Disabled Holiday Information

Dishabled Holiday Info. LogoDisabled Holiday Info.

Registered Charity No. 1119972

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About Us

 

D.H.I. committee members with representatives of Powys Council at Elan Valley Visitor Centre

for the launch of the Powys Accessible Countryside Guide in 2012

 

D.H.I. is an awareness led Charity almost entirely staffed by volunteers who either have a disability themselves or care for someone who does. We provide free information on fully accessible leisure time pursuits through our website.

 

Our Mission Statement :

Our Mission Statement is to :-

Provide opportunities for people with disabilities including those who might not normally participate fully in community life to research information on accessible leisuretime pursuits.

Equally importantly to compile the resultant data into an easily accessible and visually stimulating format that will encourage other people with similar needs to expand and enhance their life experience thus improving their health and well being.

Our History :

The Charity was founded by Frank and Sue Napper when in 2001 they wished to go away for a weekend and looked on the net for suitable destinations, bearing in mind Frank's disability. They could not find anything that provided both places to stay and advice about what to see and do whilst there. In the end they went to York and did their own research, which they felt was worth sharing with other wheelchair users. As Frank was doing a computer course at the local college at the time his tutor helped him to create a small webpage of their findings. Encouraged by the local Tourist Information Centre in Oswestry they then visited several other areas trying out the facilities for accessibility with Frank's own wheelchair. This was such a success that with the help of The Millennium Fund administered by Help the Aged they were able to continue to add further places of interest. This began to involve a considerable amount of time and effort so in order to be able to develop the site further they enlisted the assistance a small group of other wheelchair users and their carers.

They then received a grant from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust with which they were able to complete further research and add more web pages, ensuring all the time that the places of interest we visited, really were accessible.

However realising not everyone had access to the web, in 2005 funding was sourced and received from the Community Champions Fund (administered by the Community Council for Shropshire) to complete research for the whole of the county of Shropshire, so in addition to Oswestry and Ironbridge there were now web pages for Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Whitchurch. This information was put into a free brochure called ' The Wheelchair Users Guide to Accessible Tourist Attractions for Shropshire'. Further funding and design assistance was sourced from Shropshire County Council and various other sources from within the county to update and improve the brochure. 

image of members of disabled holiday information

Launching the first edition of the accessible activities guide for Shropshire

In November 2005 it was felt that the group should become more formal with elected officers and a new constitution so that our work and volunteer workforce could continue to extend and develop.

In June 2007 we received the exciting news that we were now a registered charity (reg.no.1119972). This was a major step forward that would allow us to seek funding to expand our coverage to the rest of the UK whilst making sure that we held true to our original principle and continue to provide information for people with disabilities that is researched by people with disabilities.

Over the years we have been fortunate to receive funding from Charitable Trusts and other organisations including The Bruce Wake Trust, The SEM Trust, O2, Talk Talk, The Company of Actuaries, Shropshire Masonic Charitable Trust, The Westcroft Trust, Ellesmere and District Round Table, the former Oswestry Borough Council, The Clothworker’s Foundation and The Saddlers Company. We are extremely grateful for the support these organisations gave to enable us to sustain or extend our work.

In 2008 with a grant from The Hedley Foundation we launched our first website based UK wide search facility for accessible accommodation at the Mobility Roadshow in Coventry. Then gradually searches for Accessible Attractions, Countryside trails and Activities were also added and these can be accessed from the menu bar of the left hand side of our home page..

For some years a large proportion of our income came from commissioned accessibility auditing and disability awareness training work from various local authorities, national organisations such as Natural England and tourism based organisations. In addition within Cheshire and Powys this had the additional bonus of providing free written access guides. The majority of these written guides are now long out of date but downloadable PDF copies of the 3 Powys guides plus several factsheets and our latest newsletter can be found on our publications pages

In November 2011 DHI celebrated its 10th anniversary with a celebratory lunch at the Highwayman in Oswestry. We had come along way during this first decade and were looking forward to the next 10 years. It was a great chance to express our gratitude to everyone who had volunteered for and supported DHI since it began.

Trustees and Volunteers at the 10 year celebration lunch

In the last few years since then our plans for the future did not materialise as we had hoped. We found that despite a high demand for our services we were simply unable to sustain on a purely voluntary basis the large amount of work and high standards that the wide variety of consultancy projects involved. Therefore having been unsuccessful in sourcing sufficient funds to provide salaried roles at managerial levels to support this work and extend our volunteer force, in 2013, the Charity Trustees made the difficult decision to reduce all wider consultation and awareness activities to a minimum and instead return to our roots of providing website based information. Sadly this meant our volunteer force also reduced but we will always be grateful for the valuable work everyone who was involved over the years has contributed. In addition, although we had always been extremely thrifty with our funds, we made a concerted effort to reduce all our overheads to an absolute minimum. Since then our main focus has been to find ways to sustain our administrator Rachael's role and to refine and improve our website and the information it contains.

 

Our latest Annual Report :

 

For a copy of our 2014/2015 Annual report please click here.

 

 

Archive Material

 

The Enablise Project :

During 2009 we started piloting a new project called Enablise which worked with volunteers who have multiple disabilities.

 

A research team from Avalon Opportunities in Oswestry checking out accessibility at Knowsley Safari Park

We were fortunate to receive two funding awards during August 2010 which assisted us to extend the number of volunteers within the project to carry out research and then collate the data they had gathered.

The first award was from the 'Grassroots Fund' administered by the Community Council for Shropshire and which is a grant scheme funded by the Government Office for the Third Sector.

The second award was through the pilot 'Access to Volunteering Fund' that aims to increase the number of disabled people volunteering by providing grants to supporting organisations.

The funding enabled us to create dedicated volunteer guidance packs in an accessible format that could be more easily used by our volunteers, all of whom had differing disabilities and access needs.

This project steadily grew and at its peak we worked with three local authority opportunities groups.  In June 2012 various representatives from the project received volunteer certificates at an awards ceremony in Shrewsbury.

An image of Bev Phillips receiving her volunteers certificate

Bev Phillips from Lorne Street Opportunities receiving her volunteers certificate from the High Sheriff of Shropshire

Sadly Enablise was suspended as we were unable to source sufficient funding to provide a dedicated manager to support the project and its volunteers. We have left the information on here as it was an important part of our work and we would like our website users to see what the project achieved.

 

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