DISABILITY NEWSLETTER - Vale Royal Disability Services

Issue 106 February 2015
Reg Charity No. 1123915
Company No. 6396331
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Page 2: Emergency contact disc
Page 2: Disco night
Page 3: Turn 2 us
Page 3: Healthwatch event
Page 4: Accessible toilets
Page 5: Care and repair
Page 5: Share your experience
Page 6: Channel 4 trainees
Page 6: New access card
Page 6: Your passport
Page 7: New handbook
Page 7: Register of tradesmen
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Cheshire West and Chester Council is to set up a specialised team to assess the needs
of young people with disabilities and arrange appropriate support for them and their
families. Working with young people aged between 16 and 25 years old who may have
physical and or learning disabilities or sensory impairment, the team will ensure that
each has their own plan setting out the steps required for a smooth transition from
children’s to adult’s care and support services. Comprising seven full time staff, the
team will work closely with the Council’s social care services and Special Educational
Needs teams to ensure that every disabled young person has opportunities for paid
employment, the potential to live independently, good health and develops the skills to
form friendships, relationships and be part of his or her community.
Recruitment to the team will take place over the next few months so that it is fully
operational by spring 2015.
New research has found that the majority of people needing
assistance to make payments due to illness, capability or mobility
challenges, are putting themselves at risk of fraud by sharing their
card and PIN. More than half of those surveyed were also not
aware of each of the safer options to make payments, such as a
prepaid card or opening up a second account.
To help these consumers, a new Pay Your Way consumer advice guide from the
Payments Council sets out payment options to help people stay in control of their
financial affairs, when making payments independently or visiting the bank or ATM is
difficult. Visit http://www.payyourway.org.uk/faqs/guides/managing-payments/ to
download the “Pay Your Way” Guide.
The Emergency Contact Disc contains next of kin contact details and
medical alert information for the driver. In the event of a medical
emergency or road traffic collision that renders the occupants unable
to communicate, a first responder will be able to obtain vital
information that is not otherwise accessible at the scene.
The disc can be cut out and placed into the now redundant tax disc
holder, the information sections fold inwards so it would not be
viewed by passers by. All information is optional and the blank discs can be used to add
customised information. The Emergency Contact Disc can be used alongside existing
medical alert products like bracelets and necklaces.
Download the Emergency Contact Disc at:
Every Wednesday in the stunning Macclesfield United Reformed Church in the town
centre between 7.00pm and 9.00pm, enjoy two hours of fun, music and dancing with
resident DJ and Radio Presenter, Matt Hill. We look forward to welcoming you all.
The atmosphere is amazing and is a great way for people of all abilities, and all ages
to come together in a safe controlled environment and have some fun. Dance with
friends, watch music videos, snack in our café and most importantly "have fun and
socialise with friends old and new". The facilities are accessible and parking is free.
For more information call 07803 751 617.
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Disabled people in financial need are unaware of the help available
through charitable grants, such as Turn2Us, part of the national
charity Elizabeth Finn Care. More than two-thirds of Turn2us
website users with disabilities were completely unaware of grants
and nearly half had been struggling financially for over a year before checking what
support could be available to them. Almost three-quarters have been forced to cut
back on food and heating, and over three-fifths had to rely on the financial support of
family and friends. In addition, more than a quarter have taken out a short-term or
payday loan, and almost a fifth have turned to food banks.
There are over 3,000 grant-giving charities available in the UK, distributing £288
million in grants and services to individuals in need every year. Individuals who have
used the charity’s website have seen an average annual income increase of over
£2,400 in regular charitable grants and over £550 in one-off grants.
Matthew Emo, a former college lecturer and wheelchair
user who manages the condition Cerebral Palsy has set
up new clothing brand Devilishly Disabled, selling a range
of humorous t-shirts aimed at empowering people with
disabilities. The brand is risky; it deals with the everyday
difficulties faced by those managing with disabilities and
empowers them to what they think. It is also about
inclusion; it’s about removing the barriers and
uncertainties surrounding disability. It’s about allowing a
disabled person to be seen in a pub, club or out shopping
and being able to say ‘hey this guy/girl clearly has a
sense of humour, I’m going to talk to them’. For more
information call: 07980 168 618.
