Archived News


Training for PA's and Employers

10th November 2022

We have again been successful in gaining funding from Skills for Care to provide training for PA's and Direct Payment employers.

For more details:

Training for PA's and Employers

DAD - AGM: 27th January 2022

30th December 2021

Please join us at the Annual General Meeting (2021)

of Darlington Association on Disability

on Thursday 27th January 2022

at 11.00am


Unfortunately, as we are still unable to hold meetings in person, we will be holding this event online.  


Please inform us if you would like to attend the AGM, by contacting Judith, by email: or by telephone:  01325 489999 so that we can arrange for a link to the online video meeting to be sent to you.  Please inform us if you have any disability access requirements for a video link meeting. 


Copies of the audited accounts and annual report will be available for members which will sent out prior to the AGM once you have confirmed your attendance.  If you are unable to attend and would also like a copy, please contact us.  


I hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you. 

International Day for Disabled People– Fighting for rights in the post Covid era

02nd December 2021

Friday 3rd December is International Day for Disabled People and as DAD marks 35 years of supporting disabled people and carers we celebrate the work of our many projects that continue to uphold people’s rights as individuals as well as challenging Disability Discrimination and supporting disability rights.

From our Advocates supporting people in Darlington and across the Tees Valley to make sure individuals voice is heard and their rights upheld,

our Direct Payments team supporting people to receive the support they need in the way they want it,

our Children and Young People’s service making sure children and young people have the right to play,

the Independent Living Hub giving people independence and choice about the things they do

to our Self Advocacy groups including Young Leaders and People’s Parliament making sure disabled people have a voice on the issues that effect them and can influence change,

DAD will continue to fight for disabled people’s rights.



COVID-19 communications update

01st December 2021

The Prime Minister has announced new rules to help us all protect ourselves and others from a new variant of COVID-19 called Omicron.

The Omicron variant has extensive mutations from previous versions of the virus so we need to take urgent measures to protect ourselves from it.

UK scientists are working hard to find out more about the new variant. In the meantime, we must all follow new guidelines to help slow its spread:


Face coverings

New COVID-19 rules on wearing face coverings in England will go ahead from 30 November.

Face coverings must be worn in shops and other similar businesses such as banks, post offices and personal care venues like hairdressers, as well as on public transport. This is enforceable by law and people face fines if they do not follow the rules.

People with certain medical conditions are exempt.



The Government is also bringing in measures to prevent new cases from abroad.

All travellers arriving into the country from 4am on Tuesday 30 November will be required to take a PCR test on day 2 and self isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests can be purchased from private providers.

A number of countries have been added to the red list. UK residents arriving from these countries must isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8.


Isolation rules

If you come into contact with someone  who tests positive with a suspected case of Omicron you will also have to self-isolate for ten days, even if fully vaccinated.

The new measures on our borders, self-isolation and face coverings will be reviewed in three weeks.



We have good reasons for believing booster vaccines will provide some protection from the new variant so it is important that everyone who is eligible for vaccines or a booster jab get them as soon as possible.

You can book online and join the 17 million people who have already had a booster or third jab.


By practising key safer behaviours and actions, we can continue to protect ourselves and others and help reduce the virus spreading.


Please encourage people in your community to follow these behaviours and actions that include: Wash your hands regularly; Test regularly; Stay at home when you feel unwell; Download and use the COVID-19 NHS App.


Ensuring these protections are a part of our everyday behaviours will control transmission of the virus.


The details of the Prime Minister’s announcement are online. There is also a version of his announcement on YouTube with BSL. Please share these links with your networks.

Free Training for direct payment employers funded by Skills for Care

29th November 2021

DAD have successfully gained some funding from Skills for Care, and we are looking to hold sessions over Microsoft Teams for direct payment employers.  These sessions will be delivered by employment experts. They aim to help new and experienced employers learn and gain more knowledge about how to be a good employer and meet employer responsibilities.

The first two sessions will focus on different levels of employer experience. The dates of the sessions will be:

Tuesday 7th December starting at 13:30. This is for new employers.

Friday 10th December starting at 10:30. This is for more experienced employers.


Following on from these meetings there will be a smaller group meeting which will be more personalised. The dates of the sessions will be:

Tuesday 18th January starting at 13:30. This will be aimed at new employers.

Wednesday 21st January starting at 10:30. This will be aimed at experienced employers.


All sessions will be recorded and then made available for anyone who couldn’t make it to the meetings. There will also be a learning book available for those who would like it.

Please call us on 01325 360524 or email us at if you wish to attend.

Carers Rights Day - 25th November 2021

25th November 2021

Whether you are a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, we believe that it’s important that you understand your rights and are able to access the support that is available to you as soon as you need it. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support. Each year, Carers Rights Day helps us:

  • ensure carers are aware of their rights
  • let carers know where to get help and support
  • raise awareness of the needs of carers.

This year's Carers Rights Day campaign will focus on raising awareness of the rights that unpaid carers have. The pandemic has had a massive impact on the lives of carers, affecting access to services, the ability to juggle work and care and much more. That's why it’s more important than ever that carers are aware of what they have the right to.

Why being aware of your rights is so important

In a recent survey of nearly 6,000 carers, we found:

  • Four in five unpaid carers are providing more care for relatives
  • 78% reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased during the pandemic
  • Two thirds (67%) worried about how they will cope through further lockdowns or local restrictions.

Carers need to know their rights wherever they are in their caring journey: whether they are in the workplace, in a healthcare setting, when interacting with professionals or at home. This Carers Rights Day, we want to empower carers with information and support, so they can feel confident asking for what they need. We also want carers to know how to challenge things when their rights are not being met.

Carers Rights Day 2021 is supported by Barclays LifeSkills

UN Convention on the Right’s of the Child (UNCRC) Awareness survey

25th November 2021

The Department for Education has launched a survey on Children’s Rights Awareness, aimed at children and young people aged 8-18.

This survey is a qualitative look at children and young people’s perspectives on their rights, and is part of a wider-scale project which aims to engage with children to allow them to participate in the conversation around the UN Children’s Rights Convention on the Child.


16 days of action 2021

15th November 2021

Learning Events  

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. 

During the 16 days of Action, specialist providers would like to invite you to participate in a series of online learning events which are aimed at increasing professional understanding of domestic abuse, sexual violence, honour based violence & sexual exploitation.

Tuesday 23 November:   1:30 – 2:30  (in advance of the 16 days programme)   Halo Project and IDAS

Insight into honour based abuse (HBA) and coercive control experienced by black and minoritised victims and survivors.  Enhance safeguarding knowledge through specialist guidance and survivor stories

Zoom virtual event:


Thursday 25 November:  Family Help

For everyone.  Visit Family Help’s White Ribbon stall at the indoor market

Just turn up to show support by signing the pledge to end violence against women and girls. 


Thursday 25 November:  10:00am – 2:00pm   The Soroptimists  

For everyone. Visit the Soroptimists Orange the World stalls at The Dolphin Centre and the Cornmill shopping centre

Just turn up and show support for the orange the world campaign  “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”


Friday 26 November:  2:00 – 3:00pm  Dr Jane Monckton Smith - Homicide Coercive Control and  Stalking 

Virtual Session.  Places are limited.  Register your interest via email to:


Friday 26 November:  9.30 – 11.00am  Durham Safeguarding Adults - For professionals only. 

Safeguarding adults from domestic abuse.  The aim of this session is to focus on domestic abuse in the context of adults with needs to care and support, and includes:  Definitions, The Legal Framework, Patterns of Coercion and Control and Warning Signs, Highlights Some Approaches and Toolkits to Support Good Practice.

Register using the following link:


Friday 26 November:  1.30 – 3.00pm  Hour Glass - Elder abuse

For professionals only.  This briefing is to raise awareness on Elder Abuse.  Hourglass is a UK based Charity focusing on the abuse and exploitation of Older People in the UK. The session will enable you to look for signs and indicators of elder abuse, how to support someone who is experiencing elder abuse and the support Hourglass can offer

Virtual session via Zoom.  Register using the following link:


Monday 29 November:  Darlington Borough Council’s Housing Options

For everyone.  Housing options in Darlington - The Housing Options Team discuss their approach to supporting survivors of domestic abuse.  The team discuss what support is available and how they work with a number of different agencies.

Virtual session:  Access the link to the pre-recorded event on the Darlington Borough Council webpage:


Monday 29 November:  Family Help refuge

For everyone.  Family Help refuge. Virtual session. Access the link to the pre-recorded event on the Darlington Borough Council webpage:


Tuesday 30 November:  Dr Wendy Shepherd  “ Silence is not an Option “- sexual abuse and violence

For professionals and Voluntary and community organisations only.  Seen, Heard, Believe Project.  Virtual session via Microsoft teams

To register interest and receive log in details please Contact:


Tuesday 30 November:  11am -12.30pm   Homes For Cathy

Open to all professionals.  Women, homelessness & violence: How can the housing sector improve its response?

Free workshop.  Register Interest via link:  Women, homelessness & violence: How can the housing sector improve its response? | Homes for Cathy


Wednesday 1 December:  11.00 – 12.00pm  Harbour - Impact of domestic abuse on children

For professionals only. Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 862 8219 6589    Passcode: 679684


Wednesday 1 December:  11.00am – 12.00pm  Darlington Borough Council Community Safety Team, Andrew Allison

For everyone.  Meeting :  To explore actions being taken in Darlington to address violence and intimidation against women and girls, To explain the partnership approach adopted in Darlington, To highlight the benefits of the Purple Flag scheme, To inform delegates of the various work strands linked to the ‘Safer Streets’ schemes  Teams session


Thursday 2 December:  10:00 – 11:00am  We are with You - Substance misuse and domestic abuse

For professionals only (Darlington and Redcar & Cleveland service but available to all areas).  The correlation between substance misuse and domestic abuse;  Services that are available and the work that WAWY does; and How professionals can work collaboratively to support individuals with complex needs who experience domestic abuse.

Google meet.  Email We are with You to book your place


Friday 3 December:  10:00 – 11:30am   Hour Glass - Introduction to Elder Abuse

For everyone.  This briefing is to raise awareness on Elder Abuse.  Hourglass is a UK based Charity focusing on the abuse and exploitation of Older People in the UK. The session will enable you to look for signs and indicators of elder abuse, how to support someone who is experiencing elder abuse and the support Hourglass can offer.   Virtual Session   Contact Hourglass via email to book a space:


Monday 6 December:  11.00 – 12.00pm  Harbour - Why do we need to work with perpetrators?

For professionals only.  Zoom meeting

Join zoom meeting:

Meeting ID: 892 9503 4462   Passcode: 644406


Monday 6 December:  1.00 – 2.30pm   PRIDE - LGBTQ+

For professionals only.  This briefing is to focus on LGBTQ+ and domestic Abuse, covering the Myths, Challenges and to provide an overview of the work that PRIDE do to support.

