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Nothing is Impossible... Jun/Jul 2019






Hyundai Tucson & Kona

Both available on Motability.

Hyundai Motability offers give people with disabilities a worry free and affordable way to lease a car in exchange for their mobility allowance. Book a test drive at today.

Fuel consumption in MPG (l/100km) for the Hyundai Tucson: Combined 34.9 (8.1) – 49.6 (5.7). CO2 Emissions 173 - 125 g/km. Hyundai Kona: Combined 33.6 (8.4) – 56.5 (5.0). CO2 Emissions 158 – 111 g/km Models shown:

Tucson SE Nav 1.6 GDi 132PS in white and Kona S 1.0 T-GDi 120PS. To qualify for the Motability Scheme you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or the Armed Forces Independence Payment. Subject to acceptance of Motability application. The Motability Contract Hire Scheme is administered by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HB. Full written details, including terms and conditions, of the Motability Scheme are available on request from Motability. Please note 60,000 miles over 3 years are allowed on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme.


WELCOME June/July 2019

Summer is finally here! May was a month of mixed weather – one day there was glorious sunshine and the next, a torrential downpour. With May giving way to June, we can only hope the Editor sunshine starts to stay around a little longer for the upcoming summer holidays.


Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a holiday booked, if so, we hope you’re enjoying reading this on a sun lounger on a white sandy beach! If you’ve got nothing planned for the months ahead, don’t worry, we’ve got a few ideas of inclusive breaks both home and abroad so you can get a little bit of much-needed sunshine in your life.

Turn to page 42 to find out more. In this issue, we’re celebrating 50 incredible years of the Riding for the Disabled Association, who help disabled people get (back) in the saddle using their stable of therapeutic horses. You can read all about the terrific work that they do on page 49. We’ve also got articles from a few wonderful contributors: on page 15, Gemma-Louise Stevenson gives us the rundown on England’s ParaCheer success on the world stage after becoming ICU World Champions for a third consecutive time, while on page 37 Karla Baker chronicles her time on the road around Scotland in an adapted caravan. We hope you enjoy this latest issue, and as ever, if you have any ideas please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

Editor: Rosalind Tulloch Staff Writers: Colette Carr, Katie Campbell Designer: Fionnlagh Ballantine Sales: Val Speers


Jane Hatton, Sam Renke, Mik Scarlet, Dan White, Rio Woolf, Gemma-Louise Stevenson, Karla Baker,


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 2019 ©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


Nothing is Impossible... Jun/Jul 2019



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1 – Cover 2.indd 1

Cover image: © Kintsugi Clothing

31/05/2019 09:30

JUN/JUL 2019| ISSUE 49



07 FYI News, stories and updates from around the world

Karla Baker writes about her 3000-mile caravan trip around Scotland



Mik Scarlet discusses disability and pain medication

Book yourself a getaway in time for the summer holidays



Gemma-Louise Stevenson gives us the news from the ParaCheer Championships

19 THE PIN UP REVOLUTION Redefining what’s in vogue




Columnist Sam Renke explains how she defines her own value


Our guide to enjoying the Championship

49 GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE The RDA celebrates 50 years of therapeutic horse riding


Check out the characters making disability visible in video games


The low-down on accessibility at UK music festivals

Get all the info on accessible swimming, the best kids books and the latest from columnists Dan White and Rio Woolf



Enough fad diets, let’s eat some real, good food


Learn how primary school children in Nottingham are getting access to music


Take a chance on these chill getaways

A round up of the 32nd Inter Spinal Unit Games



Must-have products from the disability marketplace


A weekend break with Bond Hotel Blackpool!


Jane Hatton teaches us our rights when it comes to getting that dream job


26 71




37 33 32



NEW JEEP® COMPASS AND RENEGADE. BORN TO BE WILD. JEEP RANGE FROM NIL ADVANCE PAYMENT * For more information or to book a test drive visit or visit your nearest Jeep dealer

OFFICIAL FUEL CONSUMPTION FIGURES FOR THE JEEP® RANGE MPG (L/100KM) COMBINED: 48.7 (5.8) – 25.0 (11.3). CO 2 EMISSIONS: 213 – 128 G/KM. Fuel consumption figures determined on the basis of the new WLTP test procedure as per Regulation (EU) 2017/1347. CO2 figures, based on the outgoing test cycle, will be used to calculate vehicle tax on first registration. Only compare fuel consumption and CO2 figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load. Models shown: Jeep Compass 1.4 MultiAir II 140hp Limited from £945. Jeep Renegade 1.0 120hp Longitude 4x2 from £95 Advance Payment. Standard Metallic paint is available as a no cost option on the Motability Scheme. *Advance Payments are correct at time of going to press and subject to orders being placed between 1st April and 30th June 2019. Not available in conjunction with any other offer. Terms & Conditions apply. Offer may be varied and withdrawn at any time. Subject to stock availability. These offers are valid for orders placed from 1st April to 30th June. Offers subject to change in the event of the imposition of any Brexit related tariffs. Jeep® is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC.



News and stories from around the world


GOVERNMENT PROPOSES 150 NEW CHANGING PLACES PER YEAR The Government has proposed changes to legislation that would require new, majorly refurbished or large buildings to include Changing Places toilets, which will result in the addition of around 150 new accessible toilets to buildings around the country every year into locations like shopping centres, supermarkets, cinemas, stadia and arts venues. At the moment there are just over 1,300 Changing Places in the UK, but a significant rise in the number of Changing Places is needed to accommodate the quarter of a million people in the UK who require them. Local Government Minister, Rishi Sunak MP, said: “Everyone should have the freedom to enjoy days out in dignity and comfort. For severely disabled people, this is made very difficult because there are not enough Changing Places toilets. “We’ve made some progress, but I’m determined to increase the number of these life-enhancing facilities, so people are given the dignity they deserve.” Catherine Woodhead, chief executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, agreed, saying: “The government’s consultation on making Changing Places toilets mandatory in new, large public buildings is hugely encouraging. Along with our fantastic campaigners, we have long pushed for changes to legislation, and now we are one step closer to that being reality.”

SOPHIA WEAVER DIES AGED TEN Natalie Weaver, activist and mother of ten-year-old Sophia Weaver announced on Twitter that her daughter had passed away on 23 May. She tweeted: “Our #SweetSophia left this Earth last night as she spent every day of her life, surrounded by love and adoration,” which was met with an outpouring of sadness, love and support from those within and outside the disabled community. Sophia lived with Rett syndrome, type one diabetes and deformities to her face, hands and feet. She and her mother Natalie rose to international attention when vile Twitter trolls began using Sophia’s image to support the abortion of disabled children. Natalie challenged Twitter to change their rules regarding discrimination to include disability, advocating not only for her daughter but for many other disabled people on the social media website. Natalie will continue to advocate for disabled children through the charity set up in her daughter’s honour, Sophia’s Voice.



DISABLED GOLFING TO RUN ALONGSIDE SCOTTISH OPEN For the first time in the event’s history, the first of two new disabled golfing events will run alongside the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in July. Ten disabled golfers will play the 36-hole European Disabled Golf Association Scottish Open alongside the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in East Lothian, where they’ll be teeing off beside some of the most well-known and well-respected names in golf, including Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson. The Edinburgh Evening News reports that European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, speaking ahead of the British Masters, said: “As golf’s global Tour, our core values are innovation and inclusivity and these two tournaments fit perfectly into both of those genres, as well as illustrating once again the unique health benefits our sport offers everyone. “But this is just the start. We look forward to working with EDGA over the coming months and years as we build towards our aspirational goal of a ‘Golfers with Disability World Tour’ by 2021.”


Image, David Archer, Kingsize Photography

Team BRIT and Disabled Motoring UK have announced that they are forming a partnership, through which they hope to create awareness of driving opportunities and equality for disabled people. Charity Disabled Motoring UK lobbies both the government and businesses across the UK in order to improve motoring provisions for disabled people, while Team Brit creates opportunities for disabled drivers to compete in motorsport. The partnership will begin with the promotion of Disabled Motoring UK’s Baywatch campaign, which aims to measure the level of

abuse disabled people receive when parking at supermarkets. Team BRIT founder and CEO Dave Player said: “This is a fantastic partnership for us to be involved with. The team at Disabled Motoring UK share our values and are working to achieve very similar goals.” Disabled Motoring UK chief executive Graham Footer agreed, saying: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Team BRIT. We’re very different organisations, but both work to achieve similar goals, to make sure that disabled people maintain their independence through motoring.”

BURSARIES AVAILABLE AT CALVERT TRUST EXMOOR Calvert Trust Exmoor in Devon enables people with physical, learning, sensory and behavioural disabilities to do adventurous activities alongside family and friends. Activities such as canoeing, horse riding, abseiling and more, regardless of age and ability. Visitors can apply for a bursary at the time of booking to support the cost of a break at Calvert Trust Exmoor. Our prices are all-inclusive of activities, accommodation and catering at our five star centre – with no hidden or extra charges. Phone 01598 763221 for information on our breaks and bursaries. 8


PARALLEL SET FOR 2020 Parallel, the world’s first inclusive mass participation event is set to return on 28 June 2020 in Windsor Great Park. Parallel Windsor will become the organiser’s new flagship event which will host its range of multiple distances; 100m, 1km, 5km, 10km and the innovative Super Sensory 1km. The format of the event will also include a free-to-attend, fully accessible festival of inclusivity. The event will welcome all ages and abilities, with the event slogan of ‘Start Together, Finish Whenever’ epitomising the spirit of the event. Andrew Douglass, Founder of Parallel said: “It has always been my ambition to make our flagship Parallel event a national celebration of inclusion; with disability at the heart of the experience. To achieve this, I believe you must also create a true sense of occasion and belonging; which is why I am so excited to stage Parallel in the iconic Windsor Great Park.” The last Parallel took place in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2017 and attracted 4,500 ‘fun-runners’, of which 45% declared a disability; with thousands getting active for the very first time. Registration for Parallel Windsor will open on 28 June this year at to mark the one-year countdown to the event in 2020.


SAFE TO BE ME Scottish Ballet has announced an innovative new programme called Safe to be Me, that is using dance to tackle challenging subjects such as racism, homophobia, bigotry, ableism and transphobia. The programme will be rolled out to primary schools across Scotland this year. Delivered in line with key Scottish Government targets to address bullying in these areas, the Safe to be Me initiative is made possible with the support of Aberdeen Standard Investments. This pioneering project engages with Primary 6 pupils, aged 9-11, to explore themes that include identity, tolerance, acceptance, respect, ethnic and family diversity and LGBTQ+ communities. After a successful pilot in February-March 2019, Scottish Ballet plans to roll out the programme to primary schools across Scotland from August 2019. Feedback from pupils, teachers and parents has been extremely positive, demonstrating the value of a creative approach to help schools introduce and discuss these important topics. Visit for more information.



FORUM LAUNCHES NEW TRAVEL SURVEY The Business Disability Forum has launched a new survey seeking the views of people with a disability or long-term condition on public transport and accessible parking. Angela Matthews, head of policy and advice, Business Disability Forum, said: “Transport is how we get to where we need to be – whether that’s getting to work, going to meet friends, going on holiday or accessing healthcare. But despite the vital role it plays in all our lives, travelling can be a stressful and difficult experience if you have a disability and that’s why we are launching our new survey, ‘Getting There: How accessible is transport in 2019?’

GYMPANZEES SUMMER POP UP CONFIRMED Gympanzees is an award-winning social enterprise and the brainchild of Stephanie Wheen and her vision is to build state-ofthe-art inclusive leisure centres throughout the UK, with the first planned for Bristol. In order to fundraise for the centres, pop up events are taking place throughout the year to raise funds and highlight the vital importance of offering inclusive leisure facilities that cater for children of all abilities. The Easter holidays in April saw another successful Gympanzees pop up take place in Bristol. The event welcomed over 950 disabled children to enjoy the mix of eight indoor and outdoor play zones and use some of the specialist exercise and play equipment available which they would not be able to access elsewhere. The event was a resounding success, with 98% of visitors saying they loved the experience and would definitely return. The summer pop up is planned for 29 July - 23 August and it will take place at Kings Weston School, Napier Mills Road, Bristol, BS11 0UT. Visit to book your place now.

“We want to hear from people about their experiences of using public transport - whether good or bad. We also want to hear from Blue Badge holders about views on accessible parking. “Please take part and help us ensure transport is accessible for everyone.” Business Disability Forum is seeking views on travel by train, tube, plane, tram, bus, taxi and coach, as well as people’s experiences of using Blue Badge parking. The not-for-profit membership organisation will use the findings to inform its response to the Government’s current consultations on train travel, as well as the recently published Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy. To complete the ‘Getting There: How accessible is transport in 2019?’ survey online, go to To receive the survey in a different format, email policy@ The survey will close at 8am on Monday 24th June. Follow the debate on accessible transport at #BDFGettingThere

UK’S FIRST AUTISM CENTRE OPENS ITS DOORS The brand-new Caudwell International Children’s Centre has opened in Staffordshire, aiming to help thousands of families across the UK both assess and support children with autism and their families. The purpose-built centre is the first of its kind in the country, and hopes to reduce the current average waiting time for autism assessments, which currently stands at four years. Located in the grounds of Keele University, the state-of-the-art, £18m centre aims to provide diagnoses in six weeks. Caudwell International Children’s Centre includes modern assessment rooms, a sensory garden, and therapy suites. As well as this, families will be offered support through educational workshops and an assortment of programmes. Speaking to Sky News, Trudi Beswick, the centre’s chief executive, said: “We have spent the last 19 years listening to families consistently telling us they do not get the support they need. “It is their stories that are at the heart of this project and their needs have shaped the new service and the centre. “When all evidence points to the long-term benefits of early intervention, the delays families face are not acceptable and Caudwell Centre aims to change the way families access support and prove there is a better way.”





