Our History

For over 40 years we have helped change the lives of tens of thousands of people within the Bradford and District areas. Our history is an important part of who we are, and is the reason we have such a wide depth of knowledge today. We started out as three separate charities before coming together in 2015 to form Equality Together as it is known today. Read on for a more in depth breakdown of our history…

The First Volunteers

In 1979, laws surrounding disability rights and inclusion were ambiguous at best and disabled people faced a lot of inequality and discrimination. Fed up of the way things were, five volunteers formed the Action Group for Disabled People.

The aim of the group was to come together to help educate and provide a platform for other disabled people in their communities.

Disability Information and Advice Line

In 1976, the General Assembly proclaimed 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP). It called for a plan of action at national, regional and international levels, with an emphasis on equalisation of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities.

1981 also marked the year that the Action Group for Disabled People became DIAL Bradford. DIAL (Disability Information and Advice Line) was run by a group of volunteers and focusing on arming people with knowledge and information about benefit entitlements, rights, and where to find the right support.


Making It Official

In 1988 DIAL became a registered charity. By this point our volunteers had become experts in their fields and were already becoming a leading voice of disability within the Bradford district. The tapestry in the image adjacent represents some of the different areas of specialism within DIAL. We can see representations for accessibility, mobility, advice and inclusion. These are the same values we hold intrinsic to our work to this day and this tapestry hangs proudly in our cafeteria as a reminder of the people who came before us, and the amazing work of everyone involved.

making it official

Bradford Alliance On Community Care

1989 marks the year in which Bradford Alliance On Community Care – BACC was set up. ⠀

It was created by community and voluntary groups and organisations to strengthen the voices of community care service users and carers in the planning of health and social care across the Bradford Metropolitan district.

BACC campaigned tirelessly for the involvement of older people and disabled people as core to the development of effective public policy. ⠀

BACC supported several user groups which we still work with today as part of our group advocacy department.

bradford alliance on community care

Contact Peer Support

Contact Peer Support became a registered charity on 1st April 1999. It had begun four years previously as a project run by the Bradford & District Coalition of Disabled People before branching off and becoming it’s own independent organisation. ⠀

Contact was a support service run by, controlled by and made for disabled people. ⠀

Contact recognised the power in disabled people receiving support from other disabled people. This challenged the stereotype of disabled people always needing, and not being able to offer support themselves. Contact recognised that this does a disservice to all disabled people, and decided to work together to break this cycle of assumption. ⠀

Contact offered high quality training to volunteers who could then offer regular peer support to people across the district. These initial values helped shape the way the peer support service works at Equality Together, and is still a service we offer today. ⠀

contact peer support

A Step In The Right Direction

2011 was the time things started changing quickly for Disabled People Led Organisations. ⠀

We were, and still are seeing around 20 DPO’s closing their doors permanently each year, and we knew then that it was time to act.⠀

Six organisations in the district started working together to support disabled people. These were DaB/DeB (now going under the name Bradford Disability Services LTD). Contact Peer Support, BACC, Able All, BTM and Keighley Disabled People Centre.⠀

Ideas For All

Following on from our initial partnership with six organisations a couple of years before, DaB/DeB (Bradford Disability Services Ltd), BACC (Bradford Alliance on Community Care), Contact Peer Support and Able All went on to form a new project. ⠀

The Ideas For All Project started in 2013. It was starting to become a regular occurrence to see DPO (disabled people led) charities and organisations fold as the government continued to reduce expenditure locally, regionally and nationally. Local authorities and CCG’s were being forced to make more and more cuts to front line services whilst also seeking other alternative methods of service provision and delivery. The consortium of groups involved with the Ideas for All Project recognised this and realised it was time to adapt to survive. ⠀

They applied for, and were successful in securing over £200 thousand pounds of funding to provide services together for the 2014/2015 financial year. ⠀

The partnership worked to enhance the daily lives of people with disabilities, carers, their families and the wider community by delivering a varied range of support services, activities and solutions. ⠀

ideas for all project

Time For a Change

2015 is the year of Equality Together. ⠀

Sparked by the consortium formed for the Ideas for All project, Equality Together was created. ⠀

BACC, Contact and DaB/Deb (BDSL) had watched Disabled People Led organisations close both locally and nationally and recognised the importance of being stronger together.⠀

Our logo is made up of our parent organisations branding colours as a homage to where we have come from. Contact Peer Support gives us our yellow hue, BACC gives us our dark red, and DaB/DeB gives us our vibrant blue. The black and white represents cultural diversity. ⠀

Together we continue to work to challenge disabling barriers. ⠀

Equality Together Logo

Looking To The Future

In 2017, we were lucky enough to acquire the amazing premises we have today. Manningham Mills community centre is located in Listers Mill. If you’re from Bradford you’re bound to know it as it dominates the sky line from many areas and is a huge piece of our city history. ⠀

Listers Mill represents our new start as a charity, a space for us to grow and develop, build our offerings and help more people than ever. Our centre offers and safe and social hub for people to drop in for a chat, a meeting, support and equipment or even just a quick coffee. ⠀

2020 was planned to be our growth year. We had a plethora of positive changes coming but, like everyone, we have had to very quickly change and adapt the way we do things here at Equality Together. ⁣

It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and rather than just being our growth year, it’s become a reflection year too. It has made us all even more determined and focused to keep doing what we do. ⁣

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, its that we have never been more needed. ⁣

Equality Together has been helping the people of Bradford for over 40 years. We have helped change the lives of tens of thousands of people. Together we’ve led the way in advocating for and with our service users and have become a pillar of our community. We’ve been there for people when no one else has and we plan on doing so for as long as we possibly can. ⁣

We’re currently overhauling our website to make our donation page more user friendly and we’ll be adding some great content, blogs, fundraising ideas, information and advice as well as some additional accessibility features. ⁣

Manningham Mills is a great place for people to come to gain advice, support, shop, drop into the community centre, engage with our volunteers, become volunteers themselves, or find out more about our services in a zero-pressure environment – we really can’t wait! ⁣

Our Thrift shop is up and running and we’ll be getting the cafeteria ready. We’ll have staff and volunteers on hand to make delicious hot and cold drinks, snacks and meals as well as hosting pop up events and networking. ⁣

We’re really excited about the next few years, and we’d love you to be here with us. ⁣

From all of us here, THANK YOU for your continued support.⁣

Thank You