On this page you can read about our history and find links to…
- Why do we do what we do? Find out what life can be like for the disabled and their carers and how the pandemic has disproportionately affected them.
- Clients First – how we ensure our clients are at the centre of our services.
- Our Charity Commission registration.
- Our Management Committee – the trustees responsible for the charity.
- Our policy on Equality, Inclusion & Diversity.
- Our impact – how we benefit more than just individual clients.
- Our funders – the organisations who support us and upon whom we depend to keep the free service running.
- Our heroes – the volunteers and pro bono professionals prepared to give up their valuable time to help us out.
- A story from the pandemic – how our experience helped us adapt to a “new normal” way of working.
- A new chapter – how we are developing the service and expanding our reach to ensure as many as possible who can benefit from our services have access to them.
Founded in 1985 DAS celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2020. Find out more about our history.
We work at the heart of the East Suffolk community supporting anyone with a disability related problem including their family carers. We provide free independent advice on welfare benefits (inc appeals representation); housing rights; adaptations to the home; accessible transport and leisure; employment and support for return to work; crisis intervention and our Listening Service. Over 15% of our clients live in Ipswich
It is our mission to build confidence, enabling those who live with disabilities to gain the same rights and quality of life opportunities as others.
Why do we do what we do?
Those who are born with a disability and those who acquire one through accident, illness or old age are disadvantaged in society compared to the rest of us in so many ways. You can review the context for our work – why we are needed – here or download a summary using the link below.
“Disabled people were hit harder than most by austerity. The benefit cuts combined with the narrative of who was deserving or undeserving of support left a constant climate of fear for many. This fear was on top of barriers – discrimination – already faced by disabled people in everyday life. It can break your trust in systems and people. It has caused profound social isolation for many. It makes it harder to communicate and connect socially to those who have not got lived experience of instability.” Becca Bunce, John Ellerman Foundation
Charity commission registration
We have been a registered charity since 1998 and in 2013 we became a charitable incorporated organisation with the charity number 1152772.
You can read more about us on our entry on the Charity Commission website.
Management committee (trustees)
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
A story from the pandemic – how our “new normal” changed forever
How our experience during the pandemic led us to make changes that will have lasting value to clients and make us more resilient to future pandemics or similar disasters.
A new chapter in our development
The disadvantages faced by our clients came again into stark contrast when the disproportionately negative effects of pandemic soon gave way to an even worse catastrophe for them in the shape of the cost-of-living crisis. You can read here about how the massive gap in income caused greater deprivation for the disabled.
Crisis is an overused word that easily drops off our tongues to describe anything going wrong in our lives. But we don’t know the true meaning of it until we have plunged the depths of despair brought about by the extreme poverty suffered by our crisis clients. It’s a sad fact that poverty and being disabled so often go together. Read more about this here if you’re interested.
Anticipating areas where we could provide more help we introduced our Energy Support service and Pensions Credit advice at the beginning of 2022. During that year we helped a combined 437 clients and generated £88,561 in regular annual income for them. The crisis service helped 469 clients which was 16x (sixteen times) the number pre-pandemic.
We also organised three Warm Space events where 60 of our crisis clients came along to spend time socialising in a safe, warm room where they received free refreshments and goody bags to take away. They also heard from our energy support adviser on how to keep warm and to control their fuel expenditure.
Looking forward, we remain focused on providing the highest standards of advice and help to as many more clients that need us as we can. Not many will be aware that 72% of people in prison have at least two mental health diagnoses and we are piloting a scheme with the East of England Probation Service to provide advice to those released on parole to guide them through to receiving the welfare benefits to which they are entitled. As a lack of finance is a significant cause of it, this will have some beneficial effect on reducing re-offending. We are also working with a prison to trial a similar approach to inmates who are due for release to prepare them best to be able to cope when they return to normal life.
Our future plans also extend to developing ways to reach those who could benefit from our services in LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority communities where our initial reaching out to representative organisations will bear fruit in due course.