Ability Needs Winter Q1 2024

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ABILITY NEEDS

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The essential journal on disability

WINTER Q1 2024

£2.00 Quarterly Motoring & Mobility

Adapting Your Home

Exhibitions

Team BRIT

Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE

_ keep on moving


50 Years Supporting 20 - 21 March the2024 disability NEC Birmingham community

National Accessibility, Inclusion & Disability Expo

10,000 Attendees

CELEBRITY APPEARANCES L I V E PERFORMANCES NAIDEX MARKETPLACE

MOBILITY TEST TRACK

VILLAGE GREEN

ADAPTIVE CLIMBING WALL

SEMINARS AMAZING MAKE A CHANGEMAKE A CHANGEMAKE A CHANGEMAKE A CHANGE 200+ INNOVATIVE EXHIBITORS

AND MORE!

Visit www.naidex.co.uk to find out more!

Lucy Edwards

Ian Taverner Mr Cookfulness!

Dr Shani Dhanda

Join the Naidex Community! How can you get involved?

For exhibiting & sponsorship enquiries contact: sales@naidex.co.uk For speaking & partnership enquiries email: marketing@naidex.co.uk Scan the QR code to register for free to Naidex 2024

20-21 March 2024 NEC, Birmingham


The ‘Air Comfort System’ evenly distributes the occupants weight, ensuring there are no major pressure points that can restrict circulation.

Feels like sitting on a cloud. Occupational Therapist, Bristol

For more information on the chair and full range of accessories, visit silvalea.com.

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ABILITY NEEDS

ABILITY NEEDS

The essential

WINTER Q1

journal on disabil ity

Motoring & Mobility

2024

£2.00 Quarterly

Adapting Your Home

ABILITY NEEDS

Exhibitions

Front cover ph otograph court TOPRO esy of

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7 Montgomerie Terrace, Contents 2 Motoring and Mobility Ayr, KA7 1JL - Featuring the latest vehicles and products available in the mobility marketplace Tel 01292 287574 View Fax 01292 266656 24 -Tanni’s Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE – With the sad news of the passing of

email: abilityneeds@btinternet.com web: www.abilityneeds.co.uk

Team BRIT

_ keep

on moving

Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE

Alan Benson, disability rights campaigner and expert on accessible transport, Tanni discusses how difficult it can be for disabled people to use public transport

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Eddie Peacock

- The king, the watchmaker and the plumber! – Eddie takes us on a brief journey on the history of mobility products with wheels, which was the platform for the huge choice of equipment we have today

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All Rights Reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors and omissions. No responsibility can be accepted by the publishers for any claims made by the advertisers in this publication.

Industry Insight

- The Major – Angus compares his experience in his Army days with ‘The Major’ and how the public sector of today could learn from his way of working

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Team BRIT

- A Home fit for our Team/Japanese Superbike Racer joins Team BRIT for Season Finale – Al Locke tells us about the new Team BRIT HQ in Washington, North of Sussex and we hear about the visit of Takuma Aoki from Tokyo, who joined Team BRIT for the final race of the season

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Tea Break

- Take a break and put your knowledge to the test

Purchase a digital copy of Ability Needs at www.magzter.com

Follow us on

@ManageAtHome

0800 910 1864

Our range of products are designed to promote independence at home and manage daily living more easily.

10% OFF Profiling Beds & Mattresses

with code:

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Claim your discount today at

www.manageathome.co.uk 2

Ability Needs Magazine


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Get out there with Triride

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RIRIDE ARE A market leader in the production of Power Add-on devices. Whether you want full electrical assistance, or a Hybrid assisted handcycle we have you covered. Simply attach to your manual wheelchair in seconds and discover a new Freedom.

The Triride Special Compact HT with all road tyre is a great all-rounder providing full electronic assistance. Small, compact, packed with plenty of power to tackle those steeper inclines and handle some off-road use, but small enough and light enough to transport in the boot of your car.

If you are looking for a more physical challenge the Triride Tribike Hybrid provides a simple fun way to keep active and enjoy the road ahead. A hybrid customisable power assist system offers electrical assistance when pedalling which makes tackling those hills a breeze. Combines with a choice of gearing and tyre options the Tribike provides great versatility for most terrains. You even have an ondemand throttle to help get you started on those steeper inclines. If you’re looking for a more compact option, we also have the Tribike Hybrid available with a 16” wheel providing a super compact footprint and its lightweight frame make the Tribike Hybrid a great transport option. Whether you need full electric or the active hybrid option, enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. Find out more information on www.triride.uk

F R E E D O M

Triride technology compliments the drive performance with Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Braking System makes driving with family and friends a breeze. Paired with Triride’s patented attachment method, fitting to most manual wheelchair is possible and customisable to each individual user requirements. Ability Needs Magazine

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Urmston School Receives Variety Sunshine Coach Thanks to the Michael Josephson MBE Charity Ball

Michael Josephson MBE with students of Delamere School and The Lumistella Company’s The Elf on the Shelf mascot

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ELAMERE School in Urmston has received a fully accessible Sunshine Coach from Variety, the Children’s Charity, thanks to a generous donation from the Michael Josephson MBE Charity Ball 2022, supported by The Baker Family Charitable Trust.

