Features

FeNO breath test could lead to fewer asthma deaths and huge cost savings for the NHS

A 10-SECOND breath test could help reduce deaths from asthma as well as saving the NHS millions of pounds, according to new research by leading clinicians. The test, which measures airways inflammation in asthma patients, has recently been recommended for NHS use, but whether sufferers are offered it is still down to individual GPs. Now, new research has been released showing a win-win situation for clinicians and patients. Not only does the test, which looks at fractional exhaled nitric oxide, or FeNO levels, which are higher in many people with asthma than those without, have the potential to cut the number of deaths from asthma attacks, it could also lead to huge savings for the NHS. A study by leading clinicians in the US, published in a specialist medical journal, followed patients aged from seven to 60 as their doctors decided on the best medication for their condition. It found that without carrying out a FeNO test, clinicians weren’t able to correctly assess how ...

Government is urged to act as charity finds disabled people are being ‘left out in the cold’ in Britain

 A poll has found 75 per cent of people in Britain say their houses do not have a ‘disabled-friendly’ front door    House of Lords to debate Bill that would make it harder for councils to insist that new homes are accessible    Leonard Cheshire Disability is campaigning for ‘disabled-friendly’ housing and is urging the Government to act A leading UK charity says disabled people are being ‘left out in the cold’ because they can’t get in through the front door of most UK homes. A survey by Leonard Cheshire Disability has found that three quarters of the people in Great Britain say their houses do not have an accessible front door (ie. a door which has a ramp, or step-free access). By region, London leads the way with 64 per cent, in contrast, the East Midlands is bottom of the list with 81 per cent of people reporting they have inaccessible front doors. The finding comes at the same time as the Government prepares to make it harder for local aut...

Think WARMTH to save lives this winter

Older people, their families, friends and neighbours need to think WARMTH this winter to save lives, leading home care provider Bluebird Care has urged.   As the weather starts to get colder, Bluebird Care is sending out the strong message that cold weather can kill – and is urging people around the country to prepare for the winter with some simple steps to stay warm and safe.   Last winter was one of the coldest on record with 31,000 additional deaths where two thirds (25,600) were accounted for by over-75s, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.  In March this year, one of the coldest in fifty years, 1,582 people died each day because of extreme weather.   A full regional breakdown of winter deaths by local authority area is attached.   The threat of another severe winter has lead Bluebird Care to issue a reminder for people to prepare for the cold weather.  Bluebird Care is urging the public to think WARMTH this winter.   W   Wrap Up ind...

25th Bupa Great South Run Weekend, Portsmouth

Some 25,000 runners are expected to take part in the Portsmouth Bupa Great South Run on Sunday, 26th October. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the 10 mile fast and flat course starts and finishes on the seafront at Southsea taking in the city’s iconic sites along the way. There will also be Mini and Junior running events on Saturday, 25th October for younger entrants. The Great South Run route goes past the Royal Marines Museum and through Old Portsmouth with views of the 170m high Spinnaker Tower before entering the Historic Dockyard, home to some of the world’s most famous ships including HMS Victory and HMS Warrior as well as the Mary Rose Museum. The event has grown into a great weekend of running in the popular seaside location with the more recent additions of the Bupa Junior and Mini Great South Runs, and a 5K route. Live music along the route from ‘bands on the run’ keep runners motivated every step of the way. Attracting a plethora of athletes, celebr...

A WHEEL-Y BIG DEAL FOR TRACEY

Care provider Regard has helped transform the life of a Cardiff woman with cerebral palsy by supporting her to get a new mobility scooter.   Tracey Silver who lives at a supported living service in Mackintosh Place in Cathays, Cardiff can now use public transport and is confident enough to make journeys on her own.   Her old scooter was bulky, heavy to use and unreliable and the 44-year-old had to rely on taxis to help her get about.   Says Tracey: “I was always terrified of it breaking down and I was losing confidence going out by myself which was a real shame.”   Mackintosh’s in-house team, in conjunction with Regard’s benefits manager Julia Watts, supported Tracey to use part of her Disability Living Allowance to lease a brand-new Motability scooter.   Adds Tracey: “It’s brilliant. I can now go out and not worry about my scooter packing up on me and being left stranded. The scheme means I get an emergency number to ring and help will be on its way.   ...

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in jail

Judge Thokozile Masipa has sentenced Oscar Pistorius to five years in jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day last year. In a detailed sentencing statement Judge Masipa told the court, in Pretoria, that at the time the deceased met her death she was “young, vivacious and full of life," described in evidence as a “promising young women who cared deeply for family.” She said: “Hopefully the sentence the court shall provide, will give some sort of closure, so they can move on with their lives.” She said it would be wrong if the court gave any impression that there is one law for the poor and vulnerable, and another for the rich and famous. Covering the points of evidence during the trial she said she had a feeling of unease, that at times there had been an "over emphasis" placed on the accused vulnerability. She said thanks to his mother he (Oscar) “rarely saw himself as disabled" and in sport he "excelled,” “even going on to compete again...

The Grass is Always Greener in Greenock

Tenants at a Bield sheltered housing development in Greenock are set to see that the grass is always greener with the launch of a new garden. The large landscaping project began a year ago when the ‘perimeter block flats’ around Carwood Court were demolished as they had become unpopular and difficult to let. As well as providing an opportunity to redevelop the garden, the demolition work has allowed the Carwood Street site, which previously had been obscured by the high buildings, to be bathed in natural sunlight. In addition, a new fence has been put up around the perimeter of the garden to isolate the area from neighbouring properties and reduce external noise and disruption to tenants. The garden was officially launched at an Open Day at the development and was attended by staff, tenants, families and tenants from nearby developments. Everyone enjoyed a cup of tea and a slice of cake whilst admiring the new garden. Margaret Lacey, Scheme Manager at the development said: ...

Launch of the first Disability Power List

First there was the Paralympics 2012 which mesmerized over a billion TV viewers. Then came the Invictus Games, Prince Harry’s successful international multi-sports event to celebrate the agility and sporting prowess of wounded and disabled servicemen and women. Now Powerful Media, in partnership with Shaw Trust, are proud to announce the launch of Power 100: The most influential people in Britain with a disability or impairment.The list is the first of its kind to be published in Britain. Listing 100 of the most powerful, influential and inspiring disabled people in Britain it is, perhaps, no surprise that renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, 72, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 22, tops the list. More surprisingly another Stephen - Stephen Fry - comes in at number five. The popular 57-year-old actor, comedian, writer, presenter and activist, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has publicly depicted his plight in the Emmy Award winning TV documentary Steph...

Sharing Joy

There were beaming faces and belly laughs galore across Sanctuary Care’s homes when residents enjoyed interactive performances steeped in nostalgia. During October residents at 12 of the organisation’s homes in Worcestershire, Weston-super-Mare, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Telford enjoyed ‘Sharing Joy’ - a specially commissioned performance by Vamos Theatre packed with charming and humorous scenes from the 1940s and 1950s. Sharing Joy delves into the lives of courting couples, wartime nurses and even a singing dog called Elvis – with every scene featuring music from yesteryear, beautiful costumes, hand crafted masks and colourful props. At Hastings Residential Care Home in Malvern, manager Sue Milward said: “There was so much belly laughing it was just heart-warming to see so many engaged and glowing faces in the audience. This was the best performance we have ever had here – it was wonderful to sit back and watch the smiles and the laughter.” Resident Hi...

Links between mental health and sport explored to mark World Mental Health Day 

Labour MP Andy Burnham and comedian, broadcaster and writer Jake Mills were among a host of speakers at yesterday’s Understanding and Promoting Mental Health: The Role of Sport and Physical Activity conference at Edge Hill University. The conference was being hosted by the University alongside Everton in the Community and Mersey Care NHS Trust to mark World Mental Health day which takes place today, Friday 10 October. The conference promoted an understanding of mental health and wellbeing in local communities. It also described how community sport and physical activity, delivered as part of broader health programmes, can contribute to the management and promotion of mental health. The implications of publically disclosed cases of mental illness amongst elite athletes and other high profile figures will also be explored. The conference was the latest event in a ground-breaking collaboration between Edge Hill University and Everton in the Community, which seeks to benefit t...

Sign up now for Junior Sports Camp

LimbPower are supporting WheelPower for a Junior Sports Camp on Saturday 8 November, at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Keen to reach out to as many ambulant disabled children and young people as possible, organisers hope to make the event another great success. Junior Sport Camps provide an opportunity to experience coaching in a wide variety of sports – in a safe, friendly and completely inclusive environment. From wheelchair basketball to sitting volleyball, the camps for anyone aged 11-18 with physical impairments such as spinal cord injury, amputation, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. Anyone interested to know more should contact Stewart Jeeves e-mail stewart.jeeves@wheelpower.org.uk or telephone 01296 395995.  

Rugby great Gareth Thomas puts his weight behind Anti-Bullying Week

Gareth Thomas, the 100-times capped former Wales skipper, has announced his support for this year's Anti-Bullying Week, organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which takes place on 17-21 November. Gareth, who leads the Balls to Bullying campaign which launched earlier this year, visits schools all over the country to work with pupils on building resilience and boosting self-confidence. Gareth has recently spoken of how his own schools days were blighted by bullying: I was picked on by my rugby teammates. When we went swimming, they would smack me with their wet towels. I got spat on, too. It was degrading, but I didn't want to tell anyone because these were my rugby mates and I wanted to be in the team. I'm not sure why it happened, I wasn't small or weak. I think it was because I didn't stand up for myself. It started with a little thing - I was probably singled out because my rugby boots weren't the best - and then it built. Going to school eventually became a nightmare. http:/...

KITCHEN OPERATORS URGED TO TAKE EXTRA CARE FOLLOWING GUARDIAN HYGIENE INQUIRY

A spokesperson for a leading food service manufacturer has urged kitchen operators nationwide to take extra care when handling and cooking poultry-based dishes following the Guardian’s recent claim that strict hygiene standards at chicken factories are often disregarded. After an investigation by the Guardian uncovered a catalogue of alleged hygiene failings in the poultry industry and prompted a Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation, Stuart Flint, Regional Training and Demonstration Manager at Electrolux Professional has advised operators to maintain a vigilant approach to food safety. Flint commented: “The health risks associated with poorly handled poultry have been known for some time, but the latest findings emphasise just how prevalent the issue is. The fact that two thirds of fresh retail chicken are contaminated with the bacterium campylobacter highlights the need for operators to do all they can to keep hygiene at the top of their agenda and minimise the risk of ...

Care needs to be seen as a career

CARE needs to be seen as a career – that was the call from the CEO of a Stratford-based charity which supports those with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Helena Wallis, Chief Executive of Heart of England Mencap, was speaking after the charity’s annual staff awards, held at Stratford School. Categories at the awards included Carer of the Year, Team of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Going the Extra Mile. Volunteers were also recognised and thanked, as were those receiving both 10 and 20 year Service Awards. Speaking afterwards, Helena called for care to be seen as a career, citing Operations Manager Hayley Hemmings as an example. Hayley started as a support worker, being promoted to team leader, manager, then registered manager and then registered care home manager. The next step up saw Hayley appointed Operations Manager for Heart of England Mencap - a position in which she is responsible for managing the operations of a charity with...

Dementia Crisis Support Wins Award

An award for an outstanding innovation in healthcare – Dementia Crisis Support In The Community - has been presented to a team of NHS staff at a prestigious event organised by Health Enterprise East, a leading NHS Innovation Hub. Winners of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network Award for Long Term Conditions Management were Dr Afifa Qazi and her team from North East London NHS Foundation Trust. Dementia Crisis Support In The Community aims to reduce inappropriate hospital admissions for people with dementia, enabling them to live in their own home for as long as possible with help and support. The team receives referrals from healthcare professionals in a crisis situation and provides a front-door service at A&E to avoid admissions to the acute hospital. The model has been shown to reduce hospital admissions and deliver cost-savings, freeing up resources and moving care out of hospital into the community. Winners were presented with a specially engraved glass troph...

Mental health staff go 5000 miles to Tanzania

In November CNWL will celebrate five years of successful partnership working with Mirembe, Tanzania’s national psychiatric hospital, by holding a Summit in Dodoma, the legislative capital, to review the progress of the Link and plan the next five years of activity. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world and suffers from major health challenges and a critical shortage of mental health professionals. Shona French, CNWL Tanzania Link Project Manager, said: “This summit is about celebrating what we have achieved so far and bringing key partners together to jointly agree the next steps. “Currently many people in Tanzania face stigmatisation and discrimination increasing their risk of poverty. Mental health attracts relatively little attention nationally, with the majority of people not receiving the care they need - There are only 17 psychiatrists to serve its population of 44 million and the majority of staff at Mirembe have not had any continued professional devel...

Harrow MP backs gardening service supporting disabled people into work

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, attended an awards ceremony hosted by Shaw Trust at the charity’s horticultural social enterprise project in Clamp Hill, Stanmore. During the visit, Mr Blackman presented the project’s service users with certificates recognising their achievements and the progress they have made to gain key skills for the job market. 40 year-old Lee Emery from Willesden was one of the clients recognised by the MP. Lee is an ex-offender who endured long periods of homelessness and struggled with addiction. Lee was referred to Shaw Trust to overcome the barriers he faced to gain new skills and find work. The Trust recognised Lee’s potential as a gardener and enrolled him on a horticultural training course. Having successfully completed his training, Lee was presented with a City and Guilds certificate during the awards ceremony. Mr Blackman used the visit to witness first-hand the work of staff at the horticultural project that support service users to gain new...

Help My Mobility Team doing ToughMudder for Independent Age

The Help My Mobility team has signed up to do “ToughMudder”, a 12 mile assault course including obstacles such as the “Sewage Outlet”, “Electric Eel” and “Mud Mile”. You can see all obstacles here - https://toughmudder.co.uk/obstacles   They are running the course in aid of Independent Age, a charity dedicated to helping the elderly.    To make a donation click here - https://www.justgiving.com/HelpMyMobility

Telecare provider raises awareness of support with over 65s bucket list

Telecare provider Centra Pulse has released new research among over-65s to raise awareness of telecare technology for older people. It found that far from growing old by the fireplace, the average over-65 wants to travel the world, write a best selling novel and live to 100 before they die. But 40% still fear losing their independence as the age. Travelling the world, learning to fly and taking part in a skydiver or parachute featured as some of 40 most popular things older people said they wanted to do before they die. The results of the YouGov poll have been used to create an ultimate over-65s  bucket list. But despite the impressive list of ambitions, 40 per cent of those surveyed said they still worried about life becoming more difficult as they grow older. Centra Pulse is calling for better awareness of telecare technology which can support people to stay living independently. Wendy Darling, Managing Director at Centra Pulse, said: “We have released this research to p...

Life after meningitis and septicaemia

A unique and fun learning day for those people living with amputations is being held in Bristol on 31 October by international charity Meningitis Research Foundation following the success of a similar event for children last year. Pushing the Boundaries will take place at Gloucestershire County Cricket Ground’s Bristol Pavilion on Friday 31 October. It is an opportunity for children and adult amputees and their families to come together, have fun, share experiences and get support and advice from experts. Access Sport’s Ignite programme will provide sporting activities all day for the children. Parents and adult survivors will hear inspirational stories from Paralympian athletes and presentations from an expert panel about a range of topics, from the management of scarring to effects on bone growth and tooth damage. An interactive session from charity Changing Faces will teach new skills to help increase the confidence of parents of children living with a different appearanc...

Invictus Games closes on a highly successful note

Sunday marked the final day of the UK’s first Invictus Games with final medals decided in the sitting volleyball, powerlifting and swimming. The Paralympics-style sporting event was followed a sell-out closing concert, at the South lawn of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Perhaps not quite attracting mass media coverage in the national press over its four days, the event has never-the-less been seen as a major success. The closing concert alone attracted a crowd of 26,000. With a special headlining performance by Foo Fighters, it also featured Kaiser Chiefs, Ellie Goulding, Ryan Adams, James Blunt, Diversity and Military Wives Choirs – among others. In a statement conveyed by Prince Harry at the closing ceremony, the Queen said she had been “deeply moved” by the members of the Armed Forces who had overcome “great adversity” to take part. It has involved more than 400 competitors – both serving military personnel and veterans – across nine disciplines. Teams ha...

Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide

Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide (manslaughter) over the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. Judge Thokozile Masipa said the state had failed to prove he intended to kill Ms Steenkamp – but the athlete acted “negligently” when he fired shots through a toilet door in the “belief that there was an intruder” in his home. She said the athlete acted too hastily and used excessive force when he shot into toilet cubicle. The South African Paralympian was also found guilty on a charge of negligently handling a firearm that went off in a restaurant. Pistorius, 27, could receive up to 15 years in jail, although legal experts believe seven to 10 years is more likely when sentence is passed on a future date. Yesterday Judge Thokozile Masipa told North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria: “The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.” She said the...

Meet Reg & Val – experience a typical ‘day in the life’ of somebody caring for a loved one with dementia

In the lead up to National Dementia Carers Day (14 September 2014) follow 12 hours in the life of fictional couple Reg & Val, to find out what it’s like to care at home for a person living with dementia. In England alone, it is estimated that there are over half a million people caring for a loved one with dementia.  National Dementia Carers Day (NDCD) has been created by leading dementia organisations (Dementia UK, Alzheimer’s Society & SweetTree Home Care Services) to recognise, share and celebrate the amazing job carried out by these informal carers everywhere, every day. From 8am on Monday 1st September - until NDCD itself on Sunday 14th – our fictional couple Reg & Val will be taking to Twitter to share the ups and downs of daily life with dementia.  A different activity will take place at a different hour across each day, from eating breakfast and attending the GP to a shopping trip and a home visit from an Admiral Nurse.  Reg & Val’s story aims to...

Brunel professor makes list of most influential disabled people in the UK

Brunel’s Peter Beresford OBE has been named in a list of the top 10 most influential disabled people in academia. Prof Beresford, professor of social policy and director of the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University London and chair of the national user-led Shaping Our Lives network, came third in a list compiled by the Disability News Service. Only theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking and senior lecturer at Norwich Medical School Dr Tom Shakespeare were considered to have more impact on our lives today, by a panel of disabled people in the research community. “I’m delighted that disabled people are being recognised for the influence they have in such varied roles throughout the UK,” Prof Beresford said. “As an out mental health service user I understand many of the challenges facing disabled people and, through my research, I hope I am able to play my part in bringing about change.” Prof Beresford has led research at Brunel into under...

Cardiff gets £15k to create a new clinical measure for nystagmus

A Cardiff University research team has been awarded 15K to develop a test to accurately measure the impact of the eye condition nystagmus.  The award is being made by the Nystagmus Network and is the first in a new annual scheme from the charity. The Research Unit for Nystagmus (RUN) at Cardiff University has recently published evidence that visual acuity is an inappropriate measure of visual function in nystagmus.  The test, designed by Dr Matt Dunn and the director of RUN Professor Jonathan T. Erichsen, will allow for ‘time to see’ and the null zone to be taken into consideration when assessing the effects of nystagmus (involuntary eye movements). Dr Dunn said: “Recent work from our lab suggests that visual acuity may not be a relevant measure when assessing changes in visual performance in people with nystagmus. We are therefore very grateful to Nystagmus Network for providing this funding which will enable us to investigate the nature of visual 'timing' in infantile nysta...

Tickets on sale for the first Invictus Games 2014  

The countdown is on for the inaugural Invictus Games, in the Olympic Park, in London from 10-14 September 2014. A new international sporting event for wounded service personnel – the Invictus Games 2014 presented by Jaguar Land Rover – will use the power of sport to help wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women through their rehabilitation and recovery. More than 400 wounded serving and former military competitors from 14 nations will take part, with teams coming from the armed forces of nations that have served alongside each other. Many of the competitors will have had a long journey after being seriously injured. The Games is supported by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. It will involve Archery, Athletics, Wheelchair Basketball, Road Cycling, Powerlifting, Indoor Rowing, Wheelchair Rugby, Swimming & Sitting Volleyball. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host events in the London...

Deafblind artists exhibiting at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter

An exhibition showcasing the talent and creativity of deafblind Exeter based artists opens at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, from 7-21 August. Five artists who are supported by deafblind charity Sense, were chosen to exhibit at the Local Art Show, by the readers of Exeter’s Express & Echo newspaper. The Echo organises the annual art competition together with the Ramm to offer local art groups and societies the chance to show their work where internationally renowned art is on display. Sense works to provide opportunities for deafblind people to enjoy and take part in the arts, heritage and culture. The five artists each work in various artforms and combine traditional methods and new mediums to develop their work. Nic Vogelpoel, the head of arts and wellbeing at Sense, said: “We are delighted that the artists we support through our programme have been selected for the Local Art Show. “Accessing arts and cultural experiences can be a real challenge for man...

Fleet of disabled-access Wheelyboats takes to the River Thames 

The Wheelyboat Trust has marked its 30th anniversary of helping more disabled people to enjoy water-based activities all over the UK, for sport, wildlife watching, recreation or rehabilitation purposes. More than 150 guests attended a special reception at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre. The occasion also marked the launch of the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 – a new model and the most versatile developed to date. It is the 160th Wheelyboat to be launched by the Trust. Based at Bisham Abbey Sailing & Navigation School, it will be the first Wheelyboat to operate anywhere on the River Thames, as part of the Boatability project in collaboration with the Rivertime Boat Trust. The project aims to increase disabled people’s active participation in watersports. The Wheelyboat Trust is a national charity that provides they specially designed Wheelyboats. They are simple to board via their roll-on, roll-off bow ramps and their level deck provides access to every corner of ...

Autobalance bicycle to make cycling more accessible

Although various surveys have suggested that many parents feel today’s roads in general are too dangerous for cycling – for youngsters under supervision and on safe cycle routes it seems cycling has never been more popular. There’s no better demonstations of this than the huge wave of enthusiasm when the Tour de France returned to the UK this summer for the fourth time in its history. The start in Yorkshire has been hailed as the “grandest” opening to the race in its history, according to the race’s director who said five million may have watched the spectacle. Now sports organisations  are keen to get more people on their bikes – and British-designed Jyrobike’s unique balance technology could help many disabled people learn to ride a bicycle or rediscover their love of cycling. An upgrade for the world’s first and only auto balance bicycle is designed to make it even more stable. The inclusive design of the Jyrobike means just that – it has been des...

Mental Health and Me – Writing Competition challenge

A writing competition has been launched today to challenge the stigma around mental health issues, and promote social inclusion. Open to anyone who has been affected by mental distress, or knows someone close who has, or if it is a health area in which you have a particularly interest – this is your chance to share your experiences and put your thoughts into words. Liverpool’s Mental Health Consortium, in partnership with Writing on the Wall, is running the competition under the theme of ‘Mental Health and Me’ to mark World Mental Health Day on Friday, 10 October 2014. The competition closes on 1 September and the winner will be announced at a special event on World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2014, at Liverpool Central Library, The Atrium. The piece must be original but it can be a poem, a short story, a diary piece or a blog post, a letter, a piece of journalism or even a tweet! The competition will be judged in six different categories by a talented pane...

Specialist spinal injury website for carers and service users

A specialist, spinal injury, live-in care agency has launched a new website to cover a choice of care options and provide helpful information to make life a little bit easier. Origin’s new on-line resource for specialist spinal injury live-in care offers easy access to information from care career opportunities to support services. Peter Henry, the managing director at Origin said: “Our website is a vital tool in making and maintaining contact with clients, PAs and the many health service professionals and spinal injury care specialists with whom we work. “Easy access, on-line forms, copies of leaflets, newsletters and invaluable ‘tips and tricks’ provided by people sharing their own experiences and practical solutions to uniquely SCI problems, make the new website a valuable resource, for all.” The website is now live at www.origincare.com      

Alzheimer’s Show, Manchester – discussing the right care and support

The Alzheimer’s Show, Manchester takes place this week, at EventCity, next to The Trafford Shopping Centre, from 4-5 July. Held in association with the Alzheimer’s Society, the event is a dedicated conference and exhibition for families and professionals caring for a person with dementia. It aims to offer visitors direct access to the best information, products and services as well as practical help and solutions. The range dementia, and care exhibitors, includes care at home, care homes, living aids, funding, legal advice, respite care, complementary therapies, training, telecare, assistive technology, charity, research, education and finance. Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, Hazel Blears, whose mum has dementia, will deliver the keynote speech on Friday 4 July and take part in the Question Time panel session at lunchtime. The Alzheimer’s Show Manchester is for carers, relatives, care professionals and those living with dementia. The aim is to provide a posit...

TGA Competition

Maximise manoeuvrability, minimise strain… with the UK-leading TGA Wheelchair Powerpack Solo The TGA Wheelchair Powerpack is first choice for carers, friends or relatives looking for the easiest and most reliable powered solution, to help push a manual wheelchair. It will help push almost all types of wheelchair and eliminates the difficulties posed for carers when negotiating slopes, ramps or uneven surfaces. Its powered assistance reduces the potential for carer muscle or back strain when pushing a manual, attendant controlled wheelchair and greatly improves the outdoor experience for disabled occupants. It has a lightweight yet robust design, ergonomic controls and compatibility with specialist tilt-in-space wheelchairs. This single wheel Solo version is one of the highly reliable Powerpack models from TGA that have delivered trustworthy mobility assistance for 29 years.   The TGA Wheelchair Powerpack Solo provides: unhindered walking for the carer a...