F o r d To u r n e o Co n n e c t Ze te c f r o m o n ly £ 495 * Ad v a n ce Pay m e n t . To find out more, visit /motabilit y or call 0345 60 40 019.





Model shown is a Ford Tourneo Connect Zetec 1.5L EcoBlue 120PS Manual Diesel: Fuel Economy mpg (l/100km), Combined 51.4 (5.5), CO2 emissons 118g/km†. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption and CO 2 figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load. †There is a new test used for fuel consumption and CO2 figures. The CO2 figures shown, however, are based on the outgoing test cycle and will be used to calculate vehicle tax on first registration. Data correct as of 1st January 2019. *£495 Advance Payment available only on Ford Tourneo Connect Zetec 1.5L EcoBlue 120PS Manual. Available on selected dealer stock only. This programme is subject to the standard conditions of the Motability Scheme hire agreement. Full written details and quotations available on request from a Ford Authorised participating Dealer of Motability Operations Limited. Motability Scheme vehicles are leased to customers by Motability Operations. Motability Operations Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under reference number 735390. 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 1st April and 30th June 2019. Available on selected dealer stock only. Prices are correct at time of print, are subject to availability and may change. For more information and most up-to-date data, please see the price list at


THE VOLVO XC40 R-DESIGN: FROM £2,899 ADVANCE PAYMENT * Experience a car that’s designed to put you first – for less. With our Motability Scheme offers, you can drive away our multi-award-winning XC40 T3 R-Design Manual with an advance payment of £2,899*. Including a comprehensive range of features, such as: Intuitive 9-inch Touch Screen | Volvo On Call Optional 360° parking camera | Optional programmable tailgate opening height Other XC40 R-Design and Inscription variants are available on Motability. VISI T VOLVOCARS.CO.UK /MOTABILIT Y

Fuel consumption and CO2** figures for the MY20 Volvo XC40 T3 R-Design Manual, in MPG (l/100km): WLTP Combined 36.7 (7.7) – 39.8 (7.1). NEDC CO2 emissions 144g/km. Fuel consumption figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption and CO2 figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load. **There is a new test used for fuel consumption and CO2 figures. The CO2 figures shown, however, are based on the outgoing test cycle and will be used to calculate vehicle tax on first registration. Preliminary data. Please contact your retailer for latest information. *Advance Payment of £2,899 is for the Volvo XC40 T3 R-Design Manual. Metallic Paint is included free of charge. Offer available on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme. To be eligible to join the Motability Scheme you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or the Armed Forces Independence Payment, which will be taken in lieu of the four-weekly rental for 36 months’ duration. 60,000 mileage allowance over 3 years; excess mileage charges may apply. Offer available from 01/04/2019 to 30/06/2019 subject to availability at participating retailers. Offer not available with other promotions and may be subject to change. For full terms and conditions, visit Motability Contract Hire Scheme is administered by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HB.


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arlier this year we said goodbye to PosAbility’s sister publication UNITE. Anyone who read a copy of UNITE knew that it was the more political, radical member of the family so it’s a huge shame that we had to say goodbye to such an essential magazine. I was proud to be a member of the writing team for UNITE, and know how essential the articles I wrote for it were to many people. I love PosAbility’s positive message, but we all know that sometimes we need to vent, to shout about injustice and to ask each other for support. So you may hear some of my UNITE spirit coming through here in my column and I would be happy to highlight any issues that you may have, so please get in touch with myself or the PosAbility team to tell us about the things that are affecting you.

In this issue I want to talk about the way those disabled people who take strong pain medication to get through the day are being persecuted because of the obsession with non-disabled people becoming addicted to opiates and opioids. We see it in the press and media all the time, the opioid epidemic, and all over the world governments and medical professionals are clamping down on the prescription of strong pain medications, yet the voices of those of us who need them to manage the pain that goes along with our impairments, are forgotten. I recently tweeted a photo of my pain medication as they dissolved in a glass of water, declaring I take them to live and live well and was

met with a flood of agreement from other disabled people who also take these types of drugs. Without them our lives would be unbearable. I know I wouldn’t be able to do much at all. Ever since I woke up aged 15, following my spinal collapse, I have been in chronic pain. The nerves trapped in my mess of a spine mean I have lived with neuralgic pain ever since, which has been accompanied by other pain due to the physical damage to my muscles and joints. I remember that when I woke up after the surgery to fix my back, I didn’t notice how I couldn’t feel my legs much anymore because all I could feel was the pain. It’s still that way 38 years later. Without my medication I would never have managed the amazing life I have lived. In fact, I can’t imagine what my life would have been without my meds. Bloody awful. I know from the messages of so many others, that this is the same for them.

“I didn’t notice how

I couldn’t feel my legs much anymore because all I could feel was the pain.”

Yet we are constantly bombarded with the concept that we are addicted. Is someone with diabetes addicted to insulin? Before you say it’s not the same, remember that such high levels of chronic pain can kill just as surely as a lack of insulin would kill you if you were diabetic. Heart failure for one, let alone the

fact that without pain meds your mind is so unhinged by pain that suicide becomes a possible way out. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s time that the debate around the drugs we take to allow us to live with pain included us - the disabled people that know pain medication is as essential as a ramp is to a wheelchair user or tactile paving is to the visually impaired community. People who are not addicted, but who are dependent on medication to live. It’s time for those who were given such strong pain medication for short term injury who found they could not get off them are separated from those who take them to make their lives manageable due to conditions that cause such high pain levels that the medication means they live a life without screaming all day. I will leave this UNITE style rant with a PosAbility style cheerful ending because I know from my own experience that with the right meds and support, as well as training in mindfulness and yoga (I know it sounds like all those awful people who think a positive attitude will help but trust me, I have found these hippy dippy techniques beneficial), you can live and live well. I know I’m lucky that I have found a way to manage my pain but if you are still on that journey, trust me it is possible. Forget all the times you get accused of being addicted. Stand your ground, explain how your meds are essential and don’t let a GP or pain specialist or a ‘know it all’ member of the public tell you otherwise. A wonderful life with chronic pain is possible. I know, I live one.




“ParaCheer is awesome, it’s family and it’s limitless” That’s how three-time ICU World Champion, Wendy Armitage, would describe the sport which in April this year saw our home nations bring back plenty of silverware - Team England claiming gold in Unified Advanced, Hip Hop and Pom and Team Wales picking up a silver medal in Unified Advanced. This was Wendy’s third season with Team England Unified Advanced and her time with them has seen her make many memories and achieve things she never thought possible, including completing the famous “threepeat” by becoming ICU World Champion as part of Team England in three consecutive years - 2017, 2018, 2019. “It’s amazing,” she said. “It still doesn’t

“ParaCheer is awesome, it’s family and it’s limitless”

quite feel real to know that I’ve done something nobody outside of the USA has ever done before and to be able to do something I didn’t think I’d be able to do once, let alone three times” And of her three titles whilst it is difficult for her to say which was most rewarding, there is one that at the moment means the most. Wendy continued: “We had to have a new athlete step into the routine


the day before and the routine didn’t hit perfectly like in other seasons but we’d worked hard throughout the season so I think this year’s ring and medal will definitely always have an exceptionally special place in my heart because of the team and how we pulled together.” JOURNEY TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD Wendy first heard about ParaCheer in 2016 when a team from the UK went to perform a demonstration at the ICU World Championships prior to it becoming fully integrated into the event in 2017. Having had experience in cheerleading before becoming a wheelchair user she too was asked if she would like to be part of the first group but at the time, with a young daughter, it wasn’t possible and she admits when she watched them all out there she was “really envious and really wished she’d done it.” So then when the 2017 season tryout


packs arrived she decided to apply to be part of the next Team England squad. Whilst she was a little nervous at first, as she hadn’t done cheer for a long time and had never attempted it from her wheelchair, the people she met and new skills she learnt on that day have stayed with her from successfully being selected for the squad at those first tryouts to today. Wendy said: “I was really honoured in 2017 because I was asked to carry the flag for England in the opening ceremony - that’s something I’ll never forget. Since that first season my passion for cheerleading reignited so I went back, trained even harder and kept upping my skill level. “It’s been amazing to have three seasons with Team England ParaCheer, to meet cheerleaders from all around the world and people who tell me they’ve been encouraged to try or carry on cheerleading when they thought they’d have to stop due to disability because they’ve seen what I’ve achieved.”


WENDY’S TOP TIPS Because of what it has given to her Wendy loves to encourage everyone to take part in ParaCheer so here are some tips she’s given us for getting started in the sport:


Check out the ParaCheer International website for information about teams and tryouts –


Give it a go, there will be a way to make adaptations for everybody


Enjoy it - it’s a great sport that can make a difference physically, mentally and socially

No. ~

FINDING THE FUNDING ParaCheer is a fully self-funded sport, meaning athletes involved have to find ways to cover their costs and for team managers it’s a full-time job trying to secure sponsorships for the team. Wendy set up a GoFundMe page, where “lots of very generous friends” helped her get to her target but admits that didn’t work for everyone in the team. “The costs are very high,” she told PosAbility, “and then having a disability adds extra costs on top of that. “Simple things like travel insurance was in some cases over four times the price of some of the nondisabled athletes on the team. “And I also had to fund my own wheelchair because despite being an international level athlete and having two young children they don’t think I qualify for an active user chair so I didn’t get that provided for me by wheelchair services, and then you have the maintenance. “It’s things like that that mean whilst mentally and physically I could probably carry on doing cheer for years to come I don’t know that I will be able to because of all of the costs involved.” G E T T I N G C R E AT I V E Competing in ParaCheer has also given Wendy creative skills particularly in the training sessions she does away from the team. With no local leisure centres and private gyms that are fully wheelchair accessible when it comes to strength and conditioning it’s very much home workouts and following

YouTubers who create adapted fitness videos on their channels. And when it comes to practising the lifts and stunts, Wendy has made it a family affair. She said: “My young daughter loves practising with me and I spend a lot of time lifting her up, which is harder than lifting bigger people really because she doesn’t have the body control of a trained cheerleader. “So it’s like lifting an octopus because she wiggles so much but it’s really good strength training for me.”

No. ~

No. ~

CHAMPIONING INCLUSIVITY ParaCheer, developed by Rick Rodgers here in the UK, is a fully inclusive version of the sport of cheerleading and at least 25% of the team must be made up of disabled athletes. Wendy believes because the sport has inclusivity at its heart that’s what makes it special. “It’s amazing to be part of a team where the disabled and non-disabled athletes aren’t separated and it’s really nice to be involved in something where my disability isn’t a big deal,” she said. “There are so many times in life where people see the disability first and the person second but in ParaCheer the person comes first which is wonderful. “I have made amazing friends through being involved with ParaCheer, I have done things that I never thought were possible and it’s been one of the most enjoyable things ever so I think everyone should give it a go.”


spacious sporty and loads of spec from NIL advance payment*

Fuel economy and CO2 results for the New MG3 Exclusive mpg (l/100km) (combined): 42.3 (6.7) CO2 emissions: 140 g/km. Fuel economy and CO2 results for the MG ZS Exclusive mpg (l/100km) (combined): 38.6 (7.3) to 41.5 (6.8) CO2 emissions: 140–145 g/km. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption and CO2 figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load. There is a new test used for fuel consumption and CO2 figures. The CO2 figures shown however, are based on the outgoing test cycle and will be used to calculate vehicle tax on first registration. Models shown: MG3* with Hello Yellow paint and MG ZS* with Dynamic Red paint available at nil Advance Payment. MG ZS Exclusive automatic available from £95 Advance Payment. 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 Independent Payment (PIP), the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) and applications must be made with participating dealers between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2019. Prices are correct at time of print, are subject to availability and may change. *Applicable to MG3 Excite and Exclusive models, MG ZS Excite models and MG ZS manual Exclusive models.


The recent Toy Like Me movement has been met with a host of appraisal from fans all over the world, as the toy industry sit up and begin to invest further into diversity and inclusivity. Another facet that could take a leaf out of their book, is the fashion industry. While adaptive clothing is continuing to make waves and become more and more commonplace, could the way designers look at the disability community as people and figures change? Fashion enjoys numerous renaissances, with older styles eventually circling back. Whether that be a cut of a dress or a concept like slogans or patterns, it cycles back around.


With these resurgences though, pieces can also be reimagined. Pin up icons are always a hugely popular muse for designers for their instantly recognisable iconography. While for the last century, they still offer a timeless and glamorous option, that has transcended generations. Even if you don’t know the story, you’ll know the face, the pose, or the styling.

