A CHARITY is marking its 30th anniversary by launching its first fundraising appeal.

Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) has devoted three decades to supporting people with disabilities and their carers.

On Wednesday, the DAD team celebrated its milestone anniversary with a huge afternoon tea, enjoying refreshments and entertainment along with their supporters, volunteers, staff and clients.

The celebratory event, funded by the Big Lottery, saw the charity officially launch its first fundraising appeal.

Chief executive Lauren Robinson urged people to support DAD’s vital work as they – and other charities – struggle to thrive in an economic climate clouded by austerity, council cuts and dwindling resources.

Ms Robinson said: “To reach our 30th anniversary is very significant, especially as charities and the voluntary sector are having a difficult time at the moment.

“Being around for 30 years and being in a position to help disabled people is definitely something to be celebrated.

“I believe those disabled people, and their carers, would say that DAD offers an essential service and support for individuals, young and old people, families and carers.

“We would like to be able to carry on for as long as we can doing what we are doing, supporting those with a range of impairments by providing advice, support and letting people know what help and services are out there.”

DAD also supports groups such as the People’s Parliament to advocate and campaign on disability related issues.

As a result of Darlington Borough Council’s £12.5m programme of budget cuts, funding to the service was slashed.

Ms Robinson and the charity’s team are now appealing for help in funding their efforts in the future.

She said: “Resources are reducing and demand is increasing – disabled people and their carers are really feeling the impact of a number of council cuts.

“It is vital that user led groups like ours are around to continue highlighting the issues affecting people.

“Our 30th anniversary fundraising appeal is not something we’ve done before but we are hoping people will be interested in helping us to raise money.”

Anyone interested in organising any fundraising activities or donating to support DAD should email mail@darlingtondisability.org or call 01325 489 999. Information on the charity and its work is available online at darlingtondisability.org.