Specialist team supporting Savile abuse victims

Victim Support has been closely involved in the NHS investigation into the abuse of patients at hospitals where Jimmy Savile visited regularly over many years. The investigation has looked into Savile’s activities at Broadmoor and Stoke Mandeville as well as related reports highlighting other offences committed in hospitals across the country. Victim Support says hundreds of ‘hidden victims’ across the UK may also need to seek support now more is known about the full extent of the abuse, including other victims as well as their family, friends, carers and hospital staff who did not realise what was going on. The charity’s specialist team trained in helping people who have been sexually abused aided Savile’s victims as they gave critical evidence to the official inquiry. It has now been supporting some victims for more than a year. Lesley McLean, Victim Support’s manager for West Yorkshire, said: “Savile preyed on vulnerable people for 50 years. The parents o...

Deafblind Awareness Week - family share their story

Five-year-old, Grace Shipton, has severe sight loss and is profoundly deaf. Grace also has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user. This Deafblind Awareness Week, from 23-29 June, her father Edd Shipton wants to raise awareness of the challenges that deafblind children and their families often face and what they can achieve with the right support. Edd Shipton said: “Grace was born prematurely with severe short-sightedness. At eight weeks old she’d already had heart surgery and part of her intestine removed. Soon after that we were told that she may have contracted meningitis when she was very little and lost her hearing as a result. On several occasions we didn’t think our little girl was going to make it.” Her second birthday was spent in hospital having cochlear implants put in and shortly after that she could hear speech and environmental sounds. “We told her she got her ears for her birthday,” her dad said. But despite the implants there still were many more...

Latest research set to benefit half of CF patients

Advancements in cystic fibrosis, CF, medical research have been welcomed by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The results of a trial show a new treatment, using a combination of the drugs Ivacaftor and Lumacaftor, could benefit up to half of all people living with cystic fibrosis (CF). Until now, Ivacaftor, known as Kalydeco, hailed the ‘miracle drug’ has only been able to transform the lives of five per cent people with the genetic condition. The results of a phase III trial for people with cystic fibrosis aged 12 and over with two copies of the F508del mutation, released by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, demonstrate a combination of the drugs could address the underlying cause of the disease and increase lung capacity. Janet Allen, the director of care and research for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust the results are “promising” and open up “a new front in the fight against cystic fibrosis.” She said: “This new combination therapy looks set to be an important additional optio...

Deafblind Awareness Week celebrates dual-trained dogs

Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People are celebrating 10 years of working together, Deafblind Awareness Week from 23-29 June. The successful partnership has led to 25 dogs trained to help people with combined sight and hearing loss. Lee Stanway from Guide Dogs said: “Guide Dogs is world famous for helping people with sight loss, but some of our clients also have additional needs which presents an even greater challenge for someone wishing to get out and about on their own terms. “By working with our colleagues at Hearing Dogs over the last ten years, we have been able to reach more people not just with sight loss but other sensory impairments and give the freedom, confidence and independence they deserve.” Angie Platten, Head of Partnership Services from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People said: “Hearing dogs are trained to respond to important sounds and danger signals, and help to alleviate the isolation and loneliness that deafness so often brings. “We work t...

Students launch ‘A Right not a Fight’ education campaign

The association of specialist colleges is behind a campaign for students with a learning difficulty, or disability, to have the same choices in Further Education that most young people take for granted On 17 June, natspec students launched ‘A Right not a Fight’ in London. Over 80 students and parents from 12 national specialist colleges – National Star, RNC, Derwen, Nash, Foxes, QAC, Mount, Young Epilepsy, Fortune, Treloar’s NCW and Oakwood – assembled at the Houses of Parliament, with banners and wearing ‘A Right not a Fight’ t-shirts. They gave out leaflets to passers-by and talked to MPs and peers who came to listen to their stories. Rhys George, a student from Oakwood Court College, Devon, said: “Going to Oakwood College has allowed me to live life to the extreme and actually make something of my life.” A further 30 students from five colleges: Bridge College, Communication College Doncaster, Langdon College, Portland College and Seashell College, g...

Greater action to tackle dementia – Global Dementia Legacy Event

At the first legacy event of the G8 Dementia Summit – as health leaders gather in London to discuss investment in dementia – Alzheimer’s Research UK has pledged £100 million for dementia research, and launched a new five year campaign. The 'Defeat Dementia' campaign includes the launch of a UK Stem Cell Research Centre. The £2 million research centre to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s and screen potential new treatments is a joint project between researchers at the Gurdon Institute, at the University of Cambridge, and University College London. Speaking today at the follow up event to December’s G8, the prime minister David Cameron is urging greater action to tackle dementia. The event, at The Guildhall in the City of London, is the first of four legacy events where experts will meet to discuss the way ahead for research. The UK government invested £52 million in research into dementia in 2012/13. It has pledged to increase this to £66 million by ...

Laurence sets sail with waterproof bionic leg

Eighteen-year-old amputee, Laurence Greenough has set sail again thanks to one of the world’s most advanced waterproof bionic legs. Laurence, from Plymouth, was 10 when he lost his leg in a sailing accident. He is one of the first UK non-military recipients to be fitted with the world’s most advanced bionic leg from Ottobock. This week he took to the water for the first time on his new leg. The Genium X3, is the only completely waterproof microprocessor prosthetic knee. It has a Bluetooth remote control to switch between sailing, walking, jogging and cycling modes. Following his accident he carried on with his sailing dream using crutches as there were no suitable waterproof prosthesis on the market. He was honoured with the Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year award in 2007, following in the footsteps of past winners including Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie OBE and world class yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur. As time went on, Laurence stopped sailing as the...

Roxburghe to host new disabled golf Ryder Cup 

Disabled golfers from across the UK are getting ready to tee-off in a brand new Ryder Cup event to compete for the ‘GB Phoenix Cup’ at The Roxburghe Golf Resort & Hotel. The newly formed British Inclusive Golf charity, is bringing players from across England and Wales to compete against ten of the best golfers from the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership. It all takes place next week and the prestigious golf course in the Scottish Borders will host the match play team events including foursomes and fourball competitions. Kevin Booth, the chair of British Inclusive Golf, BIG, said: “ This is a great opportunity to promote pan-disability golf across the whole country and I am so excited about having this chance to head up, what looks to be a very strong group of disabled golfers. “We have representatives from all disabled groups on our squad, with guys and girls having varying sensory, intellectual and physical disabilities, coming together to enjoy what I am su...

MP hears about student’s fears over plans to cut DSA

Disabled student Ruairi Hipkin has voiced concerns on behalf of other under-graduates about government proposals to cut Disabled Students’ Allowances, DSAs, from September 2015. Ruairi said: “I have always been very grateful for the support and equipment I have received from my Disabled Students’ Allowances. “My concern is that by reducing DSA it denies future generations of disabled students the ability to pursue a degree that they might very well have a potential to achieve. “University students are expected to support themselves. However, disabled students have the added difficulty of having to work out what else they may need to ensure their disability does not adversely impact their studies.” Harwich and North Essex MP, Bernard Jenkin, took up an invitation from the University of Essex to hear first-hand about students’ fears. About 300 students at the university currently receive the DSA to pay items including specialist software and computing equipm...

More than 700,000 caught in benefits backlog

Hundreds of thousands of people are caught up in a benefits backlog, according to the government. The minister for disabled people, Mike Penning told a committee of MPs the number involved waiting for employment and support allowance (ESA) assessments is more than 700,000 people. Mike Penning was responding to a question by Labour MP Katy Clark, who queried why the majority of those who had applied for the personal independence payment (PIP) had yet to receive a decision. On hearing the figure Leonard Cheshire Disability has called on the government to take immediate action. Jane Harris, the campaigns director at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “News of the huge scale of the benefits backlog released by the government today should be a wake-up call for everyone who cares about disabled people. “These delays mean hundreds of thousands of disabled people are being left without money to live on and they and their families are being put through months of worry and dis...

Former brain injury sports stars raise over £10,500

Two sports stars who suffered traumatic brain injuries have raised funds for Frenchay Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, in Bristol – the facility that helped rehabilitate them. In testing weather, former professional rugby player, Lee Audis, and gold European event rider medalist, Polly Williamson, completed this year’s ‘Bath Half’ marathon. They were joined by five of the therapists who treated them. It was a huge achievement – Lee finished the race in 4 hours 14 minutes and Polly in 3 hours and 54 minutes. Their joint effort has raised more than £10,500.  This together with cash donated from other sources means the centre can buy a LiteGait electric standing/walking hoist and treadmill that simultaneously controls weight bearing, posture and balance. It will allow Frenchay’s therapy team to get patient’s standing and walking at an earlier point in their rehabilitation. Alison Woods the centre manager at Frenchay Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, sa...

Accessible beach hut opens in Dorset

Families in Dorset with children who have additional needs, or a disability, can enjoy an accessible beach hut. With ramps and decking for wheelchair access, a disabled changing bed and wide double doors, the hut has been funded with the help of Dorset County Council and Lloyds Community Funding. The beach hut was made by Dorset-based Plankbridge Hutmakers. It has been placed next to the old pier on Weymouth beach, in Dorset, and is available to members of the Dorset Parent Carer Council, a group funded by the department of education. Members can pre-book the hut through the Dorset Parent Carer Council at a cost of £7 per day. Lesley Mellor of the Dorset Parent Carer Council, said: “Not only is the hut fit-for-purpose, it looks beautiful and is a wonderful space for our members to use when visiting Weymouth beach.” Picture: Jak Bennett    

‘Two ticks positive about disability’ symbol – an ‘empty shell’

Thousands of businesses awarded the government’s ‘two ticks’ positive about disability symbol have been found to be “no better than companies who have not achieved it.” The symbol is awarded by the department for work and pensions’ Jobcentre Plus to help job applicants clearly identify firms committed to helping disabled workers. But research led by Kim Hoque, of Warwick Business School and Nick Bacon, of Cass Business School, found that just 15 per cent of organisations awarded the two ticks adhered to all five of its commitments. Professor Kim Hoque said: “We found there was no difference in the support and commitment to disabled workers between companies who had the two ticks symbol and those who did not have it. “It suggests that the symbol may often comprise little more than an ‘empty shell’, where employers display the two ticks for impression management purposes rather than because of a genuine concern for disability issues.” Professor Hoque...

Carers’ Week reminder to make fire safety a priority

During Carers’ Week, from 9-15 June, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, is reminding carers help is available to keep them, and the people they care for, safe from fire. A recent survey showed that more than half of the few people who had tested their smoke alarm for someone else had done so for an older family member. Keith Brooks, the head of prevention and protection for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “There is lots of help available for carers to make sure that they and their loved ones are protected – be it simple safety advice over the phone or on our website, to a free Home Safety Assessment. “The simplest thing any carer can do to prevent fire in their home is to make a few easy additions to their normal routine. “Testing your loved one’s smoke alarm weekly and planning an escape route could help give them the vital extra seconds they need to get out in a fire. Simple steps such as closing doors at night and avoiding overloaded plug sockets will h...

Groups supporting disabled families respond to Queen's Speech

There’s been a mixed reaction to today’s Queen’s Speech from charities and groups that support disabled people and carers. The UK charity providing support to families with disabled children whatever their condition, or disability, said the measures in the Childcare Payments Bill “don’t go far enough.” Amanda Batten the chief executive at Contact a Family, said: “We welcome the announcement of a bill to deliver tax-free childcare for working families in the Queen’s speech today. However, although the Childcare Payments Bill will include measures that recognise families with disabled children, it does not go far enough to ensure the same access to good quality, accessible and affordable childcare that other families have. “Research shows that families with disabled children pay more for childcare and many struggle to find providers with the specialist skills to look after their child. “Contact a Family would like to see more done to recognise the unique c...

Top chef's D-Day dessert call to end loneliness

Great British Menu chef, Aktar Islam, is calling on the people around the country to spend time with their elderly neighbours by cooking up a treat to share on Friday 6 June – the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Chef at the award winning Lasan restaurant in Birmingham, Aktar Islam, impressed the judges on BBC 2’s Great British Menu with a war-time inspired pudding complete with edible Churchill cigar. He is now urging everyone to offer a slice of friendship and make a ‘Dessert for D-Day’ or donate to Age UK. Loneliness has been highlighted as a major issue that affects many elderly people across the UK. Aktar Islam said: “Sharing food is a fantastic way to open doors, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a Battenburg, Bakewell or a Blancmange – by knocking on your neighbour’s door and sharing your Desserts for D-Day on Friday 6 June and throughout the weekend that follows you could be bringing a little comfort into someone’s life.” Laurie Boult, he...

Macclesfield first hospital in UK to gain autism accessibility award

Macclesfield District General Hospital has taken a lead and become the first hospital in the UK to earn an Autism Access Award. The best practice charter mark, given by the National Autistic Society, NAS, recognises East Cheshire NHS Trust’s extensive efforts to make the hospital more accessible for patients. Autism impacts how a person communicates with others and relates to the world around them. As a result, under normal circumstances a visit to the unfamiliar environment of a hospital can be an incredibly challenging and distressing experience for someone with the condition. To make Macclesfield Hospital more accessible, the trust has created an autism-friendly ‘quiet route’ into the hospital. It gives full access to the building but offers fewer distractions and people along the way. The trust also developed a new ‘autism link practitioner’ role – a named contact whose job it is to support autistic patients ahead of treatment in the hospital. Autism a...

Dementia groups invited to share new £900,000 fund

Projects and organisations that help people living with dementia are invited to apply for a share of a new £900,00 fund. The new fund has been launched to help people living with dementia in the North East and Cumbria to continue to live in and play an active part in their community. The Northern Rock Foundation has joined forces with Comic Relief and Ballinger Charitable Trust to create the North East and Cumbria Dementia Fund. The North East and Cumbria Dementia Fund is looking to help groups to develop new ways of supporting people with dementia and their carers. It hopes to identify models of best practice that could be adopted in other areas. The North East and Cumbria Dementia Fund is particularly keen to hear from projects that give people with dementia a voice, or which offer new ways of enabling them to continue to live rich and fulfilling lives in the community. Programme manager Louise Telford from Northern Rock Foundation said: “We want to support proje...

Call for fundraisers to support Florida holiday programme for families

A survey by Caudwell Children has revealed many disabled children are not getting the opportunity to enjoy holidays abroad. The study found parents are wary about making travel arrangements to go on long haul trips without adequate levels of medical support and practical assistance. The findings revealed 52% of respondents, said that even if they could afford an overseas holiday, they would not be prepared to travel unless they were assisted. Although the department for education contract the Short Breaks Network charity, to support breaks for disabled children across England, there is no such partnership to increase the quality and availability of holidays abroad. Caudwell Children’s Destination Dreams holiday programme, to Florida, is the perfect solution for families with disabled children, or youngsters with life limiting conditions. The fully supported holiday is designed to give participating families complete ‘peace of mind’. Thanks to a 24 hour, on call, me...

Dementia Awareness Week

Dementia care specialists Care Shop have produced a useful infographic to help people spot the signs and symptoms of dementia, as more than half of sufferers never actually receive a diagnosis. Without this official assessment, people living with the disease are denied access to a wide range of support, information and potential treatment options to improve their quality of life. This is becoming increasingly important as one in three people over 65 will die with the incurable disease and the total number of sufferers is set to increase to an estimated 1 million by 2021. The leading support and research charity for dementia, the Alzheimer's Society, want diagnosis rates to improve and have this week launched Dementia Awareness Week 2014. The charity are holding a number of awareness and fundraising events between the 19th and 24th of May to urge more people to talk about the condition and seek help if they are worried about an elderly family member or friend. Becoming ...

Disabled student on a mission to highlight travel highs and lows

A disabled student at Plymouth University is to explore the experiences of travellers – both good and bad – to build a detailed picture of how tourists with disabilities are treated at home and abroad. David Fraser hopes to use his findings to influence providers and policy makers, making them aware of examples of good practice and where he believes improvements are needed. David, who lives in Newquay, was left with brain damage and mobility problems following a serious childhood accident more than 30 years ago. He said: “Anyone who travels has perceptions of the risks to their safety, but this is exacerbated for disabled tourists who can feel more vulnerable. “Disabled tourists can face barriers of a physical or social nature, for example, areas that are inaccessible to those who have mobility or visual impairments, or a lack of awareness and understanding of disabilities. “Many attractions and venues – and public transport providers – have taken positive ...

Inspirational guests take centre stage at 40th anniversary of Naidex

Britain’s Got Talent semi finalists, Strictly Wheels got Naidex National off to a lively start – at the NEC, Birmingham from 29 April to 1 May – with a ballroom dancing set. The UK’s largest disability, homecare and rehabilitation event for those working in healthcare and for people seeking the latest assisted living devices offered a packed programme, with celebrity appearances, seminars, networking and product launches. The exhibition and conference attracted more than 300 exhibitors and presented the biggest speaker programme in the show’s 40-year history. Event direct, Matthew Tingey, said: “I was incredibly moved to see the thousands of people flocking to Naidex National. “Forty years since the show launched, the drive to enable people to help themselves and the huge range of products on show from our exhibitors was stronger than ever.” Strictly Wheels were followed at the opening ceremony by TV presenter, Alex Brooker, who delivered a hilarious and ...

Telehealth pilot project had benefits for patients and GPs

A telehealth project – the first of its kind in Warwickshire in an extra care scheme – has been evaluated by residents and GPs and enabling residents to self-monitor their health can has a positive effect on their sense of wellbeing. The pilot project at Briar Croft, Orbit Heart of England’s first mixed tenure independent living with care scheme, in Stratford-upon-Avon, allowed vital health checks – such as blood pressure, weight, ECG readings – to be carried out on site and sent electronically to GPs without the need for patients to make an appointment or visit a clinic. Telehealth relies on people being taught to do the tests themselves using a small unit and the measurements are automatically sent to a monitoring centre via a telephone line. If the data moves beyond individually set parameters for each patient, the local GP practice is alerted and appropriate action taken. Resident Philip Withers enjoyed being part of the project. He said: “The daily teleheal...

Care provider celebrates best practice Dementia Initiative Award

A Lancashire care company has won an award for its commitment to improving the lives of people affected by dementia. The Dementia Initiative Award was presented to Jimmy Anyon, of SureCare in Preston by TV presenter Esther Rantzen. Organised by the Lancashire Workforce Development Partnership and funded by Lancashire County Council, the aim of the awards was to see new and innovative approaches to working with dementia. Esther Rantzen said: “It is very important to celebrate best practice because this way you get the best staff attracted to this crucial work. There is no question it is going to make a difference.” Jimmy Anyon the training and development manager with SureCare Preston and South Ribble, which provides domiciliary care to local people said: “We are working with an increasing number of people affected by dementia and it is right that the condition is receiving a lot of profile nationally and regionally. “SureCare was delighted to take part in this ye...

Motability’s 5-a-side Football Charity Challenge returns to Derby

National disability charity Motability is inviting teams to take part in its annual 5-a-side Football Charity Challenge. Teams of eight will have the chance to win a number of prizes and play at least one match with an ex-professional player. The event, on Saturday 7 June 2014, at the Powerleague Soccerdome, Pride Park, in Derby, will raise funds to support disabled people with their mobility. Each year Motability fundraises for customers who need a charitable grant, like Motability customer Joan, who lives near Derby. Joan has arthritis in her spine and knees and uses a powered wheelchair as she cannot walk long distances. She received help towards paying for a powered wheelchair hoist to be fitted, which allows her to easily and safely load her powered wheelchair in and out of the car. Joan said: “The wheelchair hoist is so easy to use, all it takes is a push of a button to get my wheelchair in and out of the car. I’m so grateful for the grant I received from Motabili...

Creative writing course for people with long term health conditions

A new creative writing course aimed at medical professionals, and people with long-term health conditions, has been launched by Birmingham City University. ‘Writing for Health’, an online, distance-learning creative writing course taken over six to eight months, allows both healthcare workers and patients to develop their own writing skills whilst exploring its potential for health and wellbeing. “For a long time I’ve been interested in how the arts and writing can be used to process, reflect upon and creatively engage with personal events,” says course tutor Jackie Gay, who hopes to enter the Paralympics in 2016. “I have a very clear personal experience of this. My writing career only came into focus following the loss of my leg in a car accident, however, many people instinctively turn to the arts, writing, poetry and literature when they are dealing with their own emotional and physical challenges, or those of people close to them.” A published author of tw...

Volunteers reach new heights for Headway

Daredevil staff from complex care provider, The Complete Group, have raised nearly £1,000 with a tandem parachute jump, to support a national charity that works to improve life after brain injury. Rota manager, Sarah Mullinder, and IT assistant Sam Price, took part in a 10,000ft skydive for the brain injury association Headway, www.headway.org.uk. The skydive is one of the latest initiatives from Complete’s in-house fundraising group. Sarah and Sam travelled to Tilstock Airfield, near Whitchurch, in Shropshire, on 21 April to prepare for and make their skydives with specialists Skydive Tilstock. For Sam, it was a day of firsts, since as well as it being his first parachute jump, it was actually his first ever time in a plane. Sam said: “I had to get over that anxiety first before even thinking about the jump, but I have to say it was definitely the best thing I’ve ever done.” He said: “We’ve been waiting to do this jump for ages, I think it was originally pl...

Paralympic equestrian Sophie Christiansen backs new ‘Action Cerebral Palsy’ campaign

A new campaign has been launched this week to focus on getting a better deal for the 30,000 children in the UK with cerebral palsy. One of the key aims will be to call for better access to early and intensive support. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, caused by problems in the brain and nervous system. Action Cerebral Palsy is a consortium of specialist charities working with children with cerebral palsy and their families. Triple gold Paralympic medalist, Sophie Christiansen is supporting Action Cerebral Palsy. She said: “If children with cerebral palsy are going to reach their full potential, they should all have access to the same high-quality services. It not only makes social sense, but also financial sense.” Alongside the campaign a parliamentary inquiry has been launched by Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North & Cleveleys – the only Member of Parliament with cerebral p...

Brighton charity celebrates national award for its work with families

A local charity in Brighton has received a national award, recognising the impact it has made to improve the lives of parent carers of disabled children, and youngsters with special needs. Amaze has been named as one of this year’s winners of a GSK IMPACT Award. More than 400 charities nationwide applied for the GSK’s flagship UK community investment programme and Amaze is one of only 10 winners. Caring for children with disabilities can lead to severe financial hardship and social isolation – half of families with disabled children live in, or on the margins of, poverty. Amaze works to help families to access the financial help they need. The charity runs initiatives including a helpline, assistance claiming disability benefits, resilience-building training for parent carers, a discount card scheme giving access to local leisure, sporting and cultural venues, and a Parent Carers’ Council, providing a voice to help parent carers communicate more effectively with ...

Deafblind charity needs volunteers for breaks – ‘That Make a Difference’

Could you help Sense, the national charity for deafblind people, as a volunteer to join its unique holiday programme across England and Wales, in July and August this year? The holidays give deafblind youngsters and adults the chance to get away from it all, try something new and have a lot of fun on a week-long stay. They also give a much-needed break to families who support a deafblind person. Sense has been organising holidays since 1974 and this year they’ll be celebrating their 40th birthday. Accommodation includes outdoor activity centres to cottages, farms and barns to villas and even barges. Activities can include kayaking, horse riding, camping or making sandcastles on the beach, whilst making a big difference to the lives of deafblind people and their families. The charity is looking particularly for male volunteers, people with experience of caring for others – this could be their own children or a relative or in a paid capacity, or people with sign lan...

New hoists boost for Hannahs at Seale-Hayne

A donation by the Co-op will be used towards a mobile hoist for families staying in the new respite and short breaks accommodation at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne. The Co-op has donated £1,847 through its Membership Community Fund. Andrew North, the regional secretary for the Co-operative Bank, said: “The fantastic new respite and short breaks accommodation at Seale-Hayne is going to make a huge difference to a lot of families with a disabled family member and the mobile hoist is clearly vital to their stay there.” Hannahs at Seale-Hayne, between Newton Abbot and Ashburton, offers a range of music and arts, as well as outdoor activities. Hannahs fundraising manager Emily Severn, said: “We are delighted with the addition to our new fully accessible accommodation. We know that all families will be able to benefit from the accommodation which reflects Hannahs’ ethos of true integration.” One of the UK’s oldest charities, Hannahs is dedicated to empowering children, y...

Videos to make life easier for new wheelchair users

The Wheelchair Service at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds has compiled five easy-to-watch new video clips to give wheelchairs users useful information and practical tips. The clips have been produced to support more traditional leaflets, and concentrate on sharing important information in an easier and more understandable style, particularly for new users and those who help them. The clips show the wheelchair user and helper actively clearly demonstrating each of the key points about potentially tricky techniques. These include how to transfer the wheelchair to a vehicle and how to navigate kerbs. Samantha Sterling the Wheelchair Services Manager at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Getting started with a wheelchair can sometimes be daunting as there is so much to take in. Despite our best efforts, hospital leaflets imparting detailed information can be rather boring to read and instructions are sometimes hard to understand. “We decided it would be far more u...

Great South West Walks 2014 to benefit Children’s Hospice South West

The South West Coast Path Association has forged two new partnerships for their 2014 fundraising event, the Great South West Walks. The Great South West Walks 2014, from 20- 28 September, hopes to see 1,500 people taking part in 100 guided sponsored walks to raise funds for the improvement of the South West Coast Path. The charity has welcomed Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) to partner in the event. CHSW offers care and support to children who are living with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, through their three hospices across the South West offering, respite, emergency, palliative and end of life care to life-limited children and their families. The charity relies on voluntary contributions to support their hospices - Little Bridge House in Devon, Charlton Farm in Somerset and Little Harbour in Cornwall. Walkers taking part in The Great South West Walks 2014 will see their sponsorship benefitting both charities, with half going to Children’s Hospic...

