Herts Ability: The Local Charity Winning Herts & Minds!

New year, new name, new ethos? We’re putting the focus on ‘Ability’ by rebranding from Hertfordshire Action On Disability to Herts Ability. Here’s why we chose to make the change and how we’re looking to make a difference to those who really need it in Hertfordshire in 2020…

Did you know? It’s estimated that the current number of adults within Hertfordshire aged 18-64 with a moderate or serious physical disability is 71,010. This equates to 6% of the population of the county. The projected figures estimate that this group is likely to increase by 10% over the next 10 years to nearly 78,000.* Conversely data from Hertfordshire County Council’s Herts Equipment Services (HES) demonstrates that clients aged 20 or under are tending to increase. This population is expected to continue rising and will need support throughout their lives.

Step forward local charity Herts Ability, who successfully rebranded from Hertfordshire Action on Disability (HAD) two weeks ago. Our belief – backed up by the above studies – is that ‘Herts Ability’ more accurately reflects our core charitable values and services whilst continuing to acknowledge the heritage, having been established in 1958.

A new decade brings with it a new focus, this time on ability; a sentiment echoed by our Trustee, Dave Kellett: “We carefully considered whether a change of name was necessary. Based on discussions with our customers we recognise that people rightly emphasise ability not disability. Herts Ability is therefore about assisting and supporting people to be as independent as possible.”

Herts Ability’s vibrant new logo

The new vibrant logo, above, is the most visible element of the organisation and a universal signature of the new Herts Ability identity, something that was given great care and attention, according to our Chief Operating Officer Sean Lawrence: “Changing the name of the charity was not a decision that was taken lightly and was completed in consultation with our service users and partners. We all feel that Herts Ability better reflects the work we do in the community.” 

Personable, confident and caring, Hertfordshire Action on Disability has been a valuable part of the Hertfordshire community for well over 60 years, and the good news is that the rebranding will help to reinforce this message for a new generation of customers looking for – as the strap-line suggests – ‘Mobility, Independence and Advice’.

Ella Dove, with Assessor Mark Thackeray and OT Sarah Wright

Indeed, it’s this essential advice, aided by mobility, that gives Herts Ability customers a real sense of independence – both on the road and in the home. This is perfectly encapsulated by 25 year old Ella Dove (above), who was thrilled to be back behind the wheel after a serious accident meant that she was unable to drive for six years. “Confidence was the biggest barrier to overcome – but you should never let fear hold you back. I would recommend Herts Ability to anyone looking to get back on the road to independence.”

Mr Harkins with his new perching stool, which takes the strain when performing standing tasks

Also, Herts Ability will continue to be a provider of disability equipment (wheelchairs, bathing aids, incontinence products, rollators), occupational therapy services and an accredited member of Driving Mobility – enabling us to provide driving, scooter and passenger assessments for people with disabilities. Music to the ears of local resident Peter Hawkins, pictured above, who recently came to our equipment centre to purchase a perching stool for use in the shower and around the home. Mr Hawkins had these kind words to say about the service he received: “The Herts Ability team were helpful and knowledgeable. I would recommend them to all my friends and family.”

Helping our clients live independent lives is the overriding aim of Herts Ability and it will always be central to our identity and objectives. Indeed, the commitment to these core values – which place clients at the center of everything we do – will continue well into the new decade and beyond.

Meanwhile, there’s good news for people who want to continue driving, or get back on the road, as our numerous Driving Centres (run in conjunction with Driving Mobility) that operate from Herts, Beds, Bucks, Berkshire, North London, Essex and surrounding counties, continue to conduct fitness to drive and cognitive assessments in a fleet of specially adapted dual-controlled vehicles.

Anthony Morris, back on the road with Herts Ability’s help

For older and disabled people like Anthony Morris (above), the ability to drive is important, providing freedom and independence. “When my medical condition made walking difficult and I gave up driving I realised how much my life depended on being able to get around. It is also very easy to lose one’s independence and confidence and become socially isolated. Learning to drive again has increased my confidence and given me a new lease of life despite the challenges. I would say to anyone considering vehicle adaptations to give it a go! My sincere thanks go to everyone at Herts Ability for their patience and professionalism and I can’t recommend them highly enough!”

Thomas Marshall after passing with Herts Ability Assessor Mark Thackeray, and OT Jane Baker

This sentiment is also echoed by Thomas Marshall, pictured above, who had these kind words to say about us after being declared safe to return to the road: “All of the staff are really friendly from the moment you arrive. They make sure you understand the process before you start and put you at ease. They were also extremely helpful to my mum when she phoned initially making enquiries on my behalf about taking the assessment at Herts Ability in Welwyn Garden City.”

Here’s to helping those who really need it in Hertfordshire for many years to come!

You can get in touch with us by email: customerservice@hertsability.org.uk. For more information and advice on the services mentioned in this article, please call 01707 324 581.

*Source: MPS 2015 – Adults with Physical Disability and or Sensory Impairment

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