News

Deaf people encouraged to speak up for their ‘right to hear’

Deaf Awareness Week

Deaf people are being encouraged to speak up for their ‘right to hear’, this Deaf Awareness Week, and make sure venues and services they use are accessible.

The advice laid out in a guide to mark Deaf Awareness Week 14 – 21 May emphasizes the rights hearing-impaired people have to access information and services under the law and what hearing support they should expect in public spaces under building regulations.  

The guide, produced by assistive hearing technology specialists Contacta, also provides practical advice to help people with hearing loss speak out if venues such as banks, shops, public buildings, universities and theatres don’t have a hearing loop, or the loop doesn’t work. 

YHA boosts 8-year-old’s bucket list of wishes

Family Breaks programme

A Yorkshire mum has thanked, Family Breaks programme, a leading youth charity for helping make one of her son’s dreams come true as his sight deteriorates.

Fred Howe, aged 8 from Haxby, suffers from a progressive eye condition which may eventually cost him his sight. Before that day, Fred’s mum Karen is helping him fulfil his bucket list of experiences which he has named Fantastic Mr Fred’s Flight For Sights, in honour of his favourite book Fantastic Mr Fox.

Thanks to YHA (England and Wales), the youngster and his family, which includes mum Karen, sister Eva (10) and dad Dave, got to experience the London Marathon. 

YHA’s Communities Team arranged for the family to have grandstand seats in St James Park, the finish line of the race.

Kirklevington Riding Centre Encourages More Disabled People To Take To The Saddle

Riding for the Disabled Association

Kirklevington Riding Centre, based in Yarm, has become an Accessibility Mark accredited centre after meeting the criteria set out by the Riding for the Disabled Association.

The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)., in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

A British Horse Society (BHS) approved centre, Kirklevington has been established for 38 years, providing riding lessons to two generations, from total beginners to riders looking to work towards a qualification.

Have you got the Changing Places Toilet Finder app?

Changing Places Tom

Tom Gordon, who has a background as a master locksmith, produces RADAR keys for accessible loos and has developed an app to find your nearest Changing Places. Here, he speaks to UCan2 editor Victoria Galligan about why the UK falls short when it comes to Changing Places…

What are the different types of accessible toilets and what is the difference between them? (Changing Places, disabled access, Space2Change etc)

“How we're helping people to stay Positive About MS”

Positive About MS Kaz Laljee

Positive About MS founder Kaz Laljee talks to UCan2 editor Victoria Galligan on World MS Day about offering a lifeline of support for people all over the world who have been diagnosed with MS.

When faced with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Kaz found there was very little in the way of positive support. Working as an HR manager with a background in marketing at post-grad level, Kaz decided to do something about the lack of meaningful, useful resources for people with MS.

He says, “I set up Positive About MS in 2010, about a year after I was diagnosed. Everything I had read, seen and heard about MS since my diagnosis has been negative. I was being told that my life was over: that I should just go and watch TV, or go to Switzerland and kill myself.

Over 1,000 people with MS help create new charity website

MS Society

Over a thousand people living with MS have helped develop a new MS Society website, to be launched this week.

The MS Society recruited a panel of 150 people from the MS community to share views on the new site, which goes live today. The panel provided feedback on everything from design and content, to ease-of-use. A further 1,000 people fed back online, and over 800 on the beta homepage.

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said:

Parking advice for Blue Badge holders

Blue Badge

One-in-five Blue Badge holders cant use disabled bay spaces because they are used by drivers with no disability, says research from the Baywatch Campaign of Disabled Motoring UK, but Ryan Jackson, MD of Gemini Parking Solutions, suspects the numbers could be even higher. Knowing your rights when it comes to parking can help you face the issues that might come up with confidence. Here, Ryan clears up any grey areas and explains the rules:

The Blue Badge Scheme in England: Your Rights

Saddle Up for Summer with Accessibility Mark

Accessibility Mark

It has never been easier for disabled people to have a go at horse riding with 48 Accessibility Mark accredited centres up and down the country, providing riding opportunities for people with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

The RDA, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Why Naidex was well worth a visit for all things mobility

Sensara awards at Naidex

Naidex 2018 – Europe’s largest and most established event for the disability sector – took place at Birmingham’s NEC last week. It welcomed guests including actor Warwick Davies and beauty vlogger Kat (see video), not to mention a whole host of expert speakers on everything from social media to spinal cord injuries.

Our editor Victoria Galligan went along to meet exhibitors, are here are some of her highlights:

Greenbank Sports Academy develops UK’s first dual-sports wheelchair

Sports wheelchair

Greenbank Sports Academy (GSA), part of Liverpool-based charity, Greenbank, has developed a first-of-its-kind dual-use sports wheelchair that allows users to play both power hockey and football.

With support from the LCR 4.0 programme, the academy, which is both owned and run by people with disabilities, collaborated with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to improve its “heavy and bulky” prototype named “The Thunderbolt” and create an easy to use, lightweight and transportable wheelchair.