Virtual session  Register using the following link:


Tuesday 7 December  10:00am  ARCH

For professionals only.  Disclosures and Support.  Virtual Session

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 820 0581 4865   Passcode: 317928


Wednesday 8 December  9.30 – 11.30am   Simon Finch - Cyber stalking and domestic abuse

For professionals only.  The aim of the session to increase participants awareness of cyber stalking.  The session will be facilitated by Simon Finch who will cover:  An Overview of cyber and digitally assisted, stalking and legislation, The challenges and benefits of relationships in the digital age, How technology and social media are used to stalk and harass, Key strategies and actions to identify and remove surveillance apps and technology, Sources of help and support.

Register using the following link:


Thursday 9 December  2.00 – 4.00pm  Darlington Borough Council Safeguarding Training - Domestic Abuse Awareness (level 3)

For Darlington Safeguarding Partnership members.  For practitioners who have responsibility for undertaking child and adult protection enquiries and who work with complex cases.  For those who hold professional or organisational authority and a substantial degree of personal responsibility and autonomy to act on child and adult welfare concerns.  Full safeguarding training directory can be found at:  virtual-2021-training-programme-2nd-edition-01-06-21-31-12-21.pdf (

To book a place please contact: or 01325 406452


Thursday 9 December:  ARCH - Supporting parents and caregivers of children who experience child sexual exploitation

For everyone.  Virtual session.  Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 873 8743 7451    Passcode: 211331


Thursday 9 December:  10:00am – 3:00pm  Darlington Borough Council and Harbour support services - Awareness raising stall at the Dolphin Centre

For everyone.  In person at the Dolphin Centre.  Darlington Borough Council and Harbour support services will have a stall set up in the Dolphin Centre reception area.


Friday 10 December:  11:00am  My Sisters Place - IRIS training

Professional Only.  GPs Improving identification and Response to Domestic Abuse.  Virtual Session

Join Zoom Meeting.

Meeting ID: 816 3758 2699   Passcode: 718874


Friday 10 December:  3:00 – 4:30pm  Arcus and Darlington Unity Group - LGBTQ+ seminar

For everyone.  Zoom session.  Contact Arcus to book your place:

Council for Disabled Children / NHS England Survey - Annual Health Checks

15th November 2021

Council for Disabled Children are working with NHS England to gather the views of young people with learning disabilities around annual health checks. The survey is now live so please do share the link below with young people who would like to be involved and share their thoughts.

A great opportunity for young people to have their say.


25th October 2021

From 24th October 2021, and for the next 12 months, Co-op Members will be able to support Darlington Association on Disability - Young Leaders as part of the

Co-op Local Community Fund.

For every £1 Co-op members spend on selected Co-op branded products and services, 2p will go into their membership account.

The same amount will support community organisations and local causes including DAD’s Young Leaders.

To collect rewards and contribute to a cause, Co-op members must swipe or scan their membership card when they shop.

Please ask in store if you would like to become a Co-op member or visit

DAD’s Young Leaders are linked to the following Co-op stores and services;

  • Co-op – Mowden store
  • Co-op West Park Store
  • Co-op West Auckland Road Store
  • Co-op Cockerton Store
  • Co-op Funeral Care Darlington

Even though we are linked to local Co-op outlets, money raised through Co-op Membership can be generated anywhere in the UK, as long as a Member is buying selected products or services from the Co-op Group, please select Darlington Association on Disability – Young Leaders when selecting a cause to support.



How Can Community Power Create a Brighter Social Care Future?

25th October 2021

National debates about social care are dominated by funding. But we can’t stop there.

Today, paternalistic or transactional mindsets still dominate how we think about social care. It’s essential that any new national settlement puts the people who draw on social care at the centre.

Join New Local and #SocialCareFuture for this discussion on how to give real power to the people who draw on social care and their communities.


Facilitator: Professor Donna Hall CBE, Chair of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust & Chair of New Local

Anna Severwright, #SocialCareFuture

Stephen Chandler, President of ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services)

To register:  How Can Community Power Create a Brighter Social Care Future? - New Local

10am - 11:15am

16 November 2021


In partnership with  #SocialCareFuture


DAD have Trustee vacancies

22nd October 2021

DAD currently has vacancies on our Trustee Board.  DAD is a registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee and as such Trustees are required to oversee and provide governance to the running of the organisation. All Members are entitled to put themselves forward for consideration to act as a voluntary Trustee of the organisation.

Ideally, we are seeking people with skills in Finance, Human Resources or Marketing and or knowledge of disabled people’s issues particularly across Tees Valley and County Durham.

As an organisation supporting equality, in all its forms, we are seeking Trustees who reflect our community who are currently underrepresented including: women, people from minority communities and young people. There will be a selection process involving an informal interview with Trustees. The organisation must be led by a majority of disabled people and this will be taken account of in any Trustee appointments.  

For more information about being a trustee: ‘5-minute guides’ for charity trustees -  Charity Commission guidance - GOV.UK (

If you are interested and would like further information please contact Lauren Robinson, Chief Executive or Gordon Pybus, Chairperson  for an initial discussion

Individual Employer and Personal Assistant ‘Northern’ event

19th October 2021

Recruitment, pay rates, wellbeing and safety of your PAs

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Skills for Care is inviting you to this free online event which will provide you with the opportunity to hear about sources of support and guidance, keep up to date with latest good practice, network with others and have your say.

We'll be discussing:

focus on moving on from the pandemic

issues such as PA Wellbeing

keeping yourself and your PA safe online

recruitment and retention

showcasing local initiatives.

Who should attend?

This event is hosted by the Yorkshire and The Humber, North East and North West teams but open to the following people nationwide.
Individual employers (people employing personal care assistants through a direct payment, personal health budget, or with their own money) or people considering taking up this option. Personal assistants directly employed. People who work for organisations supporting individual employers including user led organisations, direct payment support organisations, personal health budget support organisations, charities and local authorities.

Event details:

Register now

🗓 Wednesday 24 November 2021

🕘 10:00 – 12:30

Thank you to Ruth for running the Great North Run!

14th September 2021

A HUGE thank you and well done to Ruth, from our Children and Young People's Service, who completed the Great North Run at the weekend in an amazing time of 3 hours 15 minutes and so far has raised £320.00 for DAD.🏃👋

Well done Ruth and thank you to everyone who has donated so far!

You can still donate through Ruth's Just Giving page and any donations would be much appreciated



Are you having financial problems?

13th September 2021

Darlington CAB can support you with....

  • Saving money on fuel bills and budgeting advice
  • Advice on benefit entitlement and accessing urgent help ie fuel top ups
  • Money issues and debt
  • Applying for additional energy services

Darlington CAB are urging local people to get advice on Fuel Bills, Fuel Debt Advice, Cheaper deals & Energy Efficiency Measures.

The Energy Advice team is here to help vulnerable Energy consumers in the Darlington locality.

Telephone & face to face advice & support is currently available from 01325 266888 ext 120 (9 – 5 Monday to Friday).  

The Energy Advice team are here to help save money, sort out fuel crisis and assist with issues relating to Fuel Poverty, Energy Advice, Energy Efficiency, financial entitlement and budgeting.

No matter what a person's financial circumstances are, nobody in this day and age should have to suffer problems paying for vital services like gas & electricity.


Changing Places

13th September 2021

Durham County Council are asking individuals and carers to share their experiences of using Changing Places toilets, as part of plans to improve facilities for those with disabilities.

£30 million in funding (based on need) has been made available to local authorities in England, to install Changing Places toilets in their communities. The toilets are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets and are essential for more than 250,000 disabled people in the UK.

They are now asking people to get in touch about where they would most like to see additional facilities across County Durham.

Find out more:

DBC Consultation launched on Gambling Policy

01st September 2021

A public consultation has been launched following a review of Darlington’s Gambling Policy.

Darlington Borough Council has released a new Statement of Principles for the Gambling Act 2005 (Gambling Policy) and wants to hear the views of local residents, businesses and other organisations.

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council, explained:

“Many people enjoy gambling, but for some, gambling poses serious risks and can cause devastating harm both directly and indirectly.

“In recent years we have seen a change from more traditional methods of gambling, such as betting shops, towards online forums, such as mobile phone apps and computers. Public trust and confidence in gambling has declined and there is significant public concern about the visibility of gambling and the impact this may have on children, young people and others who might be vulnerable.

“Although gambling is considered a legitimate leisure activity, it must be licensed and regulated to ensure consumers and the wider public are protected.

“The council recognises the role it plays in minimising the harmful effects gambling may have and we want to hear your views on the new Gambling Policy.”

Joy Allen, Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington said:

“Gambling harm can have a devastating impact on victims, businesses and on the lives and families of those who commit crime to support gambling or to pay off gambling-related debts. I welcome this approach and depth of understanding shown by Darlington Borough Council around some of the hidden harms associated with gambling as they seek public’s views on their new gambling policy.

“We have already had a number of positive discussions on how we can work together to reduce gambling related harm and crime. I look forward to working in partnership with the council, public health, gambling businesses, and experts by experience to make fast progress to reduce the harm caused by gambling in Darlington and prevent associated crime, homelessness, domestic abuse, child neglect and suicides.”

The revised policy will be introduced in January 2022 as part of a three-year review cycle. There are few amendments as there have been no legislative changes in the last three years, but the views of the public are now being sought for consideration before the new policy is implemented.

You can view the proposed policy online at You have until 19 September 2021 to share your views – you can do this by emailing or you can contact Colin Dobson, licensing manager on 01325 405988.

If you require information, advice and support for anyone harmed by gambling, GamCare can be contacted free on 0808 820 133 or by visiting its website at

Domestic Abuse Accommodation Needs Assessment Interviews

01st September 2021

Darlington Borough Council is undertaking a Domestic Abuse Accommodation Needs Assessment as per requirements outlined in the Domestic Abuse Act (April 2021).

As part of this work, they have commissioned RRR Consultancy to undertake interviews with people who have experienced domestic abuse. The aim of the interviews is to help us better understand the accommodation needs of domestic abuse survivors, barriers to provision, what works, and what could be improved.

They are particularly keen to ensure that the work reflects the needs of people with disabilities.

The interviews would be undertaken by telephone, and are likely to last between 30 and 45 minutes.

As a 'Thank You' for taking part, a £30 High Street voucher will be given to all interviewees.

They do not require any personal details of the interviewees except a first name and contact number. Although the results of the interviews will be summarised in a report, the anonymity of the interviewee will be maintained at all times.

Information Sheet - provides further details about the interviews.



