New Advice Centre for Barrow Asbestos Victims Launched

A critical support group for people with asbestos conditions was under threat of closure, but thanks to    Blackpool based charity Disability First the support group has been rescued and given a new title, CLASAG – Cumbria & Lancashire Asbestos Support Advice Group.

Formally known as CARDS, Cumbria Asbestos Related Disease Support and chaired by Bob Pointer, the support group was an organisation based in Barrow-in-Furness, established in 2006. It was dedicated to giving help; information and support to anyone affected by asbestos-related diseases living in Cumbria and North Lancashire and was a very active group under Bob’s leadership.

Rachel Minshull, Barrow & Furness Development Officer for Cancer Care said: “I have worked with Bob and CARDS for the last two years and have seen many people helped during that time. Bob’s commitment to CARDS and other asbestos related issues has been an eye opener for me, not many would have continued doing so much on their own but he did, and he did a good job of it. I wish Bob all the best in his retirement. I have no doubt that Disability First will put just as much effort, energy and enthusiasm into CLASAG and I look forward to continuing to work with the group”

Bob said: “Since our launch on the first Action Mesothelioma Day 2006, we have experienced setbacks, obstacles and time constraints, but we survived and I am really happy to hand the reins over to Disability First to ensure that the group thrives and expands its network of support.”

“We are thrilled and very proud to be asked by Bob and the group to continue all the hard work that has been achieved and wish Bob all the very best in his retirement,” says Alan Reid, the CEO. As well as the support group meetings victims will be able to get independent advice about welfare benefits and compensation through the home visiting service.

Graham Dring, Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK said: “It is great news that CLASAG will be continuing the excellent work of CARDS. Barrow has been deeply affected by asbestos-related diseases because of the widespread use of asbestos in the shipbuilding industry. It is crucial that local people have access to independent, expert advice on benefits and compensation and ongoing support so the establishment of CLASAG is welcome news for victims of asbestos diseases and their families. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Bob Pointer who has been involved with CARDS since its inception and has run the organisation almost single-handed for the last few years.”

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK is a national body that represents 13 independent asbestos victims support groups in England, Scotland and Wales.

Lorraine Creech, Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist and Team Leader added: “We’re delighted to welcome the new CLASAG body to the UK network of support groups for mesothelioma patients, their carers and their families. We look forward to working with the CLASAG team to extend support for the mesothelioma community in and around Cumbria, Barrow and Lancashire.”

Meetings will be held on the third Monday of each month at the Barrow & District Disability Association, School Street, Barrow LA14 1EJ. The official launch of the group will take place on Monday 21st January at 1pm and a light buffet lunch will be served. For more information contact Alan Reid 07541222852 alanreid@disabilityfirst.org