Variety, the Children’s Charity’s famous Sunshine Coaches are specially adapted, accessible minibuses that cater for SEND schools and other non-profit organisations working with disabled and disadvantaged children and young people. The charity also helps disabled and disadvantaged children by providing wheelchair and specialist equipment grants, as well as experiences on their Variety Great Days Out programme. Philanthropist Michael Josephson MBE is a longterm supporter of Variety, the Children’s Charity and has been named as the charity’s Chief Barker for 2024. His star-studded annual charity ball regularly provides funds to the charity, among others, to help disabled and disadvantaged children in the North West of England. This year’s ball raised a total of £1,063,872, which was split between four main charities. Delamere School’s new Sunshine Coach was funded by last year’s Michael Josephson MBE Charity Ball, with support from The Baker Family Charitable Trust. Delamere School caters to children aged between 3 and 11 years with learning difficulties and additional complex needs such as autism, physical or sensory impairments. Their new coach will allow pupils to continue their education outside of the classroom, get into the local community, and build their confidence. Michael attended the Sunshine Coach presentation along with Lyn Staunton, Development Director of the North West at Variety, the Children’s Charity. Bobby Arora and B&M stores kindly donated 130 selection boxes for the children, making it a day to remember. Lyn Staunton said, “We are immensely grateful to Michael for his continued support and The Baker Family Charitable Trust, who have made today possible. It’s thanks to such generous supporters that we can continue our work to help disabled and disadvantaged children to live their best lives and reach their full potential. “We would also like to thank Bobby Arora and B&M stores for helping to make the day even more magical for the children this festive season.” Christmas themed fancy dress. To find out more about Variety, the Children’s Charity and their Sunshine Coach programme, please visit https://www.variety.org.uk/

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Ability Needs Magazine


- keep on moving

Gym for the less nimble?

0115 846 5406 info@topro.co.uk www.topromobility.co.uk

“Keep on Moving”

We have a Distributor Near You !!

Trust TOPRO for something completely different Responsibility for the next generation Made in Norway

New Year _ Ability Needs.indd 1

18/12/2023 13:09:27


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WELCOME TO SCOOTER STORE LIMITED Scooter Store Limited is an established company with over twenty-ĨŝǀĞ LJĞĂƌƐ͛ ĞdžƉĞƌŝĞŶĐĞ͕ ǁŚŝĐŚ has become very popular especially with the elderly and disabled community nationwide.

The concept is a small, secure store designed specifically for mobility vehicles, to be operated with minimal effort. This provides the user with more independence and effective storage for their scooter at home.

The Scooter Store was designed in response to a demand from the public as many mobility scooter users have struggled to store their scooters in living rooms, communal hallways etc, causing fire hazards and limiting their space. The Scooter Store is a fireproof, theft proof, compact alternative that will enable the user to securely store their scooter.

Our product has been extremely popular with the elderly and disabled community for over twenty-five years. tĞ͛ǀĞ worked with a multitude of local Housing Trusts/Associations, charitable organisations, County, City and Borough Councils to install Scooter Stores across the UK.

All Scooter Stores are manufactured from 2mm steel with a powder coated finish, push button controlled, fully lockable and include a socket for charging the scooter is provided inside the store.

Standard, Double and Bespoke sizes are available. The stores are delivered flat packed to allow installation to awkward sites. Stores can be relocated if required.

We also offer free site surveys to give advice on store locations, hard standing areas etc, if required.

