Disability Direct is sad to announce the passing of its founding father – Richard Shaw.

As a disabled person, Richard had the vision for a user-led support service available for disabled people from all communities in 1993. With a group of like-minded individuals, they created the concept of Disability Direct and with seed funding, rented premises in the newly opened Rosehill Business Centre in Normanton, Derby.

Taking on the role of CEO, Richard set the foundations for non-campaigning apolitical organisation which only had interests in addressing the gaps in local service provision for all disabled people and their carers.

Richard was mindful of his deteriorating health and decided to take early retirement in 1996 but left the organisation with strong principles and a focus on reaching those most in need. Before leaving, he submitted a bid to the National Lottery which meant the organisation was secure for a further two years.

Even in retirement, he would periodically touch base with his protégé and successor, Amo Raju. Indeed, only two days before his passing, they discussed the need for a fund which will support disabled people in poverty.

Speaking about Richard, Amo said ‘Today, all at Disability Direct are just so sad but incredibly proud of Richard’s decision all those years ago to create an organisation which has now become one of the biggest and most successful user-led charities in the country.

On a personal note, I’m gutted at today’s news and owe everything I have to a man who had so much faith in me when others simply did not. He will always be in my thoughts.’

Another co-founder of the charity is The Mayor of Derby City, Cllr Robin Wood who added ‘Without Richard there would have been no Disability Direct. It’s as simple as that.’

The charity will mark it’s own form of remembrance in the next few days.

R.I.P. Richard Shaw