Page 1

Aug/Sept 2013


Nothing is Impossible...

Cycling Open to all

The Road To Freedom Accessible caravanning

p54 Accessible Gaming// Accessible HOLIDAYS//



Paralympics one year on

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Welcome August/September 2013

I hope everyone has been enjoying the somewhat tropical weather we have been experiencing lately. Who knew we could produce such a long spell of sunshine in the UK? Inevitably though, we are still not happy, as we now complain about it being too hot but are equally disgruntled when the rain arrives. I am starting to think that overall the human race is rather high maintenance. If you have been following the sporting triumphs of our athletes at the IPC World Championships in Lyon and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in London, you will no doubt have been reminiscing about last year’s summer of sport. We decided to take a trip down memory lane and relive the highs and lows of London 2012, turn to page 29 for a bit of nostalgia.

Editor: Rosalind Tulloch Sub Editor: June Bunton Designer: Abbie Bunton Sales: Allan Fleming Andy Singh

CONTRIBUTORS Mik Scarlet Lisa Newton Jane Hatton James Lavery

than through the freedom of a caravan or motorhome. We explore the investment opportunities of this form of travel on page 18. This issue you will also find information on the benefits of cycling and the varying options available, we also delve into the world of accessible gaming and we look at the support and funding available for entrepreneurs who have an idea for a healthcare product. We hope you enjoy this issue and as always, please get in touch if you would like to share your thoughts, opinions or comments with us.

With the recent weather being so hot we found ourselves agreeing that, if you could guarantee this weather, you wouldn’t bother going abroad for a holiday. There are so many beautiful areas to discover across the UK and what better way than doing it

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Innovation not Imitation



PosAbility Magazine is published by 2A Publishing Limited. The views expressed in PosAbility Magazine are not necessarily the views of the editor or the publisher. Reproduction in part or in whole is strictly prohibited without the explicit written consent of the publisher. Copyright 2013 © 2A Publishing Limited. All Rights Reserved. ISSN 2049-2251

Contact Details: Caledonia House, Evanton Drive, Thornliebank Ind. Est., Glasgow, G46 8JT Tel: 0141 270 8085 Fax: 0141 270 8086



Aug/Sept 2013

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Nothing is Impossible...

CYCLING Open to all



For only £12 for 1 year or £20 for 2 years Call

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To find out more about subscribing to PosAbility Magazine turn to p82

Accessible Caravanning




PARALYMPICS one year on



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AUG/SEPT 2013 | ISSUE 14

Aug/Sept 2013


Nothing is Impossible...

CYCLING Open to all


Cover imge: ParalympicsGB (Courtesy of British Paralympic Association)

Accessible Caravanning






Living with SCI







Bright Ideas

07 FYI…


News, stories and quirky columns

15 Readers’ Letters


Thoughts from our lovely readers

16 Screen Me, I’m Yours

Mik Scarlet’s latest thoughts

18 The Road To Freedom


23 Spinal Cord Injury


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Discover the benefits of the caravan and motorhome holiday

We talk to the Spinal Injuries Association to find out about the support they offer

29 Paralympics. One Year On

A trip down memory lane to relive the highs and lows of London 2012

37 TravAbility

PosAbility awards more accessible holiday providers with Access Awards

43 Hot Stuff

From adjustable beds to swimming pool lifts, we take a look at the latest innovations on the market

47 Win A Relaxing Getaway!

Enter this fantastic competition to win a week in France for four people



31/07/2013 11:13




Paralympic Special


A Relaxing Getaway

Spinal Injury

I Need A Holiday Too are offering the chance for one lucky winner to win a weeks holiday for four people in their fully accessible French apartments.

48 On Your Bike

Cycling offers more than just exercise, it can now be fun for all the family

54 Game On

We delve into the world of gaming accessibility

61 RDA National


Ever fancied horse riding? Discover the benefits with Riding for the Disabled Association

64 Volvo V60


More than just a practical estate. We take the Volvo V60 out on the road

67 Ready To Rock

Download festival ups its game in the accessibility stakes to offer a festival to include everyone


Glasgow welcomes Scotland's only independent living exhibition

72 Bright Ideas

Coventry University's Health Design and Technology Institute offers funding and support for the aspiring entrepreneur

76 Get That Dream Job

Jane Hatton shares her expert employment advice

Paralympic Special

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News, stories and quirky columns.


ACCESSIBLE VOYAGE AROUND THE GLOBE Lord Nelson, a unique tall ship crewed by disabled and able bodied sailors, has arrived in Australia nine months after leaving UK waters on her first circumnavigation. The Jubilee Sailing Trust’s ship embarked on the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge, a two-year voyage promoting inclusion and equality in each one of its 30 ports of call. The 55-metre square rigger made landfall in Australia for the first time ever in July. Lord Nelson is set to become the first accessible tall ship in the world to round the three Great Capes: the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and the infamous Cape Horn.

A mixture of British, Australian and international crew will sail on board Lord Nelson as she makes her way from Fremantle via Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart to Sydney, where she will take part in the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review. The ship was built to accommodate a wide range of physical disabilities and features include wheelchair lifts between decks, a speaking compass, braille signage, hearing loops and a bowsprit that is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Disabled and able bodied crew work together in a ‘buddy’ system, supporting

each other as they sail the ship across the world’s oceans. The last three days of the voyage saw the tall ship contend with ten-metre swells and stormy weather, and according to Captain Campbell, the conditions have been varied throughout the passage from Singapore. Berths are available for disabled and able bodied people to join Lord Nelson for her upcoming voyages in Australia, New Zealand and beyond. For more information, including voyage dates and availability, visit, email or call 02380 426849. 07

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CALVERT TRUST DUO IN FUNDRAISING ENDEAVOR Calvert Trust Exmoor is an Outdoor Activity Centre for people with disabilities where individuals can test their boundaries and even go beyond them, returning to everyday living empowered to do something new. Activities include horse riding, abseiling, climbing, kayaking, archery and bushcraft. Two members of the Calvert Trust team have hatched plots to raise funds for the Trust, and are available for sponsorship (details below). Rebecca Millichamp is taking on the challenge of cycling the thousand miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats (over a hundred miles a day for nine days!). “I started working at Calvert Trust Exmoor in 2012 and I love what we do here and what a centre like this provides for so many people. I am very passionate about what we do and like to help out in every way possible; I am also a sports enthusiast which is why I have decided to combine the two. Doing the End to End will not only be a massive personal achievement but I hope it will also benefit Calvert Trust Exmoor. Remember, it’s what you can do that counts. Bring it on!” To sponsor Rebecca please visit: or call 07541740311. Rob Lott, a 2 ½ year veteran of the Calvert Trust, has also decided to step up to the plate with a bungee jump.


“I’ve always wanted to do a bungee jump but have never done it, so I have decided to do the UK’s largest bungee jump, a 400ft drop into a quarry! You can read the whole story at I want to ask people to please sponsor me for this jump – even just £5 will make a huge difference, and enable us to help those most in need of our assistance. The easiest way to do this is through my JustGiving page:

The ESPYs, short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award, are the biggest sports awards show in the US, put on annually by American sports network ESPN.

Every penny really does count. I know I can rely on you to help me hit my fundraising target for this (incredibly scary!) jump, and help our disabled guests at the same time.”

American discus thrower Jeremy Campbell and swimmer Jessica Long won ESPY awards on 17 July, for Best Male Athlete with a Disability and Best Female Athlete with a Disability, respectively.

Campbell won Paralympic gold at London 2012 in the men’s discus F44 in addition to becoming the first para-athlete to throw over 60m last year in competition. He set a new world-record mark in the event with a throw of 63.46m. Long won eight medals in the pool at London 2012, including five golds, two silvers and a bronze. She also set two new world records along the way. Her eyes are now set on the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships, which take place from 12-18 August in Montreal, Canada.


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BMW on Motability

The Ultimate Driving Machine





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Marathon champ TO RUN LENGTH OF BRITAIN British double leg amputee and Paralympic Gold medallist, Richard Whitehead, is running a marathon a day this summer from John O’Groats to Land’s End, championed by Virgin Media, in order to raise money for Sarcoma UK and Scope. The run starts on August 13th and finishes around September 23rd – by which time Richard will have covered a staggering 976 miles (1572km). “Winning a Gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics in London was a stepping stone on this mission and the Run is the next stage for me. Hopefully I can pass on a message of hope through my dedication to sport and be an inspiration to all. My inspiration is a man called Terry Fox. Terry was an amputee and sarcoma cancer sufferer who attempted to run the breadth of Canada before his death at the age of 22. Sadly he never completed his challenge. The idea of a run the length of Britain came from him and has been in my mind for about five years.” If you wish to donate or find out more about Richard’s challenge, visit

suzuki launch THE SX4 S-CROSS The new SX4 S-Cross goes on sale on 1 October and Suzuki is pleased to announce the availability on the Motability scheme for all models from launch with a good selection of nil or low advance payments offered from the range. Priced from £14,999, the SX4 S-Cross has room for five and a large boot capacity of 430 litres offering ample space for a wheelchair as well as luggage. The new S-Cross will offer favourable cost of ownership too with very low CO2 emissions of 110g/km for the 1.6 diesel model and 127g/km for the 1.6-litre petrol model. For additional flexibility and ease of use a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is offered as an option which enables the driver to shift up or down the gears automatically or via paddle shift buttons behind the steering wheel. For extra safety on slippery surfaces during winter months S-Cross is also available with ALLGRIP; Suzuki’s latest four-mode 4WD system.

Striking crossover styling gives the S-Cross a remarkable, bold and sporty look. The distinctive design offers ample room for passengers and the top specification SZ5 models have the world’s first double sliding panoramic glass sunroof which has the largest opening area in this category.


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RSLSteeper defines “AT” in new video RSLSteeper, the UK’s leading provider of assistive technology products and services for the home user, has launched a new groundbreaking video to demystify the issues surrounding Assistive Technology. The video, which will be available on YouTube and the company’s website, was launched on August 1st and will be shown at the forthcoming Naidex Scotland exhibition in September. Edd Grinham, RSLSteeper Marketing Manager, said: “Assistive Technology” is widely used as a term to describe a whole host of aids for the disabled and elderly markets. It is often used out of context and sometimes is misunderstood. “We thought we would sum up AT in a short, easy to understand video. We wanted to do something creative and engaging that can be used as a great training tool for Occupational Therapists, carers, family members and end users to show what AT can do to benefit them in their work or home life. To view the video, visit: what_is_assistive_technology_new_video

£50K PRIZE for ENTREPRENEURS Disabled entrepreneurs are being given the chance of winning £50,000 in this year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK. The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire Disability, recognises outstanding achievements of people who have overcome challenges to set up their own businesses. Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of easyJet, 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. “Removing the barriers disabled people face in business is essential – for far too long disability has been associated solely with benefits and welfare. I hope the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs will change that by highlighting their achievements and contribution to society.

SNAP TO WIN Summer is here at last. Whether you are going away, a day out, or a trip to the local park, pack your camera to record the highlights – and you could have the winning shot in this year’s On the Move competition. The theme of Travel & Leisure offers endless scope for subjects: the wonderful scenery, interesting architecture, the bustle of inner-city life: the opportunities to be creative are vast. Each of three category winners will gain a Merlin Annual Pass for a disabled person and carer, offering entry to top UK attractions such as the London Eye, LEGOLAND Windsor and Madame Tussauds; a bundle of Calumet photographic accessories and £150 cash. The three age categories are under 12, 12-18 and over 18 years. Winning and shortlisted images will be printed, mounted and displayed at public exhibitions and each entrant may submit up to four images in electronic or printed format. The competition is organised by two charities, the Disabled Photographers’ Society and Mobility Choice, the charity behind the annual Mobility Roadshow. This year Giles Duley, the award-winning and highly respected humanitarian photographer, has agreed to join the judging panel. Giles endured life-threatening injuries losing both legs and an arm when he stepped on an improvised explosive device whilst on patrol with the US Army in Afghanistan. He has continued to win prestigious photographic awards since the accident.

“We want to hear from talented disabled entrepreneurs who are able to show they have got what it takes to run a successful business and meet a real need in the market.”

Entries for the competition close on 31 October 2013. Full entry details, terms and conditions are published at and or you can call 01344 750 400 for more information.

To download an application form visit or call 0845 671 7173. The deadline is October 25.

On the Move is generously supported by Calumet Photographic, Merlin Entertainments and the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. 11

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IPC Athletics World Championships 2013 The IPC Athletics World Championships took place on 19-28 July in Lyon, France this year and we are pleased to say our athletes did not disappoint. Finishing 5th overall in the medal table, the GB team secured a staggering 11 gold medals, 9 silvers and 9 bronze. As if that wasn’t enough, they also set a few World Records for good measure. If you would like to read a full rundown of the results of the IPC Athletics World Championships please visit In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of the British medallists...

Gold Athlete Event Aled Davies F42 Shot Put Aled Davies F42 Discus Hannah Cockroft T34 100m Hannah Cockroft T34 200m Josie Pearson F51/52/53 Discus Paul Blake T36 800m Hollie Arnold F46 Javelin Richard Whitehead T42 200m Jonnie Peacock T44 100m Sophie Hahn T38 100m Scott Jones F34 Shot Put

Time/Distance 14.71m (WR) 47.62m 17.88secs (CR) 31.78secs (CR) 7.09m (WR) 2:06.10 (CR) 37.45m 24.95secs 10.99secs 13.10secs (WR) 13.38m (WR)

Silver Athlete Event Time/Distance Jonathan Broom-Edwards T42/44 High Jump 2.08m Kyron Duke F41 Javelin 36.03m Dan Greaves F44 Discus 54.38m Libby Clegg T12 100m 12.23secs Libby Clegg T12 200m 25.31secs Paul Blake T36 400m 56.72secs Mickey Bushell T53 100m 15.12secs Bethany Woodward T37 200m 29.12secs Sophie Hahn T38 200m 27.73secs

Bronze Athlete Event Kyron Duke F41 Shot Put Graeme Ballard T36 100m Lee Whiteley T38 200m Georgina Oliver T54 100m Josie Pearson F31/32/51 Club Throw Beverley Jones F37 Discus Holly Neill F41 Discus Sophie Kamlish T44 200m Erin McBride T13 400m

Time/Distance 11.64m 12.48secs 23.00secs 17.93secs 14.01m 28.54m 21.54m 28.71secs 1:01.28

Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games To commemorate the epic London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Olympic Stadium was once more used as a stage for success. The weekend of 26-28 July saw a crowd of 60,000 gather again to relive the excitement and anticipation of last years’ competition, to see the results visit


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Please help! I am looking for a holiday to take my kids on in the UK, they are 7 and 9 and I want to go somewhere they will have lots to do to keep them amused. I am in a wheelchair so it must be accessible but as I can’t join in activities I want somewhere that they can go off and enjoy themselves without me worrying. Any suggestions?