Our Contact Details: Scooter Store Limited, Unit 11 Riverside Business Park, Cambridge Road, Harlow, CM20 2HE Tel: 01279 453565 www.scooterstoreltd.com info@scooterstoreltd.co.uk

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Easily compare vehicles in our improved search tools

e want to make it easier for you to find a new vehicle on the Motability Scheme. Earlier this year we introduced our updated vehicle searches for cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), scooters and powered wheelchairs. We’re always listening to your feedback, so in recent months we’ve been working on even more improvements and have now launched a new comparison feature across all of our searches. How it works The new vehicle comparison function makes it easier for you to compare and contrast vehicles you’re interested in. You’ll be able to compare two vehicles if you’re browsing on a mobile device, or three vehicles if you’re on a desktop computer. The comparison will help you understand the differences between vehicle specifications so you can decide which is most suitable for you. This feature is available across all of our vehicle searches and works alongside the current ‘Favourites’ function. Adding vehicles to your comparison Once you’ve found a specific vehicle you’re interested in, you’ll have the option to ‘Add to

comparison’. From here you can go to the comparison page, keep browsing for vehicles if you’d like to add more, or remove it from your comparison if you’ve changed your mind. Please note you can only compare vehicle models against each other, you cannot compare different product types. For example, you cannot compare a car against a powered wheelchair. If you leave the search and come back later your vehicles should be saved for you to compare, unless you’re on a different device. You can quickly resume your search from the ‘Find a vehicle’ homepage. We’ve also made it easier to find your favourites, which you can now do from the ‘Find a vehicle’ homepage too.

For more information on the Motability Scheme visit www.motability.co.uk

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Ability Needs Magazine


CONVERSIONS

CONVERSIONS CONVERSIONS

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CONVERSIONS

Recognised Converter


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Signs of hearing loss

earing loss often happens gradually, so you might not notice it at first. There are some common signs to look out for. If you’ve suddenly lost hearing in one or both ears, contact NHS 111 or your GP urgently. You could also visit your nearest urgent treatment centre. The cause of your sudden hearing loss might not be serious, but in some cases can be a medical emergency. If this is the case, there is a very short window of time for treatment to successfully restore hearing.

If you recognise any of these signs, we recommend using the RNID online hearing check. It’s proven to be a quick and effective way to check your overall hearing. If the online hearing check shows you have signs of hearing loss, you’ll get a letter to take to your GP, which explains the result. The only way hearing loss can be confirmed is through a full hearing test. An audiologist (hearing specialist) will examine your ears, diagnose any hearing loss and discuss your treatment options with you.

Signs of gradual hearing loss

If you hear sounds in your ears or head

The common signs that you might have hearing loss: turning the TV up louder than others want it finding it hard to follow conversation in pubs and restaurants struggling to hear on the phone often asking people to repeat what they say having your partner complain that you don’t listen to them feeling that other people mumble.

If you also hear sounds like ringing, whistling or whooshing inside your head or ears, this could be tinnitus. Tinnitus is often, but not always, linked to hearing loss.

• • • • • •

If you would like more guidance and support, contact us by telephone on 0808 808 0123 or visit www.rnid.org.uk

AWARD WINNING

• Recommend by Healthcare Professionals ͻ ƚ ,ŽŵĞ ;ůŽŶŐ ƚĞƌŵ ƐŽůƵƟ ŽŶͿ ͻ ƚ ZĞƐƉŝƚĞ ;ǁŚĞŶ ƌĞƋƵŝƌĞĚͿ ͻ &ŝƚƐ ƚŽ Ăůů ĚŽŵĞƐƟ Đ ďĞĚƐ • Fits to all Hi/Lo Care beds ͻ KŶ Ă ŵĂƩ ƌĞƐƐ ŽŶ ƚŚĞ Ň ŽŽƌ • Lightweight – take anywhere • Machine washable • Fits to 200x90cm single bed • Fits to 190x90cm single bed • Fits to 180x90cm single bed

/ĚĞĂů >ŽŶŐ dĞƌŵ ^ůĞĞƉŝŶŐ ^ŽůƵƟ ŽŶ dŚĞ ůŽƵĚ ƵĚĚůĞ ŝƐ Ă ŵƵůƟ ĂǁĂƌĚ ǁŝŶŶŝŶŐ Ͳ DĂƌŬĞĚ Ͳ ĐůĂƐƐ ϭ ŵĞĚŝĐĂů ĚĞǀŝĐĞ͘ /ƚ͛Ɛ ƚŽƵŐŚ͕ ƌŽďƵƐƚ ĂŶĚ ĚƵƌĂďůĞ ĂŶĚ ŝŶ ũƵƐƚ ϱ ŵŝŶƵƚĞƐ ŝƚ ĐĂŶ ďĞ Į Ʃ ĞĚ ƚŽ ĂŶLJ ƐŝŶŐůĞ ďĞĚ ƚŽ ĐƌĞĂƚĞ Ă ƐĂĨĞ ĂŶĚ ĐĂůŵŝŶŐ ƉůĂĐĞ ĨŽƌ Ă ĐŚŝůĚ ƚŽ ƐůĞĞƉ ĂŶĚ ƌĞůĂdž͘

,G8:<,8M<I <;J Tel: 01905 347538 info@spacesaverbeds.co.uk www.spacesaverbeds.co.uk