State of Caring 2021 survey

01st September 2021

CarersUK are currently running our State of Caring survey 2021 and we need your help to encourage carers to take part.

The survey is the UK’s most comprehensive research into the lives and experience of carers and many professionals who work with carers find the results provide a useful evidence base for their work locally. We want to understand carers’ priorities for the future and what support they need to help recover from the pandemic, and to create a positive legacy for the future. We will use the evidence to continue to campaign for carers to get better support.

Over the last year, our research and responses to our surveys have helped us to highlight carers’ experiences across the UK and helped us campaign successfully for better guidance, testing for carers, PPE for unpaid carers, carers' 'support bubbles' and exemptions to allow carers to get a break.  

State of Caring Survey 2021

The survey will close on 13 September and we will be releasing a research report in November.

If you have any questions about the research, please get in touch with our policy team by emailing


Domestic abuse services

11th August 2021

Part of the current domestic abuse needs assessment data gathering process involves gathering the voice of survivors/victims.  This is proving to be quite a challenge however it is essential in identifying gaps in provision and developing a strategy that is survivor led and relevant to the needs of our community.  

Bronwyn Lilley, DBC Domestic Abuse Commissioning Officer, would be most grateful you could complete the survey as a survivor or an agency who works with survivors who have required domestic abuse services.  This is regardless of whether you were able to access services or not – this way they can identify the gaps.  The Act focuses on domestic abuse services within ‘relevant accommodation’ however it would be useful to have an understanding of services broadly as well as those offered within relevant accommodation.


Police and Crime Plan Consultation

10th August 2021

The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is designed to be the link between the public and the policing service which is delivered on their behalf. PCCs are elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the Force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve. A key role for PCCs is representing and engaging with local communities to help deliver their policing priorities.

PCC Joy Allen has produced the Police and Crime plan for her term in office over the next three years that sets out her priorities for local policing for County Durham and Darlington.

The Police and Crime Plan is now out for consultation with local communities. By answering the survey, you will be able to have your say on local policing in your area.

The survey can be found here:

The overarching priorities from now until 2024 are:
·       Safer Communities
·       Safer Business
·       Safer Online
·       Safer People
·       Safer Roads
·       Safer Countryside

You can read the draft plan here

Paper versions and support to complete on line are both available

3 R's Project

08th July 2021

DAD has been supporting people through COVID to stay connected and understand the guidance. The next steps as restrictions ease is supporting people to become reconnected. With support of our funders we have launched a new project called the 3R’s.

It is called the 3 R project as it supports people to:


Regain confidence

Regain Skills

Jenny Byers is co-ordinating the project with the support of Margaret Langan.  It is great success so far supporting over 15 people.  Support has included helping people to access the community and develop friendships naturally and outside of our support, peer support session, transport training and confidence building, mindfulness sessions and other session to help develop well-being including bowling, circus skills, walks.   

Other sessions will include developing IT skills, creative expression and art sessions, development of self-advocacy.  Four sessions are delivered each week and the aim is that they are community based and COVID secure to enable to people to regain confidence, skills and friendships to last in the long term which will support people to remove some of the barriers which COVID has brought.

We are evaluating the project throughout and look forward to seeing the positive outcomes it will bring.

IMPACT: IMProving Adult Care Together

10th June 2021

IMPACT stands for ‘Improving Adult Care Together’. It is a new £15 million UK centre for implementing evidence in adult social care, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Health Foundation. It will be led by Professor Jon Glasby at the University of Birmingham, with a Leadership Team of 12 other academics, people using social care services, and policy and practice partners - along with a broader consortium of key stakeholders from across the sector and across the four nations of the UK. 

What is IMPACT trying to achieve? In the words of one of the people using services who has helped to shape proposals for the new centre, IMPACT believes that “good support isn’t just about ‘services’ – it’s about having a life."

IMPACT are interested in hearing from everyone who is involved with adult social care in whatever capacity.

Please complete this survey:

This is the English version.  Translations to Bengali, Gujarat, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh will follow. We will also launch an easy read version later in the month.

IMPACT have recently launched our website which will enable you to keep up-to-date with our activities as these progress. We will start to update this over the coming weeks.

Carers Week: 7 - 13 June

07th June 2021

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

This year, carers across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.

They need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding. So during Carers Week, we're coming together to help Make Caring Visible and Valued.

For more information about Carers Week you can follow the link

Do you care for a child with a neurodevelopment need?

07th June 2021

If you live in Darlington, Middlesbrough or Redcar and Cleveland, Contact's Listening Ear Service can provide free emotional support, practical advice or strategies to help you cope.

You can book a telephone appointment with a family support advisor using this link

Find out more by emailing or phoning their free phone number 0800 2540890


Volunteer week

27th May 2021

Volunteers’ Week -  1st - 7th June 2021 a time to say thanks.

Volunteers’ Week 2021 is a time to say thanks. It goes without saying that volunteers have played a key role in the pandemic response. During an exceptionally difficult year, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to volunteer and make a huge difference to their communities – just as they do every year. This is a time for us to come together and thank all volunteers for their invaluable contribution.

This 37th annual Volunteers’ Week is taking place during the #MonthofCommunity.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all our amazing volunteers, who have been supporting our work over the last year.

Initially volunteers were making deliveries of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as we went into the first national lockdown and later included delivery of activity packs, sunflower growing in kits, Christmas crafts and most recently bird feeder activity packs.

Volunteers also helped make up packages of PPE ready for delivery and helped put activity packs together.

These deliveries have been vital to disabled people in Darlington to keep themselves and others safe and providing fun activities to pass the time, during a time when it is not possible to meet friends and family and do the things people would normally do.

As we headed towards summer volunteers helped clean and sort play equipment into individual packs, so that children and young people accessing our DASH Play Scheme had use of their own set of toys and equipment.

Volunteers have also provided their help to DASH and Darlington’s People’s Parliament to help run face to face and online sessions.

We very much value and appreciate the roles our volunteers play as DAD continues to support disabled people and carers throughout this pandemic and beyond.

So, on behalf of everyone at DAD and disabled people in Darlington, thank you for all you have done and continue to do!


We need your nominations!

26th May 2021

For the third year running, Ecclesiastical Insurance Group is giving away £1million to charities with the return of its Movement for Good awards and DAD has been nominated by one of our supporters.

From today, people can nominate a cause close to their hearts for a potential £1,000 award to help make a difference.

This year, 500 charities will each receive £1,000 during the first phase of the campaign. A second phase of giving will happen later this summer.

The nomination process is open until 13 June. Winners will be drawn at random and the more times we are nominated the more chance we have of being selected.

Thank you in advance.

GIVE THEM WINGS The Autobiography of Paul Hodgson

13th May 2021

Paul is someone who has been involved with DAD for some years.  Paul has written an autobiography 'GIVE THEM WINGS'

Disabled as a result of childhood meningitis, Paul Hodgson has written this autobiography in order to challenge the stereotype of the wheelchair-bound victim.

Far from being a passive spectator, we learn how Paul struggled to care for his mother through several strokes and Alzheimer’s disease and of the rift this caused within his family. He also speaks of the Community Care system, his experiences of education and employment, and the loyalty of his friends.

This is his account of life as a fan of Darlington Football Club which reveals another side to Paul’s nature, with its fascinating compendium of mishaps and drink-fuelled escapades, which are invariably laced with his own brand of black humour.

Give Them Wings is a graphic story of one man’s fortitude in the face of severe odds, it offers a unique insight into what it means to be disabled in modern society.

Also, please see below the link to Amazon in order to buy the book.


Ties in with a blockbuster film of his life, Give Them Wings due to be released in summer 2021.

Directed by Sean Cronin, who has appeared in Harry Potter and Bond movies, the film stars Daniel Watson (as Paul) andEighties punk singer Toyah Willcox.

Give Them Wings won the 'Best Feature' at The London Independent Film Festival. Below is a link to the film trailer

Forewords by former Darlington FC forward Mark Forster and Aston Villa legend Brian Little.



Positive Travel Project

10th May 2021

Positive Travel Project

DAD’s Positive Travel Project, funded by London North Eastern Railway (LNER), will support disabled people and carers of all ages to tackle the barriers they face in accessing transport and travel. The project will offer a range of options including;

Travel training for those who have never used public transport due to their impairments, lack of confidence, skills etc. This will include accessing all forms of public transport including introducing non rail users to the rail network for the first time. Individuals would be supported for 6- 12 sessions to learn the skills needed to access public transport such as journey planning, booking tickets or taxi’s, safe routes to transport, booking and using support. These sessions will be bespoke to meet individual needs and tailored to their communications need.

Improving access to a range of social activities for disabled people who are isolated and have not been able to get out and about due to the barriers they face. Disabled people and their families will be supported to access group outings that they plan, enabling people to visit new places, meet new people and potentially make new friends therefore tackling isolation and loneliness.

Enabling disabled people to participate through education, skills, conferences and networking to improve their prospects and support their communities to participate.

The project will gather feedback about people’s experiences of travelling and using public transport, locally, regionally or nationally, to identify any common experiences or issues that people are facing and what works well and look at ways of removing barriers and improving services and experiences for disabled people

For more information about the project or if you would like to share your experiences please contact David Thomas on 01325 489999 or email


Positive Transport Project funded by LNER

29th April 2021

We have been successful in securing funding from LNER for a Positive Transport Project, which will support disabled people and carers of all ages to tackle the barriers they face in accessing transport and travel.

The project will offer a range of options including; individual travel training, group access to social and leisure opportunities for disabled people and families regardless of age or impairment, group participation to tackle issues affecting disabled people.

The first stage of the project is to gather some feedback about people’s experiences of travelling and using public transport, locally, regionally or nationally, to see if there are any common experiences or issues that people are facing and what works well.

Please click here for more details:    /_library/files/reports/Positive%20Travel%20Project%20Word%20Document.docx

BSL: Roadmap

20th April 2021

This BSL video explains the roadmap out of lockdown in England as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Interpreters for Vaccination Appointments

20th April 2021

If a BSL interpreter is not present, you can use the

InterpreterNow app to use NHS 119 BSL for instant access at any Covid-19 vaccination appointment in the UK.


New videos on Covid-19 vaccination for people with Severe Mental Illness and primary care teams

12th April 2021

PHE have developed a series of short videos on COVID-19 vaccination to support and encourage people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) to get their COVID-19 vaccines, and for promotion with GPs and healthcare professionals.

New videos to support people with severe mental illness (SMI) get their #COVID19 #vaccine and advice for primary care professionals that support people with SMI are now available here: @PHE_uk @EquallyWellUK @NHSEngland @dremmatiffin @wendyburn @CoProNorfolk

The videos have been developed by Public Health England in collaboration with Equally Well UK and NHS England, including GP professionals and Expert by Experience. They provide useful information for people with SMI to know what to expect from the vaccination process and how to prepare before their appointments. They also provide information for primary care professionals to better support people with SMI in their areas.

