Our history

1950 - 52

Dagenham Physically Handicapped Association set up by Paddy and Teresa Green for local disabled people who had little or no support or activities of their own other than with their families and little interaction with others. 


Dagenham Physically Handicapped Association becomes a registered charity in 1952 due to the growth of the group.

1952 - 54

Barking Physically Handicapped Association set up by Catherine Godfrey, Len Henstock and their friends and families to support primarily older people with physical disabilities who were not being accommodated in local groups due to their impairments. 


The London Borough of Barking (later the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham) was formed and supported both the Dagenham Physically Handicapped and the Barking Physically Handicapped Associations where they could. A strong relationship was formed between the Borough and the Association. 

1985 - 87


The Local Authority encourages the two Associations to amalgamate and offers a small grant to the organisations and a site in Pembroke Gardens, Dagenham. 


Dagenham and Barking Physically Handicapped Associations amalgamate to become Barking & Dagenham Physically Handicapped Association and the new office opens.

1987 - 90


The newly formed Association works closely the Local Authority to provide services for disabled people and becomes the Disablement Association of Barking & Dagenham.

The first service offered is holidays to holiday camps in Norfolk.


The first paid staff member is appointed (Lesley Hawes) as Co-ordinator.

1990 - 92


The Disablement Association starts to identify other groups in the area formed for people with physical and sensory impairment bringing them together and developing services.

The organisation becomes a Charitable Company by Guarantee due to its growth.

Grants are received to provide a Welfare Benefits advice service and extend transport services to all clubs and groups and later members of the public.

The Disablement Association is heavily involved with the Local and Health Authority in formulating and providing individual’s feedback regarding the change in legislation following the introduction of the the Community Care Act. 

1992 - 96

Further services are developed such as Personalcare support services/ enabling, shared Transport scheme, independent shopping service, Shopmobility and companion service, individual bespoke holidays, training into employment (IT courses) and equipment loans.

There is continued development of DABD as an umbrella group for organisations supporting, promoting and developing user-led services. 


The Disablement Association becomes known as DABD.

1996 - 2000

DABD instigates and sets up other support groups throughout the Borough.


We start running our wheelchair loans service (Dial-a-Wheelchair) in conjunction with the British Red Cross.


Our Travel Training programme is launched in Barking & Dagenham.


We celebrate our 60th anniversary.

We expand our Children and Young People’s Services provision.


Lesley Hawes, our original CEO, retires on 31st March, handing over to new CEO Elaine James.


Lesley Hawes, our original CEO, is awarded Freedom Of The Borough by Mayor of Barking & Dagenham