,ƵŐĞ ĐŽƐƚ ƐĂǀŝŶŐ ĐŽŵƉĂƌĞĚ ƚŽ ĐĂƌĞ ĐŽƚƐ Θ ƐŽŌ ƐƵƌƌŽƵŶĚ ďĞĚ ŽƉƟ ŽŶƐ͘ ,ŽŵĞ ĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚƐ ƚŚƌŽƵŐŚŽƵƚ ƚŚĞ h< ĂƌĞ ĂǀĂŝůĂďůĞ͘ 8

Ability Needs Magazine


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Ability Needs Magazine


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'The Eyes Have It' Launches New Report Calling for a National Eye Care Plan for England to address surging patient demand

HE Eyes Have It is a partnership of Macular Society, Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Association of Optometrists, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Roche Products Ltd. Key stakeholders and experts from across the eye health sector were at Westminster to launch a definitive new report laying out the coordinated action required to improve eye care for patients in England. Across the UK, there are over 2.2 million people living with conditions that cause sight loss. There were over 640,000 people waiting to start specialist ophthalmology treatment in England alone as of September 2023, making ophthalmology one of the largest contributors to NHS waiting lists. By 2050, four million people in the UK are expected to be living with sight loss, and the costs of sight loss to the UK economy are expected to rise to at least £33.5 billion per year. Eye care is the busiest outpatient specialty in the NHS in England, and demand for eye care services is likely to grow as demographic changes mean more people are living with conditions which cause sight loss. Addressing this need is one of the NHS's paramount challenges and why the eye health coalition, The Eyes Have It, has launched this report to highlight current challenges and solutions to support the NHS and improve patient care. “I welcome this foundation report which sets out the blueprint to deliver access to eyecare for everyone, when and where they need it. Also, for what best practice should look like and the urgent need for the government to commit to my national eye health strategy for England. By taking coordinated action across each of the priority areas outlined in the report,

I believe we can make the eye health system fit for purpose,” said Marsha de Cordova MP for Battersea and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Vision Impairment. “I thank the members of The Eyes Have It for their tireless efforts and commitment to improving eye care.” The new report, Laying the foundations for the future of eye health in England, highlights key issues facing people affected by sight loss and identifies 14 recommendations for policymakers across critical themes including: data and connectivity; prevention, diagnosis, and early treatment; equity of access throughout the patient pathway; challenges faced by the eye care workforce; new technologies and treatment models; investment into research for future treatments and the availability of treatments at large. Some of the key recommendations from the report include:

• improving IT connectivity and image sharing between primary and secondary care

• ensuring people living with sight-threatening conditions are supported by trained Eye Care Liaison Officers

• greater utilisation and upskilling of the primary eye care workforce to deliver more care outside hospital

• doubling funding for eye care research Through the report, The Eyes Have It calls upon the Government to develop a much-needed national eye care plan for England, and coordinated action across the four nations to ensure that people living with conditions that cause sight loss receive the best care possible.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK’s leading sight loss charity. We want to change our world so there are no barriers to people with sight loss. For more information visit www.rnib.org.uk 10 26

Ability Needs Magazine


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IS MADE TerryYOUR Lifts has beenHOME manufacturing LIFT lifts in the UK for over 50 years. Our lifts allow people to live safely and independently IN BRITAIN?

for longer in theirTerry own homes. We work with our customers to Discover why Lifts is ensure that theiritsneeds andinrequirements are met with emphasising Made Britain status and what high-quality, safe and reliablethis access solutions. means for you and your We manufacture a wide range of lifts which cover a variety of home lift.

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installation scenarios and user requirements. Our service is ID you know that every component used to conscientious and comprehensive, and we offer a full turn-key build Terry Lifts solution, froma site survey to home extended warranty and aftercare.