Equally Well UK have also produced a guide for people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness to support them with their vaccination, which can be found here.  


North East Carers Survey

08th April 2021

If you’re one of the thousands of people across the North East who helps look after relatives, friends and neighbours in their own homes, we’d like to hear from you. 

You might help an elderly relative with their shopping, meals or keeping their home spick and span – or it might be even more personal care, like dressing, bathing or with their medicines.

You might help an adult with learning impairments in living a fulfilling and independent life out in the community.

Or you might be providing support for a friend or neighbour who is facing difficulties with addiction.

Whatever the kind of care you provide, and whoever it is for, this survey will help us understand the issues and challenges you face, so that we can support you better. The care you provide is invaluable, so thank you for everything you do.


Complete the survey online here:


The survey runs from now until 14th May. 


Shielding guidance is being paused for clinically extremely vulnerable people

22nd March 2021

The government has announced that shielding guidance is being paused. From Thursday 1 April, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people are no longer advised to shield. CEV people must continue to follow the national restrictions that are in place for everyone.

From Thursday 1 April, all CEV children should attend early years provision, school, college, wraparound childcare and out-of-school settings, unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.

CEV students who are enrolled in practical, or practice-based (including creative arts) courses should return to in-person teaching.

CEV staff are advised to continue to work from home where possible, but if they cannot work from home, they should now attend their workplace.

Where parents, carers, staff, or students are anxious about attendance, you should speak to them about their concerns and discuss the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk and any additional measures that could be put in place.

Unpaid Carers - covid vaccine

22nd March 2021

Unpaid carers are now being invited to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination, providing they:
• Are eligible for a carer’s allowance
• Are identified as a primary carer by their GP
• Are receiving support following a carer’s assessment by their local council or from a local carer’s organisation
• Are the sole or primary carer who provides close personal care or face to face support for an elderly or disabled person who is clinically vulnerable to COVID-19

Carers will be contacted in phases, starting with those carers already known to health and social care services. Those who are identified as a primary carer on their GP’s register or eligible for a carer’s allowance will be invited first, followed by those who have had a statutory carer’s assessment by their local council or are receiving support from local carers organisation.
All eligible unpaid carers will be contacted by the NHS when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine and will be given information about how they should book their appointment. This will either be at a vaccination site in their local community supported by their GP practice, or at a large vaccination centre.
In some cases where caring responsibilities are shared, an additional person can be classed as a primary carer and receive a vaccination.

For more information visit

Residents urged to complete Covid-19 impact survey

12th March 2021

10 March 2021

Residents are being urged to complete a Covid-19 impact survey, which features a variety of questions on how Covid-19 has impacted their lives over the last year. 

The survey, which is available to complete today, aims to gain region-wide insight into the impact of Covid-19 on people living in the North East and is being supported by Durham University, the National Institute for Health Research and the NHS Integrated Covid Hub North East. 

Darlington residents will be asked how Covid-19 has had an impact on Darlington their health and work, as well as their feelings towards testing, self-isolating and the vaccination programme. 

Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “We recognise how difficult it has been for people to cope with the coronavirus pandemic in our communities.  

“By completing the survey, you can help us understand more about how your day-to-day life has been affected, including your health and wellbeing, work and household finances.  

“We are also keen to hear your views on vaccination, the economy and the easing of lockdown restrictions in the town. 

“The results of the survey will help to identify additional support people in Darlington might need to manage changes to livelihoods and day to day living. Your responses are vital to informing local recovery plans over the coming months, so please take the time to complete the survey.” 

The information will be shared in line with GDPR regulations, meaning it will be kept anonymous, confidential, and secure.  If the data report is published, residents are assured that any findings will be entirely anonymous and non-identifiable. 

The survey is accessible online via the following weblink:  

Bus Pass Holders

05th March 2021

Older Person’s Bus Pass holders

Those with an expiring Older Person’s Bus Pass are being asked to use our new online bus pass service, which goes live for renewals tomorrow (Thursday 4 March).  These pass holders are asked to renew before 31 March, if they need to travel from 1 April.  Pass holders will need to register for an online account, update their personal details, and renew their pass, they don’t need to provide a new photo.

The online service provides a safer way to renew during COVID, as it will limit unnecessary face to face contact in our Customer Service Centre. Pass holders will have almost three weeks to renew and, for anyone who is struggling, there is a phone number and email address they can use: 01325 406699 or email:

Please find attached a step-by-step renewal guide and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet, regarding the new online system.  A link to the online service, and the information attached, can also be found on the webpage at:

We are hoping the renewals go as smoothly as possible.  However, this is the first time that bus pass holders are asked to use the new online service, so they may be questions and issues along the way.


Disabled Person’s Bus Pass holders

Those pass holder’s with a Disabled Person’s or Disabled Companion Person’s Bus Pass have had their pass automatically renewed in February, if they have used their pass in the last 18 months.  Those who haven’t received a pass by 1 April, but require one, are asked to contact the Concessionary Travel Team.  Tel:  (01325) 406699  Email:


Roadmap out of Lockdown

04th March 2021

The Prime Minister announced the plans to ease lockdown in England, a few weeks ago, which, by way of reminder, we summarise below. Obviously, the dates are provisional as they may change depending upon the rate of infection.

8th March:  All schools reopen for all age groups. Work from home guidance remains unchanged.

29th March:  Outdoor sports facilities (e.g. golf courses) reopen.

12th April:  Hospitality business can reopen for outdoor service. Non-essential shops can re-open, plus hairdressers, zoos, theme parks, drive in cinemas, libraries, and indoor leisure facilities.

17th May:  Pubs, bars, and restaurants reopen for indoor service. Hotels, cinemas, theatres and other businesses can reopen.

21st June:  Everything reopens, including nightclubs.

The government will review the need for face masks and social distancing, (which will influence work from home guidance).

Roadmap out of lockdown

25th February 2021

A 4-step plan to ease lockdown in England has been announced.

From 8 March

Pupils return to face-to-face education in school and further education in England. Pupils in Wales and Scotland returned on 22 February. Wraparound childcare, such as after-school clubs, can reopen to enable parents to work, attend education, access medical care or attend a support group.

Outdoor recreation, such as a picnic, is allowed. This can be on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

Indoor visits to care homes start again for a single named visitor.

PPE for unpaid carers

23rd February 2021

PPE is now available via Local Authorities for those providing unpaid care to someone they do not live with. This offer is available to cover needs for PPE that have arisen due to COVID-19. If you would normally use PPE because of the nature of the care you provide, you should continue to access it through your normal routes.

From the guidance;


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The government are currently rolling out an offer of free PPE for COVID-19 needs to unpaid carers who do not live with the person or people they care for. This will be available until the end of June 2021, and will be available from local authorities (LAs) and local resilience forums (LRFs).

See personal protective equipment (PPE): local contacts for providers for details of LAs and LRFs who are currently making PPE available to unpaid carers. You can contact them to request PPE.

This offer is available to cover needs for PPE that have arisen due to COVID-19. If you would normally use PPE because of the nature of the care you provide, you should continue to access it through your normal routes.

If you live with the person or people you care for, it is not currently recommended that you wear PPE unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional, like a GP or nurse.

Recommended PPE for unpaid carers who do not live with the person or people they care for

If you do not live with the person or people you care for, it is recommended that you wear PPE when delivering care.

It is essential that PPE is worn correctly in order to reduce the risk of transmission. PPE should be put on and removed at least 2 metres away from the person you are caring for.

See guidance on how to put on and take off PPE correctly.

The type of PPE you should wear will depend on the type of care you provide. The type of mask you have been given will be clearly stated on the box.


Survey for people and families who have a personal health budget and other people who support them, e.g. disabled people's user led organisations

23rd February 2021

Survey for people and families who have a personal health budget and other people who support them, e.g. disabled people's user led organisations

Personal health budgets and the legal Right to Have

- people with learning disabilities, autistic people or people with learning disabilities who are also autistic

NHS England has written lots of things to help make sure people understand how to make sure personal health budgets work. These are called the delivery support tools

 A charity called In Control has been asked by NHS England and NHS Improvement to look at the delivery support tools for personal health budgets, focusing on the legal Right to Have a personal health budget.

They want to check how helpful the tools are to make sure that people with learning disabilities, autistic people and people with learning disabilities who are also autistic are included in the legal Right to Have a personal health budget.

As part of this, we want to hear the views of a wide range of people involved in the world of personal health budgets and find out what their experience of both getting and being offered a personal health budget is - what helps and what gets in the way?

Views of people with learning disabilities needed for CQC Closed Cultures Review

23rd February 2021

Views of people with learning disabilities needed for CQC Closed Cultures Review

The CQC are reviewing their inspection process. They have asked the RRN to collect information from people with lived experience to inform their work. They want to hear from as many people as they can about what they think is important for CQC inspectors to do during inspections and what they should be looking for. So far the survey lacks the voice of people with learning disabilities.

Please send any questions and completed surveys to Alexis Quinn at


Helping the NHS to improve services and treatments for patients – can you help?

08th February 2021

Healthwatch are working with NHS England to undertake some research on what patients, current users, non-users and those with long-term conditions, with specific health issues including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental health and genetic factors, think about getting involved with clinical research.

This research will be really valuable in helping the NHS develop new medicines and learn more about better health and care for the future.
We want to know how patients and the public feel about clinical research, how they can get involved in research, what digital access they might need and if there are any barriers in place for involvement.

You can take here:

Please feel free to share with anyone else you know who might like to take part!

Thank you for your support.

NHS and care services - how you can help change

08th February 2021

Disability Rights UK

We are writing to you today to alert you to the ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ reporting webpage and how you can use it to share your experiences during lockdown of the NHS and care services.

Disabled people and their families have suffered more than most during the current pandemic. The regulator for the NHS and care services in England – The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – have set up a webpage where disabled people and their families can provide feedback directly, and anonymously to the CQC to help them plan future services that take the needs of disabled people much more seriously.  Once you have provided your feedback to the CQC we urge you to please share this email with other people you may know to do the same. The following are a few examples, you may think of more ways you have been affected over the past year – the CQC has asked to hear about all experiences of the NHS and care services in England:

Did your hospital manage to maintain your treatment schedule during lockdown?

When you contacted your GP surgery, was the receptionist understanding of your situation?

When you received your Covid-19 vaccine, did the people there respond to your needs?

Have you been able to get prescriptions easily?

What were your feelings about the treatment you or a member of your family received when in hospital?

Have you experienced any issues with getting appointments with your physiotherapist?

