Action team celebrates 25 years of help

142822a'Disablement Action Group anniversary'From left,volunteer Mark Smith,volunteer Terry Fishburn,Mayoress Hilary Groves,DAG manager Tim Vasey,Mayor Pat Marsburg and DAG chairman Ian Whitfield'Picture by Neil Silk'09/07/14
142822a'Disablement Action Group anniversary'From left,volunteer Mark Smith,volunteer Terry Fishburn,Mayoress Hilary Groves,DAG manager Tim Vasey,Mayor Pat Marsburg and DAG chairman Ian Whitfield'Picture by Neil Silk'09/07/14

Scarborough and District Disablement Action Group (DAG) is celebrating 25 years of helping people live life to the full in the local community.

The group, which is one of Scarborough’s longest running charities, was formed in 1989 to provide a service for disabled people and older people, their families and carers and those with an interest in disability.

The milestone anniversary has been marked with a disability awareness day at The Street, which gave people the chance to find out more about the support available locally.

Organisations were invited to man one of the many stalls at the event, providing information for disabled people on subjects such as equipment, transport, holidays, benefits, employment, education, training, mobility, leisure and more.

The event, which also featured music and entertainment, was kindly supported by Asquith and Co, Castle Employment and Plaxton.

Ian Whitfield, chairman of Scarborough DAG, said: “I’m really pleased with how it’s come together - we’ve been planning it for a few months.

“It feels very special to be celebrating our 25th anniversary. We’ve been through two recessions and we’re still around.

“I feel proud that we’re a local charity that has lasted quarter of a century and I’m pleased with how many people have come along to support our event today.

“It’s a really good mixture of charities and community groups who all help disabled people in one way or another.”

He added that the group’s main priority now is to keep applying for funding to make sure it lasts another 25 years.

Manager Tim Vasey echoed Ian’s comments about carrying on despite difficulties in finding cash.

He said: “The success of the group is testament to the people who have been involved in it over the years.

“There is a need for a group like DAG. The services it offers are very important to the community and others in the same field as us appreciate the fact that we are a specific disability group.

“You hear constantly about groups disappearing through lack of funding. We do our utmost to keep going and keep providing services at a high level.

“The standard has definitely been maintained in the face of financial difficulty.”

Scarborough’s mayor Pat Marsburg, who attended the celebrations, said the charity was “absolutely marvellous”, adding: “It’s a credit to the team over all these years. All I can say is don’t give up.”

Over the years, the charity has helped thousands of people in Scarborough and the surrounding areas to achieve maximum independence and integrate into society.

The staff are assisted by a dedicated team of more than ten volunteers and the group is the only organisation of its type run by disabled people for disabled people.

The charity provides a general information and advice service by telephone or face to face via an appointments system.

More specialised advice is available about benefits for disabled and older people, including help to find out if people are receiving the correct financial benefits.

Scarborough DAG provides a full service, from assisting with completing complicated forms to collating appropriate evidence and providing representation at reviews and appeals.

The charity gives people access to a wide range of leaflets, both in-house and at locations out in the community, with information on all kinds of disability matters.

A consultancy service is available to other organisations and businesses with regard to access issues and other disability queries.

The group also runs a strong volunteer scheme for local disabled people and those with an interest in getting involved, with full training and support given to all volunteers.

The work carried out by Scarborough DAG is hugely important and is making a real difference to those using the service, according to chairman Ian Whitfield.

He said: “Disabled and older people are amongst the most financially deprived sectors of the community.

“Many disabled and older people are unaware of the support they are entitled to and do not receive much-needed welfare benefits.

“There are no other totally accessible services available locally that provide a specialised, complete service by disabled people for disabled people.

“DAG aims to assist this sector of society to overcome financial and social exclusion, maximising its independence and improving its day to day quality of life.”

Ian added: “Many disabled and older people are isolated socially. Our volunteer scheme provides excellent opportunities for our volunteers to gain work-based experience and improve their own quality of life by encouraging involvement within the group and the community.”

DAG offers its services to all disabled and older people, plus their families and carers, within Scarborough, Pickering, Malton and in Bridlington.