“…to facilitate independent living opportunities for disabled people…”
Our aim is to empower disabled people to make their own choices and improve their quality of life and independent living opportunities through the provision of information, advice and activities.
The 1990 census highlighted 25,000 disabled people living in the City of Derby, yet no information and advice service was available to this 10% of the local population at the time of this study. Taking this information on board, a group of disabled people submitted an application to RADAR (Royal Assoc. for Disability And Rehabilitation) for a full-time Information Officer and rent of an office.
This bid was successful and premises were rented in a back room of the Rosehill Business Centre on Normanton Road, Derby. With the assistance of volunteers, trainee placements and further appointments of a Chief Executive and Personal Assistant, further funding for an Information Shop was obtained through the Health Authority Joint Finance programme.
In March 2001, due to an increase in staff and services, we moved to larger premises just a few doors away from the business centre.
The shop was open to the public as a drop-in service and has since moved to our Pride Park offices where an appointment only service operates to meet demand. Since opening we have taken well in excess of 50,000 enquiries to date. Disability Direct currently employs 10 paid staff, and a team of dedicated volunteers.
As a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, we have secured funding from, amongst a range of others, the Big Lottery Fund, Derby City Council and Derby City PCTs.
Since 1993 Disability Direct has prided itself in being able to make a difference to disabled people residing in Derby in a non-political and non-campaigning way. Many barriers have been broken which were not targeted by other smaller disability organisations e.g. information provision in other languages thus attracting enquiries from disabled people from minority ethnic groups who currently form approximately 20% of the total enquirers.
We work closely with Derby City Council Social Services departments to ensure that disabled people are receiving their maximum social security benefit entitlements and potential use of Direct Payments. Recognising that not all disabled people can visit our shop, we are also able to provide an effective Home Visits Service.
Over the last 8-9 years, Disability Direct has engaged in consultation activities across the city of Derby and beyond. We have 3 advisors who sit on Derby City Council’s Disabled Peoples Advisory Committee and provide guidance on any matter concerning disabled employees and service users.
Disability Direct is a service-user led organisation and feels strongly about the need to empower disabled people to have more input into the running of the organisation.
As a recipient of many quality marks including the national standard Investors in People Award and Community Legal Service Quality Mark, we value all staff and volunteers who return positive commitment to the organisation. We offer a fast and efficient service and are dedicated to the philosophy behind the Social Model of Disability.
The organisation continues to grow from strength to strength and is keen to work closely with key agencies and funders who share our commitment to improving independent living opportunities for disabled people.
The Disability Syndicate
After a number of years of developing Social Enterprises Disability Direct, DD Payroll and Nimbus founded the Disability Syndicate. The Disability Syndicate is now a support organisation for a number of different charities and social enterprises