Any opportunity for the voice of disabled people to be heard is to be welcomed, and we hope that you will report your experiences – both good and bad - on the Tell Us About Your Care webpage.

Kind regards.

Disability Rights UK.


01st February 2021

  • An invitation to complete the , relating to the forthcoming cross-Government Disability Strategy. The deadline for reply is 13 February, with a fallback of 23 April.
  • An updated version of our summary of what schools need to or are expected to publish on their websites, including their duties in relation to publishing material on SEN and disability.
  • Update on access to work funding remote employability activities post January.


UK Disability Survey

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit has launched the UK Disability Survey:

We want to hear from as many people as possible. We are particularly keen to hear from disabled people, their carers, friends and family; but views from the wider public are also very welcome. The survey will remain open until 23 April. All views will be used to shape the delivery of the plans we set out in the forthcoming Strategy, with those that we receive by 13 February informing the development of the Strategy.

We've tried to make sure the survey, which is hosted on Citizen Space, as accessible as possible. It is available in Easy Read and BSL. Written responses can be sent to: A braille version is available on request and blind or partially sighted people who are having difficulty filling in the online survey can email RNIB for advice or support at:


Duties on and expectations of schools over publishing material online

We have updated our summaries of the material that schools must or should publish online, including in relation to:

  • SEN Information Reports, which need to be updated at least annually
  • details of how a school complies with the public sector equality duty, with information which needs to be updated every year
  • a school’s equality objectives, which need to be updated at least once every four years
  • contact details of SENCos

Schools will also typically wish to publish the Accessibility Plan, that they have to update at least once every three years. Information as to that Plan needs to be included in their SEN Information Report.

There are no changes to the law and our guidance on publishing of the above, but in the updates of our summaries we have sought to bring together all the relevant material in one place and to set it out clearly.

We invite Heads, SENCOs and governors/trustees to consider whether the above material on their websites remains up to date.

The relevant links to our summaries of the requirements and expectations of schools are:

  •   for maintained schools,
  •   for academies/free schools,


Access to work funding for remote employability activities post January 2021

We are waiting for a ministerial decision on the continuation of Access to Work funding for remote employability activities post January 2021. We expect to receive the decision very shortly, but until then you can continue to use Access to Work funding for remote employability activities.


Launch of a new project for DAD

11th January 2021

We are delighted to launch a new project focusing on positive travel.

With funding from LNER, the Positive Travel Project will support disabled people and carers of all ages to tackle the barriers they face in accessing transport and travel in a variety of ways.

The project will offer a range of options including; individual travel training, group access to social and leisure opportunities for disabled people and families regardless of age or impairment, group participation to tackle issues affecting disabled people.

All activities will be fully accessible with the right support to enable people to participate.

We are looking forward to working with LNER over the coming months and supporting people to;

  • to access public transport who have not done so before
  • to be able to travel independently as a result of travel training
  • have access to leisure and social opportunities and have fun
  • develop new skills, learn new things, identify and tackle issues that affect them and have share them with the wider community.

Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more updates.

Online exercise session and music quiz tomorrow (09.01.21)

08th January 2021

Bridge Creative are offering an on line exercise session and music quiz tomorrow. It will be posted in the KPC Facebook group. 

Further details of plans for next few weeks to follow including dance, exercises, arts and crafts, cooking with Ian and children's activities.

DAD - AGM : 4th February 2021 - postponed

07th January 2021

Please join us at the Annual General Meeting of Darlington Association on Disability

on Thursday 4th February 2021

at 10.30am

via Zoom

Please inform us if you would like to attend the AGM, by contacting Judith, by email: or by telephone:  01325 489999 so that we can arrange a Zoom invitation.

 Copies of the audited accounts and annual report will be available for members which will sent out prior to the AGM once you have confirmed your attendance.  If you are unable to attend and would also like a copy, please contact us.

 I hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you.

New Lockdown Rules - 05.01.21

05th January 2021

Another lockdown…

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible.

From today, all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

The government is also advising the clinically extremely vulnerable to begin shielding again, and letters will be sent to individuals with advice on what this means for them.

All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol.

Essential shops and garden centres can remain open. Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos must close, but the outdoor areas of venues such as heritage homes and botanical gardens can remain open, to be used for exercise. Playgrounds may also remain open.

Places of worship can also remain open.

Indoor and outdoor sports facilities including sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools, and riding arenas must also close. Elite sport and disabled sport can continue, as can PE lessons for those children attending school.

The restrictions will come into effect today and are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improves. By this point, the NHS hopes to have vaccinated everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation (JCVI) – including older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70, all frontline NHS and care staff and all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Vaccine information for people with learning impairments

05th January 2021

From NHS England Learning Disability and Autism Programme

The format of the film is our adviser Katie Matthews, asking our national clinical director Dr Roger Banks a series of questions about vaccinations:

The film is 3 ½ minutes  long so we have also produced social media clips for some of the questions so you can link back to the main film.

Here is a download link to the 5 social media clips

Changes to Christmas Bubbles

21st December 2020

Guidance for the Christmas period - GOV.UK (

The Government have changed the Christmas rules.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson came on tv to tell the country that the Christmas lockdown rules have changed. This is because the number of people getting Coronavirus is going up very fast.

A new Tier 4 London and some parts of the South East have been put into a new Tier 4. This is because lots of people there are catching Coronavirus. People in Tier 4 have to follow stricter lockdown rules.

In the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, our Tiers have not changed. People living in York and North Yorkshire are in Tier 2. Everyone else in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber is in Tier 3. Your lockdown rules stay the same.

The rules for Christmas support bubbles have changed. The Christmas Support Bubble rules used to be that from 23rd to 27th December that 3 households could spend time together.

This has changed.

We can only spend time with people that we do not live with and who are not in our support bubble on Christmas Day. The Government are saying we should stay local and not travel a long way to visit people on Christmas Day.

But it is important to follow the rules to stop people catching Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus bug is changing. The Government have said that the Coronavirus bug has changed. The new version of the Coronavirus bug is easier to catch. The Government say it isn’t more dangerous than the first one and the vaccine should still work.


Understanding Safeguarding for Voluntary and Community Organisations

15th December 2020

DCA as a partner with Catalyst Stockton-on-Tees in Safer Culture North East have organised a safeguarding training session with some further information as follows:

Understanding Safeguarding for Voluntary and Community Organisations

This online session is aimed a volunteer led organisations and community groups.

It will cover:

The importance of having a safeguarding policy

Understanding your responsibilities for safeguarding within your organisation

What to include in your safeguarding policy

Thursday 17th December 2020 5.00 pm – 6.30 pm.

Bookings are through  via the Eventbrite link below:

Once a booking has been confirmed then participants will be sent a Zoom link to access the session.


03rd December 2020

People who are on the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' list, which includes adults (18+) who have Down's syndrome, are now able to get free #VitaminD supplements from the NHS.

Follow the link below for more information and to sign up.

DAD and NHS Test and Trace

03rd December 2020

International Day of Disabled People

DAD was asked by Caroline Airs, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead to deliver an online presentation to NHS Test and Trace staff in the Department of Health and Social Care. The presentation was focused on supporting people with hidden impairments in the workplace.

250 people joined this session – that’s 250 new people who now know about DAD!!

We received comments such as “thanks for the insight and raising awareness”, “thank you for this informative session and amazing presentation”, “thank you for sharing”, “really helpful, Rosemary (Senior Manager of DAD), thank you” – and some interesting chat and sharing ideas about good practice in running meetings.

Purple Space

03rd December 2020

‘PurpleSpace is the UK’s only learning, networking and professional development hub for disabled employees, employee network leaders and allies from all sectors and trades. The one thing we have in common is that we want to find and share ways of being our best selves at work.’

They are hosting a Purple Light Up event next week, see below;

PurpleSpace leads this movement, our mark of respect to the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) held annually on 3rd December.

Since 2017, #PurpleLightUp has been driving momentum for disability inclusion across hundreds of organisations, reaching thousands of employees in different ways. This includes lighting up iconic buildings purple, holding events, developing workplace policies for disabled employees and sparking conversations about disability inclusion worldwide.

'Shielding' - new guidance

30th November 2020

This new guidance has just been published with differing rules in each tier..



You are not advised to follow this revised shielding advice unless you receive a new shielding notification advising you to do so.

We may advise more restrictive formal shielding measures for the clinically extremely vulnerable in the worst affected Tier 3 areas, based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer. This will only apply to some Tier 3 areas, and the government will write to you separately to inform you if you are advised to shield.

Further support will be made available from your local council and community pharmacies to help protect you during this period of heightened risk.

International Day of People With Disabilities

30th November 2020

This Thursday, December 3rd,  is International Day of People With Disabilities, an annual event to join together to support disabled people in our communities, and raise awareness of the importance of creating a future where disabled people experience equal opportunity and face no barriers in all aspects of their lives— whether it be going about their day-to-day lives within accessible communities, joining the workforce, or being able to showcase their abilities and reach their goals without facing barriers.


Christmas Bubbles

26th November 2020

Here is the Government Guidance about Christmas bubbles, please read full guidance as this is just summary and the guidance includes section on existing support bubbles, childcare bubbles and guidance for care home residents etc

Between 23 and 27 December:

  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
  • you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble


Before and after forming and meeting your Christmas bubble

You should reduce unnecessary contact with people you do not live with as much as possible in the two weeks before you form your Christmas bubble.

Children should continue to go to school.

You should work from home if you can, but you should avoid unnecessary social interaction. Any increase in contact with other people increases the risk you will catch or spread coronavirus.

New regional tiers

26th November 2020

Here is the link to the new local restriction tiers from 2nd December

Tier 3 - North East and Tees Valley

No mixing of households indoors, or most outdoor places, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six in some outdoor public spaces (e.g.
parks, public gardens).

Hospitality is closed, with the exception of sales by takeaway, drive-through or delivery.


Everyone who can work from home should do so.

Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities open. Childcare, other supervised activities for children, and childcare bubbles permitted.

Open. Group activities and classes should not take place

Closed (with limited exceptions)


We advise against overnight stays other than with household or support bubble.

15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships and wakes; 30 for funerals. Wedding receptions not permitted.

Indoor venues

Open, but cannot interact with anyone outside household or support bubble.

Avoid travelling outside your area, other than where necessary such as for work or education. Further exemptions apply. Reduce the number of journeys where possible.  Plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble.

Classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but people should avoid higher-risk contact activity. Group exercise activities and sports indoors should not take place, unless with your household or bubble. Organised activities for elite athletes, under-18s and disabled people can continue.

COVID-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Outdoor/airtight visits only (rollout of rapid testing
will enable indoor visits including contact).

Events should not take place. Drive-in events permitted.

