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Lochaber Action on Disability is a small, local member led charity, established in 1993 and based in the Lochaber area. We have become a focal point for the community, specialising in the support and social inclusion of disabled people. We do not exclude any disability or age group from our support; ensuring people are given a better chance in life, enabling them to become part of their community, regaining confidence, enthusiasm and self–esteem. All our volunteers are such an important part of our work and are people with challenging medical conditions who overcome their disability through training, support and sheer personal commitment, in order to make a very valuable and rewarding contribution to helping other people through LAD. We operate a very busy drop-in centre; community café and craft workshop; supported gardening projects and provide an accessible transport service for children, adults and elderly with disabilities.

L.A.D’s services remain affordable but more importantly, allow people to make new connections and friendships, promoting social inclusion and restoring peoples’ confidence, independence and enthusiasm.

The ever increasing cuts in services provided by our local authority have had a positive impact on our services, as more and more people are contacting us to find alternatives, rather than returning to being housebound and isolated. We continue to receive referrals from Doctors, Social Workers, Home Carers, Care Homes etc. Consultation with the Community Health Partnership revealed that the number of elderly and disabled in the community is due to rise sharply over the next 5-10 years. It is the CHP's intention for this section of the community to remain in their own homes with support rather than be care dependant.  This will result in organisations such as ours being much more in demand, providing alternative services and support.

As you can see we are a small friendly local charity, mainly volunteers with just four paid members of staff. LAD encompasses many different tasks and skills under one roof with a relatively small amount of financial support.

To Achieve and differences it will make in the community:

As more local services are stretched our accessible transport service will increase to meet the demand.

We will cover requests from the Occupational Therapy Department at the hospital, due to the steady increase of supplementary runs that the Community Car Scheme cannot accommodate.

We will negotiate with Social Services for further transport packages in order to increase community group’s usage.

Increase weekly supported shopping runs from three to five.

We will offer new package deals for Coffee Mornings / High Teas for Care Homes / Sheltered Accommodation.

Increase the opening of the community café from 5 to 6 days (to include a Saturday allowing us to take advantage of additional weekend trade.

The Community Health Partnership’s intention to keep the elderly & disabled in the community in their own homes with support rather than being care dependant. Our wide diversity of Drop in Centre, Café, Arts & Crafts and Minibus operating under one roof will continue to grow giving a vital life line to them.

Exchanging the Craft Workshop with The Drop in Centre premises will create a larger working area for storage and space to manoeuvrability thus allowing for expansion of the craft facilities. We will be able to offer a more diverse assortment of courses to the community, creating a more varied selection of goods for sale on the monthly craft stall thereby boosting income.

After our exchanging of premises Drop in Centre / Office with the Craft Workshop is completed (end of this month) we will be able to cover more requests by the School/college Liaison Officer & Work experience Co-ordinator for Highland Council to take teenagers with learning difficulties for work experience in the café, arts & craft workshop. Increasing skills, training and personal development for all our users.

We will analyse data obtained from daily record surveys (on a weekly basis) of clientele, (age, gender etc).using the café, minibus and craft workshop in comparison to the previous year to evaluate the progress and financial intake, helping us to focus on future strategies.

Involving users in our organisation:

Our service users have varying disabilities, in our office we have 1 wheelchair user and 1 ambulant disabled assisting myself in office duties by providing them with computer training and communication skills; on the mini bus we provide transport for 6 disabled volunteers per day, 127 service users weekly and support 6 community groups, LAD’s own Bingo group and various other trips with the assistance of one paid member of staff and a number of volunteers assisting in driving and passenger assistance. All these people have various needs to be considered; there are 5 disabled volunteers per week who work in café and craft workshop, alongside 2 part time members of staff; an average of 46 volunteers per week work on the Green house and Polytunnel (some are physically disabled, others mentally impaired).

Funding for 2009

We would like to thank the following organisations for their kind donations, grants and support:

    • The Scottish Community Foundation
    • The Highland Council
    • Highland Health Board
    • Lloyds TSB
    • Rio Tinto Alcan, Fort William
    • Glen Nevis Estates, Fort William
    • BSW Timber, Fort William


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Lochaber Action on Disability website © LAD and Aitken Scott 2009