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MAGAZINE

Dec/Jan 2017

Nothing is Impossible...

Hygge

The Danish way of living

Meet Blake Beckford The fitness model living with a stoma

New Year, New You

Finding the right resolution

CHALLENGING THE CATWALK

WIN

A 3 NIGHT BREAK AT ASHESTON ECO BARNS

PAGE 49

Open the doors of our

Christmas Advent Calendar

MEET THE DESIGN DUO CHAMPIONING DIVERSITY

ALSO FEATURED...Makaton | Products | Holidays | Puzzles and much more FC_POS_Dec_Jan_FINAL_AB.indd 1

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WELCOME December/January 2017 Well, it feels good to be back. Following a lovely maternity leave that allowed me to spend some much-needed time with both of my daughters, I am glad to be back to adult conversation and the ability to make a cup of tea whenever I want! And what a lovely issue to come back to, the Christmas issue. We have filled the magazine with festive fancies, from our advent calendar that gives you ideas to keep you amused over the holiday break, to an article on the Danish way of living – hygge (pronounced hoo-gaa) – a lifestyle I have personally started trying to emulate as the cold weather sets in. Christmas, while predominantly full of cheer and excitement, can be a difficult time for many vulnerable people and loneliness can be felt acutely at this time of year for those who do not have family or friends near them. So make sure this year you do your bit to make someone feel loved, whether it is just hand delivering a Christmas card to a neighbour or picking up the phone to a relative you don’t often see, these small acts of kindness can make a big difference in lifting someone’s spirits.

Editor: Rosalind Tulloch Staff Writers: Colette Carr, Katie Campbell, Niall Christie Designers: Abbie Bunton & Stephen Flanagan Marketing: Sophie Scott Sales: Val Speers, Julie Coleman

CONTRIBUTORS disabled models who were used. We spoke with Catherine Teatum to find out more about the inspiration behind their collection and catwalk show and whether she thinks the fashion industry is beginning to recognise diversity, turn to page 23 to read more. We also spoke with Blake Beckford this issue, a fitness model living with a stoma. He recently wrote an open letter to the Daily Mail after he read an article they published that portrayed a very bleak image of life with a stoma. Blake opens up to PosAbility about his experiences on page 35. And we caught up with X Factor semi-finalist, Lloyd Macey, who lives with Crohn’s disease, find out more on page 39. On top of this, we have all the usual columns, products, travel ideas and news. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, see you in 2018.

Jane Hatton,Janet Myers, Sam Renke, Mik Scarlet, Dan White, Rio Woolf

DISCLAIMER

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 2017 ©2A Publishing Limited. All Rights Reserved. ISSN 2049-2251

Contact Details: Caledonia House, Evanton Drive, Thornliebank Ind. Est., Glasgow, G46 8JT Tel: 0141 465 2960 Fax: 0141 258 7783 enquiries@2apublishing.co.uk www.posabilitymagazine.co.uk

Cover image supplied by Teatum Jones MAGAZINE

Dec/Jan 2017/18

Nothing is Impossible...

Hygge

Ros

As you will see on our cover we have featured Kelly Knox modelling for Teatum Jones at London Fashion Week this year. She was one of three

Editor

The Danish way of living

Meet Blake Beckford The fitness model living with a stoma

New Year, New You

Finding the right resolution

Like us on Facebook Search for ‘PosAbility Magazine’

Follow us on Twitter @ PosAbilityMag

SUBSCRIBE TODAY...

For only £15 for 1 year or £25 for 2 years Call

0141 465 2960 today!

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CHALLENGING THE CATWALK

WIN

A 3 NIGHT BREAK AT ASHESTON ECO BARNS

PAGE 49

Open the doors of our

Christmas Advent Calendar

MEET THE DESIGN DUO CHAMPIONING DIVERSITY

ALSO FEATURED...Makaton | Products | Holidays | Puzzles and much more

To find out more about subscribing to PosAbility Magazine turn to P82

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28/11/2017 22:25

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DECEMBER/JANUARY 2017/18| ISSUE 40

CONTENTS 64

23

FEATURES 07 FYI

Check out

P49

WIN! 3 NIGHT BREAK

AT ASHESTON ECO BARNS

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29 TACKLING LONELINESS

News, stories and updates from the world of disability

Advice on helping vulnerable people experiencing loneliness at Christmas

13 MIK SCARLET

32 WINTER WARMING

Mik questions why so many parents of disabled children feel guilty and urges them to feel pride

15 POSABILITY’S CHRISTMAS ADVENT CALENDAR

See what is behind our 24 doors to get you into the Christmas spirit

23 LEADING LIGHTS

Bring a sense of hygge into your life during the festive period

35 BLAKE BECKFORD

We speak to Blake Beckford about bodybuilding, family, and living with ulcerative colitis

39 LLOYD MACEY

The X Factor finalist gives us insight into his life with Crohn’s

We talk to one half of the design team, Teatum Jones, about showcasing disabled models in their catwalk shows

41 HOT STUFF

27 SAM RENKE

44 NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Sam shares the difficulty she has had in finding suitable, affordable housing

A look at the most innovative, musthave products on the market Ensure you make a resolution you can keep this New Year

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32 26

15

59

39

60 75 47 INCLUDE ME TOO The charity talks about their #LeaveNoOneBehind event

49 COMPETITION

Win a fantastic three-night break at Asheston Eco Barns in Pembrokeshire

51 THE BEAUTY OF ICE

Experience the best of what the cold has to offer in ice-themed establishments this Christmas

56 TRAVEL SHOWCASE

Escape the cold with one of these fantastic accessible holidays

59 KIDS' CORNER

71 WORK WITH ME

Scope’s new campaign encouraging employers to work with, not against disabled people

75 TRAINING FOR CARE

How Skills for Care is helping people live more independent lives through personal care assistants

41

77 JANE HATTON

Show what you have to offer prospective employers

78 PUZZLES

Keeping the mind active

68

We look at Makaton in schools, festive adventures and the best in kids' products

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

From all of us at Pride Mobility ProductsÂŽ Ltd and Quantum Rehab

32 Wedgwood Road, Bicester, Oxon, OX26 4UL | Tel: 01869 324600 | Fax: 01869 323070 | Web: pride.mobility.co.uk | Email: sales@pride-mobility.co.uk Chritmas advert.indd 1 pos_adverts_dec17-jan18.indd 6

@pridemobilityuk

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FYI

FYI

News and stories from around the world

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

CAN SMART SPEAKERS AID INDEPENDENT LIVING? A £15,000 trial by The Innovate Trust

HALF MARATHON WALKER NAMED DISABLED SPORTS PERSON OF THE YEAR Claire Lomas, 37, who was paralysed from the waist down in a horse riding accident in 2007, has been named Disabled Sports Person of the Year at the Pride of Sport awards. Wearing a ReWalk suit, she completed the Great South Run in Portsmouth in a total of 24 hours. She successfully completed the Great North Run last year, and the London Marathon in 17 days the year before, just five years after her life-changing accident. Claire began her #10in24 challenge, walking throughout the day and night without sleeping to complete her goal. Her awesome effort to complete the Great North Run saw her traveling three miles each day in her ReWalk suit while

16-weeks pregnant, in order to finish on the same day as the 57,000 other racers in the event. Over the last ten years, Claire has raised more than £600,00 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, while also being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours list. She said: “Completing the Great North Run and the Simplyhealth Great South Run are some of the things I never thought would be possible when I first had my accident and I hope that others see my story and decide they can give things a go even if they aren’t the fastest. “No matter how slow you go you are still lapping everyone on the couch.”

is testing the use of smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo, in the hope that it will aid people with learning disabilities live more independently. The six-month trial, which is taking place within two supported living schemes, is exploring how intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) can reduce the need for staff in people’s homes 24-hours a day. The research hopes to find how IPAs can work in harmony with current assisted living technology, such as sensors which identify activity, like trips to the bathroom or the kitchen at night. IPAs use voice recognition and sound technology, meaning users simply have to speak to them to operate them. The IPAs can be used to keep track of appointments through their calendar function, set alarms, help speech development or simply listen to music. The current model of supported living is both costly and labour intensive, and if successful, IPAs could greatly reduce costs while also increasing the independence of disabled individuals.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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FYI

CAMPAIGNER JOSH REEVES HEADS TO ANTIGUA A disability campaigner has taken part in a trip to bring his honest perspective on his disability to the Caribbean island of Antigua. Founder of campaign Don’t Call Me Special, Josh Reeves, who currently speaks to children and adults about common misconceptions of disability, headed to the small island to speak at the I Am Able conference. The 20-year-old will also speak to a local school about how people perceive those with disability and the behaviours that he finds unnecessary and offensive. Josh said: “I am heading to Antigua as a representative of the UK. “The trip will just be a continuation of the work I do here in the UK, teaching adults and children how it feels to be treated in certain ways. “Some attitudes that children are taught at a young age can lead to bullying and unnecessary sympathy towards people with disabilities and this needs to change.” Josh’s campaign is based on his own experiences of being talked down to due to his cerebral palsy. He added: “Occasionally I will go out clubbing and people’s behaviour is very patronising, or they will just walk away from me because they don’t know how to act – these perceptions need to change. “It can be quite hard to know what to do and you have to be careful, but fundamentally people want to be treated the same.”

LIFE AFTER STROKE AWARDS 2017 The Stroke Association Life After Stroke Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of everyone affected by stroke. The 2017 awards ceremony took place on 1 November, at the Dorchester, London, to celebrate stroke survivors for showing tremendous spirit and determination after their stroke, commending carers, volunteers, stroke clubs and health professionals who are with stroke survivors every step of the way. Winners at the glittering event saw the awards presented by a line-up of celebs including soap stars Rudolph Walker, Shobna Gulati and Sally Lindsay, The One Show presenter Alex Jones, BBC Breakfast sports presenter Mike Bushell amongst others. The Awards celebrated some of the most determined and inspiring individuals in the UK, recognising incredible fundraising feats, outstanding courage, creative talent and amazing selflessness.

The lucky winners of the night were: • Fundraiser of the Year – Lucy Trafford • Corporate Supporter Award – Well Pharmacy • Stroke Association Award for Volunteering – Amber Garland • Children and Young People’s Courage Award – Neil Ferguson • Professional Excellence Award – Dr David Hargroves • Award for Creative Arts – Richard Raynor • Carer’s Award – Edward Pearce • Adult Courage Award (65 years and over) – Dawn Minker • Stroke Group Award – Neath Port Talbot Stroke Support Group • Adult Courage Award (18 to 64 years old) – Clodagh Dunlop If you know an inspirational stroke survivor, a terrific carer or a fantastic volunteer then you can nominate someone for the 2018 Life After Stroke Awards at stroke.org.uk.

“THE AWARDS CELEBRATED SOME OF THE MOST DETERMINED AND INSPIRING INDIVIDUALS IN THE UK, RECOGNISING INCREDIBLE FUNDRAISING FEATS, OUTSTANDING COURAGE, CREATIVE TALENT AND AMAZING SELFLESSNESS” 8

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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The Ultimate Driving Machine

THE BMW X1.

AVAILABLE ON THE MOTABILITY SCHEME.

BMW RANGE FROM £999 ADVANCE PAYMENT*. • The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is now available from £999 Advance Payment and the BMW X1 from £1,299 Advance Payment • Range also includes the BMW 1 Series (3-door and 5-door), seven-seat the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and the BMW 3 Series Saloon and Touring • Selected models accessible to drivers under 25 years old • Manual or automatic transmission and high standard specification includes metallic paint, BMW Emergency Call and BMW Navigation • A brand new BMW every three years with insurance, service and maintenance all covered

To help find the right BMW for you, call 0800 325 600, visit bmw.co.uk/motability or contact the Motability Scheme Specialist at your local BMW Centre.

Official fuel economy figures for the BMW range available on the Motability Car Scheme: Urban 39.2-68.9mpg (7.2-4.1 l/100km). Extra Urban 58.9.1-85.6mpg (4.8-3.3 l/100km). Combined 49.6-78.5mpg (5.7-3.6 l/100km). CO2 emissions 133-94g/km. Figures are obtained in a standardised test cycle. They are intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not be representative of what a user achieves under usual driving conditions.

*The BMW range available on the Motability Scheme starts from £999 Advance Payment for the BMW 216i SE Active Tourer. Models shown are the BMW X1 sDrive18i SE from £1,299 Advance Payment, BMW 216d Luxury Active Tourer from £1,799 Advance Payment, BMW 118i M Sport 5-door Sports Hatch from £1,849 Advance Payment and BMW 216d Sport Gran Tourer from £1,999 Advance Payment. All models on the Motability Scheme include optional metallic paint at no extra cost. Motability Scheme vehicles are leased to customers by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HB. To qualify you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) and applications must be made with participating dealers between 1 October and 31 December 2017. Prices are correct at time of print, are subject to availability and may change.

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FYI

BARNARDO’S RELEASES UNSEEN PICTURES FOR DISABILITY HISTORY MONTH To mark the beginning of Disability History Month (22 November – 22 December), children’s charity Barnardo’s has released a series of never-before-seen images of disabled children from their archive, some more than 125 years old. The charity is using Twitter to share the stories of disabled children who they have supported through the years, along with archive photographs. The brilliant photographs, taken while the children were in the care of Barnardo’s care homes, are annotated with the children’s names, ages and admission dates, and are an incredible historic aid in understanding how far society has come in its treatment of disabled children. One image shows 15-year-old Alfred Smith on his crutches, having had his leg amputated at 13. Losing his father at aged nine, Alfred was brought into Barnardo’s care, where he was helped to gain an apprenticeship in a tailor’s workshop, becoming a tailor in Kingston, Surrey in 1895.

