THERE is a chink of light for a Selby charity desperately trying to survive during a funding crisis.

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

But before Christmas The Press reported how the centre might have to close because of a £5,000 shortfall in funding and there was a question mark over whether the service would still be there by the end of this month.

Service co-ordinator Karen Williams said people and clients have rallied round and so far £3,600 has been donated. Staff have gone on to a three-day week – 10am to 3pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – and DIAL will now still be in Selby by the end of February, although about £1,400 is needed to ensure it carries on until the end of March. It is then hoped results of funding bids will be known.

Karen said: “We’re definitely here until the end of February although we cannot commit to the end of March just yet, but a big thank you to everyone who has donated money so far.”

Selby DIAL helps those with disabilities negotiate the red tape and complexities of the benefits system. Last year, staff and volunteers helped between 2,000 and 3,000 people claim a total of £500,000 in benefits to which they were entitled.

They gave assistance to Joy and Ray Peniston, of Elston Place, Selby, after Mr Peniston found he had difficulty walking after a lifetime of working.

Mrs Peniston said: “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.”

Donations can be dropped off at DIAL’s premises at 12 Park Street or they can be contacted by phone on 01757 210495.