Matthew Reeve on father Christopher's paralysis at Neurokinex Kids launch

Neurokinex Kids facility

UCan2 catches up with Matthew Reeve, Christopher Reeve’s elder son and Vice Chairman of International Development for the Reeve Foundation, as he helps to launch Neurokinex Kids – a facility in Gatwick designed to treat children affected by paralysis.

How does a spinal cord injury affect the wider family?

“When a family member sustains a spinal cord injury everyone is automatically involved and everyone’s lives change – not just the person who sustained the injury. Suddenly, instantly there are things you used to do together that you can no longer do, places you used to go you can no longer go to and the future you thought you once had is completely different.” 

How did your family cope with your father Christopher’s injury?

History-making Autism with Attitude

 Autism Dance Day

Autism with Attitude a street dance group from Hillingdon Manor School, are making a step this Autism Dance Day and made history last July when they qualified as the first special needs dance team to make it through to the finals of the United Dance Organisations (UDO) Championships - are preparing to head off to compete in the next stage of the competition, the European Championships in Kalkar, Germany, Friday 11 May 2018 to Sunday 13 May 2018.

Mobility study: ‘half of wheelchair users could not find accessible toilets’

My Mobility Unlimited supporters

As UCan2 gets behind the Changing Places campaign, an international mobility study has found that almost half of UK wheelchair users have been unable to find an accessible toilet when they needed one.

The poll by ComRes on behalf of the Toyota Mobility Foundation also found that nine out of ten wheelchair users in the UK say that they experience pain as a result of their mobility device, while 23% say they have been declined entry to public transport because of their mobility device.

And more than a quarter reported feeling frustrated because the design of their mobility device felt outdated.

The trouble with work - facing discrimination due to your disability

Scope Lasian discrimination

Despite disability discrimination being illegal under the Equality Act 2010, many people with disabilities find getting work difficult – either through direct discrimination during the application process, or because health issues affect their working pattern. 

In a recent case, a DWP worker was awarded £26,000 in compensation after his employer was found to have discriminated against him, after he took time off for medical reasons. Barrie Caulcutt had suffered an athmas attack at work and his employer had called him "a whinger". He was given a written warning for taking two and a half days off sick more than he was allowed.

Changing Places campaigner takes her PantsDown4Equality

pantsdown4equality Changing Places Sarah

As one brave mum gets set to take her PantsDown4Equality, UCan2 magazine is getting behind the Changing Places campaign to help boost the availability of accessible facilities. Along with carers, parents and disability rights campaigners, we are calling on public places to offer fully accessible disabled toilets, with equipment including adult-sized changing tables and hoists.

On Twitter, the campaign #changingplaces has long been highlighting inadequate toilet facilities. Firms who have invested in the right equipment to ensure people of all abilities can change without being embarrassed – and so that carers can lift and handle without putting themselves at risk – use the hashtag to show off new facilities and equipment.

Changing size of neurons could shed light on new treatments for motor neurone disease

Motor neurone disease

New research published in The Journal of Physiology improves our understanding of how motor nerve cells (neurons) respond to motor neurone disease, which could help us identify new treatment options.

Motor neurone disease referred to as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is associated with the death of motor nerve cells (neurons). It starts with the progressive loss of muscle function, followed by paralysis and ultimately death due to inability to breathe. Currently, there is no cure for ALS and no effective treatment to halt, or reverse, the progression of the disease. Most people with ALS die within 3 to 5 years from when symptoms first appear.

LOROS Twilight Walk in memory of Leah Reek

LOROS Twilight Walk

“It’s something positive that I can focus my mind on during such a dark time. I know she’ll be smiling down on us all,” says Leah Reek’s mum who has entered this year’s LOROS Twilight Walk in memory of her daughter.

“We’re doing the walk for Leah, I know she would be so proud of us, she’d have a massive smile on her beautiful face.” Mum-of-two Joanne Reek, of Asfordby, says she hoped to raise £1,000 for the Hospice in Leah’s memory.

Since the tragic death of her daughter, Joanne and her family set up a JustGiving page and it has raised an astonishing £15,701 to date.

LOROSJoanne says:

Spinal injuries charity launches pioneering collaborative service

SIA Case

Leading spinal cord injury charity, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), has joined forces with Bush & Company, the UK’s largest case management provider, to launch SIA Case Management. Formally launched at the SIA 20th Anniversary charity ball in Manchester on 22nd March, SIA Case Management is the first joint venture of its kind.

It brings together the expertise of Bush & Company’s case management and rehabilitation services with the practical, emotional advice and support offered by the charity. SIA Case Management is the largest UK-wide case management service working solely with adults and children following a spinal cord injury.

Law firms specialising in catastrophic injuries have welcomed this new initiative.

Caldecotte Xperience’s Wheelyboat provides accessible water-based activities

 Action4Youth's new Wheelyboat makes waves on Caldecotte Lake

Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes has launched a wheelchair-accessible Wheelyboat: the first fully accessible power boat to operate at this outdoor activity centre, strengthening existing provisions for people with disabilities. 

Two charities, The Wheelyboat Trust and Action4Youth, workied together on the project, to provide young people with mobility impairments with the ability to participate fully in water-based activities at this centre.