“JEREMY THE DUD” FLIPS THE SCRIPT ON DISABILITY Australian production company Robot Army Productions have released their new short film Jeremy the Dud, featuring Australian comedic actor Nick Boshier, who plays the titular Jeremy. The movie examines the struggles of Jeremy, a non-disabled person labelled as “Without Speciality,” or less pleasantly a “dud,” as he struggles to fit in to a world where having a disability is the norm, and his lack of speciality leads him to feel unfulfilled and unable to thrive in the world. The movie’s trailer sees Jeremy forced to walk around with his “Without Specialty” badge draped around his neck, which is meant to help him avoid offensive or embarrassing situations, but really has others making condescending assumptions. In one scene, two people discuss the “correct term” for Jeremy’s condition in front of him, debating “without specialty” versus “dud.” When Jeremy says he simply wants to be called “Jeremy,” it’s a startling moment, and serves to challenge assumptions on how society at large views disability. The full 20-minute film can be viewed on facebook.com/JeremytheDud

LINGO FLAMINGO HELPS DEMENTIA PATIENTS Glasgow not-for-profit organisation Lingo Flamingo, are using education to help older people with dementia to lessen their symptoms by teaching them a second language. The organisation aims to bring people together in a fun, interactive and empowering environment through classes to teach older people a second language, which has been shown to delay the effects of dementia and brain aging by a University of Edinburgh study. Research has shown that learning a foreign language can help delay the effects of dementia by up to five years, and works alongside local communities and care providers to host language classes for older people, which help to keep their brains fit and active. The first

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program of its kind, Lingo Flamingo offers workshops in Italian, French, Spanish and German, running ten-week courses of tailored lessons, incorporating memory tips throughout. The sensory learning experience invokes a variety of senses, making classes fun and accessible to all. If you would like to know more about Lingo Flamingo, or enquire about a workshop, visit lingoflamingo.co.uk

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FYI

AWARD WIN FOR EDEN FUTURES National supported living provider, Eden Futures, are celebrating after a prestigious award win at the Oscars of health and social care, the LaingBuisson Awards. Winners in the Public Private Partnerships category, the team impressed judges with their evidence of excellence in strategic partnerships with a focus on outcomes, value for money and innovation, with a particular focus on a recent development in Rotherham. Eden Futures Director of Service Development Dave Whittock added: “It was a real honour to have been shortlisted and to then go on and win this award. It is very challenging

to pull together partnership work between private, public and not for profit organisations and we are so pleased that our innovative approach has been recognised.” The company’s ongoing success has been underlined recently by the accreditation of key services with the National Autistic Society as well as their shortlisting for a number of other high-profile industry awards, including the LaingBuisson Management Excellence award. Eden Futures supports over 750 people in various settings, with over 1,600 staff members working to support, sustain and develop the service.

PUDSEY BEAR GETS ON HIS BIKE

Pudsey Bear pedalled his own special bike to support a Wirral teenager who took part in The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge to raise money for BBC Children in Need. Along with staff and children who attended Stick ‘n’ Step’s centres in Wallasey and Runcorn, Pudsey took his turn on a static bike to match 17-year-old Luke Percy mile for mile while he cycled the 289-mile Salford to Glasgow leg of the Rickshaw Challenge. Luke was one of a six strong team pedalling a rickshaw on a 500-mile

journey from The One Show studio in London to the River Clyde in Glasgow. Luke, who was born with cerebral palsy, had been attending conductive education classes at local charity Stick ‘n’ Step in Wallasey since the age of two. Stick ‘n’ Step has benefited from BBC Children in Need funding for nine years, which has helped the charity to support young people who have cerebral palsy with conductive education sessions to help them develop their mobility and independence and boost their self-confidence. Starting the challenge on Thursday 9 November, the team of riders worked its way across the UK to cross the finish line on Friday 17 November, during BBC Children in Need’s 2017 Appeal Show. Come rain or shine, the teenagers completed an average of over 50 miles per day.

DISABILITY EQUALS DIVERSITY, NOT DISADVANTAGE. International Day for Persons with Disabilities will be celebrated globally this year on 3 December with the message “disability equals diversity, not disadvantage” being relayed amongst world governing bodies to celebrate those living with a disability and their successes. To highlight this message, the UN has marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities since 1992, to spread the word on disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The day also aims to draw attention to the benefits to society as a whole, of including persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life with everyone encouraged to mark the day and spread the message. Let us know what you have done to mark the day – email colette@2apublishing.co.uk.

THE WESTON CHARITY AWARDS TO SUPPORT DISABILITY CHARITIES

The Weston Charity Awards conducted research amongst 234 charity leaders in October, 44 of whom described themselves as disability charities, finding the main factor holding disability charity leaders back is the pressure of tackling day to day operational matters. Four in five (80%) cite this as a barrier to taking a long-term view while three quarters indicate that lack of budget is preventing them from bringing in additional resources that could be devoted to strategy matters.  The research also highlighted the increasing demand most charities are attempting to address, very often without additional budget. Nearly three in five (57%) small to medium sized disability charities expect to support more service users in 2018 despite the fact that most (64%) are not confident of income growth in that time.  The results of the research are being released to mark the start of the application period for the Weston Charity Awards which create more resilient small to medium sized charities by providing leadership and organisational strategy support. Charities can find out more and apply at westoncharityawards.org.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Columnist Mik Scarlet

Follow Mik on Twitter

@MikScarlet

OF PRIDE AND OF GUILT

I

have spent a great deal of my life banging on about ‘disability pride’. As a child, I couldn’t see why my being disabled was met with sympathy, when to me it proved I was better than my non-disabled mates. I had to do all the things they did. I even did cross country running, despite my rubbish walking, meaning I always came in last. When I lost the ability to walk at all I soon found myself bouncing back to my confident self because it became clear that even this set back was not going to stop me. In fact, it made me even more sure that my being disabled was something to be proud of. It made me special, made me amazing, made me unstoppable. I so embody the concept of ‘disability pride’ that when many people meet me they say, “it’s all right for you, you’re really confident”, as if I was born this way. I doubt I am genetically predisposed to this attitude of being proud of who I am. No, I owe this attitude squarely to one person; my mum. From as far back as I can remember, I was told I was special. I had beaten cancer for one thing and this was made the key proof of my all-round amazingness. I couldn’t walk very well, and only learned to walk unaided at the age of five. Along with not dying, there was a huge list of other things the doctors said I’d never do too. I expect all of these made my mum marvel at me, and she told me so all the time. Being told how amazing you are as a child has an equally amazing effect. (I should also say my wonderful wife Diane also tells me how great I am all the time so I now get my confidence built up in stereo!).

As the years passed I began to realise that the person who gave me the ability to be so proud of what I am is riddled with guilt. My mum feels guilty about me being disabled, about me having cancer, about not being able to prevent me losing the ability to walk. In fact, the list of things she feels guilty about seems endless. It came as a huge shock, as I have a wonderful life. Yet I can occasionally hear the guilt in my mum’s voice during our weekly phone chats. Recently I have met many more parents of disabled children and it’s become clear to me that this guilt is not confined to my mum. Every parent I have met battles it every day. As I realised this, it broke my heart. How tragic that parents of kids that happen to be disabled feel guilty about it. The question is, why?

“EQUALITY IS NOT ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO, IT’S HOW WE ARE PERCEIVED” Society is geared up to make the parents of disabled kids feel guilt. It has to be their fault. Once it was a judgement from God, now it’s more likely to be deemed some kind of genetic inferiority. What kind of future can their child have to look forward to? Even the word dis-abled makes parents imagine only bad things for their child’s tomorrows. They are swept up in the world of medicine, of cure and the drive to fix their children, and the way the medical world looks at disability. This Medical

Model is so damaging it has become a sociological description of exploring what it means to be disabled that explains why we have been excluded for so long. The goal of making their children ‘better’ adds to their guilt, as it rarely works and whatever the outcome, they have to watch their child suffer through surgery and other invasive treatments. It all adds to the overwhelming sense of guilt that underlies parenting a disabled child. When I discovered the Social Model of Disability, I found myself set free. I had felt pride in being disabled but society had said I was wrong. The Social Model told me I was right. I could be strong and amazing and overcome because society held me back, not my inability to walk or run or play football. I think it’s time we helped parents of the next generation of disabled people to understand and adopt the Social Model. Not only will it set them free from the guilt society teaches them they should feel, but it will allow them to raise their children to see disabled people are made less able by the barriers society places in their way and not by the physical and mental differences they might have. Equality is not about what we can do, it’s how we are perceived and I bet every parent wants a society that embraces their child and what makes them special. So, let’s all have a little more pride and a lot less guilt. Any guilt about the way disabled people are treated should lie at the feet of society and not the parents of disabled children. In my experience, they are all amazing. WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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28/11/2017 22:07


Sirus Automotive

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SIRUSAUTOMOTIVE.CO.UK 28/11/2017 30/10/2017 16:25 13:30


CHRISTMAS

POSABILITY’S CHRISTMAS ADVENT CALENDAR

1

Whether you are looking to get organised for Christmas or are wanting to try something new this year, we bring you our advent calendar of activities, meals and MAKES PERFECT DONATE TO A FOOD BANK good deeds to keep you PRACTICE Some may be worried about not having The stress of making the perfect the perfect meal but for others getting merry this festive Christmas dinner can be too much for food on the table at all is a cause for some, so having a go at it beforehand period. can make all the difference. This can be a celebration. Donating to your local food Words by Niall Christie

3

great way to spread some of the load, do some preparation or even pass on Christmas cooking skills to the next generation. This extra work might be stressful, but the self-assurance will be worth it.

TAKE A WINTER WALK

Staying indoors throughout the colder months can be tempting but doing that means that you miss out on the wonders of nature. Forests throughout winter take on a completely different look which can be breath-taking, while heading out on the hunt for some snow could be a great family activity. Either way, getting outdoors is a great option during December and January. Why not check out some accessible walks recommended by the Woodland Trust or the National Trust?

2

bank is a small way you can help those going through a hard time this festive season with what can be a particularly tough time of year.

4

DECORATE Different households have different traditions, but this is definitely something that needs done in December (and not before). Done in the right mindset the decorating of your house can be made an occasion which really tips everyone into the spirit of things, with the putting up of tinsel, bells and mistletoe kicking the festive feeling into high gear. WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Attention anyone who has served in the Armed Forces... Blesma is the leading charity for limbless veterans AND those veterans who have lost the use of a limb or limbs. Many of our Members have lost limbs since leaving military service, but Blesma is also there for all ex-Service men and women who have lost the use of limbs in a traumatic incident after serving. Our Blesma Support Officers are available to offer advice and answer your questions about mobility or living with the loss of use of limb.

Call: 020 8548 7080 email: membersupport@blesma.org or get in touch via the ‘Contact Us’ page at www.blesma.org

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CHRISTMAS

5 6

PUT ON A CHRISTMAS ALBUM

Music is a big part of creating an ambience around the festive season and there are plenty of good options around. Whether you prefer traditional carols, modern takes such as Annie Lennox’s Cornucopia, or you are just a fan of Wham! or Mariah Carey, playing a song or two can get even the most ‘bah humbug’ of individuals into the Christmas spirit.

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VISIT A CHRISTMAS MARKET

An activity which can be done on a budget or extravagantly, Christmas markets are a package deal, offering music, festive food and the opportunity for a little bit of shopping. At home or abroad, taking a wander through the stalls on a cold winter’s night can make for a wonderful evening.

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HEAD TO THE SAUNA

A traditional, pre-Christmas activity for families in Estonia, relaxing in the heat of a sauna is a great winter warmer. Bringing many benefits apart from its heat, ‘deep sweating’ in a sauna can help remove toxins from your body and improves cardiovascular function, as well as promoting weight loss before a belly-busting Christmas.

TAKE SOME SNOWY SNAPS

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With the development of smartphone and tablet technology it is easier than ever for anyone to become a photographer. Whether you want to take a pre-Christmas family portrait or a quick picture of your beautifully decorated tree, having a photograph to remember this festive period by is a worthwhile use of your time.

BAKE A CHRISTMAS CAKE

Christmas cakes are a well-known tradition, with the recognised British variation, which has spread across former Commonwealth countries, made up of an iced fruitcake. Whether it is the Scottish version, made with whisky and originating in Dundee, or the Yorkshire delicacy of pairing one with cheese, a Christmas cake is easy to make and a must at this time of year.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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CHRISTMAS MOVIE

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Increasingly a part of the Christmas ritual for many, watching movies based around the holiday time is a great way to relax this December. While purists may prefer classics such as A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life, a growing list of ‘alternative’ festive films like Die Hard, Gremlins and Bad Santa now have a widespread following.

JOLLY JUMPER

SAY THANKS

A quick and easy good deed that you could do, like leaving a thank you note for your postie, is a small thing that could lift spirits. Given the huge burden put on postal workers in the lead-up to Christmas and the stress that they carry along with your cards, a short letter to say thanks could make a big difference to someone else’s day.

Tacky, ugly and overpriced as they are, seas of Christmas clothing can now be seen throughout the month of December. Woolly jumpers, elf socks and dangling Rudolph earrings are now worn as a badge of honour, a far cry from the embarrassing Christmas jumpers knitted by Colin Firth’s mother or Molly Weasley. Now, not partaking in a jolly jumper is a festive faux pas.

IN A PICKLE

13 18

Another weird and wonderful tradition taken from other cultures could see you trying something new when decorating your tree by hiding a pickle in amongst the branches! A practise thought to have originated in America or Spain, now replaced by a porcelain, metallic or plastic decoration, families disguise the pickled vegetable within the tree and task others with finding it.

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14 DONATE TOYS

Christmas is a time for giving as well as getting, and giving away unwanted toys, clothes and other items is another goodwill gesture you can make that will have a big impact on other’s lives. Local collections are set up across the country in the run up to the big day if you decide to donate, with many charity shops also open to recycling presents.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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CHRISTMAS

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INVITE A FRIEND OVER

It might be a hectic month, but December is the perfect time to reconnect with friends. With Christmas and the days after often being primarily family time, it can be important to make time for other significant figures in your life and inviting friends over means you can take control and spend time together.

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MULLED DRINKS

While wine is often the mulled beverage of choice, spicing your own drinks can range from other alcoholic products like cider to simple fruit juices. Short, sweet and simple, this activity can bring together the whole family and has the added benefit of making your whole kitchen instantly smell like Christmas.

GO FOR A DRIVE

Many of us spend hours and hours perfecting our Christmas decorations, but what about the effort that others go to to get their own right? Many even go to the effort of dressing their houses in the hopes they will be seen from space, so it would be rude not to take a look.

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DAY OF THOUGHT

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Taking place on 3 December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a chance to pause and think about your own understanding of disability issues and rights. Started by the UN in 1992, this year’s theme is ‘transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all’, providing some food for thought during December.

WINTER SPORTS

Often lost in the masses, winter sports are hugely popular across the world. Stretching from curling to ice hockey, skiing to sledding, cold weather sports are well worth a try and are guaranteed to keep you warm this December, with clubs, ice rinks and slopes all over the country.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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CHRISTMAS

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READ THE CLASSICS

Sitting by the fire with a book may not be the epitome of Christmas in many people’s minds, but taking some time to read this Christmas is certainly worthwhile. With an abundance of classic Christmas literature available, picking up Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or C.S Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe could prove to be valuable down time this busy December.

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Embracing the season of giving is important, and surprise acts of kindness can sometimes have the biggest impact. The options are endless: leave some credit in the vending machine, buy the person behind’s coffee in the café, even go on a short litter pick. Any of these can really make a difference to someone’s day.

