Drug and Alcohol Service for London

DASL - Drug & Alcohol Service for London

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DASL to close on 24 March 2016 after 35 years delivering services to the most disadvantaged groups of Newham.

DASL has a 35 year history of providing a widely recognised and respected local service which has always put the needs of the most vulnerable and the changing local communities first and has been at the forefront of innovative service delivery for those facing inequality in health prevention and treatment. Our services are nationally recognised by central government, have been cited as delivering examples of best practice by the GLA and brought into the borough £1.5 million to support its mainstream provision.

Unfortunately on 24 March 2016, we will be moving out of our premises in Capital House, Stratford and closing the charity soon after. This is a planned closure based on a decision which has not been taken lightly by the Trustees. It is, we believe, the only choice left to small specialist charities such as ours who, in the face of short-sighted measures by commissioners to find efficiencies, have in fact reduced the map of provision so significantly, that small charities can no longer compete or survive and local communities, specifically the most vulnerable, no longer receive quality services.

Growth through competitive tendering is not a charitable aim and does not imply security for staff or clients. Inevitably there is a reduction in quality and choice as public sector contracts are delivered by a decreasing number of large charities competing for survival with each other and with for-profit outsourcing companies; judged only by outputs and, due to payment by results and in arrears, have dwindling reserves to guarantee their survival as going concerns. Witness the collapse of some of the recent high-profile charities with no warning, thus exposing the shallow base on which their future ‘growth’ was planned. When this happens, clients are left vulnerable, helpless and with nowhere to turn.

DASL will not be in this position. Our excellent staff team, committed to the needs of clients and undertaking essential and innovative services until closure, have demonstrated the best traditions of charitable work – commitment, integrity and compassion. My thanks go to them all, particularly those who have given beyond the call of duty over the last 18 months and to the DASL Trustees for their leadership, support and professionalism over the years and for overseeing the closure of the charity this year.

As the visible signs of poverty and deprivation increase on the East End streets, we all hope that someone will see sense, before it is too late, and prioritize re-igniting a vibrant and responsive voluntary sector in this area and provide the much needed safety net for those unable to support themselves.

So from 25th March 2016, please contact the following numbers:

Substance Misuse – Newham: CRI on 020 7511 3740;

Gambling Support – Betknowmoreuk on 07534 979 684;

Eastern European Advice Centre: 020 8471 1288 (free phone for advice: 0800 121 4226);

Newham Healthwatch: 020 7473 9512; info@healthwatchnewham.co.uk.

 

Sue Kenten, Chief Executive