Just watched Jonnie Peacock win the 100m! What an amazing race, I was lucky enough to see him win in London and I just got so excited seeing him race there again. Different venue and atmosphere but still an incredible achievement and it was so close between him and the American (Richard Browne).

Thanks Rita Mayer, Kent

He is such an inspiration, all the athletes are, I am now hooked on Paralympic sport! Just can’t get enough of it! Sally

Thanks for your email Rita. We understand it can be hard to find accessible accommodation that is right for you and fun for your kids. Check out our TravAbility section on page 37 as there may be something that appeals to you there or take a look at all the properties that have been awarded the PosAbility Access Award on our website If anyone has any suggestions of holiday destinations for Rita and her family please email and we will happily pass on your advice.

Can You Help? If you can help with any of the queries here, would like to respond to any letters or share your own views, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing or write to us at Caledonia House, Evanton Drive, Thornliebank Ind Est, Glasgow G46 8JT.

We couldn’t agree more Sally. The athletes make us proud to be British and the sport is elite and thrilling. It’s impressive to see how dominating our small country can be in disability sport and hopefully things will go from strength to strength with Rio 2016 only a few years away.

One of our Glasgow based readers is looking for a second hand passive motion leg bike. She has a C5/C6 spinal injury and would like to hear from anyone who may have one for sale. If you can help, please email or call 0141 270 8085 and we will pass on your details. 15

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Columnist Mik Scarlet

Screen Me, I’m Yours As my deadline for this column approached I was not really sure what to write about. Just as the panic became palpable the latest issue of PosAbility fell through my letterbox, and as soon as I had put it down I knew exactly what my subject was. What led me to be writing this at 7.20am on a Saturday, when I should be enjoying a lie in after a busy week, were two stories that focused on the media. The first was the interview with Kevin Connolly, the disabled star of the Travel Channel’s new series Armed and Ready. The other was Heather McGarrigle’s piece on shows like The Undateables. I was struck by what they said about the way disability is portrayed on our TV screens here in the UK. I must admit that I was a little surprised by Heather’s claim that the The Undateables “steered clear of the freak TV clichés”. Almost every disabled person I have spoken to about the show passionately dislikes it for its freakish approach to the subject, that it continues to treat disabled people as separate and different. It also perpetuates the stereotype that we have different issues from non-disabled people when it comes to the love stakes. Of course some of us have problems that are specific to our impairment, but how lovely would it have been to watch a TV show that explored the truth; that everybody has issues about their own attractiveness, disabled or not. To make a show that only focuses on “the disabled” reinforces the stereotype that we are a special, tragic case. I first became aware of TV’s obsession with disability and sex when I was hired to co-write and present a documentary called Willing and Able for Channel 4 in 1990. The

production company wanted to explore the issue of sex and disability in an intelligent and informative manner. We explored the topics of confidence and attractiveness, love in care homes, masturbation and the old chestnut of disability and prostitution. What I am proud of is that the programme did not stoop to exploiting any of the interviewees. It leaves any non-disabled viewer with the understanding that disabled people are exactly the same as they are, with all the same wants, needs and desires. It saddens me that over 20 years later the industry has forgotten these lessons, that modern shows harp on about the “barriers” without ever trying to focus on those disabled people who have happy, successful love lives.

show is made and so can ensure that it’s never exploitative. It isn’t claiming to be valid or worthy, as so much of the UK output does. It is entertaining, exciting TV. It shows how far British TV still has to go. We’ve only recently seen a disabled character in a UK drama who doesn’t mention her disability in any way, the wonderful Liz Carr in the BBC’s Silent Witness. The US has been doing this for decades. We have to move away from this concept of a special show about disability. Observe “How To Look Good Naked... With A Difference” as a perfect example; we are excluded from the shows usual format but get a disability special all of our own. We all love to eat, dance, shop and generally be happy, and we want to see that reflected in our media. We must stop congratulating TV companies when they put out anything disability related just because we are so starved of seeing ourselves in their output.

We must stop congratulating tv companies when they put out anything disability related just because we are so starved of seeing ourselves in What the UK’s media companies should be driving for is balance. For every their output

Which brings me to the US show, Armed and Ready. This is a show that features a strong, confident disabled protagonist whose every action challenges preconceptions in a positive way. There will be some who say that this “action crip” persona that Kevin has is a continuation of the brave, triumphant stereotype that our media loves so much. We must not forget, however, that as well as fronting the show he is involved with the programme’s production. This is not a show for us, or about us: it’s by us! He shapes the way the

“Undateables” we need a “No Troubles Getting Dates-ables”; for every “Sex On Wheels” there should be a “Has Great Sex On Wheels”. Not only will that lead to TV that reflects a wider cross-section of disabled people, it will also knock down stereotypes that affect all of us. It would be great for future generations of disabled people to think nothing of seeing the next Jack Carroll on a talent show, to grow up not seeing disability as a barrier to anything (even finding love). The media could play a massive role in building that future, so let’s all encourage them to do so.


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30/07/2013 21:24

Volvo with Motability

The All-New Volvo V40 Cross Country with an advance payment of £299*

As a Motability user you can drive away in a perfect All-New Volvo V40 D2 Cross Country Lux manual for an advance payment of just £299 with servicing, tyres, breakdown cover and insurance included. Or if you’d prefer the automatic version, it’s an advance payment of £499. With a robust exterior and increased ride height that lends itself to easy access, this premium compact crossover gives you power and presence on the road. It also features a host of safety features as standard including the world’s first pedestrian airbag. For more information, simply visit or contact your local dealer.

Fuel consumption for the All-New Volvo V40 Cross Country range in mpg (I/100 km): Urban 67.3 (4.2) – 24.4 (11.6), Extra Urban 80.7 (3.5) – 44.1 (6.4), Combined 74.3 (3.8) – 34.0 (8.3). CO2 emissions 194 – 99g/km. *Advance payment of £299 is for the All-New Volvo V40 D2 Cross Country Lux manual. For the automatic version, an advance payment of £499 is required. For full terms and conditions, visit Offer available to Motability customers only. Offer valid from 01/07/2013 to 30/09/2013

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30/07/2013 18/06/2013 20:57 09:16


By James Lavery

The Road to Freedom

Swift Kon-Tiki 669H

There can be little that is more universally appreciated than the getaway, the holiday, the much needed (and deserved!) break from the routine and grind of everyday life. Nothing appeals to us more than the prospect of putting our daily responsibilities to one side and immersing ourselves in an environment of relaxation and serenity. With seemingly everyone tightening their belts these days, however, our eyes have turned away from the appeals of an expensive foreign holiday and toward the charms of a UK one. Home to stunning coastal regions, breathtaking hill ranges and ancient woodland areas, the landscape of the United Kingdom has often been overlooked and underappreciated by the very people who live here. Yet in recent years the popularity of caravan and motorhome holidays has spiked significantly; people have started to look towards getting to grips with British nature while simultaneously residing in comfort.

Swift Kon-Tiki 669H rear profile bed

No longer are caravans and motorhomes considered the exclusive preserve of the odd or the retired. The image of the bearded and bespectacled caravanner, complete with bucket hat, white socks poking through worn sandals and garishly coloured bumbag is no longer necessarily a truism. Young couples, families and members of all communities and backgrounds have embraced the caravan culture for what it is: a cheap and enjoyable way to reconnect with ourselves and the land, in surroundings that can range from the blissfully tranquil to the sensually invigorating. Holiday parks and campsites range from the most northerly tip of Scotland to the southernmost coast of England, offering a huge range of environments and activities that can fit the budget of almost anyone. If you were to embrace the freedom afforded to you by the purchase of a

Swift Escape 686

caravan or motorhome this summer, it would be an investment which ensures that for the next decade or more all you need do is hook up your mobile residence to the back of your car and set off into the sunset. Happen to not like where you end up? Quickly and easily relocate to somewhere else. Why suffer from the stress of booking hotel rooms or holiday apartments? With a caravan holiday you know precisely what your living conditions will be before you even depart, there are no nasty surprises to arrive to after a gruelling outbound journey. Many hotels and resorts will claim to be fully accessible without being so, with an adjusted caravan or motorhome you are safe in the knowledge that the place you’ll be sleeping is already configured to your needs. There are no double bookings, no unexpected noisy roadworks you can’t escape from and no neighbours treating you to their loud quarrels through paper


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an investment which ensures that for the next decade or more all you need do is hook up your mobile residence to the back of your car and set off into the sunset

Swift Conqueror 630L rear bedroom and fixed bed thin walls. Enjoy the autonomy of a caravan or motorhome lifestyle that cannot be replicated by living in someone else’s rented accommodation. What better way to take advantage of the unpredictable weather of the United Kingdom than to make sure you are able to, at the drop of a hat, make the best of an unexpected sunny March weekend. Treat the family to a small break away on a whim. Caravan parks are a superb experience for children, allowing them to grapple with the great outdoors in a secure and safe environment away from the dangers and hazards of bustling city life. Many caravan sites offer a full range of activities for children in the daytime, including swimming pools, kids’ clubs and adventure courses, meaning that (despite what the cliché may suggest) they will not bore quickly. After the children have tired themselves out and been put to bed, perhaps it would be time to enjoy a glass

Elddis Xplore

of wine with your partner and take in the night sky free from the light pollution and general smog we are accustomed to in our cities and towns.

Customised Caravans You could be mistaken in thinking that the confined spaces of the caravan and motorhome would present serious difficulties for those who require specialist access, but you’d be wrong. Companies such as Coachbuilt GB (www.coachbuiltgb. offer a fantastic array of services, from purchasing ready-made adapted caravans to making adjustments and alterations to a motorhome you may already own. A specialist team of advisors listens carefully to each customer so as to best customise each caravan to each individual’s specific needs and

requirements. Caravans can come with fully accessible wet rooms, ramps, specialist sleeping arrangements and much more, meaning that a caravan holiday is far more accessible than you might think. For instance, Coachbuilt GB offers both the Sterling Eccles Sport 586 and the Swift Challenger Sport 586 for around £28,000. Included in this price is the wide door access and ramp, a fully accessible wet room, an internal wheelchair turning circle, bespoke grab rails and supports and a lounge and dining area designed specifically around your own wheelchair. Optional extras include, but are not limited to, a ceiling track hoist, an automatic wheelchair winch and an entertainment upgrade. A caravan offers more space and luxury than a motorhome, meaning that getting closer to nature does not have to compromise your comfort, and comfort is certainly afforded to you with both these models. 19

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Castillo Independence

Second hand caravans come in markedly cheaper, a five berth Elddis Xplore 495 will set you back just over £12,000, including already made adjustments and alterations. At the more expensive end of the range is the Sterling Eccles Amethsyt, which comes in at just over £32,000 and whose optional extras include a Sky digibox, air conditioning and motor mover. Able to Pictureupof... sleep to five people, the Amethsyt is a true example of holidaying in both style and luxury and is a guarantee of family holidays for years to come.

Hiring If the substantial cost of these holiday vehicles has left you a little breathless, it is worth noting that Coachbuilt GB offer a hire service for adjusted caravans and motorhomes, meaning that if you would prefer to avoid making a serious investment you can still experience the pleasures of a caravan holiday away. works in partnership with Coachbuilt GB to allow the option of hiring a caravan or motorhome, which can cost you from under a £1000 a week. A much more reasonable outlay, especially when you consider the cost of a family of four going abroad for a week.

Motorhomes If you are looking for even more independence on your holiday, then perhaps you should opt for a motorhome ahead of a caravan. A motorhome, due to its size, lacks many of the more lavish comforts of a caravan. It is, however, far more manoeuvrable and less reliant on being near a local power source. Whereas a caravan is tied to caravan sites, with a motorhome you can enjoy an even more rustic setting, completely isolated and away from all human contact and interference. A motorhome offers complete freedom in a way perhaps only camping can match.

What’s more, it is able to offer this freedom without the trauma of an uncomfortable sleeping bag, stifling tent and being rudely awoken by creepy crawlies migrating across your face. Brook Miller Mobility Ltd have, for example, worked in conjunction with WildAx motorhomes to release the wheelchair accessible Castillo Independence. A state of the art vehicle, the Castillo Independence uses the base of the Fiat Ducato, which has enough space to accommodate everything you would find in the larger coach-built models whilst still retaining the ease of driving a smaller panel van vehicle. The Castillo Independence is fully winterised for year round use, it includes a roll through wet room, LED lighting throughout, a sofa for relaxing, a good sized kitchen worktop and it can be adapted to your own precise needs, ensuring you will get the most out of your motorhome. Prices start from £39,995. For more information call Brook Miller on 01422 372 111 or visit Coachbuilt GB also offers an extensive range of used and new motorhomes that have been adapted for specialist needs and circumstances. At the uppermost reaches of the price range is the 6 berth Swift Kon-Tiki 669H, available for just under £90,000. With a fully electric wheelchair lift, ceiling track hoist and wheelchair restraint system as standard, along with the basic wet room and wide door access that is typical of all of Coachbuilt GB’s adjusted vehicles, the Swift Kon-Tiki 669H is the ultimate combination of the autonomy of a motorhome combined with the space and luxury of a caravan. At the other end of the price scale, second hand motorhomes are available for considerably less money. Take, for instance, the 4 berth Hymer Classic, which offers all the basic adaptations and alterations for a price of less than £25,000.

Affordability The average cost of a British family’s holiday abroad is around £2000, and so an adjusted caravan or motorhome represents a remarkable investment. Not only are you not limited to one holiday per year (you can choose to use your caravan whenever you feel) but a caravan, if properly maintained, is something that could potentially last you a lifetime. Over fifteen years a family could have spent almost £30,000 on fifteen holidays abroad. For that amount you could purchase a top of the line, brand new adapted caravan or motorhome. You would not be limited to just the one holiday per year either; neither would it be limited to just fifteen years of service. If and when you do decide to sell your caravan or motorhome, the second hand market for these vehicles ensures you will always get a fair price and good return on your initial outlay.