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GO SHOPPING

If you are organised enough to have already finished your Christmas shopping, then this can be your day off. But for those of us who leave things until the last minute, designating a day to do all of your gift shopping could be vital. Write a list, head out early and tick everything off in one go. Or you could just order everything online and avoid the Christmas crowds.

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RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

WHY NOT OPEN A GIFT EARLY?

Gift opening is a huge part of Christmas Day itself, but there is no reason that you can’t open one a little early. Other cultures exchange gifts on different days, and even if it is just a new set of pyjamas, opening a present slightly early can help offset the growing anticipation for the big day.

SET YOUR RESOLUTIONS EARLY

The period between Christmas and New Year can go by in a blur of food, gifts and sale shopping, so preparation for 2018 could be key. Deciding on any resolutions before January will give you time to become mentally prepared to take on your goals.

RELAX AND ENJOY

The big day is finally here, so all that’s left to do is ensure you enjoy it. Savour the moments with your family and friends, the gift opening, the over-indulgence on delicious Christmas food and the imbibing of lots of Christmas drinks (sensibly of course!) We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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29/11/2017 12:40


FASHION

Words by Rosalind Tulloch

The fashion industry is often criticised for its lack of diversity, and quite rightly so, rarely do we see anything other than the stick-thin, tall silhouettes of white women or perfectly sculpted forms of white men grace the catwalks. However, London Fashion Week 2017 was opened, like a breath of much-needed fresh air in the fashion industry, by British design duo Teatum Jones, showcasing disabled models in a show inspired by Natasha Baker, Paralympic equestrian champion, affectionately known as the ‘horse whisperer’. We caught up with Catherine Teatum, one half of the forward-thinking fashion label, to find out more about their decision to cast disabled models and if she thinks other designers will follow suit.

LEADING Lights Where did the inspiration come from for your London Fashion Week show?

The show we did in September was the second part of a two-part show. Pretty much this time last year, Rob and I started to look at what we wanted to do and we started to look at the artist Hans Bellmer who deconstructed the female form - it was his way of protesting the idea of the perfect Aryan form – with what was happening in Germany in the mid-twentieth century.

We got interested in that and went to have a look at some of the Tate Modern’s private pieces. We then had a conversation with somebody about bodies and that led to Paralympians and we were put in touch, through a friend at the British Paralympic Association, with Natasha Baker. When we started to talk to her we began to realise that this was a bigger subject than what would ordinarily be a seasonal narrative for a fashion collection so we decided to spread it into two parts. WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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“I DO THINK IT’S MADE A DIFFERENCE AND I DO THINK PEOPLE ARE TAKING NOTICE AND CONSIDERING THEIR CASTING MORE. I HOPE, LIKE US, IT BECOMES AN INSTINCTIVE AND NATURAL PROGRESSION”

Part one was us really focusing on the initial inspiration of the artist Hans Bellmer and then part two allowed us to really evolve that into a very personal story of someone who had a disability, that being Natasha.

Within the show you used disabled models, was that quite a natural decision?

Diversity is the absolute buzzword at the moment. I would say that our casting has historically always been diverse, we have never just had one type of look. I think we were interviewed by quite a big newspaper before London Fashion Week and again this question kept on coming up and I think for us – Rob and I have both grown up in London – and it is just a very natural reflection of our environment. We both went to school with people from all over the world, with disabled children and able-bodied children, with children with learning difficulties, there was a very broad scope of people that we grew up with. It would be weird for us not to reflect our city and within that is the question of if we can have white girls, Chinese girls, black girls, mixed race girls on the catwalk, then why can’t we look at having different body forms, why can’t we look at having ablebodied and disabled models together on the catwalk?

Jack Eyers is the first amputee to hold the title of Mr England. Here he is walking the catwalk for Teatum Jones’ Autumn/Winter 17 collection

Kelly (Knox) had come to our attention – again through a friend. We cast her and Jack (Eyers) for the Autumn/Winter 17 collection and it was just the natural thing to cast her again plus Vicky (Balch) for Spring/Summer.

What you are doing is quite forwardthinking for the fashion industry. Do you think other designers are starting to see the importance of portraying a diverse form on the catwalk?

I do. I think when you are doing this yourself you don’t necessarily see yourself as directional or forward-thinking, you are just doing what you do and you are doing what you feel passionate about and what comes naturally to you and what’s instinctive. But then it’s been brought to 24

Kelly Knox walking the catwalk for Teatum Jones’ Autumn/Winter 17 collection

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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FASHION

our attention that we are one of the very few brands that are doing this – probably less than a handful actually.

Kelly Knox was the winner of Britain’s Missing Top Model in 2008 and is a prominent disability rights campaigner

I do think it’s made a difference and I do think people are taking notice and considering their casting more. I hope, like us, it becomes an instinctive and natural progression and that it will continue to evolve and become more interesting in the different ways that it can be done and the way a collection can be represented. I still think there is a certain fear there – which I think is ironic because I think that one of the things that sums up London in fashion is its fearlessness. But I do think there is probably anticipation and apprehension there because of what the end consumers might think - is it going to affect the way they look at the brand etc. I do think that there probably is that fear there for some brands and for some established brands that have been doing it the way they have been doing it for a long time, but hopefully it will ignite a change that will be more consistent as the seasons go on.

What was the reaction like after the show?

Vicky Balch lost her right leg in the Alton Towers crash in 2015. She took to the catwalk in September 17 for Teatum Jones’ Spring/Summer 18 collection

It was hugely positive. I saw a few troll messages on a Facebook page somewhere, but you are going to get that anyway. I think I saw two, one of which was saying it was great that we had cast disabled models but why hadn’t we cast someone who was a size 12 or 14? We actually did, if you look at the show we had two plus size models and we can only cast 14 girls, there is only a certain scope of diversity that you can get in 14 girls. So, when you

start breaking it down like that, I think we covered ground quite well. The overall feedback and experience was actually very overwhelming. We turned up to our studio on the Monday after the show and it was like walking into a florist, there was just all these deliveries of flowers and notes. Over the weekend we had received lots of nice emails from people – like industry supporters and press who come to the show every season but felt the need to reach out to Rob and I directly this time to say ‘you really touched me, I haven’t felt this moved by a fashion show in a really long time’ and that was something very special. It was amazing, it makes all the hard work very worthwhile.

You used part of Meryl Streep’s speech condemning Donald Trump in the soundtrack to the Autumn/ Winter 17 catwalk show. I assume you consider all aspects of your catwalk shows to portray your collection?

Absolutley, everything is considered. We create fashion from human stories, that is what we do at Teatum Jones, so every element of the presentation is an opportunity to retell that story and retell that narrative and the music for us is very important. We start working on the music pretty much from day one that we start working on the inspiration for the collection. If the subject of the collection is still alive, we will meet with them and interview them. With Natasha, we met with her, her parents, her trainer and her manager and we sat and talked to all of them and interviewed them and for the September show. Natasha and her parents were laced all through the show music. The Autumn/Winter one with Meryl Streep – that speech didn’t come about until two weeks before London Fashion Week - once we got wind of what she was saying in it, we thought that has to go in the show music. You can follow the fashion label on Twitter @TEATUMJONES.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Columnist Sam Renke

Our favourite teacher-turnedactress, Sam Renke, brings you her take on life and the colourful experiences it throws her way.

HOUSE ME, HOUSE ME NOT

M

y decision to move to

London over five and a half years ago was no easy task, with my main hurdle being finding accessible accommodation. I was so desperate to move and live my dream life that in hindsight stupidly, I signed a tenancy agreement with another wheelchair user without viewing the property beforehand.

“IT MAY HAVE TAKEN ME FIVE YEARS OF BATTLING AND SEARCHING, BUT I FINALLY HAVE SECURITY AND A HOME FOR LIFE”

You can follow Sam on @samrenke

I was told the property was an adapted flat with a lift, although it was on the fifth floor. I knew adapted properties were in short supply but naively I assumed that after six months I would find a much more suitable property on my own which could be adapted specifically to my needs and this first flat was, shall we say, a ‘launch pad’. Oh, how wrong I was!  Five years later I was still there, having to struggle with the lift breaking down due to vandalism and a kitchen and bathroom that just didn’t allow me to fulfil the independent life I so desperately wanted.   Over the years, my needs became greater and I felt more reliant on friends and my PA which really affected my sense of worth and added to my depression.  I applied for social housing, but was told my needs weren’t severe enough to be added to the social housing list. I looked into private renting but was told that I could not adapt the property myself as it would ‘devalue’ it. Rock and hard place springs to mind. 

I started to question why there weren’t more properties on the market. Are disabled people just expected to live with their parents their whole lives? Some of the adapted properties I came across were in luxurious apartment complexes, not in any way ‘affordable housing’ and given the high unemployment amongst disabled people due to poor integration and workplace discrimination, luxury apartments just aren’t an option for many disabled people, including myself.  I knew I wasn’t alone as an enquiry launched by the European Convention on Human Rights (EHRC) showed that 1.8 million disabled people in Britain do not have suitable housing and 300,000 do not have the adaptations they need in their existing homes.  There are a number of organisations out there including Habinteg Housing Association (habinteg.org.uk), that are trying to combat this shortage. Luckily for me and only after my friend and fellow PosAbility columnist Mik Scarlet urged me to put my name down on the Habinteg housing list did my luck change. After 18 months on a waiting list, I have just moved into my very own adapted apartment in Central London. I feel blessed beyond words, but I am in a minority and thousands of people with disabilities are living in unsuitable homes, homes that jeopardise their independence, health and feelings of security. I would urge anyone in my situation not to lose hope. It may have taken me five years of battling and searching, but I finally have security and a home for life.  WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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28/11/2017 16:26


LONELINESS

T

elevision shows, films and advertisements push family Christmases. It’s A Wonderful Life, Love Actually, even Home Alone push the idea that we should never be alone at Christmas; we should be surrounded by family and friends. For some vulnerable people, or their carers, Christmas is a time of loneliness, where the ideas these movies push serve as nothing more than a bitter reminder of their isolation. Vulnerable people feel lonely all year round, but at Christmas, these feelings are exacerbated and accompanied by feelings of isolation and a desire – especially in elderly people – not to be ‘a burden’ to their friends and loved ones, who they may not spend time with due to distance or other commitments. In October, the Royal College of General Practitioners warned that loneliness can be as bad for someone’s health as a long-term illness, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Laura Alcock-Ferguson of the Campaign to End Loneliness put the dangers of it into perspective as part of the organisation’s 2013 study into GPs combatting loneliness: “The health impacts of loneliness can be devastating; it is worse for you than obesity, and as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” Research undertaken by Scope in November discovered that 67% of disabled people have felt lonely in the past year, but jumps to 76% of working age disabled people. In the

same demographic, 45% were chronically lonely, and 85% of disabled young adults in the UK feel lonely. This has resulted in many experiencing depression, anxiety and stress as a result of their loneliness. What can vulnerable people do to alleviate these feelings of loneliness during Christmastime? Charities like The Silver Line offer a free, confidential helpline, which is open all year round, and offers information, friendship and advice to older people who feel lonely, but more importantly, offers them the chance to have a conversation with someone, share their feelings and receive help and support in a controlled and safe environment.

No one should feel alone at Christmas. Go the extra mile this year. Words by Katie Campbell

Sophie Andrews, CEO of The Silver Line, speaking to the Campaign to End Loneliness in 2014, noted that they received almost 800 calls on Christmas Day alone, with the vast majority coming between the night of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With 80% of the callers living independently and without a partner, and 53% of them saying they were lonely all of the time, Christmas did nothing but magnify their feelings of isolation. Sophie also noted that a surprising number of calls were from elderly people in sheltered housing, whose warden will have left for the festive period, leaving them without social activities to attend. Charities like Community Christmas are also committed to holding Christmas

REACHING OUT WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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LONELINESS dinners in pubs, care homes and even fast food restaurants, where older people can attend a community lunch. The charity takes care of transport, meaning older people are given the freedom of being able to leave their homes and enjoy a community lunch for Christmas.

53% OF PEOPLE

SAID THEY WERE LONELY ALL OF THE TIME, CHRISTMAS DID NOTHING BUT MAGNIFY THEIR FEELINGS OF ISOLATION

Euan’s Guide, a website which rates public locations on their accessibility, has an excellent list of restaurants and pubs that are disabilityfriendly, making it a great tool for planning an accessible meal for those with disabilities. Even if we are not lonely ourselves, it is important to acknowledge that vulnerable people in our lives may be struggling with loneliness over the festive period. Taking an empathetic view of those around us and acknowledging how difficult the festive period can be for vulnerable people is a key step in reaching out to those who may be struggling with loneliness. Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Executive Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Loneliness at Christmas is especially poignant, and spending Christmas alone when you do not want to can be deeply upsetting. Christmas is an emotional time of year and for some older people it can increase feelings of isolation and failure. “It is important to remember that loneliness happens all year round – not just at Christmas. But the festive season is a great time to take action on loneliness, and to think about how we can tackle it in the long-term. The Campaign to End Loneliness has tips and advice for tackling loneliness this Christmas, and we urge all people to play their part. Together, we can end loneliness – at Christmas and beyond.”

Something as simple as going to a neighbour’s house, calling, texting or sending a Christmas card to let them know you’re thinking of them can make a huge difference in a person’s life, reminding them that they are loved, cared about, and in your thoughts. Something that feels like a tiny gesture can be a huge emotional lift for someone struggling with loneliness.

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness is just one charity hoping to make a difference to the lives of lonely people this Christmas. Chairs Rachel Reeves MP and Seema Kennedy MP said:

It is the simple act of reaching out and reminding someone vulnerable who wishes for company, companionship or friendship over the festive period that they are not alone: they are loved, valued, and remembered. For a minute amount of effort – the sending of a text, Christmas card, letter or a phone call – we can all remind someone who may be struggling with loneliness that they are not alone.

“This summer 9.3million people took part in The Great Get Together to support Jo’s message that we have ‘more in common than that which divides us’. The Great Christmas Get Together will call on the public to take small acts to build strong communities this Christmas by sharing a mince pie with a neighbour, acquaintance or friend. “Under the #HappytoChat slogan we have been working to challenge the idea - whether it is perceived or real - that you need permission or some kind of excuse, like a power cut or 30

unusual weather, to talk to one another. We need to be thinking more about how we break down these rules we seem to have made for ourselves.”

