Post by Colin Henderson on Aug 22, 2016 23:33:37 GMT
This threatened advice provider is in my patch and will be huge loss to the many in Barrow-in-Furness who rely on disability benefits:
A vital service which has won more than £6 million for disabled people across Barrow in benefits appeals and applications is under threat of closure.
Benefit advisers at Barrow & District Disability Association have missed out on five years of funding worth £361,246, after their continuation bid to the Big Lottery was unsuccessful. As it stands, the Disability Advice and Benefits Service (DABS) part of the School Street-based charity, described as the "last line of defence" against the government's welfare cuts, will close on December 31. The closure would leave disabled people out of pocket as it is only with the help of the service's two employed benefits experts and one admin member that hundreds have won the funding and grants they need to live independently.
Staff and volunteers at the BDDA are now rallying to raise enough cash to keep DABS open for another year, enough time for them to appeal to other funding bodies to secure their long-term future. Margaret Burrow, executive officer at the BDDA, said it was frightening what would happen if the service was to close at the end of the year. She said: "We have got to do everything we can to save the service. We are the last line of defence for so many people. Where will these people turn to when they need help? They can't all do it on their own. We wanted another five years of funding because it's our belief that this welfare reform will run until the 2020s at least."
DABS was set up in July 2011 thanks to a five-year grant from the Big Lottery of £294,449. During that time, experts at DABS have worked on 14,564 disabled cases, securing at least £6,605,720 for local people by appealing on behalf of clients against cuts to their Personal Independence Payments and getting aids and adaptations for them.
Income secured breakdown: 2011 - £653,127.89 2012 - £1,805,802.89 2013 - £1,300,000.00 2014 - £1,362,303.60 2015 - £1,351,882.60 2016 - £121,806.96 (when figures were last calculated at the beginning of the year)
Staff at BDDA say there is a huge need for a specialist disability benefits service in the Barrow borough as one in four working age people locally have a disability, according to the Annual Population Survey. The BDDA are appealing for local funding bodies, businesses and individuals who can help them in their campaign to get in touch on 01229 432599.