Appeal to help Preston charity throw anniversary party

Melanie Close, chief executive of Disability Equality, with volunteer Stacey Cook
Melanie Close, chief executive of Disability Equality, with volunteer Stacey Cook
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Bosses at a cash-strapped charity are appealing for help as they plan a party to celebrate the organisation’s birthday.

Staff and volunteers at Disability Equality North West, based in Preston, are holding a special event to mark the charity’s 20th anniversary.

But leaders say they can’t afford to pay for the party alongside the running costs of the organisation, and are calling on supporters to help.

Melanie Close, the charity’s chief executive, said: “To get to 20 years is a real achievement because there have been times when I’ve thought ‘I don’t know if we can keep doing this’.

“To deliver services, we need staff, but for the last four years we have never been 100 per cent funded, and we use our reserves to pay the staff.

“Disabled people need us, we’re not the kind of organisation to say ‘we’re not funded to do that so we’re not going to help you’.”

Melanie said she had, in the past, feared the organisation may shut, but now wants to celebrate the achievement and put on a party for staff and volunteers.

It has been booked for July 8 at St Anthony’s Social Centre, Fulwood, but Melanie said: “Everyone wants this party, but we don’t have any money really to provide services, never mind have a party.

“We’ve got money that will cover a room and food. I wanted a really nice party where we had entertainment and a DJ and balloons and gifts on the tables. But actually I’m thinking I can’t spend £250 on a DJ because that money is needed for somebody who actually is really struggling.

“Our information and advice service goes down to two days in July because it’s not funded for five days. There isn’t any money to keep it open five days, so I just think how can we pay £250 for a DJ?

“If there is anybody out there who is a DJ who could donate their services, we would be over the moon. We need a DJ, room decorations, and, if possible, party favours.

“We want to celebrate the fact we’ve helped thousands and thousands of disabled people.”
Anyone who is able to help donate services or money can email melanie@disability-equality.org.uk.