For older people, feelings of “being a burden” or geographical isolation exacerbate their feelings of loneliness at Christmas time. Knowing that their families, a friend or a neighbour is there for them in a time with such a strong association with family and togetherness can help alleviate their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If you are lonely this Christmas, remember there are many charities who exist to provide companionship over the festive period: The Silver Line, Scope and Age UK to name a few. Never be afraid to reach out to someone and tell them how you feel. Talking is the first step in pulling yourself from the depths of loneliness and into the joys of the festive period.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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29/11/2017 16:00


Home is where the

is Exploring the Danish way of life Words by Colette Carr

Hygge (hoo-gah) is the Danish phenomenon that was never meant to be translated, but to be felt. It’s more than just an online fad though. The Danes are the happiest nation in the world and for good reason. Hygge is the art of being cosy - but it shares its values with Christmas. Christmas has fast become one of, if not the most commercialised time of the year, but it’s humble values of gratitude, contentment and being with loved ones are closely linked with what hygge represents. It’s so much more though than enjoying a comfortable home and work life. Hygge is more than surrounding yourself with homely interiors and plush cushions. While this can achieve hygge and in some cases actually aid in independent living, it goes deeper and may be the perfect recipe for a good winter warming .

32

“IF YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE A FIREPLACE, FLICKERING TONGUES OF FLAMES SCREAM HYGGE, GIVING A DEEP HEAT AND ATMOSPHERIC CRACKLING NOISE.”

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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WINTER WARMING LIGHT IT UP

Hygge is a sensory experience and sensation is at its heart. We often hear “lighting is everything, darling” in many walks of life, and it’s no different with hygge. But think more Kate Winslet’s cottage in The Holiday and less Blackpool Illuminations. The trick is to have a warm and comforting ambience, not too dissimilar to traditional Christmas lighting. Dump your tired red, green and blue fairy lights and instead opt for softer white frosted berry lights or golden string lights to create a soft glow and scatter them across the home and use lamps, switching off ‘the big light’. Make use of natural light (if there is any) this winter. Artificial light is no real replacement for natural light – open the curtains wide and let any light flood into your space, while we have it. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can make the winter months difficult to adjust to and uncomfortable, so let natural light

in and let SAD lights and hygge help you through the darker hours. Another way of adding cosy lighting is a hygge essential – candles. Grab the matches and a mix of styles, colours and scented waxes. Christmas candles can fill your home with warming and hearty scents of ginger, spices, wood and other festive smells creating a sensory and aromatic atmosphere. For those who find strong smells irritating, unscented candles can help create that ambience without the lingering or overpowering odours. Take another leaf out of the Danes’ book and make candles part of your interior design plans. Rustic candle holders made of wood, marble or copper wire look great paired with the soft furnishings hygge promotes. And if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, flickering tongues of flames scream hygge, giving a deep heat and atmospheric crackling noise.

SET THE TABLE

Christmas is about good food, drink and company - three staples of hygge. Comforting, simple and hearty food like soups, slowcooked stews and roasted dishes are popular meals to gather around and enjoy in the wintertime. The internet is overflowing with ‘hygge recipes’ that meet dietary or intolerance requirements to help you get in the spirit. Hot drinks are also a pillar of hygge. Remember when your gran told you “there was nothing that a cup of tea couldn’t fix”? Your gran was well ahead of her own hygge time. Soothing warm drinks help heat you up, fight off bugs, and can be a great indulgence and comfort. Christmastime brings with it a range of festive hot beverages which the Danes are renowned for, as well as their pastries and sweet treats, but they are masters of the moderation game. One trick to remember is to be ‘treat-smart’. It is the season for over-indulgence though, so why not enjoy the numerous selection boxes and desserts and treat yourself all in the name of hygge?

RECONNECT WITH NATURE

Take in the winter months’ beauty as much as you can weather permitting. With wonderlands, gorgeous landscapes and festive days out, enjoy the light hours while you can in crisp weather wrapped up in true

hygge style. Being hygge isn’t confined to the home, you can also bring the outdoors inside. Christmas trees, holly, evergreens, logs, pines and mistletoes are a great way to bring the outdoors in.

LITTLE HYGGE

The festive sensory overload may prove too much for little ones living with sensory disorders, but a helping of hygge may help them avoid over-stimulation. By allowing a child to help create their own slice of hygge, you can keep them entertained in the cold winter months and help them remain comfortable and calm. Letting them build their own safe space or Christmas haven, like a dark den will help them disassociate and escape stressful situations. Employ deep pressure and low lighting and let them fill it with comforting blankets, pillows or toys – letting them decorate the space as they wish allows them to regain some control over their environment in the noisy and busy holiday months. Add their favourite Christmas decorations for a festive touch and allow them to hide away with a colouring book or film if they become stressed. Kids can also get crafty for hygge. Make stainedglass candle holders to add soft lighting and warm colours. Using an empty mason jar, coloured tissue paper, glue and a battery tealight candle, kids can cut and stick patterns of the paper all over the jar before dropping the candle in to give a stained-glass effect. WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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28/11/2017 16:26


STOMA WARRIOR Words by Colette Carr

“I

just thought, ‘I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to inspire people and change people’s feelings and perceptions about it,’ so to still see that was upsetting,” fitness model, body builder and stoma bag user Blake Beckford admitted. Recently Blake stirred up a social media storm when he posted an open letter in response to a Daily Mail article on a new medical advancement that would “spare patients the misery of being fitted with a stoma bag” to his ever-growing following of over 8000 people. Angered by the language used in the article, his emotive response garnered thousands of shares quickly as Facebook users read his powerful words about how his stoma saved his life after an ulcerative colitis diagnosis. But the father of two isn’t new to bucking the trend. After his quality of life dramatically improved he quickly became a successful fitness model and body-builder – all while proudly showing off his stoma bag that he “has to put up with”. “I responded to the Daily Mail’s piece because I’ve spent the last four or five years trying to make a positive impact and show living with a stoma in a positive light, so to see editors and others still using terminology that suggests it’s a miserable

Image © Matt Marsh Photography

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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existence irritated me,” Blake shared. “A lot of the language used can be really damaging but what I’m trying to do is empower people who are maybe facing surgery because of their illness, whether that’s bladder or bowel cancer, Crohn’s or colitis. The last thing people need is negative or derogatory terminology being used. “We need empowering and positive language.” Having suffered extreme pains for a lengthy period, he was eventually diagnosed and looked to begin his road to recovery that wasn’t short of road bumps. “Initially it was manageable through other means like medications, but the nature of the condition meant it had remission and flare up periods. “I battled it for over a good ten years to a point where my quality of life was quite poor - I wasn’t able to leave the house without thinking about my journey or where the next toilet was and that itself was very debilitating along with things like the pain and feeling tired and lethargic all the time. “I was living a very difficult life with ulcerative colitis but when I had my surgery, suddenly I was able to really focus on things I really wanted to do before but just couldn’t,” he added. And the new lease of life wasn’t wasted on Blake, who decided to challenge himself to reach new levels not just for himself, but to motivate others in a similar situation. He said: “That’s when I decided to get into fitness before taking it to the next level with the modelling and the competitive side of things. It was a really positive experience for me but also for other people to see the difference in what you can do when you’re not battling that illness. “I was told by my surgeon that now I’d had this operation I wouldn’t be able to do any strenuous physical activity or exercise for the risk of hernias or pain. So I was left thinking ‘oh great’, but then I kept thinking there surely must be a way of doing things. “I developed my own techniques and workout regimes to try and achieve exactly

36

“A LOT OF THE LANGUAGE USED CAN BE REALLY DAMAGING BUT WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO IS EMPOWER PEOPLE WHO ARE MAYBE FACING SURGERY BECAUSE OF THEIR ILLNESS...”

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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BLAKE BECKFORD

what I wanted to achieve. “It’s very important to have that quality of life and being able to have things like a bag helps that happen.” Recognising that there was a gap in the fitness modelling market to be filled that could help redefine and change the image of Crohn’s and colitis, Blake joined forces with photographer Matt Marsh. With a photoshoot under their belt and even with the knowledge that topless photos of Blake with his bag in full sight could be divisive, the dynamic duo began sharing the photos far and wide eagerly awaiting a response if any, before being inundated with interested parties who had seen the potential power behind the striking images. “When I started working with the photographer I was originally with, he did say that this would probably be quite controversial, because we didn’t know how it would go,” he admitted. “We didn’t know if the industry would maybe say, “wow we like this,” or not, so we were really just waiting to see which way it went, but the reception we got was amazing. “We did the photoshoots and then we had them sent to couple of different magazines and within a matter of hours we were getting a great response. “They were saying things like, “we want to see this guy”, “when is he competing?” and asking loads of questions about what I was doing and about the competitions. “The judges were almost amazed that they had someone on stage doing something like that because they hadn’t seen it before,” said Blake. Soon his success followed him into the body-building world where he took to the stage displaying his stoma bag proudly alongside his competitors. But while recognising the role of diversity, he continued to practice what he preached in showing that living with a bag doesn’t have to change what opportunities are available. He said: “I think diversity is a good thing, but regardless of circumstances, if you’re a good worthy competitor it

shouldn’t matter. “It shouldn’t have any effect on whether you succeed or not – if you are better than another competitor, the bag is irrelevant and shouldn’t have a bearing on how you look or what you are trying to achieve. “You could do everything the same as someone else or even better so why should something like a bag stop you from succeeding?” Appearing on This Morning and in publications as esteemed as Men’s Health, helped him continue to grow his profile and spread his message – something he could never have foreseen all those years ago when he was in a darker place. “When I was in that place of so much pain, if someone had said to me that I’d have done everything I have, I don’t know if I’d have believed them,” he laughed. “About 18 months ago I was diagnosed with a neurological condition which affects my brain and spine which unfortunately is progressive and has stopped me from physically being able to do what I used to do with the fitness modelling and bodybuilding, being told you have a limiting condition is never easy, three brain surgeries later, I am still determined more than ever to help others like myself. It doesn’t stop me from my original aim to empower other people, because I have that knowledge to help others achieve,” Blake said. But while his neurological condition may have put his modelling and body-building career on the backburner, the determined pioneer has found another way to help redefine the condition and support others in similar situations - but you’ll have to watch this space. “At the moment I’m working on a bit of a top-secret project, but it will be a hub where people can get information, be inspired and it will target people facing or who have just had surgery or those who may have had it and are having difficulty. “So we’re not far away, but it definitely could be something really positive to help people,” he smiled. blakebeckford.co.uk

Image © Matt Marsh Photography

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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29/11/2017 12:24


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29/11/2017 09:52


X FACTOR

SING FOR

your life e’s been on our prime time Saturday and

Sunday night screens for months now, wowing the nation with his powerful renditions of ballads on The X Factor to rapturous praise from Simon Cowell and co. But offstage, semi-finalist Lloyd Macey has been tirelessly working to raise awareness for Crohn’s disease while he’s been in the public eye, using the experience to draw on his own story having lived with the condition since he was 18. The 23-year-old ‘Voice of the Valleys’ captured the nation’s hearts when he originally auditioned with his grandmother in tow, but it’s his open and honest accounts of his health that has really won him a horde of fans. “It’s been fantastic!” enthused Lloyd as he spoke to us during his packed press timetable. “I’ve had so many people asking me about Crohn’s on social media and I actually had one gentleman who said he had seen my interview on Loose Women and it gave him the courage to go to the GP and ask about his stomach problems because he put it down to just stress. “I’m glad I’ve done it because it has raised awareness,” he said. Suffering from excruciating stomach pains before he was first diagnosed, Lloyd says he could never foresee being in the position he is now. He said: “Not in a million years. I had so many colonoscopies and consultations to see what it was and it was the not knowing that scared me the most. “So I was glad to find out and I turned it into a positive – I always say ‘I have Crohn’s, but Crohn’s doesn’t have me’.” A hectic schedule on the hit show may have you thinking it is taking its toll on his energy levels and health, but you would be wrong. The fast-paced nature of the show is keeping him active and the

The X Factor’s Lloyd Macey speaks to PosAbility about living with Crohn’s disease Words by Colette Carr

constant singing actually soothes any pain. “Everyone has different ways of dealing with it but I have a balanced diet, sometimes medication and deep breathing, but singing has really helped my diaphragm. “I’m lucky really that the career I want can really help my illness because you have to keep active and work your body and the singing can control your stress and look after my diaphragm and stomach through breathing. “I don’t think it’s challenging at all having Crohn’s while on The X Factor because its helping me keep busy, eat healthily thanks to our really good chef and I’m singing all the time which really does help my stomach,” he laughed. While he does have his eye on the prize, the opportunity to use his platform has always been at the back of his mind, and the Welshman couldn’t rate the support system on the show highly enough. “I want to be a recording artist so that’s why I’m here, but to use Simon Cowell as an example, seeing how much charity he does and how he lets people come into our dressing rooms and sound checks, he really does help people. So when you’re in the public eye and you can help, you definitely should. I took up the opportunity to speak and raise awareness and however far I come in the competition or in my career I will always help charities. “If people can say ‘Lloyd Macey on The X Factor is like me’, it could give comfort and help them be proud of who they are - having a bag doesn’t define you. “I’ve had an amazing time, it really is a brilliant show!” WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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27/11/2017 21:46


FIVE WHEELCHAIR ADAPTABLE APARTMENTS AVAILABLE TO RENT* COMING IN 2018 TO CANADA WATER

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29/11/2017 09:50


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FOLDING WALKING STICKS Made from lightweight aluminium with a rubber, non-slip base and a Canadian maple wood handle, the sticks snap open and fold up neatly for easy storage and assembly.

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The height can be adjusted between 82cm and 94cm according to the owner’s height. The sticks have been compression tested and can support up to 100kg. 0117 941 3791 bluebadgecompany.co.uk

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29/11/2017 14:54


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HAPPY PEE TRAVEL URINAL LAVENDER WHEAT WARMER Relieve aching limbs or headaches and relax with these beautiful wheat warmers which retain their heat for hours. Simply heat the wheat warmer for two minutes in the microwave and place it on the desired part of the body where it will mould itself to fit the affected area for a more targeted effect.

The Happy Pee Travel Urinal is a highly useful travel continence aid designed for children that is suitable for use by either boys or girls. The Happy Pee Travel Urinal features a fun frog design that encourages children to use it with confidence. This continence aid is extremely useful during long car journeys where access to toileting facilities is not possible. 03330 160 000 completecareshop.co.uk

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WHEELAIR wheelAIR is a battery-powered airflow backrest cushion, carefully designed with the input of Paralympic athletes to be cooling and more supportive. Through a combination of function and effortlessly stylish (and silent) design, users have experienced a drop in both back and core temperature, heavily reducing effects of overheating. info@wheelair.co.uk wheelair.co.uk

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29/11/2017 14:56


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MATTRESS GENIE The Mattress Genie consists of three pieces; the wedge-shaped air bladder, electric air pump and remote hand control. With just the touch of a button, you can raise the head of your mattress to the angle that best suits your needs, be those of a medical nature or just purely to enjoy reading or watching television. 0800 567 7222 Mobilitysmart.cc

WALTON COMMODE The brand new Walton Commode is a discreet and stylish commode chair designed to look just like a regular chair, with seat pad and cushion cover designs helping it blend in with the home. Height-adjustable legs and a strong plastic and aluminium construction make it a secure and stable commode, with the ideal seat height for the user. Featuring the Burton Pan with lock and lift lid for the easiest and cleanest disposal, it can hold up to nine litres of fluid.

