Greenwich Association of Disabled People was established in 1975 and is a 100% user-led organisation of disabled people. Our mission is to be a major force for positive change in society’s perception of disabled people, to be a source of empowerment for disabled people and to support their human rights.
Service delivery is provided by disabled people who are qualified or experienced professionals, thus providing the added value of offering employment and professional development opportunities to disabled people, as well as a user led approach to service provision.
Services are available to ALL disabled people, including those with physical or sensory impairments, learning difficulties, mental health issues, older people and children with impairments and their families. Services are identified, informed and evaluated by the membership through user involvement, strategy events, monitoring and feedback. This includes ensuring they are fully inclusive to all equalities groups, including BME groups, women, GBLT groups, people from faith groups and older people.
GAD has a management Committee of (currently) 7 trustees. We have 12 office-based staff, with a clear management structure. Additionally, we employ approximately 40 Personal Assistants (PAs) and currently have approximately 70 registered volunteers.
Services provided are:
Advocacy and Advice
We have a well established weekly drop-in every Monday between 10.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. where our project workers are available to give one off advice or to make appointments for ongoing support. We provide various distinct advocacy and advice services:
Advocacy against Hate Crime (
The GAD Hate Crime Advocacy Service was created in 2004 to support disabled people experiencing Hate Crime, Domestic Violence and Harassment. As well as providing in depth support for individuals and representing clients at Case Panels, we provide consultancy on how to identify and tackle Disability Hate Crime to local service providers such as the Metropolitan Police, Royal Borough of Greenwich and other housing providers in the borough. This service was re launched from January 2012, funded by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
Universal Information and Advice (1 part time member of staff supported by 2 volunteers dedicated to the service. Additional support provided for one off information, by all GAD staff and volunteers). Alongside our Hate Crime advocacy service, we have always provided non Hate Crime information and advocacy, related to a wide range of issues including housing and employment. Since April 2011, this has been funded by Greenwich Council as a separate service to Hate Crime advocacy.
Welfare Rights Advocacy
(1 part time member of staff supported by 2 volunteers). We experience a very high level of demand for this service, and we are seeking funding to enable us to increase staffing resources in order to meet demand. The service helps disabled people with benefit claims and appeals. Support includes form filling, challenging decisions, attending tribunals and general advice related to Welfare Rights.
This service is funded by Greenwich Council as part of the Universal Advice and Advocacy service.
Partnership initiatives in advocacy The service has established links with Greenwich University’s Law Department and hosts students as volunteers and as research students. Since 2010, we have also had annual placements from London South Bank University Social Work department. These placements enable us to help develop commitment to the Social Model of Disability among the Social Workers of the future, and provide us with much needed practical support to help us meet the huge demand for our advocacy services.
We have undertaken training and consultancy work with the local Metropolitan police and contributed to research into breaches of the Human Rights of Disabled People.
Personal Assistants Agency
(3 office staff, 2 volunteers and 40 PAs managed by the Agency Manager) The Agency provides services to 60 disabled people, enabling them to live independently. We also provide a valuable route into employment for local people. This is a service paid for by clients, for which we make a very reasonable charge. We are a Greenwich Council preferred provider. Any profits go back into the organisation to help keep us afloat.
(Jointly supported by all staff members plus a pool of volunteers). The service was established in 2007, and it incorporates a volunteering programme with 50 registered volunteers engaged in individual programmes of training and personal development. These represent disabled people through consultancy, focus groups, social groups, community events and campaigning.
Currently we have very little dedicated funding for this service. We are currently seeking funding to develop this area of work, which is at present mainly supported by the goodwill of staff and volunteers.
Social groups We develop peer support and self advocacy through our social groups. These include groups for women, art and crafts and writers. We welcome suggestions for new social interest groups. We are seeking funding to support development of this work.
Volunteering Volunteering with GAD enables local disabled people to develop skills and experience that will assist in their career progression and also provides a mutually supportive environment within which everyone is equal. In addition to volunteers supporting our projects, we have those who provide general administrative support in our office and others who act as “ambassadors” for GAD, representing us at various local, regional and national meetings and consultations. We are seeking funding to support development of this work.
(1 part time staff member) Since April 2011, we have joined with Volunteer Centre Greenwich to develop supported volunteering for local disabled people who need more support to enable them to take up these opportunities. This service is funded by Greenwich Council.