Helping the fight against MS

One man’s fight against the degeneration caused from Multiple Sclerosis is taking place in….the bathroom.

Ian Westgate (64), from Eastbourne, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis more than 30 years ago, but has always fought against the illness’ impact, to the extent he is a leading campaigner for accessibility in the area, and chair of Eastbourne Access Group.

As his condition has deteriorated, requiring greater input from his wife Clare, he has “succumbed” and purchased a Closomat Palma Vita shower (wash & dry) toilet.

 SpecialEffect receive early Christmas present from web specialists

 SpecialEffect receive early Christmas present from web specialists

Code Wizards who specialise in enterprise and solution architecture for their clients are delighted to have been able to donate their services to SpecialEffect, the charity that helps children and adults with disabilities integrate with their friends to play computer games.

Following a meet up at a recent UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) conference, the trade body for companies working in the video games and esports arena, Code Wizards met with SpecialEffect and found they could help them with an integration that they required on their website.

They expressed that they needed Twitch integration on their website to help push GameBlast, which is their event for raising awareness and funds by industry veterans and insiders stream their game play.

50 Faces to Celebrate 50 Years of RDA

50 Faces to Celebrate 50 Years of RDA

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Riding for the Disabled Association - RDA - is launching a ‘50 Faces’ campaign to highlight the fantastic achievements of its members, volunteers and supporters.

The focus of the campaign is on challenging preconceptions about disability, volunteering and equestrian sport, through the inspiring stories of people within RDA. 

These stories will then form an interactive collage of images, audio content and films, which will be used as a focal point for the RDA website and across social media platforms throughout its 50th anniversary year in 2019.

Charity Distributes 5,000 Items of Winter Clothing to Homeless and Vulnerable People

Charity Distributes 5,000 Items of Winter Clothing to Homeless and Vulnerable People

Charity Distributes 5,000 Items of Winter Clothing to Homeless and Vulnerable People in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester

Human Appeal, a UK Muslim-faith based charity, have announced that they have distributed 5,252 items of winter clothing to homeless and vulnerable people across Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow as part of their Wrap Up 2018 campaign. Human Appeal have asked members of the public across the three cities to donate unwanted coats for vulnerable people, such as rough sleepers and people living in shelters, and have collected a record breaking total. This is the third year that Human Appeal has run Wrap Up Manchester and the second year it has run Wrap Up Glasgow and Wrap Up Birmingham.

Blackwood House Opens Doors to Independent Living For the Future

Blackwood House Opens Doors to Independent Living For the Future

AN INNOVATIVE home which is set to be the model of how Edinburgh aims to help transform the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities has been unveiled for the first time. 

A working replica of the ‘Blackwood House’ was launched on 4 December at the Edinburgh Community Rehabilitation and Support Service in Longstone.  The home will provide a place for both customers and staff to test and feedback on the latest in technology enabled care within a realistic homely setting.

It is the first step in what is hoped to be the roll out of a number of the specialist properties in the city.

Cruising with a Wheelchair – Our customers top tips

Cruising with a Wheelchair

Cruises are understandably popular and we have received increased interest in this type of holiday. Cruise companies have been realising demand for accessibility and continue to make improvements so ships can do more for you.

Cruises can be a brilliant option for wheelchair users keen to travel, as modern ships are better designed with accessibility in mind. Also staff are trained to be helpful, with limited boarding/emergency wheelchairs being onboard.

Top Tips for flying with a visual impairment or blindness 

Top Tips for flying with a visual impairment or blindness 

Altogether Travel is the UK’s leading Supported Holiday Company, our excellent holiday and travel companions accompany our customers all over the world. We asked our customers and staff for some advice, tips and what to expect if flying as a blind or visually impaired person. 

Booking stage

If you require additional assistance either within the airport or on the flight, then you should notify your travel agent or the airline direct. The more notice the better but at least 48 hrs before departure should ensure they allocate someone to help. 

Contact the airports special assistance team and advise them of your arrival time should you need assistance into the terminal.