Words by Colette Carr

FASHION But with time, also comes progression, something that could see disability finally take its place in this iconic period. Have you ever considered just how powerful seeing Hollywood’s Marilyn Monroe, precariously standing over a subway grate in her heels, playfully protecting her dignity as her iconic white cocktail dress defied gravity in the 1955 classic The Seven Year Itch with a prosthetic leg would be? How it would feel to see Betty Page rocking a hearing aid? Inclusive clothing company, Kintsugi, has revealed a new, fifties-fabulous t-shirt honouring both these classic women and diversity and disability. The collection features three prints of pin-up girls, each with a different disability: a Rosie the Riveter style woman with a prosthetic forearm, a fifties style swimwear model in a wheelchair, and a rockabilly beach babe with a visible ostomy bag. Inspired by the viral #DisabledPeopleAreHot, Kintsugi founder Emma McClelland decided to support the movement in a rock and roll way only fashion could. The hashtag saw an influx of disabled people share photos of themselves to change public perception of disability and attractiveness, sweeping the world and starting a conversation. Commenting on the movement and the t-shirt images designed by Rich Fairhead, Emma said: “I personally love the whole fifties rockabilly style for its playful, sexy, sassy style, but you never see any disabled women depicted in this way. There seems to be a tendency to erase disabled women from history; for example, you don’t hear as much about Rosa May Billinghurst and Adelaide Knight in discussions about The Suffragettes. “I enjoyed seeing the tweets people shared under the #DisabledPeopleAreHot hashtag and, as a company, we’re keen to represent and champion disabled women. I thought I’d bring my love of fifties style to the table and try to achieve this in a fun way.” The t-shirt collection is available in sizes 8-20 and each one retails at £18.99. You can buy them online at







New fully accessible 1, 2 & 3 bedroom luxury apartments for sale Greenview Court offers an exclusive lifestyle where modern convenience and beautifully designed apartments combine to provide thoughtfully adapted living space, with emphasis on low level disability-friendly functionality and effortless accessibility. The development occupies a prime location close to many town centre amenities including Southall mainline (and forthcoming Crossrail services), while the M4, A4 and M25 are all within close proximity. Residents at Greenview Court will also be deceptively close to the Grand Union Canal, offering tranquil towpath walks, together with the parkland that dominates the town’s fringes.

• Secure off street allocated disabled parking bays (limited availability) with direct lift access to all apartment levels. • Level access to three independent entrances each with two lifts to all levels. EXAMPLE 2 BED APARTMENT INTERNAL AREA - 85.0 SQ M 915 SQ FT EXTERNAL AREA - 6.9 SQ M 74 SQ FT

• Three communal landscaped roof gardens.

• Daytime concierge • Low level video entryphone to each apartment. • Extra wide doorways offering effortless wheelchair accessibility throughout all living areas. • Electric wheelchair charging points in apartment hallways. • On site car club.

There are 19 fully accessible apartments at Greenview Court with prices from:

£445,000 Est. completion Q4 2020 For further details please contact Galliard Homes London Central sales

020 7620 1500

These details are compiled with care to give a fair description but we cannot guarantee their accuracy and they do not consitute an offer or contract. Images are computer generated.



You can follow Sam on @samrenke


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

From being rejected by the opposite sex way back, to those first years of school discos and never having been asked, or to hearing the cutting words, “I like you as a friend” or going out clubbing and those group of lads laughing and pretending to be interested as a dare.


was recently interviewed for BBC Radio 5 Live and the question I had been asked to pose to listeners was this: ‘It seems to me that people are afraid to date someone with a disability, why?’ I’m sure many of you reading this will be thinking: “Gosh not this old chestnut again” and I’d have to, in part, agree with you. It has to have been about the tenth interview I’ve done looking at disability and dating and even I feel like shouting from the roof tops, “what aren’t you people getting, we are just humans like you, stop feeling awakened and get over yourselves!” However, what I have learnt over the years as a disability campaigner is that on the whole the ‘abled’ world has the memory of a goldfish when it comes to a subject that does not directly impact their lives and therefore on the whole they need constant reminders that in fact disabled people exist and that such a simple life experience as dating or forming friendships, throws up so many practical, emotional and moral issues when you have a disability. In all fairness the radio show handled the subject with complete sensitivity and the compassion it deserved. I was able to talk very candidly about my own experiences - to such an extent that I almost felt that I was in a therapy session and came away feeling like I should be paying £80 for the hour session. An overarching theme of the interview was feeling good enough, feeling worthy in the eyes of others

and not being desirable. Throughout the interview I came to the realisation that my own selfesteem had over the years taken a colossal knock. From being rejected by the opposite sex way back, to those first years of school discos and never having been asked, or to hearing the cutting words, “I like you as a friend” or going out clubbing and those group of lads laughing and pretending to be interested as a dare. I’ve since dated lovely, genuine men that have lifted me up and made me feel desirable and loved, yet those formative dating years have had a lasting effect on my confidence and even now I question the motives of anyone that asks me out, which isn’t fair on anyone. I’ve decided to work on my self-esteem and to stop other people dictating my worth. If your self-esteem has been slowly chipped away over the years by others who have made you feel a lesser person because of your impairment and you want to take back control, then I would strongly advise talking to your GP or the charity MIND. If you are in a position to afford a therapist make that a priority, instead of buying that new dress or extra cocktail put the money aside for your wellbeing. If therapy isn’t a possibility then I’d start by downloading a meditation app such as HeadSpace and set ten minutes aside each day for you. If, like me, you love a good book then I cannot recommend highly enough Kindfulness by Caroline Millington. Whatever you decide don’t let past negative experiences tarnish new ones.


KICKING June marks the beginning of the UK’s festival season. We’ve got you covered for accessibility options and requirements at the UK’s major music festivals, regardless of what you’re into.

Words by Katie Campbell

GLASTONBURY 26 – 30 JUNE Who’s on: The Killers, The Cure, Stormzy, Kylie, Billie Eilish, Wu Tang Clan, Lizzo If you’re all booked up and ready for Glastonbury, you’ll be pleased to know that they lay out some clear and concise accessibility options for d/Deaf and disabled patrons of the 48-year-old festival. Festival goers can contact the Glasto Access Team to register their need for accessible facilities, but need to include supporting information to ensure not just anyone can use the facilities. Once registration is complete, you’ll have entry to the accessible campsite guaranteed: this campsite features wheelchair accessible toilets and showers, an accessible sink with a fresh water point, charging facilities for wheelchairs and medical equipment, a fridge in which to store medication, a waste disposal point, and a high dependency unit with an electric raised bed and hoist (but if you need a hoist sling, you’ll have to bring it yourself). To make sure you can see every member of the Wu Tang Clan clearly, there’ll be a viewing platform available to catch the acts on every stage from, which each have a team of Access Stewards standing by to help where needed.


TRNSMT 1 2 – 1 4 J U LY Who’s on: Stormzy, Gerry Cinnamon, Example, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille, George Ezra Because TRNSMT isn’t a camping festival, there’s not as much to worry about in terms of getting your tent all sorted out. Glasgow is a very accessible city, and if you’re coming up for the two-day T in the Park alternative, you won’t struggle to find somewhere to stay that suits your needs. If you’re in the need for some guidance, Euan’s Guide is a valuable resource for finding the hotel that suits your needs. The festival offers accessible viewing platforms on its stages, which have their own accessible toilets, preventing those who don’t have access to the platform from using them. Last year’s festival also touted a unique food delivery service to those on the viewing platforms through the app, so here’s hoping that’s back this year. Despite being in the middle of Glasgow Green, the festival is very accessible, utilising the paths built into the green and temporary paths to help level out the terrain.

FESTIVALS R E A D I N G A N D L E E D S F E S T I VA L 23 – 25 AUGUST Who’s on: The 1975, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters, Royal Blood, Blossoms Festival Republic, who run the two simultaneous events that happen at Reading and Leeds on the August bank holiday, want their festivals to be as accessible as possible, so to help that, they’ve partnered with charity Attitude is Everything, who work to improve access for d/Deaf and disabled people at live music events. Much like the other festivals mentioned, they run an Access Scheme which allows access to the viewing platform, accessible car parking and drop off passes, a PA ticket at no extra cost, accessible facilities, and accessible camping. Specifically for d/Deaf patrons, they offer hearing loop access in locations listed on their Access Guide, and have a BSL interpreting service provided through Performance Interpreters. The festival’s access is the same as Glasto’s in what it offers, but Reading and Leeds can also accommodate campervans on site, but it will cost a little more.

D OW N LOA D 14 – 16 JUNE Who’s on: Def Leppard, Slipknot, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Slayer, Dream Theatre, Trivium For those about to rock, we have accessibility information for you. Like Reading and Leeds, Download is partnered with Attitude is Everything to ensure they’re giving d/Deaf and disabled festival goers the best experience possible. Those camping either for three or five days at the festival in the accessible campsite will have access to wheelchair accessible showers and toilets, charging points, a fridge, fresh water points, and a waste disposal point. There will also be access to a changing places unit, but you should bring your own sling if you need one for the hoist. If you need any help or assistance, the Access Crew will be on standby 24 hours a day to ensure your safety and comfort. Again, like Reading and Leeds, there’s BSL interpreters provided through Performance Interpreters to give you a live signing of what the acts are saying and singing, and hearing loops are available in some parts of the arena.

A FRIEND IN NEED If you can’t bring yourself to camp in a muddy field then we certainly don’t blame you, but it doesn’t mean you need to avoid the live music scenes this summer while everyone else is going out. If you’re struggling to find a pal to go with, there’s a couple of organisations who can help you to find a friend to enjoy a gig with. In Sussex, Stay Up Late started Gig Buddies, a service where they match

people with learning disabilities to a buddy who loves the same kind of music to encourage and help people with learning disabilities to get out and enjoy music. Stay Up Late was started by punk band Heavy Load, who noticed a lot of people weren’t staying to watch their sets at gigs, and realised it was because their PA finished working earlier than the gig did, preventing people with learning disabilities from staying to watch. Out of this, another group of Gig Buddies was established to cover Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian, born out of the frustration that people with learning disabilities face in not being able to have active social lives. Operated by Thera in Scotland, they’ve been going since 2016. For more information on Gig Buddies, visit or projects/gig-buddies-scotland.





e have all heard the term ‘superfoods’ thrown around in conversation when people are talking about health benefits and fad diets. However, this is a slightly dangerous term that essentially simply exploits the fact that a healthy balanced diet can reduce your chance of developing cancer, heart disease or having a stroke. The reality is that those lucky few foods that have made it onto the ‘superfood’ list have made it there because they are high in antioxidants and all the right kind of vitamins that are good for you. They will not act as a miracle cure for any ailments, nor will they defy the ageing process or increase your physical prowess, but they do have nutritional benefits and are a welcome addition to any well-balanced diet. So before you go out and spend your entire income on avocados, acai berries, quinoa, kefir and pine nuts to fuel your health kick, take a look at some of the foods that have stand-out health benefits that can be easily included in your everyday diet without costing the earth.

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EGGS These wonderful oval delights are inexpensive, versatile and packed with high quality protein, selenium and vitamins D, B6, B12. They are classed as a ‘complete’ source of protein because they contain all nine amino acids essential for our diet. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can eat them scrambled, poached, fried, boiled, as an omelette or tortilla – the variations are endless. Eggs are king. CHERRIES Besides being delicious, researchers have found that eating cherries can help reduce high blood pressure which can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also contain vitamin C, fibre and anthcyanins – a rich antioxidant that contains strong anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease joint inflammation in those who have arthritis. Eat them naturally or as a cherry juice concentrate to get all the goodness. WHOLE GRAINS We hate to say it but you need to ditch the deliciousness that is white bread. Nutrition is all about brown bread, rice and pasta I’m afraid. The term ‘whole grain’ literally means it is left whole with all of its natural goodness, unlike white bread, rice and pasta which uses a refined grain. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems. S P I N AC H Low in calories, high in vitamins and iron. We know all green veg is really good for us and we should always eat more but we have singled spinach out as a top contender for your diet. It can be cooked down and eaten as a side with seasoning, garlic and spices or added to almost any meal you cook, from curries to smoothies. Buy frozen bags to store in your freezer and add as you please. M AC K E R E L Bursting with omega-3 fatty acids vital for a healthy diet, mackerel also contains plenty of protein, vitamin B12, selenium, niacin and many other important micronutrients. It has been shown to aid in lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, fighting against depression and helping with weight loss as it is low in calories. It’s more affordable than similar oily fishes like salmon too.



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or the second year running, The Big Event is heading to the NEC, Birmingham on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June.

Free to attend, with free parking, our flagship event provides a great way for disabled people and their families to find out everything they need to know about worry-free motoring with the Motability Scheme. There’s so much to explore at The Big Event, here’s a useful list of the top ten things you won’t want to miss this year:

03 F R E E S P E A K E R S E S S I O N S Free speaker sessions from industry experts are a great opportunity to get lots of specialist advice and information about what’s available through the Motability Scheme.

0 1 OV E R 1 0 0 CA R S Explore over 100 cars from 26 manufacturers on display, all of which are available on the Motability Scheme. Friendly advisors will be able to answer any questions you have on specific vehicles. 02 T E S T D R I V E Take a test drive in a wide variety of cars, including a range of vehicles fitted with popular driving adaptations. You can book a test drive on the day; just remember to bring your full driver’s licence along with you.




10:00 & The Motability Scheme 15:00 – everything you need to know about how to get started?

Chris Edwards, Motability Events Ambassador, Motability Operations Ltd


Blue Badges, eligibility and parking

Helen Dolphin MBE


Travelling in your wheelchair – an introduction to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Graham Lloyd, WAV and Adaptations Account Manager, Motability Operations Ltd


Driving assessment centres – hear about the advice and support available

Colin Barnett, CEO Regional Driving Assessment Centre Driving Mobility


Could adaptations improve your driving experience for ever?

