Livewire by Alan Reid, manager of Blackpool Disability Information

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
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Great news. Blackpool Disability information and Support, in the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living, on Whitegate Drive, has secured a service level agreement to continue its good work.

When the voluntary sector was potentially being reduced, we felt very lucky that we were one of those chosen to continue, and it is good that the needs of the disabled community have been recognised in this way by Blackpool Council.

For everybody, but for volunteers in particular, many of whom are disabled themselves, it has been a worrying time. If the service had shut, they would have lost an integral part of their daily living. For it is not just the people we help who get a lot out of the service, but the volunteers themselves. There is no reward like a job well done.

In the past 12 months, we have secured more than £500,000 in welfare benefits for the residents of Blackpool, who have come to us in times of need and asked for help.

Every Monday afternoon, starting next Monday, we will now offer welfare benefit checks to people with health or disability issues, and their carers.

If they wish, particularly in this climate, to check whether they are receiving the relevant benefits, new benefits or increasing benefits, they can just drop into the centre from 1pm to 4pm, and meet a specialist consultant.

The service has been going since 1995, and came close to closure in 2002, when it was saved by council money again, in the form of Single Regeneration Budget funding, and also by joining forces with Access Lancashire, to continue the service.

We have been based at 259 Whitegate Drive since 2006, and is a more accessible centre, a one stop venue for health and disability and allied services, along with a fully equipped shop, a range of health and social facilities available – and all-important car parking to front and rear of the building. It’s also handy for buses.

There are also lots of volunteering opportunities within our organisation, and our volunteer co-ordinator Andy Coupland would be delighted to hear from you on (01253) 472204 between 10am and 4pm.

We exist to help people of all ages with health and disability issues.

We are often seen as a service predominantly for adults, but, however, we see all ages, and all health issues. As well as assisting with welfare benefits, we can advise with aids and equipment, leisure activities, grants available, mobility and transport, and other issues. Helpline (01253) 472202/03.