A VITAL Selby charity that helps up to 3,000 people a year faces closure after a funding crisis.

DIAL – the Disability and Information Advice Line – has had premises in Park Street since 2002, but has been in Selby since 1989.

Welfare rights worker Sue Martin said staff and volunteers last year helped between 2,000 and 3,000 people claim £500,000 of disability-related benefits that they were entitled to but not claiming.

Mrs Martin said that help could end though as they have run out of money and the results of funding bids will not be known until March. They desperately need at least £2,000 to see them through so the rents and overheads of the premises can be paid. The two paid staff are also going to start working a three-day week to save cash.

Mrs Martin has now appealed to the people of Selby and the surrounding district to help them stay open.

One couple who found DIAL’s help invaluable were Joy and Ray Peniston, of Elston Place, in Selby.

Mr Peniston found that at the age of 63 – having worked all his life – that his legs were numb because of blocked arteries leaving him unable to walk far. Mrs Peniston also had had to give up her full-time job to care for her husband.

She said: “You never think this is going to happen to you. Then we had to find our way through the benefits system which has been a total nightmare.

“You are faced with these massive forms and if you get one word wrong it is kicked back to you. If you don’t know the system it’s terrible.

“You need to fight through social services forms and disability living allowance forms and it can take months.

“My husband is a proud man and he said he didn’t want to be labelled as ‘disabled’, but the people at DIAL told him he had worked all his life and he was entitled to the money. They backed us all the way and they don’t ask for payment, just a contribution if you can afford it.”

Most importantly DIAL were able to help the Penistons fill the forms in and get the benefits they were entitled to.

But now the service faces closure. Donations can be dropped off at DIAL’s premises at 12 Park Street or they can be contacted on 01757 210495.