Graham Lloyd, WAV and Adaptations Account Manager, Motability Operations Ltd

THE BIG EVENT 04 S C H E M E P A R T N E R S Talk to our Scheme partners about what’s included in the Motability Scheme ‘worry-free’ lease package such as insurance, breakdown recovery and more. 05 WAV Compare a wide range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and adaptations all under one roof and get specialist advice on your mobility options. Plus, for those who have never travelled in a WAV before, passenger WAV experiences will also be available. Book at the event for an on-theroad passenger WAV demonstration with a qualified driving instructor.

06 S C H E M E A D V I S O R S Meet our experienced team of Motability Scheme advisors at the Information Centre to get helpful advice and have any Scheme questions answered. 07 S C O O T E R S

09 P L AY A R E A Younger visitors can also enjoy the play area complete with a bouncy castle, face painting and balloon modelling, all completely free of charge. 1 0 B I L LY T H E B E A R

As well as a wide range of Scooters and powered wheelchairs to explore, this year there’ll also be a new indoor scooter test drive area, so you can try selected products on a specifically designed circuit.

Plus, Billy the Bear will be there to greet new and familiar faces, and is always happy to take a selfie or two!

08 F R E E D R I N K Enjoy a free tea, coffee or soft drink – on arrival everyone is given a token to redeem at one of the many café areas in the venue.

The fully accessible venue welcomes assistance dogs and will have plenty of water to keep them hydrated all day. There will also be access to a quiet room with sensory toys as well as ear defenders for any guests who may require them. If you can’t make the event in Birmingham there are also a number of regional events taking place across the summer, giving you the opportunity to come and see the range of options available to you:

FULL PROGRAMME OF 2019 O N E B I G D AY E V E N T S : The Big Event, NEC, Birmingham: Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June 2019, 9am-4pm One Big Day at Westpoint, Exeter, Saturday 27 July 2019 One Big Day at Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, Saturday 10 August 2019 One Big Day at East of England Arena, Peterborough, Saturday 7 September 2019 One Big Day at Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, Saturday 21 September 2019 Find out more about The Big Event (including full test drive terms and conditions) at and for the latest announcements, pictures and videos, visit the ‘Motability Scheme’ Facebook page ( For more information on leasing a car, scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability Scheme, visit or call 0800 953 7000. 29



ESCAPES Everyone needs some time away now and then to relax, recharge and recuperate. We’ve put together a list of the best retreats for any budget across the UK for you to engage in some solid me-time through yoga, mindfulness and healthy eating. Words by Katie Campbell





Where: Edale, Hope Valley Price: Starts from £1000 Visit:

Where: Balquhidder, Lochearnhead Price: Starts at £50 Visit:

For mums who want to enjoy the calming properties of yoga with their children, Pachamama Yoga is a relaxing holiday for mother and child. While children are taken off to the forest school for lessons in nature, mum can spend two hours enjoying vinyasa flow yoga, empowering the bodies and spirits of the whole family.

Located not far from Loch Lomond, Dhanakosa is a Buddhist retreat which offers spiritual refuge to anyone in need. Retreats of up to 11 days are offered, some of which combine Buddhist dharma with yoga and mindfulness, but also hold introductory retreats offering yoga, meditation, hillwalking, tai chi and qi gong.

YEOTOWN Where: Snapper, Devon Price: Starts from £1950 Visit: While other wellness retreats might focus on fad diets and the latest trends in wellbeing, Yeotown focuses on developing healthy lifestyle habits and taking control of your own life and health. This retreat is helpful for those looking to take charge of their health and weight, and offers positive change over juice cleanses.



Take a weekend away in the Grange, a stunning Georgian country house on the Isle of Wight, which offers a huge assortment of activities outside yoga and mindfulness. Retreats offer courses in writing, music and singing, health and wellness, and comedy writing. Special retreats are offered over the new year and Christmas periods.


Where: Isle of Wight Price: Starts at £90 Visit:







E C OYO G A Where: Ford, Argyll Price: Starts at £575 Visit: EcoYoga offers a variety of retreats in an assortment of yoga styles in stunning, simple yet modern surroundings. Perhaps their greatest draw are the four bathing centres: a spa dome, a Japanesestyle hot tub, an artisan sauna hidden behind a secret passage, and the two baths built into the natural surroundings of a nearby gorge.


RETREATS K AGY U SA M Y E L I N G M O N A ST E RY Where: Eskdalemuir, Dumfries Price: Starts at £29 Visit: This Tibetan Buddhist monastery is located not far from Lockerbie, and offers a number of retreats which may be better suited to those who already have experience of mindfulness and meditation, or a knowledge of the dharma. The stunning surroundings and emphasis on the peaceful and soul-searching aspects of Buddhism make this an ideal retreat for troubled minds.

WA L E S ALL THE GOOD THINGS Where: Penbryn and Mawgan Porth, Cornwall Price: Available upon request Visit: Yoga and mindfulness are great, but combine them with some of life’s simple pleasures and you’ve got yourself a great weekend retreat. Run by Surf Sistas and yogi Haley Johns, this retreat offers yoga, surfing, sea kayaking, wine tasting, foraging, cedar wood saunas and hot tubs. Where do we sign up?

D R U YO G A Where: Nant Ffrancon, Bangor Price: Starts at £570 Visit: Voted one of Europe’s top five meditation retreats by National Geographic Traveller, Dru offers a vast assortment of retreats from the heart of Snowdonia, in the Nant Ffrancon valley. The combination of the stunning location and calming meditation and yoga offered will leave you feeling chilled yet charged and ready to face life.

YO G A S AT S A N G A A S H R A M Where: Login, Carmarthenshire Price: Starts at £50 Visit:

NORTHERN IRELAND L A K E I S L E R E T R E AT S Where: Upper Lough Erne, County Fermanagh Price: Starts from £175 Visit: Inspired by one of the founders’ time living in the Krishna temple located on nearby Inish Rath, Lake Isle Retreats is the brainchild of a group of friends who believe wholeheartedly in creating a place for people to escape and recharge in. They offer retreats all year round, and offer retreats based in mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, and cooking.

B R E A K T H R O U G H R E T R E AT S Where: Newcastle, County Down Price: Starts at £265 Visit: While psychotherapist Maureen Courtney was listening to her clients, she noticed that many of them said they needed a place to concentrate on the changes they needed to make to their life. Taking that onboard, she established Breakthrough retreats, a location where mindfulness and meditation is complemented with personalised one-on-one treatments.

E M B R A C E H O L I S T I C R E T R E AT S Where: Killinchy, County Down Price: Prices on request Visit: When Jim and Juliette Stewart were confronted with a potentially life-threatening illness in 2010, they felt the benefit of complementary therapies, and transformed Connolly Farm into a retreat centre. They offer physiotherapy, reiki, yoga, deep tissue massage and an assortment of yoga and therapy services to aid mind and body.


Escape from modern life at the Yoga Satsanga Ashram, where you have the option of retreats that last one or two days, or longer retreats. Weekend retreats will see guests take part in hatha yoga, pranayama, deep relaxation, and get the opportunity to book relaxing treatments, including reflexology and massage. 31

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


£10.48 DECADES DISCUSSION CARDS 40 photographic cards to introduce, remind and inform readers about people, places and events of the 1950s and 60s. These cards are designed to spark conversation, to allow a person to reminisce and recall life stories from their younger days. It will help with memory and is a great way to keep up conversation.



PURELITE MAGNIFIER A clip on, portable magnifier with LED lights and a special close up lens that boasts 6x magnification. Great for reading books, magazines and newspapers, it stands alone so it keeps your hands free and also comes with a neck cord for convenience. It takes three AAA batteries to operate the LED lights.

“designed to spark conversation, to allow a person to reminisce and recall life stories from their younger days” 32



ROBO TWIST JAR OPENER This handy little kitchen helper is a great addition for anyone who struggles to open jars, whether that is due to arthritis, amputation, weakness or limited dexterity. Simply place the Robo Twist on the lid on any size of jar, push the button and watch this robotic opener work it’s magic and open the jar.



0208 664 8860



This portable smart rising seat gives users independence both in the home and away. It is lightweight and easily transported, it can be used with any type of chair and in any situation or environment. It is easily operated and safely helps individuals sit down or stand up without the assistance of others.





AIDAPT WALKING STICK AND CHAIR This walking stick is designed with an integrated folding seat in it. It features a comfortable curved foam handle, functions perfectly as a walking stick and then you can simply unfold it into a tripod-style seat for those times when you need a rest. Lightweight and easily portable, it’s great for taking on shopping trips.






This modern, self-balancing wheelchair not only looks great but is functional and practical too. Its compact design makes manoeuvring in any space a breeze and its agile movements means it is comfortable and a pleasure to use. The revolutionary look is stylish and it fits easily into the boot of the car for transport.

NUDRIVE AIR NuDrive is a new lever-drive propulsion accessory for a manual wheelchair. It allows the user to propel more easily, brake, reverse and manoeuvre all by using the levers. It is easily attached to most wheelchairs and ideal for patients who have little or no hand or finger dexterity as it only requires arm and shoulder movements.



INVACARE OCEAN ERGO The innovative Invacare Ocean ergo shower chair family is designed with comfort, independence and dignity in mind. The range of new features on the Ocean Ergo make personal care safer and easier for elderly people, disabled people and their carers. 01656 776222




WHY THERA-Trainer? Regular exercise at home is encouraged to help maintain and improve muscle tone, circulation and flexibility, decrease fluid retention and increase stamina levels - all vital for anyone with limited mobility.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT EXERCISE bike to suit both your need and budget from our range of THERA trainers.


MOBI 540

TIGO 530


TIGO 558

01908 564100 MEDICOTECH

TIGO 510

Fully accessible hotel with the facilities you need at prices you will love

Specialising in holidays where your mobility, learning disability or mental health will never stop you having a good time!

Visit The Bond Hotel this summer and save 10% on any July or August holiday. Book by the 30th June and quote “PosAbility-10%”

available on all our breaks

Offering a unique solution to your respite needs by combining person focussed support coupled with a fully accessible break. Enabling you to have the freedom to enjoy a cabaret packed, seaside holiday.





Care Support Packages


SUMMER SEASIDE BREAKS including Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

The Bond Hotel, Blackpool is a family-run hotel that has been providing holidays for guests with disabilities and limited mobility for over 30 years. We provide all the everyday practicalities you need allowing you to relax, unwind, let your hair down and create memories to cherish.



Call: 01253 341218

To request a brochure or visit

The Bond Hotel | 120 Bond Street | Blackpool | FY4 1HG /BondHotel






Words by Karla Baker

Karla Baker reminisces about a 3000-mile road trip around Scotland in an accessible caravan and dispels the myth that caravanning is not for the disabled community. My partner, Stephen, and I have been in a relationship for 11 years now. We met at school and have been enjoying the big adventure of life together ever since. As naturally outdoorsy people, exploring new places has become a big part of our relationship, whether it’s a relaxed stroll through the forest or a fun-packed road trip, we can’t get enough of it. Having a form of muscular dystrophy

myself, I am no stranger to the struggles that travelling with a disability can present, particularly when it comes to accommodation. The majority of hotels aren’t designed for people with disabilities, and even the ones that offer ‘accessible rooms’ aren’t always suitable for my specific needs, after all, everybody is different. So when Stephen suggested that we get a wheelchair

accessible caravan I was all for it! Since there were no suitable ‘off the shelf’ wheelchair accessible caravans we chose a standard model and made some internal alterations ourselves, before sending it off to a workshop to do the more complex task of fitting a wider door. There are companies who will do every adaptation for you, from fitting simple grab rails to ceiling track hoists, electric beds, and wet rooms, but we wanted to save as much money as we could, and quite fancied the project. Then finally, after years of saving up and months of adapting, we had a fully accessible caravan designed specifically for us, we were ready for our adventures to really begin. We started off with a few local breaks to get into the swing of things, then we decided to take the plunge and do a road trip we’d been desperate to do for some time - a 3000-mile tour of Scotland.



Setting off from our home on the south coast of England we headed north, taking two days to reach the Scottish border. Having driven just over 500 miles by that point we were really excited to reach our first destination in Scotland, a lovely campsite in Edinburgh. We’re not generally city people, but it wasn’t like any city we’ve seen before. It had a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and everybody we met was really accommodating. Throughout the few days we spent there we enjoyed a bus tour and a wander around the National Museum of Scotland, but our highlight has to be getting to see inside the magnificent Royal Yacht Britannia. It was fascinating to learn its history and it was surprisingly accessible, there wasn’t a single area I couldn’t access. I’d definitely recommend going if you’re into history, the royal family, or just want to have a nosy inside a grand yacht.



Our stay in Edinburgh soon came to an end and it was time to hitch up the caravan and head north to our next stop, Inverness. Famous for the impressive Loch Ness we couldn’t resist a boat tour, and although it was windy, the weather was being exceptionally kind to us, so we opted to sit outside on the deck. There we had fantastic views across the vast, glistening water as we tried to stifle our giggles every time our tour guide broke into Scottish folk song. It certainly made for a memorable ride.

If we weren’t exploring Inverness or the surrounding areas you’d find us just a short drive from the campsite at a beach called Chanonry Point, the best place in the UK to view dolphins from the shoreline. After wandering down the accessible path alongside the lighthouse we arrived at the stoney beach, and although we visited on three separate occasions and didn’t have any luck spotting dolphins, Chanonry Point was such a tranquil place to sit that it was worth it.

