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



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

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


There is a postion for a volunteer receptionist at Enterprise House.

Activities at the Hub

Please visit the Hub's home page for details of Introductions to Art, playing the Ukele and Wiggle and Giggle.

Personal Health Budgets: NHS survey

Have you got a personal health budget (PHB) or an or integrated personal budget? Nearly 25,000 people have. Now NHS England wants to hear your experiences of PHBs in a new survey. They hope this will help them improve how budgets work for you. Please partake in this survey.

Darlington Lions Club Donation

DAD was delighted to receive a donation of £1300 from Darlington Lions Club, to support our work with children and young people.

Jenny Lumley, president of the Lions Club, presented the cheque to our Chairperson, Gordon Pybus and some of the children and young people who use our services.

A big thank you to the Lions Club for the donation, which will be used to deliver Christmas parties for children and young people who attend our DASH play schemes and to Alfie, Oscar, Vinnie and Ethan for their help to accept the cheque.

Photo showing Jenny Lumley presenting a cheque to Gordon Pybus aided by Alfie,Oscar, Vinnie and Ethan

(Above photo shows Jenny Lumley, Lions Club President, presenting a cheque to Gordon Pybus aided by Alfie,Oscar, Vinnie and Ethan)

Thank you to Asda

DAD was delighted to receive £500 from Asda as we were the winners of the Green Token Scheme at the Whinfield ASDA. Louise Gibson from Asda came to present the cheque. A big thank you goes to Conor Curwen who nominated DAD to be part of the scheme.

Photo shows Conor Curwen and staff members receiving the cheque from Louise Gibson outside DAD's office entrance

(Above photo shows Conor Curwen and staff members receiving the cheque from Louise Gibson outside DAD's office entrance)

TSB Donation

DAD was delighted to receive the first donation from TSB Charity Partners. If you would like to support the staff team's fundraising efforts they are currently running a Christmas Raffle, at the branch in Tubwell Row, in their bid to raise a minimum of £500 for DAD.

Carole Gatenby, the local Darlington TSB Branch Manager, presenting the cheque to our Chairperson Gordon Pybus

(The above photo shows Carole Gatenby, the local Darlington TSB Branch Manager, presenting the cheque to our Chairperson Gordon Pybus)

Autism and Labelling

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

Participation and Co-Production

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

DAD is a safe place to be

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

All Safe places in Darlington will display the logo below.

Safe Place logo with making our Community a safe place text

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

TSB Local Charity Partner

Earlier in the year DAD was nominated to be a TSB Local Charity Partner. This year TSB received more than 27,000 nominations from customers, TSB partners and other local people in the community but we are delighted to announce that we are one of only 458 new Local Charity Partners selected across the country.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to nominate us.

We are really looking forward to working with the team at the TSB local branch in Darlington. Already they are planning events; cake stalls, three peak challenges and much more, with the aim of raising a minimum of £500 in the next twelve months. This will be a major achievement as they are only a very small team of staff! We wish them all well and will provide update on their events throughout the year.

This will be a great boost to out 30th Anniversary fundraising appeal. There is still time to support us by organising an event or making a donation, no matter how small, every little helps.

What OfSTED said about DASH…

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

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

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

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

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

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

A full copy of the report can be found here

New hate crime service acts as the Voice of Victims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Hate Crime Information

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

Personal Assistant Register

Our PA Register is for those people looking to work with disabled people who need support to live independently.

Duties: A personal assistant, would be employed directly by the direct payment user, and will provide personalised and flexible support.

You don’t need to have previous experience in this field, nor do you need qualifications. We are seeking people who share in our values as follows:

• A commitment to quality and being the best we can
• Providing excellent and individual support
• Showing dignity and respect to the people that they will be working with
• Working well together as part of a team.

The duties are varied and no two days will be the same. Our employers are individuals and they all deserve to be treated as such.

As a general guide, duties may include some support with personal care needs, as well as help to take part in a wide range of special interests and activities that support their health and wellbeing such as arts and crafts, watching the footie, drama, musical evenings, gardening, shopping trips and social occasions.

All successful applicants will undergo references and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check

Hours: Varied dependent on employer, Part time or full time hours available

Rate: Varied dependent on employer

For more information please contact 01325 489999 or email Direct Payment Recruitment

Details of current vacancies can be found here

Big Benefits Survey 2017

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a national coalition of over 80 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system for disabled people, people with long-term conditions and their carers. They are conducting a survey which can be accessed here

Support us - ASDA Green Token giving scheme

DAD has been selected to be part of ASDA's Green Token Giving scheme at the Whinbush store in Darlington. Help support us by dropping your green tokens in the DAD box in store between now and the end of September!

Thank you Connor for the nomination!

Share your experience

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

The Disabled Children’s Partnership

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

Today they have launched the Secret Life of Us campaign to bring to life the realities of the challenges disabled children, young people and their families face.  The campaign aims to improve awareness of the issues faced by families on a day-to-day basis and remove the barriers to people being able to relate to the lives of disabled children, creating greater understanding, affinity and empathy for them and their families.

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

DASH Funding Update

We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in securing funding through the Better Care Fund to support DASH play schemes.

The funding will enable us to provide a limited number of subsidised places for children and young people and give us some funding towards trips and trip transport costs.

The schemes will be running from Monday 24th July to Friday 18th August.

If you would like more information do not hesitate to contact the Children and Young People’s Service on chyps@darlingtondisability.org or 01325 254848.

Independent Living Hub Funding Update

DAD has been supporting carers for 30 years and continues to do so through our expert knowledge, skilful staff, our many projects and services.