Useful Information When trying to ascertain if a holiday park has the facilities to cater to your particular needs, it is often difficult to establish precisely what the facilities are at a particular site. Two fantastic websites to assist you in this quest for information are; and is a charity organisation run mainly by those with disabilities. As a result the reviews and suggestions on the site have been made by people with a genuine understanding of the needs and requirements of those in wheelchairs. Their mission statement is to encourage those who would perhaps not fully participate in community life to have available to them the necessary information required for a holiday that would cater to their needs.


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30/07/2013 20:59


Living with

Spinal Cord Injury Adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury can be a difficult time for both the individual and their family. The time after an injury can be a delicate one and everyone reacts differently to their own personal situation, but it is good to know that there are people out there to support you when you feel ready to talk about your injuries and your new life. The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is a user led charity that was set up in 1974, by Baroness Masham of Ilton, with the aim of supporting people living with a spinal cord injury by ensuring they have access to specialist medical care, information and advice. We spoke with Pete Hutchings, Outreach Services Manager, to find out more about the vital work SIA do. Pete explains that the charity has a number of different services to help meet the needs of people with spinal cord injury. They are not just there to support newly injured people but are there throughout the

duration of someone’s life to advise and support when they are needed. SIA believes that the best support comes from peers. Nothing can be more reassuring and motivating than speaking to someone who has been through the same experiences. That is why all SIA’s Outreach Services team are spinal cord injured themselves. They draw from their own knowledge and experiences as they support newly injured people in coming to terms with their injury, finding motivation for rehab, and rebuilding a life at home.

SIA’s Outreach Services are available across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Peer Support Officers are available in all ten spinal cord injury centres, supporting spinal cord injured people during the early stages of injury and rehabilitation. Peer Support Officers also work out in the community on a regional basis. Whether a spinal cord injured person is being treated in a District General Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre or in a care home, SIA will be there to help. In addition, SIA also has a Peer Support Officer with a military background available at Headley Court and other Armed Forces Rehabilitation Centres. ‘We are there for spinal cord injured people, from the moment the injury happens, and for the rest of their lives. We go in at the acute stage, often we’re in some of the major trauma centres visiting people. To be honest though, at this stage it is very 23

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often family support, a newly injured person often won’t be very engaging at this point. Some people do come through and they want information immediately, in which case we’ll meet those needs.’ A Vocational Support Officer is also on hand to visit people who have been injured, not necessarily to discuss work options after their recovery but to help find, as Pete puts it, ‘a reason to get out of bed in the morning.’ ‘Jamie Rhind (the vocational support officer) also sits in the spinal cord injury centres with the OT teams delivering clinics, sitting with individuals and going through their options. We also have a database of mentors or peers that people can get in touch with. For example, I had someone who wanted to get back into teaching after a spinal cord injury, I put him in touch with a person who had done that previously and he was able to guide him and help him out.’ Other services include a telephone counselling service with a clinical psychologist who donates some of her time to supporting those who need it.

It can also be very reinforcing to a newly injured person to see someone who has a similar injury doing things that they may have thought were not possible They also have a continuing healthcare advisor to offer advice to people and a very active public affairs team who campaign on a variety of issues regarding spinal cord injury. In addition to this, a very detailed and comprehensive website has been created to provide users with a wealth of information on spinal cord injury and the support available.

what they did at the weekend. This can be the positive influence that a person needs to motivate them in adjusting to their new life. ‘I would always encourage people to go and meet other peers, it’s really important to get to spinal centres. Meeting peers can drag you out of the biggest, darkest hole imaginable. If you meet someone who has a more serious injury than you and is achieving more than you, it gives you that motivation. I met quite a lot of people like that and thought ‘blimey if he can do that, I should give it a go.’


Peer Support

Following feedback from healthcare professionals, SIA have now introduced specific study days to educate healthcare professionals on bladder and bowel issues and moving and handling techniques.

Everyone in the Outreach Services team at SIA are spinal cord injured themselves. It can also be very reinforcing to a newly injured person to see someone who has a similar injury doing things that they may have thought were not possible anymore, like driving a car, working and talking about their latest skiing holiday or even simply

They also have an academy where they run masterclasses for people with spinal cord injury. These classes are all peer led and cover areas like parenting, employment, knowing what you are entitled to and choosing a wheelchair, amongst others.


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Living Life

When asked about his personal situation Pete tells us that he was in a dark place following his injury, the result of a complication during surgery on his aorta. He spent 16 months in Salisbury Hospital and was plagued with problems from contracting MRSA to dealing with He adWhen asked about hispressure personalsores. situation mits that family support Pete tells is uswas thatthe he fantastic was in a dark place that he had gotthe himresult through following histhat injury, of athis time and that it took the words of his partners’ complication during surgery on his aorta. young daughter, ‘I wonder what mood He spent 16 months in Salisbury Hospital Eeyore in today?’ to really hit home and wasisplagued with problems fromand motivate him to get of thewith darkpressure cloud contracting MRSA torid dealing that was overit his sores. Hehanging admits that washead. the fantastic family support that he had that got him ‘I then joined the association. I didn’t through this time and that it took thejoin words initially, although I haddaughter, met with‘Isome of his partner’s young wonder representation while in hospital; what mood Eeyore is Iinwas today?’ to reallyI hit didn’t want to be a part ‘disabled home and motivate himof tosome get rid of the club’.cloud Like I said though, it keeps dark that earlier was hanging over his head. you in the loop. I needed something at time. I then sent off my membership ‘Ithis then joined SIA. I didn’t join initially, and I don’tI had thinkmet it could have been long although with some afterwards thatwhile I received saying representation I wasainletter hospital; I they were set of upsome a peer’s service didn’t wanthoping to be atopart ‘disabled in Salisbury (where I was). I thought ‘I don’t club’ . Like I said earlier though, it keeps know muchI about living with a spinal you inthat the loop. needed something at injury yet,I but know themembership consequences this time. thenI do sent off my could think shareitthe experience I was goand I don’t could have been long afterwards that I received a letter saying they were hoping to set up a peer service in Salisbury (where I was). I didn’t know that

ing through at that moment in time. So I joined the organisation and became a peer support officer.’ ‘It completely turned my life around. I worked with a lad who was a volunteer who was fiftyliving yearswith postainjury, wasinjury 74 much about spinalhe cord when I met I drained every ounceand of yet, but I didhim. know the consequences this chap, Ihe was such Iinformation could shareout theof experience was going an influence andmoment I realisedinthe value peer through at that time. So Iof joined support then.’ and became a peer the organisation support officer. Pete recognises that not everyone is ready tocompletely see someone in a wheelchair immediIt turned my life around. I ately after their accident everyone worked with a chap who and was not a volunteer wantswas to be with SIA straight who fiftyinvolved years post injury, he was away, 74 but when ready toevery take ounce that supwhen I metthey him.are I drained of port and getout involved, arehe there you. information of this SIA chap, wasfor such an influence and I realised the value of peer ‘I think the most support then. ’ important thing is to remember that nothing that happens can truly recognises change who younot are. It does change Pete that everyone is you fortoasee while, of course, go into a ready someone in ayou’ll wheelchair darker place for a while, but generally your immediately after their accident and not personality and things will come through. everyone wants to be involved with SIA I always think myself, you were the type straight away,tobut whenif they are ready to of person beforehand whoinvolved, always sat take that support and get SIAinare front of TV channel hopping, then you’ll there forayou. probably still be doing that afterwards. Al‘I think the most important thing is to remember that nothing that happens can truly change who you are. It does change

though like I said before, it does sometimes give you the kick up the backside you need to start achieving more.’

SIA SIA is entirely funded by donations, they you for anowhile, of course, you’ll go into a receive government funding. It is theredarker place forimportant a while, but your fore extremely forgenerally them to raise personality and will come through. awareness of thethings work they do and the I always think to myself,they if you were type important difference make tothe peoples of person beforehand who always sat in lives. front of a TV channel hopping, then you’ll probably be doing that For morestill information and afterwards. advice from Although like I said before, it does SIA: sometimes give you the kick up the backside youAdvice need to start0800 achieving more.’ Freephone Line: 980 0501 Website:


SIA is entirely funded by donations, they receive no government funding. It is therefore extremely important for them to raise awareness of the work they do and the important difference they make to peoples live’s.

For more information and advice from SIA: Freephone Advice Line: 0800 980 0501 Website:


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1 Year on

Last year Britain was treated to the

Paralympic Games, getting to know the athletes through the media, their personal stories and long journeys training towards, what each hoped would be, a triumphant home Games.

I recently looked back at some of the highlights of the Paralympic Games and I was taken aback at the way some of the events still evoked those feelings of excitement, anticipation and elation in me. From reliving the tactical genius of David Weir in the T54 5000m, a race that was nothing short of sheer brilliance, to witnessing the heartache of Nathan Stephens as the officials misinterpreted the rules during the F57 Javelin. Every event was filled with highs and lows and the public embraced everything about the

We lived through every moment of tension, anticipation, heartbreak and elation with them. When it was over we were left with nothing more than a collection of memories of elite sport from a group of GB athletes so talented and charismatic that they have etched their mark on history forever.

most exceptional summer of sport as London hosted what were arguably, the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games of our time.

Here we take a look back through some of the most memorable moments of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 29

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It wasn’t my proudest moment but it is what it is now, and will go down in history as part of the Paralympics on Day 2. It showed everyone how much an athlete puts in through 4 years of training and how much it means to athletes. That’s about the only positive I can take from it.

Jody Cundy, Cycling

Hannah Cockroft won gold medals in both the T34 100m and 200m and secured a place in the hearts of the nation

Will Bayley, the young charismatic Table Tennis player, finished the Games with a silver in the singles and a bronze in the doubles

The overall experience of London 2012 was second to none, it was absolutely amazing, the supporters, the spectators, the volunteers, the publicity, everything you could ask for in a Paralympic Games, it had it.

Aled Davies won the first medal of the Games with a bronze in the F42/44 Shot Put and followed it up with a gold in the Discus

Nathan Stephens, Javelin

Heartache for Nathan Stephens when the officials misinterpreted the rules


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David Weir, aka ‘The Weirwolf’ dominated in wheelchair racing to secure 4 gold medals

Aged only 15, Josef Craig took glod in the S7 400m Freestyle. He was awarded the title of BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and an MBE

Stef Reid lands Silver in the F44 Long Jump

Absolutely amazing, most of our games were sold out so to play in front of that crowd, the noise was unbelievable. There was about 10,000 people in that arena, it was so noisy, on court you couldn’t hear what anyone was saying! It was that loud, it was really incredible. It gives you that extra lift, when the crowd are cheering predominantly for you.

Mike Kerr, Wheelchair Rugby

Murderball gripped the nation

Golden girl Ellie Simmonds did not disappoint. She won 2 golds, a silver and a bronze, whilst smashing world records in some emotional performances 31

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Amazing! I know it sounds cheesy but it really was the experience of a lifetime. I’m so pleased and proud, I want to go on and compete in more, but for me knowing that I competed in London I feel like you can’t beat it and I know I didn’t win a medal, but it was so incredible to have that experience in your own country – that’s something that people don’t get, its very rare.

Louise Hunt, Tennis

David Anthony and his blue Sarah Storey made mohican Paralympic history winning 4 gold medals in her cycling events

Mickey Bushell raced to gold in the T53 100m

The Boccia mixed team BC1-2 won bronze

Silver medal scooped by Peter Norfolk and Andy Lapthorne Richard Whitehead put on an epic show when he stormed to victory in the T42 200m

I felt that crowd from the start gun, all the way through and the different changes in emotions – the start was quite loud and then there was a bit of a lull because they thought at that stage I was nowhere near winning the race, and then as soon as they knew that I was in contention it was unbelievable. The crowd was so loud, I can’t explain how emotionally uplifting that can be, when you have got 80,000 people supporting you and screaming for you.

Richard Whitehead, T42 200m


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30/07/2013 13/12/2012 21:03 10:17


Aspirations Achieved

1 Year

We caught up with Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, to reminisce about the Paralympic Games and find out his thoughts on the impact that these Games had on the public’s perception of disability.

What were your initial aspirations for the Paralympic Games? We had key, clearly set ambitions for the Games. One, was a performance ambition which was to recognise that as a team ParalympicsGB finished in the top two in the last three Paralympic Games and therefore we were seeking to retain that space while winning more medals across more sports. It was an ambition that we should feel was rightly very tough, but one that we wanted to aspire to. But alongside that, was a belief that the Games could help to canvas the perceptions of non-disabled people and actually get people to consider the way that they think, feel and behave towards disability.

Do you think these aspirations were achieved? Yes, I do, I think the Games themselves and the way Channel 4 covered them, the way the media embraced them, the way the nation embraced them, the ticket sales and the mass excitement that was maintained through the Paralympics, was profound. I think it was a period when the disability agenda was put firmly and indeed, almost solely, in the hands of a positive force. That was incredibly valuable for us as a team because the nation got very excited by our athletes, got excited by the sport and got excited by what they were viewing. Also I think it was very important for us as a movement, where subsequently you could look at and track whether or not this was having an impact and there is already good

evidence being gathered factually around people’s changed perceptions to disability. I think what we have to be clear about though is two things, firstly that the Paralympics was not some sort of panacea for all ills and that all the problems that exist within society for disabled people were washed away in an instant by a fantastic Games. Secondly, is that it’s a pre-generational thing, the kids and the young people who were so interested in and so excited by the Paralympic Games, will subsequently, through visits of athletes

I think it was a period when the disability agenda was put firmly and indeed, almost solely, in the hands of a positive force into their schools, generationally grow up having that as their principal reference point for disability and their principal belief will therefore be that, actually it’s not something that should be seen as being anything other than a fact of someone’s life and that there is a huge amount that they can do that can be both inspiring and normal in everyday life.

What in your eyes was the best thing about the Paralympics? I think the best thing about the Paralympics, genuinely, was the understanding that London gave to people


of the nature of the sport, because in fact that’s where it starts, it starts with the sport. And it wasn’t ultimately a festival of disability, it was actually a festival of high performance sport. It was competition at the highest level, it was feats of sporting excellence that people marvelled at and revelled in and more than anything, that’s what matters to me because that is what will sustain people’s interest.

Initially there was a big uptake and interest in disability sport, has that sustained? There have been varying reports, but one of the reports that came out earlier this year was more instructive about the fact that mainstream sporting clubs are not in a position to take on disabled people. I think where you’ve got disability specific clubs, like a wheelchair rugby or basketball club, there has undoubtedly been an interest there and the evidence that has been seen through our own SportsFest events.