Elderly care needs poised to ‘outstrip’ army of voluntary carers

The number of older people in England needing care will “outstrip” the number of family members able to provide it by 2017 – that’s according to the think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research. The IPPR report published today it estimates that by 2030 there will be more than two million people aged 65 and over with no child living nearby to give care if needed. Responding to the report Janet Morrision, the chief executive of Independent Age, said: “This report confirms the huge concern felt by many about who will look after them when they are older. “We are already in crisis in terms of caring for older people. 800,000 older people don’t get the care they need from either the State or their families. With growing life expectancy this problem will only get worse unless action is taken now. “There is a severe funding squeeze on local authorities. More money is needed in the care system, however, money should also be used more effectively through the u...

Skills forum to debate social care workforce changes in Wales

A leader in skills education, City & Guilds, is bringing together educators, employers and industry leaders to debate the changes to the way the social care and childcare workforce is trained and structured in Wales. The inaugural City & Guilds Social Care and Childcare Forum for Wales will take place on 8 May, at Thistle Parc Hotel in Cardiff. City & Guilds UK managing director, Kirstie Donnelly, will be chairing the event that includes keynote speakers from the Welsh Government and the Care Council for Wales as well as the FE sector, private training providers, employers and specialist consultants. According to the latest Welsh Government figures, social services and social care is delivered in Wales by a little under 70,000 people, making it one of the largest workforces in the country. Suzi Gray, health and social care and children portfolio advisor at City & Guilds said: “The Forum has been created to provide the industry with a timely update on the p...

Many top tourism venues need to up their game to welcome disabled visitors

Many of the UK’s top tourist attractions are “falling short” in access and facilities for disabled people, according to a new league table in a report by disability charity Vitalise. Those found to be most welcoming for disabled visitors include the National Railway Museum in Durham, which came out on top. In second and third place were the Imperial War Museum in Manchester and the World Museum, Liverpool. However, more than half the venues reviewed do not have full wheelchair access, while almost half have fewer than two disabled toilets per 100 visitors, found the study. The survey rated 85 of the top 100 attractions for wheelchair access, numbers of disabled toilets and disabled parking spaces, and disability and carer concessions. Vitalise provides holiday-style respite breaks with care for people with disabilities and their carers, and accessible excursions to local tourist attractions are arranged during the respite break. The report found 4 out of 10 disable...

Scope urges the government to 'fully protect PIP payments'

A new report by Scope has raised the issue that disabled people face greater costs for everyday items. ‘Priced out: ending the financial penalty of disability by 2020’ reveals that everyday living costs for disabled people are on average £550 per month more – with one in ten paying over £1,000 extra per month. As a result, many disabled people are on average £108,000 worse off when it comes to pensions and savings, and twice as likely to have unsecured debt. As the Disability Living Allowance, DLA, is replaced by the Personal Independence Payment, PIP, Scope is calling on the government to protect the value of PIP by removing it from the overall cap on benefits and triple-locking it, just like pensions for older people. The charity highlights that for disabled people and their families extra costs are incurred in lots of ways. Even basic items like cutlery or clothing can be more expensive. While extra washing or heating requirements, and buying essential mobili...

New Roald Dahl specialist children’s neuromuscular nurse

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity is to fund its first children’s specialist neuromuscular nurse at at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. It will be the third Roald Dahl specialist children’s nurse post based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, funded by the charity, and the first to support youngsters like Alexis, who is five years old and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The new nurse specialist post will help to improve the lives of children and young people with neuromuscular conditions in the East of England. The full-time post has been created and funded for its first two years by the charity. Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has in turn committed to fund the role for a further three years. Alexis’ parents were delighted to hear that a paediatric neuromuscular nurse will soon be in post. Alexis and his parents and two youngster sisters live in Southwold on the east coast of England. He was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrop...

'Shine a Light' award winners raise communication awareness

This year’s winners of the 2013/2014 Shine a Light Awards, include Shane Dangar who despite his own communication difficulties works as a volunteer at youth services, housing associations, job centres and other groups. Shane Dangar, 20, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD received the Communication Champion Award for his work helping people to understand what it is like to struggle to communicate. Now in their third year the national awards recognise individuals, teams, and community campaigns, that support children and young people’s communication, particularly for those with SLCN. The winners were announced by Pearson Assessment in partnership with The Communication Trust. The awards were presented at Pearson’s headquarters in London at an event hosted by broadcaster and health campaigner, Anne Diamond. The Life & Deaf Association and Artburst were the joint recipients of the SLCN Innovation Award for their creative and engaging work engaging children and ...

WIN a Stairlift – stay in the home you love

Churchill’s Homecare, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of stairlifts, has teamed up with D&SC magazine, to offer a fantastic prize of a fully fitted stairlift in the winner’s home – up to the value of £3,000. Everyone wants to stay in the home they love – but that can become difficult to achieve through the passage of time. For anyone, or their loved one who finds the stairs are becoming an ever increasing struggle, and the only way to climb them is with the help of someone else, Churchill’s Homecare has the solution with a bespoke stairlift, which will ensure they can continue to stay surrounded by everything that is familiar. The company makes stairlifts for all stair types, using the best British quality products. But that’s not all, Churchill’s Homecare is the only UK stairlift company that guarantees to buy back all its stairlifts. All of them come with a touchclean antibacterial surface that is free of charge, again another unique feature of the ...

‘What to do about mum and dad’ – a taboo subject for many families

National care provider, CareUK has carried out a poll to find out more about people’s attitudes towards the care of elderly parents. More than half had never discussed this issue as a family and 32 per cent said they would refuse to let their parents move in with them. While 28 per cent of those polled would have their ageing parents come to live with them if they needed full-time care. Two thirds of adults worry about the future care of their parents, yet most do not share their concerns as a family while even less have made any plans. The in-depth study involved more than 2,000 people with parents aged over 60. Of those who said they wouldn’t want their ageing parents to move in, half said their home wasn’t big enough and four in ten said they wouldn’t be able to cope. Jeni Rushton, care manager at Care UK, said: “We understand that the future care of a parent is an emotional topic and can be a difficult subject for many families to approach with their lov...

Cost of shedding Remploy factories may be less than forecast

A report by the National Audit Office has found the cost incurred during the disposal of the Remploy factories, could turn out to be to be less than expected. The report, which was published today by the spending watchdog, says in some cases Remploy was restricted by previous contractual arrangements, and it could have improved communication and support for bidders. However, overall, the chance of selling more than a minority of the factories was always small. The NAO said the department for work & pensions and Remploy had to “balance the need to protect public money and employees’ jobs.” Remploy is a non-departmental public body of the DWP. In 2011-12, Remploy Enterprise Businesses employed 2,150 disabled people in 54 factories. During that year, the 12 businesses made an operating loss of £49 million although supported by £53 million in government subsidies. The move to shut the factories followed an independent review in June 2011. It concluded the fact...

New accessible multi-user pathway for Dalby Forest

A new accessible trail in Dalby Forest, on the North Yorkshire Moors, will open this month. The Forestry Commission and the Cyclists’ Touring Club will open the Ellerburn Trail – a multi-user pathway for disabled cyclists, walkers, and wheelchair users – on Sunday April 13. The Forestry Commission has worked with a number of partner organisations, including Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), the Federation for Disability Sport and a range of local community groups to develop the trail. The new route has been created with a contribution of £74,950 from Natural England’s Paths for Communities Fund and £25,000 from Yorventure (through funds generated by Yorwaste Ltd) and £25,000 from the Forestry Commission. It will offer opportunities for organisations such as Ryedale Special Families, an independent charity who offer support for children and young adults with disabilities and their families.  

'NHS is facing its biggest challenge' – Simon Stevens

The NHS is gearing up to face its biggest challenge in its 66-year history, according to its new boss. In a speech in Newcastle today, on his first day as NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, is expected to praise the NHS and urge the 1.3 million staff in the health service to come together to take on board major changes to improve the quality of care patients receive. Simon Stevens will say the longstanding problems and new pressures facing the NHS are not going to disappear overnight. In his first public statement he will highlight improved care for elderly people and better joint working between the health and social care services as well as harnessing advances in medicine, as among his priorities. Picture: NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens

Report suggests £10 month membership fee to tackle NHS cash crisis

Leaving the national insurance contributions alone, a former government minister for health reform says introducing a new £10 per month NHS membership fee, is one way to help the health service in times of austerity. The idea is among a list of radical measures suggested in a comprehensive report published by the independent think tank, Reform. ‘Solving the NHS care and cash crisis,’ by Lord Warner the minister for health reform in Tony Blair’s government and Jack O’Sullivan the head of a social policy consultancy, says “patient contributions are needed for the NHS to survive the next five years of austerity.” The report suggests a new partnership between the state and the citizen with higher “sin” taxes on alcohol, tobacco and sugary foods, and means-testing of NHS “Continuing Care” – plus a £10 per month NHS membership charge. The report says proposals to tackle the “care crisis” require the NHS to turn into a “National Health and Care Servic...

Online guide to help disabled people to find accessible venues

A new website that allows disabled people and their friends and families to generate reviews of accessible venues – and rate them depending on their first hand experiences – has gone live this week. EuansGuide.com has been created Euan MacDonald, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2003. He had found it difficult to identify venues with suitable access, often having to rely upon trial and error. As a result, he began to keep a diary listing accessible venues and soon after launched the website to share his findings with others. The website covers family attractions, cinemas, sports grounds, accommodation, and everyday places such as the post office and local services. There are more than 500 venues listed already. Euan has developed the resource with disabled people in mind. It aims to be easy and quick to post a review. It’s written for and by people with accessibility issues who want to make getting around the UK easier for those with disabilitie...

PC who Tasered a blind man is ordered to apologise in person

A police officer who Tasered a blind man, after mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword, has been told to apologise in person. The instruction follows a Lancashire Police gross incompetency hearing into the incident, which occured in Chorley, in October 2012. Sixty-three-year-old Colin Farmer was walking to a pub to meet friends when he was spotted by PC Stuart Wright, who was responding to reports that a man with a samurai sword had been seen in the area. Mr Farmer who is registered blind was felled by the stun gun and according to the IPCC report, he was also handcuffed while on the ground. Before another police officer arrived on the scene and told PC Wright he had got the wrong man. The Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC, said Mr Farmer has been through “a terrifying ordeal”. A report from the police watchdog found PC Wright has failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain if Mr Farmer was carrying a sword before he discharged the Taser. ...

Motability fundraising walk along the Wirral raises £4,000

More than 40 people who joined a sponsored walk have helped to raise £4,000 for national disability charity Motability. On 1 March 2014 the Walkability fundraisers followed a 12-mile Wirral coastal path, passing Wallasey Beach, Leasowe Lighthouse and Meols Promenade. Those taking part included colleagues from business law firm DWF, UK insurer RSA and vehicle convertor specialist Lewis Reed Group. Sarah Mir the senior solicitor at DWF and 15 colleagues were among the walkers. Sarah Mir said: “We all enjoyed Walkability and the route offered fantastic views along the Wirral coastline.” Dave Young, Partner of DWF, said: “It’s great to know that our fundraising for Motability will help provide a lifeline to disabled people in the UK.” Aine Canavan, the corporate accounts executive at Motability, said: “Following the success of Walkability last year we were delighted to return to the Wirral this year. “Those taking part raised even more this year so we wo...

DSA stresses the importance of annual Health Checks

The Down’s syndrome association has produced an easy read health book to urge adults with Down’s syndrome to make sure they take up their annual health check. To improve healthcare for people with learning disabilities Annual Health Checks were introduced in 2008. However, in a survey of members of the Down’s syndrome association found that uptake of annual health checks is “patchy” with some members not even aware of the checks. The association used Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week, from 17 – 23 March to campaign to improve health care for adults with Down’s syndrome. Adults with learning disabilities have poorer health than the general population and are less likely to visit their GP for routine screening. Though they are predisposed to some medical conditions, including cardiac diseases, thyroid disorders, hearing impairments, visual problems, coeliac disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The survey found 15% had never had an annual health check. It was ...

'Bus Days' scheme in London to help disabled passengers

A new travel mentoring service aims to help disabled Londoners experience the London bus network first hand. The “Bus Days’ scheme was launched in Croydon, earlier this week, It gives disabled Londoners the opportunity to travel on a London bus in “a safe and controlled environment.” Travel mentors show passengers how to use all the information at a bus stop including the routes, the bus numbers and local maps. Wheelchair users are guided through using the ramp to get on the bus and their safety while travelling. And passengers are shown how to board the bus and stay safe on the move. The latest project in Croydon is one of nine similar initiatives already in place across the capital. It is part of a programme by TfL to make the transport network accessible to everyone. The scheme is a joint venture between Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Team, bus operator Arriva, Croydon Care Solutions and Croydon Council. Police ...

MPs urged to vote against welfare spending cap to protect disabled children

Contact a Family is calling for a higher increase in the carer’s allowance earnings limit – so carers do not suffer further financial hardship and emotional strain. The charity that supports families with disabled children has sounded a note of caution following the news in yesterday’s Budget that the carer’s allowance will be increased to £102 per week. The chief executive of Contact a Family, Paul Soames, said: “ A parent who works 16 hours on the national minimum wage may find they are earning too much to get carer’s allowance once the national minimum wages increases from October. “As a result some parents will face a choice of either losing carer’s allowance or cutting their hours and losing working tax credit.” The charity has also warned that the welfare spending cap will place increased pressure on families who have already been hit by a range of benefit cuts since 2010. Paul Soames said this is another “blow for hardworking families of disab...

Children and Families Act – reforming services for vulnerable children

Campaign groups have welcomed the landmark move granting Royal Assent to the much debated Children and Families Act – following two years of consultation, debate and pilot projects. The legislation, which will take effect from September 2014, gives greater protection to vulnerable children. It  signals a new system to help children with special educational needs and disabilities. The Act also brings vital changes to the adoption system which are designed to make the process by which children who need loving homes are placed, much swifter. The Council for Disabled Children – CDC – has played a key role in the consultation. Christine Lenehan, the chief executive of CDC said it marks an important step to getting better outcomes for disabled children and young people and with special educational needs. The main changes include: * Giving parents and young people control over the decisions about the support they are given. * The introduction of Education, Healt...

National charity and CBeebies call for nominees for deaf awards

Nominations have opened in the annual awards that recognise inspiring individuals helping to break down communication barriers. The 2014 Signature Annual Awards – now in their sixth year – help to riase deaf blind awareness. Hosted by charity and  awarding body in deaf communication qualifications, Signature, the awards recognise individuals, community groups and organisations from across the UK and Ireland that make positive steps to create a society in which deaf and deafblind people have full access. Categories include Teacher of the Year, Learner of the Year, Community Spirit, Organisational Achievement, Young Learner of the Year, Centre of the Year, Communication Professional of the Year and the Joseph Maitland Robinson Award for Outstanding Contribution. A regional search has been launched for the Teacher of the Year and Learner of the Year , with regional winners from both categories then being shortlisted for the national awards. Signature chief executive Ji...

NICE warning to ignore hoax cancer e-mail

An alert has been issued about spam e-mails, “likely to cause distress” and giving bogus cancer test results. The messages appear to be sent by NICE – the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The e-mail has been sent out to a number of addresses informing recipients about a cancer diagnosis. NICE is advising people who have received the messages - the subject line of which is important blood analysis result - to delete it without opening it and not to click on any links. NICE said it is currently investigating the origins of the message. Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive: “This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that ‘test results’ indicate they may have cancer. “This malicious e-mail is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police.” ICE is making updates on its website www.nice.org.uk and also via Twitter: @NIC...

Lord's report finds Mental Capacity Act is being used to ‘oppress’ rather than ‘protect’ vulnerable adults

A report by the House of Lords Committee, set up to scrutinise how the Mental Capacity Act is working in practice, has highlighted key failings. It reveals thousands of vulnerable adults are being kept virtual prisoners in care homes through a misuse of mental health laws brought in to protect them. In particular the committee chairman, Lord Hardie, said: “We were very concerned by what we heard about the safeguards.” The intention of the “safeguards” is to provide legal protection for people who are being deprived of their liberty for their own safety. For example, someone with dementia may be prevented from leaving a care home alone because they are at risk of getting lost. In fact Lord Hardie, said: “The evidence suggests that tens of thousands of people are being deprived of their liberty without the protection of the law, and without the protection that Parliament intended. “Worse still, in some cases the safeguards are being wilfully used to oppress ...

Motability 2014 ‘One Big Day’ free family events across the UK

This year’s rolling programme of Motability roadshows across the UK includes six ‘One Big Day’ events – starting with the largest show of the year – ‘The Big Event’ at EventCity, Manchester. Visitors to ‘The Big Event’ at EventCity in Manchester on 16-17 May 2014, will be able to view Motability’s largest vehicle display including more than 100 cars from nearly 30 manufacturers. There will also be over 40 models of scooters and a wide range of car adaptations and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles on show. As well as four regional ‘One Big Day’ events in Kent, Exeter, Derby and Yorkshire throughout the summer, Motability has also added its first ever event in Northern Ireland. ‘The Big Event in Belfast’ takes place on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 May. Hosted by Motability, the car scheme for disabled people, the family days offer disabled motorists the chance to find out more about the range of cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs available to leas...

£120,000 boost for new SoundSpace centre to triple help for deaf people

An independent charity supporting deaf people and their families, to ensure they make the best use of hearing technology, has received a funding boost to triple the number of families it helps. The Ear Foundation has received a grant of £120,000 towards the cost of building a new facility from the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire LEP – D2N2 – Local Enterprise partnership. D2N2’s Unlocking Investment for Growth programme, is supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund. The expansion will double the professional training offered and enable up to 3,500 people to be helped through the Ear Foundation’s family programme, education programme, clinical services and research programme. Based in Lenton, Nottingham, 1,000 families and 3,500 delegates a year currently go through its doors. The new SoundSpace development will provide a purpose-built, modern facility that meets the needs of all users under one roof. A further £140,000 is still re...

Age UK warns ‘catastrophic’ spending squeeze is leaving elderly people without care

Serious cuts to social care services means many vulnerable people are not getting the support they need, according to Age UK. The charity warned today the situation is “catastrophic” as many councils across the UK have cut their social care budgets in response to cuts from the government. Age UK says at least 300,000 fewer people aged 65 and over get support today than in 2005. Vulnerable people struggling to maintain their independence are not getting the basic care and support to carry out day-to-day tasks such as help to get up, have a wash and prepare basic meals. The news follows a review by Age UK which estimates that 800,000 older people who need care and support are going without help. The report points out that “As council funding has come under increasing pressure, they have raised eligibility thresholds.” It says as a result, many people in need of care now face a “postcode lottery.” The charity is calling on the government to invest in socia...

Study raises hope for amputees who suffer phantom limb pain

People who lose an arm or a leg often experience phantom sensations, as if the missing limb were still there, and phantom limb pain can be a serious chronic and deteriorating condition. Seventy per cent of amputees experience this type of pain. The exact cause of phantom limb pain and other phantom sensations is not known. Now a researcher at a university in Sweden has developed a new method of treatment for phantom limb pain. It is based on a unique combination of several technologies and has been initially tested on a patient who has suffered from severe phantom limb pain for 48 years. In many cases of phantom limb pain nothing helps. This was the case for the patient that researcher Max Ortiz Catalan, a PhD student at Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, selected for a case study of the new treatment method. The patient lost his arm 48 years ago, and had since that time suffered from phantom pain varying from moderate to unbearable...

Bridging the digital divide to support people with long term health conditions

As more health information is made accessible online, and ‘health literacy’ is linked to improved outcomes for patients, NHS England says it is vital patients who have never used the internet are not excluded. A key topic at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2014 explored the challenges for healthcare in making increased use of digital channels to engage with patients. Around 11 million people in England lack basic digital skills, with around 7 million having never used the internet. Attendees at the NHS Expo heard that those most often not online include elderly people and those with long term health conditions. The panel session titled ‘Is digital healthcare increasing or decreasing equality?’ brought together leading experts to discuss “how we can turn things on their heads and deliver digital accessibility for all.” Bob Gann, NHS England’s Programme Director for widening digital participation, spoke passionately about the mandate for NHS England and i...

‘Book on Prescription’ to support people with mental health problems

Local libraries in Lancashire are working with GPs, and health and social care professionals in a new way to help people with mental health problems. The ‘Books on Prescription scheme involves doctors or other health professionals prescribing patients with mild to moderate mental health problems books to read. Patients, parents or carers are then able to take the ‘prescription’ slip to their local library, along with their library card, to take out the book. The project was launched at Rochdale Central Library on 24 February. The titles ‘prescribed’ are mostly self-help books to give advice, information and tasks that aim to make people feel better. There are books to help with conditions such as challenging behaviour, bereavement, anxiety, anger management, low confidence, stress, bullying and family problems among others, and all been reviewed and recommended by health professionals. If a book is not available it can be reserved free-of-charge. At the l...

World Dementia Envoy appointed in new drive to speed dementia diagnosis and research

Alzheimer’s Research UK has welcomed the announcement of a new World Dementia Envoy to help speed up research into dementia. Dr Dennis Gillings has been appointed by the prime minister, David Cameron, following December’s G8 dementia summit, at which G8 countries committed to an aim to find a cure or disease modifying treatment for the condition by 2025. Today it was also announced the health secretary Jeremy Hunt that more than 190,000 high street staff will be trained to spot the signs of dementia. Jeremy Hunt said the new package of care would make the UK a world leader in fighting the illness. Staff at Marks & Spencer, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy will become “dementia friends” to provide better support for shoppers with dementia and NHS England is to invest £90m in an effort to improve early diagnosis. The investment will target those regions where  it can take up to 25 weeks to carry out a diagnosis. World Dementia Envoy, Dr Gil...

One day left to enter to win a 4 night holiday to Homeleigh Country Cottages!!

Win a 4 night holiday for two to Homeleigh Country Cottages! Homeleigh Country Cottages is a self catering accessible holiday accommodation situated in the peaceful Pembrokeshire countryside. Simply answer the questions in the image below and send them via post, email or facebook. You can find us on Facebook here.  

Austim-friendly performance of the Lion King at London's Lyceum Theatre

An autism-friendly performance of the award-winning Disney musical, The Lion King, is to be staged on Sunday 4 May, in London’s West End. The Lion King is in its 15th year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. A first autism-friendly performance was given in April last year. Working with The National Autistic Society, and following a successful programme at The Lion King in New York, The Walt Disney Company adapted the performance to make it more suitable to those affected by autism. As a ‘spectrum’ condition autism affects each person in a different way, but people with autism tend to experience common social difficulties. Sudden changes in routine or environment can be stressful. Sensory issues can be problematic, for example a person may dislike bright lights, or may have very sensitive hearing and find noise, distracting or even painful. It means a visit to a musical on the scale of The Lion King, could be overwhelming. The dedicated autism-friendly performance w...

Vitalise Alzheimer’s Weeks 2014 – respite breaks for those affected by dementia

In response to demand for respite breaks and an increasing number of people living with dementia, national disability charity Vitalise has released its Alzheimer’s Breaks Brochure 2014. The ground breaking Alzheimer’s Weeks offer a supportive environment for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia – to enable families to temporarily relinquish their roles as carer and cared for and rediscover a loving connection. Alzheimer’s Weeks will take place at each of the charity’s three UK centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport on 22 March and 20 September 2014 and 10 January 2015. The accessible centres have 24-hour nursing care on-call, personal support and a range of accessible excursions, activities and entertainment. Vitalise has found that people report the therapeutic effect of the breaks endures far longer than the duration of the weeks themselves and helps restore dementia carers’ ability to “carry on coping.” Chris Simmonds the chief...

‘Family care networks’ could be the hub of health services in the future

The King’s Fund is championing ‘family care networks’ led by GPs as the way forward to deliver more health services closer to people’s homes. A report by the independent charity working to improve health care in England puts the case for GP surgeries to provide a wider range of services for patients outside hospitals. The NHS needs to change the way services are provided with a greater range of services delivered in the community to meet the needs of an ageing population and the increasing numbers of people living with multiple long-term conditions. The King’s Fund report argues that most GP practices are too small to do this on their own and need to work together in federations or networks to achieve the necessary scale. The report includes case studies from four localities where practices are working in this way. The family care networks could work with community nurses, health visitors, pharmacists and social workers to deliver all but the most specialised a...

Mencap’s Lorainne Bellamy tells MPs adult social care 'makes a real difference'

Mencap spokeswoman, Lorainne Bellamy, is urging the government to listen to the voices of people with a disability – to make sure they don’t lose out on the vital support they need to live independent lives. Lorainne Bellamy, 56, who works for Mencap and has a learning disability, told a joint meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on health, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on learning disability, how she struggled to live independently before she was able to get valuable social care at home. The APPG meeting looked at the future of social care and discussed the Care Bill. Research by Mencap and leading disability charities shows that over 100,000 disabled people will not have access to care and support for basic needs, under the government’s proposed changes to eligibility criteria in the Care Bill. Lorainne Bellamy said: “I have been living on my own now for six years and I used to not get any support at home, I struggled a lot. “Mencap helped me ...

Figures reveal 37% of benefit claims for PIP are successful

The first official figures for people claiming the new Personal Independence Payment – show 37 per cent of claims have been successful. For those with terminal illnesses more over 99 per cent of all claims have been approved. The department for work and pensions has received around 30,000 claims per month on average for the new benefit. Ministers say the PIP benefit, which includes a face-to-face assessment and regular reviews – something missing from the old system of Disability Living Allowance – will lead to “more accurate awards.” The minister for disabled people, Mike Penning, said: “Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit introduced over 20 years ago. It was very much a product of its time, with the majority of claimants getting indefinite awards without systematic checks to see if their situations have changed – whether improved or deteriorated. “Personal Independence Payment has been designed to better reflect today’s understanding of...

