Disabled charity faces closure after ‘heartless’ council orders them to leave premises

01/11/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A charity that provides help and advice for disabled faces closure after it was ordered to leave council-owned premises by December 18.

CHAD - Centre for Help and Advice for Disabled – was set up 20 years ago and has been helping up to 200 people a week from a former matron’s bungalow in Bargoed.

But out of the blue the charity was told by Caerphilly social services officials it had to leave without any explanation and without the offer of alternative premises.

John Higgs, who runs the charity and is a wheelchair user himself, said: “This is not how organisations like local authorities should be treating disabled people in the 21st century.

“This came completely out of the blue and we still haven’t received an explanation about why they are shutting us down. It’s appalling.

“The council pays the rent for the former bungalow and heating and energy costs which are about £10,000 a year but apart from that we get nothing from them. We have been selling off everything we have because the council told us if we didn’t they’d remove it themselves and charge us!”

The charity provides help for disabled people and also deals in disability equipment, allowing people to take it home and try before buying. “We estimate that just over 86,000 people have been helped without including telephone enquiries. The council’s reception desk would also phone us for information and a lot staff from social services would ring to ask if we can get an item for their clients. Our clients are stunned by the forced closure” added John Higgs.

Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly council, said: “This is shocking, heartless behaviour from the local authority. After 20 years of helping the community this charity, who are all volunteers and don’t receive any pay, is just being dumped for no good reason.

“CHAD has helped literally thousands of disabled people over the years and, in my opinion, it is just the sort of organisation that Caerphilly council should be actively working with, not working against. I don’t believe most councillors are aware of what is happening and the underhand way pressure has been put on CHAD.”

“CHAD was even offered a contract by the authority in 2014 but in spite of the charity chasing it up nothing was ever issued. As far as I’m concerned the council needs to stop this eviction and rethink the decision as a matter of urgency.”