Disabled children’s charity to close as funding dries up

Disabled youngsters at EDPIP during happier times
Disabled youngsters at EDPIP during happier times
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A CHARITY which has helped disabled children for more than a decade is closing.

East Durham Positive Inclusion Partnership (EDPIP), based in Seaham, has 300 under 25s on its books and runs a host of activities, services and residential trips.

While it could continue to apply for grants and contracts to run projects, group leaders say it should receive core funding from Durham County Council and the NHS, which would pay workers’ salaries and running costs.

During the last decade EDPIP has been able to run thanks to being given office accommodation as well as grants.

However, recent applications for grants have been unsuccessful.

The decision to close on March 26 means two full-time employees and 10 session staff will be out of work, with its team of volunteers no longer required.

Alison Donoghue, EDPIP’s manager, said: “If anything, there’s more need for it than less.

“The problem is funding, it’s been getting harder and harder.

“The children and their families and the young people are going to miss out massively, what are they going to do in place of the summer schemes?

“We have had floods of tears and the families are finding it hard.”

The group’s work has ranged from games and education sessions, efforts to tackle bullying, an advice and advocacy service to residential trips, which have included “dream of a lifetime” in 2009 to Disneyland Paris which saw members and their families fundraise to cover costs.

Nick Whitton, the council’s head of commissioning for children and adults services, said: “We have had several meetings and discussions with EDPIP to support them to find potential opportunities for raising money and securing the core funding they need.

“They have also applied for funding from our Transformation Community Chest Grant and we are currently considering their application.”

Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group has said EDPIP did not meet its clinical criteria.

It only offers cash for projects, rather than core funding, adding EDPIP would have been eligible for a health and wellbeing grant, although it had not applied.

EDPIP was set up in 2003 with the support of the council, but was the only one to become firmly established.

Mrs Donoghue added: “We’ve had deaths, two births, engagements and had people going on to live independently, all sorts of positives from our members, and that’s why want to celebrate the last 10 years.”

EDPIP is holding an event at Shotton Hall in Old Shotton on Saturday, March 29, to mark its decade of work. Anyone who would like more details can contact Alison on 03000 262 220.