Primary Care Report & Digital Exclusion Project

12th November 2020

In 2019, 430 patients in Darlington shared their GP experience with Healthwatch Darlington. Healthwatch Darlington spoke to patients about booking appointments, waiting times, communication and accessibility.  You can read the Darlington Primary Care Report 2019 here.

The story continues. Healthwatch Darlington have continued listening to the voices of patients during the pandemic and have worked with Healthwatch England to plan a research project which will help them to understand your experiences further. Healthwatch Darlington have teamed up with Darlington Primary Care Network to make this happen.

It’s important for us to understand new barriers that some patients may be facing as health professionals adapt to using ‘digital’ appointments within primary health services.

Healthwatch Darlington will be working with Darlington Primary Care Network to conduct a ‘Digital Exclusion’ project in Darlington. The overall aim of the project is to understand the potential inequalities surrounding the shift to remote/virtual GP appointments during the pandemic. The key groups of patients we hope to reach include:

  • Older patients (over 65)
  • Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) patients
  • Disabled patients (Learning disabilities, hearing and/or visual impairment)

On Monday 16th November from 10:45am -12:00pm we will be LIVE on Facebook with Darlington Primary Care Network to talk more about this project but you can also hear more about:

Flu Vaccination Programme

Access to GP’s during lockdown/pandemic

If you would like to share your experience or know someone who does please get in touch with Healthwatch Darlington to arrange an appointment, by contacting 01325 380145, 07525 237723 (please leave a message) or email

What the DDA did for me.....

11th November 2020

Here is what the DDA did.....

It gave me the right to ask for reasonable adjustments to help me apply for and keep a job. 

It meant I could receive the first pay slip I could read

It enabled me to get braille bank statements

It gave me the right to assistance to get on and off trains

It meant I could stand up against hostility from the public knowing the law was on my side

It lets me get support at the gym to use the equipment

It empowers me to ask for accessible health information

It helped many disabled people to access buses and taxis and to be able to use different means of transport

It helps me to be able to work and make use of the Access to Work scheme

It meant that counters in banks and ATM machines had to be installed in a lower (wheelchair accessible) position

It helped some people’s attitudes change to see us as disabled people with more positivity

Places of worship are more accessible to disabled people

Hospital wards became more accessible to disabled people with more complex physical needs

Pools were made accessible with hoists and other equipment

It meant that schools had a duty to provide accessible education

It meant that transport became more accessible – I was no longer expected to travel in the guard’s carriage with some livestock

Insurance companies could no longer load my quotes because of my impairment (car insurance / life insurance)

New buildings such as shopping centres and cinemas had to be accessible – I was no longer a fire hazard, a reason used to keep me out of the cinema

It means that I have to be recognised as having the right to access shops, leisure facilities, education, housing and transport, rather than being seen as an inconvenience for even asking

It was the ability to see that my hidden disabilities and my mental health condition were not matters to be ashamed of, that others had similar conditions and went about life to the best of their abilities

It was the fact that there is a better chance of getting opportunities for work and positions of influence

It is the fact that there is the ability to legally challenge anyone or any business which tried to infringe on my rights to enjoy full engagement with society

It is being respected by statutory bodies, companies and government for involvement in improving the place of disabled people in their business and policy creation


Letter from Vicky Ford MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families

10th November 2020

Click here to see letter from Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families


What has the DDA done for you?

10th November 2020

On Sunday 8 November, it was 25 years since the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the first civil rights legislation in the UK relating to disabled people. The DDA came 20 years after legislation outlawing race discrimination and sex discrimination, and we can thank the disability rights campaigners of the 1980s and 1990s for the fact it came at all.

Of course there is still a lot wrong with the way society treats disabled people, negative attitudes to us persist, inclusive design is not the norm and the benefits, support and services that some of us rely on have been drastically reduced. But none of this should stop us celebrating the DDA and expressing our heartfelt thanks to those who made it possible, the disability rights campaigners and Parliamentarians.

What has the DDA done for you? Email us at

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

05th November 2020

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

This guidance has been updated, people are being advised to shield again and only leave house for exercise and essential health appointments.

People with stage-five chronic kidney disease, those undergoing dialysis and adults with Down's syndrome are now also advised to follow the advice.

Lockdown 2

05th November 2020

National restrictions come into effect today (Thursday 5th November) in England until the 2nd December.

You can find more information here.


Purple Tuesday

03rd November 2020

New research reveals how the first national lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19 has turned back the clock for disabled customers, who have been forced to rely on inaccessible websites and apps to purchase basic essentials and access goods and services.

The research shows that the vast majority of websites do not comply with the latest accessibility requirements and one recent study showed that more than 98% of home pages had accessibility failures.  Specific challenges highlighted by disabled people for Purple Tuesday include:

Inaccessible online forms – which can be difficult to navigate, particularly for people living with sight loss where it’s not clear whether a field is drop-down menu or an open field that requires a typed response

Mobile accessibility – where consumers cannot complete purchases because the website or online form are not mobile-friendly

Product information – where insufficient information is provided as to whether a product or service can meet your needs as a disabled person

Product availability – some disabled people have told us they can’t access products that meet their needs online, including some rail websites which don’t have facilities to book priority seating online

Missed deliveries – which often force disabled people to collect parcels from postal depots that are inaccessible if you don’t drive

#ThumbsUp #PurpleTuesday


Free Training for direct payment employers funded by Skills for Care

02nd November 2020

DAD have successfully gained some funding from Skills for Care and we are looking to hold sessions over Google Zoom for direct payment employers.  All personal assistants are welcome to join although the focus will be supporting employers in understanding best practice in infection control and risk assessments.

Please call us or email if you wish to attend either of the following dates:

Thursday 19th November starting at 1.30pm, Zoom

Wednesday 2nd December, starting at 1.30pm, Zoom

(Sessions will last approximately 2 hours)

We look forward to seeing you!

Latest Covid News

02nd November 2020

On Saturday 31st October 2020, the Prime Minister announced that from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December, due to rising COVID-19 case numbers, the Government is taking the following action:

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Closing certain businesses and venues.

Subject to it being passed in Parliament later this week, the new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2nd December. At the end of the period, the Government will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.

The Government guidance is as follows:

1. Stay at Home

This means you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

  • For childcare or education, where this is not provided online.
  • For work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).
  • To exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.
  • For any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse.
  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible.
  • To visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

This list is not exhaustive and there are other limited circumstances where you may be permitted to leave or be outside of your home. These will be set out in law and further detailed guidance is to be provided.


2. Staying Safe Outside the Home (Social Distancing)

You should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.
Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space’:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).


3. Meeting with Family and Friends

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with - or support bubble.
You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household.

Outdoor public places include:

  • Parks, beaches, countryside;
  • Public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments;
  • Playgrounds;

You cannot meet in a private garden.


4. Businesses and Venues

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:

  • All non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks.
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens.
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
Playgrounds can remain open.
Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.
A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law.
Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups (maximum 15 participants) formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. E.g. support victims of crime, drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, issues relating to sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
A number of public services will also stay open and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include: the NHS and medical services like GP's; Jobcentre Plus sites; Courts; and Civil Registration Offices.


5. Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Religious Services and Funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for: Funerals, to broadcast acts of worship, individual prayer, formal childcare or where part of a school. Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks, and other exempted activities such as some support groups.


6. Going to Work

Work from home where possible. Where people cannot do so (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace.


7. Going to School, College and University

The Government will not be closing schools, colleges or universities.


8. Childcare and Children’s Activities

Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care.


9. Protecting People More at Risk from Coronavirus

Those over 60 or clinically vulnerable, are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise. The full new guidance will be published on Monday 2nd November and the Government will write to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice while the new restrictions are in place.


10. Visiting Relatives in Care Homes

Guidance on care home visits will be published ahead of Thursday.


11. Travel

You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:

  • Travelling to work where this cannot be done from home.
  • Travelling to education and for caring responsibilities.
  • Hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health.
  • Visiting venues that are open, including essential retail.
  • Exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so.

If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.
Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed.

Free access to flu vaccination for PA’s

19th October 2020

All frontline health and social care workers are encouraged to get the winter flu vaccination and for the first time, this year, PAs will be able to access the vaccine free of charge from GPs and community pharmacies through the NHS Complementary Scheme. 
Full, bespoke guidance for PAs and direct payment holders has been developed and will be published shortly. In the meantime, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has asked us to share with you a summary of the guidance, along with a letter than can be used as proof of entitlement. This is so that PAs can begin to access the flu vaccination now.
To access the scheme, PAs will simply need to attend a GP surgery or community pharmacy and identify themselves as a PA. Sometimes people have been asked to provide proof of their entitlement to a free flu vaccination and the attached letter can be used for identification.

The process for PAs to access the flu vaccination, is as follows:
If you meet the criteria, you must present one of the following forms of identification that includes your name and the name of your employer to your GP or pharmacy: ■ ID badge ■ a recent payslip ■ a letter from your employer. Please note: it’s possible that not all GPs or pharmacies will sign-up to the scheme. 

If you're an organisation that supports people who are employing PAs, please share this information and letter with them, so their PAs can get the winter flu vaccination.

In addition, colleagues at DHSC are keen to keep the flu campaign for this workforce going through the winter, and so are interested in finding individuals to share their experience of getting the vaccine on social media and in newsletters.

As part of this they’d like to feature some PAs getting the vaccine. If you have some examples that we can share with DHSC, please let us know by emailing

Friends Against Scams Online Training

19th October 2020

Darlington Trading Standards continues to work to with the National Trading Standards Scams Team to prevent our communities from becoming victims of scams.  This year is the fourth anniversary of the ‘Friends Against Scams’ initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.  As you may be aware, scams, in particular those linked to the pandemic, are on the increase.

Friends Against Scams week commences Monday 19th October 2020 and, on Wednesday 21st we would like as many people as possible to complete online awareness training and help to protect others.  Please help by completing this online awareness training (only 20 minutes long) yourselves and by raising awareness, through communications with your colleagues, followers, etc. to encourage others to do the same.

A link to the online awareness training is below:

Covid 19 tier system

14th October 2020

Darlington and Co Durham are now in the HIGH tier

Social Contact:   1 household / bubble indoors. Rule of six outdoors.

Weddings and Funerals:  Up to 15 guests for weddings and up to 30 guests for funerals. 15 for receptions, wakes and related ceremonies.

Overnight Stays:  Overnight stays permitted subject to social contact rules.

Working from home guidance:  Work from home where possible.

Shopping and Retail:  Open.

Leisure and gyms:  Open.

Hospitality:  Open with some restrictions including 10pm closing time and table-service only.

Entertainment and tourist attractions:  Open, except nightclubs and adult entertainment.