lift is manufactured here in Great Britain? This means We design and manufacture all our lifts at our factory in that Terry Lifts has complete Cheshire, in full compliance with British and European control of its supply chain, every element is made Standards. and managed in this country. But why are we telling you this? Quite simply, it The Harmony home lift is an unenclosed through-floor lift means you can trust in the quality and reliability of your for users seated in ahere, wheelchair or on and the liftsuitable knowing that ittravelling is manufactured to British optional fold-down seat.byAvailable four cabin sizes, the This lift European Standards trained,inskilled engineers. isn’t the case for every home lift supplier currently selling capacity ranges from 250kg (39 stone) to 280kg (44 stone). It products in the UK. travels up to 3.6m between two floors. There is no need for a We, however, have been designing and lift shaft so the Harmony canlifts be in installed almost in manufacturing our home Cheshire foranywhere more than home, In usually two days. 50theyears. fact, within we were the first to launch a throughfloor home lift, the Harmony, back in 1988! Since then, we have launched both our Harmony FE and Lifestyle home lifts. We are excited to reveal that we also have a new home lift in development which we hope to launch soon. And this is why our UK supply chain is so important. Over the years we have received numerous requests and questions. Sometimes this sparks an idea for a tweak or development to an existing product. And because our suppliers are on our doorstep, we can react to this, quickly. It’s the same if there is ever an issue, we can act fast and remedy it. There’s no waiting for weeks while the solution crosses the water. This also means we can be flexible – tailoring our lifts to suit specific requirements and tastes. Choose from a wide range of accessories, upholstery, flooring, and even lift colour. While we have a The lift can be customised to suit individual requirements and standard colour range, we have tastes with many optional extras available. the luxury of our very own powder coating facility just The Harmony FE from Terry Lifts is a fully enclosed through yards from the factory door. floor home lift designed for This ease means of use and wepracticality, can access suiting all needs. Users canthousands travel standing, seated, and of colours finishes, Thetogether choice is independently in a wheelchair, or in a easily. wheelchair yours. with a carer. Choose from four models – compact, standard, Our supply chain is huge. longer and longer wider, with optional extras and finishes We use between 50-60 available to suit requirements and individual style.and utilise suppliers regularly every part of British The Harmony FE is designedalmost to minimise footprint and manufacturing, from electronics maximise cabin floor space.and Thishydraulics is made possible as no lift to fabrication, shaft is required. It can be typically in just twopunching days. turning,installed pressing, and Ability Needs Magazine

The Terrya Lifts to name few. TSL 1000 provides independent wheelchair access We are to the home and garden. It travels up to one metre incredibly with bridging steps for up to three steps and can be installed proud to outside of the home while allowing family, friends inside or support British and visitors to continue using the same entrance. The TSL talent. This is 1000ofcan one thebe designed and sized to suit individual requirements. reasons we It can be installed by our experienced engineers in just one applied to day. be Made in Britain accredited. As a Made in Britain member, customers recognise that Terry Lifts products are British-made and are manufactured to the highest standards. The mark promotes trust and confidence. On awarding the accreditation Made in Britain CEO, John Pearce said: “Terry Lifts epitomises the innovation, consistency and resilience that are embedded in the DNA of the British manufacturing sector. Terry Lifts’ existing and potential customers can clearly see that the company’s products adhere to the highest standards and are of truly British provenance.” We know being British made is important to our customers because they tell us so - “We have not hesitated to recommend the product and service provided by Terry Lifts. […] We are also particularly pleased they manufacture the lift here in the UK.” Mrs Drane. So, when itplatform comeslift tofrom choosing your The Melody 3 vertical Terry Lifts is designed home lift, consider the added value for both indoor and outdoor use, providing safe and easy and benefit of buying British. access to the home and garden for users who are travelling standing, independently in a wheelchair, or in a wheelchair together with a carer.

Its unique design means that it is unobtrusive largely due to the lack of a mast or support tower. Custom options mean that it can also be adapted to suit requirements, applications and locations.

Domestic and Public Access Lifts

Over 50 years of design, manufacture and installation throughout the UK Extensive product range of through floor, platform & step lifts Innovative, independent UK manufacturer Full after sales service and maintenance support Accredited members of LEIA

For a quote call 01565 752 800 enquiries@terrylifts.co.uk - www.terrylifts.co.uk 11


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Australian Comedian Adam Hills MBE Donates Gold Prosthetic Foot to National Paralympic Heritage Trust. The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) is excited to announce the generous donation of a gold prosthetic foot by Australian comedian, radio, and television presenter Adam Hills MBE. This unique prosthetic, adorned with the names of the Great British gold medallists from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, has found its permanent home at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre in Aylesbury.

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N the lead-up to the 2016 Paralympic Games, Adam was invited to motivate the Paralympic GB Team. During his speech, he made a bold promise: if the British athletes secured more medals than their Australian counterparts, he would paint his prosthetic foot gold and write the names of every Great British gold medal winner on it. His reasoning was as humorous as it was motivational, noting that "there is no greater incentive for British athletes than to humiliate an Australian." True to his word, Adam has proudly worn this distinctive prosthetic for the past seven years. Adam has been a dedicated supporter of the Paralympic Movement, hosting his nightly comedy show, 'The Last Leg,' throughout the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which has earned multiple series renewals. Recently awarded an MBE for his outstanding contributions to Paralympic sport and disability awareness, Adam continues to wholeheartedly champion the cause. Expressing his delight at the decision to donate his gold prosthetic foot to the NPHT, Adam Hills said, "I've had a foot in the UK for quite some time now, and it's lovely to know that will continue for many years to come - regardless of where the rest of my body is located. I feel so honoured to be a small part of the Paralympic Movement, and I'm chuffed to know that a small part of me will be in the National Paralympic Heritage Centre." The National Paralympic Heritage Trust is equally honoured to display Adam's iconic foot at the Heritage Centre, where it will be accessible to visitors from across the country. Victoria Hope-Walker, Chair of the NPHT, stated, "Adam's generous donation is a distinctive addition to our collection, and we appreciate his dedication to preserving the history and accomplishments of Paralympic athletes. This remarkable prosthetic foot will inspire and captivate visitors, reinforcing the values of determination, courage, and unity that define the Paralympic spirit. With ambitious plans for Adam's foot, we hope that next summer, it will embark on a countywide journey, as other

