Warrington Disability Information Services was founded in 1990 by a small group of disabled people (Dave Thompson, Alan Shaw and Eric James) attending a local Day Centre, who had experienced exclusion from information and other opportunities realising that information about services and accessible facilities can be the key to independence. They volunteered to collate data and set up an information base on local accessible shops and services. The group were then approached by Cheshire County Council to work with the group of volunteers on an information data system titled INCHES (Information in Cheshire).
During 2000 it was identified that the trustees and volunteers of four organisations (Warrington Disability Information Services, Warrington Shopmobility, Disability Sports Forum and the Committee for Disabled People) were virtually the same small group of people, added to this there was the difficulty for officers from statutory bodies to attend every meeting, and more importantly to fund every organisation.
Everyone agreed that changes were required, so a small working party was formed to look into the options, one of the first options identified was that we would need to stop delivering a variety of services, but this wasn't seen as an option, as all of our services had been developed from the basis of need. Secondly, we could ignore the plight of individual organisations, go our separate ways and eventually some would fall by the wayside, but this couldn't be an option as we had all invested so much time and energy, and many of us were good friends.
With the following benefits so plain to see, we all agreed that this must be the way forward. Through WDP we could and would,
Today, Warrington Disability Partnership employs over 50 paid members of staff who are supported by nearly 120 volunteers
Dave Thompson MBE