2024 Summer Newsletter

We are thrilled to bring you our summer newsletter from Darlington Association on Disability (DAD).

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced the General Election will take place on 4th July. Disabled people have the same right to vote as non-disabled people. Your vote is really important. We have included a quick and easy guide on how to vote in the 2024 General Election.

As the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter, we are also excited to bring you some more news and tips to reduce energy costs, help the environment and stay cool in the summer months.

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General Election

There will be a general election on 4th July, 2024. You can vote in person, by post or by proxy. People with a learning disability and autistic people have the same right to vote as anyone else.

If you vote in person, you need to show an accepted form of original identification document (ID) or a Voter Authority Certificate. You might already have some types of ID you can use, for example:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence or provisional driving licence
  • Blue badge
  • Disabled Person’s Bus Pass

You may need to contact your local Electoral Registration Office to find out if you need to register or to get a Voter Authority Certificate. The deadline for registering to vote is the 18th June 2024 at midnight.  For new postal vote applicants, or if you need to amend exiting absent voting arrangement, the deadline is the 19th June. For new applications to vote by proxy, the deadline is the 26th June at 5pm.  It is very important that everyone who can vote, does vote because it gives us the opportunity to choose the best people to make decisions for us locally, nationally and internationally. If you need help to vote in the general election, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Summer Energy Saving Advice

With warmer weather (hopefully) around the corner, increasingly hot summers and even heatwaves, it is going to be important to know how to keep cool at home as well as saving money on your gas and electricity bills. The following tips provide help and advice to continue reducing costs while also keeping the temperature down.

Limit hot activities: Cooking, using the washing machine and using the dishwasher all generate heat. Limiting the use of these appliances and/or using these at cooler times of the day can stop unnecessary heat being generated and save money on your energy bills too.

Chill or freeze water overnight: Refill plastic bottles with water and put them in your fridge or freezer to chill or freeze overnight. The next day they can be used as extra-cold drinks or as an ice pack to help cool you down.

Use a small desk fan: Using a small fan on your desk that plugs into a computer by USB can be a cheap way to stay cool while working at a computer or sitting down, with running costs as low as £0.01 per day. 

Put your fan in front of a window: If you are using a fan, putting it in front of an open window when air is cooler outside will help blow the cool air around the house, helping to make it even cooler.

Use air-conditioners with the doors closed:  Keep doors inside your house closed if you have an air-conditioning unit running to stop warm air entering from other parts of the house. When you turn the unit off, unplug it at the wall to prevent any energy being used in standby mode. 

 Open and close your windows at the right time:  This sounds obvious, but you need to open the right windows at the right time. When the air is cool outside, like in the morning and evening, open your windows to let cool air in. If it is a particularly warm day and the air is warmer outside than inside, close windows to keep the warmer air out. 

Close your blinds and curtains:  This is also a matter of timing. It is usually easier to stop heat entering a home than it is to cool it down again. Close blinds and curtains when the sun is shining through a window. Only open them when the sun has moved away as this will prevent heat from the sunlight coming through the glass. 


 Helping the Environment 

Reducing your gas and electricity costs can lower your bills, but it also has the added benefit of helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions.  We hope to start helping people make more sustainable choices by providing information and tips in our newsletter.

Take a bag with you to the shops: Plastic bags are harmful to the environment, wild life and ocean life. Taking a re-usable bag with you to the shops means you do not need to buy one there. One made from a fabric that will last a long time is even better.

Use a re-usable water bottle: We need to stay hydrated during the warmer months, but plastic bottles are also harmful to the environment and wild life, much like plastic bags. Choose a bottle that you can refill and will last a long time, to avoid needing to buy plastic ones.

 Recycle as much as possible: Most areas in England provide recycling bins or boxes for your home, which means you can recycle plastics, glass, cardboard, paper and metal all in one place. You can even recycle soft plastic wrappers in supermarkets now too.


 Local free events this summer

 Darlington Community Carnival - Stanhope Park, 29th June

 Stockton Art Centre exhibition - The ARC, 12th June to 11th July

 Darlington By The Sea - Market Square, 24th to 28th July

 Hullabaloo in the Park - South Park, 26th to 28th July

 Stockton International Riverside Festival - Stockton High Street, 2nd to 4th August 

 Middlesbrough Mela - Albert Park, 17th and 18th August


 School Uniforms

 School Uniform Exchanges: Re-using and recycling school uniforms can not only save you money but prevent them from going into landfill.  Before going to the shops to buy new ones, why not check out your local Uniform Banks, including:

 Darlington School Uniform Exchange, Queens Street Shopping Centre - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 9am - noon, Thursday: 12.30pm - 3pm

 HartlePower Communication Trust, Greenbank, Stranton, Hartlepool - Tuesday and Thursday: 10am - 2 pm 

You can also find uniform exchange schemes online on social media, run by volunteers, for example: Freebies Teesside School Uniform and Preloved School Uniform Bank Middlesbrough. Some schools also have their own uniform bank.


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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