Aspirations for Rio 2016? Our aspirations for Rio remain very ambitious, we do want to appear at this stage to have a high level goal that is within reach, although we do recognise that the competition is getting much tougher, London was much tougher. To retain our top three status and continue to win more medals than we have before is the ultimate goal at this stage. But the main thing from our point of view is to retain our status as a world-leading nation. 35

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Welcome to the latest edition of TravAbility. I hope you are all having a fabulous summer, even with the UK giving us some unpredictable weather, at least we have had some sun and I have a healthy tan to show for it. Since the last edition I have done some great fun things. I went to Disability Rocks music and art festival at Nell Bank in Leeds. It was a great day with hundreds of disabled people coming together to listen to some amazing music, having fun and enjoying the day. There was something for everyone, but the highlight of the day for me and my ten year old son was watching female comedian, Francesca Martinez, she was hilarious. I have also had a great trip to Cornwall and enjoyed reviewing accessible cottages and a hotel as well as visiting some lovely Cornish seaside places. My main job at Can Do Holidays is to personally review every holiday before I put them on my website and I would really appreciate your help. If you have visited a holiday venue in the UK that was brilliant for your needs, please share this positive information with me either by Facebook, Twitter, telephone or e-mail (details below). I am going to be relaunching my podcast due to popular demand and again I need your help; can you suggest subjects you would like me to talk openly about? I also need a theme tune; are you in a band or do you have a passion for music? It needs to be no longer that 20seconds, just send me a recording and I will have a listen and put it live on my podcast. The more we get the better! Remember if I can help you find a UK holiday venue all you have to do is phone me and I will happily support you to find a holiday to suit your needs.

Ashridge Farm Piggery I have not travelled around Devon much, as growing up in the Midlands we always holidayed in Skegness or Wales. I spent a few days in Devon reviewing a number of accessible holiday venues and I was really impressed by the area, local people are very used to tourists and were very welcoming. Devon has a lovely mix of countryside and coastline. As you pull up to Ashridge Farm in the Devonshire countryside you realise how beautiful it is. I was warmly welcomed by the owners and taken for a nice cup of tea. We sat in the sun rooms at the end of the piggery over looking 200 acres of farm land and I could have happily sat there all day, and would have if I didn’t have to drive for five hours to get back home. Ashridge Farm Cottages have been recently converted from the old farm’s piggery and are now impressive four star unique holiday properties. The Piggery is all on one level, making it ideal for wheelchair users or people with limited mobility. Ashridge Farm Piggery comprises three bedrooms with an outside covered corridor, leading to an open-plan living/dining room with a kitchen and sun room attached. The

bedrooms comprise: Room 1: one double bed and bunk beds with an en-suite bathroom with a shower over the bath. Room 2: an adapted bedroom with a double and a single bed, wheelchair accessible. The room can be rearranged to make more space. The en-suite shower room has a raised toilet and sink that you can fit a wheelchair under. The wheel-in shower has a pull down shower chair and there is an array of handrails. Room 3: a small double room with en-suite shower room with shower in a cubical, raised toilet and sink. This room has an internal lockable door which can lead to the living room and kitchen. The local Red Cross can provide adapted equipment, like profiling beds and hoists on request. Ashridge Farm is an ideal location for holidaymakers who would like to sightsee around Devon as it is central to the county. If you have any questions about the farm or availability please feel free to ring me on 0800 298 3052.


Can Do Holidays 0800 2983052 / 07969 853522 @CanDoHolidays


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Access Award

Bendrigg Activity centre Bendrigg Trust was a place I have been wanting to see for quite a while as it has a good reputation and ethos. It is a charity, established in 1978, that runs a residential activity centre, set in 15 acres of picturesque Cumbrian countryside, specialising in high quality courses for disabled people of all ages and abilities. When I arrived there was a school group on site who were really excited and full of energy. I watched them make their way to the large zip wire with no fear and once each child was safely harnessed in you could hear the squeals of joy as they whizzed along the zip wire. I was invited to join the group and staff for lunch, which was delicious. All the food is sourced locally and freshly home cooked. I was impressed to see after lunch how all the children worked together to tidy the dining area. Bendrigg encourage the guests to carry out domestic duties. Bendrigg aims to promote integration, encourage independence and build selfconfidence through the use of residential experience and the safe provision of adventurous outdoor activities. It is ideal for groups, including residential school trips, colleges, youth groups, families and corporate groups. Activities are tailor-made to meet the needs of each visiting group’s specific aims and objectives. Activities on-site include an aerial runway, a floodlit challenge course, tube slide and a range of orienteering courses. Also in the Kinross Building they have a state of the art sensory room, indoor caving system, sports hall and an impressive, wheelchair accessible indoor

climbing wall. The surrounding area offers a wealth of natural beauty and further opportunities for caving, canoeing, hill walking, gorge walking and sailing. Accommodation is within two buildings; Bendrigg Lodge itself is a converted hunting lodge, which can accommodate up to 40 residents. The Lodge has recently been refurbished to a very high level, extending the facilities available for people with more severe disabilities. The bedrooms are set on two levels, with ramp and lift access to the first floor and are made up of single beds, bunk beds, profiling beds, ceiling and mobile hoists. Each room can sleep between two and five people with configurations to suit your group’s needs. There are a variety of bathrooms throughout the Lodge that have been adapted with shower chairs, wet-rooms, raised toilets, changing shower beds and an array of handrails. The dining and lounge areas are on the ground floor and are fully accessible. The Lodge price includes full board with meals cooked on site from locally sourced food. Staying at the Lodge means that you will be involved with an important aspect of the residential experience which is helping with the day-to-day running of the centre. If you are interested in organising a trip to Bendrigg Trust call me on 0800 298 3052 to discuss your requirements and ensure the centre is suitable for your group’s needs.


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The Room for All Seasons I was excited about visiting The Room for All Seasons on the Lane End Farm Trust in Derbyshire, as I had been talking to the manager Cath and her enthusiasm for the trust was infectious. I really wanted to get there and help her promote her amazing farm. My welcoming committee was brilliant. The farm has trained friendly sheep dogs and they came bounding happily to greet me. As I walked onto the farm on a very cold and frosty day the yard had a group of younger people from the local college, who were getting ready for their day’s adventure horse trekking in Derbyshire. The students all had a learning disability and I asked them about the farm and trust. I was told story after story about their farm adventures, the naughty goats, the sheepdogs they had trained and the horses they loved. I was moved to talk to these people and see what an impact coming to the farm had on them, One young man was telling me all about his time spent training the dogs and how he had been on a sheepdog course. He was so proud of himself and rightly so. I met the owner, who is an amazing woman, she shared her story with me and explained that she had a spinal injury and talked about the impact it had on her life. Due to her injury and her long and hard recovery she has set up Lane End Trust to support people mainly with spinal injuries to help build their confidence and enthusiasm. On the farm there is one accessible bedroom called The Room for All Seasons, which was designed for younger people with spinal injuries to help with their


Access Award

recovery and funded by Children In Need. The cottage can sleep three people plus one infant. The Room for All Seasons has one bedroom with a large single profiling bed, moving head and feet only, and a ceiling tracking hoist through to the large en-suite wet-room. The large wet-room is designed to a very high standard and has a wheel-in shower with pull down shower chair and a large wheeled shower chair with arms. The bathroom also has a raised toilet, a wheelchair accessible small sink and a large array of handrails. In the living room, in a purpose-designed cupboard, is a double pull down bed, which is easy to use and put away. The kitchen is fully fitted with everything you would need. Whilst on the farm you are welcome to join in with farm activities and the owner has very kindly given Can Do Holidays an amazing offer; anyone who stays at The Room for All Seasons can have a free half day activity and accommodation for the week for only ÂŁ400. You can take part in horse riding, horse care, looking after the goats, sheep, cows and dogs which have all been bred and hand reared on the farm. This ensures all the animals are very safe and used to being around all people. Lane End Farm Trust have big plans for an indoor riding school if they can get the funding, so fingers crossed for them. This is an ideal place for people who enjoy being outside. Please contact me for more information on the property and to check availability on 0800 298 3052. 39

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It’s very difficult to find a top-class accessible hotel these days.

We should know. Calvert Trust Exmoor enables people with all types of disabilities to experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activity holidays. At our award winning accessible centre all activities are specifically designed and equipped to cater for everyone.

it's what you CAN do that Counts! Contact us quoting ‘PosAbility’ to find out more; 01598 763221

We are a family run business, based in Dersingham, specialists in transport for the elderly and less mobile. We are experienced in hospital patient transport and all our staff have first hand knowledge of dealing with people with a wide range of disabilities.

Our Fleet can cater for: • Disabled & Wheelchair access • Holiday Transfers • Airport, seaport & Train Stations • Hospital transfers

Blackpool’s leading accessible hotel for disabled people, their carers, friends and family. CQC Registered • Interconnecting Suites • Overhead Tracking Profile Beds • Fine Dining • Evening Entertainment Personal Care Services • Pick & Return Transport Call 01253 347 543 Email: Visit:

Vintersol is a Swedish neurological rehabilitation centre located in Los Cristianos, south of Tenerife, Spain. Since 1965 thousands of patients with Neurological diseases have been coming to our centre and nowadays, not only Swedes but many different nationalities are using our services. During the 90’s we started also treating patients with Rheumatic and other Chronic diseases. Our rehabilitation is based on Physical therapy with support of a medical team and other professionals. · · · ·

Completely accessible facilities Single and double bedrooms Dining room and library 2 heated swimming pools

Tel: 01485 540019 Mobile: 07983 556 306

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Please, do not hesitate to contact us on 0034 922 777 900 or visit our website

30/07/2013 21:04



Access Award

Trevanion House I had been given this hotel’s details on many occasions and decided that the long five and half hour journey down to Cornwall was needed to go and see it. Trevanion House is a specialist hotel that supports individuals and groups who have learning disabilities to have an independent holiday, it has a nice mix of local amenities and countryside. I arrived at the hotel on change-over day and that meant I got to meet both the people going home after their holiday and the people that were coming to start their adventure. I was delighted to see so many excited happy people, the guests that were leaving had so many stories to tell me, I stood in the entrance hall for a good halfhour listening to their wonderful holiday tales. When the new group arrived we all went into the newly refurbished dinning room for a welcome talk with tea and cake and, for those of you that know me, will know I am at my happiest when eating homemade cake! The hotel has 17 bedrooms and can cater for up to 22 individuals. People can holiday here independently, with their own care workers, or as part of a group. It enables people of 18 years and over to holiday

independently with support staff available 24 hours a day. Once everyone was settled in their bedrooms and had time to unwind and explore the hotel, we all met for a home cooked dinner. I was impressed by the choice that was available, at every step the guests are given the opportunity to make their own choices and decisions. After dinner the guests come together as a group to learn about the hotel’s guidelines and to plan the weeks activities/trips. Every guest is asked what they would like to do and see for the duration of their holiday and as a group they organise three trips a day and select people who will go on them. There was over fifty locations to choose from including the Eden Project, a trip to the seaside, castles, shopping and much more.

to feel very welcome and each guest was treated as an individual with full support and respect. I met most of the team, but one member of staff you cannot miss is Martin. Martin was a great character. He was fun, friendly and all the guests loved him, so a big thank you to Martin for making me smile for hours. The day’s routine starts at 9am with a healthy breakfast, after that the staff accompany guests on the trip in one of the hotel’s four minibuses, arriving back from their daytrips at 5pm. They then have some time to relax in their own rooms, gardens or in one of the lounges before dinner at 6.30pm followed by the evening entertainment. Each day is different, including the menus, day trips, evening entertainment and most importantly guests are given options and choices about all aspects of their holiday.

There are limitations to guests who have physical disabilities as it is not fully wheelchair accessible and all guests have to be able to transfer independently from a wheelchair into a minibus.

This is an ideal location for an individual or group looking for a full board, action packed, holiday with support in a beautiful location and with amazing people. Please contact me if you would like more information or to book this amazing hotel on 0800 2983052.

However, I cannot put into words how wonderful this hotel is, it is one of the best locations I have ever visited. I was made 41

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• Replacement tyres, tubes & batteries for most mobility scooters & powered chairs • Replacement tyres, tubes, castors & wheels for self propelled & attendant wheelchairs • Call out tyre fitting service (Greater Glasgow area) • Wheelchair repair & servicing • Secure on-line at • Contact us on 0141 434 0672 Or 07002MOBILITY

• Replacement tyres, tubes & batteries for most mobility scooters & powered chairs • Replacement tyres, tubes, castors & wheels for self propelled & attendant wheelchairs • Call out tyre fitting service (Greater Glasgow area) • Wheelchair repair & servicing • Secure on-line at • Contact us on 0141 434 0672 Or 07002MOBILITY

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We bring you a mix of the most innovative and helpful products on the market today…

HappyLegs Machine The name of this device just makes me want to buy it because I want my legs to be happy. Luckily, it has more than just a good name, this machine is designed to improve blood circulation.

Mountain Trike’s New Accessories Mountain Trike is an excellent all-terrain wheelchair and it’s incredible versatility and off-road performance gives riders an amazing feeling of freedom and independence.

Ideal for those who have reduced mobility and do not have the opportunity to go for regular walks, the HappyLegs machine simply brings the walk to you. Just place the machine on the floor, take a seat and pop your feet on the allocated foot plates, they will then move them in a walking motion for you. This walking simulation helps to improve vital vascular blood flow, all from the comfort of your own home. It can help reduce the risk or effects of arthritis, thrombosis (DVT), diabetic neuropathy, joint and muscular problems and much more. HappyLegs 0845 300 8823

Prices from £290

The two drive levers and hydraulic disc brakes give the rider excellent propulsion, control and braking, over difficult ground and up steep hills. Whilst the unique direct-drive steering means the rider can steer and drive the chair with only one arm, leaving a spare hand for holding hands with a loved one, using the phone, walking the dog or even holding a beer! Some useful accessories have been recently introduced to customise your Mountain Trike to your needs. Customers can now choose from 3 different kinds of racks to hold bags, picnics or shopping on their trike, the Sports Rack, the Multi Rack or the Adventure Rack. The Multi Rack and the Adventure Rack also combine the new Push Handle for times when you might want a helping hand getting up those hills. All are height adjustable and easily fitted and removed with a 5mm allen key, and they can each be powder coated to any colour of your choice. Mountain Trike 07816 955 945

Prices from £255 43

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SuperKettle The SuperKettle was originally designed simply for use in any kitchen as a convenient method of boiling water, but many customers discovered just how useful it was for people with disabilities. The great thing about the SuperKettle is that it eliminates any lifting or tipping, avoiding any risk of spilling boiling water and harming yourself or others. The water comes out at a constant rate, making it much safer and easier to use. The SuperKettle holds 3 litres of water and it is designed to be left on in normal use, as it only heats up when needed and uses very little energy in ‘Keep Warm’ mode.
It has protection against overheating or boiling dry and
 the insulation means the walls are only very warm and never get hot enough to scald.

