Disabled people's organisations and local disability groups are crucial to the work we do at AccessAble. Working with them helps us ensure that our Access Guides contain all of the information that disabled people need to get out and about.
Who are these groups, and what do they do? Our interview series shines a light on their vital work.
This month we speak to Disability Resource Centre, Central Bedfordshire
Tell us a bit about your organisation.
The Disability Resource Centre has been and continues to be a user-led charity helping people for over 27 years. We are here so that disabled people, those with long-term health conditions, mental ill-health and older people, their families and paid and unpaid carers have somewhere to turn if they need help in any situation.
We provide a range of services, empowering people of all ages affected by disability or health conditions to fulfil their potential and aspirations.
The charity provides an integrated approach offering a range of services to meet individual needs. Services include information and advice, support for carers, direct payments services, welfare benefits advice, equipment for daily living, peer-led groups, training, support for employers, training in personal and skills development and employment support.
We work closely with councils, Jobcentre Plus, and the Community & voluntary sector to provide person-centred support to individuals leaving a lasting impact.
How many members do you have?
Twelve thousand people a year turn to The Disability Resource Centre for expert guidance and support in many areas of their lives; we work across the Southeast Midlands and employ 25 staff and nine volunteers.
Our teams can provide advice and support on everything from equipment and assessment grants to Disability Awareness training and advice on accessibility. We also run popular workshops to support money management, benefits advice and appeals. We have a dedicated customer service centre that manages incoming and outgoing communications in various ways, including face-to-face, phone, email and webchat. We provide a holistic approach to address a range of needs and offer practical solutions to our service users.
What is your mission?
Disability Resource Centre exist to work with and support the community to live well with any disability or health condition.
What are some of your group's successes?
The Disability Resource Centre has won several awards, including Disability Smart and Community Business of the Year at Dunstable and Houghton Regis Business and Community Awards. It is proud to receive the following endorsement from Disability Confident:
"Disability Resource Centre are passionate about the ethos of Disability Confident. Employing disabled people, enabling them to thrive in their roles and encouraging others to undertake a similar journey is key to working. As a Disability Confident Leader, they involved disabled people at all levels of their organisation and met the user-led organisation's criteria. I am confident that with their level 3 accreditation, this will add even more weight to their influence with other businesses locally"
How important would you say Detailed Access Information is when planning a trip or visiting a venue for the first time?
Having detailed information about a venue is extremely important to many people. There are people across the UK that may need certain things in place to make a trip enjoyable or even possible, and so having resources with that information is crucial. Similarly, anxiety can occur by the uncertainty of going somewhere for the first time, and so having this information on hand can be a great help.
Not having detailed information will undoubtedly be a barrier to many people, which may prevent them from trying a particular venue or area.
In your view, what’s the best thing about an AccessAble Guide - How do they help the Disabled Community in your area?
There is so much valuable information in these guides, and they provide peace of mind when pre-planning a day out.
Finally, how can people find out more about your organisation?
You can find out more about Disability Resource Centre at:
E-mail: [email protected]