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DECHOKER

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The dechoker is a simple, manually operated device used to help remove something obstructing a persons airway. In a choking emergency, time is obviously of the essence and having this dechoking device to hand could save someone’s life. It can be used for people in a seated position or in a wheelchair - offering peace of mind to many as it can be very difficult to administer abdominal thrusts to someone in a wheelchair. Research from the Office of National Statistics has shown that 91% of people who die from choking are over the age of 45, with the number rising significantly in those over the age of 60. Adults and children who struggle with swallowing are at a higher risk of choking and owning this device could be a genuine lifesaver.

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28/11/2017 20:48


TOP TIP!

Don’t set yourself up to fail this year, set realistic, achievable goals

T H G I ER

TH

We discover the secret behind successful New Year’s Resolutions. Words by Katie Campbell

I

n the Bronze Age, the Babylonians would begin each year by making promises to their gods that they would pay off debts and return borrowed objects. The ancient Romans would make promises to Janus, their two-faced god who looked forward into the future and back into the past, with their highest officials swearing oaths to the Republic to remain loyal to the Emperor on New Year’s Day. According to Charles Dickens, medieval knights would take Les Voeux du Paon, or the Vows of the Peacock, where they would, one by one, lay their hands on a live or roasted peacock, and recommit themselves to the ideals

44

of chivalry for the next 12 months. All of these sound a little bit more exciting than “this year I’m going to learn French,” don’t they? When the bells toll at midnight on New Year’s Day, most of us will have preemptively committed to changing our lives drastically: losing weight, learning a foreign language, or committing to ‘get your life in order’ are all great goals, but according to a 2013 study by the University of Scranton, a whopping 92% of people who set resolutions fail. The New Year is, for many people, symbolic of a new start. It is an opportunity to take control of the things in their life they wish to change, and work more positively towards a goal. But January is depressing. It’s really depressing. Stuck in the

post-Christmas blues, totally broke, returning to work and hurtling towards Blue Monday (supposedly the most depressing day of the year, which falls on the last or penultimate Monday in January), it’s no wonder we all break our

“ACCORDING TO A 2013 STUDY BY THE UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON, A WHOPPING 92% OF PEOPLE WHO SET RESOLUTIONS FAIL” resolutions. There’s nothing like a bitter, bleak, grey January morning to make us forego the diet for a nice warm slice of chocolate fudge cake, sneak a quick

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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RESOLUTIONS cigarette or skip the gym. With the New Year fast approaching, how do we truly commit to the ‘New Year, New Me’ lifestyle? It’s great if you’re committed to getting healthier, improving your life or making better financial decisions, but these are all very intangible. What constitutes being healthy or improving our lives? Often, by making our resolutions sweeping and general, we leave ourselves vulnerable to what psychologists term false hope syndrome. A University of Toronto study in 2002 defines false hope syndrome as a “cycle of failure, interpretation, and renewed effort”. Let’s say your resolution is to lose weight. Per this study, first, you undertake the difficult task of losing weight, so you go on a diet. You may initially see some progress, but ultimately, you fail to meet your goal. You convince yourself that with just a few minor changes, you’ll be able to lose the weight, so you undertake the task

again, spurred on by memories of your previous failure, or positive feelings. The circle of commitment, change, failure, and recommitment characterises most New Year’s Resolutions. How many years in a row must we commit to change before we actually do? So, what can we actually do to achieve our goals? The first would be to produce real, achievable goals: don’t just tell yourself you want to do something, set goals over time so that you can see precisely how well you’re achieving the task. This is called goal setting theory, and was pioneered by American psychologist Edwin A. Locke, who determined through studies that those who set specific and ambitious goals show more of a performance improvement than those who set easy or general goals.

Take quitting smoking as an example. It’s difficult to quit, and around 85% of people who attempt to quit smoking fail. Instead of setting the nebulous goal of “I am going to quit smoking,” try “by the end of January, I will be smoking ten fewer cigarettes a day.” Once you’ve achieved this, lower the goal for February, and again in March. Keep going until your goal is to smoke no cigarettes that month. Setting specific goals – I will lose 2lb every week, I will visit my mother once a week, and so on – will make it easier to carry on longterm, and create a feeling of sustainability with your goals. The University of Toronto’s study notes,

specifically with weight loss – the most common resolution of all – that the majority of people quit because they don’t see progress. Managing expectations is vital when it comes to resolutions. You can’t commit to losing weight on 1 January and wake up on 2 January looking like Scarlett Johansson, unless of course, you are in fact Scarlett Johansson. Tempering your expectations and understanding that it takes time for changes to happen is one of the keys to ensuring your New Year’s Resolution is successful. Above all, however, it’s important to make sure you’ve set your resolution for the right reasons. The new year doesn’t necessarily have to be a time to completely reinvent yourself, you don’t require a whole new persona. Instead of focusing on the traditional resolutions, why not take it as an opportunity to challenge yourself? Do something that scares you, or resolve to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Always wanted to jump out of a plane or eat fugu? We’re certainly not telling you to throw yourself out of a metal box 33,000ft in the air or eat part of a poisonous fish, but if you’re looking to live a little, why not use your New Year’s Resolution? Set reasonable goals, give yourself time, and don’t be too hard on yourself: that’s the secret to a successful New Year’s Resolution. This is an opportunity for you to commit to doing something you’ve always wanted to do, so long as you give yourself the space to fail and understand that, hey, it’s not the end of the world. You can always get back up and try again. After all, 2019 isn’t that long away, really. There’s always next year! WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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29/11/2017 14:59


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29/11/2017 16/08/2017 12:41 11:23


EVENT

INCLUDE ME TOO We hear from the charity tackling discrimination head on

P

armi Dheensa the founder and executive director of award-winning charity Include Me TOO was invited to join and contribute in the review marking the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) held at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva during 2016. This is when it came apparent to her that the conversation needed to be shared wider here in the UK. “During the CRDP 10th Anniversary review I highlighted and presented examples of how the UK has consistently failed to recognise the multi-discrimination experienced by our diverse disabled community, particularly as we have in place the Equality Act which outlines protected characteristics, yet our government has taken no action to reduce multiple discrimination and address the inequalities experienced by two BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) generations. “I have had many conversations here in the UK and over the years; met many disabled children, young people and their families who are not aware of their rights, and do not feel they are included, sharing their experiences of limited opportunities and choices, reinforced negative stereotypes and how a place and sense of belonging in society seem out of reach. “I have also met many disabled people

PosAbility columnist, Sam Renke, addresses the crowd

The event proved beneficial for all involved

and parents who have stories to share overcoming barriers and challenges, creating solutions, building their resilience, breaking down taboos and taking charge of the narrative that needs to happen, to create awareness, inclusion, recognising we all – regardless of different levels of abilities – should be respected, valued and have a sense of belonging in society. “Hence the platform we started building nearly ten years ago to support the voices of our diverse disabled children and young people, increasing representation and participation to influence positive change can be strengthened by us all coming together. We need to have the

“WE STARTED BUILDING NEARLY TEN YEARS AGO TO SUPPORT THE VOICES OF OUR DIVERSE DISABLED CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE”

conversations outside the walls of Westminster and the City of London, enabling others to take their place on the platform as changemakers and ‘not being left behind’. “We were delighted to share our vision with World Health Innovation Summit Organisation and Birmingham City University, who we partnered with to organise the #LeavingNoOneBehind National Summit. “#LeavingNoOneBehind was a huge success, and we are already planning for 2018 a two-day summit leading from this. The panels covered a range of issues which were presented by disabled champions, advocates, parents and carers all providing a depth of knowledge, insights, expertise, views and ideas. “Amongst the personal testimonies were: Isabelle Garratt, sharing her son’s harrowing experience at an Assessment Treatment Unit; Carly Jones on the safeguarding of girls and women with autism; Dan White on why it is important for his daughter and her peers to have positive disabled role models in all media for them to relate to, and represent them, creating the Department of Ability Comic with his daughter Emily. “This event certainly started much needed conversations during the lead up to the event. Let’s continue learning and inspiring to achieve a shared vision: a disability inclusive and safe society for all. Visit includemetoo.org.uk WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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29/11/2017 15:00


REWALK: GET MARK BACK ON HIS FEET

REWALK

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-year-old Mark Sweeney from and they were amazing down there, Motherwell, Lanarkshire has they were so helpful in how it worked undergone 124 spine and and how to use it. I managed to use it no brain operations, but after testing out problem and they told me I was definitely ReWalk’s bionic suit down In Birmingham, a candidate. Mark and his mother Margaret have “It was brilliant, but quite nauseating been tirelessly fundraising for because I’ve not been at that the £80,000 to get Mark back height for a while, I didn’t MARK SAYS THE on his feet after surgery to even know technology like SUIT WOULD HELP reduce a cyst on his spine that existed though!” HIM REALISE HIS left him paralysed. Mark’s mother Margaret DREAMS OF BEING Born with spina bifida, Mark was overcome with emotion AN ACTOR says the suit would help him when she saw Mark take his realise his dreams of being an first steps in the suit. actor, and the admin and IT student She said: “It was so emotional, I was couldn’t rate the support from ReWalk crying it was so beautiful seeing him highly enough. walking again, I had concluded the fact that I’d never see him walk again, so for “My mum found an ad about it in him to step into a suit and just get up and America a few years ago then I found the walk was magical! UK facilities,” Mark said. “From there, my mum contacted the CEO and spoke for several months before they eventually invited me down for a testing

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29/11/2017 15:01


COMPETITION

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A 3 NIGHT BREAK AT ASHESTON ECO BARNS Whether you want to explore the culture, wildlife, food haunts or just relax in comfortable luxury, a warm and inviting welcome awaits at Asheston Eco Barns. Situated in the heart of Pembrokeshire, they are located only five minutes from the nearest Blue Flag beach, down their own private lane with stunning rural views, offering peace and tranquillity for a three night break for up to six people. All that Pembrokeshire has to offer is within easy reach, whether it be exploring the wonders of St David’s Cathedral, or Pembroke Castle – the birthplace of Henry VII. Several accessible beaches are within a 15 minute drive, where adventurous guests can try activities like coasteering or kayaking. Visitors can browse local art galleries, potteries and artisan jewellers, then try one of Pembrokeshire’s many fantastic eateries. As it is Britain’s only coastal National Park there is a huge variety of sea life and bird life that can be seen either from boat trips or watching from the coast. Choose from five spacious eco barns

which sleep between four and seven people. Each blends the traditional and modern, including many eco-friendly features. These five-star holiday cottages come with every luxury you’d expect, from eco toiletries and MP3 players to antique furniture and comfy beds not forgetting deep sofas for relaxing evenings in front of the fire. The kitchens and diners are fully equipped and every eco barn has its own landscaped area for BBQs, al fresco dining, or just relaxing with a glass of wine. Living on site, Karen and Jeff are on hand to assist and offer advice about where to go and what to do. Each barn has ramps at each door plus extra wide doorways and four out of the five barns have ground floor bedrooms and wet rooms, with grab rails. Some equipment is available on site and the rest can be arranged in conjunction with the guest’s requirements. They are very flexible and can rearrange furniture to suit requirements.

Terms & Conditions Prize includes a three night stay for up to six people on a self-catering basis in a holiday cottage at Asheston Eco Barns. The prize excludes dates in June, July and August 2018. The prize must be taken by 31 Dec 2018. The prize winner must disclose access requirements at time of booking to ensure suitability. Please visit Asheston Eco Barns’ website for full access information before entering to ensure suitability. Booking dates subject to availability. Prize is not transferable nor can any cash alternative be offered. Closing date for entries is 31 January 2018. Only one entry per person.

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning the fantastic prize, simply answer the following question: Which English monarch was born in Pembroke Castle? .................................................................................................................

YOUR ANSWER

Email your answer and your contact details to posabilitycompetitions@gmail.com or visit www.posabilitymagazine.co.uk to enter online. Asheston Eco Barns Competition PosAbility Magazine Caledonia House Evanton Drive Thornliebank Ind. Est. Glasgow, G46 8JT

Name: Address: Postcode: Tel: Email: Asheston Eco Barns would like to send you more information about their products. If you would prefer not to receive this, please tick the box.

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THE BEAUTY OF ICE

Some of the best experiences in life are not meant to last, just like ice sculptures. Before they melt their hypnotic translucent beauty delights and excites all those who see them. So, if you fancy more than a little MAKING A CHOICE ice in your Christmas A decade or two ago it was necessary to tipple then you need to visit far flung destinations like China to appreciate the awesomeness of the ice wrap up warm and go sculptors’ magical creations. But with the ability to create sub-zero domains just take a look. Words by Janet Myers

about anywhere they have been popping up worldwide. One such place is in the Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park. Initially, it was more of a low key event, but ten years on the magical Ice Kingdom will boast a walk-through experience this winter to rival any in Europe. 

ICE XXXXXXXXXXXX EXPERIENCE

The world’s first permanent ice bar in Stockholm

If on the other hand you fancy a trip abroad to be certain of finding your icy wonderland in a snowy setting then choose Zwolle in the Netherlands or Romania. For those who want to go even bigger, head to Harbin in China, The Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan or the Quebec City Winter Carnival in Canada. Should the northern lights dancing in the heavens above your ice experience tug at your heart strings head to an ice hotel in Sweden or Finland. Then again if you need something nearer to home, why not visit an ice bar?  

LONDON’S WINTER WONDERLAND

This year London’s Winter Wonderland has a great Ice Experience but also includes a Christmas market, an ice rink, fair rides, street food, music, bars with hot spiced mulled wine and Cinderella on Ice. The ice theme features a deep sea experience with mystical water creatures made WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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“ICE WORLD IN ZWOLLE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST WINTER EVENTS IN THE NETHERLANDS AND EACH YEAR, ARTISTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WIELD THEIR CHAINSAWS IN ORDER TO CREATE THIS FESTIVE WINTER WONDERLAND”

from ice and snow through which you journey. It seems difficult to comprehend that it was back in July that the Ice Kingdom was conceptualised and over 50 international ice artists began work. Their task is enormous. Working at minus 10 degrees with 250 tonnes of snow and 100 tonnes of ice there were over 100 intricately designed sculptures to be completed. There are opportunities for you to become part of this glittering ice and snow spectacular. Shimmering in its ethereal lighting effects you may choose to sit on an icy throne or peer through a curtain of frozen ice bubbles. Walkways allow easy access for all, including wheelchair users.   For even more ice-themed activity you can linger in the ice bar, visit the ice rink or book tickets to see national championship-level skaters perform a thrilling interpretation of Cinderella on Ice.