GO WEST ISLE OF SKYE As we made our way to the west coast, the mountains towering above us got even bigger and every corner we turned was even more stunning than the last. We found our next campsite just off the Isle of Skye and were in awe once again by the beauty of the place. We spent most of our time there wandering around and doing driving tours around the breathtaking scenery, on one occasion ending up at a viewpoint more than 2000ft up a mountain, getting engulfed in thick white cloud. The temperature dropped to zero, our car got covered in ice and we couldn’t see a thing, but it gave us a great story to laugh about for years to come.



I S L E O F R A A S AY All of that was great fun but perhaps one of our favourite days in that area was on Stephen’s birthday when we took a short ferry crossing over to the Isle of Raasay. Having a population of only 170 people it had a real community feel and was unlike anywhere we’d been before. Despite being so remote, the accessibility was great. We stopped at the beautiful Raasay House with a ramped side-entrance for lunch, before driving up the island’s main road (a single track lane), exploring further.




We could have happily spent the rest of our trip there, but we were excited to continue our adventure. The next leg of our journey took us up the east coast to the most northern point in mainland UK - Dunnet Head. The beachside campsite had a wonderful decked walkway leading to a lookout, giving spectacular views across the vast open sand. Whilst staying there we visited John O’Groats for a lovely lunch and the obligatory photo by the sign, then we headed to the official most northern point, Dunnet Head, for another obligatory photo by the sign. I jest, but although it only marked the middle of our trip, it was there that the enormity of our adventure really hit us. We had towed our caravan all the way from our home on the south coast of England to the north coast of Scotland in a week, it felt like quite an achievement.

THE LAST LEG LOCH LOMOND We were having the best time but our Scottish road trip was sadly drawing to a close, though we had one last stop before crossing back through England - Loch Lomond. As we sat on the edge of the glistening shores, soaking up the springtime sun with ice creams in hand, we couldn’t get much happier.

We’d travelled 3000 miles over three weeks, seen some incredible sights, met lots of lovely people, made a million memories, and we cannot wait for the next adventure! Caravanning isn’t for everyone, but having the freedom to hitch up our fully accessible caravan and go at a moment’s notice, means it is our favourite way to travel. If you’d like to hear more about our adventures then head over to our blog


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reworgans Farm Holidays has fully wheelchair accessible self-catering cottages in mid Cornwall. Situated in a rural location yet only a short drive from either coastline, many beautiful gardens, tourist attractions and the cathedral city of Truro, guests can enjoy peace and quiet at the end of a day after exploring some of Cornwall’s delights. There are two cottages at the farm: Buzzard Watch sleeps up to four in two rooms and Valley View sleeps up to six in three rooms, an additional Z bed can be booked for this property too. All the bedrooms are large enough to offer superking beds and are all ensuite. Each cottage has a bedroom leading off from the living areas which has a completely level wetroom. Having been offering specialist self-catering facilities for nearly 15 years, the choice of mobility aids and equipment that is available for guests to use free of charge has grown. As well as electric profiling beds, electric portable hoists, riser recline chairs, shower chairs, monkey pole, patient turner and many more items (a vast list), you will also find adapted features in the kitchen such as a clear underspace at the sink and hob and some easy to use cutlery. The centrally heated cottages both have exposed beams and woodburners in the sitting room which help to create a very cosy and homely environment. Leading from the living areas are completely level outdoor areas with BBQs and garden furniture which again has been adapted to accommodate guests in wheelchairs. A perfect setting for breakfasting in the summer sun or chilling out at the end of the day.

Over the years the knowledge about disabled facilities at pubs, restaurants, tourist attractions, cinemas, swimming pools trails and walks has been collated into folders in each property so guests have plenty of information to peruse while enjoying their complimentary Cornish Cream Tea when they arrive! In the words of previous guests: “Treworgans - a truly accessible place to stay”. For further details visit or phone 01726883240/07762173860

The two cottages are detached with their own private parking and not overlooked by anyone other than the local buzzards and owls. Though detached, both cottages can be booked together for bigger family gatherings. 41



t’s summertime, and with the glimmers of sunlight breaking through the seemingly permanent layer of cloud that seems to cover these great isles, we get the intense desire to break free of our routines and escape to a change of scenery. If you’ve got nothing planned yet, we’ve got some accessible holiday suggestions that will get you out of your four walls and into something a little different.

Words By Katie Campbell

CITY BREAKS EDINBURGH What: Short break in Scotland’s capital Price: £240 per night Visit: During August, the entire world looks to Edinburgh as it becomes the arts capital of the world. If you love comedy, drama, performance and dance, you’ll love the Fringe. Stay in a stunning apartment in Trinity, which is located not ten minutes from the city centre and easily reached via Edinburgh’s ultra-reliable fleet of Lothian Buses. Outwith August, there’s still loads to see in Scotland’s capital, including the array of historic architecture in the Old and New Towns, the famed Royal Mile on the journey up to Edinburgh Castle, or a spooky tour to meet one of the city’s many ghosts. This apartment has a whole host of accessibility options available for those who choose to stay there, including grab rails, ground floor facilities, an electric bed, accessible bathroom, and hoists.

HAMBURG What: A weekend in Germany’s second city Price: Available upon request Visit: This stunning hotel, located in the dynamic northern German city of Hamburg, has accessibility at the forefront of its mind and in all aspects of its being. The hotel lists incredibly detailed information for those visiting, much like the old German cliché of over-preparedness, so no guest will go without. Hamburg is Europe’s third largest port, and the city is dripping in history, through its period as a sovereign state before the unification of Germany in 1871, and its destruction and rebuilding due not only to the bombing raids of World War II, but the infamous Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842 and the North Sea flood of 1962. The city is home to more than 40 theatres, 60 museums and 100 music venues, meaning you’ll never be far from a source of German culture.


FA M I LY BREAKS DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM What: Seven nights at one of Disney’s premier holiday locations Price: From £1878 Visit: You may be surprised to learn that the Happiest Place on Earth is also one of the most accessible for family holidays. Every little kid dreams of getting to spend time in Disney World, and there’s no reason that families who live with disability can’t fulfil this dream, too. The park offers a huge number of adjustments for a wide variety of impairments, meaning that most families will be able to organise their dream Disney holiday with accessibility in mind. Animal Kingdom Lodge is the most highly-rated of all Disney hotels, and features an 11,000ft2 pool, along with a huge host of exotic animals who live alongside guests and roam the grounds of the African-safari inspired hotel, which is based on a kraal – the Afrikaans word for a group of village huts, which is typically surrounded by a fence.

BUTLIN’S What: A seaside holiday in one of the camp’s three locations Price: Available upon request Visit: Take a holiday at one of the three Butlin’s camps in the UK, with resorts open in Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness for holidays which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Butlins offer a whole host of accessibility options for families, meaning holidays at the camp can be created around the guests’ accessibility requirements. Adapted rooms are available, and scooters, wheelchair and oxygen hire can be arranged in advance. Each Butlin’s resort features a Splash Waterworld, a Skyline Pavilion and a fairground, so kids and big kids alike can enjoy a splash around in the waterpark, entertainment from the Redcoats and a whole host of fun fairground rides and activities. Each resort has their own Special Needs Co-Ordinators to ensure your fun-filled holiday goes off without a hitch.



ADVENTURE SOUTH AFRICA What: A 12-day tour of the Kruger Safari and Cape Town Price: £1325 Visit: This tailor-made tour shows the best that South Africa has to offer, including its famed wild safari and its oldest city, affectionately called the Mother City by locals. The safari portion of the trip allows you to spend time hanging out with incredible wild animals up close, and allows you to pet a wild cheetah as well as befriend Jessica the Hippopotamus. After you’ve had your fill of nature, you’ll be able to head back to the camp to enjoy a traditional boma dinner, usually consisting of delicious barbequed meat which is enjoyed under the glittering night sky. Both the New York Times and Daily Telegraph have called Cape Town the best place in the world to visit, and holiday-goers will enjoy the combination of culture, heritage points like Robben Island, and wildlife on offer to them in the heart of the city. J A PA N What: Tailor-made 11-day tour of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto Price: From £3,330 Visit: Venture out of your comfort zone and head east to enjoy everything that Japan has to offer, from the sprawling megalopolis of Tokyo to the bowing deer of Nara Park in Osaka and the traditional Shinto and Buddhist temples in Kyoto. The decision to hold the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo has meant a rapid and radical shift towards inclusion for both Japan and its people, so getting around one of the most jam-packed and interesting countries on Earth will now be significantly easier. This tour, operated and organised by Responsible Travel, is catered towards wheelchair users, and is designed to be accessible in every way for them, including preplanned activities and hotels. It’s never been easier to explore the vibrant and interesting culture, the incredible history and the mind-blowing food of Japan. Please don’t be afraid to try the sushi – it’s really good!

BEACH SRI LANKA What: Seven nights in a luxury beach resort Price: From £1,355 Visit: When you think of Heaven on Earth, the picture that springs to mind is likely to look an awful lot like the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka. It’s located deep inside a secluded rocky outcrop, offering your own private slice of paradise from which to enjoy everything the country has to offer. If you’re looking for a place to relax and get away from everything, look no further than here. The hotel offers a romantic getaway for couples too, offering everything from a spa, tennis and gym equipment, to cookery classes and wine tasting. The hotel offers Premier Beach Access rooms to disabled guests, which have been adapted to allow for easy access to those with a variety of impairments and wheelchair users. There’s also wheelchair access to the terrace, meaning no-one has to miss out on the stunning views. GREECE What: Seven days on a stunning Greek island Price: From £2,000 Visit: Stay for a week on the glorious Ionian island of Ithaca, deemed by the great Greek poet Homer to be the home of the legendary king Odysseus (or Ulysses if you’re from the Latin school), nestled off the country’s western coast. This holiday is about taking everything at your own pace. Enjoy lazy strolls around the island, lounge beside the pool, enjoy the responsibly sourced food and drink, and take in nature, all at your own pace. Some reviewers have said it can be a challenge to get to the traditional Greek house, but once you get there, all the effort is entirely worth it. Owners Marilyn and Spero are there to help accommodate your every need as you unwind in the jasmine-scented garden or take a swim in the crystal-clear ocean by the white sand beach.

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WIMBLEDON FEVER Words by Colette Carr


t’s that time of year again. When Sue Barker returns to our screens and people north and south of the border argue over whether it’s Henman Hill or Murray Mound – it’s Wimbledon. With a jam-packed schedule of tennis on offer including the wheelchair programme, there’s plenty to take in, so here’s PosAbility’s guide to enjoying the Championships in style.


Many pubs and bars are hosting days dedicated to following the action and are broadcasting it all live with no entry fees, so why not head down to your local or explore a new drinking hole that is putting on an event and enjoy the tournament? H O M E A D VA N TA G E

The beauty of Wimbledon is the all-inclusive coverage offered by the BBC, meaning it can be enjoyed anywhere! If you have

access concerns, prefer your own surroundings, or just want to enjoy some (hopefully) sunshine in your garden, a get together might be the way to go. Invite friends round and serve up some delicious drinks and strawberries and cream to get in the mood or even fire up a barbecue and enjoy something a bit more substantial. There are plenty of Wimbledonthemed party games you can also enjoy in the comforts of your own home. Why not set a dress code? Players and umpires could be an idea, and divvy everyone into teams and enjoy some silly games? Wimbledon bingo could see clichés marked on cards with the first to shout bingo taking home a small Wimbledon themed prize. Another game may be a pub-quiz style tennis quiz. Look up some questions online and make up some rounds to keep it interesting. Staying at home can eliminate worries about access, dietary requirements and getting home after a long day of watching a ball be hit back and forth. THE JUNIORS

Wimbledon is quite high brow, and can sometimes seem geared towards adults with all the chat of Pimms, prosecco and posh strawberry dishes, but that doesn’t mean the kids can’t enjoy the Championships. A lot of children love live sport and



can be sat in front of a screen all day and left to their own devices, but if you’re child is a bit more active or wants to be hands on, there are plenty of ways to keep them entertained. Why not buy a cheap swingball set and trophy and organise a tournament? Children can enjoy some fun in the sun and pretend they have completed their very own Grand Slam. We all try and encourage children to eat healthily and enjoy their fruit, and with strawberries right in season and vogue with the Championships on, you can encourage kids to enjoy the sweet berry. They can enjoy traditional strawberries and cream, but if that is a little too refined for their young tastebuds, twists can be made to enjoy the tradition. Why not melt down some white and milk chocolate and dip the strawberries in? Other ideas could see children create their own ice lollies. Using simple ice lolly moulds, use lemonade, strawberries and grapes to create a lovely refreshing snack for in the sun. Smoothies might be another fun way to go. Children love creating things by themselves (with appropriate supervision), and getting messy with a blender opens up a level of imagination and creation that can go as far beyond strawberries and cream as they like! If all else fails, why not just swap out the fresh cream for good old trusty vanilla ice cream.