Prices from £4895

i-Swim Pool Lift The ergonomically designed i-swim Pool Lift is exclusively available in the UK from Dolphin Mobility and has been created with the user and carer/parent/coach in mind. Incorporating an aluminium and stainless steel design, the developers have ensured the ‘i-swim’ is considerably lighter and easier to manoeuvre than many other mobile swimming pool hoist systems. This lightweight focus makes it so much easier for a user to move the pool lift to any part of the pool to aid someone getting out, rather than having to remain static in one specific area.

SuperKettles 0115 822 6510

Prices from £54

As with all things Italian, style has also been a driving force during the design process, something that cannot always be said when comparing similar products. To compliment the lightweight stylish design, the i-swim incorporates 4 wheels (2 with brakes) and a patented Auto-Tip stabilising system. Power is supplied by 2 x 18 amp rechargeable batteries that can complete approximately 40 lift cycles. The beauty of the i-swim, is that it can be effortlessly manoeuvred around the majority of swimming pools in leisure centres, health clubs and spas, ensuring swimming is accessible to all. To celebrate its launch, the i-swim is available at a special promotional price of £4895 + VAT. Dolphin Mobility 01276 856060

Dycem Bottle Opener This handy little device will have you opening those stubborn bottles in no time. Designed to fit any bottle lid size due to its malleable form, this simple bottle opener has unique grip bars inside to ensure a tight grip on ketchup bottles, drink bottles and even pill bottles that require a push down and twist motion. Dycem 0117 9559921

Prices from £3.60


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Countess Beds This range of adjustable beds is specifically designed to enhance any bedroom setting. Available as a single, double or twin adjusting, variable height bed, they have the ability to raise both the backrest and leg section, simply by pressing a button, thus enabling the user to optimise their position for both support and comfort.

Prices from £2350

They feature luxurious memory foam mattresses, which can also alleviate discomfort, caused by some medical conditions such as asthma, arthritic pain, poor circulation etc. The variable height feature makes both getting into and out of bed much easier. For users who struggle to stand, it is possible to sit on the side and raise the base to a comfortable standing height and also allows the user to raise the base to a position where bedding can be changed, reducing the need to bend. The Countess range is available with headboards and surrounds in a wide range of colours and wood finishes. Action Assist 01977 689 400

Prices from £1875

VTA RGK, sponsors of the GB wheelchair basketball team, have shaken up wheelchair design with the world launch of the VTA (pronounced Vita). Incorporating battlefield proven Kevlar armour and aerospace grade aluminium technology it is an exciting addition to RGK’s line-up of day and sport wheelchairs.

Gel Ball Hand Exerciser Similar to stress balls which keep you calm at work or at home, these coloured gel balls are designed to provide varying forms of resistance to exercise your hands, fingers and forearms. Used for strengthening and rehabilitation, they are a handy, affordable option that can be carried with you to use at anytime to rebuild strength in your hands or forearms. They may even help to relieve stress you when you need it! Manage At Home 0800 910 1864

Prices from £5.10

The new wheelchair billed as a ‘trailblazer for user experience, technology and design’ was launched at the Mobility Roadshow in June this year. This latest design is lighter, stronger and more versatile, addressing the need for more responsive and sleeker chairs for day use. Built by hand and completely bespoke, VTA’s aluminium frame is made from aerospace grade material, making it stronger and importantly avoiding unnecessary weight, producing a super light wheelchair. The VTA will provide wheelchair users with a smoother ride that can handle the twists and turns of everyday life, according to lead designer Mike Sheen, who joined RGK from the award-winning Dyson product design team, “Airtech upholstery allows superior positioning whilst the straight camber bar provides added rigidity so users can be sure their chair is designed to last. Exclusive design castor arm and low rise castor forks ensure minimum rolling resistance, maximum stability and great style.” RGK 01543 670077 45

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WIN! A Relaxing Getaway I Need A Holiday Too are offering the chance for one lucky winner to win a weeks holiday for four people in their fully accessible French apartments. The accommodation comprises six accessible apartments situated on the banks of the River Jaudy in a converted cotton mill which dates back to the 1880s. All apartments have large low windows to allow stunning views of the river. The apartments themselves are very spacious with open plan kitchen and dining areas, two bedrooms and large accessible bathrooms. These have level access showers with wheeled shower chairs and space for any equipment that may be required. The property is built over three floors and a lift ensures that wheelchair access is simple. A large stock of equipment is available, including profiling beds, pressure mattresses, hoists and a shower trolley for example. A team of support workers are available to meet any support needs and there is also an accessible adapted vehicle with a driver. All apartments have access to English


What river do the apartments sit on the banks of?

a) Jaudy b) Seine c) Somme

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize simply answer the question correctly and return your details to the following address, email 28

France_comp_rt_jb.indd 1

satellite TV and free Wi-Fi is available across the site. Open to all guests is a large garden along the banks of the River Jaudy and a barbeque terrace area. There is lots to see and do in the local area for all ages, from land yachting to sunbathing, everybody can be catered for. Brittany is famous for its traditional architecture, great food, amazing landscapes and generally laid-back feel. So what are you waiting for? Come and enjoy it with us! For more information call I Need A Holiday Too on 0800 949 6801 or visit Terms & Conditions The prize consists of 7 nights accommodation in an accessible apartment on a self-catering basis for 4 people. Equipment, support and transport available at an additional charge. Direct payments may be used depending on the individual. Booking is subject to availability, prize must be taken by the end of 2014. The transport costs are the responsibility of the winner. The prize is not transferable nor can any cash alternative be offered. or visit www.posabilitymagazine. to enter online. France Competition PosAbility Magazine Caledonia House Evanton Drive Thornliebank Ind. Est. Glasgow G46 8JT

Name: Address: Postcode: Tel: Email: 端

I Need A Holiday would like to send you more information about their holidays. If you would prefer 55 not to receive this, please tick the box. 47

31/07/2013 14:40


On Your Bike One of life’s most enjoyable pastimes has to be cycling. It transcends all ages and all eras. Everyone remembers their first bike and it should be no different for someone with a disability. We take a look at the benefits of cycling and the wide array of different solutions available.

With the recent hot spell of weather, families across the UK have been taking to the outdoors for days out, picnics and countryside adventures and what better way to get about than by bike. Experience the wind in your hair as you freewheel down hills and feel the sun on your face as you take in the UK’s lush scenery. A cycling outing can be as relaxed or strenuous as you want it to be and while you are having fun on your bike you can be comforted by the knowledge that it is keeping you healthy.

Cycling Solutions Cycling for people with varying disabilities can also be prescribed as a form of therapy, to help prevent muscle wastage, to help with rehabilitation after an operation or even to help with balance and cognitive skills in children. There are new adaptations and solutions being created all the time to ensure cycling can be enjoyed by all. Choosing a bicycle to suit your exact needs may therefore be a daunting task, but there are many

organisations that will assist you to find what you need. There are a multitude of different cycles out there designed to cater for many different abilities, from visual impairments to people who have very little independent mobility.

What’s Available? Trikes

Three wheels allows for much more stability. As standard, these will have 2 wheels at the rear with space for a basket in between them, but some are designed with


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2 wheels at the front offering even more stability and easier judgement of wheel space. Popular with children and adults, most trikes will come with back supports, footplates and higher quality trikes will have differential gears, which means both (back) wheels are powered at once, giving better handling and control.

Recumbents These have a seat rather than a saddle, allowing the cyclist to sit back in a fairly relaxed position. The position can be quite low to the ground which is not ideal for everyone when lowering onto the bike and getting off again. One problem is that your feet can slip out of the pedals due to the angle, but this can be resolved by using pedal straps.

Tandems Ideal for those less confident in cycling

or who have balance issues or a visual impairment, as the front cyclist dictates the direction. The heavier person must sit at the front on standard tandems. However, you do get steer from rear tandems that can have a smaller passenger sit at the front and the person at the back controls all the steering. The front passenger simply pedals and holds the unmoving handlebars, this allows them a much clearer view of the world to engage and enjoy their experience. One Up One Down Tandems also exist to provide the front passenger with a seat rather than a saddle, this gives them the position similar to a recumbent cycle and still allows them to pedal.

Also known as companion cycles, they can come in three or four wheeled versions ensuring good stability. They are ideal for those who want to have a chat while cycling or those who need reassurance.

The other option is to use a tricycle with a ramp attached to the front that will accommodate a wheelchair on it. This can be quite a large ramp so you would struggle to fit it through a standard house doorway but it does allow a wheelchair user to experience the ride from the comfort of their own chair. They can be heavy and pricey but can also be the perfect solution for many people.

Wheelchair Friendly Cycles

Hand Cylces

For those who cannot contribute to pedalling, one solution is to use a bicycle propulsion unit on the back of a wheelchair, this essentially allows a bike to clip onto the wheelchair to propel and steer it and be unclipped easily when you have arrived at your destination.

Just as the name suggests, these bikes are propelled by a hand pedalling motion instead of using your feet. They come in tricycle form and the rider can be seated upright on a saddle or in a recumbent position. The hands move in unison to ensure steering is as easy as possible.

Side by Side Cycles

There are new adaptations and solutions being created all the time to ensure cycling can be enjoyed by all 49

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Do you agree with Dick? Hi, my name is Dick and I’m a parent and a carer to my son. Our son first became unwell with bipolar disorder when he was 19. Since then he has been hospitalised many times. He has been unable to live on his own and work for long periods of time because he has been unwell. His experience of the ‘fit for work’ tests has been nothing short of appalling. When our son applied for Employment and Support Allowance, we were surprised that The Department for Work and Pensions judged him as being fit for work. The people close to him knew this decision was wrong. When we made it to the appeal, a judge finally read the evidence from our son’s psychiatrist and immediately threw out the The Department for Work and Pensions’ decision.

The Government keeps saying that their changes are helping people with mental health problems but it is clear that their process is broken. Each week tens of thousands of people are being re-assessed through the ‘fit for work’ tests. Over a third of these people are claiming primarily for mental health problems. Everyone deserves the chance to be treated fairly.

If you agree with Dick an d want unfair benefits tests to en d, please sign our petition an d share it with your friends, family and anyone else you know visit:

Reg. Charity no. 271028

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Jake’s Bike For Life As with many children, 10 year old Jake Davies from Llangollen enjoys setting off on a bike ride around his local area. While this may not seem out of the ordinary, there is something about Jake’s bike rides that sets him apart – his Draisin Plus wheelchair tandem. As a result of brain damage at birth, Jake has quadriplegic cerebral palsy which affects all his limbs, leaving him unable to walk - but he also has incredibly strong muscle tone. This means he can become very rigid, making it extremely difficult
to get him to sit in any seat. However, Jake’s father Rob explains, “Once he is in the seat of his Draisin Plus and we start moving, Jake relaxes in a way he
is unable to do elsewhere. We do not know if it is the motion or the fresh air, but Jake spends the whole time laughing and smiling and never seems to go rigid when we are moving.”

Electric Pedal Assist These bikes have a small electric motor that uses a sensor to tell how fast or hard you are pedalling and kicks in to give you a boost of energy when needed. You get no help if you don’t pedal, so it is purely designed to assist your pedalling and therefore conserve some of your own energy.

he shares some advice on funding to help you afford your perfect cycle. ‘For children in the UK, the NHS previously funded tricycles throughout a child’s life where therapeutic benefits existed, for example pre and post-operation rehabilitation, to prevent muscle wastage. Unfortunately this funding was stopped in the mid nineties. Charitable organisations, such as The Variety Club, The Caudwell Children’s Charity and Scope, support the funding of cycling equipment for disabled children, such as tricycles and some tandem solutions. Organisations such as rotary clubs, Lions Club, local radio or public houses are still extremely active in helping to make inclusive cycles accessible and available for individuals and families.

Costs and Funding The cost of buying a bicycle to suit your needs can vary greatly, from a small child’s trike costing you as little as £200 right up to the more substantial steer from rear tandems setting you back as much as £5,500. Rob Henshaw, Managing Director at cycling specialist, Quest 88, knows how expensive it can be for some people to secure the right bike for their requirements and here

The Draisin Plus is a ‘bike for life’ enabling those with limited mobility
to participate in cycling with family
and friends. It is carefully balanced to make steering and pedalling as easy as possible and can be pedalled backwards for easy manoeuvring. The wheelchair unit can be simply disconnected from the drive section of the tricycle, for visiting cafes or taking a quick break. With seven forward gears the Draisin Plus comes with a five-point vest and safety harness, hydraulic disc brakes, lateral guides, head support and footrests as standard. The seat can be adapted with extra lateral supports if required, as well as the option of fitting a child’s supportive seating system.

Funding provision becomes slightly more difficult for disabled adults as cycles, specialist or otherwise, are not covered by mobility or Motability schemes. There is currently a movement lobbying for their inclusion in government disability schemes as an alternative to a car, which, if successful, could make a major difference to the lives of disabled adults. There are also a number of growing opportunities in the UK for inclusive cycles in tourist destinations such as The Camel Trail in 51

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Cornwall or the New Forest. Drop in sessions are being made available nationwide for those wishing to explore the practicalities of cycling with their disability. Good examples are those run by Wheels for Wellbeing in and around London, and Wheels for all Centres. The profile of cycling for the disabled community is growing. Competition amongst inclusive cycle manufacturers is gradually having an effect in bringing prices down. The Cycle Show now has its own dedicated area for inclusive cycle manufacturers and initiatives and many national trust parks now run inclusive cycling schemes, which allow those with disabilities an open space in which to rent and use specialist bikes. This shows that

changes are happening, albeit slowly, and making inclusive cycling indeed inclusive.’ If you would like to find out more about charitable or other funding sources, please contact Quest 88 on 01952 463050, email or visit

Hiring Bikes If you don’t want to buy a bike outright you do have the option to hire bikes at various locations throughout the UK. This gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the sunny weekends when it is convenient to you without the big cost

of buying your own. There is even an organisation that hires out tandems for free to people with disabilities called Charlotte’s Tandems, Check out the following websites to get more information on bike hire:

Useful Organisations

Molly Combines Therapy And Play 3 year old Molly Grove from Worcestershire is a fantastic example of how people of all ages and levels of disability can truly benefit from cycling. Molly was born with Spastic Diplegia cerebral palsy which gives her extreme stiffness and tightness in the back of her legs. To help alleviate the symptoms Molly has undergone intensive physiotherapy from an early age to stretch and work her tight muscles which is painful and boring for an adult, never mind a three year old - until she took delivery of her Quest 88 Kitten tricycle.

