Office move enables charity to be fully-inclusive

Worthing mayor Michael Donin visits Independent Lives at its new ground-floor offices in Liverpool Gardens
Worthing mayor Michael Donin visits Independent Lives at its new ground-floor offices in Liverpool Gardens

STAFF at one of Worthing’s larger employers have celebrated a move that makes the charity all-inclusive.

Independent Lives, now in its 14th year, has moved to a new ground-floor office space in Southfield House, Liverpool Gardens.

The user-led disabled person’s charity is now fully accessible and staff say they love working there.

Worthing mayor Michael Donin went along on Thursday to see for himself.

He was told that with nearly 100 members of staff working for the organisation and its subsidiary care agency, Lend a Hand, Independent Lives has quietly become one of the larger employers in Worthing.

Chief Executive Philippa Thompson said: “The move to the ground floor of an accessible premises in the centre of Worthing will help us accommodate the growing number of staff, volunteers and customers in our organisation – and 2016 will be an even bigger year for us.”

Independent Lives has grown in size and scope to provide a range of support and services that help thousands of disabled people manage their own care and support in West Sussex, Hampshire and the south coast.

This includes assistance with direct payments, payroll and banking, personal health budgets and integrated advocacy. These services enable customers to have more independence and choice over their lives.

Valerie Kiln-Barfoot, the charity’s chairman, said: “I am so pleased and proud to be involved with Independent Lives.

“As a wheelchair user myself, I know how valuable the support that the team at Independent Lives provides to disabled people is, enabling them to live independent lives at home, in school, college or work.”

Prior to the mayor’s visit, staff completed a survey and all agreed they loved working at the charity.

Communications officer Sienna Pallat began working there last March, having previously experienced mental health difficulties.

“This is by far the most comfortable place I have ever worked, I feel like a family member,” she said.

“I have been worried about showing my true self at work in previous roles but here I am supported, empowered and free to express my ideas.

“It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a role and coming to work is actually enjoyable.”

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