THE RULES TAKE A SIP IF David Beckham is on the screen The camera is on the Royal Box Strawberries and cream or Pimms are mentioned Murray Mound or Henman Hill is mentioned

The commentators discuss their own glory days


Jamie Murray is referred to as Andy Murray’s brother

Novak Djokovic eats grass

A ball boy or girl trips

Someone grunts with unnecessary force

TAKE A GULP IF There’s a double fault Dan Evans is called “the bad boy of tennis” There’s a trick shot National pride is discussed

YOUR DRINK IF The ball boy is one of the Queen’s corgis It rains Someone in the crowd takes a photo with an iPad Someone in the crowd catches the ball a la Beckham Someone smashes their racket

“Wild card” is mentioned Judy Murray appears Johanna Konta’s nationality is debated It changes to BBC2 or the Red Button The weather is referred to as “glorious” A player argues with the umpire



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n 2019 Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is celebrating 50 years of enriching people’s lives through horses at its 500 centres across the UK. Each year 25,000 disabled adults and children participate in fun equine-related activities such as riding and carriage-driving which provides therapy, fitness and the challenge of developing a new skill. Supported by its amazing 18,000 volunteers, RDA is an inclusive and diverse organisation that welcomes clients of all ages with physical and learning disabilities and autism. RDA’s motto, “It’s what you can do that counts”, encapsulates the charity’s focus on ability not disability and it prides itself on challenging stereotypes. A large number of people who ride with RDA have been referred to the charity by either their doctor or physiotherapist, who have recognised the therapeutic benefits that riding or just spending time with horses can have.

RDA has been providing amazing therapeutic opportunities through horse riding for 50 years.

THERAPUETIC BENEFITS The therapeutic impact can be felt immediately, particularly in those with learning disabilities, as the feel-good factor kicks in and a recent study found that 80% of its riders demonstrated a physical improvement in just 12 weeks or less. It is the movement of the horse that is the key therapeutic factor, which encourages strengthening of the core muscles. At walk a horse produces 1000 movements in three dimensions in ten minutes, the rider must respond to these movements in order to stay in balance with the horse. It would be impossible for this level of movement to be created in an average physiotherapy session. This is especially good for those with spinal injuries or conditions such as cerebral palsy.


HORSE RIDING M E N TA L H E A LT H For those with mental health conditions, riding can improve self-confidence and general wellbeing, something that also extends to the charity’s many volunteers. Research is clear about the benefits of volunteering on mental health, with social interaction and the sense of purpose that comes from helping others leading to greater confidence and improved wellbeing. The 2,500 RDA horses are central to the success of the life-changing work of RDA and are carefully selected for their temperament and suitability. Their non-judgemental, quiet, intuitive nature is what makes them so special to everyone involved with RDA. Ed Bracher, RDA Chief Executive said: “RDA strives to bring the therapy of horses to as many people as we can and through extensive research we know that the charity’s work makes a real difference to the lives of our participants. “Increased confidence is one of the most important benefits that has a far-reaching impact into other areas of people’s daily lives. Setting goals and achieving them is at the core of RDA’s philosophy, supporting people to go further than they ever imagined possible. “Some people think that they are too limited in their mobility for RDA but it is always worth contacting your nearest group to find out. We always try our best to support riders and the biggest challenge facing the charity in its milestone year is how to ensure we can meet demand.”

Setting goals and achieving them is at the core of RDA’s philosophy, supporting people to go further than they ever imagined possible


5 0 FAC E S As part of the RDA’s 50th anniversary celebrations they have launched a 50 Faces campaign to challenge preconceptions about disability, volunteering and equestrian sport, through the inspiring stories of people within RDA. Here we meet one of the 50 Faces, 16-year-old Evie Toombes.

For Evie Toombes horses have been the one consistent thing in her life. At just one-year-old she was diagnosed with spina bifida and it was her neurosurgeon that suggested horse riding might be a good form of therapy. Evie’s mum was a keen horse rider herself so actively encouraged her to get involved from a young age. The way you sit on a horse mimicked the physiotherapy that Evie required as a child to help with her calf muscles and hamstrings, and the immediate benefit was a great incentive to carry on riding. Evie said: “There is just something so uplifting and therapeutic about being with horses. No matter how poorly you are, or if you’re feeling a little under the weather, horses will always treat you the same. They aren’t bothered about tubes or your appearance, they love you for you.

“This was priceless for me growing up. With my leg weakness as well as bladder and bowel issues, so many of my ‘friends’ used to judge me at school, yet my horses were the one consistent thing in life that I could count on.” Evie loves to compete in show-jumping and at the age of 12 a course builder at a show suggested she might want to pursue para show-jumping as she struggled to keep her legs in position due to weakness in her lower legs. Following grading, Evie now competes in para show-jumping where she is allowed extra aids to help back up her legs and has gone on to enjoy some great results with her horse Daisy, including a win at RDA National Championships last year at Hartpury and being selected to compete in Munich for Team GB para show-jumping. To make life easy for Evie she has a specially adapted horsebox which features a large bathroom and clean, sterile surfaces, as well as lots of storage for all her medical supplies. Evie’s mum, Caroline, can’t speak highly enough of the role that RDA has played in helping Evie achieve her goals: “RDA made us aware of additional aids that Evie could use to keep her safe and without the input

from RDA Evie couldn’t have gone on and flourished as much as she has. “There are great stepping stones provided to nurture at different levels and bridge the gap. This progress cannot happen without the expertise along the way. “More recently Evie benefited hugely from some time on the mechanical horse at Lincolnshire Wolds RDA. This enabled us to identify the significant weakness in one leg and therefore plan how we could compensate and support Evie to continue her improvement. “Having thoroughly enjoyed watching the competition at Hartpury, it is clear to see the strengths that RDA members discover are a huge benefit to all areas of their lives, building confidence and communication.” In her spare time Evie visits schools to educate children on hidden illnesses and disability and has even written a book based on her own dog which also has disabilities, and her struggle to make friends. Her work with children and medical companies for whom she reviews products, won her a Well Child Award and she has even met Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex who were incredibly supportive of her work. With her steely determination there is no doubt that Evie will one day achieve her dream of competing at the Paralympics. To find out more about how you could get involved with RDA visit


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a break at The Bond Hotel, Blackpool!

PosAbility magazine has teamed up with The Bond Hotel, Blackpool to offer our readers the chance to win a holiday for two people in November 2019! For over 30 years The Bond Hotel has been providing fully accessible holidays for guests on the prominent Blackpool Coast and is very kindly offering a free weekend break for two people in November 2019 during one of their variety cabaret weekends. The threenight Friday to Monday break can be taken on any weekend in November and includes dinner, bed and breakfast. Taking a break by the seaside has been a UK tradition for more than a century and Blackpool Tower has been recently refurbished with some amazing new features. Whether you are looking to scale the heights of the 518 foot Blackpool Tower and brave the glass floor, take a ride on the fully accessible modern trams, take a stroll down the brand new promenade, take a thrill ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach or visit one of the incredible breathtaking shows from the Tower Circus to meeting Elvis at Legends you won’t be disappointed! The staff at The Bond Hotel will do their best to meet all of your needs on your holiday, including recommendations for places to visit and which shows to see during your stay. The Bond Hotel has 62 fully accessible bedrooms offering a wide range of sleeping arrangements to suit your needs, providing a variety of mobility equipment for your use – all free

of charge during your stay. The bedrooms are fitted with emergency call buttons, walk in showers and if required rooms can be provided with ceiling tracked or portable hoists depending on your individual needs. Optional door-to-door transport and Holidays With Care packages can also be arranged, if required. Every evening is party night at The Bond Hotel when some of the best acts in the North West take to the stage, with between 90 and 100 guests staying, the atmosphere cannot be matched anywhere else. The hotel provides holidays for guests with disabilities along with their families, friends and carers with many people returning to meet up with friends old and new. For your chance to win, enter today! Visit to find out more about The Bond Hotel or request a brochure by calling 01253 341218. TERMS AND CONDITIONS This prize is for a 3 night weekend break from Friday to Monday at The Bond Hotel, Blackpool for 2 people, in November 2019. The prize includes dinner, bed and breakfast with live cabaret every night during your stay. Optional extras such as wheelchair hire, scooter hire, air mattress hire, care packages and door to door transport are not included within this prize and must be paid for separately. Prize can be used for a new booking only for dates specified in our brochure. This prize is not transferable nor can any cash alternative be offered. Closing date for entries is 31 July 2019. Only one entry per household.

If you would like to be in with the chance of winning this great prize, simply answer the following question correctly: How tall is Blackpoolʼs most famous landmark – Blackpool Tower?




518 feet 618 feet 581 feet


Email your selection and contact details to, visit to enter online or post to the address below: Bond Hotel Competition PosAbility Magazine Caledonia House Thornliebank Ind. Est. Glasgow, G46 8JT

Name: Address: Postcode: Tel: Email: ü

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ideo games are a means of pure escapism, but that doesn’t mean that disabled people shouldn’t be represented too.

WOLF (SEKIRO: SHADOWS DIE T WICE) The latest game from the creators of the multi-award winning Dark Souls series sees FromSoftware tell the story of Wolf, a deadly and stealthy shinobi who, early in the game, loses his left arm during an attempt to save his master, the young prince named Kuro who possesses the power to grant immortality. Wolf meets the Sculptor, who provides him with a prosthetic which can be upgraded with an assortment of weaponry to aid him in his quest to fulfil his vow to his young master Kuro, and his ultimate goal of exacting bloody revenge on his arch nemesis. STEPHEN (SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI) Eagle-eyed readers may notice some similarity between Stephen and the late Professor Hawking, and the homage is intentional. While he’s not a main character in the beloved Japanese role-playing games, Stephen sets the entire series in motion. He’s the coder behind the Terminal System, which allows the main character to summon demons, who assist them in fighting through post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Stephen appears in almost all of the main games in the series in a supporting role, taking on a much more important role in Shin Megami Tensei IV where he appears often to help the protagonist.



While many video games deal with mental illness and auditory hallucinations, not one does it as well or as accurately as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

03 04

S E N U A ( H E L L B L A D E : S E N U A’ S S A C R I F I C E ) While many video games deal with mental illness and auditory hallucinations, not one does it as well or as accurately as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The game follows Senua, a Pict from Orkney as she travels through the Norse interpretation of Hell to bring back her lover, Dillon. As she journeys, her struggle with psychosis, which manifests as voices in her head, taunts her and tries to lead her astray. Developers Ninja Theory worked extremely closely with Welcome trust and a number of leading scholars on psychosis to ensure their portrayal of mental illness was both accurate and not problematic.

DUNBAN (XENOBLADE CHRONICLES) Xenoblade Chronicles’ main character Shulk is the man most associated with the Monado, the bright red sword which is said to be the only thing that can protect his world from the Mechon, the race of mechanical beings which threaten it, but before it was his, it was used effectively by Dunban. Unfortunately, as a consequence of using the Monado, he lost the use of his right arm. Dunban doesn’t let this subdue him, and accompanies Shulk on his quest to defeat the Mechon that terrorise their home, acting as both a vital partner in battle and a sound voice of reason.


B A R R E T WA L L A C E ( F I N A L FA N TA SY V I I ) For many children of the 90s, playing Square Enix’s smash hit Final Fantasy VII was the first time they would have encountered a disabled protagonist in a video game. Barret is the leader of the eco-terrorist resistance group who are trying to prevent the malevolent Shinra Electric Power Company from draining their planet Gaia of its energy. After an accident where he lost his hand, Barret replaced it with a gatling gun, which the player can swap out for a number of things, including a bazooka and a ray gun. That’s one prosthetic you won’t find offered by the NHS.


K E N S H I TA K A H A S H I ( M O R TA L KO M B AT ) Kenshi is one for the more mature gamers: introduced in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, the fifth game in the controversial series. The reason for Kenshi losing his sight changes between games, but his status as a deadly ronin – a wandering samurai without a master – stays intact. Kenshi relies on his ultra-honed sense of hearing during battle to stay on top of his opponents, and his blindness occasionally offers him a slight advantage over other characters: those who have moves that attack the eyes find them totally useless when used on Kenshi.



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ummer is finally here, and it’s time to get the little ones out of the house and into the summer sun to soak up some of that vital vitamin D to see them through the dark and dreary winter ahead. While they’re spending time off school, it might be fun to spend time together learning some vital life skills! Swimming is not only loads of fun and brilliant exercise, but it’s a great skill to have. Turn to page 58, where you

can find information on how to find accessible swimming lessons near you to give you the peace of mind that your little ones will be safe in the water.




As well as regular contributors Rio Woolf and Dan White, we’ve got a host of brilliant products which might come in handy for your family on page 62. As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing




earning to swim is an important life skill for people of all ages and abilities. Not only is it great fun to splash around in the local pool with your friends and family, knowing how to swim could also save your life one day, so it is a vital skill to have. Have you considered dipping your child’s toe in the water yet? The benefits of swimming are endless, it offers a great form of exercise and is also great for rehab and therapy as it is not weight-bearing. The water can be a calming place too, the warmth and buoyancy of the water can relax kids and any forms of therapy or exercise can be disguised as fun games when in the water. Everyone needs the chance to be able to learn to swim and the most important thing is ensuring kids are water confident from a young age. Building up a natural affinity with water is healthy for kids, it helps to prevent any fear developing around water and can open up so many activities for young ones, from kid’s parties at the local pool and holidays in the sun to taking it up on a more competitive level.

WATER Words by Rosalind Tulloch Swimming is one of those life skills that are just vital to have, but according to a report in 2017 by the Water Safety Review Group one third of children leaving primary school cannot swim one length of a pool. Children can start more structured swimming lessons from as young as three years old – these lessons will be more about getting used to the water, learning safety aspects like climbing out of the pool and having fun in the water. However, you can take your child into the water from as early as six weeks old, which can be a lovely bonding time when they are babies. There are many baby swim classes available, but they do tend to cost quite a lot for a course, and while the benefits of these can be understood


and you may get a lovely picture at the end of the course of your baby under water, the important thing is just enjoying the water with your little one and getting them used to splashing around. The fact of the matter is that your baby might hate the water at such a young age and the whole experience may just end up being more stressful than enjoyable, and there is no need to put either parent or baby through that! So before you commit to any courses, just pop along to your local pool and dip your toes in the water. Make sure your introduction to water and to swimming lessons comes at the right time for you and your child and most importantly make it fun.