DAD has, again, been successful in securing Better Care Funding for carers and in 'Carers Week', we are delighted to launch yet more free places at our Independent Living Hub and more subsidised places on our DASH play scheme.

Carers who have benefitted from this funding have said:
“It gives me peace of mind when L is at the hub, I know she is in a safe environment, and I can go and do something for me”
"Our son D attending the 10 free sessions at the Hub and they have made a huge positive impact on our family, D is happier, so we are all happier”

People attending the Hub have said:
“The hub is a truly amazing place!. Everyone is supported to be an individual. It’s a magical place, it enables an individual to feel they ‘belong’ and to develop their independence in a ‘safe’ environment.”
"It’s a friendly, supportive place to go to”

To book a place at the Hub please contact Lynn on 01325 254840, or email Lynn

To read a Personal Experience of the 10 free sessions please visit this page

Fund raising

Blacketts Medical Practice staff have chosen DAD as their charity of the year. The surgery holds an event each month where donations are made. Stacey Allan was pleased to accept a cheque for £93.05 from Dr Umashankar, for the money raised so far.

A big thank you to all at Blacketts!

Photo showing Stacey Allan receiving a cheque from Dr. Umashankar

The above photo shows Stacey Allan receiving the cheque from Dr. Umashankar.

DAD named as one of Darlington Lions Club nominated charities for 2017 - 18

Darlington Lions Club have nominated DAD along with CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) as their chosen charities for 2017- 18.

From 1st July Darlington Lions will raise funds for both charities with any funding raised for DAD being directly used to support DASH play schemes and activities with children and young people.

A big thank you to Jenny Lumley, President of Darlington Lions for 2017 - 18, for naming DAD as one of their charities!

Darlington Learning Impairment Network

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

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

DAD's 30th Anniversary Afternoon Tea

Darlington Association on Disability held a 30th Anniversary Afternoon Tea on Wednesday 12th April at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington.

The Northern Echo published an article about the event which can be viewed here

This event was wholly funded by a Big Lottery Celebrate grant, aiming to bring communities together

Being disabled in Britain: a journey less equal

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

Delivering Independent Support

Logo with Delivering Independent Support wording

We are pleased to announce that we have secured funding through the Council for Disabled Children to be able to continue to provide Independent Support to young people and families in Darlington going through the Education, Health and Care Plan process.

For more information about the project and how we can support you, please visit Independent Support.

Great North Run - support DAD

Briony, a member of our Children and Young People’s Service, has generously and bravely decided to run this year's Great North Run in September in support of DAD.

A big thank you Briony and good luck!

To help Briony reach her target and support DAD, please visit her JustGiving page

Support DAD

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

DAD's Taxi

This is a new wheelchair accessible service which is now available to take bookings, please visit the new DAD's Taxi section of the website for further details. On 10th November 2016, this video about the benefits and ease of using the service was released and is linked from the Taxi section too.

DAD is looking for new Company Members.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Please visit our Volunteers section for information and our thanks to all our volunteers for their help and support over the years.

Care Act 2014

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

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

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

SEND Reforms

Monday 1st September, saw the introduction of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms begin in schools and colleges as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. The reforms to SEND support are far reaching and will impact every student with additional needs.

Statements of Special Educational Needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments are being replaced by Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans. The legal threshold for an EHC Plan remains the same as that of a Statement of Special Educational Needs so it is not anticipated that anyone will lose their support as a result of the changes. The purpose of the new EHC Plans are to co-ordinate support for children and young people and to make sure that services are working together to achieve positive outcomes.

The process should be ‘person centred’ which means finding out what is important to the person now and in the future and making sure that the support works towards the person being able to achieve their aspirations.

Plans are for children and young people from 0-25. This means that a young person’s EHC Plan should be maintained through School, College, a Traineeship or Apprenticeship and up to the age of 25 as long as there are still educational needs which can include developing independent living skills.

Children and young people have new rights to participate in the assessment and planning process. The views of young people (defined in the legislation as the end of the summer term in which the child turns 16) now take precedence over that of their parents (assuming that the young person has capacity).

For the first time families will be able to request a Personal Budget for some or all of their support which can include Direct Payments.

If you would like further information or support please contact the ChYPS team at DAD on 01325 489999 or via email at chyps@darlingtondisability.org

Darlington's Local Offer

Local authorities now have a duty to provide a ‘Local Offer’ of information regarding services and support available to children and young people with SEND in their local area. You can view Darlington’s ‘Local Offer’ by visiting Darlington People's Information Point website or by calling the People and Families Information Service on 0800 917 21 21.

The local authority have a duty to review the Local Offer and its content and must involve parents of children with SEN and young people with SEN when they do this. If you would like to be involved with the development of the ‘Local Offer’ you can join the Darlington Parent Carer Forum, more details of which are available by calling 01325 489999.

Information for young people on the changes to their special educational needs and disability support.

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) has been working in co-production with disabled children and young people to produce a range of information materials for children and young people on behalf of the Department for Education on the special educational needs and disability reforms.

They have created leaflets, posters and short films on four key areas of the reforms to let children and young people know what is changing and who can support them to find out more detailed information. These four key areas are:

Education, Health and Care plans,
Decision making,
Post-16 support, and
The Local Offer.

You can view the information materials in CDC's Resource Hub.

DAD Stakeholder Forum - register your interest now!

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

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

• suggest how alternative funding might be obtained;

• contribute to or challenge our policies;

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

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

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

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

DAD Statement on Consultation

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

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

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

Third Party Reporting Centre-Press Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How you can support us

Make a donation

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

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

Mission Statement

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

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

Safe Place logo with making our Community a safe place text

Investor in People logoDial UK Serving the Disability Network logo