services published by the Council for Disabled Children

Worked with Darlington Borough Council to ensure that parents of disabled children gained free access to all Borough Council Leisure Services settings

Supported over 50 individual parents throughout the year

Developed and maintained good relationships with statutary services

Ensured effective parental involvement in the Childrens Trust Board and sub-groups

Aims for next year

In addition to carrying forward the aims from this year the Parents Forum will:

Ensure that parents of disabled children in Darlington are given an opportunity to share their views with decision makers across the various services in Darlington

Deliver Voice and Choice course to parents wanting to develop confidence in meetings

Support the involvement and participation of parents in the recruitment of staff within Childrens Services

Ensure parental involvement in the development of the new Childrens Trust Board

Quote from a parent about the Parents Forum

“Parents of disabled children in Darlington now have an effective voice; contributing and changing the delivery and relevance of Children's Services. The benefits of an open access policy to the board of the children's trust allows a full contribution to decision making especially within the agenda of ‘Every Child Matters”

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 Aims in 2005 - 06

Provide the free loan of electric wheelchairs, scooters and manual chairs for anyone with a mobility impairment to shop and use the facilities of Darlington Town Centre independently

Prepare for the move to new premises

Develop an interactive access map for the Town Centre

Continue to promote the Shopmobility Service


Service used 3433 times, an increase of 8.26% on last year

216 new customers registered

Promoted the service through a leaflet distribution to 10,000 homes in the Darlington area

Conducted a survey on how customers get to Shopmobility which fed into a larger mapping survey from Darlington Borough Council on local transport usage

Organised a trip to Durham for Shopmobility customers

Made the decision, to stop the long term wheelchair loan service after an evaluation concluded that the costs of continuing the service was prohibitive and that there was inadequate space to deliver the service effectively

Prepared for the move to new premises

Developed and launched the Wheelygood website, and an interactive map of the Town Centre

Gave a well received presentation on the Wheelygood website model at the National Federation of Shopmobility Conference in Derby

Aims for next year

Provide the free loan of electric wheelchairs, scooters and manual chairs for anyone with a mobility impairment to shop and use the facilities of Darlington Town Centre independently.

Move Shopmobility to its new site

Develop a marketing strategy to sell software associated with the Wheelygood website

Promote the Shopmobility Service once the move to new premises is completed

Quotes from customers:

"After several months in Hospital etc, my first day back in town with your
service was fantastic, wonderful service marvellous staff!"

"Thank you so much for your help and service, it made such a difference to our trip to Darlington "

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Volunteer Project

Aims in 2005-6

Set up a peer support group and reference group

Identify and meet training needs of volunteers

Update volunteer and service user guidelines

Produce and distribute promotional material

Recruit 10 disabled people as volunteers

Recruit 6 members for the peer support group

Identify and establish links with deprived wards

Develop links with and place 3 volunteers with external organisations

Organise a volunteer recognition event


Reference group set up to monitor and direct the project

Peer support group established to encourage and support other disabled people into volunteering

Internal training delivered on Disability Equality, confidentiality, data protection and adult protection

Training opportunities provided including telephone training, team building, Deaf awareness, visual impairment training and British Sign Language

Two volunteers successfully completed NVQ level 2 in business administration

Volunteer and service user guidelines updated

Recruited twenty seven new volunteers, eighteen of whom are disabled people

Volunteer presentation event held in September at which each volunteer was awarded with a certificate of recognition for their work and commitment to DAD

Advertised in community newsletters

Held an event with Central Ward Partnership which increased recruitment from these areas

Successfully placed four disabled people as volunteers with external organisations

Aims for the next year

Provide training to develop peer mentor support

Provide a further four external placement opportunities

Establish ward ‘champions’ in 4 wards to promote volunteering

Develop and implement appraisal strategies for volunteers

Secure future of the project when current funding ceases in December 2006

Continue to promote a positive image of disabled people as volunteers throughout Darlington

Update the volunteer web page on the D.A.D web site

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DAD is committed to developing its workforce. Staff and volunteers have taken part in training throughout the year, ranging from NVQs and certificated courses to in-house cascade training sessions. Training has included the following:

Adult Protection

Business Administration

Carers Assessments

Community Care Law


Cultural Diversity and Race Equality

Disability Equality

Social Model of Disability: Language

Early Support

First Aid


Information Technology: Databases, E-mails and using the Web

Language Line

Lets All Play

Managerial Skills including managing organisational change

Moving and handling

Getting the message across

Non Violent Physical Crisis Intervention

Professional Development birth to 3

Risk Assessments

Single Assessments

Valuing People

Visual Awareness

Website Promotion

Welfare Rights

Working with Volunteers and the Community

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DAD is immensely grateful for the support it has received from the following funders:

1st Mobility

Alchemy Foundation

Awards for All


Big Lottery Fund

Christ's Hospital in Sherburn

Commission for Social Care Inspection


Darlington Borough Council

Darlington Children's Fund

Darlington Lions

Darlington Primary Care Trust

Darlington Rotary Club

Department of Health

Durham County Council

Good Neighbours Trust

G Weston

Home Office

Hospital of God at Greatham

Northern Electric

R & L Jackson


Sedgefield Borough Council

Sunlight Nails

Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit


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