SWIMMING SWIMTIME The UK’s largest independent provider of swimming lessons for children and adults, they offer lessons to people of all ages and abilities. They will tailor your lesson depending on your needs, ensuring the lesson is inclusive and meeting your requirements. If you need to be in the pool with your child to assist them or you need make sure the lesson is at a quiet time in the pool, the Swimtime instructors will do their best to accommodate your needs and will work with you towards the goals you and your child are looking to reach.




Check out your local swimming pool for the lessons and facilities they have to accommodate your child’s needs. There are often waiting lists for these swimming lessons but they will be worth the wait as they are usually less expensive. Ask if they offer one-to-one lessons for your child if you feel they need them, check if they have a pool hoist, accessible changing rooms and don’t be afraid to ask about the instructor’s experience of working with disabled children. You want your child to get the best possible start in the pool so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to make that happen.

This amazing charity is specifically aimed at getting disabled kids swimming. They offer free one-to-one and small group lessons for children with physical and sensory impairments who are of primary school age. Level water recognise the importance of offering the opportunity of swimming lessons to disabled children throughout the UK and all their teachers receive Level Water’s own specialist disability training that is accredited by CIMSPA. They use the one-to-one lessons to focus on getting your child safe and confident in the water and swimming a 15m front crawl and backstroke. Once they have achieved this they can move onto the group lessons or onto their local club.

Based in the North West of England Starfish are proud to offer swimming lessons to children and young adults with additional needs and disabilities. Their instructors have completed a sign along qualification and foundation introduction in British Sign Language and they have also undergone specialised training in how to deliver lessons to children and young adults with additional needs and disabilities. They include a list on their website of the disabilities and conditions they can support, but insist that if your child’s particular disability is not listed get in touch and they will do their utmost to accommodate your child. They also have the use of a hydrotherapy pool with sensory aids.




verlooking the Minehead seafront and framed by the backdrop of Exmoor hills Foxes Hotel is a hotel with a heart. It is the UK’s only training hotel for young people with learning disabilities. Most of the fifteen boutique style bedrooms look straight onto the sea. Each one has a unique local theme, is beautifully furnished and has fluffy cotton dressing gowns and slippers ready for you to relax into. Foxes offers twin, double and family ensuite rooms. Dogs are very welcome too. We use fresh, locally sourced produce wherever possible for your meals, which are prepared by our professional chefs. We also offer a bar menu for lighter bites as well as cream teas and a sumptuous afternoon tea spread. Then there’s the extensive gin menu for your pre-dinner dink in our cosy bar. Minehead is a pretty town which makes a great base for exploring this beautiful

part of Somerset and North Devon. The West Somerset steam heritage railway is on the doorstep. Hop on the accessible coach in Minehead and travel along the coast. Dunster Castle and its medieval village are nearby for a day’s exploring, with the small, unspoilt towns of Lynton and Lynmouth situated on the northern edge of the Exmoor coast a short drive away. Foxes Hotel is all about nurturing the ambitions and talents of young people with learning disabilities. Over the past three years 83% of our hospitality graduates went into employment. The national average for this group of young adults is just 6%. A stay at Foxes is a truly unique experience. A truly warm welcome awaits you from our staff and students who will ensure your holiday is relaxing and memorable. To book visit or call 01643 704450



You can follow Dan on @DeptOfAbility

WORDS WIN WARS Dan White, creator of the amazing Department of Ability superheroes and dad to Emily, who is 13 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.

“By delving into the past, I inadvertently found the points in my life where my mental illness began.”


s I write Mental Health Awareness Week is beginning. Mental health acceptance is finally being allowed to venture into the light. With a staggering one in four of us experiencing mental health issues at some point, you could be forgiven for thinking that in our community of care that stat should be four in four.

I have suffered from mental health issues since I was a teenager. Lately, I have been head down, pouring my past struggles into prose, in the hope of publishing it. By delving into the past, I inadvertently found the points in my life where my mental illness began. However, it has taken becoming a parent to a disabled child to exacerbate everything, not because of my daughter’s existence, but because of society’s attitude, and the neverending struggle to simply allow her access to all she is rightly entitled to. Stressful life experiences, including lack of social support and having to plan for the future of your disabled child, are the rains watering the seeds of depression. In the space of the 13 years of her life, I have fallen to the point where I was under the watch of appalling local mental health services, I have seen my depression metamorphose into bipolar disorder, felt the intense burn of anxiety, allowed my weight to fall to dangerous levels and listened to the darkest voices in my head, encouraging and pushing me to the edge. Constant campaigning online and in the media has also fed the darkness. Trolling on Twitter, messages of hate and threats on Facebook messenger from other families, all attempting to crush what simple mental strength I have left. I have been rescued by family and

friends from the edge so often, the guilt of laying this on them palpable.

I know I am not alone in feeling this way, it seems depression and its cohorts are the unwanted gifts to us all as we do our damndest to make life the best for our collective children. We have to be the ones to fashion the change for them. Left to the powers that be and the system, we would be still in the dark ages. We fight, love, work, worry and grab a few hours sleep. We push away thoughts of the future for our children when we are not there. We busy ourselves with want and rights and all this combines to feed a condition that is allowed to flourish through lack of investment and ignorance. Our children come first, every time, but we must learn to function. There are numerous ways to cope with mental health problems. This community, I have learnt recently is there for you 24/7. We must be more open, with ourselves and friends, there is no shame in depression. If you are still reading, don’t be silent, stay in touch with people, try mindfulness, it’s not a cure but it can help centre your thoughts. You are not alone, there are thousands of us in similar situations, reach out, our stories are similar, our lives entwined, words win wars, every time. Being a parent with a mental health problem does not make you a bad parent. Children living in a household with parents suffering a mental illness does not mean that child will experience abuse or negative consequence. In fact nearly all of these children go on to achieve their full potential in life. Yes, thanks to you and your love, the spectre of depression may appear at times, but it will not win, no, humanity and family will. Remember this, it may be raining now, but the sun always comes out again.




DINNER WINNER PLATE Turn mealtimes into a game with this innovative tray that separates each step into a manageable portion of food. Intersperse your kids favourite morsels with some veg and watch it all get gobbled up as they move along the game to the last space where they are rewarded with a tasty treat!







KONFIDENCE SWIM JACKET Keep your little ones happy and confident in the water with a safe and secure swim jacket. These little jackets will keep the kids buoyant and warm in the water and the highlighted yellow back offers some peace of mind to parents looking out for their little swimmers.


If your child has an aptitude for science why not try these brilliant building blocks. Between 20 blocks all 118 elements are displayed in bright blue, purple, green, red, orange or pink and they also include the atomic number and symbol. Fantastic learning tool for kids to interact with.




PLUSH ORGAN CUSHIONS Struggling to explain an illness, disability or surgical operation to your child? Perhaps these cosy little cushions that have been made in the form of body organs will help – we know they are a little weird, but they could be just the ticket when discussing difficult topics with your kids.






RAINBOW GLOW RATTLE This clever little rattle changes colour when your baby gives it a shake, watch it change through three different shades and mesmerise your baby. The perfect size for little hands, it has an easy-grip handle, is soft and supple, and can be chewed on safely too!

These cute little socks come in packs with two pairs and are available in a range of different designs, so you can be sure to find one that will appeal to your child. Non-skid soles prevent slipping, seamless toes ensure comfort and pull up loops help aid independence.





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If you are looking for some fun this summer and have a bit of a thrill-seeking side, then Calvert Kielder may have just the ticket for you. They have announced the arrival of their amazing latest attraction – the Kielder ZipCoaster.

With a zero gravity drop and a 270° bend, Europe’s first AvatarOne™ rollercoaster zipwire is guaranteed to please all daredevils this summer. The patented technology mimics the ups, downs, twists and turns of a rollercoaster and the free-flying sensation of a zipwire to give riders the ultimate experience. Using an adapted rollercoaster rail, the custom-built Kielder ZipCoaster sees those brave enough to get on board harnessed into a seated position as they glide amongst the trees, dipping and twisting at speeds of up to 20mph. Peter Cockerill, CEO at Calvert Kielder said: “We are delighted to share news of the Kielder ZipCoaster. It has taken months and months of hard work and determination from the team so we’re all now absolutely ecstatic to be able to finally confirm what we’ve been working so hard on and see the project nearing completion. “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the Calvert experience here in Kielder. We heard about the ZipCoaster in Florida and knew that we had to bring it to the UK. Visitors can expect a really exhilarating new experience.”

The Netherlands-based SkyWalker Adventure Builders team worked exclusively with Calvert Kielder to deliver the bespoke ride, which includes a 270° bend and zero gravity drop, in order to make the most of the stunning surroundings and fantastic views on offer. In line with the organisation’s commitment to accessibility the ride will be suitable for all abilities with a dedicated lift enabling wheelchair users to also use the ride from early summer.

Calvert Kielder provides the opportunity to access a range of amazing and increasingly challenging experiences and activities. The centre also boasts several accommodation options and is home to the SkyDen, a unique tree-house collaboration with TV’s George Clarke. If you are keen to live on the edge this summer visit calvert-trust. or follow Kielder ZipCoaster on Facebook and Twitter to find out more.




LIBRARY Words by Colette Carr


e all know the importance of literacy and ensuring our children are exposed to the wonderful world of storytelling from a young age to ensure they enjoy the early learning experiences and unleash their imagination.

EL DEAFO A loose biography about author Cece Bell’s deafness in the graphic novel El Deafo, all the characters in the book are bunnies, explaining the irony in an interview saying, “what are bunnies known for? Big ears; excellent hearing.” The plot is described as: “While the hearing aid enables her to hear the world around her, it also distances her from some children her own age because she is seen as “different”. This causes both frustration and depression in Cece, as she is desperate to find a true friend but frequently feels that she has to accept poor treatmeant from others being afraid of losing what few friends she has. She deals with these feelings by treating her hearing aid as a superpower, as it gives her the ability to hear everything. She adopts the secret nickname El Deafo.”

DIFFERENT IS AW E S O M E A great children’s story about a young boy and his older brother who only has one hand, this brilliantly illustrated book is ideal for children with amputations or living with a family member who has one. It helps normalise it and allows children to see what you can do with an amputation.


Children’s books are also so much more than introducing children to the written word though. They are a doorway to play, friendship and understanding the world. And that world involves disability, so why shouldn’t the bookshelves our children are immersed in involve it?

MEET CLARABELLE BLUE Clarabelle Blue is a “sweet 3-yearold with MUCHO moxie” who also happens to use a wheelchair. The fun and easy to follow story follows the titular character Clarabelle Blue and how “She’s determined to show her new friends that just because she’s in a wheelchair, doesn’t mean she can’t have fun too!” She tells her friends and classmates, “I’m Clarabelle Blue, and I’m just like you”.

W E ’ L L PA I N T T H E OCTOPUS RED When six-year-old Emma is awaiting the birth of a new brother or sister, she begins to imagine all the fun adventures they will undertake together. As Emma and her dad begin to process what her new little brother Isaac having Down’s syndrome might mean, Google Books writes, “Finally she asks, “If Isaac has this Down thing, then what can’t he do?” Her dad thinks about it, then tells her that as long as they are patient with him, and help him when he needs it, there probably isn’t anything Isaac can’t do.” At the end of the book, there is a list of common questions for young siblings welcoming siblings with Down’s syndrome into the family to help understanding.

WE’RE AMAZING 1,2,3! A Story about Friendship and Autism American TV sensation Sesame Street hit the headlines when they introduced a new character with autism into the cast, and has been working tirelessly to raise awareness and understanding ever since. Starring Elmo, We’re Amazing 1,2,3! explores autism. “Elmo introduces his longtime friend Julia to Abby, who’s a little confused at first because Julia isn’t saying hello. Elmo explains that Julia has autism, so she does things a little differently.” The book helps readers to understand that people may act differently but everyone is amazing.

QUESTIONS AND F E E L I N G S A B O U T: H AV I N G A D I S A B I L I T Y A brilliant picture book, the approachable and comforting illustrations and words have seen the book being described as, “A perfect aid to help children open up and explore how they feel and steps they can take to help them cope.” The inclusive and accessible book allows children with and without disabilities to understand, open up and explore how they feel and ways to help them cope.



INSURANCE? Buying a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) or getting a car adapted to meet your exact needs can be a huge investment. It’s important to have protection for any modifications and adaptations when you take out insurance cover. Looking for insurance on price comparison websites will bring up all the big-name mass market insurers, but they may not offer the specific protection you need to cover any costly adaptations. Unlike many insurers whose policies only pay out a market value based on the car’s list price; specialist disability insurers cover a range of modifications. This means that if you need to make a claim on your disability car insurance following an accident or theft, your policy will pay for the repair or replacement of any adaptations you’ve told your insurer about.

for blue badge holders and people with WAVs. Their cover offers protection for you, your vehicle’s adaptations and any mobility equipment carried in the vehicle as well as including UK breakdown recovery as standard.

