2017 was a very exciting year for Disability Cambridgeshire and we were delighted to share some great news and statistics at our AGM.
Our chair’s report, delivered by Judith Margolis, showed how far we’ve come over the course of the year, and painted a very promising picture for 2018. Thanks to several key funding awards, and donations from student societies, we were able to cover our necessary expenses such as rent and insurance, but also invest in new accessible IT equipment and extra phone lines, which will put us in a great position for the year ahead.
Peter Wetherell, our Welfare Rights Adviser, delivered some amazing statistics from the work he has been doing on PIP appeals. Of the 34 cases he has supported, 32 were successful, which represents a success rate of 94% – above and beyond the national average of around 65%. We are very grateful to Peter for his incredible work and are looking forward to expanding the benefits work we do in the coming years.
Behind the scenes our volunteers have started recording statistics on the types of enquiries we receive so that we can better respond to the needs of our service users. We have also had volunteers working on communications, design, social media, and creating our brand new website – and we will continue our work in these areas this year.
Finally, our Advice Line is a core part of the services we offer to disabled people across Cambridgeshire, and we want to extend our thanks to our volunteers Julie and Ruth who have taken every call and supported people with a range of different issues. Nearly 3/4 of the initial enquiries we received this year involved benefits, but we regularly receive and support enquiries about anything from social care, to advocacy, to the Blue Badge scheme.
So what does 2018 hold? At the beginning of the year we were in a very different position to where we are now. We are happy to say that we are increasing the capacity of our phone lines, as well as our office hours at Orwell House. We are recruiting more volunteers, and continue to be very active within the Cambridgeshire community. It is a testament to the hard work of volunteers that we have continued to move from strength to strength, and we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has made this possible!