museums and libraries have expressed a keen interest in displaying it. This initiative aligns with Buckinghamshire’s broader plans to commemorate Paris 2024, as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement." The NPHT welcomes the public to view this extraordinary piece of Paralympic history, now proudly on display at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre in Aylesbury.

About National Paralympic Heritage Trust The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) has been established ‘to enlighten and inspire future generations by celebrating, cherishing and bringing the Paralympic heritage and its stories of human endeavour to life.’ The heritage tells the history of a remarkable movement beginning with the arrival of Dr Guttmann as a Jewish refugee from Germany in 1939 and his appointment to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1943 when he introduced sport for the rehabilitation of servicemen with spinal cord injuries. It has led the way in changing attitudes towards disabled people and influenced the development of new medical, scientific, and engineering technologies. The four founding members of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust are the British Paralympic Association, WheelPower – British Wheelchair Sport, and Buckinghamshire Council. Contributing partners include the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation, the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Discover Bucks Museum Trust, and Buckinghamshire Archives.

Follow @ParalympicHeritage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn or visit www.paralympicheritage.org.uk 12

Ability Needs Magazine


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Contact our sales team for more information

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“My world has become very small”: inaccessible transport blocking disabled people from making 50 per cent more journeys, new report finds

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Disability organisation reveal dire state of transport accessibility nationwide, and make plea for change

new report from leading disability the environment, the study finds. charity,Transport for All, has revealed that A staggering 71 per cent of respondents said they disabled people are making far fewer journeys wanted to use more sustainable modes of transport, but than non-disabled people, with an average of just were prevented from doing so by barriers. Transport has 5.84 journeys per week - a third of the national the highest greenhouse emissions of any sector in the average. UK economy. Investing in accessible public The study showed that, infrastructure is therefore crucial overwhelmingly, this is not an intrinsic in tackling the climate crisis, consequence of disabled people’s and removing barriers would health conditions and impairments, allow millions more journeys to but is due to inaccessible transport. be made sustainable each year. On average, participants said they The barriers identified in the would make 50 per cent more study not only include journeys every week if barriers to infrastructure barriers, such as a transport were removed. lack of step-free access, broken The ‘Are We There Yet?’ report pavements, or local bus cuts, offers a stark account of what day-tobut include information barriers day travel is like for disabled people in as well. 62 per cent of England. From accounts of wheelchair respondents say they have to users being stranded on trains without plan every journey they make to a ramp, to blind people being refused ensure it is safe, and yet the taxis when travelling with a guide dog, information needed to do this is the research shows that access often unavailable, inaccurate, or barriers to transport are rife on every inaccessible. mode of transport, and at every stage Another participant wrote: of the journey. “My partner and I both got on a These issues affect roughly a train. We both use mobility aids quarter of the national population, and and are both hard of hearing. have a profound impact on quality of The train was evacuated but we Barriers to transport for life. One participant wrote, “My world did not hear the announcement. disabled people in 2023 has become very small. I rarely see Nobody came with a ramp to other people or have social get us off. So, we were stuck on interactions. I feel very lonely and bored with life. I the train, with everyone else getting off. We didn't know struggle to get more physically fit or expand my energy why they were.” capacity back to where it was before the Covid-19 Transport for All were one of the leading pandemic because the initial hurdles are so high. I often organisations in the campaign against rail ticket miss out on networking which could progress my career, closures, a policy which they say was symptomatic of a because I struggle to get to in-person events and wider problem: “Disabled people are not listened to meetings.” when it comes to infrastructure planning, and brick by Having to navigate constant access barriers takes a brick, our community has been built out of public life.” significant financial toll on the disabled community as Says Transport for All CEO, Caroline Stickland. “This well. Cost was identified as the single most significant study is part of our broader work to remedy this barrier to travelling by rail and taxi, and 15 per cent of injustice, shining a light on disabled people’s experience, respondents reported being unlawfully charged extra by and setting out what needs to change. taxi drivers due to being disabled. One respondent said: “It is unacceptable that millions of us are still “I need to travel with someone with me and this means I prevented from going out, seeing loved ones, accessing have to pay more, even with a disabled persons railcard, work, education, and medical care because of it is more expensive than for a non-disabled person.” inaccessible transport. It is now the responsibility of According to the charity Scope, disabled people decision makers to listen to our experiences and remove already face an additional £975 a month in living costs. the discriminatory barriers that are holding our Transport for All’s new study suggests that excessive community back.” travel costs have a significant role to play in trapping Transport for All’s ‘Are We There Yet?’ report is disabled people in a cycle of poverty. As the cost-ofavailable in multiple formats on their website, living crisis continues to rip through the disabled www.transportforall.org.uk, and was launched in community, Transport for All is urgently calling on the Parliament in December. The group hopes that the government to expand concessionary travel schemes report will spur decision makers to take action and and provide greater financial support. encourage more people to join their movement for Inaccessible public transport also has an impact on change. 14