LimbPower announce advanced training course to help amputees

To help amputees increase their confidence, and improve strength and stability in the early stages, LimbPower is launching a new training course. The current services teach amputees how to walk using their artificial limb – with training on basic techniques, but there is much more that could be done to aid amputees in the early stages of rehabilitation which would have a huge impact on their quality of life. Kiera Roche, an amputee and the founder of LimbPower said: “Back in 2006 I attended a running clinic where I was taught the basic techniques of running, but what really opened my eyes were the day-to-day benefits of the stability exercises and leg strengthening exercises I was taught to improve my gait and balance. “We have used these techniques within our own successful ‘Learn to Run’ clinics since then, but the Advanced Rehab Clinics will allow us to reach those new amputees who are yet to even consider sport as something for them and help them to get the most ...

Aspire welfare benefits advice service can make a difference

In response to the major changes to the benefits system the spinal injury charity, Aspire, has launched a welfare benefits advice service. Aspire caseworker, Nicola, aims to ensure that people receive the correct advice and she will also carry out ‘benefits checks’ because people may not be aware of all the benefits that are available. The service has been running for only a few weeks and Nicola has already worked on a number of difficult cases: “Things are starting to pick up, and it’s great to know that Aspire and I can make a real difference. Just last week I was able to intervene after a young man had his benefits incorrectly stopped by the DWP. “After a telephone call to the Benefits Centre, they’ve now refunded him the money he was owed and restarted his benefits. There’s a tremendous amount of satisfaction that comes from hearing that he’s no longer having to worry about how to survive on the tiny amount that he had coming in when he was clearly entit...

‘Postcards From The Edges’ disabled artists meet MPs for pop-up art exhibition

MPs and disabled artists from across the country met in the House of Commons this week for a special pop-up exhibition of disability arts project, ‘Postcards From The Edges.’ The exhibition was organised to mark the passing of the crucial Care Bill through Parliament and to launch the book of the project. Shadow disability spokesperson Kate Green MP spoke at the event, along with three disabled artists. The exhibition was hosted by Dame Anne Begg MP and showcased some of the most eye-catching artwork sent to the project over the last year. Early in 2013, United Response asked disabled people “what do you want to tell the world?”, inviting responses on a blank postcard, using words or images. More than 800 people took part, sending artwork, poetry, stories, collages or powerful messages that add up to a snapshot of disability and life in the 21st century. Many postcards reflect issues which the Care Bill tackles – such as support, isolation and finances. K...

Fundraising walk for Motability returns to the Wirral in 2014

Following the success of last year, national charity Motability is organising another accessible fundraising walk on the Wirral to raise money for disabled people in the UK. Walkability will take place along the Wirral Circular Trail, in North West England on Saturday 1 March 2014. The walk will begin and end in New Brighton, covering approximately 12 miles. For those wishing to walk a shorter distance, there will be a six mile option. Participants will pass a number of sights along the coastal path including Wallasey Beach, Leasowe Lighthouse and Meols Promenade. “The 2014 route boasts many picturesque beauty spots, coastlines and varied bird and wildlife, as well as accessible paths and walkways,” said Aine Canavan, Corporate Accounts and Events Executive at Motability She added: “Last year we raised £4,000 at this event and this year we hope to raise even more, but to do this we need as many people as possible to get involved. No matter what your age or ability, i...

People are opting for live-in carers to provide continuity and peace of mind

Following an investigation by the BBC which showed that very few local authorities are paying home carers the recommended minimum wage, Heritage Independent Living has highlighted a trend for live-in carers. Nick Sullivan at Heritage Independent Living said: “With cuts to local authority budgets, fees for home care services have generally been suppressed as they look to make savings. “This has naturally led to accusations that the quality of care from council-backed providers has also reduced, as carers are confronted with high case loads. “As a result, some people are turning to the relatively unknown option of engaging their own live-in carer. “We have had many clients who have shied away from social services-funded domiciliary care, where several different (and sometimes unfamiliar) carers visit at different times of the day to fit in with their heavy work schedule and not with the needs of the client. “The main reason behind this trend is the ability to acc...

Deaf patients in hospital denied access to BSL interpreters prompt calls for more courses

Deaf patients in hospital, who have been unable to benefit from having access to an interpreter using British Sign Language, have led to calls for more education providers to offer BSL courses. It follows a report that found two out of three NHS patients who have asked for an interpreter at a hospital appointment have not received one. Signature, a national charity which campaigns to improve the standards of communication for deaf and deafblind people in the UK, is leading the calls. It comes in the wake of recent reports that a London hospital failed to provide a deaf couple with an interpreter during the birth of their son. New parents Hulusi Bati and Nadia Hassan were apparently denied access to information that a hearing patient would have received, at University College Hospital, London. Recent reports suggest there are 800 registered interpreters for 25,000 British Sign Language users in the UK. According to a 2012 report by Our Health in Your Hands; two out of ...

Care boss says ‘quality and dignity’ are under threat - squeezed by council care fees

One of the UK’s leading care bosses says the “quality of care and dignity of older people” are being squeezed because most councils are paying less than the industry recommended minimum for personal home care. Gary Farrer, the managing director of SureCare, was responding to a BBC investigation which showed that the recommended minimum was being paid in just four out of 101 cases. The UK Homecare Association, UKHCA, which represents care providers, wants its members to be paid a minimum of £15.19 an hour to cover wages, training and travel. SureCare operates 27 franchises and three branches across England with a head office in Chester. Under Farrer’s leadership, the company has deliberately diversified into other areas of care, in part because of the poor fees available for providing personal home care to local authorities. Gary Farrer said: “This investigation by the BBC confirms what providers within the sector has known for some time, namely that the contracts...

Unite uses first anniversary of Francis report to call for tougher patients’ watchdog

Healthwatch needs to be replaced with a much tougher regime, according to Unite. The union, which has 100,000 members in the health service, has branded the patients’ watchdog ‘a toothless tiger’. And using the first anniversary of the Francis report this week, into the failings and poor care which led to patient deaths at Stafford Hospital, Unite also wants to see the introduction of independent ‘patient safety officers’ and the creation of a national intelligence agency. Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The last 12 months have been a wasted opportunity by Jeremy Hunt to start a cultural renewal in the health service by upgrading the level of public scrutiny. “Healthwatch, the so-called patients’ watchdog, is a toothless tiger – we need to return to the old system similar to that of the community health councils (CHCs) which had real clout to expose alleged failings in the provision of patient care. “Hunt and his coalition colleagues have...

Inspiring 264 mile virtual-cycle to raise funds for spinal cord injury charity

A former model, who was left paralysed after a nightclub accident, is challenging herself to a virtual cycle from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, using a functional electrical stimulation (FES) bike, to raise money for spinal cord injury charities. Lolly Mack, 40, who is from Hackney, East London, started the 264-mile cycle last week using her RT300 SLSA bike, which was supplied by East Yorkshire-based mobility solutions specialist, Cyclone Technologies, shortly after her accident 10 years ago. The FES cycle stimulates the lower motor neurons and evokes patterned movement of the arms and legs, and, since using it, Lolly has regained the use of her arms and it has given her greater independence. The LA to Las Vegas cycle is the second challenge for Lolly, following a skydive last March in aid of charity, Spinal Research, for which she raised more than £3,000. She is passionate about raising awareness and funds for spinal injury research, and is keen to do whatever she can to speed u...

Campaigners welcome historic government action on care appeals

Moves by the government to give people the power to challenge decisions by their local council on what care they receive, have been welcomed today by Leonard Cheshire Disability. The charity has been campaigning to give everyone who needs care a right to appeal against decisions about the care and support they receive. Today the government has proposed an amendment to the Care Bill to give powers to create a new system of appeals for social care in England. Campaigns director Jane Harris said: “Getting the right care is often a matter of life and death for millions of disabled and older people and their families.  Until now people who are denied the care they need to get dressed, washed and eat have had no right to appeal their councils’ decision. “This is only a first step, but we are looking forward to working with the department of health to create a fair and consistent system that really works for disabled people. People who disagree with council decisions on wh...

Campaign gives young people with dyspraxia the confidence to speak up for themselves

The Dyspraxia Foundation has launched an “Alert Card” to help young people with dyspraxia in difficult situations. With funding from the charitable foundation, St James’ Place, the Dyspraxia Foundation has developed the credit card-sized resource to be carried by anyone with the condition. Similar to an alert card first launched for people living with autism, these can be used to advise anyone such as police, passers-by, emergency services and shop assistants, of the possible difficulties the carrier of the card may have, as well as providing contact details in the case of an emergency. Dyspraxia, a form of developmental coordination disorder, DCD, is a common condition that causes difficulties with fine and/or gross motor coordination, in both children and adults. In addition to helping people who might find themselves in a distressing situation, the card lists essential information on how to deal with someone who has dyspraxia including explanations of possible diff...

Britmet employee reaches new heights to raise money for Cancer Research!

Alex Millar, from Britmet Tileform Ltd, along with his sister are taking the plunge and doing a skydive...all in aid of charity! Not only are the pair raising funds for Cancer Research but they're also braving the jump in memory of their late Grandad.   If you'd like to show your support then visit their Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/khara-millar and donate as little or a large as you can!   For more info about Britmet Tileform Ltd, visit their website www.britmet.co.uk While I have your reading this, please remember Britmet Tileform Ltd, are the UK largest manufacturers of Lightweight Tile Effect Roofing, supplying materials to numerous clients for new build and refurbishment projects. Offering the widest range of UK profiles Britmet, and we are proud to say we can provide ‘The Total Roof Solution’; TacTray90 Structural tray, Flat to pitch Conversion Frames, Rainwater Management and Solar PV. So you know where to come if the need ar...

Macmillan says it is wrong to write off older people with cancer

The cancer charity, Macmillan is highlighting a concern that too many older patients in the UK are being assessed for cancer treatment “on the basis of their age alone and not their overall fitness.” Macmillan Cancer Support said with the right treatment, over 65s can survive for many years after cancer – yet UK survival rates in older people are among worst in Europe. More than 130,000 people in the UK have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer at 65 or over, according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support and the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). This figure shows that, with the right care and treatment, over-65s in the UK can live for many years after cancer. However, if UK survival rates in this age group were not so poor this number would be even higher. The research, which is the first of its kind, also reveals that there are more than 8,000 people alive today who have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnos...

Leading the way to increase autism support in Sheffield

A Sheffield Hallam University lecturer is helping to improve vital support services for people in the city with autism. John Kay, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, said: “Autism is a disability that can have a long-term and severe impact on an individual to be able to function in society – but it is not an acute mental health problem as long as support services are put in place.” Following a letter to local MPs, John Kay, the lead governor of the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, SHSC, helped the Trust to secure funding of £500,000. The investment from Sheffield City Council and the local Clinical Commissioning Group will allow adults in Sheffield to have access to diagnostic support for Autistic Spectrum Conditions, ASC. Previously, the ‘out-of-area’ referral policy followed by the Sheffield Primary Care Trust, meant adults could not access its Asperger’s Syndrome Service for autism alone, and would only qualify for diagnosis and support if t...

Northern Ballet dance taster session for young wheelchair users

Northern Ballet is arranging an accessible dance taster session for wheelchair users during their Open House on 15 February. It will give people with limited mobility the chance to experience their 'in motion' class which will be held weekly from September 2014. The' in motion' programme is a unique initiative for self-propelling wheelchair users and people with limited mobility aged 8-19 to access dance. The classes are designed to “build confidence and develop strength, flexibility and creative expression.” Specially trained Northern Ballet staff run the classes in a professional and supportive environment where those taking part can explore movement both in and out of a wheelchair as well as be inspired to create their own dance pieces. As part of Northern Ballet’s ongoing project to provide accessible dance training, the company has recently invested in seven specialist sport wheelchairs for use by those attending the in motion class. Northern Ballet’s Dan...

Yorkshire star of ITV’s Downton Abbey launches autism gallery

Yorkshire actress Sophie McShera, who plays assistant cook Daisy Mason in the Golden Globe winning ITV show Downton Abbey, has launched The Artspace in Thorne, South Yorkshire – home to Artistic Spectrum, a social enterprise specialising in art as therapy for people with autism. The organisation has recently been awarded a National Lottery Grant to work with Autistic People in the region. Project leader Emma Wilson said: “We are delighted that Sophie will be coming to open the Artspace. “Her involvement helps us in our efforts to shine a light on autism which according to recent figures affects up to 1 in 50 people.” Bradford-born Sophie, who has just finished filming Disney’s new movie “Cinderella”, said: “The work Emma is doing with autistic people really helps autistic people to communicate and feel part of the wider world. My cousin has autism so it is a cause very close to my heart.” The art therapy sessions allow people who have autism to have a s...

Official launch of first Aspire House in Kent

Aspire has launched a new Aspire House in Chatham, its first property in Kent, in partnership with Southern Housing Group. The charity provides temporary accessible homes for people with Spinal Cord Injury. Is can be a high boost on the road to recovery because patients with a spinal injury have often spend weeks in hospital, or a specialised spinal unit. They are usually keen continue their rehabilitation and regain their independence. Moving into an Aspire House while a permanent solution is arranged can avoid the difficulties of having to live in inappropriate housing. Eighty-nine per cent of spinal injured people find themselves living somewhere inappropriate, whether it is in a nursing home, an inaccessible property or a hotel or guest house. Aspire’s fully adapted properties with accessible kitchen units and wet room allow tenants to continue living independently in the community. Matt, the first tenant at the property in Chatham, said: “I’m really grat...

Find out how to make the most of sport and fitness opportunities with new guides

Disability sports experts at Loughborough University have launched a new series of guides with tips and practical advice to help people with a disability lead more active lifestyles. The information will also signpost those already active into competitive sport. The five ‘Fit for Life & Sport’ guides include information on physical activity, exercise and sport, nutrition, and psychology. They have been written for adults with specific disabilities: visual impairment, spinal cord impairment, amputation, cerebral palsy and les autres. Each guide has been split into two main sections; Fit for Life is for those who do very little physical activity or exercise and want to improve health and fitness, while Fit for Sport is for regular exercisers who would like to improve performance or take their training more seriously. Terri Graham, a research assistant in the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, PHC, at Loughborough University who compiled the resource, said: ...

World-record holder Tom Lackey, 93, to wing walk across the Mediterranean

Charity fundraiser Tom Lackey, aged 93, is preparing for a daring wing walk in March 2014 – from Morocco to the rock of Gibraltar in aid of Cancer Research. It will be his 31st inspirational wing walk. Tom Lackey, from Shirley, West Midlands, has raised over £1 million for several charities and currently holds nine Guinness world records relating to aerobatics. When he is not flying he remains mobile using a mobility scooter. He has a TGA ‘Superlight’ a 3-wheel scooter that can be easily dismantled for transportation in a car. It enables him to get to the shops and visit friends because his mobility is restricted due to his age and following a stroke in 2004. Tom was featured on BBC television during August 2013 when he successfully completed his most daring wing walk to date, across the Irish Sea from Castle Kennedy in Scotland to the City of Derry airport in Ireland. He flew for 81 minutes strapped to a vintage Boeing Stearman biplane and intends to complete a simi...

Rica urges mobility scooter users to have their say

There are more than 350,000 scooter users in the UK and the numbers are growing. Rica, an independent research charity is carrying out a survey on behalf of the department for transport. If you are a scooter user, Rica wants to know about your experience of buying and using a scooter. The survey will take about 10-15 minutes to complete. It can be found online at www.rica.org.uk/scootersurvey and it is available as a print questionnaire. There is a prize draw to win £50 worth of shopping vouchers. The Closing Date for all complete surveys is 28 February 2014.

Charity renews call to MPs to end 15 minute ‘flying care visits’

As the Care Bill is debated in the Commons today new research from Leonard Cheshire Disability shows growing support to end the controversial 15 minute social care visits. In a survey of members of Health and Wellbeing Boards from 40 councils 95% said 15 minutes is not enough time to help vulnerable, elderly people wash or get out of bed. Over half (58%) thought the government should set standards on flying care visits. The charity’s campaign director Jane Harris said: “Disabled people, councils and the public are all saying that government must act decisively to end 15 minute flying care visits. “The Prime Minister said this week that pensioners deserve to live with dignity. Having to choose between having a hot drink and going to the toilet is the exact opposite. This is not acceptable for a civilised society in the 21st century. “Parliament must seize the opportunity today to give every older and disabled person care visits that are long enough to live with digni...

Prosthetic ‘bebionic3’ hand 'highly commended' in awards

A groundbreaking prosthetic hand Leeds-based RSLSteeper was highly commended by in the recent British Healthcare Independent Living Design Awards. The awards, which were hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Bill Turnbull at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in South Kensington, celebrate the UK companies, products and individuals that support people to live more independently. After hearing of his company’s success in the Prosthetics Category, Paul Steeper, managing director of RSLSteeper Prosthetics Division, said: “It is always nice to receive recognition, but especially so from our peers – we’re all thrilled. As a company, we always look to improve people’s lives. We developed the bebionic3 hand not only to be the most advanced compliant hand on the market but also to be easy-to-use and accessible to as many wearers as possible. “bebionic3 is the culmination of many years of development but we won’t stand still, we are constantly looking to make improvements so that even...

Youngsters with eczema sought for silk clothing trial

Children who have eczema are being invited to take part in a new study to test the effect of wearing silk clothing. Three hundred children, aged one to 15, are needed for the clinical trial to find out whether or not specialist silk garments can help in the treatment of the skin condition, which can cause quite a lot of discomfort for some youngsters. Scientists at the University of Portsmouth want volunteers from Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight to come forward. The study is being led by the University of Nottingham and researchers are also being looking to recruit children from the Nottingham, Cambridge and London areas. Each youngster will be enrolled in the trial for eight months and they will be asked to attend their local recruiting hospital four times. Parents will be asked to complete a weekly questionnaire. The University of Portsmouth’s Professor Tara Dean, from the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, said: “Most treatments of eczema only suppress...

New advanced training course for amputees

To help amputees increase their confidence and improve strength and stability in the early stages, LimbPower, is launching a new training course. The Ambulant Disabled Sports & Arts Foundation’s Advanced Rehab Clinics aims to bridge the  gap that exists between the rehab offered by the NHS, and the ability to take part in sports, fitness and lifestyle activities. Research shows that physical activity enhances the lives of amputees, reducing the risk of knee and hip replacements and even improving life expectancy. The current service teaches amputees how to walk using their artificial limb – with training on basic techniques, but there is much more that could be done to aid amputees in the early stages of rehabilitation which would have a huge impact on their quality of life. Kiera Roche, an amputee and the founder of LimbPower said: “Back in 2006 I attended a running clinic where I was taught the basic techniques of running, but what really opened my eyes were th...

Hate Crime. Challenge it, Report it, Stop it.

Manchester's annual Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from Monday 20th January 2014 – Sunday 26th January 2014. The city will play host to a full calendar of community events celebrating diversity and raising awareness of hate crime and hate crime third party reporting centres. If you've been a victim of hate crime, or if you know someone who has,  there are lots of different ways to report it. You can call GMP on 101, call Manchester City Council on 08000 830007 or you can report it online via True Vision at www.report-it.org.uk. Hate crimes and incidents can be reported by anyone, witnesses and victims. And if you want to remain anonymous, you can. You can also report hate crime and access advice and support services at hate crime reporting centres across Manchester. To find your nearest reporting centre visit www.gmp.police.uk/hatecrime

Latest disability employment strategy leaves training providers facing an ‘uncertain future’

National disability charity and specialist employment training provider, the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, QEF, has greeted the launch of the government’s Disability and Health Employment Strategy – DHES – with “dismay and disbelief.” QEF chief executive, Jonathan Powell said: “Despite widespread evidence of the personal and economic benefits achieved by intensive employability training, the government seems to be turning its back on those with greatest need. “We hoped that the DHES would give reassurance about the value of specialist vocational training but it doesn’t. The future now looks very uncertain.” QEF’s main concerns include: · The focus on ‘place and train’ – a system designed to provide on the job training that may move people into work before being ready, which also fails to support those furthest from the job market. ·  Support for those ‘volunteering for it’ – a suggestion which indicates a complete ...

ILS Rehabilitation Solutions

Rehabilitation Solutions is 10 teams of highly skilled therapists and consultants who are able to meet the complete rehabilitation needs of clients with minor and complex disabilities. Our professionals can provide individually tailored rehabilitation for clients in their own homes; working to goals agreed with the client, their family and carers. Our services include: Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech & Language Therapy, Vocational Rehabilitation, Posture & Seating, Moving & Handling, Nursing, Psychology and an Education Consultant. All of our therapists are highly experiences and specialists within their professions. They provide bespoke rehabilitation, have professional mentorship from our service coordinators and provide outcome measures for each client. For a full list of our services and therapists, please visit our website at www.ilsrehabsolutions.co.uk. Our service coordinators would be pleased to discuss your specific rehabilitation requirements ...

Independent Living Solutions Ltd (ILS)

Founded in 1992, we have over 140 Case Managers and Therapists throughout the UK so are able to offer a nationwide service. We work with adults and children who have an identified need; this includes people who have acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple orthopaedic injuries, mental health issues, and more. As one of the UK's leading case management companies, we assess the needs of the client and are able to provide a comprehensive case management and rehabilitation service. Our team of Case Managers are all professionals and include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and social workers – all are members of BABICM and CMSUK. Our Case Management and Rehabilitation services help our clients to regain and maintain an acceptable quality of life. We consider every aspect of physical, intellectual and emotional wellbeing. We have the flexibility and resourcefulness to solve problems as they crop up and the experience to forestall most p...

EPSRC announces £5 million to fund dementia research

As health ministers from the G8 nations meet in London , to discuss the global health challenge posed by dementia, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced £5 million for research to improve diagnosis, and measure the progress of the disease. Accurate diagnosis is seen as critical in developing new treatments. The summit aims to drive more co-ordinated global action on dementia. One area of focus at the talks is preventing and delaying dementia. A total of 44 million people are already living with the condition around the world and that figure is predicted to soar to 76 million by 2030. The universities and science minister, David Willetts, said:  “We need to take action now if we are to address the global health challenge posed by dementia. “This funding will contribute to a greater understanding of the disease, helping to break down the barrier posed by diagnosing dementia, and ultimately giving people a better of quality of li...

Mandela memorial sign language interpreter branded a ‘fake’

Action on Hearing Loss is shocked by the sign language interpretation at the Nelson Mandela’s memorial service at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium. The international deaf community has also branded the sign language interpreter a ‘fake.’ Sign language across the world shares a similar structure and there are claims that this man was just making ‘childish’ hand gestures. Following the service, which was shown yesterday on television around the world, people have accused the sign-language interpreter of making meaningless gestures. Questions were asked after Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African Parliament tweeted “ANC-linked interpreter on the stage with the president of ANC is signing rubbish. He cannot sign. Please get him off.” The Deaf Federation of South Africa has said the interpreter “was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for.” The service, which was attended by world ...

Study explores the role of red meat in plugging the nutrition gap

A study by dietitian and nutritionist, Dr Carrie Ruxton, on behalf of the Meat Advisory Panel looks at the current nutritional short falls in the population, and where it is sensible to address these with red meat. ‘Micronutrient challenges across the age spectrum: Is there a role for meat in the diet’ highlights some commonly missing nutrients in the diets of older people, which could help to inform carers and caterers within the care community. For those in the care and nursing industry and the procurement departments of catering services the study aims to help to educate... Meat has been a staple part of the human diet since the dawn of mankind, but in recent years there has been some debate over whether too much red meat can raise the risk of health problems. Now a team of researchers has studied the issue of meat in the diet to help gauge just how important it is for a healthy mind and body – as well as the crucial nutrients that red meat in the diet brings. The st...

What is HEATSHOT and what can it do for you?

www.heatshotuk.com In simple terms Heatshot Pro Vision converts a vehicles cold water windscreen wash into a heated windscreen wash system. Simply start your engine, wait 30 seconds for the system to be operational, then operate your wash wipe control as normal and watch the ice melt away. This has huge benefits in the summer months as our windscreens are constantly bombarded with flies, insects, bird droppings and tree sap through the daytime and moths at night; all of which are very stubborn to remove. Heatshot has the advantage of dissolving the debris that builds up on your windscreen due to the heated fluid. It is the same principle as washing glassware at home...you would never use cold water and expect to get them clean. Your windscreen is no different. When Heatshot is fitted you can be assured of a smear free windscreen at all times greatly improving visibility and safety. In the winter months, Heatshot clears ice in frozen pipes, frees frozen/blocked nozzles and c...

Alzheimer’s Society video shows dementia treatments ‘fall a generation behind cancer’

A new video has been launched today by the Alzheimer’s Society, ahead of the G8 dementia summit in London this week, to highlight the generation gap between key milestones in dementia and cancer research. Drugs that reduce the symptoms but do not cure dementia were developed four decades after the drugs that can cure some cancers became available. ‘A Cure for Derek?’, follows the lives of married couple Derek and Yvonne. Derek has dementia and Yvonne has been in remission from breast cancer for 20 years. The film compares the treatments discovered for dementia and cancer respectively. It highlights that while some forms of cancer can now be cured, there is still no cure for dementia. Kim, daughter of Derek and Yvonne, said: “I often say that I would rather Dad had an illness like cancer, where, because of research and drugs, he could have got better from it. It is so much harder with what he has.” Jeremy Hughes the chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:...