[email protected]
Healthwatch has received a number of comments from parents/carers of disabled
children and young people regarding gaps in service provision and services being
cancelled. This has resulted in their listening to this group of people and responding
in the best way that Healthwatch can by assisting in gathering genuine evidence from
the people who care for and work with this group of people and most importantly
gathering evidence from the young people themselves. They want disabled children
and young people up to the age of 25 years, their families and carers in West
Cheshire to share views on what is good and what is bad about the local services
being accessed. They also want to know about which services are missing as well as
good ideas to make things better.
They are holding an event to gather your views on Thursday 26th February at All
Saints Church Centre, Hoole, Chester, CH2 3HZ between 4.00pm and 6.00pm.
To reserve a place please call 01606 351134 or email: [email protected]
If you are unable to attend please share them using a short survey which can be
accessed via this link: www.healthwatchcwac.org.uk.
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This valuable service is set to continue. Cheshire Community Development Trust
(CCDT) has won the contract to deliver community transport services in the Vale
Royal area for five years from April. This includes Dial a Ride, Evening Safe
Transport, Rural Ride and Community Car Schemes.
Arthur Neil, CCDT chief executive, said: "We are delighted with this success. We
began the Northwich Dial a Ride service back in 1989 and now have approaching
2,000 members. The service provides accessible transport door-to-door for those who
find it hard to use ordinary buses or get to a bus stop. Last year we were pleased to
be asked to take on some additional rural work using the rural rider service and that
too has been successful."
Call 01606 784100 for more information about community transport services across
the Northwich and Winsford urban and rural areas.
Tens of thousands of people who would need a carer
to help them use the toilet are being given greater
independence and an opportunity to venture away
from home with a new on-line resource.
A new country-wide ‘accessible toilet’ map is unlike
any other available. The quick and easy to use facility
enables bespoke searching for ‘away from home’
toilets. Searches can be executed by place name, be
it geographical or a specific venue, by public
accessible toilets – and their ‘bigger and better’
counterpart, ‘Changing Places’ facilities.
You can take a look at the new resource by visiting
The map enables you to go out and about much
more, secure in the knowledge you will be able to
access suitable toilet facilities.
Muscular Dystrophy Campaign team member Tanvi Vyas has been selected to join a
new national panel led by former Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to
improve the quality and effectiveness of wheelchair services in England.
The Wheelchair Leadership Alliance, which is part of the ‘Right Chair, Right Time, Right
Now’ campaign, has an overarching aim of transforming the quality and effectiveness of
services for people who use wheelchair and taking forward actions developed at recent
national wheelchair summit. The group will provide a regular forum for people who use
wheelchairs, and organisations representing people who use wheelchairs, to collaborate,
provide peer support and, importantly, to improve services.
The National Wheelchair Leadership Alliance will focus on: Building and delivering a
campaign ‘Right Chair Right Time Right Now’ to reduce waiting times, develop a
Wheelchair Charter of best practice and address the unacceptable delays for many
wheelchair users – 70% of wheelchair users wait more than three months for their chair,
30% wait more than six months and 15% wait more than twelve months.
Share your experiences of accessing and using a wheelchair so they can ensure these
are heard.
Contact Lloyd Tingley on 02078 034 804 or at [email protected]
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Care and repair is a service for older people and for people with disabilities. They can
guide you through the process of carrying out repairs and adaptations in your own
home. They can offer help with many types of work around the home, from fixing a
dripping tap to building an extension.
East Cheshire: Tel 0300 123 5500 Email: [email protected]
West Cheshire: Tel 0300 123 2010 Email: [email protected]
Following a number of articles in the media recently about the poor levels of access to
sports stadia and other sporting venues for disabled spectators, The Minister of State
for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP and The Minister for Sport and Tourism, Helen
Grant MP have joined forces in an attempt to address this issue. As a first step the
two Ministers are asking for disabled people to input into an online survey on access
to sports stadia. The survey closes on 28th February 2015.
The two Ministers will also be asking sports clubs about their current access
arrangements and the barriers they face making their grounds inclusive and
accessible. This information, together with the information they receive from the
online survey, will help to inform them more about the current situation and will help to
decide what steps should be taken to ensure that everyone can enjoy watching the
sport of their choice.
