Copyright © Disability Information Services Kent (DISK) 2018
DISK, 7 Town Walk, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1EY
Registered Charity Number 1059443
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Independent Disability Advisors for Kent
A Brief History of Disability Information Services Kent
In 1991 the Government funded the National Disability Information Project (NDIP), this was a joint funded venture between Social Services and the Health Authority. NDIP funded 13 projects across the United Kingdom and the Kent Information Federation was one of these. DISK was formed in 1993 and was the first branch of KIF, other branches followed in Margate, Maidstone, Gillingham and Tonbridge.
In 1996 we left the Federation and became an independent service, obtaining our own charity number and identity. The service has continued to grow each year with the number of enquiries growing from a humble 233 in 1993 growing to 6254 last year.
The service has taken on many additional roles and expanded the services provided. In 1997 we obtained National Lottery funding to start up an outreach service, taking the office out into the community. Although the funding only lasted three years and additional funding was not forthcoming from the National Lottery, despite passing the written submission and verbal interview, we managed to maintain the outreach service with the help of other Charitable Trusts. Unfortunately we were forced to terminate the outreach service in 2004 due to lack of funding.
In 2001 we introduced an information service especially for the elderly population of Folkestone. The Elderly Line was funded by the Kent County Council Prevention Grant, Shepway Regeneration Budget and the Healthy Living Fund. This funding came to an end in 2004, however any elderly person who requires help on any topic has not be turned away and wherever possible DISK has given them the information required.
Over the past 24 years demand for help with benefit claim forms has grown and a large percentage of our work is now welfare rights based. We currently have a waiting list of approximately 3 weeks for Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance forms. The waiting list for Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support claims, Reconsiderations and appeals is running at around 2 weeks. It is important that clients who need help make an appointment early to allow us to see them within the time restraints of the claim forms or appeal system. In the case of PIP’s an appointment should be made prior to asking for the claim forms as these will be out of date before we can see the client.
The future of DISK, like many other local charities, is bright as long as funding can be secured. The statistics over the past 24 years clearly show that there is the demand for the service. With Statutory services being reduced or stopped due to the financial restraints set by National and County policies DISK are taking on more and more work previously done by the public sector. At one time there were 9 offices across the county providing specialist information to disabled people, the elderly and carers, now there is only us and DIAL North Kent based in Northfleet working now as part of KASBAH.