Most accessible travel apps revealed on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The winning ‘accessible apps’ in a Transport for London, TfL, competition to find new apps to make it easier for disabled and older people to travel around the city have been announced. The winners were revealed to coincide with International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 3 December. It follows a competition held between March and August this year. Developers were asked for ideas for new ‘Accessibility Apps’ which will make TfL realtime information easier to use. All apps use live information from TfL free of charge. Specialists from AbilityNet and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, RNIB, tested 194 apps for features such as use of colour contrast, voiceover capability, or ability to be used in different ways for example close up, subtitles etc. The shortlisted apps were then assessed by a panel including people with a range of disabilities, or with expertise in accessibility needs. The top apps that clearly demonstrated the attributes the judge...

Have An Unforgettable, Yet Affordable, New Year at The New Mayfair Hotel!

The HALF PRICE sales are starting early with massive reductions on an unforgettable New Year Experience at The New Mayfair Hotel! Friday 27th December to Friday 3rd January '14 There's no better time for partying and relaxation than at New Year. Join us for a 7 night stay at The New Mayfair Hotel, make sure to welcome in the New Year with friends in our stylish, comfortable accommodation along with experiencing our excellent service. The New Mayfair is hosting a 7 night New Year Break from the 27th December 2013 until the 3nd January 2014 which includes: 7 Nights’ Accommodation Bed , breakfast and a delicious 3 course evening meal each night Festive Entertainment provided, including raffles and bingo every night Live Cabaret Care packages also available So why not avoid the last minute panic of what to do on New Year's Eve? Book one of our great value New Year Breaks today and know that your enjoyment is guaranteed! Relax and unwind, enjoy the dazzling ...

Winston’s Wish Great British Brekkie challenge – to change more children’s lives

Winston’s Wish is urging families, schools and employers to support their Great British Brekkie challenge in 2014 – the more people who take part, the money can be raised to help to change more children’s lives. The charity for bereaved children, is looking for supporters to join in their Great British Brekkie week from the 10–16  February 2014 – to get together with friends, colleagues, or classmates to host a charity breakfast in February to help to raise £30,000. Winston’s Wish say it is a known fact that breakfast is an important meal helping everyone, including children, have a more positive proactive day. “When you start with a nutritious and balanced breakfast, you’re getting the energy you need to embrace the morning, refuelling your body and brain and kick-starting your metabolism. "However, life can be so busy that this most important meal of the day is often forgotten." The venue for the Brekkie can be anywhere at home, work, school, village...

Follow the progress of the South Pole Allied Challenge 2013

On Day 3 of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge the UK team, Team Glenfiddich, retains the lead despite the tough conditions. In an update from the ice late last night the expedition manager Victoria Nicholson, said: “The teams are struggling but still in good spirits and everyone is well but everyone is exhausted.” The ground-breaking Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge 2013, involving 21 team members and 12 wounded servicemen and women, got underway at the weekend. Under the patronage of Prince Harry the UK’s Team Glenfiddich will race against their American and Commonwealth counterparts, in an attempt to be the first team to reach the South Pole. The expedition is predicted by polar experts to be the largest modern-day expedition of its type. Virgin Money is the main sponsor of the South Pole Allied Challenge, the third expedition Walking With The Wounded has staged, following Everest 2012 and North Pole 2011. The challenge is on a larg...

‘Accessible Tourism in Europe’ conference focuses on the potential of a more open Europe

Today is the last day of the two-day Accessible Tourism in Europe conference, taking place in Brussels. The theme of the day is: ‘Europe Ready for You’ – it is not a rhetorical soundbite and today’s forums will discuss topics such as ‘Making heritage more accessible to tourists through modern ITC.’ The chief executive of Glasgow 2014, David Grevemberg, will lead another forum on “Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: how can destination Europe benefit?” Tourism is a vital source of growth for the economy in Europe, representing 1.8 million businesses and an estimated 9.7 million jobs. However, the conference organisers say travelling can still be a real challenge for some people as finding the information on services, checking luggage on a plane, booking an accessible room often prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming. The European Commission in close co-operation with the European Disability Forum (EDF), have organised the event. Taking place on ...

Experts in adapted kitchens and bathrooms – for greater freedom and independence

Regency Adapted Kitchens is a nationwide specialist manufacturer and installer of inclusive kitchens – and bathrooms. A bespoke design means that every aspect is tailored to individual tastes, measurements, and user ability. Their kitchens can include adapted appliances, storage solutions and Regency’s state of the art electronic rise and fall worktops and wall unit systems. If the wheelchair user lives alone, the kitchen design can be solely dedicated to meeting their requirements. If they live with an able bodied person, the design will have to work equally well for each of them. Regency also fully understand all aspects of bathing and bathroom design, including for those difficulties many face in later life with continuing to use their existing bathroom space. To help customers to continue taking advantage of the medicinal and stress relieving powers of a bath, Regency offers the very latest in safety features including powered bath chairs and nursing benches as w...

Theatre announces new season of accessible performances

The National Theatre has announced its assisted performances for the current season which runs until July 2014. As well as regular captioned and audio described performances and touch tours, there is a Relaxed Performance of ‘The Elephantom’, a family show in The Shed (10 Dec – 11 Jan) on the 11 January 2014 at 11.30am. Relaxed Performances are for anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including people with an autistic spectrum condition, sensory or communication disorders, learning disabilities or families with young children. The National Theatre has also scheduled a Sign Language Interpreted performance of War Horse on 5 July 2014 at 2.30pm For details see www.nationaltheatre.org.uk or www.theshedtheatre.co.uk To book for any of the assisted performances e-mail boxoffice@nationaltheatre.org.uk. Tickets for the Relaxed Performance of The Elephantom can be booked online at www.theshedtheatre.co.uk or to discuss special requirem...

New Range of Mobility Scooters from PB Conversions.

PB Conversions are delighted to announce that we are now stocking a small range of Mobility Scooters. These are available to view in our waiting area at our workshop. We have a selection of K-Foru Scooters ranging from £795-£1650. We will be listening to our customers needs and then advising on the stock we have available. We will also be offering the same service package as we do on any of our adaptations. A lot of our customers have scooters so we felt it was a good idea to be able to offer our customers this service so that they can get their new scooter and adaptations on their vehicle all carried out at the same time at the one place. This also ensures that there scooter will fit into their vehicle. For further information contact us on Tel: 01525 850588 or email pbconversions@aol.com

Great offers on vehicles – and expert advice for Motability customers

L & S Copcutt & Son Toyota, in Worksop, Nottingham, has a range of vehicles available for motorists looking to choose a car on the Motabilty Scheme. Toyota is dedicated to providing “superior quality and outstanding safety, with a passion for innovation to provide value for all drivers.” Toyota Motability offers a wide selection of vehicles and the specialist team at L & S Copcutt can provide experienced advice to help customers make the right choice. They can advise and answer any individual queries. Latest offers include the Toyota Yaris SR 1.33 VVT-i 5-door manual – currently available on the Motability Car Scheme for nil advance payment. The Yaris SR 1.33 has 16inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, rear-view camera. The nippy iQ2 1.0 VVT-I manual and MultiDrive is also on the Motability Car Scheme for a nil advanced payment. It has alloy wheels, LED Daytime running lights, privacy glass and front fog lamps. The Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i three-door and...

Independence boost thanks to new healthcare wet room

A mother of two who relies on her husband for help with everyday tasks after being diagnosed with a debilitating neurological condition is reclaiming some of her independence thanks to a new wetroom, provided by Impey Cares. Linda Burke’s condition has been deteriorating since she was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2007. Linda, 52, from Hartcliffe in Bristol, uses a wheelchair to get around. She needs a stair-lift and struggles to use items like a knife and fork, or brush her teeth because the dexterity in her hands has been so badly affected. Taking a bath or shower had become a daily struggle for Linda and her husband Chris, as they attempted to manoeuvre Linda in and out of the bath from her wheelchair into a bathing seat. Not only was the situation painful, uncomfortable and distressing for Linda, the strain was also starting to take its toll on Chris’ health. Now they are enjoying the benefits of a new level access shower – part of a ...

Have your say on UK airports and airlines

The air travel experiences of disabled and elderly are being sought by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in a survey launched to help drive improvements. Under European regulations, anyone facing difficulty moving around the airport or aircraft – including disabled and elderly passengers – is entitled to assistance from their airline or airport. An estimated two million UK passengers receive this assistance every year and through the survey the CAA wants to get a better understanding of their experiences and attitudes to flying in general. Passengers will be aksed to rate how accessible they found the different stages of any recent journeys. Feedback is also invited on the level of assistance they expect when using airports and airlines. Iain Osborne the director of regulatory policy at the CAA, said: “To make sure we can continue to challenge industry to achieve higher standards, it is really important we hear from those groups about their experiences. “T...

Easy Independent Living In Motion with Lewis Reed Ltd

Lewis Reed Ltd is a leading UK vehicle supplier specialising in the conversion of vehicles to aid the mobility of wheelchair users. Putting a lot of emphasis on the end user, Lewis Reed constantly listen to their customers to ensure they produce innovative, reliable, quieter, smoother, and more versatile WAV solutions. Achieving a high standard of excellence and good practice for support for their customers is something Lewis Reed prides itself on, and believes that attending exhibitions such as Naidex National and the Mobility Roadshow allows them to fully appreciate the needs of the consumer. Being on the exhibition circuit for over 10 years, Dr Peter Scullion, Managing Director comments; “Attending exhibitions have become an intricate part of Lewis Reed’s overall plan at aiming to develop and sustain customer relationships.” The benefit of exhibitions is that visitors can get all the information they need in a friendly environment free from the fear of hard sell, and ...

Innovative new compact catheter to help those with spinal cord injuries

A new innovative intermittent catheter has been launched recently to overcome the inconvenience and awkwardness of traditional sets, which are typically bulky and cumbersome. The only compact and discreet catheter with an integrated and sterile bag, Coloplast’s SpeediCath Compact Set is a compact and discreet catheter and bag solution that is ready to use. Some catheter users face issues with mobility or dexterity, which can be an added complication when having to catheterise. In particular, wheelchair users can have difficulty in draining their catheter into the toilet, and will often find other solutions to help them, such as extension tubes, catheter sets, urine bags or even soft drinks bottles. Clive Glass, clinical director and consultant clinical psychologist and author of ‘Spinal Cord Injury – Impact and Coping’ said: “Managing toilet needs is perhaps the most emotionally difficult aspect of learning to cope with a spinal cord injury. Acute SCI nurses play a h...

High-profile figures show support for National Community Meals Week 2013

The community meals on wheels service is under threat across the UK, according to the National Association of Care Catering, because some local authorities see its removal as a good way of saving money. Although the NACC warns this is without regard for the financial consequences of poor nutrition, loneliness and isolation resulting in more hospital admissions. The NACC is keen to address the trend. It says there are more than 10 million elderly people in the UK and this is going to increase, while 19 million meals on wheel are served annually compared to 40 million ten years ago. Protecting the service is vital because the NACC says it has an important role in “enriching the lives of the elderly and vulnerable in the community.” It warns that closing it will have dire consequences for the nation’s elderly and its communities. The NACC’s National Community Meals Week 2013, from 11-15 November, was supported by chef Rosemary Shrager, Esther Rantzen the founder of the...

Dementia carer’s ‘touching’ blog wins top award

A dementia carer has won the top award in this year’s Older People in the Media Awards. Darren Gormley’s blog, Making Dementia Care Personal, which he has been penning since April 2013, outlines his personal experiences of working with dementia patients. It was praised by the event’s judges for being “engaging”, “insightful” and “positive”. The Older People in the Media Awards 2013 were presented at a ceremony in London hosted by Gavin & Stacey star, Larry Lamb. The awards are organised by older people’s charity, Independent Age and sponsored by care provider, Barchester Healthcare, to recognise editorial coverage which has “positively portrayed older people or sensitively highlighted the issues they face.” Founded 150 years ago, Independent Age is a growing charity helping older people through the ‘A, B, C’ of advice, befriending and campaigning. Among those recognised, Darren Gormley, 29, saw off a host of media heavyweights to be cro...

Three finalists named for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2013

Three outstanding disabled entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2013. Each year the competition, run by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, recognises the achievements and unique challenges faced by disabled entrepreneurs. The 2013 finalists include Paralympic swimmer Giles Long, James King who has overcome the difficulties of a degenerative eye condition and Terence Nelson, an amputee with a hearing impairment who has also had two kidney transplants. The winner will receive a £50,000 prize – the largest cash sum of its kind – at a special awards ceremony to be held in London on 12 December. Sir Stelios said: “I have been really impressed by finalists and I look forward to this year’s ceremony where the overall winner will be revealed. I am passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship, and the previous winners of this award offer proof that there are many highly talen...

Motability Event At Slip End Garage

Slip End Garage is hosting a special Motability month through out November so current and would-be Motability customers can learn more about the motoring scheme for disabled people. During Motability month visitors will be able to take advantage of special offers including many brand new 63 plate cars with no advance payment and ‘recommend a friend’ incentives. Guests will also be able to enjoy complimentary refreshments during their visit. Gary Hollinshead, Motability spokesperson at Slip End said: “Motability month at Slip End will be a great opportunity for customers to find out more about Motability and the fantastic deals and benefits that make getting on the road easier than ever before. At Slip End our Motability specialists are really looking forward to welcoming local people to the dealership so they can take advantage of all the information, advice and expertise on offer.” Motability is available to anyone who receives the Higher Rate Mobility Component of th...

‘Shameful' stats reveal patients are going blind as eye clinics reach breaking point

RNIB says people are losing their sight because of delays in diagnosis, treatment and follow up care in eye clinics across England. According to research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, 37 per cent of staff, working in ophthalmology units, said that patients are ‘sometimes’ losing their sight unnecessarily. A further 4 per cent said they believed this loss of sight is happening ‘often’. More than 80 per cent of the staff responding to the survey said their eye department has insufficient capacity to meet current demand – with 94 per cent reporting that future capacity will not meet rising demand as the number of elderly people rises. The new report is released as part of RNIB’s Save our Sight, SOS, campaign, aimed at challenging unnecessary sight loss and promoting the importance of timely access to vital treatment. RNIB’s chief executive, Lesley-Anne Alexander said: “These statistics are shameful as nobody should lose their sight from a ...

Students design website to help deaf people source traders who can communicate with them

University of Brighton students have designed a new website to help deaf people find trusted traders who can communicate with them. Contacting plumbers, florists and decorators, can be difficult for deaf or hard of hearing people, and it is harder when trades people come to their home and cannot communicate with them. DeafCOG – Deaf Cultural Outreach Group – is a social enterprise that creates resources to support the lives of deaf people who use British Sign Language, BSL. One project was to create a trader-search website – where traders who can communicate with deaf people, from using clear English to signing in BSL – can be found DeafCOG was awarded a grant to develop its DeafProSussex website from the Strengthening DPULOS, Disabled People’s User Led Organisations, Facilitation Fund. DeafCOG director, Sarah Playforth, who created the successful bid, said: “This fund recognises the importance the government places on user-led projects that enable people to ...

'Moving On' event for anyone with an interest in accessible transport

Academics from Coventry University are working with policy advisors and disabled people on proposals to make public transport more accessible. Their ideas will be presented at a free event at the Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday 23 November 2013. ‘Moving On: Accessible Transport – the past, present and the future’, is being hosted by Coventry and Warwickshire based community group Connect Culture together with the university, the transport museum and the campaign group, Transport for All. UK Disability History Month will also be attending the event. The programme includes a talk about disabled people’s history and the current campaign for independent living. The winners of a Big Lottery Fund competition in which young disabled people were invited to produce a film on how they envisioned future transport will also be revealed during the day. Jane Osmond, research fellow at Coventry University said: “Accessible transport can play a major part in helping d...

Three schemes to pilot the best way to help people on sickness benefits back to work

Under government plans announced this week, thousands of people on sickness benefits are to be randomly selected to take part in new schemes – to see which is most effective in helping people off benefits and into work. One of the pilots will involve people with a health condition having regular meetings with healthcare professionals. Those taking part – who have all been assessed as being able to work at some point in the future – will have regular appointments with healthcare professionals, as a condition of receiving their benefit. The government said the aim is to put the focus on helping people move closer to being able to get a job. The employment minister Esther McVey said: “It’s really important we give people who are disabled, or have a health condition, the support they need to get into work if they are able. “Traditionally, this help has tended to be work-related, but this pilot will look at whether a more holistic approach is more successful in he...

Commission welcomes Court of Appeal decision overturning the abolition of the ILF

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has welcomed today’s Court of Appeal ruling to overturn the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund. Commission Legal Director, Wendy Hewitt, said: “The court agreed with the Commission that what was needed in this instance was consideration of the impact of the proposal on all disabled people and specifically on ILF recipients who would most obviously be adversely affected by it. “Where the balance is to be struck between those is for the Minister but she must fully appreciate the impact on those affected.” The closure of the ILF, which provides money to enable disabled people to live in the community, would have meant them becoming entirely dependent on local authority services. Stuart Bracking and other claimants argued they would have lost their independence as a result, forcing many to live in residential care and give up work or study. The Commission intervened in the case, as an expert body with...

Volunteer keen to promote accessible sailing

A volunteer at the wheelchair acessible AHOY Sailing Centre, in Deptford, is backing a new sailing experience for disabled individuals. Sarah Howard, 42, from Greenwich in London, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, SMA, a progressive condition that affects her mobility, but thanks to her cutting edge Scandinavian Etac powerchair, she is able to sail and volunteer. AHOY owns a number of boats that are adapted to enable disabled users to sail or row, however, the 40ft Freedom power catamaran is quite unique. The catamaran was commissioned specifically for the charity with pioneering technology so that a disabled crew could steer and skipper her. ‘Freedom’ has an accessible toilet on board, wheelchair ramps and can be controlled via a joystick for people with limited upper body movement. Sarah is also the access officer at the world famous Sadler’s Wells Dance theatre in Islington. She believes her successful career could not have been possible without her powerchair and...

Grays of Holbeach – Great offers on Motability vehicles

When it comes to choosing a Motability vehicle – Grays of Holbeach –  is here to give customers, a great experience and excellent service. Grays of Holbeach, aims to be the No 1 Motability dealer for Lincolnshire. * Breakdown cover and insurance is included * The Motability Scheme offers the chance to choose a new car every three years So great offers for customers, means Motability Scheme customers have the opportunity to enjoy worry-free motoring. To find out how Motability can help - talk to a specialist at Grays of Holbeach. Check out the following special offers:- Mitsubishi Mirage – available for  Nil Advance Payment Mitsubishi ASX – From £299 Advanced rental Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D GX2 4WD 5dr – available for £1699 Grays of Holbeach is currently offering £150 Cashback - to our readers on quoting ‘Disabled Motoring News’ the motoring section of Disabled & Supportive Carer magazine – D&SC magazine For more deta...

New centre for deafblind children will be life changing for families

A mother of a deafblind child is backing plans to open the only dedicated deafblind children’s centre in London – one of just four of its kind in the UK. Ashling Barvé, mum to Kiera, who is now nine, and was born profoundly deaf and with severely limited vision, says the dedicated centre for deafblind children in London will be life changing for many families. Ashling Barvé said: “There are so few places for children like Kiera, which is why a new centre is so important. Kiera wears a cochlear implant and lost the limited sight she once had three years ago. After losing her vision she would often become distressed in busy noisy places. “Because the new centre has been designed just for deafblind children, Kiera will have quiet and calm spaces, as well as activities and equipment for learning and exploring. More than anything the centre will become a home-away-from-home, where she will be able to socialise with other children and feel secure and comfortable.” Th...

Tony Hammett pulls off new job with help from Remploy employment services

A Worcester man whose epilepsy resulted in him being unemployed for more than 10 years has turned his employment fortunes around and secured a job, with support from Remploy and the pub chain J D Weatherspoon. Tony Hammett, 42, who has frequently had seizures and found his confidence shattered, had experienced depression and became a virtual recluse, rarely venturing out of the house he shares with his sister. Last year, however, he was referred by his local Jobcentre Plus to Remploy, a provider of specialist employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people. He received tailored one-to-one support from Remploy’s branch in Worcester city centre, including help with online job searching and advice on creating a CV to highlight his skills to potential employers Tony Hammett said: “Remploy helped me set achievable goals and showed me it was possible to get back to work even after such a long time without a job.” The support paid off when he was offered a two w...

Deaf Champions provide awareness training to health professionals

A group of deaf volunteers have received ‘train the trainer’ training to help them to deliver their own short deaf awareness training courses to health care professionals in GP surgeries and hospitals. Eleven volunteers from the North West attended the two-day course, delivered by HearFirst. The training is part of a partnership project called Deaf Health Champions. The project is a partnership of national healthcare charity, Sign Health, UK Council on Deafness, Manchester Deaf Centre, Merseyside Society for Deaf People and Cumbria Deaf Vision. It is being funded until December 2015 through a grant of £592,000 from the department of health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund, HSCVF. Joanne Slater, the project manager for Deaf Health Champions, said: “As part of the project we will be delivering mini deaf awareness sessions to health organisations. The best people to deliver that training are deaf people themselves.” Deaf people are more likely to be ...

Conference told adult deafness is 'not getting the priority it deserves'

Many GPs are failing to take adult deafness seriously enough, and the Ear Foundation say 45% of patients are not being referred to specialists for assessment. As a result, many deaf people face social isolation, are more like to suffer from depression and dementia, and struggle to find work. Patients are being denied the latest technology, such as the use of cochlear implants. That’s the finding of a new report, Adult Cochlear Implantation: Evidence and experience - The Case for a Review of Provision, supported by Cochlear Europe, and launched by The Ear Foundation at a conference in London on October 15. Jointly authored by Brian Lamb, researcher and policy consultant and Sue Archbold the chief executive of The Ear Foundation, the report is urging action. Sue Archbold says: “There are well over half a million people in the UK with a severe to profound hearing loss, most of whom are in later life, yet the vast majority don’t know about the technology available and ...

'Access to Work' boost for 2,000 more disabled people

Two thousand more disabled people have been supported to get or keep their job, compared with the same period last year. The department for work and pensions said latest figures show 22,760 people were being helped through the Access to Work programme between April and June this year – an increase of 10% on last year. The minister for disabled people Mike Penning said Access to Work offers “unique and tailored” help so that disabled people can have the same choice of jobs as everyone else – in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between. Mike Penning said: “I would urge disabled people who are looking for work, or need more support to stay in their job, to find out how this scheme can help them.” Access to Work can provide cash payments towards support workers, specialist aids and equipment and travel to work support. The scheme supported 31,400 disabled people to keep or get employment last year and the recent statistics show the...

Calls to make information accessible for people with learning disabilities caught up in the justice system

Although a third of prisoners have a learning disability, or learning difficulties which affect their ability to read and understand information, the justice system is not always ensuring that the documents presented to offenders are accessible. At a meeting in the House of Lords today organised by the charity KeyRing Living Support Networks, working with the Prison Reform Trust, people with learning disabilities will talk personally about why accessible information is so important. Seven per cent of prisoners have an IQ of less than 70 and 25 per cent have an IQ between 70 - 79. Over half of prison staff believe that prisoners with learning disabilities or difficulties are more likely to be victimized and bullied. They are five times as likely as prisoners without such impairments to have been subject to control and restraint techniques – and more than three times as likely to have spent time in segregation. Making information accessible is classed as a ‘Reasonable ...

James takes the fitness message to heart

Rotherham man James Gosling, who has cerebral palsy, has transformed his life and is now encouraging others – as a Healthy Living Ambassador for Yorkshire-based charity Heart Research UK. James, 23, says he changed his lifestyle after attending a disability awareness course run by his employers, Rotherham United Community Sports Trust. He took on board that all the unhealthy habits being showcased at the event referred to him. “As I was listening I thought ‘that’s me’ so I decided I needed to deal with it and do something about it,” said James. “I was sitting on my own at home doing nothing but drinking unhealthy pop and eating nasty food, and my weight had increased to 15 stone.” Now James has not only lost four stone in weight he has also taken up cycling, drinks only water, and gets out of the house more. He also feels better about himself which has given him the confidence to go out more. He’s also an inspiration to the other disabled people as part...

Paralympians of the future discover their potential through sport

Sixty-five young amputees, supported by their families, have taken part in this year’s LimbPower Primary & Junior Games The weekend on 5-6 October at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, was an opportunity to introduce the young amputees, and possible future Paralympians, to many different sports. The 5-11 year-olds had the chance to try athletics, cycling, football, tennis and basketball in ‘Have a Go’ sessions under the guidance of experienced mentors and instructors from each sport’s governing body. On the second day the older children aged 11-18 had a go at key Paralympic sports including; athletics, Powerlifting, basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, football, cycling, swimming and tennis. They were able to have fun and also perhaps find some hidden talents, again with instruction from qualified coaches and experienced athletes. The Amputee Games were launched in 2008 and have become a much anticipated annual event. The aim is to help young amputees to learn ne...

Victory for Ryb in National Visually Impaired Tennis Tournament

In a fantastic weekend of tennis, Golders Green’s Paul Ryb and Carshalton’s Jan Reynolds won the men’s and women’s singles at the 2013 National Visually Impaired Tennis Tournament. With 50 players competing across seven different singles, or doubles events, Ryb ended the weekend with three titles. The tournament took place at the National Tennis Centre, Roehampton, on 5-6 October. Supported by Metro Blind Sport and the Tennis Foundation, it involved two qualification draws in both the men’s and women’s singles with the winner of Qualification A and Qualification B facing each other in the final. In the men’s final Paul Ryb beat Arif Malik 6-0. Ryb picked up another title when he partnered Minerva Ainsworth to win the mixed doubles. He claimed a third victory in the VI and Sighted mixed doubles as he partnered Jessica Bevington to a 7-4 victory over Graeme Manwell and Wendy Glasper. Odette Battarel, the defending women’s champion, and Reynolds dominated th...

