Happy New Year!

It’s 2024, and it’s started out cold… make sure you’re staying warm and safe, and if you’re out and about then why not pop in on a Friday and say hello at our Friendship Friday.

This bulletin includes some news about where Disability Equality North West is heading to in the future, as well as some new faces you might like to meet.


Download a PDF version of the bulletin here:    DENW-Bulletin-30-January-to-March-2024.pdf

Download a MP3 Audio version of the bulletin here:    Bulletin-30.mp3

Bulletin Contents

Moving Forward

We’re reaching out to share some important updates regarding our move to a new home – the ‘Disability Equality Community Hub’ and the temporary adjustments to our services.

As of now, we have not finalised our move, we’re sure you’ll understand there’s a lot to do and the process is ongoing.
We anticipate that the move will be gradual, with all of our services being delivered from the new hub by April, just in time for Spring! We will obviously keep you updated (if you’re not already on our membership list please email heather@disability-equality.org.uk and will let you know much more about the new location and our plans as soon as we can.)

Please note, that in preparation for this transition, we’re undertaking some necessary work at our current premises on Church Street, and packing up our belongings – as we’ve been in the building 24 years it may take a while 🙂 We also want to leave the building in as good order as we found it for our landlords.

In the coming week, our team will be focusing on these preparations, and whilst we are doing everything we can to minimise any disruption this may cause, there will be some inevitable disruption to our services. In particular, those services delivered from our building, which we estimate could last for approximately 8 weeks.

It’s important to note that during this period, we are not conducting standard appointments, nor are we closing our doors entirely. Instead, as we progress with our move from Church Street, some events and activities may be hosted at alternative venues. We are dedicated to maintaining our support services during this period, and all contact methods via phone, text, and email will remain available for those who need assistance.

We kindly ask for your patience and understanding as we navigate these changes. For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Your support during this time is invaluable, and we look forward to emerging from this transition stronger, with enhanced capabilities to serve you from our new premises. We believe in doing things well, and with your support, we’ll achieve just that.

Thank you for your continued support.

Lesley Finley Award 2023 Winner

Photograph of Sandra and Amanda Parker, DL, Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Lancashire - with them both holding the Lesley Finley Award trophy.We are delighted announce that the winner of the Lesley Finley Award for 2023 was Catherine Watkiss. She was presented with her certificate by Lesley’s mum, Sandra, at our AGM that was held back on the 7th of December 2023.

Congratulations to Catherine on winning, and to all the nominees for being nominated.

Volunteers Update

We’re still looking for some more volunteers to be based in reception on a Friday. If you are interested in volunteering, and haven’t been in touch already, get in touch with Dean and he’ll get an application form to you.

Email: dean@disability-equality.org.uk
Text: 07841 017472
Telephone: 01772 558863 (option 2)

Are you struggling?

Are you struggling physically, mentally or financially? We hold:

  • Face to face, telephone, email or video advice sessions available Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm, email hello@disability-equality.org.uk to book a slot;
  • Friendship Fridays every week where you can get together with other people to have a chat and a brew;
  • Direct payment advice from LILS;
  • Food parcels.

During these tough times, food parcels are available for those that are experiencing hardship and are disabled or are parents of disabled children. For further information, contact Des.

Telephone: 01772 558863 (option 4)
Text: 07709 710195
Email: hello@disability-equality.org.uk

New Faces

We’ve got a few new faces for you! Find out what they do below:

Photograph of Sandra wearing a blue top and dark sunglasses looking towards the camera smiling.Sandra – Safety First Project co-ordinator

Hello! My name is Sandra and I am thrilled to have recently joined the team at Disability Equality NW, my role is Safety First Project Co-ordinator. Previously, I had worked in Health and Social Care for over 20 years helping staff to support adults with Learning Disabilities to live safely, and independently within their own homes. I’m sure that I will enjoy my new role here every bit as much, and am really looking forward to meeting everyone soon!

Peter – VolunteerPhotograph of Peter looking towards the camera. He is wearing a purple Disability Equality top.

Say hello to Peter who volunteers on reception on a Monday and a Wednesday – he’s the friendly face when you come in the door on either of those days.

Photograph of Shamim looking towards the camera. She is wearing a purple Disability Equality top.Shamim – Volunteer

Say hello to Shamim who volunteers on reception on a Tuesday and a Thursday – she’s the friendly face when you come in the door on either of those days.

Friendship Friday

Photograph of our Festive Friday held in December of 2023. Lots of people are sat around tables that have Christmas tablecloths and decorations on the tables. Some of the people are wearing festive hats etc.We will be holding friendship Friday on the 9th of February at our Church Street premises for the last time – from 16th Feb 2024 until 22nd March 2024 it’ll be held at Central Methodist Church, Lune Street, Preston, PR1 2NL from 1pm-3pm.