PLS (Passenger Lift Services), a Mobility Networks company,
has successfully designed and installed a unique rear access
dual bumper step and powered cassette lift solution, to ensure
the new mobile Post Office fleet is accessible to all.
These specially converted vehicles provide a vital resource for
250 rural and remote communities every week. The level of
accessibility and safety was further enhanced by the
installation of grabs rails on the inside of the rear doors, high
visibility edging and anti-slip surfaces.
Disabled people are being threatened with legal action by a company following a
failure to pay invoices agreed through the Access to Work (AtW) scheme.
One self-employed AtW claimant has told how office furniture suppliers Back Care
Solutions warned her and other claimants whose invoices had not been paid by AtW
that they faced being taken to court. The purchase of a piece of office equipment to
help at work had been agreed with AtW, and the furniture was delivered two months
later by Back Care, but several months afterwards she received an email from Back
Care threatening her with legal action over the unpaid invoice. AtW is failing to
respond to attempts to persuade it to pay the invoice.
The company has threatened similar legal action against other AtW claimants,
although Back Care will not confirm how many individuals are affected. There are
concerns that other companies might also be threatening legal action against AtW
customers over unpaid invoices. So far, the Department of Work and Pensions has
not commented on the concerns.
Last month, the Commons Work and Pensions Committee concluded that AtW had
been undermined by “poor administration”, and relied on “inefficient and outmoded
paper-based processes”, while it’s new central call centre system “does not work well
for many service-users”.
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At the 2012 London Paralympics, 50% of Channel 4's on-screen
team were disabled. That included three anchor presenters and
many reporters. For Rio 2016 they are planning another revolution
– this time behind the camera.
Channel 4 is committed to promoting equal opportunities. In order
to promote diversity in the media industry, and to address the
under-representation of disabled people in particular, they are
offering 24 Rio Production Training Scheme places to disabled applicants. The aim is
to train up disabled production staff to the level required to work on the Rio
Paralympic Games in 2016, and beyond that to build a career in sport production. The
Scheme offers an opportunity for entry level and junior talent to join the industry and
learn the skills necessary in three possible roles:
• Junior Researcher/Assistant Producer (broadcast or digital)
• Junior Production Secretary/Coordinator
• Technical/Production Assistant.
Visit: http://4talent.channel4.com/work-programmes/production-training-scheme.
Closing date for applications is midnight on 23rd February 2015.
A social enterprise run by disabled people,
Nimbus, has set up a scheme enabling
disabled people to have a card which
discretely informs venues of their access
requirements. A disabled person pays £15
for a card which is valid for 3 years. The card
is acquired following an assessment to
establish access requirements according to guidance under the Equality Act.
A number of venues have already joined the scheme, including: Capital FM Arena,
Barclaycard Arena and Genting Arena in Birmingham, The SSE Arena Wembley,
Download Festival, IPRO Stadium, Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, all O2
Academies and Glastonbury Festival.
The idea behind the scheme is to enable disabled people to book tickets and have
their access requirements met more easily, without having to give details of
impairment every time they book, also to prevent misuse of concessions by nondisabled people.
To find out more, visit: http://credability.uk.com/access-card/
If you are disabled or have difficulty moving around, you can receive free
assistance when you fly to and from the UK and Europe, including
on domestic flights. Under European law, this assistance is available to
anyone with mobility requirements – for example because of their
disability, age or a temporary injury. Sometimes, however, the
assistance you get may not meet your expectations or communication
can break down. In some limited cases, your requirements may not
be covered by the law.
This leaflet explains your rights and what to do to make sure you have the best
chance of a smooth journey. You can find out more from a free step-by-step guide
‘Your Rights to Fly’, available 0808 800 0082.
Visit: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/search/site/your%20passport
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A new law on domestic violence that criminalises “coercive control” could exclude
women with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable to such abuse, say
campaigners. The new legislation, part of the Serious Crime Bill, will make it illegal for
someone to exercise psychological, emotional or financial control over their partner.
