Clydesdale disability charity closes its doors

Volunteers at the Disability Resource Centre. which closed this week.  Picture Sarah Peters.
Volunteers at the Disability Resource Centre. which closed this week. Picture Sarah Peters.

Disability Resource Centre Clydesdale has closed down after 21 years of helping people.

The centre, in Carluke’s Hamilton Street, closed its doors for good on Friday, with volunteers finding “the tears tripping them”.

“We got our funding. It is nothing to do with funding. It is probably to do with age,” said Ann Sneddon, the centre’s manager and a founder member of the charity.

“We managed to go for 21 years. We struggled at times, but we managed.

“But it wasn’t viable now without new blood coming in,”

The centre was open five mornings a week, and over its 21 years the small group helped many thousands of people in Carluke and throughout wider Clydesdale, making home visits to those unable to get to the premises.

The bulk of its work was helping claimants fill in benefits forms, and that involved regular training for volunteers to keep them abreast of changes.

The centre was started after one man was unable to find out about benefits for the disabled, and he became one of its founder members.

“We went from strength to strength,” said Ann. “We worked first on benefits, but then we branched out into wheelchairs.”

The centre was able to obtain them and lend them out.

“We had 50 out at one point, and, as far as I know, we were the only ones in Clydesdale running wheelchair loan,” said Ann. “We also had our volunteer drivers.”

The drivers took disabled people on holidays, to hospital appointments or respite care and even had a regular hire taking students with special needs to a training cafe in Larkhall two or three days a week through a contact with social work.

The centre itself provided work experience for disabled people to give them the confidence to get back out into the workplace.

Over the years, volunteers have helped thousands of disabled people and have secured thousands of pounds for them in benefits such as disability living allowance, income support and attendance allowance, filling in complicated forms which would take the best part of an hour at a time.

As word of the closure spread, a few former clients dropped in to say thank you.

“I have been in tears all morning,” said Ann.

“The tears are tripping us,” added a colleague. “It is very sad.”