Every Disabled Child Matters campaign calls for changes to the Children and Families Bill

As the House of Lords considers the Children and Families Bill today, campaigners say they are concerned the reforms will not meet the promise to make the system “less stressful” and “end the daily battle for help and services.” They are urging the prime minister to ensure the Bill will make life better for families of disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs. The Every Disabled Child Matters Campaign, EDCM, has joined over 100 charities and local parent groups to send an open letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Srabani Sen, EDCM Board Member, said: “The Government Green Paper ‘Support and Aspiration’ promised disabled children and young people and their families a better future. “It outlined a vision of properly joined-up services and one that all disabled children and young people will benefit from.” “As it stands, the Bill fails to deliver on this promise. We urge the government to make the changes to the Chil...

New minister for disabled people hopes to support people to 'live fulfilling lives'

Changes in the latest government reshuffle last week, have brought a new minister for disabled people to the department for work and pensions, DWP. Mike Penning, joins the department and replaces Esther McVey as minister for disabled people. Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, said: “It’s great to be back working with Iain Duncan Smith at this crucial time delivering important welfare reforms. “Disabled people aspire to the same opportunities as everyone else, and I want to continue Esther’s work to support disabled people to live fulfilling lives. “Making this a senior ministerial post shows the government’s commitment to disabled people and ensuring everyone can get on in life. Esther McVey stays on at the DWP as minister for employment. Mike Penning will be responsible for: * Cross-government disability issues including disability strategy and independent living *Right to Control – giving disabled people more choice and control over the suppor...

Talented Andrea Begley leads music workshop for blind and partially sighted children

Andrea Begley – the winner of the 2013 series of TV’s ‘The Voice’ – has lead a special music workshop at Joseph Clarke School in North London for a group of blind and partially sighted children. The amateur musicians, aged 11-16, joined Andrea for a morning of singing and playing along to some of her favourite tunes, including tracks from her brand new album The Message, which is due for release on 21 October. The event was part of Read for RNIB Day. Andrea Begley said: “I am proud to become a Read for RNIB Day Ambassador. Reading is a basic right for everyone but I think most people have little or no idea what life is like for people who are blind or partially sighted. “Accessing reading material has definitely been tough for me over the years. At school I used large print books. They literally weighed a ton in my bag and a lot of books I had to use had colour in them which was really poorly contrasted. “By the time I went to university my sight had dete...

Stoke Mandeville patient overcomes adversity to become a fitness instructor

Through a multi-award winning disabled fitness instructor programme, a previous patient at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has become a successful fitness instructor – and now there is an opportunity for other unemployed, disabled people to follow in his path. InstructAbility graduate, John Smith had been a keen body builder and boxer before he sustained a spinal cord injury. He was determined not to let a wheelchair get in the way of keeping fit. John was also inspired to become a fitness instructor so he could help other people who have gone through traumatic injury to find a positive way forward. Aspire, the spinal injury charity and YMCAfit, created the InstructAbility programme which gives disabled people access to free industry training. John has achieved a level 2 gym instructor qualification and secured a placement at Meopham Fitness Centre in Kent. He said: “It has been a really good work experience, I have been so busy I have ended up coming in for extra sessions...

‘Have your say’ as UN prepares to scrutinise how the rights of disabled people have been implemented

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is inviting input from disabled people to compile list of key disability issues for the United Nations to consider. The Commission has published a questionnaire on its website, as it gathers information to put forward to the UN. The feedback will be used to produce a submission for the United Nations Disability Committee to consider as it looks at the extent to which the UK government is implementing the rights of disabled people, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2015. The questionnaire can be completed by disabled people and disabled people’s user-led organisations in England and Wales. It forms part of the Commission’s ongoing work on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Respondents are asked to pick from a list of ten key issues such as transport, barriers to getting into work and poor access to justice. Ian Acheson the chief operating officer at t...

Celebrations for Limbs & Things on receiving Queen's Award for Enterprise

It’s an exciting day for Limbs & Things as the business celebrates on receiving The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation today. The Bristol designer and manufacturer – at the forefront in the UK for creating medical skills training products – has been recognised for its innovative contribution to skills training in medicine. The Queen’s Award is the UK’s highest accolade for business success. The presentation will be made by Lord-Lieutenant Mary Prior. Bristol Mayor George Ferguson and Local MP Kerry McCarthy will be speaking at the award ceremony. Limbs & Things in-house design and manufacturing process “balances traditional craft-based sculpting techniques with the latest technologies. “The result is an innovative range of British made products whose realistic look and tactile feel allow healthcare professionals to build their confidence and skills to ultimately improve patient care.” Margot Cooper the president of Limbs & Things ...

Accessibility charities and Transport for London create new awareness training for bus drivers

Transport for London, TfL, has launched a new accessibility awareness training programme designed to give bus drivers a greater understanding of the needs of older and disabled passengers. As part of its commitment as a founder member of the Pan-London Dementia Action Alliance, TfL will also be using the training to raise awareness of issues affecting people living with dementia and how drivers can help them make journeys safely and confidently. The training will be delivered to all of the capital’s 24,500 bus drivers by the end of 2014. The new scheme, called ‘All Aboard!’, has been developed with disabled and older bus passengers, Transport for All and Age UK London. Since 2008 TfL has more than doubled the number of accessible bus stops in the capital. Seventy-one per cent of bus stops now fully accessible. TfL is also investing £18m to increase this to 95 per cent by 2016. All 700 routes in the capital are served by buses that can be lowered to pavement ...

Ottobock and Science Museum celebrate award winning partnership

An engaging and educational ‘Summer of Sport’ exhibition has earned four awards. Staged to coincide with the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the hands-on ‘Summer of Sport’ show at the Science Museum in London, has been recognised at this year’s Corporate Engagement Awards Highlighting the role of modern technology in the advancement of prosthetic limbs for today’s athletes, the interactive display, ran from April to November 2012. A partnership between Ottobock, a world-leading supplier of innovative solutions for people with limited mobility, and the museum, ‘Summer of Sport’ won four awards – two silver and two highly-commended. Over seven months the show reached an audience of nearly two million people. This included 1.2 million people visiting the Topic zones in the Antenna Gallery; 3755 people visiting a mock Technical Service workshop set up in the museum for three days; and 240 people taking part in the learning activity to build their own running ...

Making a difference with neurokinex

Eight years ago father of two Peter Carr was hit by a car as he rode his motorbike to the station for his daily commute into London. In a split second his life changed forever. Paralysed from the chest down, Peter is one of the founders of neurokinex – a non-profit facility providing specialist rehabilitation through exercise for people suffering from spinal cord injuries. Peter Carr may be in a wheelchair but he doesn’t let it stop him living life to the full. He has been skiing and scuba diving with his family using specially adapted equipment and sings in a barber shop choir. He was 45 when his accident happened and working as an estates director for a university in London. He and his wife Laura have two children, Cameron 21 and Emmeline 18, and Peter said he was determined not to give up on life. “In the acute phase when the accident happens and immediately afterwards the NHS is brilliant. But once I was home and back in the real world I needed support to help me ...

SCIE new chief executive committed to user-driven social care

A new chief executive is to join the Social Care Institute for Excellence, SCIE, in January 2014. Tony Hunter, the chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council, and senior vice president of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives – SOLACE – will take the helm from Andrea Sutcliffe, who becomes the chief inspector of Adult Social Care for the Care Quality Commission, in October. Lord Michael Bichard, SCIE chair, said: “Tony has the perfect background for SCIE – combining over 35 years of experience in local authorities, charities and the private sector. “He has clout at national level and as a social worker in children’s and adults’ services he has in-depth knowledge of direct practice. “That – combined with his experience of working in private consultancy and disability and children’s charities – makes him an ideal choice to lead SCIE. Tony Hunter said: “I’ve had five great years as council chief executive in North East Lincolnshir...

Appeal for more dementia patients and carers to volunteer for research

A new film has been released to mark World Alzheimer’s Day on Saturday 21 September 2013, to urge more dementia patients and carers to take part in research. The film has been released by the National Institute for Health Research – NIHR –  in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dementia affects around 820,000 people in the UK – a figure that is expected to rise to one million people by 2021. The video follows Morag, who was recently diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s disease, and her husband and carer John as they embark on their journey into research. It states “that every three minutes someone develops dementia” and it highlights the vital need for more research into diagnosis, care, preventions and treatments of the condition. Martin Rossor, director of the NIHR Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network said: “Research has a critical role to play in improving patient care and treatment. We hope this video shows what it’s li...

Website puts disabled people in control of their care

A new interactive website, developed for and by disabled people has been launched by an independent living centre in Bristol. Launched at Disability Somerset, an independent living exhibition organised by Compass Disability, the website allows individuals to plan their care at their own pace and in as much depth as they wish. Conceived and created by the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living, WECIL, a disabled people’s charity based in Bristol, the site is accessible and free to use. Create my Support Plan, a two-year project funded by the department of health, is an online support planning tool for anyone receiving health and social care funding. Cheri Wilkins, WECIL chief executive said: “As an organisation run by and for Disabled People, we recognised the need to create a tool that would help people through the support planning process. “Support plans are very valuable; they give Disabled People real choice and control over their life. However, the process...

Carers UK calls for action as poll shows lack of public awareness of care technology

Many people are missing out and not realising the benefits of technology when caring for older, ill or disabled loved ones, according to a new survey. The national YouGov poll, commissioned by charity Carers UK, supported by Tunstall Healthcare (UK), highlights that carers of all ages, many of whom are also juggling work and family commitments, are failing to switch-on to the care technologies available. While more than 7 in 10 routinely use online banking and shopping services, baby monitors and GPS navigation, and Skype communications, the research shows only 3 in 10 are employing the use of monitors and sensors to maximise independence and support care provision. At a parliamentary event on 10 September, Carers UK will set out a blueprint for widening access to health and care technologies. Heléna Herklots, the chief executive of Carers UK, said: “We are not realising the capacity for technology to save time and reduce stress for the growing number of families who are...

Volunteers needed for research project to assess the 'cultural value of accessible theatre'

VocalEyes are involved with a new project to gain a better understanding of the value of the audio-description of theatre, culture and arts events, to blind and partially-sighted people. Working with London Metropolitan University’s Gamelab, the research to assess the cultural value of accessible theatre is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project will look at the value of accessible theatre both to the theatres who schedule audio-described, or captioned performances, as well as the benefit to the audiences. To help with the study they need two different groups of audio-described theatre users to come to a focus group and express their personal views. They are looking for four users of audio-described theatre who are blind or partially-sighted, and are under the age of 65. And two users of audio-described theatre aged over 65 who find audio-description helpful because they don’t see as well as they used to. They would also like to hear fr...

Father’s video of baby being taken into care continues to prompt debate

A landmark ruling to allow a webcam recording of a baby being taken into care has opened the debate on whether mothers with a learning disability can be supported to successully parent their children. The video capturing the stressful scenes as Staffordshire social workers take a baby away from its mother can now be viewed, following the ruling. The father had secretly filmed the seizure of the baby, known only 'baby J', on a webcam attached to the family computer. The recording has been on the internet for a while as attempts were made to get it banned. In June the baby’s father was given a suspended six-week prison sentence by a family court judge for refusing to remove the video from internet sites. The baby was just a few hours old in April when social services took the infant into care. The couple who cannot be named have had  four children removed by social services, three have been adopted. The parents said this is because social workers deemed the mother...

London to Brighton Cycle Ride for Motability

More than 2,000 cyclists are gearing up to take part in a London to Brighton charity event for Motability, on Sunday 8 September. The riders will start in South London for the 54-mile journey to Bighton’s seafront. Organised by doitforcharity.com cyclists pay a £35 entry fee and raise money for Motability, the national charity that directs and oversees the Motability Car Scheme. Aine Canavan the corporate accounts executive at Motability said: "The spirit of the event is 'taking part' not 'winning' so you can pedal at your own pace. “Motability’s charitable work supports disabled people who cannot afford the right car or adaptations for their needs, or help young disabled people with driving lessons.”  

DWP has wasted millions on IT systems for its flagship benefit reforms

The department for work and pensions has spent over £300 million to develop IT systems to introduce the new Universal Credit but it has not achieved value for money, according to a report by the National Audit Office. The NAO report said its introduction has been badly managed and the DWP was “overly ambitious in both the timetable and scope” of the flagship welfare reform programme. The Universal Credit replaced Jobseeker’s allowance, tax credits, income support, employment and support allowance – formerly known as incapacity benefit – and housing benefits with a single payment. The spending watchdog said the department took “risks to try to meet the short timescale and used a new project management approach which it had never before used.” In 2013 the DWP was forced to halt plans for the national roll-out due to IT problems. Of £425 million spent to introduce the new benefit payment 70 per cent has gone on IT. The report highlights an investment of ...

Garden brought to life by volunteers

Keen gardeners and dedicated volunteers Ian and Jane Robinson have transformed an area of waste ground into an accessible outside space for disabled people to enjoy. The couple have been volunteering at St Teresa’s, a Leonard Cheshire Disability home in Penzance, for one year and when the opportunity to improve the grounds arose they were quick to offer a helping hand. The duo threw themselves into improving the space, working three times a week over several months to spruce up and lay concrete to make a sensory garden accessible for wheelchair users. They also drew up and designed the plans for the new-look area and teamed up with the local B&Q shop, who donated decking, fencing and shrubs. This enabled raised plant beds, sensory flowers, herbs and a vegetable patch to be built. Ian, 56, a former businessman, said: “As keen gardeners, it was a privilege to be given the opportunity to transform the garden area. Volunteering is incredibly rewarding and we have met so ma...

Landmark report highlights the importance of supporting working carers

Improved support for working carers could boost the economy and save taxpayers £1.3 billion a year, according to a new report. The ‘Supporting Working Carers Report’ – launched by the care and support minister, Norman Lamb – highlights the need for a cultural shift among businesses towards addressing this issue. It warns as well as losing money, businesses risk losing valuable, experienced employees if action is not urgently taken to enable people with caring responsibilities to remain in work. There are more than three million employees who have to juggle their family caring responsibilities, for elderly or disabled relatives, around their job – almost two million work full time. With growing numbers of older people more employees will need to balance supporting elderly relatives around their work commitments. Carers already have a legal right to request flexible working hours after 26 weeks of continuous employment, and the Care Bill will give carers new rig...

Skiiing victory for Heather Mills at World Cup Winter Games

Disability campaigner Heather Mills is hoping to compete in the Winter Paralympic Games next year, after celebrating winning a silver medal for skiiing at the World Cup Winter Games, in New Zealand. Heather clinched the medal in the women’s adaptive slalom World Cup race at Coronet Peak in Queenstown. She clocked a time of 2 minutes 9.09 seconds. The event was won by Melanie Schwartz of Canada, who recorded a time of 1.59.79. Heather, now ranked 28 in the world for her skiing, is setting her sights on the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi next February. The former model and animal rights activist was seriously injured in 1993 when she was struck by a police motorcycle as she crossed the road. Her left leg was amputated six inches below the knee following the collision but for many sporting activities in the past she has often opted to use no prosthetic leg. She enjoys swimming and parachuting, and she has competed on equal terms with fellow celebrities in TV’s D...

Hearing loss team toast BB winner Sam's victory

Big Brother winner Sam Evans who has hearing loss has been celebrating his exciting victory on the Channel 5 TV reality show. Endemol, the production company behind the programme, worked with Action on Hearing Loss to make the BB House accessible for Sam, and to make both staff and contestants deaf aware. Around 10 million people in the UK have hearing loss and businesses and organisations have a duty to ensure that they communicate appropriately and effectively with people who are deaf or hard of hearing to meet their needs. Katherine Hancock, Action on Hearing Loss Senior Access Consultant said: “We worked together with Endemol prior to Sam entering the House to ensure that all his access and communication needs were considered and met. Changes were then made to the Big Brother House to ensure that Sam had the same equality of access as other housemates, with Endemol taking on our recommendations to ensure that Sam had the same chance of winning. “We were in constant ...

New homecare checklist resource logs performance of providers

A leading healthcare information provider has produced its own checklist as a reference to monitor the best homecare providers operating in England. Laing & Buisson has expanded its Care Compliance Monitor range to include service providers supporting elderly people and adults with learning disabilities, with care in their own homes. Launched this month, the tool mirrors Laing & Buisson’s care home monitor tool, launched to fill the void left when the Care Quality Commission, CQC, ended the star rating scheme in 2012. The new Homecare edition of the tool pools data from CQC inspection reports. Laing & Buisson say it presents a digested view of facilities’ performance as marked against the five main inspection ‘chapters’ of the essential standards of quality and safety. Data held within Care Compliance Monitor: Homecare answers questions including: * Which UK homecare groups do well and which do badly? * How are they changing over time? * How ...

Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius to face murder charge

Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has returned to court in South Africa today where he was formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The 26-year-old double amputee is accused of shooting Ms Steenkamp at his home in February 2013. He also faces a charge of illegal possession of ammunition. Pistorius, who is currently on bail, denies the charge of murder and says he shot Ms Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. Pretoria Magistrates Court was told a trial date of 3-20 March has been set for next year. South Africa does not have a jury system. A judge will preside at the the trial at the High Court, in Pretoria, and ultimately pronounce the athlete innocent or guilty. At the London 2012 Paralympics the South African Olympic and Paralympic star won gold in the T44 400m breaking the previous Paralympic record. He was also the first first double amputee to run at the Olympics making history at the London 2012 Olympic Games competing ...

Caring for people with Post Polio Syndrome

When caring for people it can be easy to miss the symptoms of many illnesses and conditions, as some are harder to spot than others. Anyone who has had polio may develop Post Polio Syndrome – PPS – in later life and while the symptoms can present in different ways, their general nature means a GP will be needed to confirm any suspicions. PPS is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80 per cent of people who have had polio and even GPs can sometimes struggle with diagnosis. The classic symptoms include muscle and joint pain, struggles with breathing and swallowing and cold intolerance, while other warning signs can include increasing weakness and fatigue and a general reduction in stamina. Approximately 120,000 people in the UK are living with the condition, yet it is still perceived as a minority issue. A survey by The British Polio Fellowship showed that despite roughly the same number of people having PPS as Parkinson’s disease, awareness among GPs of PPS is p...

Different by design

Lewis Reed (WAV) Ltd is one of the oldest established manufacturers of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the UK. Listening to the needs of customers over many years and working closely with motor manufacturer partners has enabled them to produce a range of vehicles that are not only recognised as a premium brand throughout Europe but also offer the greatest functionality for the wheelchair travelling passengers and their families. In addition their commitment to being ‘Different by Design’ guarantees that the final engineering fit and beautifully stylish finish remains unrivalled. In April 2013 Lewis Reed launched the ‘Vivre’ their newest product, a converted Adria Caravan. Initial feedback is very positive. With widened front door, lounge space, wet room and bedroom area, Lewis Reed has now made holiday experiences more accessible for wheelchair users. Whether it is a WAV or caravan, Lewis Reed focuses on the whole family when designing and developing the perfec...

Drive to find forever families for children of all ages

Northamptonshire County Council is asking people to consider whether they could make a child’s wish come true by becoming a forever family. The council’s latest recruitment drive aims to find local families who could offer a child in need a home on a permanent basis either by fostering, or adopting. There are children of all ages waiting for permanent, loving homes. Here are just a few of their profiles: JACK is two and a half years old and has a sweet personality. He can be adventurous and determined, and is very smiley with sparkling eyes that light up when he is enjoying himself. He has a diagnosis of Myotonic Dystrophy Type1; resulting in him having low muscle tone, giving him difficulties with feeding and swallowing. He’s a little behind in speech development but is able to express himself. Jack is making good progress – he is walking well and enjoys splashing in the water at bath time and at swimming! He is a sociable little boy who interacts well with others....

Stelios urges disabled entrepreneurs to seize the chance to win £50,000

The founder of easyJet, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is calling for talented disabled entrepreneurs to apply for this year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK. The winner of the award which is now in its seventh year, will be presented with a £50,000 cash prize – at a special ceremony in London. The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire Disability, is now in its seventh year. It recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs who have overcome challenges to set up their own businesses. Last year’s winners Cyclone Technologies’ David Hawkins and Stuart Dunne have built a successful business to supply bespoke mobility and fitness equipment to paraplegic users. The deadline for entries is 5pm on 25 October 2013. Sir Stelios said: “I am passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship, and the previous winners of this award offer proof that there are many highly talented disabled entrepreneurs out there...

Aspire hugely disappointed by ‘bedroom tax’ ruling

In response to yesterday’s High Court ruling that the spare room subsidy does not unlawfully discriminate against disabled people, the charity that supports people with spinal injury is “hugely disappointed.” In a paradoxical catch-22 ruling the judges decided, although the bedroom tax does discriminate against disabled people, it is not unlawful due to the government having taken mitigating action for this by increasing Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). However, Aspire said a limited pot of money for discrentionary payments is no guarantee that it will reach the disabled people affected. Aspire chief executive Brian Carlin said: “This ruling appears to have failed to take into account the reasons why it is both harder for disabled people to move homes and why they may need larger accommodation. “Many disabled people are unable to share a room or need additional space for equipment or carers. The ruling could result in more disabled people being forced out of...

Families lose latest battle against housing benefit 'bedroom tax'

Disabled families challenging the government’s housing benefit changes are “bitterly disappointed” after the High Court ruled that the change did not breach their human rights. Ten families had brought the action in response to the introduction of the government’s spare room charges, labelled the “bedroom tax.” The reform, introduced on 1 April 2013, means the housing benfit for those in work is based on the number of bedrooms a household needs. However, disabled families have argued they often need an extra bedroom because disabled partners are often undable to share a room. They may need additonal space for equipment. A statement from the department for work and pensions said: “We are pleased to learn that the court has found in our favour and agreed that we have fulfilled our equality duties to disabled people. “Reform of housing benefit in the social sector is essential, so the taxpayer does not pay for people’s extra bedrooms.” The DWP has estima...

Win £500 cash voucher at BMW and MINI Motability event

For a unique opportunity to see the BMW and MINI vehicles available on the Motability car scheme – the invitation has gone out to get down to a special event on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August, at Cotswold Cheltenham, Gloucester and Hereford. The BMW and MINI ranges will be available to check out at leisure, and product experts ‘Geniuses’ and Motability Specialists will be on hand to answer questions. To celebrate the event Cotswold are giving every customer who renews their contract over the weekend a ticket for a special prize draw with a chance to win a £500 Cash Voucher. To welcome new customers Cotswold are giving away two tickets. Under the Motability Car Scheme, there is a choice of eight BMW model ranges, from the BMW 1 Series 3-door to the BMW X1, all available with a lower Advance Payment than many people might expect. In fact currently, the BMW range starts from £799 Advance Payment for the BMW 116d SE 5-door Sports Hatch. Motability Specialists wi...

'Time for tea' – Motability gears up for summer fundraising campaign

In a major fundraising drive, national disability charity Motability is urging supporters to 'put the kettle on' and host a Tea Party. A number of celebrity chefs and bakers have donated recipes for tea-time treats to inspire those taking part. The campaign runs from 26-30 August, and anyone is welcome to join in and hold a tea party, at home or in work. TV’s Great British Bake Off finalists James Morton and Brendan Lynch, as well as health and fitness expert Rosemary Conley are supporting the campaign. Their recipes are available online, along with a free Motability fundraising pack, packed with tea party invitations, recipes and tips for a successful event. Gary Parker, Individual Giving Manager at Motability said: “All of the money raised will be used to support disabled people who cannot afford the right car or adaptations for their needs, or help young disabled people with driving lessons.” Motability’s charitable work relies on voluntary income and aims ...

Meningitis B vaccine campaign ‘not over’

Campaigners frustrated at delays to introduce a lifesaving vaccination for Meningitis B have vowed to continue their battle. Each year around 1,870 are hit by Men B – about half of them babies and young children. For one in ten it is fatal and one in three are left with serious disabilities such as brain damage or limb loss. Tilly Lockey, from County Durham, is one youngster who contracted meningitis B as a toddler. She lost both hands as a result of meningococcal scepticaemia. Her mum Sarah has been campaigning nationally for the introduction of a vaccine after her family’s experience. Paralympic sprinter Jason Peacock was was only five when he contracted meningitis. He lost a leg and nearly died. The Meningitis Trust/Meningitis UK is now urging people to lend their support and sign its Beat it Now! petition and write to their MP. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the independent body which advises the government on vaccination says the curr...

Charity training project welcomes royal guest

The Princess Royal has visited a training and employment project geared to supporting people with learning disabilities to find jobs in hospitality and catering. Run by the national learning disability charity, Hft, the Bytes project currently supports eight people with learning disabilities to take part in the course. They can go on to gain a qualification accredited by the Laser awards, which is part of the Open College Network. Now in its fourth year, the Abingdon-based project has helped 17 people so far – and the majority have found local employment in Oxfordshire. The course is based on the NVQ entry level exam, with all of the resources made ‘accessible’ and takes place over a year, in three terms, at Hft Milton Heights. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only around 12 per cent of people with learning disabilities are in employment whereas 32 per cent of those supported by Hft have paid or voluntary employment. The Princess Royal went...

The first two dementia assistance dogs boost morale

The first two assistance dogs, specially trained to help people with dementia, have begun working in the community. Kaspa and Oscar are pioneering the way to see how much positive help and support they are able to provide. The dogs are living with two couples Frank and Maureen, and Ken and Glenys from Angus in Scotland. Maureen and Ken have both recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia. Kaspa, a labrador and golden retriever Oscar have been trained to fetch medicines when a reminder alarm goes off and they can  also help to wake up a person. For both couples, having an assistance dog has provided a reason to go out for regular walks to the park together and keep in touch with the world around them. Both dogs have been highly trained to help offer practical assistance and reduce social isolation and anxiety levels. And Kaspa and Oscar are proving to be great stress-relievers at home, where the couples say that they feel more motivated. Glenys said: “Kaspa h...

