After 23 years of providing residents of East Lothian with disability information and advice it comes with great regret that Grapevine will no longer be available to people living in the region from the 1st April 2016. We have taken this extremely difficult decision because the service is no longer funded by the local authority. Despite no funding being forthcoming from East Lothian Council for the last two years we continued to provide disability information and advice to people living in East Lothian but this has now become unsustainable due to increasing demand in other areas we operate and no sign of resources becoming available from the local authority.
Other LCiL services will continue to provide their services in the area. However, as an organisation we are disappointed and very concerned that many disabled people, people with long-term conditions and older people will be without direct access to the unique service Grapevine provides. Through the years our disability advisors have been providing residents of East Lothian with free, up to date, accurate and independent information and advice on any disability related matter via our advice line, face to face appointments and outreach talks.
The closure comes at a time when disabled people are disproportionally impacted by welfare reforms and cuts in support and the need for such information and advice about rights and entitlements has never been so great. It also coincides with the devolution of certain welfare powers to the Scottish Government. Grapevine has been channelling the experience and voice of the people we work with to influence positively the new Scottish welfare agency. Yet, LCiL no longer has the resources to carry out these unique roles for the benefit of disabled people, people with long-term conditions, older people and the community as a whole in East Lothian.
Grapevine would like to thank our supporters in East Lothian through the years.
If you live in East Lothian and require information or advice contact your local citizen’s advice bureau (see more information below) or for help with benefits East Lothian Welfare Rights is also available on: 0131 271 3781/270 8922.
Musselburgh and District Citizens Advice Bureau – 0131 653 2748
Haddington Citizens Advice Bureau – 01620 824471
East Lothian Welfare Rights Team – 0131 653 5230
For information in relation to this article please direct any initial enquiries to Kirstie Henderson, Information and Communications Coordinator at LCiL on 0131 475 2350.