Ability Needs Magazine


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Disability cricket: bowler Kearan learnt from spin king Warne

t was Shane Warne who convinced Kearan Gibbs that cricket was the sport for him. Kearan, who has a rare congenital anomaly that led to him being born without hands, met the legendary spinner at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl when he was 11years-old. The sports mad youngster tried football, rugby and basketball at school but fell for cricket having first played with his uncle on a beach holiday. Kearan had developed a bowling action that saw him grip and release the ball from the fold of his elbow – but he was struggling with the technique and becoming disillusioned. “Shane was brilliant. He convinced me to stick with it,” said Kearan, now aged 23, who is a key member of Warwickshire’s cup winning Disability Access team. “When I first started playing cricket I was trying to bowl fast but it kept slipping wide. It was frustrating and I’d started to wonder if I should focus on another sport. “I had been invited down to the nets at the Ageas by Hampshire and the opportunity to meet Shane. He suggested concentrating on spin instead and was kind enough to spend time giving me some advice. “I figured if I was going to take tips from anyone, take them from the greatest! “I took on board his advice. Over time it worked and I’ve developed a pretty consistent action now. I manage to take the odd wicket.” Kearan is too modest. Since joining the Club’s Disability Access team in 2014, he’s scored 384 runs and taken 64 wickets. He also plays club cricket for Astwood Bank CC, Redditch, alongside able-bodied teammates. He’s taken 51 wickets in the last three seasons, with his best haul coming last summer when he took 19 wickets at 4.56 with a best of 4/32. Next season he’ll be part of the Bears side that, for the first time, takes the step up into the national disability D40 hardball league. “I guess I’m one of the veterans of the side at 23,” joked Kearan, from Redditch. “That’s one of the beauties of disability cricket: there are no age barriers. I was able to start playing alongside adults when I was at high school. Cricket was the first sport that really welcomed me, that let me in. “Initially with my batting I tried various adaptations

onto my bat to help me grip it, but it didn’t feel comfortable or even work that well. I’ve got rid of those in the last few years and my batting has really improved, though bowling is still my strongest part of my game. “I’m looking forward to testing myself in the D40 national league. It’s where the top disability players play. And then maybe onto the DPL (Disability Premier League). “I’d love to get into the England side, that’s not off the radar for me. I have aspirations of playing for England and have been involved in development squads in the past.” Warwickshire’s Disability Access team was crowned regional cup champions last August when they rounded off a flawless campaign with victory in the final. They topped the Midlands Division with an unbeaten record before beating Derbyshire Disability CC in the decider. It’s the first time since 2005 that a Warwickshire disability team – featuring players with both physical and learning disabilities – have lifted a trophy. Kearan added: “There are probably people with disabilities living in Birmingham and Warwickshire who feel they can’t play cricket, that their disability excludes them. But I would say come along and give it a go. Start with our Super 1s and see where it takes you. “I’ve come on a lot since I joined. The social side is great as well: there’s a camaraderie and we all get on well together.” Warwickshire Cricket Board runs beginners Super 1s hubs in Edgbaston, Coventry, Castle Bromwich and Knowle, while there are plans to open further sessions in Sutton Coldfield CC, Stratford Upon Avon and Leamington Spa. The Lord’s Taverners funded Super 1s programme – which is free and cricket equipment is provided – also teach life skills, welfare and healthy eating as well as cricket. Rob Eynon, Disability Participation Officer at Warwickshire Cricket Board, said: “Kearan helps bring on the whole squad – been around the game for 17 years – and he’s a coach on the field. “He’s a perfect illustration of what we’re trying to grow at Warwickshire and underlines our message that whatever the disability, cricket is here for you.”