Access to Work boost to support more disabled people into mainstream jobs

The government’s Access to Work scheme is gearing up to help more young disabled people into mainstream jobs. Disabled people on traineeships, or supported internships – for young people who have complex learning difficulties or disabilities, as well as those on work trials and work academies will for the first time get extra help through the scheme. The minister for disabled people Esther McVey said: “We’re opening up Access to Work so that more young disabled people can get a foothold in the jobs market, get their careers on track and achieve their full potential.” Access to Work provides funding towards the extra costs disabled people face in work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment or support workers. Businesses with up to 49 employees will save up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund by no longer having to pay a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work. Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own busine...

Experiences of an accessible trip to Spain

Martyn Sibley, a wheelchair using, travel blogger and co-editor of the online portal Disability Horizons, has written about his latest experience enjoying “four crazy and adventurous days in Spain” and released a video clip of from a hot air balloon trip. In June the Catalan Tourist Board invited a group of disability travel agencies to check out their accessibility for disabled tourists. One of the agencies was Enable Holidays, who provide customers with accessible hotels and adapted transfers, no matter what their needs are. They invited Martyn on the trip to test drive the facilities and share my thoughts back home... After seeing the schedule, I was apprehensive how full-on it was and how lucky I was to do such activities. It is impossible to give you in depth of every hotel, restaurant and activity we did, however, here is my highlight reel... Accommodation – every hotel had an accessible room, with a roll-in shower and room under the bed for my hoist. The hoist ...

Three-person IVF could help to reduce serious childhood diseases

Innovative IVF-based techniques to enable doctors to create IVF babies using genetic material from three people could get the green light to prevent some serious inherited childhood diseases. Dame Sally Davies the chief medical officer for England announced the more at a briefing in London, on 27 June. A consultation by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority  – HFEA – published in March suggested the public was generally supportive of the pioneering technology. The government will produce draft regulations this autumn. If MPs then approve the regulations, following a debate in parliament next year, Britain could be the first country to give the technique its backing. The process known as mitochondrial transfer procedure, involves using a snippet of DNA from a healthy female donor to prevent mothers passing on conditions such as muscular dystrophy and life-limiting heart and liver conditions. Mitochondria are described as the tiny, biological ‘power stat...

Spending Plan welfare cap 'risks unfairly penalising disabled people' – Sense

Charities representing disabled people say the government’s Spending Plans for 2015 - 2016, announced by the chancellor George Osborne risk tipping blind and partially sighted people into despondency. Steve Winyard, the head of policy and campaigns at RNIB said there had been some hope the plans could mean some of the difficulties for disabled people would subside. However, he said: “The Spending Review confirms the worst. Further cuts to local authorities’ budgets risk tipping blind and partially sighted people who are just about coping into a spiral that could end in isolation, ill health and despondency. “It’s also shocking for disabled people to learn that the government will impose an artificial total spending cap on disability benefits. The RNIB’s report ‘Quick wins and missed opportunities’ argued that by providing modest help, for example re-ablement services, local authorities could enable blind and partially sighted people to live independent, conn...

Relatives of patients could unlock the mysteries of Rheumatoid Arthritis

A new study has been launched during National Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week from 24–28 June, to try to provide an insight into why some people go on to develop RA while others don’t. Researchers want to recruit 3,000 close relatives of patients – either a parent, sibling or a child – to take part in the project. Working with patients and their families the aim is create a national database to examine and compare the lifestyle and genetic information in those people who go on to develop RA, against those who remain free of the condition. The disease which affects around 0.8 per cent of the population causes pain and reduced mobility for patients. It costs the NHS an estimated £560 million per year. Those taking part in the study will be asked to answer a questionnaire about their family history and lifestyle, and to provide a blood sample. The project is the first of its kind in the UK. It is being led by Professor Ian Bruce, senior investigator at...

Well done Andrea Begley – on song to win The Voice

Andrea Begley gave a great performance to win the final of this year's series of The Voice, on BBC TV. Twenty-seven-year-old Andrea who is partially-sighted beat the bookmakers’ favourite, Leah McFall, to secure a lucrative contract on the talent show. Her success follows that of Britain’s Got Talent finalists Jack Carroll who has cerebral palsy – a finalist this year, and Susan Boyle who has learning difficulties – a finalist in 2009. The wheelchair dance duo Strictly Wheels got the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. All have overcome adversity to achieve their dreams. Now The Voice has its own rising star with Andrea Begley. To win, Andrea, who has 10 per cent vision, has been on a crash-course in learning to dance and how to negotiate a TV set. Although she is familiar with the stage and enjoys performing the TV studio has presented a different challenge. Working with her TV coach she has had to learn simple arm movements, and to learn a rout...

BHTA backs new consumer code to help people buy disability aids

The British Healthcare Trades Association is supporting a new scheme to help consumers buy independent living aids with confidence. The Trading Standards Institute’s new Consumer Codes Approval Scheme replaces the Office of Fair Trading. Launching the scheme which aims to give customers greater trust in trade associations and business organisations that operate codes of practice, the TSI pledged to crackdown on traders who fail to comply with the industry code. The BHTA is an inaugural member new Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. The UK healthcare association, founded in 1917, represents almost 500 member companies employing more than 17,000 people who make or sell assistive technology products that help people live more independently. Products range from wheelchairs and scooters to stairlifts, seating and positioning products, rehabilitation, stoma and continence products, prosthetics, orthotics and augmentative communication devices for people with limited speech. As w...

Film charts dad’s personal story to raise global awareness about MND

A film which tells the personal story of a young  father who died within a short time of developing motor neurone disease goes on release at UK cinemas this month. ‘I Am Breathing’ is a deeply moving documentary about the final months in the life of Neil Platt – a thirty-three-year-old Yorkshireman who died in 2009. Within one year, Neil Platt became paralysed from the neck down. As his body fails, he tries to make sense of his life in order to communicate who he is in a letter to his one-year-old son. Knowing he only has a few months left to live, and while he still has the ability to speak, Neil puts the letter and a special memory box together for his baby son Oscar. Presented by the Scottish Documentary Institute and made by SDI Productions, it will screen as part of the 2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film is part of a huge global campaign to raise awareness about motor neurone disease, launching on 21 June – for MND Global Awareness Day. ...

New PIP disability benefit extends across the country

The new system of Personal Independence Payments, PIP, is now being rolled out to the rest of England, Wales and Scotland, as part of the government’s welfare reforms to target support for those who need it most. The PIP benefit, which replaces the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) started in April with a phased introduction in the north of England. It makes a cash contribution towards the extra costs associated with an impairment or health condition, to support disabled people to live independent lives. Like the benefit it replaces – Disability Living Allowance –  it is non-means tested, non-taxable and is paid to people who are in or out of work. The PIP assessment looks at an individual’s ability to carry out a broad range of everyday activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and getting around. It also looks at reading, verbal communication and how someone engages with other people – which is one reason why the government says it better recognises mental ...

Eden Rainforest Aerial Walkway reaches new heights

The Eden Project in Cornwall, has opened a new aerial walkway for a series of preview tours, ahead of its official opening to the public at the end of June. The Rainforest Aerial Walkway snakes through the treetops of a huge indoor jungle at the venue. The journey begins at the Rainforest Basecamp and an Eden narrator gives those on the tour an overview during the trip. Eden has been working with the Sensory Trust to make the experience great for visitors of all ages and abilities. Dr Jo Elworthy, Eden’s director of Interpretation, said: “A piece of primary forest - the size of Eden’s vast indoor jungle disappears in the wild every ten seconds. Rainforests help keep us alive wherever we live. Addressing the challenge  – including how the story is told – needs a fresh approach. “Once you have visited the rainforest it changes you forever, fuelling a desire to care. Not everyone has that opportunity so we decided to grow a rainforest right here in Cornwall, UK. ...

Competition to inspire photographers with disabilities

An award-winning humanitarian photographer, who was seriously injured on patrol with the US Army in Afghanistan, is to provide encouragement to amateur photographers with disabilities. Giles Duley, who lost both legs an arm when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, will be attending the Mobility Roadshow on 28 June to launch the On the Move 2013 competition. The annual national competition for disabled photographers is jointly organised by the Disabled Photographers’ Society and Mobility Choice, the charity behind the Mobility Roadshow. Already a world-renowned photographer, Giles Dudley was a winner at the Prix de la Photographie, Paris in 2010 and again in 2012 following the incident. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year’s the Mobility Roadshow, from 27-29 June, is at the Telford International Centre for the first time. Giles will be sharing his photographic experiences with visitors, as well as his rehabilitation to resume work. Jacqui Jones the ...

Record numbers prepare to support Carers Week 2013

More than 2,250 organisations and 100 MPs have signed up to take part in this year’s Carers Week, from 10-16 June. The record number of registrations for this year’s campaign, Prepared to Care? is set to make it the largest ever. There are 6.5 million carers in the UK and every day 6,000 people take on new caring responsibilities. Carers Week is the only annual awareness campaign to raise the profile of carers, and celebrate and recognise their contribution. Voluntary and community groups, charities, hospitals, local authorities, hospices, GP surgeries and social care providers are geared up to take part. Highlighting the impact of caring on daily life and, with an ageing population and higher incidence of disability and serious illness, Carers Week will encourage the public to think whether they could manage a caring role – and show how health and social care professionals can help support carers. Skills for Care, the Sector Skills Council with responsibility f...

Age UK points to crisis in social care as hospital patients wait longer for residential care

The charity Age UK says the Care Support Bill needs to be twinned with both an emergency injection of funds to shore up the current system. It is concerned that people are having to wait on average 13 per cent longer in hospital before finding a place in a residential care home, compared to when the government came to power. Michelle Mitchell the charity director general of Age UK: “Waiting in hospital needlessly not only wastes NHS resources but it can also undermine an older person’s recovery and be profoundly upsetting for them and their families as a result. “We are very worried that the growing crisis in social care is having a significant impact on the length of time that older people are having to stay in hospital waiting for social care support to be put in place. “The steep rise in the length of time people are waiting for a care home place, home care or adaptations – significantly above the general rise in delayed discharge waits - suggests that somethin...

Simple solution to ease pain when walking or standing

Every day, the average person takes 18,000 steps, resulting in thousands of pounds of pressure on the 26 bones in their feet. This constant compression can cause pain, discomfort and fatigue. Over time serious disorders like arthritis, heel spurs and Plantar Fasciitis can become a problem. We were designed to walk on soft ground but instead we tend to walk more and more on hard tiled or concrete surfaces. This constant pounding takes its toll on the feet as well as the ankles, knees, hips and lower back which have to absorb the impact. Chris Fitzpatrick of Sole-Mates explains how liquid orthotics can offer some relief.  Feet! Love them or loath them, they’re a crucial part of the body and yet people are more prepared to spend money on having their hair done or having their teeth whitened than they are on looking after their feet. Shoes are chosen for how good they look rather than for the support they offer or the comfort that provide. And then they wonder why they hurt so muc...

Wedding ring is fitted to ground-breaking hand

When Luke Medland who was born without a hand got a new state-of-the-art multi-articulating myo-electric hand, everything changed – but the wedding ring had to go. Now though, Luke and Nancy Medland are delighted that a special marital version of the bionic hand has been created – complete with a replica of his original wedding ring. Luke, 31, had used a variety of cosmetic hands with limited function for almost 20 years. Having tried and rejected numerous versions over the years, he thought this would remain the case, and continued to wear the ring Nancy placed on his conventional prosthetic hand six years ago. However, after successful trials with the bebionic3 Luke said finally after years of frustration, “I was elated to have the bebionic3 fitted. It felt amazing to be able to do so many things which are normal for most people. The fact I couldn’t wear my wedding ring was the only downside. “We mentioned this in passing to the manufacturers and were thrilled w...

New Great Britain deaf tennis coach

Deaf tennis has a new ‘champion’ following the appointment of two-time Deaflympic Games medallist Catherine Fletcher as the new Great Britain Deaf Tennis Coach. The Tennis Foundation announced the seven-time national champion as the new coach ahead of the 2013 National Deaf Tennis Championships, at the Gosling High Performance Centre, Welwyn Garden City from 4-6 May. The 30-year-old from Burderop, near Chiseldon, Wiltshire is looking forward to being the GB coach for the tennis event at the 22nd Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 26 July to 4 August 2013, which she hopes will also be her fifth and last Deaflympics as a player. Catherine Fletcher made her Great Britain international debut as a player aged 12 before going on to make the first of four Deaflympic Games appearances in 1997. Since then she has won medals for Great Britain in every major international deaf tennis competition including gold in the mixed doubles with Anthony Sinclair at the 2009 Deaflym...

Improving Tube travel in the capital

Boarding ramps are to be introduced to all step-free Tube stations this summer. Transport for London said the ramps – used to bridge the gap between platform and train at underground stations –  were retained at 16 Tube stations in September last year after their use during the 2012 Games. They will now be introduced at an additional 40 platforms at 19 additional stations. Improved step-free signage at key stations, a world-leading audio visual system on the Victoria line and a new accessibility Twitter feed are among improvements designed to improve access for all. Disability organisations Inclusion London and Transport for All have been appointed to improve training given to LU staff in how they assist older and disabled customers; Disabled passengers can now stay informed about how to get the most out of the transport network by following @TfLAccess on Twitter  

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson backs Viper project call to give young people a voice

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is supporting young disabled people in their campaign for the right to have a say in decisions which affect their lives. A research project by a group of 16 disabled young people, called ‘Vipers’ – standing for Voice, Inclusion, Participation, Empowerment and Research – focused on their opportunities to have a say in how health and social care services are run, designed and commissioned. It revealed they face significant barriers preventing them from having a voice when these decisions are being made. Today, the young people are due to present their report ‘Hear us out’ to an audience of experts. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has met the young researchers from the project and she said: “The message I’d have for services that don’t include young disabled people is stop it. It’s just wrong not to involve young disabled people. “It doesn’t matter if you’re disabled or non-disabled, you have a right to have an opinion an...

New guides help ensure GP surgeries are more welcoming

Two new guides published by Contact a Family aim to help GPs make their practices more welcoming for disabled children and their families. It follows a survey by the charity which revealed more than three quarters of parents with disabled children do not visit their GP about their child’s condition. Many said they find it easier to go to their local A&E. Dr Ella Baines, a London GP and mother of a disabled child, said: “Taking my son to see the GP can be difficult – sometimes it can feel like a battle. Even sitting in the waiting room can be a challenge. “I always hope the doctor will take into account his disabilities but not be overwhelmed by them, but that’s difficult if my son is distressed or if we see someone new. “As a GP myself, I work with many families with disabled children. For me, getting to know a disabled child when they are well is key to assessing them properly and understanding the whole family means we work together to make decisions.” M...

Pioneering 'magic' therapy for young people with hemiplegia

The social enterprise, Breathe Arts Health Research, has designed a new therapy programme to help young people with hemiplegia, which integrates specially adapted magic tricks into intensive therapy. Breathe hosts camps for children  where they are taught specially adapted magic tricks by a team of magicians and trained therapists. With the help of mentors from Lloyds Banking Group, Breathe wants to expand its work to benefit children nationally and has signed up British Paralympic athlete, Bethy Woodward as the social enterprise’s patron. Hemiplegia is a condition which severely limits the use of one side of the body. Since 2008 Yvonne Farquharson and Dr Dido Green have been working with a team of clinicians and ‘Magic Circle’ magicians on developing the therapy. Yvonne Farquharson the founder of Breathe, said: “Working with Dr Green to carry out robust scientific research which explores the clinical impact of this work, and consequently proving the effectivene...

Reduced benefit entitlement to hit thousands of disabled people

The changes to benefit payments for disabled people begin to be phased in today for those in the north of England – as campaigners say it will “not improve personal independence.” Based on the government’s own figures Disability Rights UK said 55 per cent of disabled people who previously received the Disability Living Allowance will have either no award, or a reduced payment, once the roll out of the new Personal Independence Payment – PIP – is complete. The charity said this means 450,000 disabled people are set to have no disability benefit entitlement at all and 510,000 will have a reduced award. Liz Sayce the chief executive of Disability Rights UK said: “We are very concerned about the impact of PIP which could see thousands of disabled people become institutionalised in their own homes. “For example DWP expects that 428,000 disabled people who currently get the higher rate mobility component will lose it altogether or receive the lower amount. “T...

Easier access at Tube stations in the capital

To help wheelchair users, passengers with guide dogs, parents with buggies and passengers with luggage more wide aisle gates have been installed making a total of 348 gates at London Underground stations. Two thirds of the network now has these gates installed, giving passengers more independence and quicker journeys. It means that customers don’t have to ask staff to unlock a gate for them. Howard Collins, London Underground’s chief operating officer said: “It is a real benefit for many disabled customers making their journeys more independent and quicker.” London will also see a further 28 step-free London Underground and London Overground stations over the next 10 years.    

Inside story of amputee rally team

The fast-paced account of how a group of injured servicemen became the first team with disabilities to attempt and finish the Dakar Rally has been published in a book to support the Help For Heroes charity. £2 from every copy will support the Help For Heroes-run Tedworth House Recovery Centre in Wiltshire. ‘Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary’ recalls the determination of the 28-strong team, including six amputees, to prepare for the demanding 5,500 mile race across the sand dunes of South America earlier this year. The two weeks of racing includes action photos and views from key team members as three of the four vehicles fell out of the race but they rallied to keep the final car ‘Joy’ in the competition. Race2Recovery was conceived by Captain Tony Harris, 31, and Corporal Tom Neathway, 28, who met at Headley Court in Surrey as part of their rehabilitation after suffering injuries in Afghanistan. Capt Harris was injured by an IED in 2009...

Time to celebrate a personal achievement on gaining a degree

Inspired by the support and encouragement of his personal assistants, Fred Dunford, aged 64, has successfully gained a BSc Open degree with the Open University. A client of complex care provider The Complete Group, Fred Dunford began studying in 2004, a year after suffering a T4 spinal cord injury in a car accident, which paralysed him from the chest down. He became a Complete client in 2003 and now lives independently in Waterlooville, Hampshire, with the support of his personal assistant Nijole Sileikiene who provides his day to day care. Although ill health over the last nine years led to Fred putting his studies on hold at various times, the example of other personal assistants with degrees helped encourage him to re-enrol and start again. The distance learning approach of the Open University – enabling  students to read and access online material and tutor support from home and send in assignments by e-mail – suited Fred. He also attended tutorials and took exa...

Did the Chancellor deliver for older people? charities are concerned about funding cuts

Age UK has given its response to today's Budget and called on the government to urgently address the "spiralling crisis in social care" by ensuring that every older person gets the help that they need when they need it. Welcoming the earlier implementation of the care costs cap – and the higher upper means test threshold from April 2016 – the director general at Age UK, Michelle Mitchell, said this will do nothing to help the 800,000 older people who need help with everyday tasks but receive no formal state support. Michelle Mitchell said: “Since this government came to power, in real terms £700 million has been cut from social care spending, mostly as a consequence of the slashing of local authorities budgets at a time when need is rising due to our ageing population. “The future of social care is one of the most important issues facing the country. All too often the NHS and families are left to pick up the pieces when older people fail in their struggle to cope alon...

Changes to the GP contract should benefit patients with arthritis and diabetes

The department of health says thousands of patients with long-term health conditions and dementia could benefit as the new GP contract switches £164 million from “bureaucratic box ticking exercises and into better care.” From April, changes to the GP contract will mean that money that was once given to doctors for carrying out routine record keeping will now be used to reward steps which directly support and benefit patients. This includes better control of blood pressure and cholesterol, to prevent heart attacks and stroke, and assessing patients at risk from dementia. The health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Providing better treatment for people with long term conditions helps save lives and I know GPs will rise to the challenge. “We have listened to GPs and stakeholders and made some changes to our proposals to reflect these views and now feel we are in the right place to go forward.” Under the changes, GP practices will need to match the high quality care seen...

Down Syndrome awareness week puts the spotlight on research

The children's charity Action Medical Research is focusing on the importance of research to help children with the condition, during Down syndrome awareness week, from 18- 24 March 2013. The charity is highlighting a study taking place at the University of Southampton to explore tests for the breathing disorder obstructive sleep apnoea. The project, led by sleep specialist Dr Catherine Hill and funded by Action Medical Research, hopes to provide the missing evidence so doctors can introduce routine screening. Around 750 babies are born with Down syndrome each year in the UK and estimates suggest up to three quarters of them have obstructive sleep apnoea. OSA disturbs sleep and can lead to problems with growth, learning and behaviour. The condition can also put extra strain on the hearts of children with Down syndrome, around 50 per cent of whom are born with heart problems. Hospitals in Southampton, Sheffield and London are to recruit around 180 children with Down syndro...

Spirit Of The Games comes to the East Midlands

Leicester will be the latest place to benefit from the spirit of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics when The British Polio Fellowship stages its annual National Indoor Games. Paralympian and London 2012 medal winner James Crisp will attend the event at the Leicester Marriott Hotel, over the weekend of 22-24 March Having experienced this muscle wastage from an early age James has always managed his lifestyle around his disability and hasn’t let it hold him back from achieving his dreams. James Crisp said: “Contracting Polio was obviously a traumatic experience for my parents but one which I was luckily too young to really understand at the time. “However, it has made me the person I am today and it’s the reason I am part of the British Paralympics Squad. “I am a keen supporter of The British Polio Fellowship, working to raise money for the charity through my sponsors and supporters, to help others like me achieve their dreams and make the most of their abi...

Review will explore how to raise care standards

An independent review to evaluate how healthcare and care assistants can provide better care to patients will focus on training and support. It will also look at how recruitment can be strengthened to “place the right people, with the right values and behaviours, in the right settings.” Care assistants provide some of the most personal support to vulnerable people including – eating, washing, dressing, help getting out of bed or going to the toilet. They also take basic measurements such as temperature, pulse and weight. The health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We want everyone receiving treatment and support across the health and care sector to get the most safe, effective and compassionate care. “So we need to make sure that the staff tasked with carrying out some of the most personal and fundamental jobs have the skills, values and behaviours needed to provide this.” The review will be led by Times journalist Camilla Cavendish who will report back to gover...

Study finds many children with disabilities are being illegally excluded from school

Disabled children are routinely illegally excluded from school with a devastating impact on their education and mental health, according to new research from Contact a Family. The charity’s ‘Falling Through The Net’ survey of more than 400 affected families of children with disabilities or additional needs found more than half of families have been asked to collect their child during the school day "because there are not enough staff available to support them." Srabani Sen the chief executive of Contact a Family said: "If non disabled pupils were sent home because there were not enough school staff, there would be uproar.” Contact a Family said “illegal exclusions” involve schools bypass official procedures laid out by the department for education. Unlike formal exclusions, schools do not have to report this type of exclusion to the local authority. It is not subject to review or external monitoring and can drag on indefinitely. Typical scenarios include: ...

Free wheelchair loan scheme launched

To give pre-school children with disabilities an opportunity to experience independent mobility for the first time in their lives – QEF and MERU have launched a free loan scheme for the Bugzi, a powered wheelchair for children aged one to six. Parents and therapists may now apply for the first 10 Bugzies from this scheme at QEF Mobility Services in Carshalton, Surrey. Bugzi was designed and is manufactured by children’s charity MERU in response to the need for a powered wheelchair suitable for very young disabled children. The Bugzi Loan Scheme has been made possible by a special fundraising campaign to raise £100,000 to enable MERU to build 20 Bugzies. TV presenter Richard Hammond launched the campaign in 2011, and more than £50,000 has been raised to date, meaning that MERU has been able to build the first 10 Bugzies. The deadline to apply for a free Bugzi is 31 March 2013. Telephone 0208 770 1151 for more information and an application form, e-mail: mobility@...

Event for young people with a brain injury

The Children’s Trust, Tadworth is hosting a special one-day event for 14 to 19 year olds who have a brain injury because of an accident or illness – giving them the chance to meet and chat about what life is like. The ‘Where’s your head at?’ event will take place on Sunday 28 April 2013, at the Holiday Inn at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. It is aimed at teenagers who attend some classes in a mainstream school or college and access the national curriculum. Each attendee must also have one adult who can stay with them as their supporter throughout the day. There is an administration charge but entry for their accompanying adult is free. Refreshments, lunch and entry to the theme park are provided. The Children’s Trust, Tadworth say it is one of few opportunities for young people with a brain injury to meet – and for their accompanying mum, dad, or supporter to meet like-families. For more information see the website www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/h...

CQC finds room for improvement among a quarter of at-home care providers

A report by the health care watchdog has found that although most social care providers were delivering a good service, people were affected by issues such as late or missed calls, lack of continuity of care workers, insufficiently trained staff and a failure to involve families and carers. The Care Quality Commission report, ‘Not just a number’, was launched at a parliamentary breakfast hosted by Rosie Cooper MP, a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee. It was compiled on the findings from 250 domiciliary care (home care) agencies providing at-home support and care to around 26,500 people. The domiciliary care inspections took place between April and November 2012 measuring against five of CQC’s national standards of quality and safety – to check the quality of home care provision for people aged 65 and over across England. A quarter of care providers – a total of 26% –failed on at least one standard. David Behan the chief executive of the C...

