Essex disability site is set to open doors with Lottery Award

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An Essex-based organisation that hopes to bring new opportunities to disabled people throughout the region is celebrating a £9,496 award from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All Programme.

Dancing Giraffe founder Shaun Moffat

Dancing Giraffe is simply about enabling people to access information, products and services that they need or want to use every day

A Community Interest Company (CIC) Dancing Giraffe was devised and founded by Colchester businessman and disability campaigner Shaun Moffat, who is registered sight impaired. Dancing Giraffe will offer a unique online platform bringing dedicated information, news and opportunities to the Essex disabled community, their carers, families and support networks. Dancing Giraffe is run primarily by volunteers, and as well as bringing a huge range of professional and commercial experience to the project, many of the team have disabilities themselves

After some 18 months in planning, and thanks to the Big Lottery award, Dancing Giraffe is getting ready to launch in January 2012 and it’s not a moment too soon, says Shaun. “When we talk about disability, we are talking about a fifth of the population – with a higher than average percentage here in Essex. Dancing Giraffe is simply about enabling people to access information, products and services that they need or want to use every day, whether that’s sporting opportunities, restaurants or goods and services. For the first time, through dancinggiraffe.com users will be able to log on and access information and services relevant to their needs. We also want to raise awareness that it is often society that disables the person and signpost our users to places where their needs will be catered for like any other person.’

Dancing Giraffe is encouraging people to register at the site online now and is keen to talk to businesses who wish to affiliate to the site. “We’re opening up and saying ‘tell us what you want’,” says Shaun. “If you or someone close to you has a disability and live in Essex then log on and talk to us. Let us know what you need – that’s what Dancing Giraffe is all about.”

Registration at Dancing Giraffe will be free and users are invited to leave a message and offer their opinion on site content. Dancing Giraffe will be officially launched in January 2012

Editor’s Notes:

  •     Shaun Moffat is the CEO of Dancing Giraffe. A local businessman, Shaun has severe Diabetic Retinothaphy and is registered sight impaired after progressively losing his sight since 2006. Since then Shaun has been campaigning for better access including working as an ambassador for the RNIB representing the organisation at county level. Shaun has also worked with the Essex Equality & Diversity Network, Essex Police Access Forum and Essex Access Forum as an advisor. An informed campaigner, Shaun is happy to accept interview opportunities to raise the profile or the organisation and talk about disability access.
  •     BIG’s Awards for All programme offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 to social and environmental projects that will benefit local communities and make a difference to the lives of those most in need. Voluntary and community groups, schools, health organisations and parish and town councils can all apply.

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Shaun Moffat

Kate Everett
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