ICE WORLD IN ZWOLLE

For many years The Ice Festival in Bruges was another great favourite but it is not taking place this year. However, the Ice World in Zwolle is one of the biggest winter events in the Netherlands and each year, artists from all over the world wield their chainsaws in order to create this festive winter wonderland. Expect stunning clear-asglass ice sculptures, film screenings, performances and more. Here, there is an ice slide and of course hot chocolate with whipped cream and tasty festive treats to warm you up afterwards. 52

ICE BARS

These almost always play a part in an ice sculpture wonderland but ice bars can be found in most cities and you don’t have to wait for winter to experience their sub-zero temperatures. Don’t worry about the cold you will be given a warm jacket to wear, but remember your gloves! For an icy alcoholic encounter that stands out from the rest, you need to visit Stockholm. The first permanent ice bar here was created in 2002. Each year its frosty cold interior is renewed from ice taken from the artic Torne River in northern Sweden.  First the walls, bar counters, tables and seats are carved from masses of blocks of dense ice in a temperature which never exceeds minus five degrees centigrade. Next the skilled ice sculptors from ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi arrive to carve alluring sparkling glacial works of art. This year’s theme is to be a journey down the river embracing the seasons and portraying the building of the ice hotel and ending with its return to clear running water. It promises to be an awesome setting in which to cup your

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ICE EXPERIENCE

gloved hands around a glass made from solid ice and sip its brightly coloured cocktail.

ICE HOTELS

The allure of an ice hotel is always appealing and with thoughts of the northern lights dancing in the heavens above it is magical. Ice sculptures are an integral part and as so many folk want to wed inside an ice hotel you can expect to find wonderful carved chapels within them. The ice hotels which are to be found in Sweden and Finland are wonderful and well-known, but if you are on a tighter budget the Ice Hotel in Romania is well worth contemplating. Most tours offer a single night here which includes a meal and most tours include Dracula’s palace and other snowy stops in the country’s magnificent frozen landscape.  On a more practical note waking in the night to answer the call of nature can be a problem. Facilities are provided outside the confines of the frozen rooms but a friend of mine jumped out of the warm animal skins and slipped her feet into her boots beside the bed to find they had frozen to the floor and she couldn’t move. Therefore, if you decide on an ice hotel a daytime visit might outweigh the allure to stay overnight!  

MAKING MEMORIES

Whatever your choice, there will be plenty of photo opportunities to strike a pose so remember your camera. Like melting ice, magical moments don’t last forever but the memory of their fleeting presence will always stay with us and even those first foggy images as you get blasted with temperatures of minus five when you enter will bring back a smile.

LONDON’S WINTER WONDERLAND Access Details With thousands of expected visitors it is necessary to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can do this online. If you require the assistance of a carer you can apply by emailing access@pwrevents.com. There is no limit to the number of wheelchairs at any one time in the Magical Ice Kingdom as this is a walk-through experience.   Wheelchairs are also welcome on the ice rink, there is a wheelchair accessible pod in the giant wheel and spaces at Cinderella on Ice and in the circus shows. As these might be limited at busy times you may need to book a time slot. There are disabled toilets and medical aid facilities on site. Disabled badge holders park free of charge but are subject to a fourhour maximum stay Monday to Saturday. After 6.30pm the four-hour maximum no longer applies. Disabled parking is also available at the Park Lane Q-Park. For further information and to book your space, please visit  q-park.co.uk or call them on 0870 442 0104.

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Challenging Disability through Outdoor Adventure The Calvert Trust has been delivering outdoor adventure breaks for adults and children with disabilities in the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District National Park since 1976. Whether you are looking for new experiences and to meet new people, or just active holiday fun with friends and family, we have something amazing to offer you. To find out more, including dates and availability, call us on 017687 72255

enquiries@lakedistrict.calvert-trust.org.uk www.calvert-trust.org.uk/lake-district/ introduction Reg Charity No. 270923

CalvertTrustLakes

@CalvertLakes

The essential learning event for moving and handling in healthcare Moving & Handling People brings its CPD-certified mix of practical workshops, best-practice seminars and peer-to-peer problem-solving to new audiences  Separate exhibition hall  Open Forum focus on homecare  All-new workshops and seminars for 2018  Tickets from ÂŁ245 (+VAT) for groups of 3+

Moving & Handling People South Wednesday 31st January & Thursday 1st February 2018 Watford Hilton

Book now at movingandhandlingpeople.co.uk/event/south Disabled Living Foundation Tel: 020 7432 8001 Email: mhp@dlf.org.uk DLF is part of Shaw Trust, a registered charity (England & Wales number 287785), (Scotland number SC039856)

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PROFILE

ENDEAVOUR UK

Southern African Adventures Becky Hill tells us about the wonderful travel opportunities available What experiences does Endeavour UK offer in Southern Africa? We can offer trips and safaris in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. The majority of our trips are bespoke, and so are developed based on needs and preferences of our clients. They also differ hugely from country to country. In South Africa, our Cape Town and Garden Route tour takes in the wonders of the ‘Mother City’, which include excursions to Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Cape Peninsula and wine-tasting in Stellenbosch, before travelling along the prestigious Garden Route, ending at Addo Elephant Park near Port Elizabeth, where you can experience the wilder side of Africa first-hand. Extensions can also include further days in the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Botswana on the other-hand is much more the adventurers’ experience, encompassing what I might call ‘true-Africa’. It’s vast natural beauties are spell-bounding and include the Okavango Delta - the largest inland delta in the world providing a haven for an abundance of African wildlife. A lodge, boating or mobile tented safari can be enjoyed with your guide, exploring the wildlife across diverse plains and bush,

alongside the rivers and waterways of the Delta. Namibia offers a different experience again and trips here will encompass a few days exploring different locations around this vast country. Namibia possesses some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa, and a trip through the country is one of the great road adventures and includes a visit to Etosha National Park for some abundant game-viewing.

What equipment and assistance are available for travellers with a disability? Endeavour Safaris have wheel-chair accessible safari and tour vehicles to overcome the transport needs of many individuals and groups with reduced mobility. In addition, Endeavour Safaris has been actively involved in advising and assisting accommodation owners in the region about the needs and expectations of our guests. As a result access at lodges and hotels have improved in recent times. Our tented mobile safaris have been developed to be as accessible as feasible and so unlock this unique African experience to those for whom this might never have been a considered holiday choice. Key accessible features include: hydraulic lift access to safari and tour vehicles; un-win wheelchair clamping systems; tent bed heights suitable for wheelchair user transfers; camp table heights suitable for wheelchair access underneath; step-free, ensuite bathroom facilities; shower chairs and wheelchair hire

FIND OUT MORE Let us unlock your African dream! To find out more about the various trips available in Botswana, South Africa or Namibia please get in touch. 01202 630075 becky@endeavour-uk.co.uk endeavour-uk.co.uk

possible in some locations, upon request; and camps situated on level and hard ground whenever available. However, areas we travel to are very remote and accessible features continue to vary across the region. Depending on which country and place you are travelling, complete independence might be difficult to accomplish so should be considered if travelling alone.

What does Endeavour offer that clients couldn’t get elsewhere? We can offer the chance for those with disabilities to explore and experience the beauty and wildlife in Southern Africa. With over 20 years of experience, Endeavour believes in responsible and inclusive tourism, and for this reason whether you have a disability or not, we welcome you to experience your African holiday with us. WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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HOLIDAY ESCAPES Feeling the chill this winter? Are the grey skies, soggy streets and early sunsets depressing you? Why not stave off the winter blues with a relaxing trip away. Whether it’s a two week break focusing on complete rest and relaxation or a weekend trip away filled with crafting and exploring, we’ve got all the info you need to pick the perfect winter holiday location.

MAISON DES LANDES

Maison des Landes in the only hotel in Jersey (and one of the few in Britain) that caters exclusively for people with severe disabilities and their carers. The hotel caters for up to 40 guests and now includes self-catering facilities.

CRATHIE OPPORTUNITY HOLIDAYS

Four specially designed and equipped self-catering holiday cottages situated in a beautifully paved courtyard overlooking the River Dee in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. Royal Deeside is renowned for its spectacular scenery, variety of wildlife, castles and whisky distilleries. It is the perfect accommodation for people with disabilities as each cottage comes equipped with wheel-in shower, clos-o-mat toilet and heightadjustable sink and a ceiling track hoist in the bathroom, the main bedroom has an electric height-adjustable bed and ceiling track hoist. The kitchen surfaces and appliances are all wheelchair accessible with room to manoeuvre. There is also a range of other equipment available, at no extra cost, such as mobile hoist, monkey pole, shower chairs, pressure relief mattress etc. The furniture and fittings are of extremely high quality and design, and each cottage has its own individual style. Other on-site facilities include a fully-equipped laundry room, a glazed Garden Room for lazy days, children’s play area and riverside patio with barbecue. They also have a rustic log cabin where you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you.

Every room is designed with those with disabilities in mind – special beds, hoists to assist getting into and out of bed, walk-in showers with all the necessary aids for bathing, a specially designed heated swimming pool with easy ramp or hoist access, and a small fleet of specially modified minibuses that are a familiar sight on the Jersey roads. All rooms have en suite facilities, satellite television, telephone and tea and coffee-making facilities and every day the fleet of minibuses take hotel guests on free island tours, shopping, visits to major tourist attractions, visits to local hostelries and ten-pin bowling. The hotel has extensive gardens with spectacular sea views and its own pétanque terrain, a French variation of bowls which is an ideal sport for wheelchair users. The hotel is licensed and the free daily excursions and transfers from port or airport and return are all included in the daily tariff. The hotel is open from April to September and all enquiries should be made to the Manager at Maison des Landes Hotel in Jersay by calling 01534 481683 or emailing contact@maisondeslandes.co.uk.

The warmth of the welcome is fantastic and if you want to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing holiday without worrying about access and facilities Crathie Opportunity Holidays is the place for you. 013397 42100 info@crathieholidays.org.uk www.crathieholidays.org.uk 56

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TRAVEL SHOWCASE HOE GRANGE HOLIDAYS

Four national award-winning, wheelchairaccessible, self-catering lodges set in stunning Peak District countryside on a working farm. With all the comforts of home and a wide range of specialist equipment, including a mobile hoist, rise and recline armchairs, and profile beds, you can relax in the peaceful surroundings and take time out to watch the wildlife. For the more adventurous, why not hire their Boma 7 off-road wheelchair to explore local trails? Sleeping up to four guests each lodge has an accessible wheel-in shower room and a luxurious family bathroom. There is plenty of space for wheelchair users, and the lodges are dog-friendly with some wonderful walks from the door. A warm welcome awaits with homemade bread, locally baked biscuits, eco-friendly toiletries and free-range eggs from the girls! A relaxing environment with a log-fired hot tub and barrel sauna. As an added bonus you will leave a lighter carbon footprint on your holiday as these lodges are virtually self-sufficient in heat, energy and light. 01629 540262 www.hoegrangeholidays.co.uk

BLAGDON FARM

Set in the heart of Ruby country (so called after the Ruby Red cattle farmed locally), Blagdon Farm is only a few miles from the wide sandy North Cornwall beaches at Bude and Widemouth Bay, the stunning Cornish resorts of Boscastle and Padstow (home to Rick Stein’s famous seafood restaurant), and the spectacular scenery of Dartmoor and Exmoor. The ancient port of Clovelly and historic Tintagel Castle are close by and the attractions of the Eden Project, the Tate St. Ives, and RHS Rosemoor Gardens are all within easy reach. The bright lights of Launceston with its

ancient castle, steam railway and bustling shopping centre is just 10 miles away. Here you will find Tescos, a retail park and many local shops. The pretty market town of Holsworthy is just 5 miles away where you will find crafts, excellent local produce and there is a market every Wednesday. All their lodges are South facing with private terraces enjoying magnificent views over our own coarse-fishing lake to the rolling Devon fields and woodland beyond. Blagdon Farm is the perfect place from which to explore both Devon and Cornwall and you’ll be sure of a very warm welcome. Established in the late 1990s the

accommodation at Blagdon Farm, rated at 3 and 4 stars with an Accessibility rating of M3A, was a South West Excellence Award Winner in 2007. 01409 211140 www.blagdonfarm.co.uk WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Products that help to make life more accessible Flexzi – a strong, adaptable gadget and tablet support system. Available with stands or clamps, tablet cases and switch or gadget mounts Our switch-adapted toys help children’s development through play – we sell a great range of toys modified to work with accessible buttons or switches

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KIDS

Kids’ CORNER It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With little ones excitedly preparing for hopefully a kind visit from the man in red, we at PosAbility Magazine are also getting caught up in the festive fever that seems to begin earlier every year. It’s the time to be with your family and enjoy the most magical moments with your children in wintry grottos and massive ice skating rinks amongst other exciting night events, turn to page 64 to find out our picks to keep the little ones entertained this winter! We also catch up with our regular columnists Rio

PRODUCTS

68

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Woolf and Dan White, who bring us up to speed with everything they have been up to and bring you the latest action from the Strongbones team. Children are the most impressionable group in society, and tolerance and understanding can be taught at a young age to tackle discrimination or intolerance early on. We delve into the role of Makaton, a form of signing for children with additional needs, in mainstream schools, to see what the benefits are for children without disabilities learning the language. We hope you all have the most magical Christmas and that Santa treats you all well, see you in 2018!

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Ever since the London Paralympics burst onto our screens with a bang way back in 2012, ‘diversity’ has been a bit of a buzzword.

A HELPING HAND Words by Colette Carr

With attitudes and understandings of disability changing and more and more people becoming disability aware, knowledge of needs and circumstances for people with disabilities has been steadily growing. But with our children being the future, it’s important this shift in direction of awareness is being capitalised on and young children, whose minds are like sponges, grow up with these values. And one way to help children without disabilities see past additional needs is the implementation of Makaton in mainstream schools. A form of sign language, it’s described as “a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order. With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols.”

