Lisieux Trust closes resource centre
Lisieux Trust has officially closed its doors to the public. The Erdington-based Disability Information and Resource Centre had halted operations in March, in line with the Government’s coronavirus guidelines. Now, management has made the tough decision to keep the centre on Marsh Lane closed permanently.
Known locally as the DIRC, the centre opened over 13 years ago – an occasion attended by Sutton Coldfield’s former Lord Mayor, John Hood, and the late Lady Mayoress, Jean Hood – and has since been providing invaluable support services to people with disabilities and their families and carers. Clients of the centre relied on staff and volunteers to provide information and advice about disability-related benefits, and support with form-filling, finances, and IT skills, amongst other services. This support helped to equip people with disabilities with the knowledge and confidence to live more independently.
The decision comes after a series of fundraising efforts to help keep the centre running proved unsuccessful. Commenting, Jess Alsop-Greenacre, CEO at Lisieux Trust, said: “The decision to close the Disability Information and Resource Centre isn’t one we’ve made lightly.
“Over the 13 years of operating, we’ve welcomed over 5,000 people through our doors. We’re all tremendously proud to have witnessed so many of our clients rightfully claiming their independence.”
The centre was originally born in 2006, following a cash influx, courtesy of a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The charity was awarded £166,000 to help get the Disability Information and Resource Centre up and running.
Jess continues: “The DIRC was initially awarded two years’ worth of funding. Following this, we were fortunate enough to secure further financial backing from other funding organisations, which has been instrumental in allowing us to operate for as long as we have.
“Unfortunately, as the latest of our funding drew to its end, we were unsuccessful in securing further backing that would allow us to continue providing our DIRC services. For the last two years, we’ve been relying on our reserves to keep our doors open. As a not-for-profit organisation these reserves are limited, and we’re no longer in a position where this solution can continue to be viable.
“If we continue to use up our reserves, we risk threatening the quality of the other services we provide for people with learning disabilities, which is not something we’re willing to gamble on. It’s in our absolute best interest to redirect these resources to maintain the high-quality residential care and supported living services that we provide.
“We know the closure of the centre might concern some of the clients who visit it regularly. We’re already living through worrying times, and we don’t wish to add any further stress to those already experiencing vulnerabilities. As such, we’ve put provisions in place to help signpost service users to other local organisations that can help.
“We would urge anyone who’s worried about this decision to get in touch with us, so we can help point them in the right direction.”