Lotto boost secures future of disabled champions group

Team of volunteers

New start for Disability Support Torbay: Back Row Staff left to right: Claire Hill, Bettina Farley, Jane Turner, Sheila Shearing Front Row Trustees left to right: Alex Sorrell (Chair of the Board) Steph Read (Vice Chair), Tony Hurst, Jill Read (Company Secretary) - Credit: Submitted

A Torbay group championing the disabled is celebrating a lotto cash boost which has secured its future.

Disability Support Torbay's future is secure for at least the next five years thanks to the Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund. 

Project manager Bettina Farley said they were faced with closure by the middle of this year even though they have been consistently busy throughout lockdown.  

The office in Lymington Road, Torquay, was closed during June for a major refurbishment.

Jill Read, company secretary, said: "It looks fabulous now, but we to dip into our own funds to complete it."

They were grateful for the support of local businesses particularly CVS Property Services, Howdens, RGB Torquay, MT Timber, Morgan Electrical and Plastic Mike.

Jill said: "When you come to the office now you will find a complete change. In the front room you will meet Jane on reception and Claire our administrator. They will be pleased to help you with information and with signposting to other local organisations if we cannot help. We are hoping to restart our counselling service in the future."

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Jill added: "Our services focus on support with benefit applications (PIP, ESA, Housing benefit, Attendance allowance), medical assessments, appeals and tribunals and housing issues. We could do none of this without the support of Torbay Council who have provided rent and rate free accommodation since we started in 1989.

"We continue to need volunteers with specific skills and knowledge and we are currently recruiting Trustees who can support our continued development. We also desperately need an assistant treasurer who can use Sage. If you would like to get involved please email info@dstorbay.org.uk.

"The lottery does not give you all the money you need to run an organisation. We still need to raise in the region of £6,000 in matched funding each year so donations are still really important to our continued survival. All our services are free but we do hope that clients and supporters who can, will make a donation, however small."