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MAKATON

By breaking down those communication barriers between children with and without additional needs at the first possible instance, far-reaching benefits can be experienced by all involved according to Cranbrook Primary School Makaton tutor Catherine Smith. “As a Makaton tutor I am passionate about Makaton and have trained staff in the school working as a SENCo as I know the real impact it can have,” began Catherine. “I was trained by my previous job in a special needs school and have championed its use ever since - I continue to promote its use amongst staff.” In order to ensure the language is being utilised thoroughly, Catherine ensures it is being used at every opportunity at the school and widely amongst the school community, from parents to teachers on top of the pupils, building the understanding and knowledge of it, but also helping control and calm behaviours. “We use a number of methods in the school such as sign of the week, we use it in our weekly staff meetings but also through signing assemblies when it is easy to incorporate signing. I offer training to parents and we use visual aids across the school - mostly these are widgit symbols as they are electronic and used more commonly in resources found on the internet. “All staff carry visual aids to help children understand commands to reduce misbehaviour (as we often do not listen to language when we are angry) and to help children understand the instructions.  “Signing helps staff to reduce language, emphasise key words, slow down their use of language (especially beneficial for me) and the kinesthetic approach helps children form connections in the brain to store vocabulary,” she said. But for Catherine it isn’t all about teaching children a new communication skill and utilising the effects of the language in disciplining children. While Makaton has long been learned by children growing up with disabilities and additional needs, the benefits of teaching children without disabilities Makaton go further than extending the branch of communication amongst children, but also

an acceptance and understanding of differences at a young, impressionable age. “The benefits for children without a disability learning Makaton are immense,” the tutor enthused. “We have had a sharp increase in complex SEN in mainstream primary schools across the borough so we have had to adapt and differentiate more widely than ever before.  “We also have a chronic shortage of SALT so using an inclusive and well researched intervention has been essential in supporting children’s understanding and increasing their inclusion across the school.  “The benefits are  clear to see - children who are non verbal can use it and respond to it as its kinesthetic approach engages, motivates and helps children retain instruction. Children with language are

MAKATON ALLOWS CHILDREN TO INTERACT AND ENGAGE WITH OTHERS WHO WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN PASSIVE IN THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND THEM

motivated to use it and enjoy any signing sessions. They’re always eager to sign and this allows them to interact more with the children with more complex needs. “Makaton allows children to interact and engage with others who would have otherwise been passive in the environment around them. “It’s massively important for children with additional needs to have other kids know how to communicate with them. “It gives them a voice and allows their voice to be heard. It is a building block to developing social skills and interactions, and it allows for inclusion and access to the curriculum.” With Catherine and the national Makaton charity looking to further

implement stages of learning the language in mainstream schools, they are working tirelessly to develop new styles of training and activities for teachers to get to grips with it moving forward. “I try to involve teachers in using Makaton as much as possible through things like sign of the week and promotion in weekly briefings and I offer training to all staff and ensure they have the signs for special occasions such as Christmas signs so children can sign in carol concerts and the likes,” she added. And Catherine stressed the importance of the younger generation without communication needs learning the language has in shaping their development, attitudes and understanding of diversity in the world. She said: “Makaton encourages acceptance of differences. Any children with English as an additional language can also benefit from it as often it’s easier to use a sign. “When you are in the early stages of communicating in a new language the children are very motivated to use it. The use of Makaton allows children to come together and interact with each other through a level playing field where all voices can be heard.” With the continuing rise and success of the movement, national programmes and initiatives are being implemented to further support the growing demand and encourage other schools to get on board. “The Makaton friendly award is being given to institutions who are using Makaton and able to understand its use,” Catherine explained. “We have not applied for accreditation yet but hope to in the near future,” added the ambitious tutor. If your child attends a mainstream school where Makaton is used, get in touch with your experiences! Makaton.org

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FROM DAN WHITE CREATOR OF THE FORTHCOMING WWW.DEPARTMENTOFABILITY.COM GRAPHIC NOVEL COMES..

TEAM STRONGBONES! S!

INKED & WRITTEN BY DAN WHITE

COLOURS BY DARREN STEPHENS

ESTABLISHMENT & ORLAC CREATED BY BRADLEY DAVIES

HAVING ACTIVATED THEIR SECRET WEAPON, ORLAC THE COLLECTOR IS UNAWARE THAT HE HAS BEEN A PAWN IN TEAM STRONGBONES MASTER PLAN! AS THE TEAM ESCAPE HIS HIDDEN FORTRESS, THEY FOLLOW HIS TRAIL SKYWARDS….

UNAWARE OF STRONGBONES ESCAPE, ORLAC HEADS TO LONDON, PREPARING TO ATTACK D.O.A HQ!

AT LAST! I SHALL HAVE MY ULTIMATE REVENGE! THANKS TO THE WEAK, HELPLESS STRONGBONES!!

?

ERR..MISTER.. CAN WE HAVE OUR CHAIRS BACK? HAHA!!!

SURRENDER ORLAC! REMEMBER US? WE ARE ABOUT TO PUT YOU DOWN! NO!! NO!! IT’S NOT POSSIBLE! ORLAC NEVER SURRENDERS!

NEVER GIVE UP AND NEVER GIVE IN! THAT’S US! TEAMWORK WINS EVERYTIME!!!

WELL..HE DOES TODAY! ..NOW

MYLES!

MYLES, SARA, BRADLEY, MEG, BEN, HOLLY ,LEWIS, RHEA & SOPHIE COMBINED ARE UNSTOPPABLE, SMART, HEROES

AND..

TEAM STRONGBONES! ES!

NOOOO!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS ORLAC!! 62

NEXT TIME… FINALE!!

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Columnist Dan White

You can follow Dan on @DeptOfAbility

TOP OF THE CLASS Dan White, creator of the amazing Department of Ability superheroes and dad to Emily, who is 10-years-old and has spina bifida, is a regular face in PosAbility as he shares his experiences of life as a family with a disabled child.

“EMILY CAN EASILY NAVIGATE THE SCHOOL THANKS TO ITS RAMPS AND LIFTS, IT’S ALMOST UTOPIAN IN ITS SCOPE TO MAKE EVERY CHILD FEEL WELCOME”

I

recently hosted an event called the Evening of Inspiration. It was an unqualified success, with charities, businesses and schools attending a night of me talking about my work and hopes for Emily’s generation whilst gesticulating to the point of having someone’s eye out. I gave one of my usual passionate speeches on the want for inclusion, while dressed like I had been drawn by children and giving an interview whilst hovering between exhilaration and inebriation. I met many movers and shakers who all share the same goal for our children. One of an inclusive society where communities are not segregated, but given every opportunity, regardless of how they communicate or navigate the world to bring their individual gifts to the table.

Phil Mitchell the award for best realised working-class character. Idiots. Transport to school is essential and must remain free, charging for it reeks of cruelty. Emily loves her minibus and driver and so far, it’s free! With the bonus of a half-dressed father waving her off with bed hair Elvis would kill for (if he wasn’t dead…or is he?) Secondly, the layout. Emily can easily navigate the school thanks to its ramps and lifts, it’s almost utopian in its scope to make every child feel welcome. There is a physio room, accessible gym, wheelchairs for the non-disabled students to use in sports and more social activities than there are real-life human beings in politics. The school feels like it dropped out of the future, all futuristic and hopeful, think Arthur C Clarke meets Department of Education.

After the event, I realised that we as a family are already dealing with a powerhouse of inclusion; Emily’s new school, a wonderful, effective faculty with children of mixed abilities educating themselves together and planning a stealth-like inclusion takeover when they leave, fingers crossed.

Third and final, is the way things have changed since I was educated. Teachers at my school were pound shop, tweeddevouring, twisted balls of rage, but this school and, no doubt, many that the readers know of, actively engage the children to make them excited about education, making them want to learn to the best of their ability. They do all this whilst having budgets slashed.

And ladies and gents, the highlights of this school are: Firstly, transport! This has been an issue in councils recently, with some thinking it a good decision to charge SEN families for it. Seemingly these suited sociopaths think it’s also a good idea to stick your head into the hadron collider and to award

I visit many SEN schools in my work and I cannot finish this piece without highlighting the love, passion and care that I see when I go around these incredible places. The SEN and mainstream debate is still to be had, whether we combine them all to facilitate inclusion from an early age or carry on educating as we are.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Santa’s GROTTO

Festive adventures for your littles ones this Christmas Keeping kids occupied over Christmas is a difficult task – but it needn’t be impossible! There’s loads to do and children with additional needs don’t need to feel left out of fun Christmas activities over the festive period. From a daytrip to the movies to a fun, slime-filled afternoon at home, there’s so much to do that will get both you and the kids into the Christmas spirit. We’ve come up with a few ideas to get you out and about over the festive period to have yourself a merry little Christmas. Words by Katie Campbell

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A DAY AT THE MOVIES Many cinemas host autism-friendly movie screenings, where the theatre lights remain lit, the movie’s volume is lowered and people are free to move around the screen. Cinewold, Odeon and Vue cinemas will be screening blockbusters like My Little Pony: The Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie, ideal for a daytrip over the Christmas holidays, and fun enough for mum and dad to enjoy too. Saffron Screen in Essex, a small, independent cinema will be showing new Christmas movie The Star, featuring Kelly Clarkson and Oprah Winfrey, on the 23 December at 11am.

PANTO SEASON

Panto is a great way to keep kids busy over the holidays (oh no it isn’t – oh yes it is!), and a number of theatres are putting on pantomimes with sign language, captions or audio description for those who may be hard of hearing. The Ambassador Theatre Group, who own a string of theatres round the UK, is putting on a number of pantomimes, including Sleeping Beauty at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre, and Aladdin at the Hippodrome in Bristol. Each theatre provides a different assistance for those with auditory or visual impairment, so check their website or contact them for additional information.

CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE

If you go down to the woods this Christmas – specifically Stockeld Park in Weatherby – you’re in for a big surprise. The park is hosting a special Christmas Adventure this year, with its enchanted forest full of stunning Christmas lights and illuminated sculptures, all under a sea of twinkling lights. The park is perfect for exploring, with areas filled with climbing nests, tunnels, jungle bridges and zip wires. On 11 and 12 December, Santa’s Sleigh will also parade around the forest, with visitors also able to see Santa’s reindeer. Stockeld Park prides itself on its disability access, but notes that due to gravel paths wheelchair users may find this difficult – but the staff are more than happy to assist if asked.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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27/11/2017 21:32


KIDS

VISIT SANTA’S GROTTO

Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire is this year hosting a Santa’s Grotto suited for children with additional needs. The zoo is adamantly against the ‘two-minute Santa visit’ rule, allowing children as much or as little time as they’d like to spend with Old Saint Nick. The zoo is positioned on flat land with no steep inclines, making it ideal for those with mobility issues, has access to disabled facilities, and has both indoor and outdoor viewing sections for those who also want to enjoy the vast array of animals living at the zoo while they visit Santa.

TAKE TO THE ICE Is there any winter activity more fun than ice skating? Nottingham’s National Ice Arena holds regular disability-inclusive skating sessions, where children can use skates, specially designed sledges, or their own wheelchair, dependant on their requirements. Alternatively, try hitting the slopes in Soar at Braehead, near Glasgow, which offers one-on-one ski lessons through Disability Snowsports UK, where a trained instructor will teach pupils how to carve up the slopes. If you’re looking for a winter sport a little out of the ordinary, head to Ice Sheffield, where the Sheffield Steelkings para ice hockey team hold weekly taster classes. Equipment is provided by the team, so it’s easy to get involved in the fun and dynamic sport of para ice hockey.

“PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES WHICH OFFER BOTH THE ABILITY TO CREATE AND HAVE A POSITIVE OUTCOME ON A CHILD’S EMOTIONS”

ART ATTACK

If some quality time at home seems like a better idea this Christmas, why not do some festive arts and crafts? Practical activities which offer both the ability to create and have a positive outcome on a child’s emotions. Why not try making a pom-pom snowman? Wrap white wool around three paper donuts – one large, one medium, and one small – until the wool is full and tight. Then, cut along the side, remove the paper, and glue the pom-poms together. You can even add googly eyes and a little woollen carrot nose to complete the look! The little snowman can be squashed, squeezed, and feels soft and comforting to the touch, making it ideal for some festive sensory play. Alternatively, try making homemade slime – add red or green colouring and glitter for a festive touch. You can get great ideas on Pinterest for fun, festive crafty ideas.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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To make a booking or receive a brochure pack please contact the Reception Team on 01485 543000 quoting PosAbility. You can also visit our website www.parkhousehotel.org.uk to find out more.

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28/11/2017 16:28


KIDS

INVICTUS

INSPIRATION

WITH THE AMPUTEE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION JUNIOR SQUAD

MEETING MARK ORMROD AND LUKE SINNOTT AT THE INVICTUS GAMES

MEETING DANCE GROUP DIVERSITY

Words by Rio Woolf

I

've got so much to tell you about my latest big adventure – the Invictus Games in Toronto. I was so excited to fly to Canada for this event as I went to the first games in London. This trip to Toronto was extra special as we have lots of cousins there, so it was fun to meet them all. We had a busy ten days in Toronto sightseeing and going to lots of sporting events - we were cheering on the UK Team in lots of sports. It's like the Paralympics for injured servicemen and women and some of the participants have done so well that they then go on to compete in the Paralympics. We also did lots of sightseeing - we went to the very top of the CN Tower which is 447m high. I wasn't scared and was lying on the glass floor. We also went to a beautiful castle on a hill called Casa Loma and took a water taxi across the harbour to the Toronto Islands. Now we're saving up and counting down to Sydney in 2018. It was also fantastic to meet some of my Invictus heroes - triple amputee Mark Ormrod and double amputee Luke Sinnott who both won gold medals. I also met double amputee Scott Meenagh, another medalist who is training with the Para-Nordic sit ski team to compete at Pyeongchang 2018. We had such a brilliant time in Toronto. During this half term I had two other fantastic experiences - the first was a very special dance class with Diversity. It was organised to celebrate the award given to Sarah Hope for her campaign to make sports prostheses available on the NHS to all amputee children under 18 in England.  We had a blast learning a short dance routine with Ashley, Jordan and Perri. I loved the dancing so much that now I want to join the dance classes at my school and I've been following Jonnie Peacock on Strictly Come Dancing. So now as well as being a Paralympic sprinter and a Premier League footballer, I also want to be a professional dancer on Strictly! My break ended on a real high with our annual trip to Manchester for the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) junior squad training session at Manchester City Football Academy where we played a game against a local cerebral palsy junior team which we won 10-2.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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27/11/2017 22:06


Kids’ PRODUCTS We bring you a mix of the most innovative and helpful products on the market today

PRICES FROM

£17.94 HICKIES LACING SYSTEM Hickies lacing system is perfect for individuals with motor skill problems or dexterity issues, replacing traditional shoelaces with a series of stretchy locking bands, meaning shoes can be slipped on with ease. The locking system allows for different levels of tension, meaning a comfortable fit is easy to achieve for everyone, and one size fits all shoes. wiggle.co.uk

PRICES FROM

£9.00 PRICES FROM

£335.75

STAR PROJECTOR CUBE This clever little cube projects an ocean of colourful stars onto walls and ceilings, creating a soothing and calming environment that’s ideal for relaxing children. Its lullaby function aids in creating a sense of tranquillity in a child’s bedroom or playroom, and its handy timer feature prevents it staying on for too long. 03330 160 000 completecareshop.co.uk

