HAD (Hertfordshire Action on Disability) is a Welwyn Garden City-based charity that has supported older and disabled throughout Hertfordshire and beyond for 60 years. We specialise in
providing and advising on specialist equipment
providing transport 24/7
assessing driving skills and advising on appropriate vehicles
advocating and raising awareness of disability
Yes 2018 is our 60th anniversary and we are trying to raise £60,000 to help maintain our services for future generations. We hope to raise one third through this crowdfunding campaign
We are a values driven social enterprise and charity – we will not sell inappropriate equipment - and will always advise impartially on the best solutions.
Over the past few years we have lost our local authority grant and have adjusted well but to thrive and respond to increasing demand in the next 60 years we now need to change and improve so we can continue to support our communities in more challenging and demanding circumstances.
Look at the impact we make
In the last year:
3212 is the number of customers we have helped at our equipment centre receiving specialised advice buying all kinds of equipment to help in everyday living from wheelchairs, beds, chairs and buggies to specially adapted knives, spoons, key turners and even leg lifters.
700 is the number of people who have been assessed for their ability to drive after injury or illness, with many able to drive again perhaps with specially adapted cars which we advise on.
12,000 is the number of individuals journey taking advantage of our transport services. These include our unique special 24 7 disabled taxi service and regular disability bus trips for local organisations.
25,000 is the number of enquiries we have handled at our centre or by phone and 137 the number we have helped with benefits information resulting in a financial gain for our clients of £310986.
We need to invest in improving our services if we are to continue to make a huge difference to our customers
Customers such as
- Ian McLaren, 75, who we helped when Parkinson's disease threatened to stop him from driving.
Ian underwent successful surgery but when resulting swelling of the brain caused cognitive problems, Ian was told that his passion for driving would be over. Ian wanted a second opinion and was told "there was no second opinion." However, Ian's neurologist discovered HAD and an assessment was booked which Ian passed.
Ian's friend and fellow Parkinson's patient, Muswell Hill-based Reg Boorer, whom he met in the next bed in hospital, also took the driving test at HAD.
Ian has had to retake the test every three years and was unfortunately told by HAD driving assessor Mark Thackeray that he "needed to retire." However, the story has a happy ending. Ian has bought some new wheels from HAD - a top of the range Activ X2 self-propelled wheelchair. His partner Melody added. "Both of us have been really impressed by the friendly, professional and compassionate manner of all HAD's staff".
- Paul Bates who we helped choose the right specially adapted vehicle
The 47-year-old Arsenal supporter from Borehamwood was helped massively by HAD's driving centre team. Once he found the right vehicle he passed his test first time with zero faults. He had spent many years looking for the right adapted car after receiving a head injury following an assault when he was 18 left him with partial paralysis on one side. “I had been searching the internet for so long trying to locate a car and then I got lucky when a local driving instructor told me about the cognitive tests that HAD carry out,” Paul said. “The tests were a series of challenges to gauge my reactions and problem solving. It was actually much harder than the practical test as I had no prior idea what would be involved, but the assessors were very helpful, and I passed,” Paul explained.
Paul began taking driving lessons with a HAD driving assessor and took the test in a Ford B-Max from HAD's specially adapted fleet using a left foot accelerator with a steering aid on the left side of the steering wheel with a Lodgesons Lollipop Ten Way R200 key-pad. With this Paul could operate ten minor controls including indicators, windscreen wipers, headlights and horn as Paul explains: “It made driving so much easier and was very user-friendly; it took me no time to get used to it.”
Paul said. “David's a fantastic teacher, as my driving test results proved!”
HEAD START: Paul (left) with HAD driving assessor David Wooder
- Sue Raingold
Sue recently bought an Aquila bath lift from HAD's equipment centre after receiving a little help from the charity and a neighbour. Arthritis in Sue's left knee meant bathing had become difficult and dangerous. But a chance chat with her next-door neighbour Brian Drew came up trumps and showed her his new bath-lift. Sue immediately phoned HAD and ordered one. The very next day HAD volunteer Derek Merritt delivered and fitted the bath-lift for Sue. “What a service! Both Cherie and Derek were so friendly and helpful,” Sue explained. “The bath-lift is easy to use and very comfortable. I'm hooked and sometimes have two baths a day!”