Parents Rich and Becky were looking for ways to make the daily physio more fun orientated and following a referral, they met Martin Griffiths from Quest 88. Molly’s mother Becky picks up the story, “From our first meeting with Martin at the Beacon Centre when we saw the Kitten we knew Molly would love it and more importantly it would help her and ensure that she could have therapy and play at the same time. Following several meetings and assessments Molly received her sparkly pink Kitten last year and the effects have been tremendous as Molly now has therapy sessions without even

realising it. The Kitten has also had a great effect on Molly’s confidence as she can now play with her brothers and friends and we can take the kids on their bikes to the local park like any other family”. 53

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Game On


Gaming accessibility: a reality that’s anything but virtual By James Lavery

The expression ‘assistive technology’ is a broad one, an

umbrella term used to refer to devices that are assistive, adaptive or rehabilitative for people with disabilities. These include such innovations as hearing aids, motorised wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. The world of assistive technology has, in recent years, made huge leaps forward and the body of assistive technology on offer to the world today has never been so varied or so widely available. We can purchase talking calculators, phonetic spelling software or digital pens. There barely exists an industry that remains untouched by the pioneering designs of those who help people with disabilities enjoy more fully some of the experiences of life that would otherwise be denied to them. The impact of assistive technology has allowed major

breakthroughs in (amongst other things) the tackling of learning disabilities and the employment of those with physical disabilities, yet computer gaming has always remained relatively untouched. The NHS is unable to provide much support for those with disabilities who look for a way to take part in the thriving gaming subculture, but advances in the private sector have enabled many people to play games on consoles that were previously inaccessible to them.

Breaking Down Barriers Advances in gaming accessibility have been tremendous in recent years, but what is it we mean exactly when we talk about gaming accessibility? A recent study suggests that almost 2% of Americans are unable to play computer games due to an impairment or affliction of some sort, while


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Although many game producers have decided of their own volition to make their games more accessible, there is no binding legislation which forces game developers to take into account users who face barriers to access

up to 9% of Americans endure a reduced gaming experience. The barriers to access these disabled gamers may face are threefold: sensory impairment, motor impairment and cognitive impairment. Sensory impairment can take the form of a reduced visual or aural capacity. Perhaps a gamer is colour blind to some degree. How then is he to complete a section of a game (for instance a puzzle or the reading of a map) in which colours and colour patterns are of great significance? A deaf gamer may be unable to draw aural cues from his game, whether that is character conversation or the noise of a nearby explosion that would signify danger and require immediate in-game reaction. As a result most games today will feature an option for readable texts to have a higher degree of contrast, or for subtitles to appear throughout the game and to make sure no key information is conveyed by colour or audio alone.

Motor impairment involves a gamer being hindered or completely unable to provide input to a game. For instance, users who rely on switch controllers or eye trackers in a game may be unable to play games which require a large amount of input. Advances in the accessibility of games nowadays have ensured that many games will allow controls to be remapped and reconfigured (indeed a recent petition from amassed 80,000 signatures requesting that this be an industry standard), include an option to adjust the sensitivity of the controls and provide an alternative, simpler set of controls for game input. Calls for a greater degree of direct voice input are loud, and the latest technology from the latest consoles has surely paved the way for this possibility to become a reality in the coming years. Cognitive impairment may restrict a gamer from understanding the concept of a game or what input to provide during gameplay.

For instance, real time strategy games may require a high degree of micromanagement that someone with learning difficulties may find difficult to fully grasp. Possible solutions to this issue include reducing the relative complexity of the games narrative (reducing the number of game actions or simply reducing the storyline), slowing down the game so as to remove the more strenuous of time constraints and automating or even removing the need for some of the inputs that need to be provided. Although many game producers have decided of their own volition to make their games more accessible, there is no binding legislation which forces game developers to take into account users who face barriers to access. There have been, however, attempts over the years to introduce a set of guidelines, similar to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. 2012 saw a couple of major launches in this respect. In September of that year a group 55

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G am G e a O G m am e G e am O G e n am O e O


make it a priority to include accessibility, and you’ll find an audience that truly appreciates the extra effort. In the world of disability, small changes can make a big difference

of specialists, developers and academics set up the www.gameaccessibilityguidelines. com website, which clearly outlines what they feel are the major issues in gaming access and the best counter measures available to ensure a greater degree of accessibility. Later that month AbleGamers (a group representing the 33 million disabled gamers worldwide) set up They assert that game designers need to ‘make it a priority to include accessibility, and you’ll find an audience that truly appreciates the extra effort. In the world of disability, small changes can make a big difference’, a philosophy that seems to be shared by the vast majority of gamers around the globe.

LEPMIS Geoff Harbach is the founder of Long Eaton Powered Mobility Integration Service (LEPMIS to you and me) and is one of those who have taken it upon himself to make the world of console gaming that bit more

accessible for those with specialist needs. His website ( offers a wide array of creative and resourceful devices that allow those with motor, sensory and cognitive impairments to more fully enjoy the wide array of games on offer. LEPMIS describes itself as an ‘independent clinical assessment and engineering service for persons with moderate to severe disability who require specialised adaptations in order to access powered wheelchair mobility, computer game console or other assistive technology’. People are encouraged to contact Geoff with details of their own specific needs and in return he can provide them with custom-made equipment that is tailored to their particular disability. Geoff Harbach himself puts it most succinctly, ‘at LEPMIS we amplify the inherent capabilities of a person who is less able by the application of appropriate technologies’.

Amongst LEPMIS’ most remarkable achievements is the ORTHROS one handed controller. If a gamer suffers from a congenital limb deficiency or has undergone some form of traumatic injury, something that would normally deny gamers the ability to handle a standard two handed PlayStation or Xbox controller, then this remarkable piece of equipment offers them the opportunity to play games with zero limitations. When connected via the LEPMIS PS3-SAP interface, the ORTHROS one handed controller offers a gamer access to all of the seventeen switches to be found on a standard controller. For 57

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G am G e a O G m am e G e am O G e n am O e O under £300 the gamer is afforded the opportunity to play games without restriction and constraint, an astounding reality today but something that in previous years represented only a remote and vague possibility on the horizon. For those who find it difficult to accurately judge the amount of time they hold down a button or switch on a controller there is the Timed Switch Pulse Modifier. The device comes in at £87 and allows a gamer to more precisely judge how hard they hit a free-kick, how far they throw an object and how hard they putt a golf ball in the context of a game environment. A small, adjustable knob on the underside of the unit allows a gamer to set the desired length of a button press from XX to YY milliseconds. A small, blue LED on the front of the unit indicates the length of time you have selected each time a button is pressed, so you can be sure as to the length of your button press without repeatedly having to check in the underside of the unit. Lithium battery powered, the unit will last for over 100,000 operations before needing a cheap and easy battery replacement. The two axis Tilt Angle Sensor joystick is designed for those who experience extremely limited mobility or grip but are still able to accurately incline the tilt sensor. For example, the device can be attached to the head and the head can be tilted appropriately to guide a virtual plane flight in a game. As with all LEPMIS devices, each individual unit can be calibrated to the specific needs of each individual user. It can be grasped lightly between the index finger and thumb and used this way, or

perhaps even simply laid out in the palm of the hand. The unit can also be used as an input to a PC as part of a games controller, although additional hardware is required, you are then free to use the device as a mouse, and this lightweight but durable unit can be yours from as little as £160.


be our longer term aim, a wireless version. It’s always the wires that cause the most problems!

We had the chance to catch up with Geoff and pick his brains with regards to the world of gaming accessibility and his prominent role in it:

DO YOU RECEIVE ANY SUPPORT FROM MICROSOFT, SONY, OR EVEN GOVERNMENT GRANTS? No, none at all. Nothing from the government, nothing from Microsoft. I’m not at liberty to say about Sony, but they haven’t told us to stop doing what we’re doing so we’ll take that as a positive sign.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SET UP LEPMIS? Well, I worked for the NHS in technology access for computers and environmental control and some of my clients had said they wanted access to the PlayStation. The NHS couldn’t do that, so I thought maybe I could do that myself.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE YOUR MOST POPULAR AVAILABLE PRODUCTS? I would say that muscular dystrophy is one of the most common problems I’ve come across, as well as people who have lost an arm or a hand. The one handed joysticks are very popular as a result; they certainly seem to be the most common request.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVMENT SO FAR IN THE FIELD OF GAME ACCESSIBILITY? Probably the creation of LEPMIS itself. I feel that the biggest achievement is that some people are trying to do it at all. The ability of plugging in some switches to a device so that somebody who can’t hold the handset can actually use it, is probably the biggest core achievement. If you have a device you can do that with then you can create all sorts of other solutions.

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING NEW AT THE MOMENT? We are working on a USB version of our one handed handset, something that’ll just plug straight into a computer, and we are working on a wireless version of that. That’ll obviously take us a bit longer. That would

Thanks to people like Geoff the future of gaming for those with barriers to access looks bright. There are still, invariably, many more obstacles to overcome before true parity is achieved for disabled gamers, but undoubtedly we occupy a world today that provides disabled gamers with far more options and room for manoeuvre than in previous years. What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but it is undoubtedly a time of great and exciting development. 59

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One of the largest, FREE UK exhibitions dedicated to children with disabilities and special needs, their families and the professionals who work with them. • Over 120 exhibitors offering advice and information on funding, mobility, seating, beds, communication, access, education, toys, transport, style, sensory, sports and leisure and more...... • Running alongside the event are FREE seminars for parents and professionals (CPD). Topics include: Parental Experiences, Sleep Issues, Continence Issues ,Moving and Handling, Transition and Legal Advice.

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Dates for your Diary

27/03/2014 Ricoh Arena Coventry

12/6/2014 Rivermead Leisure Complex Reading

11/09/2014 Royal Highland Exhibition Centre Edinburgh

31/07/2013 16:25


RDA National Championships


This year the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) National Championships was bigger (and hotter) than ever. Already the largest event of its kind in the world for disabled riders, the 2013 competition saw over 300 riders, carriage drivers and vaulters descend on Hartpury College, Gloucestershire for three action-packed days.

grassroots and world-class para-riding. The competition features classes in Dressage, Countryside Challenge, Vaulting, Carriage Driving, Showjumping, Musical Ride & Drive, Horse Care & Knowledge, Arts & Crafts and Best Turned Out. In previous years the competition has proved a springboard for the Paralympics. In fact four out of five of the Great Britain para-equestrian team at London 2012 started their careers with RDA. The dressage classes are graded – just like the Paralympics – so that riders compete on a level playing field alongside people with a similar disability. In order to reach the Nationals, riders in the Dressage, Showjumping, Carriage Drivers and Countryside Challenge have all qualified in regional competitions held during the spring. RDA has been running a national competition of one kind or another since 1991 and in its current form for the past ten years. The competition has grown beyond all recognition since it began, but retains

the friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere that has always been the trademark of the show.

Therapeutic benefits As the organisers and ground crew clear away at the end of the show, the horses, riders, their families and armies of RDA volunteers make the journey home – and back to everyday RDA life. Most of the time, RDA activities aren’t centred around competing and for the rest of the year

it’s business as usual at RDA’s 500 groups, where 28,000 participants ride, carriage drive, showjump and vault for fun for achievement and therapy. The majority of people who ride with RDA have been referred by their doctor or physiotherapist. The therapeutic benefits of horses for people with physical and learning disabilities are wide-ranging. In fact, RDA has recently completed its own pilot project to track the therapeutic changes experienced by its riders over a period of weeks. This initial study has demonstrated that 80% of RDA riders experience physical improvement in 12 weeks or less (riding once a week).

Core stability The key therapeutic factor is the movement of the horse, which encourages a strengthening of the rider’s core muscles. Physiotherapist Rosemary Lane explains, “The horse at walk produces 1000 movements in 3 dimensions in 10 minutes. The rider must respond to these movements in order to stay in balance with

All images © Michael Martin Photography //

The Championships is RDA’s flagship event, demonstrating both 61

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the horse. This is more movement than can be produced in the average physiotherapy session.” This is crucial for all-round physical fitness, but especially good for those with spinal injuries, or conditions such as cerebral palsy.

All images © Michael Martin Photography //

Not only am I ridiculously happy after a good lesson, but it makes me feel like I can do anything

Since RDA’s activities are also fun, riding is a great way to deliver physiotherapy that otherwise might be too painful or too repetitive to be carried out effectively at home or in hospital. RDA rider, Lauren agrees, “My physiotherapist often reinforced the point that if I wanted to progress and walk normally again, I would have to put in the hard work and begin to exercise and push myself. Horse riding is a form of physical exercise which I really enjoy – it doesn’t feel like exercise at all, because I do it to have fun.” Or as another rider put it, “Who wants to sit on bouncy balls in a physiotherapy room, when you can sit on a horse and achieve the same things without realising it?”

Achievement RDA’s strapline is ‘It’s what you can do that counts’, and it’s this focus on ability that many riders and drivers find even more significant than the physical benefits. Lauren explains, “Not only am I ridiculously happy after a good lesson, but it makes me feel like I can do anything. A year ago, I couldn’t walk. I didn’t know what activities I would be able to do. I didn’t know if I’d be able to do simple things, like standing in the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea, and now I’m beginning to canter on a horse. It’s a big leap forward, one that is impossible for me to ignore, or not to feel pleased with. So it gives me hope – if I can

do this, if I’ve worked up to this point, then surely, in time, I’ll be able to go out and dance with my friends on a night out.” The Championships is the pinnacle of RDA’s ‘can do’ philosophy. The effort that it takes for riders, carriage drivers, supporters, volunteers and horses to get there is significant. It takes weeks of planning, months of fundraising and not forgetting years of regular riding lessons – but there’s no doubting how much it means to be able to compete for all those who qualify.

Inspiration Paralympian and triple gold medallist, Sophie Christiansen was born two months prematurely with cerebral palsy. Despite only having limited use of her limbs, as her cerebral palsy affects all her muscles, including her speech, she is one of Britain’s most successful young horsewomen. Sophie gives credit for her success to RDA, which helped her begin riding as part of her physiotherapy at age six. “I wanted a challenge and I love being on a horse because the horse moves for me and I feel free.” So as the final road signs are packed away, and the RDA says goodbye to the Championships for another year, the organisers hope that the 2014 competition will be even bigger and better. Paralympians like Sophie have undoubtedly been an inspiration, and with RDA providing the grassroots structure there’s nothing to stop the next generation of riders finding out just how far they can go. To find your nearest RDA group visit


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31/07/2013 15:37

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30/07/2013 21:08


Volvo V60 Combining style and practicality in one vehicle

Part of our job here at PosAbility Magazine, aside from putting together what we hope is a helpful, entertaining and overall wonderful magazine, is to travel the country attending exhibitions promoting it. These exhibitions can be scattered from Glasgow to Reading so our journeys can be long and a little uncomfortable, especially when you are sharing your seat with a box of magazines or a banner stand. So, you can imagine my feelings when the time came to make the journey from Glasgow to Birmingham for Naidex National, held earlier this year in the NEC. Little did I know we had a Volvo V60 lined up for the trip ahead, and for which I would have the pleasure of experiencing as both driver and passenger.

Loading Up Packing the car for attending exhibitions can be a little like trying to fit a square into a circle. It usually takes time, patience and logic (things I have discovered I am a little

lacking in), however loading up the Volvo V60 was surprisingly stress free. There was an abundance of space in the boot to accommodate luggage for three people along with banner stands, chairs and tables, leaving the back seat clutter free for me to relax and enjoy being a passenger for the first part of our journey. The 430 litre boot is cleverly designed to transform into a completely flat base when the rear seat backrests are folded down, with no need to move the seat bases to achieve this. The backrest can be folded down on a 20/40/20 split, coming in very useful when you need a little extra boot space but still have passengers in the back seat. The legroom and headroom throughout is plentiful, even for the taller individual, and the leather seats were extremely comfortable and inviting for back seat passengers. I even managed to drift off for 40 winks, blissfully unaware of the traffic jam we were stuck in for half an hour.

The Drive After a couple of hours it was my turn to take the wheel and experience the drive for myself. The first thing I noticed was the driving position, at 5ft 3” I’m not keen on driving estate cars as I can rarely see the end of the bonnet, but the height adjustable drivers position in this car meant I was very comfortably placed to handle this long car. The drive experience was smooth and measured, with decent acceleration on the motorway, despite the car being weighed down with our various heavy items. The motorway drone was kept to a minimum and, while it wasn’t the most exciting car I have experienced (probably because it’s not designed to be) it offered an enjoyable and extremely comfortable drive that I could find little to fault. It has start/stop technology, which is great in most circumstances and I am aware of its fuel saving capabilities and reductions to CO2 emissions, but crawling through the


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Volvo V60 1.6L Diesel Manual (Automatic) Fuel Consumption (combined): 68.9mpg (67.2mpg) CO2 Emissions: 108g/km (110g/km) Top Speed: 118mph (115mph) 0-62mph: 11.3secs (12.7secs)

An attractve estate that combines both style and practicality

centre of Birmingham at rush hour didn’t really lend itself to this smart technology and once we had arrived at our destination we discovered easily how to turn this function off. We did put it back on for the more enjoyable parts of our journey.

The V60 comes with no fewer than six airbags, stability control and Volvo’s City Safe System as standard. The City Safe System is an intelligent device that detects objects in front of the car and stops it to prevent low-speed bumps.

The Look

There is an optional Driver Support Pack that includes a Pedestrian Detection System, which, as it states in the name, can literally recognise when a person has stepped out into the road in front of you and can stop the car to prevent an accident. In addition to this it offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and blind spot information (BLIS) in the form of a red light on your wing mirror to indicate when there is a vehicle in your blind spot.

The exterior is sleek and polished, the smooth lines elongate the already long estate and the final product is an attractive streamline vehicle that offers owners an option that combines both style and practicality. The interior is designed to a high specification with good quality materials offering durability, as well being pleasing on the eye. A particular style trademark that I like in the Volvo range is the slim control panel, it’s elegant placing in the car adds an air of exclusivity and quality to what could be considered just a ‘practical’ car that is built to last. It’s little touches like this that ensure the Volvo V60 is a contender to it’s stylish estate rivals. The dashboard and all controls are clearly laid out as in all Volvo models, giving the driver easy access to information at a glance.

Safety Volvo are top of the list when it comes to safety. They have a strong focus on this area for all models and are leading the way in car safety in the industry today. Unsurprising then that it achieved a full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash testing.

Stylish, slim control panel gives an air of exclusivity to this car

Who Is This Car For? I would recommend this car primarily for young families, the spacious interior is second to none, the adjustable boot comes in very handy for things like luggage, prams, trikes and all the other paraphernalia that goes along with a young family nowadays. But, it would definitely be for the style conscious family as it has an appealing design that doesn’t compromise the practicality of this car.

Dashboard provides information clearly at a glance

It is worth mentioning the fuel economy of this car, at a combined 68.9mpg for the 1.6l diesel engine (manual) this car would be an attractive option for anyone racking up the miles through work or family commitments. 65

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31/07/2013 15:45


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31/07/2013 09:41

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31/07/2013 16:40


Ready to Rock! By Mik Scarlet

When I suggested the idea of writing about going to rock festivals to my lovely editor Ros I totally forgot that I am no longer the same young music fan that I was the last time I ventured to such an event. As the big day grew closer I was haunted by memories of my previous experiences. My nights were filled with dreams of inedible food, filthy toilets, drowning in torrential rain and sinking in mud up to the axle of my wheelchair. My days were spent trying to anticipate every possible eventuality. So on the morning of the day my wife and I had arranged to visit all those young people rocking out at the Download festival I had packed just about everything bar the kitchen sink (except sun block which I discovered as the day went on). As soon as Diane and I arrived on site it was obvious that things had really changed since my last festival. By the time we’d parked in one of the two massive Blue Badge parking areas, met up with Sally Blake, the senior disabled access coordinator for Live Nation who puts on the event, and Martin Austin, MD of Nimbus disability consultancy service who advised Live Nation and awarded them their CreditAbility award for access, and got our myriad wrist bands that were our ticket to all that rocking fun, the facilities were starting to make me a little giddy. On top

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of there being absolutely loads of accessible toilets there was a changing places toilet with two different types of hoist, Super-track paths on the high traffic areas, accessible showers, power chair charging points, secure lockers and an accessible shuttle bus that opens up the entire vast site to disabled festival goers. The camp site was broken up into three sections, tent type camping, parking for campervans and then a section for people who need power 24 hours a day to run equipment. Sally explained that they wanted to open up the festival scene to everybody. “One of the fun bits of going to festivals is there’s a certain amount of roughing it. Our goal is that if someone wants to come and savour the joys of one of Live Nation’s events and they are prepared for that ‘roughing it’ then they should be able to attend, whether they are disabled or not and whatever their level of impairment. What we do is make sure that every reasonable adjustment that can be made, is made.” As we wandered through the camp site towards the main stage viewing platform, I was struck by how many disabled people there were at Download, but I was just not ready for the emotion that hit me when I wheeled up the ramp onto the platform. The first thing that blew me away was the

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When I used to go to festivals, oh so long ago, there was a small hard core group of disabled people who went. Now it felt like every disabled rock fan in the UK was there

size of the thing. It was as big as an average sized nightclub, and was capable of holding 688 people! Not only was it huge, with an amazing view, well stocked with toilets and a smoking area, but the staff were super friendly and helpful too. Sally informed me “All Live Nation staff have been trained and this training helped us to make Download as accessible as possible”. Slowly the platform filled up and by mid afternoon it was a wonderful sight. When I used to go to festivals, oh so long ago, there was a small hard core group of disabled people who went. Now it felt like every disabled rock fan in the UK was there. To see this many disabled people together, having a great time in what was once an impossible environment brought a lump to my throat.

Martin was obviously very proud “We designed a bespoke training package for Live Nation, covering the usual, like the Social Model. Most of what they have done here is common sense and good practice, but having that extra understanding has really made a difference.” Sally nodded in agreement. We then bumped into Team GB Paralympic basketball players Joe Beswick and Jude Hamer who were also impressed. Jude told me “It’s great to be able to camp so close to the arena, and to be allowed to park your car next to your tent” She’d been there since Thursday so she was really hard-core. Joe was equally impressed, but he couldn’t enjoy himself too much because “as soon as

I’m finished here I disappear off to a training camp”. The life of a top level athlete, eh? It’s why I never took it up. I then chatted with a young rock dude, Joe Brummitt, “I’m one of the weediest people here but it’s such a great atmosphere that I would advise anyone to give it go!” I wholeheartedly agree with Joe. I used to love going to festivals but stopped after a nightmarish mud sinking incident at Reading. Having tried out Download I have really got the bug again. You do need to not mind getting wet, being a bit smelly and there will always be mud, but even if you just go for one day (like lightweights like me) it’s about the most fun you can have in a field.

A great reseource for access info if you fancy trying a festvial is Access All Areas Photography as it gives you photographic evidence of access provision at UK festivals: 69

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30/07/2013 20:34


NAIDEX scotland


18-19 September 2013, SECC Glasgow Latest independent living aids at Naidex Scotland Independent living is the focus for this year’s Naidex Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow, running from 18 to 19 September. The event is free to attend and welcomes anyone with an interest in independent living in Scotland and the north of England, from people living with disabilities and their families and carers to those working in social and health care. PosAbility brings you a sneak peek of what’s in store this year at Scotland’s largest disability, homecare and rehabilitation event. Partnered with the College of Occupational Therapy (COT) and Update, Scotland’s national disability information service, Naidex Scotland, an i2i Events Group exhibition, takes place every other year and is completely free to attend. With over 2,600 visitors expected this year, registration is now live: to get your complimentary ticket, please visit

Exhibitors and products As the sister event to Naidex National, the UK’s largest homecare, disability and rehabilitation event, Naidex Scotland offers unrivalled opportunities for visitors based in Scotland and the north to test and compare hundreds of the latest products and services from over 100 exhibitors. Drive Medical, NRS Healthcare, N&C Phlexicare, Allardyce Healthcare and 1st

Call Mobility are exhibiting, they offer a comprehensive range of independent living products, including powerchairs, daily living aids, showering aids, paediatric equipment and beds. AKW will also showcase its range of accessible and stylish bathrooms and kitchens, while Careflex, Specialised Orthotic Services and Kirton Healthcare will demonstrate their wide variety of seating systems. A range of mobility products and services will be on show with Albion Mobility, Fast Aid Mobility, Stannah and Wessex Lifts demonstrating their current product range, from manual wheelchairs, scooters and powerchairs to lifts. National charity Motability will also be on hand to offer advice on funding these crucial purchases. Naidex Scotland will also show the latest technological advances in action, including RSLSteeper’s new Perrero which is a single switch system that allows instant and easy access to the whole interface of an Apple iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone (approved by Apple).

of children with disabilities, SEN teachers and paediatric healthcare professionals. Products range from children’s wheelchairs, buggies, communication aids and soft-toys, but also includes information from specialist schools and charities. Not to miss in this area is Tomcat, who will showcase its range of innovative trikes, featuring rear steering and braking system for an ultra secure ride. Also retuning is the Car Zone, a dedicated area for companies showcasing wheelchair accessible vehicles and motoring advice. Event Director, Liz Virgo, said: “Naidex Scotland is always an inspiring show, but this year’s event is set to be the best ever. There’s something for everyone, from daily living aids you can take home on the day and advice from supportive services to prosthetics and the latest in assistive technology.” To register for the event go to the Naidex Scotland website at

Show features The ever-popular KideQuip zone returns this year. Dedicated to children’s equipment and services, the area is aimed at parents


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Ideas Have you ever struggled with a product, daily living aid or technological device and thought, ‘I could do this better’? Or are you amongst the thousands of people who have ideas jotted down on napkins and scraps of paper for useful products that you know would help people live more independent lives, but you lack the finance and skills to take your idea to the next level? HDTI may have the solution for you. HDTI is Coventry University’s Health Design & Technology Institute. It was set up six years ago

the home and the community, rather than devices that treat them in hospital.”

to support innovative new products and services in the community healthcare sector, as Commercial Director, Guy Smallman explains.

Guy explains what HDTI aims to do. “We bring together academics, researchers, healthcare professionals, businesses and, most importantly, end users of the products to help develop a concept through to a commercially viable product. As a University Institute, we are involved in professional development, teaching and learning, post graduate courses and university research projects, but my area of responsibility is to bring what the University is good at in this field directly into contact with businesses, as a consultancy offering.

“HDTI supports the development of innovative assisted living products. We focus on the ageing population, people with disabilities and chronic health conditions, providing design, prototyping and user-centred product evaluation. We support the development of new products that allow these three key groups to enjoy a more comfortable active, productive life in

There are three strands to what we offer. One is product design and prototyping, the second is usability testing and the third is apps for mobile phones and tablet devices. We have our own teams working in all three of those areas, with a range of facilities including design studio, workshop facilities, prototype equipment, 3D printing and a usability suite with state-of-the-art recording facilities for focus groups and interviews.”

Realising Ideas Although HDTI works with a range of people, it’s those with first-hand knowledge of what could make things better that really make a difference in the development of a


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We take the idea that might have been sitting in someone’s head for the last five years and help develop it to a stage where it can be taken forward

product. “We work with multi nationals, the NHS, individual inventors, but most of our core clients tend to be older people, people with long term conditions, people with disabilities or carers who have expert day-to-day knowledge of what’s out there, the limitations of existing products and have a good idea for either a new device or a way of adapting something that already exists to make it better. Typically, our clients are not driven by the desire to make millions of pounds. What they want is for tomorrow to be made more comfortable by the introduction of a product that they believe will help to do that.” The support that’s available can make the difference between an idea going somewhere or just staying as an idea, as

Guy explained. “It’s an expensive and time consuming job to take an idea and make it into something real, and it’s fair to say that inventors and innovators frequently lack the resources, the skills or the appetite to set up a company to finance, tool, manufacture, stock, produce, market and distribute a product. We take the idea that might have been sitting in someone’s head for the last five years and help develop it to a stage where it can be taken forward, usually with a third party collaborator that might be providing additional finance or manufacturing. Usually, that would be via a licence based on some intellectual property (IP) in their idea. Importantly, any new IP created in a project belongs entirely to the client. Not all universities work this way.