FIREFLY SCOOOT Firefly’s Scooot is a mobility aid, which allows children the independence to move and play without tiring out their legs and arms. Available in two configurations, either a two-in-one scoot and crawl, or three-in-one crawl, scoot and ride configuration, the device is ideal for use at home or in a therapy environment. 028 9267 8879 fireflyfriends.com

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KIDS PRICES FROM

£2.85

WOBBLE BOARD Perfect for improving balance, coordination and strength, this wobble board is ideal for physical training, therapy, or rehabilitation purposes, and is also an ideal addition to sensory therapy as a rocker board. The non-slip coating on the top layer provides additional safety and peace of mind when using the board. welcomemobility.co.uk 0203 195 1278

PRICES FROM

£37.99 CHRISTMAS FOAM STRESS BALL Featuring a happy, smiling Santa Claus, this ball is ideal for both indoor and outdoor play, it can be squeezed and squashed without fear of breaking. This stress ball is great for sensory play, and can be used as a stress ball, or to exercise the fingers, returning to its original shape afterwards. 0151 647 0864 sensorytoywarehouse.com

“FEATURING A HAPPY, SMILING SANTA CLAUS, THIS BALL IS IDEAL FOR BOTH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR PLAY, IT CAN BE SQUEEZED AND SQUASHED WITHOUT FEAR OF BREAKING”

PRICES FROM

£21.95 DRYLIFE ALL NIGHT CHILDREN’S BED PADS The Drylife All Night Bed Pads are ideal for children with incontinence issues, providing high level protection. The soft feel top layer on the pads are gentle against skin, utilising virgin fluff pulp material which holds several times its own weight in liquid. Ideal for use in the car and wheelchairs. 01204 571 017 incontinenceshop.com

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Are you looking for work? Support to Work is Scope’s digital employment service. It can help you with:

• Personalised support by email, telephone or Skype • Employability skills • Support with writing CVs • Interview preparation. Find out if we can support you and apply:

scope.org.uk/ supporttowork1 This service is proudly funded by Virgin Media 12369_A Scope is a registered charity, number 208231. Copyright Scope November 2017

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28/11/2017 16:28


CAREERS

WORK WITH ME

“W

e’re sorry, but your application has not been successful” is a phrase many of us have read after applying for jobs, but for the disabled community, it is indicative of a larger problem. Disabled people are being “shut out of the job market,” says Scope, who took a UK-wide poll of attitudes towards employment in the disabled community. Working with Virgin Media, they have launched the Work With Me campaign, which hopes to shed light on, and transform the working lives of disabled people by improving inclusion through technology. Virgin Media will be funding Scope’s new digital employment support service for disabled people, and aim to reach one million disabled people with employment information and support by the end of 2020, which will allow them to get in and stay in work, and realise their career ambitions. The study undertaken by Opinium on behalf of Scope, who spoke to

37%

Scope and Virgin Media have started a campaign to tackle discrimination in the job market. Words by Katie Campbell

2,000 disabled people, found that when applying for jobs only half of the applicants were brought in for an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Disabled people also apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people. 37% of disabled people who have applied for a job believe that employers won’t hire them because of their impairment or condition. The study also showed that people with disabilities have lost faith in the recruitment process, with two in five of them lacking confidence in their chances of gaining employment within six months. 38% are concerned that employers will see hiring them as “risky,” and as a result, over half of disabled people have applied for jobs that they know they are overqualified for, as they feel that their disability makes them a less attractive candidate than a non-disabled applicant. The struggles of entering employment as a disabled person are well known to Lauren Pitt. Registered blind after losing most of her sight at age 13, she struggled to gain

of disabled people who have applied for a job believe that employers won’t hire them because of their impairment or condition

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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CAREERS

2,000

disabled people found that when applying for jobs, only half of the applicants were brought in for an interview

employment after graduating. “When I graduated with a 2.1 degree in theology,” said Lauren, “I was under the illusion that with a good degree, a strong CV due to all of the volunteering I’d done, and a lot of determination, I would find a job with minimal difficulties. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. “I applied for over 250 jobs in a variety of roles but I had no response from about half of them.” Lauren felt that her visual impairment was putting potential employers off hiring her. “I think a lot of recruiters underestimated what I could do because of my impairment. In interviews, I spent most of my time explaining that I could do the job just as well as anyone else. “Eventually I received an extremely positive email from an employer, inviting me for an interview and asking how they could make it best for me and if my guide dog would need any water. “After the interview I was offered the job as an administrator for a social enterprise. It just shows how employers’ misguided attitudes can be a real barrier preventing disabled people finding work.” It’s hard truths like Laura’s that have inspired Scope and Virgin Media to challenge the view of disabled people entering the workplace. Mark Atkinson, chief executive at Scope, said: “We have a huge amount of work to do to tackle the disability employment gap. At the current pace of change, the government is set to fail on its pledge to get a million more disabled people into work. “Disabled people with all the skills to do the job are being repeatedly passed over for roles, while others are being forced to apply for jobs which they know they are overqualified for. “Employers are missing out on the talent they badly need because they don’t have the right support in place or because of outdated attitudes towards disability. “At Scope we want disabled people, colleagues, line managers, employers and others to get behind the Work With Me campaign and work with us to ensure disabled people have an equal opportunity to work.” Employers changing their practices allows disabled workers to thrive. It’s something that has been proven by Carys Llewellyn, who works for cosmetics retailer Lush, who found the company’s interviewing practices detrimental to disabled people.

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Carys, who is completely blind, applied for a job at Lush and was upfront about her visual impairment, found that she couldn’t take part in some aspects of the interview process. “I explained my concerns to head office,” Carys said, “and as a result, they’ve completely changed the interview process to make it more inclusive.” Lush have also arranged for Carys to have all the support she needs in store: “Every shift I’m buddied up with another person, so when I do a consultation with a customer, I have someone to find the products. So far, it’s been going really well.” Carys still struggles in her role in Lush, however it’s not with her work – but with the customers. “I still have to deal with some customers’ negative attitudes and comments, which can be really difficult. It’s something I’m used to, but now I’m working, I’m getting it a lot more. “Customers have made comments like ‘it’s really shocking that they let you work here,’ as if I can’t be trusted on the shop floor because I’m blind.” Challenging this ignorance can be difficult and taxing, but Carys feels that dealing with it in a constructive way rather than letting it upset her, is the key to moving forward. There is a lot of ignorance and misconception surrounding blindness, and disability in general. “Mindsets and attitudes are at the core of a lot of the barriers for disabled people in society,” said Carys. “I’m lucky to have an employer who understands that simple changes can make such a huge difference, but it should be the same at every company.”

Sign up at scope.org.uk to get involved with the Work With Me campaign.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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27/11/2017 22:18


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29/11/2017 15:45


Do you employ your own personal care assistants?

Apply for money for training

If you employ your own personal assistants (PAs, support workers or carers) you can apply for money for training from Skills for Care. Whether you receive a personal health budget, a direct payment from your local authority or fund your own care, you can apply. The money can be used for care related training to help you be a better employer and to develop the skills of your PAs.

Applications close on 28 February 2018. Previous employers used it for training around: ■ first aid ■ moving and assisting ■ health and safety ■ how to be a good employer ■ adult social care qualifications ■ bespoke training to meet your needs. Apply now at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iefunding.

You can also apply for money to cover travel costs and to pay for replacement PAs.

Skills for Care funding enabled the training to be personalised to my needs. It really has given me the ability to lead an independent life.

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28/11/2017 16:30 10/13/2017 10:52:17 AM


CARING

TRAINING FOR CARE Training for personal care assistants helps people live a more independent life

I

f you need care and support, employing your own personal assistants (PAs) can be a way for you to remain independent and live your life according to your wishes and interests. Sharon Taylor-Brown uses a personal health budget (PHB) to employ a team of PAs to support her with her care needs. To get them work ready, she applied for funding from Skills for Care to pay for induction training. As a result of the training, Sharon’s PAs feel more confident and are able to support her in the right way. She said: “Skills for Care funding really has given me the ability to lead an independent life despite crippling disabilities. “I’m severely disabled – paralysed from the chest down with only the use of one arm and my voice. “Initially, I employed two staff and used a care agency for my personal care needs

using a personal budget, however the agency couldn’t manage my nursing care needs. “I applied for a personal health budget to pay for 24/7 care, and I wherever I am. now employ nine staff including “Since the training I have found the staff one registered nurse, one nursing team are more confident and knowledgeable leader and seven nursing support PAs. about me and my medical conditions. “Skills for Care funding paid for training They don’t have to keep asking me for six PAs to do the Care Certificate. questions as they learnt all about me The funding enabled the training to be during the training. It was tailored to meet delivered in my own home so it was my needs -physical, mental and emotional personalised to my needs. “We followed all the generic training but - meaning they were better able to cope when I had a stroke a few weeks after the added personalised training like: training was completed.” • changing my Supra Pubic Catheter bags, flipflos and statlocks • how to do CPR if I’m in my wheelchair • how to cope with my autistic If you get a personal health budget or tendencies of needing a routine. direct payment and use it to employ your “Once they had a good own PAs, Skills for Care has lots of practical understanding of my care and resources and templates to help. Visit support needs from the Care www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iepahub. Certificate training, the nurse then trained them in my nursing care tasks such as CPAP delivery You can also apply for funding for training and insulin administration. which can be used for care related training “The training has literally to help you as an employer, or to develop transformed my life. As a result the skills of your PAs. Find out more at of it we could train my PAs to www.skillsforcare.org.uk/PHBholders. a higher level enabling them to perform my nursing tasks

FIND OUT MORE

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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27/11/2017 22:09


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GET THAT DREAM JOB WHAT CAN YOU OFFER?

“IF YOU HAVE HAD A GAP FROM EMPLOYMENT TO RAISE A FAMILY OR BECAUSE OF HEALTH ISSUES, INCLUDE SKILLS YOU LEARNT THEN”

CAREERS

Helping you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Words by Jane Hatton

Some disabled people may not have worked for a while, and may wonder what they can offer an employer. Others may have acquired an impairment whilst working, and now need to change career. It’s easy, under either of these circumstances, to lose confidence. It can be useful to brainstorm a list of the qualities you have that might be attractive to an employer. To make it easier, break it down into groups.

EXPERIENCE

List the jobs you have done, including work experience, voluntary work, part-time jobs and all other work. What experience did you gain from each of these? Think about experience gained outside of work. You might be a school governor, work with a youth or religious group or coach a football team. Include hobbies – playing sport, amateur dramatics, music, crafts, dancing and so on. If you have had a gap from employment to raise a family or because of health issues, include skills you learnt then. Budgeting, managing a household, parenting/caring skills, managing personal assistants and negotiating for adaptations or financial support are all transferable skills.

KNOWLEDGE

List any courses or qualifications you have, including those you did at school. Include knowledge you have gained since leaving school – it might be a short course, a first aid certificate or a degree – write it all down. Add in any knowledge gained through living in or visiting other countries, such as cultural or language skills.

Are you good at making things? Mending things? Listening to people? Working out solutions to problems? Writing? Following instructions? Spend some time really thinking about this.

PERSONALITY/ATTITUDE

What benefits might an employer gain from your personality and general attitude? Are you willing to learn new things? Do you get on well with people? Do people come to you with their problems? Are you good at working in teams? Can you do things under your own initiative? Are you flexible? Note these down too. By now you will have a very long list of qualities and attributes that may be attractive to an employer. Remember to add any skills that being disabled might have given you, such as problem-solving, creative thinking, empathy. And any specific skills your impairment gives you, for example, many people with mental health conditions have very creative and different ways of thinking. It might also be worth asking people you know and trust what qualities they think you have to offer an employer. They may well have spotted things that you take for granted. Add those to the list too. Looking back over the list might lead you to think of many different jobs you could do using the qualities you have. And it will definitely be useful to select relevant qualities when writing your CV or preparing for job interviews. And, as an additional benefit, it should help boost your confidence as well! To see a range of jobs and other opportunities on offer, please visit www.evenbreak.co.uk and also visit a free resources page here www.evenbreak. co.uk/resources-for-candidates.

SKILLS

This is where you can really expand your list.

WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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28/11/2017 22:45


BRAIN TEASERS

PUZZLES Puzzles are a great way to pass the time and keep your mind sharp. Why not take a break, make a cup of tea and give these puzzles a go? If you correctly complete the crossword and post it to us with your details, you could be in with the chance of winning £25. Good luck!

CROSSWORD

WORD SEARCH

Copyright © 2011 Peter G Sharp

Test your eyes and find the words below from this issue of PosAbility Magazine

ACROSS DOWN

DOWN

1 Abilities (6) 4 Attractive object (6) 9 Quickly (7) 10 Many times (5) 11 Punctuation mark (5) 12 Sweet (6) 14 Vertical (13) 17 Cream cake (6) 19 Derby venue (5) 22 Native New Zealander (5) 23 White ant (7) 24 Proverb (6) 25 Simon of ---, who carried the cross for Jesus (6)

1 Marine picture (8) 2 Religion of the Muslims (5) 3 Suitcases (7) 5 Surrounded by (5) 6 Not man-made (7) 7 Large marine food fish (4) 8 Thoughtful (11) 13 First public performance (8) 15 Parsonage (7) 16 Decidedly (7) 18 Extraterrestrial (5) 20 Look happy (5) 21 Yuletide (4)

£25 PRIZE! Complete the crossword correctly and send to PosAbility Magazine, Caledonia House, Evanton Drive, Thornliebank Ind Est, Glasgow, G46 8JT to be in with a chance of winning £25. Closing date for entries is 31 January 2018.



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CLASSIFIED Ever wanted to do a Safari? Ever wanted to do a Safari? Ever wanted to do a Safari? Or travel to South Africa, Or travel to South Africa, Or travel to South Africa, Botswana or Namibia? Botswana Botswana or or Namibia? Namibia? Didn’t think it would be possible Didn’t think it be Didn’t think it would would be possible possible for a disabled traveller? for for aa disabled disabled traveller? traveller?

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Free wifi and pets welcome

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Discover Germany BarrierFree. Many cities and regions in Germany are able to provide some outstanding facilities for visitors who may need assistance, leaving them to concentrate on all the beauty that Germany has to offer without having to worry about everyday obstacles. To discover more about accessible Germany visit: www.germany.travel/barrierfree

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PosAbility - December '17 / January '18  

The leading lifestyle magazine in the UK for disabled people. Each issue covers accessible holidays, the latest products, topical issues, hi...

PosAbility - December '17 / January '18  

The leading lifestyle magazine in the UK for disabled people. Each issue covers accessible holidays, the latest products, topical issues, hi...

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