Volunteers needed for new mentoring project to support carers

National volunteering charity TimeBank has forged a parternship with Carers UK to launch a new volunteer mentoring project to support carers. More than six million people in the UK are looking after disabled, ill or older relatives or friends, unpaid, and it’s been estimated that in doing so they save the country £119 billion a year. It can be a rewarding experience but it can also bring emotional challenges, taking its toll on relationships, family life and carers’ own health. The Carers Together project will recruit and train volunteers to offer confidential e-mentoring to carers throughout England and face-to-face mentoring to carers in the Birmingham area. TimeBank wants to hear from volunteers for the project who are carers themselves, or have caring experience, so they can draw on the experiences and techniques that have helped them in the past. No special skills are needed – just time, patience and commitment. Carers Together has been funded by the Big Lot...

Work assessment misery and hardship for claimants

Too many disability benefit decisions have been wrong since the Workplace Capability Assessment test was introduced in 2008, according to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee. The committee also found 38 per cent of appeals against the department for work and pension’s decisions had been successful. The chair of the committee, labour MP Margaret Hodge said although the company Atos, – which was paid £112.4m to carry out more than 730,000 assessments in 2011/12 – had faced criticism “most of the problems lie firmly with the department for work and pensions.” She said although the department had “started to improve” too often claimants’ health was adversely affected by the whole process. Speaking as the committee published ‘DWP: Contract Management of medical services’ report Margaret Hodge, said: “The department for work and pensions is getting far too many decisions wrong on claimants’ ability to work. “This is at considerable cost to the taxpa...

Watchdog says care failings 'must not happen again'

The healthcare watchdog says the kind of long term failure highlighted in the report into failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust must not happen again. The chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, David Behan, said Robert Francis’s report is “defining for everyone involved in healthcare. “People were badly let down by the NHS and those responsible for healthcare regulation and supervision. Our thoughts are with the families who have suffered.” He said the CQC agrees with Robert Francis that the NHS should maintain a positive patient-focused culture throughout. “CQC’s purpose is to make sure hospitals provide patients with safe and acceptable standards of care, underpinned by an open culture, effective leadership and clinical engagement. “No system can guarantee that there will never be failings. Regulators and supervisory bodies must be much better at identifying and challenging poor care and in working together to improve people’s ...

Manager champions deaf awareness training

A manager appointed to lead a three-year pilot project to train new Deaf Health Champion volunteers across the North West, has praised her own training in BSL. Joanne Slater, 36, from Wigan has been appointed as project manager by UK Council on Deafness to lead a team that will set up the Deaf Health Champions project. The aim is to improve personal experience, equality of access, choice and control over health care for deaf people, particularly sign language users. The project is managed by national healthcare charity, Sign Health. It has been made available after receiving a grant of £592,000 from the department of health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund. Joanne took up her role at the beginning of January and joins the company from Salix Homes, based in Salford. It was at Salix Homes where Joanne was first introduced to basic sign language skills after her employer encouraged members of staff to attend an in-house training course. She said: “The cour...

Demand is high for hospital home’s support for ex-servicemen

With a proud history of 93 years The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home Hospital Home provides specialist nursing care, rehabilitation and support for physically disabled ex-servicemen and women and their families. Now being one of only three establishments of its kind in the country, QAHH in Worthing, West Sussex, is a special place and home to more than 60 war veterans at any one time. To some veterans, however, QAHH is a hidden secret and it is thought there may be many who are unaware of the state of the art care and rehabilitation facilities the charity offers for long term and respite care of disabled servicemen. The hospital home takes pride in providing high quality nursing and rehabilitation care and strives to bring independence and dignity back to those who have served their country and now need the very best care and support. It offers long term residency, intermediate care and respite care. The physiotherapy and occupational therapy units are staffed by a highly tra...

Work assessment changes to support people with cancer

Improvements to the Work Capability Assessment, which come into force today, aim to ensure people who have cancer get the unconditional help they need. In the past different forms of treatments were assessed differently. Now the system has been simplified so “all types of cancer treatment are seen as having the potential to be equally as debilitating.” The department for work and pensions said the changes will mean hundreds more people a year who are awaiting, receiving, or recovering from any form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer will be placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance, ESA. On ESA they will get the long term financial support while they are unable to work. Before, they may have been placed in the Work Related Activity Group, where they would be expected to make efforts to return to work. The employment minister Mark Hoban said: “People with cancer need as much help as possible and these changes will improve the way they are...

Limbpower’s walking ambassador pushes the boundaries with winter climb

The British Ambulant Disabled Sports and Arts Foundation – LimbPower – are preparing for a major fundraising walk in May, along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Keen to rise to the challenge, LimbPower’s walking ambassador and above knee amputee Mark O’Leary, has just successfully climbed Ben Nevis. His feat in climbing the highest mountain in the British Isles follows a successful trip in the Atlas Mountains last year. Despite the extremely cold conditions in Scotland, in January, Mark and his group made their way up through the ‘stepped’ section to a height of 500m where snow began to cover the ground. The team faced “reducing visibility and bone-chilling winds” and the last 50m of the ascent was through frozen cloud, so the sight of the ruined weather station at the summit was a “welcome relief for all.” Mark said: “Although the 11 hour walk was exhausting and at times slightly nerve-racking (icy steps!) the sense of satisfaction at achieving the ...

Motoring tips to beat the winter hazards – from Motability

As the snow and ice continues to make driving hazardous in many parts of the country disabled motorists can access advice on winter driving on the Motability website. The recently upgraded website has a ‘winter driving’ checklist along with answers to frequently asked questions regarding topics such as winter tyres. The information is designed to ensure that Motability customers have detailed advice on how to adjust their driving when out and about in winter weather. The Motability car scheme for disabled people provides its customers with a worry free package that includes vehicle servicing and maintenance, full RAC breakdown assistance and tyre and windscreen replacement. Top tips included in the ‘winter driving tips’ section include: ·  Ensure your phone battery is fully charged before setting off on a journey ·  Plan your route – in icy conditions stick to main roads ·  Defrost the windscreen, windows and lights to ensure you have clear all-roun...

MPs debate concerns about work capability assessments

Major concerns about the Atos work capability assessment have been raise during a parliamentary debate. The private contractor was criticised by MPs who highlighted that they have been contacted by constituents judged “fit to work” who had died, or become suicidal following their assessments. Many MPs gave specific examples including Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham who said he had been sent nearly 300 case histories – many of which make “heart-rending reading.” He told MPs: “There is enormous concern about the issue both in the country and in this House.” Mentioning three examples including that of a constituent who was epileptic who had died three months after being called in by Atos and classified as fit for work. He said the man aged 24 had been epileptic almost from birth. When he had his benefit cut by £70 a week he became agitated and depressed during an appeal, fearing he could not pay his rent or buy food and three months later he had a major seizu...

Start-up support to help disabled entrepreneurs

Disabled entrepreneurs are to get extra help to start up their own business in 2013 with payments available for specialised equipment, support workers and travel costs. The government measure aims to boost the number of disabled people who are self-employed, which is half a million people or 15 per cent of disabled people in work. From 14 January, disabled people can get support through Access to Work when setting up their own business if they are enrolled on the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA).  The NEA provides expert coaching and financial support for jobseekers with a business idea. The minister for disabled people, Esther McVey said: “If 2013 is the year aspiring disabled people want to set up a business – then Access to Work can help. “We’ve opened up our flagship programme so that disabled people have the same choice to start up their own business as everyone else – in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between. “Through t...

Midterm review leaves the issue of care funding unresolved

Disability Rights UK is disappointed that the government has “dodged” an announcement on care funding in its midterm review. Liz Sayce the chief executive at Disability Rights UK said many disabled people need social care and support services to sustain their independence. She said: “Simple things like assistance bathing, getting up and going out help us as disabled and older people to stay in our own homes, continue with family life and get involved in education, employment and more. “But support has retracted in the last decade, council budgets are being dramatically reduced and the government has already announced the closure of the Independent Living Fund – which helped disabled people with the highest needs live in their own homes. “Currently, care services do not support enough disabled people, require some to pay exorbitant amounts for basic assistance and leave others with no choice but to enter residential care. “If disabled people are to genuinely...

Charity highlights cash concerns facing disabled people this Christmas

After a hugely successful Paralympic Games the chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability says it’s “upsetting” to see the biggest worry for up to 2.2 million disabled people in the UK is having enough money to heat their homes this Christmas. The campaigning charity is calling on communities to make 2012 a ParaChristmas and support disabled people throughout the festive season with a simple three-step “Chat. Check. Drive” scheme. It is asking people to chat with disabled members of their community, check whether they need support and offer to help with their travel arrangements. The charity says research reveals that disabled people face fundamental fears around money and mobility this Christmas that call into question the lasting legacy of the Paralympics. Leonard Cheshire Disability carried out the research to build a true picture of the hopes and fears of disabled people, as 2012 – a year celebrated for increasing awareness and understanding of issues of d...

£1m for community sports training  

A £1million training programme has been launched recently to further boost the inclusion of disabled people in sports at thousands of community clubs across the UK. Sport England’s £1 million National Lottery investment will fund free training courses to help coaches, leaders, assistants and parents to develop the skills and confidence to include more disabled people. Clubs where disabled people play sport will be able to join in the Sainsbury’s Active Kids scheme, benefiting from free equipment and experiences through voucher collection. It extends into community clubs the support for teachers through the Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All scheme – an inclusive PE training programme to help teachers to include more disabled children in PE and school sport. Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft and the culture secretary Maria Miller joined the chief executive at Sport England Jennie Price and Sainsbury’s chief executive, Justin King, to launch the training prog...

Hospital Blue Badge parking fees could be in breach of the law

A disability rights lawyer has told BBC 5 live that hospitals that charge disabled motorists to park, could be in breach of the law. Around 37 NHS trusts currently charge because they say all drivers should be treated equally. However, disability rights lawyer Chris Fry, managing partner at Unity Law, told BBC 5 this week he believes this is a misreading of the UK equality law. He said someone with a disability may have to park for longer so it will cost them more because of their disability – and treating somebody less favourably as a result of their disability amounts to a breach of the Equality Act. The situation has come to light after 116 hospital trusts in England to respond to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC’s 5 live Investigates programme, revealed 37 currently charge varying amounts for disabled drivers to park. Medway NHS Foundation Trust is one of the trust to introduce fees for blue badge holders. The fees were brought in from July 2...

Union calls for solidarity in the wake of service cuts fears

At an event to celebrate the role of disabled people in the workplace the Unite union is calling for solidarity, in the week of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Len McCluskey the general secretary of Unite, said: “We represent thousands of workers with disabilities, as well as members who work to support disabled people. “Many of our members manage to work in spite of their disabilities, but are desperately worried about the impact of cuts to services and benefits. “People already struggling to overcome the challenges that disabilities present are some of the worst affected by this government’s politically motivated cuts. “Furthermore, Unite represents members who work in frontline services supporting people with disabilities, including carers, cleaners and transport workers. These members are not only seeing their pay and conditions hit by this government, but also witnessing first-hand the devastating impact cuts are having on disabled people....

Pressure on the care system is increasing the risk of poor or unsafe care

A report by the independent health watchdog has found pressure on the service and short-staffing at 16 per cent of NHS hospitals and almost a quarter of nursing homes was increasing the risks of vulnerable people receiving “poor or unsafe care.” Based on the evidence of more than 13,000 inspections the Care Quality Commission’s ‘State of Care’ report examines all care sectors for the first time. It found an increase in the number of people with complex or multiple illnesses and the growing numbers of older people with dementia is also having an impact on staffing levels and staff training. The CQC points out that poor performance of some NHS hospitals in both medicines management (where from 150 inspections, 21% - equates to 31 inspections - failed to meet the standard) and record-keeping (where from 153 inspections, 22% - equates to 33 inspections - failed to meet the standard) is an indicator of where standards may slip as staff are stretched. However, the repor...

Patient’s Association report highlights 'shocking' examples of poor NHS care

In the fourth annual ‘Patient Stories’ report – a series of case studies highlight “shocking” examples of poor care which the Patients Association says “still scar the NHS.” ‘Stories from the present, lessons for the future’ includes 13 first hand accounts from patients or relatives who have experienced poor care in hospitals and care homes around the country. The report is a snapshot of the many stories of poor care heard by the Patients Association Helpline. The case studies include: * Mr Bowman who was admitted to hospital suffering with Meningitis. He also had Alzheimer’s Disease but despite concerns from the family, a number of disappearances and a pledge from staff that they would check on him every 15 minutes Mr Bowman went missing. He was found drowned four miles downstream from the hospital. Katherine Murphy the chief executive of The Patients Association, said: “The sad conclusion of this report is that still far too many patients are bein...

Accessible challenge for Motability

Motability is calling on fundraisers to take part in an accessible 12 mile challenge along the Wirral Way to help disabled people who need support to get a car that meets their needs. The Wirral Way follows the route of the old Hooton to West Kirby railway line which closed in 1963. It has been renovated and the paths are now suitable for wheelchair, scooter and powered wheelchair users. Walkability on Saturday 2 March 2013 will start in Hooton and finish in West Kirby. For those wishing to do a shorter distance, there will be a 5.5 mile route ending in the coastal resort of Parkgate Village. Aine Canavan the corporate accounts executive at Motability said: “This scenic route is accessible to everybody and offers wonderful views across the estuary to Wales. “All fundraising efforts will greatly benefit disabled people who cannot afford the right car or adaptations for their needs, or to help young disabled people with driving lessons.” For more registration details...

Plans to open up Access to Work programme

The government’s Access to Work scheme that provides additional funding for disabled people at work is to become more flexible to give disabled people greater choices and job opportunities. Some applications will also be fast-tracked – for example if a disabled person already knows the type of support they need. The disability employment programme once labelled ‘the government’s best kept secret’ helps towards the extra costs disabled people can incur at work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment and support workers. Announcing the changes the government pledged to expand the marketing campaign – targeting particularly at young disabled people and those with mental health conditions. The minister for disabled people, Esther McVey said: “Opening up the Access to Work programme will give disabled people more opportunities to have the same choice of jobs as everyone else, in every sector from hairdressing to engineering, and at every level. “Wor...

BBC Children in Need 2012 rises to the challenge

Thanks to the support of the public BBC Children in Need is able to make a real difference to the lives of children who are disabled or disadvantaged across the UK. In its 33rd year, tonight’s Children in Need TV appeal has a tough target to beat since last year a record £26 million was raised.Sir Terry Wogan will be joined live at Television Centre by Fearne Cotton, Tess Daly, Nick Grimshaw and Pudsey for a fundraising night of music, sketches and celebrity features.This year’s BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge – has followed six teenagers powering their way on a Rickshaw from Llandudno to London, joined and supported on their journey by BBC TV One Show presenter Matt BakerThe inspiring team members battling adversity includes:Darren, 17, from County Durham who has had glaucoma since he was born and is registered as partially sighted. His mum, dad, brother and sister are all registered blind.James,18, from Kent, has been a carer for his mother, brother and sister since ...

Paralympic champions support new festival of sport

The first ever festival of Paralympic sport will take place at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on 3-4 December. Aiming to continue the legacy of London 2012 – Sports Fest is a chance to ‘meet the medallists’, ‘try the sports’ and ‘get inspired.’ London 2012 double gold medallist Natasha Baker and Mark Colbourne the winner of ParalympicsGB’s first medal at the London games, joined Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock in pledging their support for the ParalympicsGB Sports Fest. Mark Colbourne was a keen sportsman before he broke his back in a paragliding accident in May 2009. He said: “I believe that sport has really changed my life. I was a very active person before my accident. For me, it was important to get back into an active lifestyle after my accident and sport has helped me with that. “Even if I hadn’t been so successful at cycling, I would still enjoy it and be out there on my bike most days – after all, sport should ultimately be about having ...

Checkout the latest accessible places to visit

VisitBritain which runs the National Accessible Scheme, NAS, working with VisitEngland, has lots of information on accessible attractions and accommodation for people with physical or sensory needs. The National Accessible Scheme is a nationally recognised rating for accessible accommodation, so visitors know which accommodation providers are the best for them. The NAS covers all levels of mobility, hearing and visual impairment and because the needs of families and friends are all different, so are the requirements of the scheme. A series of NAS symbols guide people to suitable accommodation. For more information see the VisitBritain website www.visitbritain.com. Picture: Family at the Science Museum in London ©VisitBritain / Britain on View  

Millions of people living with neurological conditions ‘forgotten’ by gaps in care system

A new report by the Sue Ryder charity has exposed “serious flaws” in the way people with neurological conditions are identified. The charity says 10 million people in the UK live with a neurological condition that impacts their lives and over a million of these are disabled by it. After studying data following a Freedom of Information request Steve Jenkin the director of health and social care at Sue Ryder said: “People with neurological conditions – from Motor Neurone Disease to Parkinson’s – need specialist care that takes the complexity of their condition into account. “Our FOI reveals a data and strategy ‘black hole.’ This information vacuum means errors are being made that could condemn a 36 year old with cerebral palsy to life in an old people’s home with no specialist care for her condition. “There is a real, human cost to this information gap, not to mention the financial cost of people re-entering the NHS system in lieu of appropriate care.”...

Call for ministers to answer PIP contract concerns

The shadow minister for disabled people is calling for an immediate investigation “because the integrity of the contract process is doubt.” Responding to allegations that Atos Healthcare may have made misleading claims in a tendering document, Anne McGuire said the revelations “raise extremely serious questions over the £540m PIP contracts.” Atos Healthcare has won a £400m to carry out the assessments for Personal Independence Payments, PIP, which is due to replace the disability living allowance from 2013. The concerns follow claims that the company said it would work with a number of disabled people’s organisations – DPOs – to carry out the assessments. Four of the organisations named in the tendering document said they had not had any contact with Atos Healthcare before being mentioned in the document. Anne McGuire said: “There must be an immediate investigation because the integrity of the entire process is now in serious doubt. Ministers must now expl...

Advice for disabled students looking for a teaching career

The government has announced tougher tests for prospective teachers and is working to raise the bar in schools. It is therefore important to attract skilled and talented people from a variety of backgrounds, including disabled people. Disabled teachers can also help young people raise their aspirations and educate them about respecting diversity and individuality. The Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) admissions service includes information and on its website for disabled trainee teachers. It advises students with a disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, to contact training providers direct to discuss any support they might need before sending in an application.   As part of the application process for an initial teacher training course, the law requires applicants to pass a physical and mental fitness to teach test. The department for education recognises that many people with disabilities or long-term health conditions have...

One in five young people with spinal injury discharged to care home for the elderly

Young spinal injury patients can have to spend lengthy periods in the unsuitable surroundings of a care home for the elderly, once they are discharged from specialist hospital care. It’s an outcome that the spinal injury charity Aspire says is “robbing thousands of people of the basic ability to get on with their lives.” Brian Carlin the chief executive of Aspire, the spinal cord injury charity, said: “At Aspire, we do everything we can to support spinal injured people to live independent lives. For someone living in a care home, this is near impossible to achieve. “As a country, we’re still celebrating the fantastic success of GB’s Paralympians this summer. How many of them would have had the opportunity to compete if they’d spent months or years confined to a room in a care home? Thousands of people are being robbed of the basic ability to get on with their lives. It’s vitally important that public policy be reviewed on this issue.” Every eight hours s...

Poppy Appeal for 2012 hopes to raise £42m

Launching this year’s Poppy Appeal the Royal British Legion said it needs to raise £2 million more than last year’s record amount of £40 million to carry out its vital work. The Poppy Appeal 2012 is about standing Shoulder to Shoulder with all who serve and their families. Support to help in-Service personnel is one of the Legion’s priorities in 2012 through a £30 million commitment to create and operate The Battle Back Centre, which provides sports and adventure activities to help wounded, injured and sick Service personnel recover. Sapper Clive Smith, one of the faces of the Poppy Appeal 2012 poster campaign said: “Taking part in activities like wheelchair basketball, rock climbing and bowling was great fun and really encouraged me to focus on what I could do, as opposed to what I couldn’t do after injury. “The Battle Back Centre has given me a positive outlook which has really helped in all parts of my life. It’s humbling to know that the Centre has been...

More reasons to enjoy walks with wheelchairs

As research indicates people in their seventies who walked several times a week had less brain shrinkage – carers and disabled people looking for accessible walks may find the Walks with Wheelchairs website useful. The research published in the journal Neurology, suggests it is never too late to benefit from exercise. The author of the study Alan Gow, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “People in their seventies who participated in more physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less brain shrinkage and other signs of ageing in the brain than those who were less physically active. “On the other hand, our study showed no real benefit to participating in mentally and socially stimulating activities on brain size, as seen on MRI scans, over the three-year time frame.” Altogether, 638 Scottish people born in 1936 who had been involved in a long-term study of ageing took part in the research. They were asked to fill in questionnaires aged 70 and ...

Dana’s Walk – A mother’s experience of bringing up a child with a disability

Keen to raise awareness about the barriers and negativity emotions she faced as a parent of a youngster with cerebral palsy, Sera Johnson has written a book to give hope and support to parents in a similar situation. Dana’s Walk, published by Ecademy Press, is a personal and true story of what it is like to bring up a child who has a disability. By writing the book, Sera hopes to release and express the built up feelings of going through the ‘system’. Sera shares the life story of Dana, her 14-year-old daughter who is living with spastic cerebral palsy. Due to her disability, Dana found it increasingly difficult to do basic activities such as standing, sitting and walking, however, Sera never gave up to make Dana’s life better. Sera is an NLP master practitioner and an experienced personal development coach. She is also an experienced trainer and facilitator, having worked in private and public organisations. Sera is passionate about developing individuals to gain a be...

Social media site launched

A community-style website has been launched designed for disabled individuals to engage globally within a safe, social media environment. Mike Simmonds, who has extensive experience in the field of mobility and disability, has originated the Disabilinet.com concept, bringing together a team of disability specialists and pioneering online developers to build the new community hub. As user numbers grow he intends to develop the site to cater for popular trends and become the platform to establish a foundation which provides specialist assistance and mobility equipment. Mike Simmonds said: “Disabilinet.com is a fresh and original take on social media. We researched all the current online sites for disabled people and concluded there was a need for a different approach. Disabilinet.com has been specifically designed for people with disabilities so they can freely communicate with one another and share experiences in a safe and secure environment.” Disabilinet.com is a new soci...

Don Quixote comes to town in a boisterous new play

Professional touring theatre company Hijinx Theatre is taking The Adventures of Sancho Panza, a new play inspired by the epic tale Don Quixote, to venues around the country on autumn and spring tours. Hijinx Theatre, a pioneer of inclusive theatre, is committed to creating opportunities for people with learning disabilities to enjoy, participate and work professionally in the arts. Established more than 30 years ago, the Cardiff-based company has been touring integrated casts – casts involving actors both with and without learning disabilities – in its professional shows since 2006. The Adventures of Sancho Panza conjures up the imagination of Don Quixote through live music, innovative use of masks and puppetry. Tickets are available from the venues and a list of tour dates is on www.hijinx.org.uk.

Social media site launched

A community-style website has been launched designed for disabled individuals to engage globally within a safe, social media environment. Mike Simmonds, who has extensive experience in the field of mobility and disability, has originated the Disabilinet.com concept, bringing together a team of disability specialists and pioneering online developers to build the new community hub. As user numbers grow he intends to develop the site to cater for popular trends and become the platform to establish a foundation which provides specialist assistance and mobility equipment. Mike Simmonds said: “Disabilinet.com is a fresh and original take on social media. We researched all the current online sites for disabled people and concluded there was a need for a different approach. Disabilinet.com has been specifically designed for people with disabilities so they can freely communicate with one another and share experiences in a safe and secure environment.” Disabilinet.com is a new...

Disability Strategy

The Paralympics were a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase the sporting talents of disabled people performing at their best. Above all though, it was about engaging with the public and changing their perceptions towards disabled people. Channel 4s coverage allowed us to go on a journey with each of the athletes, letting us see their world, understand their obstacles and truly appreciate their resilience. We saw far beyond the sport, we saw their life. In my new role as Minister for Disabled People I want to make sure we capitalise on this ‘attitudinal bounce’ so that there’s a legacy of lasting inclusion. That’s why I’m working with disabled people and their organisations on the development of a disability strategy. Last December we published Fulfilling Potential which invited disabled people to feed in their ideas about what should feature in our disability strategy. Thousands of disabled people responded and one of the areas they said was important to them was ...

Guidance for care workers to help reduce fire deaths

For the first time care workers are to be given new advice in a bid to cut fire deaths by helping them spot the tell tale signs of someone who is at high risk of having a fire. Figures in a London Fire Brigade report reveal that one person receiving care is dying from fire every month in London. According to the statistics, over the last three years, 36 out of 119 accidental fire deaths involved people who had some form of care services. All but three of the deceased smoked, half had mental health issues and 14 were known to drink alcohol. Care workers in England will now get extra information about fire safety to support their introductory training. The aim is to give them extra potentially life-saving information on how to spot the signs of a person who is most at risk of dying or being seriously injured, should a fire occur. Fire chiefs are asking care staff to get in touch with their local fire and rescue service if they notice any of the vital early warning signs. Care...

Motability car scheme puts 'reliablity' first

Disabled motorists can benefit from added peace of mind by choosing a car that has been hailed for its reliability in a recent WhatCar? Reliability Survey. Eight of the top 10 most reliable city cars are available from Motability, the car scheme for disabled people, including the top three – the Suzuki Alto, Toyota Aygo and Kia Picanto – all from no Advance Payment, which means no up-front additional costs to pay. WhatCar? and Warranty Direct teamed up to carry out the survey and create the ‘Reliability Index’ – a way to score cars based on factors such as the number of times a car breaks down, the average repair cost and the average repair time. Nine of the top 10 most reliable superminis are also available through Motability, again, all from no Advance Payment. The compact Vauxhall Agila, spacious Skoda Fabia and practical Honda Jazz took the top three spots in this category. People who receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowanc...