Words & pics by Ed King
Launching the Erdington based facility in 2006, the DIRC has “welcomed over 5,000 people through our doors,” – offering advice and guidance to people disabilities, as well as their families and carers.
Opening in 2006, the Marsh Lane Disability Information and Resource Centre was financed by £166,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
But due to a lack of funding or financial support, the DIRC is shutting the doors for good – as the learning disability charity continue caring for the 21 residents and 28 tenants that live in their residential care homes and supported living accommodations across Erdington and Sutton Coldfield.
“If we continue to use up our reserves, we risk threatening the quality of the other services we provide for people with learning disabilities,” explains Jess Alsop-Greenacre, CEO at Lisieux Trust, “which is not something we’re willing to gamble on. It’s in our absolute best interest to redirect these resources to maintain the high-quality residential care and supported living services that we provide.
The DIRC opened over 13 years ago, providing support services to people with disabilities and their families and carers.
Clients of the centre relied on staff and volunteers to provide information and advice about disability-related benefits, and support with form-filling, finances, and IT skills, amongst other services. This support helped to equip people with disabilities with the knowledge and confidence to live more independently.
“We know the closure of the centre might concern some of the clients who visit it regularly,” continues Jess Alsop-Greenacre. “We’re already living through worrying times, and we don’t wish to add any further stress to those already experiencing vulnerabilities. As such, we’ve put provisions in place to help signpost service users to other local organisations that can help.
“We would urge anyone who’s worried about this decision to get in touch with us, so we can help point them in the right direction.”
To find out more about the Lisieux Trust, visit www.lisieuxtrust.org.uk
For more direct information on the Marsh Lane based Disability Information and Resource Centre, click here to visit the site’s Facebook page.