Disabled advice centre may only last until the summer

Tony Kay anager of DART at Harrison House, Harrison Road, Halifax.
Tony Kay anager of DART at Harrison House, Harrison Road, Halifax.
0
Have your say

AN ORGANISATION that helps people with disabilities from across Calderdale could shut within a matter of months.

The boss at Disabled Advice Resource Team (DART), based on Harrison Road in Halifax town centre, fears the service may only be able to last until the summer.

The group has been offering advice and information for people with disabilities and their carers since 1984.

But manager of DART, Tony Kay, says they have hit a cash crisis.

He says Calderdale Council has changed the criteria for the funding DART usually bids for, and the service is no longer eligible.

DART’s annual funding of £68,000 from Calderdale Council will end on March 31. Unless it is able to find alternative funding, the service will close in late summer 2012.

“We are extremely concerned that as things stand we will not have a future beyond the summer of next year and more importantly the clients who have accessed our service for over 27 years will be denied specialist disability advice, as the tendered service will only be a generalised service,” he said.

Mr Kay says Calderdale Council will be offering funding to a service covering all those identified as needing advice - such as older people - as well as disabilities.

He said DART approached the Citizens Advice Bureau about putting in a bid as a consortium but the bureau said they would not be able to meet the tender criteria.

“If DART is unable to secure alternative funding, the service will close in late summer 2012. This will mean that there will be no specialist advice and practical help for people with disabilities in Calderdale, ending a service that has been provided for over 27 years.

“DART will, of course, pursue all funding opportunities but is under no illusions that it will be very difficult and maybe impossible to replace Calderdale Council’s core funding of £68,000 from other sources.”

Calder Valley MS Society spokeswoman Liz Schofield and Kathy Judd from Parkinson’s UK, both said DART was invaluable and needed to be protected.

“If we lose this we are really losing a crucial service for people with disabilities,” said Mrs Schofield, whose husband Richard has multiple sclerosis.

“Because it’s a user-led organisation they have all got experience of disabilities.

“I refer people to DART and the MS nurses do too, so losing it is going to put a huge strain on groups like ours.”

Calderdale Council were unavailable to comment.