Email: safetyfirst@disability-equality.org.uk
Text: 07841 017472
Telephone: 01772 558863 (option 2)

Peer Support

What is the Lancashire Peer Support Network?

The Peer Support Network (PSN) was set up in March 2022, to encourage more people to consider direct payments to pay for their care and support needs, and to provide ongoing support for direct payments users, carers and family members, and employers of personal assistants (PAs).
There is a vast wealth of direct payments and employment knowledge throughout Lancashire, and we wanted to connect people with experts with experience, to give them the confidence to take up direct payments themselves, as the process can seem extremely complicated and time-consuming at first, and many people decide to stay with commissioned services, or to receive no support at all.
Peer Support is an important part of supporting people through their direct payments journey, and we believe more people will choose this option, if they speak to other people who successfully use direct payments to employ their own staff.

How do I get support?

We have a friendly online peer support group. Peer support enables people to draw on their own experiences and offers great opportunities to meet with other people who have or want to find out more about direct payments. It’s a great way of meeting other direct payment employers, sharing ideas and supporting each other.
It is an opportunity to ask questions, offer advice, and to talk to professionals, who we have invited to attend future peer support meetings.
We can arrange for a peer support volunteer to speak privately with someone who would like more advice and support before they approach social services.
We holding online get-togethers using Zoom every couple of months, and we are hoping to arrange face-to-face meetings at the DENW office in Preston on Wednesdays. The next online meeting is on February the 21st – get in touch using the details below to receive the joining link.

I’d like to get involved. Where do I start?

Peer Support is available from 11am-2pm every Wednesday, on 01772 558863 (option 1).
Alternatively, you can email lils@disability-equality.org.uk with the subject header “PEER SUPPORT REQUEST

Disability Equality Services

Lancashire Independent Service (LILS):

LILS offers Direct Payment information, advice & payroll support to local people who are in receipt of a Direct Payment from Lancashire County Council.

Safety First:

The project supports disabled people from Preston, Chorley and South Ribble to maintain their safety at home, in the community and in their personal relationships.

Supported Banking:

If you’ve had a Social Care Assessment, or are in receipt of Direct Payments or Personal Budgets from a Local Authority or the NHS, and you’re: struggling with the paperwork, worried about dealing with staff payroll, timesheets, etc. then our experienced and dedicated Supported Banking team can help.

General Enquiries:

If you need general / benefits advice or support with renewing them, we can help.

Dates for your diaries – all FREE!

Please note that all meetings and activities are held at DENW unless otherwise stated. We will promote each event separately with exact locations and venue details nearer the time via our membership and on social media.

Please contact hello@disability-equality.org.uk for further information.

Friday 9th Feb Roses Creation Session @ DENW
Don’t worry if you can’t make our creative session on the 2nd February – we have another session lined up on the second Friday of February! Yet again, we will be inviting you to create Roses and accompanying messages of togetherness for others to read across the North West.
Tuesday 27th Feb Meet the Medics @ The Foxton Centre – Units 10/12, Oakham Court, Preston, PR1 3XP
Come and talk to our placement medical students Samuel or Artin about your lived experience of Disability. A warm brew is always on offer.
1pm – 3pm
Friday 9th Feb Last Friendship Friday at DENW on Church Street
Drop in for a chat with good company, a free hot drink and a bite to eat every Friday.
1pm – 3pm
Feb 2024:
16th, 23rd, 29th
Drop in for a chat with good company, a free hot drink and a bite to eat every Friday.
The sessions have temporarily moved to: Central Methodist Church, Lune Street, Preston, PR1 2NL
1pm – 3pm
Mar 2024:
1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd

Keep an eye on our socials for up-to-date event information:
Facebook: facebook.com/DisabilityNW
X/Twitter: twitter.com/DisabilityNW

Other Attachments

We’ve attached leaflet from other services along-side this bulletin just for your information, which can be downloaded below:

Lancashire County Council – Safe Trader Scheme
The Safe Trader Scheme helps residents find reputable traders for property repairs, home improvements, gardening services, mobility aids and other services around the home.

Stop Loan Sharks – Winter 2023 Newsletter
Stop Loan Sharks investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders and provides support for borrowers in the UK.

Ingeus – Work & Health Programme North West
Work and Health provides support for those unemployed people with health conditions or disabilities. It is also designed to help those individuals who have been out of work for a long time as well as those who might need some specialist support.