I AM writing to express my disappointment in the recent actions of our council in deciding that DART, the specialist advice service for disabled people, should no longer be eligible to apply for, nor receive, long-term funding from them.
That this decision has even been made without consulting the disabled community is surely something that should be looked into the by the scrutiny committee.
AGE UK have campaigned vociferously for the needs of elderly and disabled people to be taken into account when making decisions. In Calderdale this recently included that when considering banning dogs from public areas the needs of elderly and disabled people should be considered. Yet our esteemed council bosses, one himself a director of AGE UK, seemingly did not see the need for this when making the huge decision to remove funding for our specialist advice services.
To remove an organisation that was set up to provide advice to disabled people is surely discrimination at a serious level. This will affect hundreds and hundreds of people, from babies born with disabilities to the elderly who become disabled through age.
DART provided a home visiting service to those who are housebound; they provide a welfare benefits service for people with cancer. Social Workers, Doctors, Nurses, CMHT and many others refer newly diagnosed patients to DART every week of every year.
Who is going to pick up this work?
There is only one general advice service in Calderdale that could bid for this tender, which is the CAB and if they succeed in ‘winning’ the contract then that will be a catastrophe. It is well-known that they simply cannot deal with all the demands that have on their service as it is and they will not be given any extra money to take on the extra work caused by the potential closure of DART. Will they try? Will they heck!
The potential for an unknown service to win the tender is another concern which could result in the loss of CAB and DART.
The disabled people of Calderdale deserve more from our councillors. And beware, because there are an awful lot of us, come ‘judgement day’ in May.