Arriving at the airport 

Accessibility Mark Helps Transform Lives

Alisha riding Accessibility Mark horse

Horses are amazing animals that have the ability to make a real difference to people’s lives. Evidence of this can be seen on a daily basis at Accessibility Mark centres up and down the country.

When Church Farm Equestrian Centre organised an event to mark Disabled Access Day in March 2017, they hoped it might generate some interest from a few new riders.

Such was the success of the event that some of the visitors who attended the day are still riding at the centre nearly two years on, and it has had a hugely positive impact on their lives.

Bluebird Care launches national campaign to #SpreadASmile and tackle loneliness

Bluebird Care campaign

The Bluebird Care team have been encouraging people to help make someone smile throughout their day. At the start of November, they introduced the #SpreadASmile campaign, which invited their teams from across the country to document their acts of kindness on social media and encourage others to do the same. 

This campaign was set up to tackle loneliness and depression, which becomes more prevalent at this time of year, as we approach the festive seasons and people get swept up in the mayhem of Christmas.

Hightown Independence at Christmas: from care home to supported living

Hightown Homes Logo

An Aylesbury resident has moved out of a care home which supports people with learning disabilities, and into her own Hightown supported living extra care flat, just in time for Christmas.

Candy lived at a Hightown care home in Wendover (Buckinghamshire) for the last three and a half years. After growing more confident and becoming increasingly independent, she has moved into her own Hightown supported living extra care flat at The Elms in Aylesbury. 

Candy has already started decorating her flat to get ready for this festive time of year. She has a passion for collecting teapots and one of the perks of having her own flat is being able to display them in her new living room.

Walking for Wellbeing and Mental Health

Woman walking dog

Peter Wright is a personal development and performance coaching specialist based in North Devon in South West England. He is also Master Hypnotherapist, Master Practitioner of NLP, Cricket and Rugby Coach and a lifelong walking enthusiast. He runs walking retreats for groups and ‘walk and coach’ sessions for individuals that give opportunity for guided ‘me time’ enabling mental and physical renewal. Here he discusses the healing power of walking for mental health.

We always think that we can control our bodies with our minds, and the fact is, that when our mind is going haywire, the body blazes those haywire things into feelings and makes us feel uncomfortable and stressed out. Once this happens, we are unable to invoke the body to help the mind because we're all one system. 

Dorset Workshop Scoops First Prize For Its Smashing Pumpkins

Winners with their pumpkins

A Sixpenny Handley training workshop for people with learning disabilities has won first place in a competition for its smashing pumpkins. 

OWL Town Farm Workshop scooped the prize in an annual gardening competition organised by national care provider, the Regard Group who run the service in Dorset. 

Earlier this year Regard’s 168 services across the UK were provided with a packet of pumpkin seeds by the care provider, along with useful tips on how to grow the best crop.  

“We can never resist a challenge,” said Helen Ritson, service manager of OWL Town Farm Workshop, “And set out to grow a crop that would be better than the rest. 

Making driving with a disability easier with designed2enable

Back rest from designed2enable

For many disabled people, their car is a lifeline. It provides independence, enabling people to stay active by getting out of the house and socialising with others. However, for some, getting in and out of the car and refuelling can be a challenge.

Katherine of designed2enable Ltd has therefore put together a list of car-related products to help make life a little easier and more pleasurable for disabled drivers and passengers…

Top 4 products for disabled drivers and passengers:

Blue badge holder from designed2enable

Outcomes First Group ranked No.1

Outcomes First Group - Children playing boardgame

Outcomes First Group - a leading specialist provider of care and education services to children, young people and adults with autism, learning disabilities, complex and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs -  has been ranked number one in Ofsted’s Inspection profiles of the largest private and voluntary providers of children’s homes with 35% of its 45 homes rated ‘Outstanding’ and 65%  rated ‘Good’.  

The organisation operates a national network of award-winning Department for Education registered therapeutic care homes and special schools through its Hillcrest and Options divisions.