Blyth Valley Disabled Forum was established as a Registered Charity in 1984.
The original aim of the Forum was to provide services to people who were disadvantaged and disabled allowing them to gain access to activities and the wider community. This is still true today although the original activities have been expanded over the years. The Trustees of the Forum are all volunteers and they are representatives of various disabled and church groups. Dick Simmons was the original Chairman of the Forum until poor health forced Dick to stand down and David Hopper moving into the role in the summer of 2018. Dick, sadly passed away on 9th August aged 70 years. The Forum moved on several occasions over the years and shared facilities in Emily Davison House alongside RADAR and Victim Support. These groups all moved to The Eric Tolhurst Centre in 1996 alongside Well Woman and Citizens Advice Bureau until the closure of The Eric Tolhurst Centre.
In 1997 The Forum became a Company Limited by Guarantee whilst still maintaining its Charitable status.
In 1993 the Forum contracted to provide Care in the Community and provided services to Adults with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. With the success of these services came the provision of a variety of other services to people in their own homes, creating further expansion of the Charity. Such was the success of this Care provision that it was necessary for Homecare to relocate to our premises in Stanley Street. This move took place in 2001, with Advice services and Resource Centre etc remaining within The Eric Tolhurst Centre. Initially these services were to provide shopping, domestic, meal preparation and assisting people with personal services. The Forum now holds preferred provider status with Northumberland County Council and is the Tier one provider in its home town of Blyth.
Over the years the delivery of service has seen many changes and we now provide a wide range of high dependent care. The introduction of the Care Quality Commission (previously the Commission for Social Care Inspectorate) brought with it many changes in the requirements for the delivery of services. All staff must now have an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, undertake Skills for Care induction training and Company Induction training. The staff must be registered to start their NVQ level 2 in Health and Social Care within 6 months of commencement of employment in addition to completing all Mandatory training units including Moving and Handling, First Aid, Safeguarding Adults, Health and Safety etc.
In addition to this training all staff at Management level have completed their Foundation or Management Development Programmes. Most of our Care Staff have completed NVQ 3 as well as other numerous training courses relevant to their role within the Company.We have been extremely fortunate to access most of our training through Northumberland County Council Learning together and Duell Training. This training has been delivered to a high standard enabling us to provide what we believe to be a High Quality Service. The Forum first achieved Investors In People Status in 1999 and also has the Positive about Disability symbol. Investors In People is reviewed at least every three years and the Positive about Disability symbol is reviewed by the DWP on an Annual basis.