Education:  Schools, FE colleges open. Universities must reflect wider restrictions.

Healthcare Services:  Open.

Residential Care:  Closed to external visitors other than in exceptional circumstances.

Travel and Transport:  May continue to travel to open venues, but reduce number of journeys where possible. Avoid travel into Local COVID Alert Level Very High areas where possible.

Sporting Activity:  Organised sport / licensed physical activity allowed in outdoor settings. Indoor organised sport must follow social contact rules (other than youth or disabled sport).

Worship:  Open, subject to social contact rules.

Childcare:  Registered and wraparound childcare. Supervised activities permitted in private homes. Children’s groups permitted. Childcare bubbles for under 14s.

Youth Clubs and Activities:  Permitted.

There are three simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other:

Wash hands: keep washing your hands regularly

Cover face: wear a face covering in enclosed spaces

Make space: stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions

Hate Crime Week: 10th Oct - 17th Oct

14th October 2020

Disability hate crime is any incident or crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's disability.

If you believe that you or any other person has been targeted because of their disability then please report it.

There are many ways to report hate crime.

  • If the matter involves an attack or serious crime which needs an urgent response, ring 999
  • If it is a lesser incident such as verbal abuse, ring 101
  • Contact your local police directly.
  • Contact Darlington Association on Disability on us on 01325 489 999 or email for support.

Practical Support in Darlington

05th October 2020

Darlington Mutual Aid volunteers are still available to assist anyone who needs practical support in the community shopping, collecting from food banks, prescriptions dog walking etc. As more people are needing to self isolate please refer people. This form could be used to submit the request for support:  Alternatively, this is the support line telephone number: 01325 978897

St Teresa's Hospice - Hello, How are you

02nd October 2020

A new series of online talks for anyone caring for a loved one with a serious illness, such as heart or respiratory disease, cancer, or a neurological condition.

Starting 27th Oct 2020

Information and support from local specialists:- * Consultant in palliative medicine   * Solicitor   * Hospice social workers   * Macmillan benefits officer   * Other carers

About a range of topics:- * Your needs and wishes   * Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney   * Emotional and practical support   * Financial grants and benefits  * Self-care and well-being

To request a place or for more information please contact:

Deborah Robinson at St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington on 01325 254321 or

Technical support offered.

Call us about care, we want you to share!

30th September 2020

Connecting socially isolated and lonely service users with friendly volunteers and staff to talk about care experiences and ask questions.

Contact us now to book an appointment for yourself or someone you know.

01325 380145 or 07525 237723.

Alternatively, you can email:


Connect with your Care

30th September 2020

Join us from the comfort of your own home with a cup of coffee for 'Tell us your views Tuesday' online using Zoom from 10am to 11am with a themed conversation topic each week. October 6th we will be talking about 'loneliness'. Email or call 01325 380145 for your Zoom link.

Join us for #WellbeingWednesdays where we will be joined by guest speakers LIVE on Facebook talking about wellbeing, how local services can help, positive stories and finished off with self-care tips. October 7th from 12:30pm we will be joined by 'Darlington Humankind Young Carers'

All of our #WellbeingWednesday sessions are now booked with guest speakers but we are looking for people to take part in November. Get in touch if you are interested ASAP.

Maybe you can join us with a friend?

Maybe your an organisation who would like to get involved with discussions?

Maybe you know someone who would enjoy our coffee and chat sessions on Tuesdays?

For more information or to take part in one of these sessions get in touch via or call 01325 380145. Please note out opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.

CPS - Who are we?

13th August 2020

“Have you ever been affected by hate crime?  Ever wondered about why some HATE CRIMES make it to court and some don’t?  Do you want to know what the Crown Prosecution Service actually does?

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are holding an online Q+A / Who We Are session on Tuesday 18th August 5:30 – 6:30pm.  They would love you to dial in and be part of it.  Contact Andrew Allison on 07384 797779 or to book a place.

If you’d rather e-mail your question and get it answered without taking part, you can do that too!  Just let DAD know your question and we’ll get the answer for you.”


Have you been in hospital recently?

03rd August 2020

Tell us your views

During the coronavirus pandemic the usual processes hospitals follow to discharge you from their care changed to help free up beds.

While these changes have successfully got people out of hospital and helped the NHS manage the demand created by coronavirus, we want to know what this has meant for you. 

To find out more about people’s experiences of health and care during COVID-19, we recently launched our campaign #BecauseWeAllCare to encourage people to share their experiences of health and social care services in Darlington.

By telling us about your experiences of leaving hospital we can help services in Darlington improve the care they provide now, and in the future.

Share your views today in our short, confidential survey.

Share your experience


If you or family have not recently been in hospital, please share this email with your friends, neighbours and networks so we can hear from more people about their experiences of care.

If you have any questions about this survey or our work please email to ensure this is picked up by the relevant staff members who will be able to help.

Extending the period of self-isolation

30th July 2020

You may have seen in the press reports about extending the period of self-isolation for those with symptoms or a positive test from 7 days to 10 days. The 14 day period for contacts remains unchanged.

Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on extension of self-isolation period: 30 July 2020

The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result.


Supporting People with hearing loss

29th July 2020

Here are some links that may help:

Face masks with windows and visors:

Free BSL lessons on YouTube from 2 sisters in lockdown:

Some free resources here:

General info and fingerspelling chart:

Health videos in BSL if patient needs them: 

For hard of hearing, communication tips etc…

Darlington Community Support HUB

23rd July 2020

Darlington Community Support HUB

The Darlington Community Support HUB (providing help, advice and assistance to those who are shielded and who are the most isolated) has now changed their opening hours and no longer open over the weekend.

The new opening hours are;

Operating Hours from Monday 6th July:

Monday - Wednesday, 8:30-4:45pm

Thursday, 9:30-4:45pm

Friday, 8:30-4:15pm

The HUB can be contacted on 01325 405000

The HUB does not provides emergency food parcels, will signpost to food banks and community groups that may be able to help.


Face Mask Exemption Cards

23rd July 2020

If you can not wear a face mask because of a disability of health problem please cut out one of the cards

Exemption Cards

SENDcast are hosting a Parent Talks session

23rd July 2020

SENDcast are hosting a Parent Talks session created especially for parents of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability.

Are you a parent or carer of a child with autism looking for support and advice? Tessa Morton from Act for Autism wants to help!

Here’s what one parent thought of Tessa’s Parent Talks session…

"I found the talk on autism and sensory difficulties extremely helpful.
It gave me more insight into my son's world and helped me to understand how he feels."

Tessa's online talk will help you understand the sensory challenges faced by autistic children. She explains the 8 senses, their impact on an autistic child and provides exercises that help you to experience sensory chaos. She also talks about the 3 C Pathway to support your child’s confidence in relationship building - and why this is so important.

This talk is part of season 1 of Parent Talks - created especially for parents of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability. The talks are all given by individuals with personal experience of SEND - parents, professionals, pioneers - who share their experiences, insights and practical advice.

It’s just £10 for access to 12 online talks (including Tessa's). Read more about the talks and the presenters here

You can purchase tickets on their website - If you register your interest, they will email you a discount code to get money off your ticket and keep you updated on the latest news.


09th July 2020


Healthwatch are launching a new campaign with CQC – #BecauseWeAllCare, encouraging the public to share their experiences, both good and bad, to help improve health and social care services. As well as promoting the benefits of giving feedback and why it’s so important, it will also be an opportunity to collect people’s views on key local issues.

The campaign launches on Wednesday 8th July 2020.

As health and social care services work to provide the best possible care during COVID-19, public feedback can play a crucial role to help us identify and address issues that affect the quality of people’s care.

Together we can help services across Darlington improve the care they provide now, and in the future. #BecauseWeAllCare is here to listen and act on public feedback to improve care for you and others – helping patients, key workers, and our communities.

In addition to their campaign launch they will be focusing on key service users groups and health care topics. Will be hosting online focus groups, offering telephone appointments and working with organisations to reach out to service users.

The focus across the coming weeks will be families & young people and hospital discharge.

How can you encourage people to share their experiences and support the campaign?

Following an experience with a health or social care service, patients and carers can share their feedback – both positive and negative - with their local Healthwatch by completing an online form.,


How to get in touch

All the #BecauseWeAllCare team are working from home but we can still be contacted during our normal operational hours 9am to 4pm


Telephone: 01325 380145 (Please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible)

Mobile: 07525237723


26th June 2020

Thanks to County Durham Community Foundation for supporting us with further funding from the #NETCoronaVirusAppeal. This will enable us to continue to keep people connected and safe through regular calls, deliveries of activities and Personal Protective Equipment and on line activities which will support disabled people and carers of all ages during the #coronavirus outbreak.

Face Coverings

15th June 2020

Face Coverings

I am sure you’ll have heard that government have mandated that from today anyone travelling by public transport must wear a face covering.  If someone doesn’t wear a covering they will be breaking the law and could be fined by the police, although the aim is for high rates of compliance rather than enforcement.  The requirement to wear a face covering doesn’t apply to children under the age of 11, or to those who have a reason not to, which includes the following:

•        if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering

•        if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress

•        if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

•        if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you

•        if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others

•        if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering

•        if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard

Full government guidance can be found here -

Those travelling by bus, who are exempt from wearing a face covering may wish to carry one of the Journey Assistance Cards shown below with them.  The cards can be downloaded and printed from this page -

Support Bubbles

12th June 2020

Government guidance about meeting people was recently updated to include forming ‘support bubbles’ between two households. Please read the following and use the government guidance to support people to understand how and who they can form a support bubble with. The guiddance only appplies to those living in England. The attached may also be useful to help explain.

From Saturday 13th June people living alone or single parents, with childrren under 18 years old, can form a ‘support bubble’ with ONE other household, of any size.

This does not apply to people who are shielded and they should continue to shield until further guidance is issued. It is expected that there will be more guidance for this group next week.

All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to stay 2 metres apart.

People should still follow social distancing rules when meeting people not from their household or support bubble and can still meet no more than 6 people, outside and should remain 2 meters apart.       

There are key principles to form a support bubble safely to keep people safe;

  • support bubbles should be exclusive – you should not change who is in your bubble or have close contact with anyone else you do not live with.
  • if you or someone in your support bubble is showing coronavirus symptoms, or otherwise self-isolating, everyone in your support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted must stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble must then isolate.

There is no limit on how far you can travel in England to meet members of your support bubble but we recommend that you form a support bubble with someone who lives locally wherever possible. 

If you share custody of your child, and you and your child’s other parent are both in separate bubbles, all households would need to isolate if someone becomes symptomatic in the group.

If you are a lone parent you can form a support bubble with another household to provide informal (i.e. unpaid) childcare for them or for them to provide informal childcare for you. You should not form a support bubble with more than one household.

