by Helen Fairley
A charity is desperately seeking donations to allow it to continue helping disabled people in Kent.
CiLK, the centre for independent living in Kent, based in Staplehurst, needs £45,000 to continue running its mobile information centre van.
CiLK was established in 2002 and is run and managed by people with impairments. The charity aims to help those who have expressed an interest in living independently and want to manage, monitor and pay for their own support and care requirements.
In 2006 CiLK was awarded a Big Lottery Fund grant of £174,202 to provide the first Mobile Centre for Independent Living in the UK.
This grant funded the purchase, adaptation and three year running costs of a fully wheelchiar accessible mobile vehicle which has since then been travelling Kent offering disabled people information on their rights.
A further £10,000 was provided by the Lloyds TSB Foundation to fund a Clerical Support Worker.
From the start of the service started in November 2006 until October 2009, 4570 people have been helped and over 7200 enquires have been received.
As the money from both grants has now come to an end, CilK will be unable to continue the service unless more cash is found.
CiLK director Tony Wright said: “CiLK is an organisation of and for disabled people who run and manage the organisation. We receive no public sector funding.
“We are urgently seeking donations to enable us to continue with the (Mobile Centre for Independent Living) vital service.
“Any amount would be greatly appreciated. We have to raise £45,000 to keep things going for another year.
“This really is a scream for help as it is so important not to lose this service.”
Mr Wright said CilK had helped many people on things as diverse as getting them the care they are entitled to simply giving them information about where to get parts for their wheelchairs.
If you can help or for more information about CILK call 01622 355 777.