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Announcement from the Chair of East Sussex Disability Association Sarah Playforth

 

It is my very sad duty to report that after 78 years of supporting and working with disabled people, ESDA, the only user led organisation working with all disabled people in East Sussex, now has to close down.

I am full of regret and sadness that, despite continued efforts for the last five years by Trustees and staff, we have been unable to secure funds that can ensure our sustainability. We have had great support from many people over the years. I must thank the thousands of staff, volunteers and supporters who handed on the baton over the 78 years of our existence. ESDA has only lasted as long as it has because each new generation committed themselves to this cause and gave of their time, effort and resources. I pay great tribute to all our current staff and volunteers, many of whom have been with us for several years. Our Chief Executive, Nick Tapp, has been with ESDA for nearly 25 years and I commend his tireless commitment and hard work in maintaining an effective team through these last difficult years. We have had consistent support from East Sussex County Council's Adult Social Care commissioners, other staff and councillors, and from our dedicated President, Lady Jane Lloyd.

It has been, and continues to be, a difficult time nationally as well as locally for disabled people's user led organisations (DPULOS) with ever increasing demands for services alongside ever decreasing resources. The insecurity and difficulty experienced by many disabled people in the current climate of austerity will be increased as we close, removing yet more support from them. ESDA was supporting several thousand people every year and this closure will inevitably put additional strain on the remaining resources.

While ESDA's mission has developed and changed over these years, each successive generation has shared a strong commitment to a common cause. ESDA may no longer be a gathering point and the visible champion of disabled people’s rights in future, but the cause was not owned by ESDA and will not pass away when ESDA ceases.

ESDA has fought for these rights to be embedded in the policies and services of statutory and voluntary organisations. It is still, however, the duty of all who are committed to disability rights and the full inclusion of disabled people in society, to promote these values whenever and wherever possible and to gain strength from making common cause with others who share these same values. ESDA’s legacy will live on in all those willing to continue to honour and promote its mission, particularly when the rights of disabled people are threatened.

We will include information on other sources of support in a final issue of Aware to our members and service users.


Until further notice all enquiries should now be directed to:

ESDA at 1 Faraday Close, Eastbourne BN22 9BH

01323 514500


Sarah Playforth

Aware - Issue 56 - July 2016

 

The ESDA Centre for Independent Living is now closed