- David Sims who we helped challenge his Personal Independence Payments (PIP) assessment
David was turned down for the motability element of PIP despite disabilities caused by a stroke and an accident in childhood. David works for HAD in the front office where he welcomes people personally and on the phone. He can direct people and their families as well as give advice. He has first-hand experience of what it is like to be disabled, and to experience the frustrations of the system which is supposed to help.
David learned to drive an adapted car through our driving centre and passed his test with flying colours. HAD was helpful in supporting him to appeal successfully to The Benefits Agency. Not only does this mean he can continue to work with us, but he can get his life back!”
The Big Push Raising awareness of what's life really like in a wheelchair?
The Hertfordshire-wide programme involves children and adults spending some time in a wheelchair and seeing life from a disabled person's perspective. Many wheelchair-users complain of being treated unfairly and even ignored by the public and people will often talk to the carer rather than communicate with the person in the chair. Ultimately, we are trying to change the public's perception of disabled people.
As HAD is celebrating its 60th year in 2018 as well as raising awareness we are trying to raise much needed funds too. In the big push the money will come from participants being sponsored for every hour they spend in the wheelchair. Roundwood Primary student Livvy Mitson, 10, spent half a day in a chair and described her experience on BBC Three Counties Radio. “At first it was very exciting but after a while my arms started to ache. In PE I noticed nobody wanted to be in my group, and later I wanted to go to the toilet and realised it would have been difficult for a disabled person to do so. I think the Big Push will help build respect for disabled people and I feel keener to talk to them now.”
Here's a list of our services:
HAD'S equipment centre managed by Cherie West, and her team of trusted assessors and occupational therapists, assesses for and retails a wide variety of products to prevent falls and support disabled and older people. This equipment includes: wheelchairs, mobility scooters and bathing/kitchen equipment, Zimmer frames, walking sticks, rise/recline chairs, toilet raisers and frames, bed rails, toilet raisers and frames, bed rails, profiling beds, braked trolleys, rollators, grab rails, quad sticks, ferrules, shoes, slippers and non-slip socks. We also provide bariatric wheelchairs for hire. The occupational therapists also run free weekly specialist seating clinics to ensure customers get the appropriate and most comfortable chair for their own specific needs.
HAD's Driving Centre:
Driving lessons and assessments for people with physical disabilities are available in a fleet of dual-controlled vehicles. Vehicle appraisal/conversion advice and disability awareness training for minibus driver assessments are also available.
24-hour Accessible Transport: The only service of its kind in the country. Wheelchair accessible vehicles taking people to work, medical appointments, shopping, leisure and holiday trips, wherever and whenever they want. We also have a fleet of accessible vehicles for hire.
We operate a six-strong fleet of adapted, wheelchair-friendly, fully accessible vehicles to transport disabled people to work, doctor’s appointments, shopping, holidays and other leisure activities 24 hours a day. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible and have HAD livery, floor clamping, inertia reel seatbelts and a low rear ramp. We believe this is the only 24 hour a day accessible transport service in the country, and we’re mightily proud of it!
Information and advice: Last year HAD received around 25,000 telephone calls seeking information and advice.
Our wheelchair and learning disability tennis tournament and cricket match (at Harpenden CC) are also proving popular. HAD's wheelchair awareness initiative, The Big Push, will encourage people from local schools and businesses to spend some time in a wheelchair and tell us about the experience.
How can you help
We need to raise £60,000 in our 60th anniversary year to ensure our services for the next 60. We are hoping to raise £20,000 through this crowdfunding campaign. Please donate as much as you can to ensure we will be able to support you and your family when your need arises