The law has been welcomed by women’s groups, who have long called for coercive
control, which they say is often a prelude to violence, to be a crime. However, a fresh
amendment introduced by the government earlier this month will allow a defence for
carers who say they believe they are acting in their partners’ “best interests”. A court
would then decide if such behaviour was reasonable.
Women’s Aid fear the changes could exclude women with disabilities, who they say
are particularly vulnerable to crimes of domestic abuse. The defence is unnecessary
and too subjective they say and are calling for safeguards to ensure perpetrators who
are carers do not escape justice.
Every political party should ensure that its MPs only rent constituency offices that are
fully accessible to disabled people, campaigners have demanded.
They spoke out after a series of Disability News Service reports that revealed three
ministers with equalities responsibilities – Mark Harper, Jo Swinson and Iain Duncan
Smith – have inaccessible constituency offices.
Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, which campaigns to address the
under-representation of disabled people in public and political life, said: “Physical
access to MPs’ constituency offices is vital if we are to get more disabled people into
politics. It is not good enough to say, ‘We hold surgeries at accessible locations.’
Disabled people have the right to participate as volunteers as part of a progression
towards paid work in politics. Disabled people have a right of access to politics. All
party leaders need to make a commitment to getting their MPs’ constituency offices
accessible as soon as possible.”
Contact a Family has published a new parent carer forum handbook with information
on all aspects of running a parent carer forum.
Getting involved in parent carer forums is one way that parents can contribute to
improving local services for disabled children. Through a process called parent carer
participation, forums work with local authorities and health professionals to improve
how they support disabled children. If you are interested in finding out more, visit the
parent carer participation pages or contact your local parent carer forum.
The new handbook for forums explains what knowledge and skills parent carers will
need to run a successful forum. The handbook uses Adobe interactive features, so
people can easily move around to the section of interest to them. Visit:
Freephone helpline: 0808 808 3555.
The aim of the register is to list reliable, good and competent traders who are involved
in maintenance, repair or modernisation of people’s homes and gardens.
East Cheshire: https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/
West Cheshire:
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The Extra Costs Commission wants to know more about your experiences as a
consumer, dealing with shops and businesses. Knowing more about this can help
drive down the extra costs disabled people and their families face.
Take the Commission’s survey and you could win a £100 voucher!
Visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/extracostssurvey
It's just been revealed that more than seventy English local authorities had no policy
in place to prosecute abuse of the Blue Badge Scheme for disabled parking last year,
according to new Government statistics.
Research revealing the number of “Blue Badge prosecutions, lost and stolen badges”
during 2013/14 also provides evidence of the locations where most motorists have
been caught attempting to cheat the system. This is probably because they have
excellent enforcement teams in place.
The number of prosecutions for abuse of the Blue Badge system in 2013/14 was:
• Fulham, London, where there were 154 prosecutions
• Leeds, where there were 68 prosecutions
• Lambeth, London, where there were 65 prosecutions
• Birmingham, in the West Midlands, where there were 35 prosecutions
• Bradford, Yorkshire, where there were 27 prosecutions
• Bexley, London, where there were 26 prosecutions
• Enfield, London, where there 26 prosecutions
In all but one of the cases recorded above, prosecutions were targeted at a nonbadge holder using another person’s Blue Badge.
There were only eight prosecutions in total of Blue Badge holders.
All the prosecutions took place in locations where local authorities have a policy in
place for prosecution of Blue Badge cheats.
Hartford office
Telephone: 01606 888400
Northwich Shopmobility
Telephone: 01606 288820
Winsford Shopmobility
Telephone: 01606 557550
Northwich Infirmary Desk
Telephone: 01606 564096
If you have any news that you would like us to publish, or comments you want
to make, then send them to us. To receive your personal copy of this
newsletter, please refer to the newsletter page on our website www.vrds.org.uk,
or telephone us on 01606 888400 or email [email protected]
Published by: Vale Royal Disability Services, 4 Hartford Business Centre,
Chester Road, Hartford, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 2AB.
Editor: Christine Pickthall MBE.
Registered Charity No. 1123915.
Important disclaimer:
Please note that much of the information in this newsletter is acquired from third parties.
The views expressed may not in any way reflect the views of Vale Royal Disability Services.
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