1976 - 2016 Celebrating 40 years.



1976 – 1978               Clare Spedding

1979 – 1981               Stephen Whetham

1982 – 1985               Victor Coley

1986 – 1988               Rosemary Kemp

1988 – 1994               Ursula Moss

1993 – 1994               Ursula Moss & Karen Simpson

1993 – 1997               Karen Simpson

1997 – 2000               Margaret Crabtree

2000 – 2013               Stella Howarth

2014 –                       Peter Mallyon



The Association was formed following a public meeting about disabled access held in Workington. Concerned people came together to campaign for change.

1977 - 1979

Carried out surveys of Workington, Cockermouth and Keswick and produced and distributed access guides for individual towns.

1980 - 1989

On 20th October 1980 the then Allerdale Association for the Disabled became a registered charity. The Association along with 6 branches of the Lions Club organised the Cumbrian Disabled Games held at Moorclose. Public meetings were held to highlight access problems to Councillors and architects.


Our name was changed to Allerdale Disability Association as the Committee many of who were people with disabilities felt it was not appropriate to be called ‘For the disabled’. At the same time the constitution was also changed to state that 51% of the Executive Committee must be people with a disability.

The Information Service was launched following the high volume of enquiries for information on non-access related issues. An office was opened at the Trades Hall Centre in Workington.

1991 - 1999

Delivered Disability Awareness day at West Cumbria College.

Funding awarded from Opportunities to Volunteering for Access to Activities project.

Expanded into suite of three offices within The Trades Hall Centre.

Received National Lottery Grant for the Information Service.

Carried out access survey on Sellafield Visitors Centre.

Full access surveys of Cockermouth, Wigton, Keswick, Maryport, Workington, and Silloth.

Awarded the 2 ticks – positive about disabled people symbol by the Employment Service. (Retained ever since.)

First paid member of staff employed to co-ordinate the Information Service and its volunteers.

Information sessions started on a weekly basis at the Younger Disabled Unit at West Cumberland Hospital.

Launch of Leisure Link project, linking a disabled person with a volunteer who shares similar interests or hobbies.

Launched Access Awards scheme to encourage businesses to make their premises more accessible.

2000 - 2009

‘Highly Commended’ award for voluntary organisations from Whitbread Volunteer Action Awards.

Following a request from the Royal British Legion, we carried our access audits on all their social clubs across Cumbria.

In 2001 we celebrated 25 years’ service to the community.

In the Summer of 2002 we moved premises to the then empty Greenhouse buildings in Curwen Park. We renamed the site the Curwen Centre.

Funding secured from Big Lottery for People in the Park project to provide social, leisure and learning opportunities for physically disabled adults and older people with age related disabilities.

Volunteer David Howarth awarded national award from by The Champions Fund for his work with the access group in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to the community’.

Twelve volunteers from the Access Group attended and successfully completed accredited training in access auditing through The Centre for Accessible Environments in London.

In October 2003 our Chair, Stella Howarth was elected as the disability representative on the North West Community Empowerment Network.

After numerous requests for assistance from our Information Service from people within Copeland, we changed our Constitution to show our area as Allerdale and the West Coast.

In 2004 after seeing an article in the Times & Star that the group that produced the local Talking Newspaper was to disband, we contacted them, with a view to taking it over. We subsequently did and have continued to record the weekly disc ever since.

In 2005 we raised £10,000 to carry out a garden and landscaping project within the walled garden of the Curwen Centre. This created low maintenance gardens, with accessible paths and raised beds, enabling members to participate in the planting and care of the gardens.

After securing grants and much hard fundraising we raised in excess of £60,000 to carryout alterations and refurbishment to the buildings at the Centre. Old shower blocks became offices, meeting and activity rooms, accessible toilets were installed and heating and flooring was installed throughout.

We began delivery of a new project, joint funded between Workington Regeneration and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. The Access Grants project enabled voluntary groups and small local businesses across Workington and Maryport to apply through us for grants of up to 85% to improve their disability access from a £250,000 pot. We carried out access audits to ensure the correct alterations we being made and all grant recipients had to attend disability awareness training that we provided. Over the life of the project 51 voluntary groups and small local businesses received grants to make improvements and 31 premises were given portable ramps. 126 people took part in disability awareness training.

Thanks to the support of Allerdale Borough Council and Parksafe we undertook a one year pilot project to deliver a Shopmobility Scheme in the multi storey carpark in Workington.

ADA became a Hate Crime reporting centre, working in partnership with Cumbria Constabulary.

2010 – 2016

Shopmobility was extended for a further 4 months but sadly closed thereafter due to poor uptake.

Wejoined the Neighbourhood Care Independence' programme in Allerdale & Copeland, a Partnership of voluntary organisations, led by Age UK West Cumbria to deliver a programme of activities, services & support for adults aged 18+ in local communities.

Stella Howarth our Chair was recognised in the Queens’ Birthday Honours for services to disabled people and disability rights and awarded an MBE.

In the AGM report Stella reported the funding struggle of keeping the association running over the last few years, and wanted to thank those funders and supporters who had helped us remain open and able to offer our free services. She thanked to name a few Cumbria Community Foundation, Nuclear Management Partners, Lloyds TSB, Hadfield Trust and Allerdale Borough Council. She also took the opportunity to thank all the dedicated volunteers past and present for their huge contribution to the longevity of the organisation.

Due to a continued decline in health, Stella retired as Chair and Peter Mallyon took over.

In early 2014 a gas leak resulted in there being no heating in the main activity room that members socialised in. After 6 months of no solution being found it was decided that sadly we would have to move.

December 2014 we moved to Moorclose Community Centre.

Sir Tony Cunningham who has long supported us in any way he could, agreed to become our President upon his retirement.

Joined Advice Across Allerdale, a partnership of advice and support agencies that can signpost and refer clients so they can get the best help to meet their need. Our partners are Citizens Advice Allerdale, Age UK, Mind in West Cumbria, Impact Housing and West Cumbria Trades Hall Centre.


Allerdale Disability Association | Charity Number: 510656