Tuesday 30 April 2019
Kings Centre, Halifax
Disability Partnership Calderdale celebrated the launch of its three-year National Lottery Community Fund award of £186,400 at a special event on Tuesday 30 April, at the Kings Centre, in Halifax. The Mayor of Calderdale, councillor Marcus Thompson was on hand to officially open the event, which was hosted by the organisation’s Trustees.
An audience of disabled people from around Calderdale and representatives of a number of local disability groups heard the Mayor congratulate Disability Partnership Calderdale on their funding news and thanked the National Lottery for choosing the organisation for what he described as a “huge award that I’m sure it will make a huge difference.”
Speaking from his own experience, the Mayor encouraged Disability Partnership Calderdale in its efforts to represent the requirements of the disabled community in infrastructure projects and also with local politicians:
He pointed out that “what councils really need help with, is understanding disabled people’s needs. Sharing your experiences will be so important. Tell your individual stories. These are powerful and they motivate us and they can help make change happen.”
Looking at the Disability Partnership Calderdale’s plans for the funding, treasurer, Geraldine Rushton, said that their main focus is currently on the appointment of a development worker and a supporting administrator, the organisation’s first paid staff. Interviews are to take place in early May, with appointments expected soon afterwards. These appointments will be key to driving forward the organisation’s plans.
Geraldine explained to the audience that, before bidding for Lottery funding, Disability Partnership consulted their membership on what action they wanted the organisation to take on their behalf. The feedback was used to draw up a new activity plan for the three years of funding.
Amongst the main priorities will be meeting and consulting with more of Calderdale’s disabled residents. This will be achieved by an expanded programme of accessible open meetings, both in Halifax, where they are already ell-established, but also in other towns and villages of Calderdale, where they are not. This expansion will be supported by improvements to the organisation’s communications, including additional information on the website and a regular email newsletter.
There will also be several stand-alone events per year, including a community event modelled on the Great Get Together and a countryside event emphasising accessibility and the enjoyment of the outdoors, utilising adapted bicycles and other mobility aids.
Geraldine also reminded the audience of the recently launched Accessible Calderdale Project, where Disability Partnership Calderdale will be working in partnership with Visits Unlimited to make Calderdale as a whole a more accessible place for residents and visitors alike (Link: Accessible Calderdale Project Article).
After a free buffet lunch, Disability Partnership Calderdale’s Chair, Marion Spruce, also spoke, emphasising the organisation’s commitment to using its new funding as effectively as possible. She said: “We are so proud of this funding award. It’s been a big achievement. We will account for every penny we spend and we want every penny to count. We have a three-year plan which we will honour and we are hoping at the end of those three years that we can secure another grant, as there is so much more work to be done. “
The event concluded with an inspirational dance display by children of the nearby Ravenscliffe High School. Mixing clapping, movement to music and dance, the performance included plenty of audience participation and group activities that soon had the venue echoing to a range of rhythms and tunes. It was a fittingly upbeat end to an important day for the disabled community of Calderdale.