Local charity Disability Essex has closed

Disability Essex provided advice, support and a place to socialise for disabled people, their families and carers since 1949 but has closed due to financial difficulties.

The charity, of Rocheway, Rochford, announced a "likeminded" charity hopes to take over to continue the work they’ve been doing.

Local groups, including the MS society and Arthritis Care, have welcomed the news as they used to use the charity's facilities but had to leave.

Ian Gilbert, deputy leader of Southend Council, was delighted by the news a similar charity could take over.

He said: “I think it’s excellent news if someone else is able and looking to take that on. It’s good news for the area. If it’s somebody who has the same sort of skills and experience it’s the best possible outcome, given that the previous charity had to close."

There are talks that Trust Links, a Southend based charity that aims to support people and build communities, is in talks to take over the centre.

Ian Copland, club and transport organiser of the S.E. branch of MS society, was devastated at the news of the closure but has found temporary accommodation for the societies clubs. The 72-year-old said due to the way the club has been dealt with, they will not be going back to the centre is the opportunity arises.

He said: “I don’t think we would be interested in going back now because of how we were dealt with. “Had we been kept informed we would have been only too pleased to have stayed there. We hope to move to Stambridge, something more permanent.”

June Lumley, councillor responsible for community at Rochford, said there are planning restrictions on the centre in that only disability Essex and Eco wings could use the facilities, so any new charity would have to gain planning permission.

She added: “Anything to reinstate the use for the community would be wonderful. The first step is for whoever has taken it on to speak to the district council."

News update