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Charity of the month: Herts Action on Disability

PUBLISHED: 10:34 01 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:34 01 November 2016

Annabelle Waterfiled (left) with Welwyn Hatfield Mayor Pat Mabbott and HAD fundraiser Paul Bishop

Annabelle Waterfiled (left) with Welwyn Hatfield Mayor Pat Mabbott and HAD fundraiser Paul Bishop

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Hertfordshire Action on Disability has helped disabled and older people in the country for more than half a century, but is in need of help itself more now than ever

For more than half a century, disabled and older people in Hertfordshire have been helped by Hertfordshire Action on Disability. Based in Welwyn GC, the charity was set up in 1958 by the then-Welfare Department of the county council to supply life-enhancing equipment to disabled people in Herts. The charity has grown a great deal since then and now employs 30 staff with a main office manned mainly by disabled people.

‘We are proud to help disabled and older people to maintain their independence,’ says HAD chief executive Annabelle Waterfield. ‘We provide a number of key services. These include two equipment centres, a 24-hour accessible transport service, a driving centre, plus we provide information and advice.’

The charity’s centres at its Woodside HQ and at newly-opened Hillingdon provide a huge range of mobility products as well as advice. Products include wheelchairs, rollators, rise and recline chairs, mobility scooters and bathing equipment.

‘We promote a browse, try and buy approach. Our trusted assessors are always available to give free assessments – ensuring our customers get the right product. We have recently introduced a chair-hire service aimed at two target audiences, people nearing the end of life and those unable to buy a chair themselves,’ explains Annabelle.

A 24-hour accessible transport service takes wheelchair users to work, medical appointments and more. The driving centre provides assessments and lessons in specially-adapted and duel-control cars. The information and advice service is a telephone support service with an additional benefits-advice service available every Wednesday by appointment. Services are available to those with disabilities, their families and friends, as well as carers, health and social care professionals and local authorities.

Support from Herts people is key to the charity, says fundraiser Paul Bishop. ‘Fundraising in the community has always been important to HAD. Since losing our funding in 2014, it is now vital. We have a small and dedicated fundraising team putting on a large number of events.

Our next event is the HAD wheelchair/learning disability tennis tournament at Gosling Sports Park (in Welwyn GC) on Sunday November 20. All wheelchair and learning disability players from near and far are welcome. If anyone would like to volunteer, join the team or put on an event, please contact me.’

To find out more about HAD and to help with the tennis tournament and any other events, visit hadnet.org.uk or call on 01707 324581.

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