Someone with an idea might have been struggling like crazy to present their idea to an interested audience, let alone have it taken seriously, but, with our design support, the idea on the back of an envelope becomes a beautiful 3D CAD rendered model and an asset that might be patented or protected by registered design. So, through our intervention, we are giving our clients some currency that they can then trade with someone else who can take the idea on. We might also produce a story board to demonstrate how the product works. Similarly, a basic idea might be developed into an app for a mobile phone or tablet.”

Unique Usability Service Another part of HDTI’s consultancy offering 73

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Improving people’s employment prospects? Widening access to public services? Defending the country against natural disasters? The Civil Service Fast Stream offers the kind of leadership training you simply can’t have anywhere else. Choose from six graduate streams and an exciting range of opportunities with a programme that’s ranked among the top five of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.

Learn more:

People talk about disabilities but what about hidden disabilities? At The University of Manchester we have a very active Disabled Staff Network and our current focus is to combat the prejudice faced by staff with mental health conditions. The Network is run independently giving us the opportunity to share our experiences and offer support to one another in confidence. The official remit is to promote disability equality and accessibility, to represent the interests of disabled staff individually and collectively, and to be involved in all of the University’s equality and diversity efforts. The latest initiative is in June 2013 when The University of Manchester signs the Time to Change Organisational Pledge to show its commitment to challenging the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health. Our Disabled Staff Network provides a “voice” for disability and we are proud to be involved in overcoming barriers and tackling the last workplace taboo. Follow us on Twitter: @UoMDSN This isn’t the same old statement you’ve heard before. Discover our approach to disability equality and visit

© Angela Martin

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is usability testing. A usability study might employ a range of different methods, such as focus groups, field trials or individual interviews and each study is a bespoke piece of academic research in its own right. Of course, companies already carry out product testing in various degrees, but Guy suggests that sometimes it might not be done in a way that gives the real picture. “Individual inventors tend to ask friends and family which is a simple, straightforward route and initially inexpensive but again, you’re not going to get completely impartial results and could end up making a very expensive mistake.” The HDTI usability service is quite unique. Each study is ethically approved, independent, rigorous and led by an academic with expertise in a field relevant to the product being evaluated. The most important part of a study, however, is the fact that the participants have a condition or experience that is also relevant and allows them to comment with the expert knowledge of an end user. The report produced for the client at the end of a study can be beneficial on a number of levels. As well as validating the innovative concept, it can be used to inform the next stage of development, secure additional investment and support

product marketing claims as independent evidence. “It’s one thing shouting about your own product, but it’s quite another to shout about a piece of independent research led by a University.”

Funding Unsurprisingly, the support that HDTI offers comes at a cost but, as Guy explains, there are options to alleviate this. “Most good ideas in the community healthcare sector seem to be coming from end users. Frequently, however, end users don’t have the financial resources to develop them and are considered high risk by banks. They may also lack the skills or appetite to set up a new business and that’s where we come in. We have two funding streams at the moment for qualifying businesses, depending on where they are based and how big they are. For SMEs in the UK and in the West Midlands region, the work we do could either be fully or 50% match funded.” For more information on how HDTI could help you develop your product or idea visit:

Earlier this year an exciting new app and website was launched at Hereward College. The CarePair App has been designed to match up carers and clients, it allows a client/employer to post a job available and it will match the role up with suitable support workers who have registered their details with CarePair. It shows when they are available to work and what duties they are able to perform. It also allows an employer to see how compatible a support worker/carer is by showing how well matched their preferences are in music, films, social events, food and lifestyle. The idea was initially conceived by Russell Smith, an ex-Hereward College student who was born with Muscular Dystrophy. Russell approached HDTI with his idea in 2012 seeking support in developing the programming, branding and usability testing required to bring the app to market. After a simple process to confirm eligibility, funding was secured and HDTI built the app consistent with Russell’s ideas and requirements. The website and app are already gaining a considerable number of users and, with discussions taking place with a number of councils to include their databases of carers in the system, CarePair will have the capacity to provide services quickly and easily on a national level. Russell commented, ‘I had the idea, but it was HDTI that turned it into reality. I’ve not gone through the usability support service yet, but this will happen as soon as there is a large enough group of people using CarePair to make the evaluation worthwhile. I’m sure, based on everything else, that it will be an excellent and valuable service. I’m really excited about the positive feedback we have received so far. There really is a real requirement for this type of facility, particularly with many employers taking more and more control of their own care requirements.’ 75

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Get that Dream Job

Talking About Your Disability By Jane Hatton

Jane Hatton provides another column in a series of articles aimed at disabled people who are looking for a new or better job. This time she focuses on discussing your disability. Generally speaking, looking for work is the same whether you are disabled or not. You need to find appropriate roles and then prove to the prospective employer that you are the best person for the job. However, if you are disabled, there is the added issue of when and how to talk about this. By law (Equality Act 2010) an employer is not allowed to ask you questions relating to health or disability (other than for monitoring purposes, or in order to provide reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process) until they offer you the job. In a previous issue we talked about the best time to mention your disability (the answer, of course, was “it depends”). In this issue I’d like to explore this a little further. If your disability is not visible or obvious in any way, then the decision as to whether and when to mention it is completely up to you. If it is visible (for example, you use a wheelchair) or obvious (for example you have a speech impediment) then they will be aware of it at least by the interview stage. Whether or not it is by choice, if we are going to discuss our disability, we need to

put some thought into how we might do this. If the issue doesn’t arise until after you have been offered the job, then the decision is based on what you might gain by telling them. Usually this would be about any reasonable adjustments you might need in order to perform at your best. This can be anything from a piece of specialised equipment to asking them to explain things very carefully to you if, say, you are autistic and tend to take things very literally. If the issue is raised during the recruitment process then there are a number of issues to consider. The first one is to allay any concerns you think they might have regarding your disability. So, for example, if you are sight-impaired and it looks like you will need expensive equipment, you could tell them that Access to Work will provide you with a large screen, or voice recognition software or whatever, and remember to reassure them that your performance was as good/accurate/quick as your colleagues in your previous role (or more so, if it was). Their concerns will usually revolve around cost and/or performance, so you will need to let them know that neither of these will

be an issue. It may be that your disability gives you an advantage. For example, if you are autistic you might say that you prefer to work without distraction, meaning you are far more productive than staff who might spend time chatting. Or that your attention to detail is better than most people’s. There may be other benefits you can mention if the subject is raised by you or them. In order to survive in a world not designed for disabled people, you will have developed skills such as creativity, determination, innovation and persistence. These are all attractive qualities to an employer. Try to anticipate what their concerns might be, put them to rest, highlight any support or positives that might be available, and then go back to discussing your skills and talents and why you would be the right person for the job. For further tips and jobs from inclusive employers who are looking to attract more disabled candidates, have a look on the Evenbreak website


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A career with the BBC “The BBC wants to make it easier for disabled staff to feel confident in developing their potential” The BBC knows that Disabled staff contribute an enormous amount to its success, not least through helping others to view things through a different lens, which in turn helps to increase understanding as well as influence more accurate and authentic portrayal of disabled people on television, radio and on-line. At its best that portrayal is quite incidental to the story, such as Liz Carr’s recent portrayal of Clarissa Mullery in BBC1’s Silent Witness. Liz joined the BBC through its Presentable programme, which specifically aims to identify and develop potential on-air disabled talent. It’s not just the people in front of the camera who add to the richness and

relevance of BBC programmes. The corporation employs nearly 800 disabled people and has a one-stop-shop for providing the adjustments they might need at work, which helps to make employing disabled people as easy as possible. And beyond that, the BBC wants to make it easier for disabled staff to feel confident in developing their potential by exploring further career opportunities and the contributions that they can make to the organisation. It recently launched a development and mentoring programme for disabled staff who want to develop their careers and progress into more senior roles for example.

Business Disability Forum’s top 10 employers, but like many organisations, it knows there’s always more that can be done. That’s why managers consult and work closely with the BBC’s Disabled staff network: BBC Ability and have developed a robust corporate disability action plan, that focuses attention on where the corporation can do better and helps to monitor progress.

Last year the BBC was ranked in the

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Support to succeed It is still rare to find an organisation that truly embraces the concept of inclusivity within its workforce, despite the legal protections in place. “At EY it was so much more effortless,” says Heather. She joined four years ago, having previously struggled to gain the support her physical disability and dyslexia entitles her to. “Everything that I’ve needed has been provided without question.” This goes beyond applying the letter of the law and looks instead at providing the tools to help ensure success at work. “I’ve got a lightweight laptop and I work from home one day per week. It’s lovely to get that flexibility which I don’t think all employers will give.” Barry’s story is a similar one. Following an operation to replace a faulty heart valve, Barry found the support he needed working at EY.

“The way the partners gathered around, and the ways in which my team worked around me, that was a real affirming experience,” he tells us. “We all overcame obstacles. Flexi-time working, having the technology to work online from home; it all worked a treat.” Here at EY, we understand that every individual has equally individual requirements — and that as an employer, we’ll only tap into our people’s very best performance if we embrace and enable these differences. Internal networks are one of the key ways EY remain attuned to the needs of its people. Heather continues: “I’m part of the Disability Working Group whose main focus is on education — to help people be more aware of their colleagues and to know what support is available as well.”

“I’ve got a lightweight laptop and I work from home one day per week. It’s lovely to get that flexibility which I don’t think all employers will give.”

The firm’s desire to add value to everyone’s career has not gone unnoticed. We’re delighted to have won Employee Network Group of the Year at the European Diversity Awards 2012, as well as the Business Disability Forum’s Best Talent award. A reflection of success, it’s also an incentive to continue to do more.

© 2013 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved.


Careers at the top of the business world are defined by where they start. Begin yours at EY and you’ll gain the skills, contacts and experiences that will stay with you for the whole of your career. Opportunities in Advisory, Assurance, Corporate Finance and Tax Find out more and apply at

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Nothing is Impossible...


Jubilee Sailing Trust 12 Hazel Road Woolston Southampton SO19 7GA

Tel: 023 8044 9108 Email:

Every issue is packed with information designed to help you live life to the full, from products and sports to holiday ideas and employment advice, so make sure you don’t miss out on any future issues and subscribe today!

Travel Reviews

Expert travel reviews to help you make the best choice when booking holiday. Dearyour Member,


Exclusive competitions that give you the chance to win dream holidays, amazing products and once in a We have teamed up with brand new magazine, PosAbility, to send you a complimentary copy of the first issue. The lifetime experiences. Products magazine is filled with useful articles, enjoyable stories and lots of competitions, including, the chance to win a Antrip innovative of products sailing with us! Turnmix to page 26 for detailsto on how to enter, good luck! support you in everyday living. Health and Fitness PosAbility is all about living independently and actively, something you will read a lot about in PosAbility. This We look and issue looks into the Paralympic hopefuls for 2012 and gives some tipsat tosports those who areactivities keen to take a sport up on available for you to get involved in Wheelchair to Employment Education a serious level. There is alsoand an article on Extreme Sports for the more adventurous reader, a look at the Like us on Facebook Challenge taking place nextand month and an overview of the Mobility Roadshow. help you lead a healthy lifestyle. Regular columns features on Search for ‘PosAbility Magazine’ getting yourreading dream job. Providing We hope you enjoy PosAbility, if you would like to subscribe at only £10 for 1 year or £18 for 2 years, please advice on CV’s, interview and or callDays use the form below to post back with tips your payment 0141 582 1475 and quote ‘Jubilee’. Out Follow us on Twitter much more. Great ideas for the whole family to Many Thanks @ PosAbilityMag enjoy.

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Contact Details Address: PosAbility PosAbilityMagazine, Magazine,Woodside CaledoniaHouse, Address: House,Woodside Evanton Drive, 20-23 Place, Thornliebank Ind. Est., Glasgow, Glasgow, G3 G467QF 8JT Tel: 0141 582 270 1475 8085

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What’s your ability? (not your disability)

We are committed to recruiting and retaining the very best skills available. )2!1,%10)2/.2-(02'/1!% 2,+2 ,.*+(,0" 0-(#2 1201*-&./)12+ ,+2+-21 *!(%12#1-#!12-.2+ 12 ,)/)2-'2%/), /!/+" -(!%2 12+-2%1."2-(0)1! 1)2,2 (&12#--!2-'2+,!1.+ + )2-(02/.+1.+/-.2+-2 12-.12-'2+ 12 -)+2/.*!()/ 1 2/.)#/0/.&21 #!-"10) /.2+ 12 2 /)2*,.2-.!"2 ,##1.2/'21 10"-.12/)21 (,!!"2 ,!(1%2/.2 + 12 -0 #!,*1 -2'/.%2-(+2 -012, -(+2-(02 ,."2-##-0+(./+/1)2,.%2 - 2"-( *,.2*-.+0/ (+12+-2-(02-0&,./),+/-. 2#!1,)12&1+2/.2+-(* 2 /+ 2()

Sanctuary Group is a trading name of Sanctuary Housing Association, an exempt charity ,.*+(,0"2 0-(#2/)2,2+0,%/.&2., 12-'2 ,.*+(,0"2 -()/.&&2 ))-*/,+/-. 2,.21 1 #+2* ,0/+"

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31/07/2013 16:45

Wheelchair accessible vehicles for all the family

Zafira 1.6 Exclusiv Starting from £15,200 Advance Payment £2895

Summer Sale - 16 & 17 August Fantastic deals on new and used vehicles at our West Berkshire base

Gowrings Mobility are the original convertors of wheelchair passenger vehicles and with over 50 years’ history developing wheelchair accessible vehicles, we thoroughly understand the needs of the wheelchair passenger. Contact us for details of our complete range of vehicles. O Vauxhall Zafira O Citroën Berlingo O Fiat Doblo SpacePlus™ O Citroën Dispatch O Vauxhall Vivaro O Renault Trafic O Vauxhall Movano O Approved Used Vehicles O Finance options available O Motability

For more information visit or Lo-Call 0845 608 8020 and quote QR3

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30/07/2013 21:12

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