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.

We need your nominations please!

DAD has been nominated to be in with a chance of receiving a £1000.00 from the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group’s 12 Days of Giving.

Each weekday from now until 21 December, 10 charities will win £1,000. That’s £120,000 to 120 charities in 12 days!

Please spare a few minutes to give us your nomination!

You will need our Charity Number (1125848) and your support would be much appreciated. Please visit Ecclesiastical.com to nominate DAD. Thank you.

TSB Local Charities Day

Friday 14th December is the TSB Local Charities Day and the following quotations are from their Local Charity Partner newsletter:

"Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for our inaugural Local Community Fund. We received over 500 applications for grants and we’re announcing our first tranche of winners this week.

Local Charities Day is a celebration of the great work that organisations like yours do in local communities up and down the country. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been working to see how we can showcase our 450 Local Charity Partners in our branches, in the Media and on Social Media channels."

Image showing TSB bank logo and a badge promoting Local Charities day

(The image above is the TSB Local Charities day logo)

Skills for Care courses

The following courses are available:

Autism Awareness (Darlington) Tuesday 15th January 2019, 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Moving and Handling (Darlington) Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 10.00am to 1.00pm.

First Aid (Redcar) Thursday 17th January 2019, 9.30am to 4.00pm.

Medication Awareness and Personal Care (Redcar) Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Food Safety (Redcar) Thursday 31st January 2019, 10.00am to 1.00pm.

These are Free Training courses (funded be Skills for Care), travel and costs incurred to attend can be reimbursed. Please contact Louise Johnson on 01325 489 999 or email Louise for more information or to book.

Alliance for Inclusive Education

DAD is supporting the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE’s) project examining the effectiveness of secondary school Accessibility Plans in England. As a Disabled-led organisation, we are committed to removing barriers in education, and we hope this project will make a meaningful contribution to the inclusion of Disabled children and young people in mainstream schools.

If it is appropriate to you, your education, your work or your family, it would be great if you could please take the time to fill in these questionnaires. As parents and professionals, your voices and experiences are central to this project. Your input will be very valuable in working towards the creation of accessible, inclusive schools where all children are enabled and supported to learn and participate equally.

Please follow the link relevant to you: Parents’ questionnaire or Educators and professionals’ questionnaire.

We would also be most grateful to you if you would please share these links with your contacts and networks. The more responses that we can get, the more representative our project can be of the diversity of people’s school experiences.


Please visit the Vacancies page for details of a Project Lead Worker within the Direct Payments Support Service.

Young NCB Advisory Group

Congratulations to Lauren, one of DAD's Young Leaders, who has recently successfully applied to become a member of the Young National Children's Bureau (NCB) Advisory Group.

The Young NCB Advisory Group is a group of 20 children and young people from across England who come together to advise NCB on strategic direction and project development.

The group, who are aged 11-24, meet 4 times a year to discuss a range of issues facing children and young people today such as mental health, child poverty and education.

NCB make sure that children and young people’s views and experiences inform every aspect of their work in order to bring about lasting change for them, others, their services and their communities.

Well done Lauren!


Thank you to everyone who came to the AGM on Thursday 22nd November 2018 and to those who stayed behind for a very lively Stakeholder Form.

DAD also wishes to thank the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Veronica Copeland for finding time in her busy schedule to give an opening address. It was a most interesting and thought provoking speech and we again wish to thank her for including DAD as one of her chosen charities during her term of office.

The 2018 Annual Report is now online.

Stop Speak Support Day focussing on cyberbullying.

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

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

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

Legal costs for Charity Welfare Exemption VAT appeal

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

DAD’s Taxi

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have to inform you that, unfortunately, DAD’s taxi will cease operation on 31st October 2018.

This is solely due to financial circumstances which have made it impossible for DAD to continue with this valuable service.

We know, however, that you will be disappointed by this.

DAD listens to people who use our services and we know that many people have told us of the difference that our taxi and drivers have made to their lives. We would like to reassure you that we did not make this decision lightly, and we will, of course, let you know of any changes that may occur in future.

If you would like to discuss this further you can contact Rosemary Berks on 01325 254840. Alternatively you can contact Rosemary on her email address

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continuous support and for choosing to use DAD’s Taxi.

New Vacancy

Please visit the Vacancies page for details of the new post of Play and Leisure Assistant.

Independent Support

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

Redcar and Cleveland Direct Payment Employer Support Service

DAD has expanded its employer support service to Redcar and Cleveland after having secured the contract to deliver this from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. A new section for Redcar has been created within this website and all the sections have now been completed.

Keeping in touch with DAD

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

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

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

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

Mayor's Charities

Photo showing Councillor Veronica Copeland, Gordon Pybus and Lauren Robinson at the Mayor's inaugaration

(Above photo shows Mayor Councillor Veronica Copeland, Gordon Pybus and Lauren Robinson)

DAD are delighted to announce that they have been chosen as one of the Mayor's Charities for the coming year. Gordon Pybus, Chairman and Lauren Robinson, Chief Executive are pictured with the new Mayor Councillor Veronica Copeland, a long standing DAD member, at her inauguration ceremony on 17th May 2018 at the Town Hall.

In her acceptance speech in the Council Chamber, the Mayor spoke about the barriers she had faced as a young disabled person to gaining qualifications and the ‘medical model’ attitudes she had encountered about her ambition to be an Occupational Therapist.

The Mayor achieved her ambition and had a very varied career in Darlington working for both the Council and The NHS. The Mayor was instrumental in introducing the requirements of the Chronically Sick and Disabled persons act in Darlington and even introduced her own access awards in the 1970’s! The Mayor has served in public office as a local Councillor for 20 years and is very much looking forward to her Mayoral year.

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.

Autism and Labelling

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

Participation and Co-Production

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

DAD is a safe place to be

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

All Safe places in Darlington will display the logo below.

Safe Place logo with making our Community a safe place text

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

What OfSTED said about DASH…

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

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

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

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

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

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

A full copy of the report can be found here

New hate crime service acts as the Voice of Victims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Hate Crime Information

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

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

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

Darlington Learning Impairment Network

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

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

Being disabled in Britain: a journey less equal

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

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.

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