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General Election - 4th July 2024 - My Vote....My Voice

29th May 2024

Why My Vote My Voice matters

My Vote My Voice is on a mission to make voting accessible for everyone.

With a general election coming up in 2024, our goal is simple. We want to see more people with learning impairments and autistic people registered to vote and using their legal right to vote.

Equal voting rights

Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, and there are over 700,000 autistic people. But research in 2019 found that less than two-thirds of the general public know that they have an equal right to vote.

This needs to change.

We want everyone with a learning disability and autism to know they have the right to vote. And make sure they have the right information about how to vote in the next general election.

Oliver McGowen Training - 3 DAD Trainers are now accredited

25th April 2024

You may already be aware that DAD have funding to provide Oliver McGowen training.

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training aims to provide the health and care workforce with the right skills and knowledge to provide safe, compassionate and informed care to autistic people and people with a learning disability. This requirement is set out in the Health and Care Act 2022.  

This is following a long campaign led by Oliver McGowan’s mother Paula McGowan OBE, HEE and partners at DHSC, NHS England and Skills for Care launched The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism elearning. Oliver McGowan’s death shone a light on the need for health and social care staff to have better training in understanding, communicating with and treating people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Congratulations go to Jenny Byers, Amy Teasdale and James McElheran for successfully completing the required trainer accreditation. Thanks also goes to those staff who recently supported them in their assessment to achieve this qualification.  

Our Council Plan 2024-2028

25th April 2024

The Darlington Borough Council Plan 2024-2028 is currently out for consultation. They are really keen to collate views from as many diverse communities, individuals and stakeholders as we can.

The plan and consultation can be found here: Darlington BC - Current consultations

DBC are committed to making Darlington fairer and greener for everyone, building on opportunities and successes and facing up to the difficult challenges. Our vision is to be one of the best places in the UK to live, learn, work and invest with a strong economy, healthy thriving communities and opportunities for all.

Three core values feed into the plan: addressing inequalities, tackling climate change and efficient and effective use of resources. The plan sets out six priorities for the Council for the next three years:

  • economy
  • homes
  • living well
  • children and young people
  • communities
  • environment.

The plan highlights key deliverables for each of the six priorities, delivery will be through key strategies and plans.

Accessible Energy Support

11th October 2023

 Friday 29 September 2023                                                                          IMMEDIATE RELEASE

£4.8 million to be distributed to organisations to support energy projects through Ofgem Energy Redress Scheme

Funds gathered through the latest round of the Ofgem Redress Scheme are being distributed to organisations across Great Britain to provide energy advice, support decarbonisation projects  and develop innovative energy-focused services and products.

The Ofgem Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme (Energy Redress Scheme) is today announcing how the latest round of funding is being awarded. More than £4.8 million in grants is being distributed to 27 organisations across England, Scotland and Wales. In this funding round, 19 awards  totaling  £3.5 million have been awarded to projects focused on supporting vulnerable people with managing their energy bills and keeping their homes warm through  dedicated energy advice officers.

One successful application made to the Small Projects Fund was from Darlington Association on Disability, which is receiving £49,931 for its programme, Accessible Energy Support. The programme will help those most at risk from fuel poverty with holistic energy advice and support.

Lauren Robinson, chief executive at Darlington Association on Disability said:

“Darlington Association on Disability are delighted to receive a grant from the Energy Redress scheme. The grant will enable us to provide much needed support for disabled people and carers living in Tees Valley who are being hard hit by the cost of living crisis. Disabled people, who need support to get information and advice, will be able to benefit by taking energy-saving measures to save money and reduce energy use.”

Through funding from the Innovation Fund, receiving £199,600, co-operative Sharenergy, which helps communities to set up and own renewable energy societies, will work to establish heat networks with local communities to decarbonise heat and reduce consumer heating costs.  

Jon Hallé, chief executive officer at Sharenergy said:

"Heat networks are widely seen as an absolutely crucial tool in the race to net zero, but despite their widespread use in other countries, they are still a relative rarity in the UK. We see community ownership as a key enabling factor in their development.

“Sharenergy has been working with communities for over ten years so we know the power they have to make seemingly impossible things happen. This funding will allow us to develop the seeds from which communities can grow their own heat networks, in areas across the country.

“Building on our unique expertise in community energy, it will enable us to take the time to work with experts and community groups to co-design a business model that we hope will be a gamechanger."

Over five years, the Energy Redress Scheme has distributed a total of £85.5 million in funding to support 491 projects in England, Scotland and Wales. The funding is collected through Ofgem’s enforcement and compliance activity, where companies that have breached energy rules agree to make a voluntary payment into the Energy Redress Scheme.

The funding rounds include the Main and Small fund, which are aimed at projects supporting households in vulnerable situations. The Carbon Emission Reduction Fund (CERF) supports energy-related activities that will see a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from energy use. Finally, the Innovative Fund supports the development of pioneering products and services related to energy.

Graham Ayling, senior project manager for the Energy Redress Scheme, said, “We’re pleased to announce £4.8 million of support to voluntary sector organisations. These funds will help them to support those most at risk in their communities as the colder weather approaches and energy prices remain high.  It will also fund important projects that demonstrate new approaches to help the UK reach net zero, in ways that are affordable and accessible for everyone and empower more people to share the benefits of this transition.”

Russell Ogilvie, head of enforcement at Ofgem, said: “Ofgem holds the energy industry to account through its robust compliance and enforcement work. We’re proud to work with the Energy Saving Trust in the delivery of the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme. Through the scheme, communities across Great Britain, including consumers living in vulnerable circumstances, benefit directly when energy companies pay for letting them down.”

Read more about all of the funded projects below and descriptions of the projects on the Energy Redress website.


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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