A DISABILITY charity helping people in south Essex has been awarded nearly £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Independent charity Dial provides free, impartial, independent advice to anybody with a problem related to disability.

The Basildon and South Essex centre has received funding of £298,898 over three years to support people, provide surgeries at various locations in Essex and continue its home visiting service for those unable to leave the house.

The surgeries and home visits cover Basildon, Thurrock, Castle Point, Rochford and Brentwood, and the charity has plans to extend its services to Southend.

A spokesman for Dial said: “We are so pleased to have been awarded this funding. It will allow us to help even more people, especially those living in rural areas who would otherwise be unable to visit us.

“With the changes to the welfare system, and the financial challenges people are facing, it is even more important they have someone to turn to for free, independent help and advice.”

Earlier this year, Dial’s Basildon office was threatened with reduced services, or possibly closure, after Basildon Council told the charity it would not renew the lease on the office.

Dial has since moved to new premises in Basildon town centre, and will be holding an open day on Saturday, November 16, to promote its services. Members of the public can visit the centre, between 10am and 3pm, to receive advice.

Dial is run by volunteers who are either disabled or in close contact with those with disabilities. They can provide guidance on a number of issues, including benefit entitlement, specialised holidays, clubs, employment and equipment.

For information, call 01268 285676 or e-mail enquiries@dialbasildon.co.uk