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COLUMN Words by Rio Woolf


he football season is over, but it’s been a fantastic couple of months for Watford FC – I’ve been to so many games home and away! I got the coach up to Manchester with my dad for my first game at Old Trafford – it took five hours each way and although Watford lost 2-1 to Manchester United, we were by far the better team! We went to Wembley for the FA Cup semi against Wolves - I wanted to leave in the seventieth minute but my dad persuaded me to stay and he was right – we scored in the eightieth and ninetyfifth minute to win 3-2! We also went to see Watford vs Arsenal (my dad’s a Gunners fan!) and although we lost 1-0 with 10 men, we still played very well.

We had our Year 6 residential trip at PGL Liddington the week before the Easter holidays – I shared a room with three of my classmates – the food was good and we had fun. We did lots of activities in the rain – the climbing wall, the zip wire, the giant swing and obstacle courses. In the evening there was entertainment – we played great games and quizzes. In the Easter holidays I went to lots of camps - I had an awesome time at the TetraBrazil Soccer Camp, the Excel Football Camp and the EHRS Camp outing to Jump-In! I also went to the Watford players’ signing at the new Intu Watford Hornets Shop - I met Mariappa (who has a son called Rio!) and I was reunited with the captain Troy Deeney, who I first met when I was six – I switched on the intu Watford Christmas Lights with him and Lloyd Doyley in November 2014 when I won Watford’s Local Hero – I was really happy he remembered me!




When I went to Dorset Orthopaedic to get cast for a new socket, I put in a special request to my prosthetist Matt for a Watford design, and Danny in the workshop did an amazing job – I love it! I wore it for my early 11th birthday outing to the game against West Ham and even though we lost 4-1, it didn’t reflect how the game was played. SATs week finished on a high as I was in The Watford Observer! It was really cool that they did a nice story about my Watford prosthetic leg, and then ITV London News asked me to do some filming. It was fun showing off my leg and my Watford FC bedroom - I scored a few goals in the garden and my dog Rosso wore his personalised Hornets shirt that I bought him for his first birthday! The next day I went to the FA Cup Final at Wembley and although it wasn’t the result I hoped for, I really enjoyed the whole experience – I’m so proud of my Hornets heroes! Here’s to a great 2019/20 season – come on you Horns!



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Nottingham Music Hub announces new approach to supporting access to music for disabled children Words by Colette Carr


n exciting new initiative will see the Nottingham Music Hub launch a brand-new pilot that will seek to ensure disabled children are able to fully access and participate in music at primary school. Whole Class Ensemble Tuition run by NMH, is looking to tackle the barriers into music young people with disabilities face. Research recently conducted by a consortium of leading access to music organisations found a lack of knowledge about the existence of adapted instruments is one of the major barriers to ensuring opportunities for disabled children exist. The study concluded that essentially all musical instruments can only be played by using two dextrous hands, meaning that without making reasonable adjustments or employing adaptations, many disabled children cannot participate.

Despite the Department for Education’s commitment to “equality of opportunity for all pupils, regardless of … whether they have special educational needs or disabilities”, the Consortium found that no national data set exist on levels of participation in music by disabled children.

traditional instruments can be adapted for any number of disabilities, but that’s only half the story

Their survey’s findings also show that less than 25% of parents with disabled children and only 54% of music educators responding to the survey agreed with the statement: “I know how and where to source an adapted musical instrument”. The new initiative being launched by NMH in partnership with Creative United and The OHMI Trust in June aims to identify and respond to the specific needs of all children in Year 3 of mainstream primary schools across Nottingham, ensuring that they are able to take part fully in the Whole Class Ensemble Tuition


The pilot has been initiated by Creative United, which operates the Take It Away scheme, an Arts Council England funded initiative dedicated to making the purchase of musical instruments and equipment and accessories easier and more affordable for parents wishing to support their child’s learning. If successful, the partners hope their approach will be adopted more widely, helping to substantially increase the number of disabled children being actively encouraged to participate fully in learning and playing music from an early age.

“. . . dedicated to making the purchase of musical instruments and equipment and accessories easier and more affordable for parents wishing to support their child’s learning.” that forms part of the standard curriculum of education in Year 4. Rachel Wolffsohn, general manager of charity The OHMI Trust, which is dedicated to music-making for physically disabled people, said: “OHMI has shown that traditional instruments can be adapted for any number of disabilities, but that’s only half the story. We desperately need projects like this one with the NMH and Creative United, to bring the instruments and teaching skills to the children. We are really excited to be a part of it.” Ian Burton, Chief Executive of the Nottingham Music Hub said: “We genuinely believe that music is powerful and can have a transformative impact on children. Nottingham Music Hub is committed to sharing the joys of music making with all children and our teaching strategies are designed to be inclusive.  Since we started working in the city, the number of children learning instruments has gone up exponentially and we want to make sure that this includes disabled children and children with special needs because everyone deserves the opportunity to make music.”




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well, it has been great to try out all the different sports, it’s been absolutely fantastic. Since I had my injury I haven’t really been involved in too much and this has been a great week to try out everything that I didn’t even think was possible to do in a wheelchair, including wheelchair fencing, which I didn’t even know existed 12 months ago! It’s been absolutely great to be in an environment where people are in a very similar situation to me where they’ve just been under a year injured, it’s been fantastic and I have made lots of new friends, so I’ve really enjoyed it,” commented Chris. Chris was scheduled to begin a new job at Price Waterhouse Cooper just after his accident.


heelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, recently welcomed 136 newly paralysed men and women from 15 spinal injury units from across the UK and Ireland to the 32nd Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium from 9-11 April 2019. Each competitor had a different story to share as to how they became paralysed, and while some had never played sports before, all were willing to give the massive 26 different sports and physical activity sessions a try, before competing against the Spinal Unit teams. The flagship event culminated in a gala dinner and awards ceremony for all participants, sports leaders and supporters of the event to celebrate the achievements and effort


of all the participants and winners. The participants received expert coaching and demonstrations from leading wheelchair sports athletes and experienced coaches. ‘Havea-Go’ sporting activities included: wheelchair basketball, athletics, wheelchair badminton, wheelchair fencing, handigolf, archery, boccia, wheelchair rugby, shooting, cue sports, powerlifting and for the first time adapted and wheelchair yoga.

“I got a lot of nice messages from the football community like Jose Mourinho, Eden Hazard, Michael Owen and Javi Hernandez, and now I’m back home living with my fiancé and doing two days a week at work with PWC (Price Waterhouse Cooper). I had the accident two days before I was due to start my new job and they have been fantastic, they were in contact with me when I was in intensive care and said whatever happens there’s a job waiting for me, when I was ready and they had their own internal

Chris Keogh, an amateur footballer who became paralysed after dislocating his neck playing, took part in the Games. “It’s been going very



It’s been absolutely great to be in an environment where people are in a very similar situation to me

doctors give me a look over, they’ve been absolutely fantastic,” Chris continued.

try a wide variety of sports and activities at this year’s Inter Spinal Unit Games.

Chris’ message to other people out there with a spinal cord injury is encouraging, saying: “Get here, 100%, don’t miss it. It is a great opportunity to get into sports, there are so many sports to try and I’m sure you will love one of them, it might be something unexpected like table tennis, I didn’t think I was going to be this good at table tennis but I’ve really enjoyed it. I couldn’t recommend the Games highly enough to anyone, I think it’s a fantastic event and I would definitely encourage everyone to come to try it out.”

“The patients with spinal cord injuries have discovered first-hand what they are able to achieve in terms of sports participation and leading an active life after injury. WheelPower want all of the participants to return home from the Games full of confidence and with the desire to continue playing sport and being active. WheelPower will continue to support them to find an activity they love in their local area or a pathway into sport.”

WheelPower’s Chief Executive, Martin McElhatton is pleased that the charity, through generous support from donors and sponsors, was able to host another successful Inter Spinal Unit Games, where participants like Chris Keogh were able to enjoy the incredible benefits of taking part in wheelchair sport. “At WheelPower our aim is to transform lives through sport and it is encouraging to see that, once again, all the participants thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to

Pasan Kularatne, Head of Sport and Physical Activity comments, “sport has incredible physical and mental benefits to people who have experienced a life changing spinal cord injury. At WheelPower we offer an opportunity through the Inter Spinal Unit Games for participants to find a sport or activity which suits them and can help them see a positive future with sport as part of their new life. Our ongoing programme to support people with spinal injuries supports them during their rehabilitation and in the future.”


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RIGHTS Words by Jane Hatton

As disabled people, we have rights under legislation, and it’s important to know what they are. We are in a better position to defend our rights if we know what they are.

THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 The relevant law is the Equality Act 2010. You’re considered to be disabled under this act if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. ‘Substantial’ means ‘not trivial’, and ‘long-term’ means the condition has lasted, or is expected to last 12 months or longer. You are also considered disabled from the day you are diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis. YO U A R E P R OT E C T E D BY T H E AC T I F : you have a disability (under the above definition) someone thinks you have a disability (this is known as discrimination by perception) you are connected to someone with a disability (this is known as discrimination by association) Remember that it’s not just physical impairments which are included. The Act covers conditions such as autism, mental health conditions and learning disabilities too.

W H AT I S C O V E R E D ? The Act protects you from discrimination in a number of areas, including employment. Under employment it covers the following areas:

REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS Employers have a legal requirement to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to prevent you being put at a disadvantage compared to non-disabled people during recruitment and in the workplace. This can include providing assistive technology, flexible hours, or different ways of working (depending on the role and the needs of the business). Access to Work can help identify and pay towards adjustments in many cases. Failure to make reasonable adjustments is illegal, although the definition of ‘reasonable’ can be open to interpretation.

RECRUITMENT Employers can only ask you about your health or disability during the recruitment process for the following reasons: To help decide if you can carry out a task that is an essential part of the work To help find out if you can Take part in an interview

Application forms

To help decide if the interviewers need to make reasonable adjustments for you in a selection process

Interview arrangements

To help monitoring

Aptitude or proficiency tests

If they want to increase the number of disabled people they employ

Job offers Terms of employment, including pay Promotion, transfer and training opportunities Dismissal or redundancy Discipline and grievances

If they need to know for the purposes of national security checks You may be asked whether you have a health condition or disability on an application form or in an interview, but if it’s not for any of these reasons you are not legally obliged to answer (although you can choose to do so, if it is in your interests). Interestingly, it is always lawful to treat a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person (and quite right too!). For further tips, and jobs from inclusive employers who are looking to attract more disabled candidates, have a look on the Evenbreak job board (


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Email: Vapor Ricon Europe Ltd. Falcon Works, Meadow Lane, Loughborough, LE11 1HS


Tel: 0161 793 5934 Full details on our website,


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!



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











Copyright © 2011 Peter G Sharp


ACROSS 7 Set free (8) 8 Horse’s gait (4) 9 Difficult question (7) 10 Among (4) 11 Flowing water (6) 12 Composer of “The Messiah” (6) 14 Hedge plant (6) 16 Have no obligation to (6) 18 Increases (4) 20 Nightclub (7) 21 Midge (4) 22 Compulsive slimmer (8)

DOWN 1 Duce (8) 2 Lower (6) 3 One skilled in algebra, for example (13) 4 Directory of contact numbers (9,4) 5 Achieve (6) 6 Central Chinese desert (4) 13 Physicist (8) 15 Calls on (6) 17 Weirder (6) 19 Ridge of sand (4)

















































When they invented cheerleading, all cheerleaders were men

Solutions to Apr/May crossword

£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 Jul 2019.

It dates back to the 1800s George W Bush was a cheerleader WWW.POSABILITYMAGAZINE.CO.UK


Kidz to Adultz Wales & West Thursday 4th July 2019 9am - 4.30pm Thornbury Leisure Centre, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BS35 3JB

One of the largest FREE UK events supporting children & young adults up to 25 years with disabilities and additional needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them.

100+ Exhibitors

Free CPD Seminars

Children Welcome

Register online for your FREE entry ticket - Tel: 0161 607 8200 Email: #kidztoadultz






CORNWALL COASTAL GETAWAYS  Fully accessible suites and rooms  Self-catering villas and apartments  Indoor pool with hoist  On-site restaurants


Two specially converted wheelchair accessible detached cottages. ● Ensuite wetrooms ● Electric profiling beds ● Hoists ● Riser/recliner chairs

● Shower chairs ● Air or pressure mattresses ● Local care available ● Adapted kitchens

We are only 15 mins from Truro and 30 mins from the Eden Project, making Treworgans the ideal place to explore this beautiful county.

01726 883240 / 07762 173860

The Classified section is a great way to advertise your business to over 156,000 people within the disabled marketplace


0141 456 2960

ability Nothing is Impossible...



Expert travel reviews to help you make the best choice when booking your holiday.


An innovative mix of products to support you in everyday living.


Regular columns and features on getting your dream job. Providing advice on CVs, interview tips and much more.


Inspiring tales from our readers.


Exclusive competitions that give you the chance to win dream holidays, amazing products and once in a lifetime experiences.


We look at sports and activities available for you to get involved in to help you lead a healthy lifestyle.


SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Every issue is packed with information designed to help you live life to the full, from products and sports to holiday ideas and employment advice, so make sure you don’t miss out on any future issues and subscribe today! Like us on Facebook Search for ‘PosAbility Magazine’ Follow us on Twitter @ PosAbilityMag


Great ideas for the whole family to enjoy.



... Nothing is Impossible Jun/Jul 2019







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Contact us...

PosAbility Magazine, Caledonia House, Evanton Dr, Thornliebank Ind Est, Glasgow, G46 8JT Tel: 0141 465 2960 Fax: 0141 258 7783


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PosAbility – Jun / Jul 2019  

PosAbility – Jun / Jul 2019