You can read the full guidance here

Face Coverings - Hospital

10th June 2020

The government guidance is that all hospital staff will wear facemasks from 15th June. Visitors and outpatients should wear a face covering but masks will be provided in emergencies by hospitals.,face%20coverings%20at%20all%20times.


Covid19 Testing

26th May 2020

Testing is now open to any member of the public with Covid 19 symptoms by visiting or calling 119 to book a test.  

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested

06th May 2020

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available.


Personal Protective Equipment animation and resources

01st May 2020



What PPE to wear when providing care out of hospital

This short animation shows you what personal protective equipment to wear when providing care (including caring for extremely vulnerable and shielded people) in care homes or caring for people in their own homes.  It is based on Public Health England’s recently published guidance:-


Putting on and removing PPE – a guide for care homes

This Public Health Education video includes a flowchart for care workers providing care to residents to identify whether there is a need for PPE, PPE recommendations for care home staff, and some frequently asked questions on the use of PPE in care homes


Website for further resources

The above animation and video and further resources/links that may be of help to people providing care out of hospital are all grouped in this one website.  Under the “resources” section are other videos including how to take someone’s temperature, guides to help with your personal wellbeing, along with a training package on Covid-19 infection prevention and control.  You can also download posters on how to take off PPE and on the “useful links” tab, there are quick links to other websites for further information/support eg E-learning for Healthcare:-

Covid 19 Mobile Testing

28th April 2020

The Mobile Testing Unit will be back at Teesside Park from 2nd – 4th May so this can be used to book staff testing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing unpaid care

14th April 2020

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Follow this link for more information

Thank you to County Durham Community Foundation

14th April 2020

Thankyou to County Durham Community Foundation who have, very quickly, agreed an emergency grant to DAD to support us with the costs of keeping in touch with disabled people and carers while people are self isolating and in need of support, information and practical assistance. 

If you, or anyone you know, is not already on our list and needs support please get in  touch by phoning 01325 489999 or email

Disabled Children's Partnership

03rd April 2020

New coronavirus resource webpage from Disabled Children's Partnership. 

The Disabled Children's Partnership has gathered a range of online info for families with disabled children & put them together in one place


Direct Payments Help Line

30th March 2020

We know that this is a very worrying time for disabled people, particularly Direct Payment users.

We are putting in a range of support to be able to continue to support Direct Payment users at this time. If you use a Direct Payment and live in Darlington, Middlesbrough or Redcar and have concerns or queries our Independent Living Advisors and Lead Workers are available to support you by telephone and email.

You can contact us on 01325 360524 or 01325 489999 or email

Please be aware we are experiencing high numbers of call and queries at the moment so please be patient but we will respond to all.


Update - testing for PAs and PHB holders

27th March 2020

The latest update from the Department of Health and Social Care is as follows:


All PAs are now able to receive a test, symptomatic or asymptomatic – as essential, frontline workers. The test is most effective in the first three days of infection (but can still be effective up to five days). So practically, any PA who is symptomatic, should get tested as soon as possible and any PA who is asymptomatic (but thinks they may have been exposed recently) can also now access testing. As before, PAs can either self-register, or be referred by their employer, with availability for both home-delivered tests, and drive-through testing.


All patients in the NHS, and residents in care homes can now access tests, symptomatic or asymptomatic. It has also been agreed that ‘patients’ extends to individuals with personal health budgets in place. Therefore, any personal health budget holders with concerns that they may have Covid-19 / been exposed to Covid-19, can now access these tests (via self-referral).


Individuals with just a personal budget in place, who don’t have either a) a personal health budget, or b) a health condition that would constitute them being a ‘patient’, are not eligible to access these tests yet… unless they are over 65 and have symptoms, or are required to go into work because they cannot work from home, and have symptoms.  



Message from Lauren

26th March 2020

Message from Lauren

Very proud of all our Key Workers at DAD! Thank you! Lauren Robinson, DAD Chief Executive

Covid-19 - Easy read guidance on shielding vulnerable people

25th March 2020

Here is a link to an easy read guide on shielding vulnerable people which might be helpful for sharing.

Free Online BSL training

25th March 2020

Doncaster Deaf Trust has launched a free online British Sign Language (BSL) course.

The online course, developed thanks to National Lottery Funding, will enable users to learn Level One BSL.

Alexis Johnson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust said: “We are thrilled to be able to launch this free resource for people during this unprecedented time.

Here is the link:

Free Coronavirus Video

23rd March 2020

Free Coronavirus Awareness eLearning Video from IHASCO

In this short free Coronavirus eLearning video, IHASCO provide practical advice to raise awareness of what Coronavirus is, how to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and what to do if you’re showing symptoms.

This free resource is for anyone wishing to find out more about Coronavirus and how to minimise its impact.

Raising Awareness: Watch the 8 minute video below and share with friends, family and staff!

Fear of the unknown and feeling like we have a lack of control certainly contributes to further panic. But what’s important is learning what there is to know at the moment, and how this information can help us to take preventive measures, whilst also knowing what to do if further action is needed.

Thankfully, there are a few things that can be done.

With this in mind, iHASCO felt it is their duty to use their expertise and resources to provide a free online awareness video about the Coronavirus.

Here is a link to the video


16th March 2020

Government Guidelines

-  Stay at home

-  Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)

-  If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times

-  Wash your hands as soon as you get home

- Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

DAD Support to staff, volunteers and users

16th March 2020

We want to make sure that our staff, volunteers and people we support are safe during the Coronavirus outbreak

As a result, we will be changing the way we work:

From Monday 23 March 2020 our services will not be doing home visits until further notice, unless it is essential, although we can still support you by phone using the usual numbers 01325 489999 or 01325 360524.

To protect the people we support and our staff and volunteers we are following the Government guidance and all activities at The Independent Living Hub at West Lodge, West Crescent have been cancelled, this includes Monday night sessions, Young Leaders, Mentoring for Independence, Subway Healthy Hearts, Short breaks and Skills for Care training, and sessions will not be running until further notice.

Peoples Parliament and all Direct Payment Peer Support Groups have also had to be cancelled.

DASH will not be running activities during the Easter holidays. All other services will be working as normally as possible under the current circumstances depending on the levels of staff available.

We have already arranged for all our staff who are at high risk to be at home and work from there if it all possible. We are actively planning what we can do to provide information and support people in this difficult time and will be in regular contact with people we support.

Daily Updates Coronavirus

13th March 2020

Daily updates about the Coronavirus

There has been lots of information on the News about Coronavirus.

This easy read information tells you more about what Coronavirus is, how you get Coronavirus, the symptoms and what you should do if you think you have Coronavirus.

You can find daily updates on the Government website

or you can find more information on the NHS website

These updates are not easy read so you may need some support to read the information. Link to an easy read version

NHS Consultation Information for Stroke Rehabilitation and Ward 6 at Bishop Auckland

28th January 2020

The three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in County Durham and Darlington (NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG (DDES), Darlington CCG and North Durham CCG) have launched two public consultations to ask local people to share their views and ideas on Stroke Rehabilitation Services and Inpatient Rehabilitation (Ward 6) at Bishop Auckland Hospital.

There will be four public events for each consultation:

Stroke Rehabilitation public events

Saturday 25 January 2020:   10.00am - 12noon    Bishop Auckland Football Club

Tuesday 4 February 2020:     6.00pm - 8.00pm      Durham Town Hall

Thursday 6 February 2020:    10.00am - 12noon    The Witham, Barnard Castle

Tuesday 11 February 2020:    1.00pm - 3.00pm      St Augustines Parish Centre, Darlington


Ward 6 public events

Thursday 30 January 2020:      10.00am -12 noon     Durham Town Hall event

Saturday 8 February 2020:        10.00am -12 noon    The Witham, Barnard Castle event

Wednesday 12 February 2020:  6.00pm - 8.00pm      Football Club, Bishop Auckland event

Tuesday 25 February 2020:       1.00pm - 3.00pm       St Augustines Parish Centre, Darlington event


To book a place please go to


Ways in which people can get involved

1. Complete the Stroke Rehabilitation consultation survey and Inpatient Rehabilitation (Ward 6) consultation survey

2. Visit the websites for full details on the consultation and to read the full consultation document: Stroke Rehabilitation Services and  Ward 6

3. Sign up to MY NHS

4. Follow these social media platforms:

NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG Facebook  and Twitter

NHS Darlington CCG Facebook and Twitter

NHS North Durham CCG Facebook and Twitter

If you have any questions please call the CCG Engagement Teams on 0191 389 8609 and leave your name, email address or phone number or email the team


We can provide versions of the consultation document in other languages and formats such as Braille and large print on request. Please contact the NECS Communications Team on 01642 745401.

How to contact DAD by telephone regarding Hate Crime has been expanded

30th May 2019

How to contact D.A.D by telephone regarding Hate Crime has been expanded. Follow this link for more information about Hate Crime.

Direct Payment Support Service Vacancies page update

24th May 2019

See the update Direct Payment Support Service Vacancies.

Mayor's Ball

01st May 2019

DAD Young Leaders supporting and rocking the Mayor's Ball with The Mayor, Cllr Veronica Copeland. One of the final events to mark the Mayor's year in office and add to the amazing fundraising for the three charities DAD, The British Legion and The 700 Club. Many thanks to Barcays Bank for match funding the funds raised from the Ball.

Photo showing several Young Leaders with Mthe mayor, Cllr Veronica Copeland
(The above photo shows the Mayor with several of DAD's Young Leaders)

Visit to Town Hall

09th April 2019

Young People from DAD enjoyed a visit to Darlington Town Hall last week after being invited to visit by Darlington Mayor, Councillor Veronica Copeland.

The Mayor gave a tour of the Mayor’s Parlour and talked to young people about the role of the Mayor and local disability history with the opportunity for young people to ask the Mayor questions.

They all really enjoyed the evening and thank the Mayor for inviting them.

Photo showing Young People and Staff with Mayor Veronica Copeland
(The above photo shows DAD Young People and some Staff members with Darlington Mayor, Councillor Veronica Copeland)

DAD invited to the opening of the new B&M Store in Darlington

03rd September 2018

As part of the opening celebrations, Darlington Association on Disability were invited along as VIP guests for the day and to open the new store.

In addition to opening the store, DAD also received £250 worth of B&M vouchers as a thank you for taking part and for all our work in the local area.

A big thank you to B&M for inviting us to be part of your opening celebrations and for the vouchers!


How you can support us

As a local organisation we very much rely on the support of our local community. We support over 2,000 people every year to have greater choice and control and remove the barriers that disabled adults and children experience in their everyday lives. But we need YOUR help.

Click here to find out how you can support us

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