A disability charity says it is ”very concerned” at the “huge gap” in deaf and disabled services after the Lewisham Disability Coalition’s closure in December.

The coalition’s advice and information work has passed to Lewisham Advice – a new service partly run by volunteers.

But work on Lewisham’s accessibility commission, which will collect information about discrimination, isn’t expected for another 12 months.

And Lewisham Council's head of culture and community development was not sure what organisation is coordinating disability services across the borough.

Svetlana Kotova, disability justice project co-ordinator at Inclusion London, said the charity was concerned aspects of support were being picked up by general advice services, which could often be “hit and miss.”

Deaf and disabled people's organisations are led by deaf and disabled people.

There were 12 London boroughs without a deaf and disabled people’s organisation – which was mostly because of government cuts.

“We are really concerned,” she said.

“For local authorities it is really good to have an organisation, first of all to make sure people get accessible services.

“It is [also] a positive mechanism to get feedback.

“There is a huge value in representative organisations. It’s not just about services,” she added.

Boroughs with strong deaf and disability organisations were able to influence budgets and policy “which could have a profound affect,” she said.

“These organisations are experts in policy,” she added.

Speciality services were also better placed to “have an overarching view of what’s going on”, she said.

Local disabled person Ellen Morrison, who is also a campaigns communication and media officer at Inclusion London, said services like the Lewisham Advice line were already "at breaking point".

She was concerned there will be 12 months before work begins on the accessibility commission, with issues like the housing crisis particularly difficult for disabled people.

The commission is expected to be led by deaf and disabled people. 

But she said there were "plenty of disabled activists locally ready to work with the council on this" now. 

Lewisham’s disability coalition, which provided services and advice including on benefits, closed in December due to “financial difficulties”.

The coalition promoted equality by improving access to services through advocacy and advice.

It had supported about 1,000 clients in the last year, and was a third-party reporting site for hate crimes – which meant it could report a hate crime on someone’s behalf.

It had been awarded £87,565 in a grant from Lewisham Council, with  £65,674 paid out before it closed.

Two people were made redundant from its closure.

Lewisham has also put aside £35,000 for an organisation to pick up the work, however no organisation has applied.

According to the 2011 census, 14.4 per cent of Lewisham residents had a long-term health problem or disability which either limited their daily activities a little or a lot.