To find out more and get involved: https://warwickshirecricketboard.co.uk/community-inner-city/disability-programme/

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Ability Needs Magazine



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MOTORHOME LIFT MADE DREAMS COME TRUE

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irgitta Kronqvist, a carriage driving competitor from North Yorkshire and wheelchair user, dreamed of exploring the UK and Europe in her motorhome. Yet was struggling to find a suitable vehicle lift that would give her the freedom to travel afar but also stay within the maximum vehicle legal weight limit. Birgitta has been a wheelchair user since 1997 due to a horse-riding accident and found it necessary to have a lift fitted to her motorhome. However, she needed to find a lightweight lift as the vehicle was already close to its maximum legal weight and therefore, if she wanted to travel with more than her assistance dog for company, reducing the weight had to be achieved somewhere. “Birgitta came to us with a really niche issue, but our team were easily able to find a lift solution that worked

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perfectly for her,” said Michael Dickinson, Sales Manager, Vapor Ricon. “The lift that was fitted to her motor home when she purchased it was too heavy and cumbersome, and our Ricon UniLite lift was the perfect solution solving the issue Birgitta had experienced and unlocking the possibility of more travel when permitted to do so.” The Ricon UniLite lift, a product from the Vapor Ricon range, was fitted in an Elnagh CPT motorhome which is a factory made, disabled access motor home with a wide side door to accommodate the lift. The lift design offers an aluminium construction and has electric power rather than hydraulic, further reducing the weight. In addition, it has added safety features including rollstops to prevent a wheelchair or scooter inadvertently falling from the platform. Furthermore, the controls for the lift are handily placed on the handrails for easy, independent operation. A specialist installation was carried out to ensure the floor and ceiling supports were correctly situated for a motorhome installation and to allow easy access to the vehicle and also around the vehicle when the lift was not in use. Due to the lift’s ultra, lightweight qualities Birgitta’s ability to travel was no longer compromised in any way. She, and her assistance dog, are now able to welcome a travelling companion, without fear of exceeding the weight limit in her motorhome. This means that whether she is travelling around England or venturing further afield during the winter to Spain and beyond, Birgitta can be assured that all legal requirements are met and that she can travel safely and with ease of access. Vapor Ricon is proud to offer a wide range of domestic and commercial products to aid vehicular access for those with limited mobility. Further information can be found at www.vaporricon.co.uk Ability Needs Magazine


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Leading charities rally behind campaign to scrap defibrillator tax

COALITION of leading first aid and cardiovascular charities, including the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, have pledged support for a campaign to scrap the VAT on Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), a move which would increase affordability and save lives.

This comes as over 100 MPs and Peers wrote to the Prime Minister and Chancellor last month urging the Government to consider scrapping the defibrillator tax ahead of the Autumn Statement. The Heart Restart Tax initiative is led by the British Healthcare Trades Association and brings together community groups, charities, businesses and MPs to campaign for change. Defibrillators are used to restart a person’s heart in the event of sudden cardiac arrest and early treatment can increase survival rates to as high as 70% if defibrillation is given within three to five minutes of collapse. However, the median distance to an AED from the centre of any given UK postcode is over 700m – an average 19-minute walking distance there and back. Small businesses, community groups, charities and private users must pay added tax on top of all defibrillator purchases – bringing costs up by £200-500 per defibrillator. The campaign is urging the Government to reconsider the tax to ensure that more defibrillators can be installed across the country. Currently, local authorities, the NHS, and specific first aid charities are exempt from VAT on defibrillators, meaning that the tax only hits small businesses and charities, community groups, grassroots sports clubs and private owners. In January, the Irish Government removed the VAT on defibrillators in Ireland in a bid to save lives and reduce pressure on healthcare services. David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British

Healthcare Trades Association, said: “We know that defibrillators save lives, but they are far too few and far between on our streets. This Heart Restart Tax is a tax on saving lives and we’re really pleased to have the support of leading first aid and cardiovascular charities to reinforce that scrapping the VAT on defibrillators is a common-sense solution to a real problem for private users, community groups and grassroots sports clubs.” Lynn Thomas, Medical Director at St John Ambulance, said: “In a cardiac arrest, every second counts. Using a defibrillator is crucial in those first moments and when used quickly can more the double the chances of survival. At St John Ambulance, we know Community First Aid Saves Lives, that’s why we welcome this campaign to empower our communities by strengthening public access to first aid training and equipment that will improve health outcomes and help save lives.” Susannah Kerr, Head of Public Affairs at the British Heart Foundation said: “The UK still has very poor survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests, and that is why it is vital that lifesaving defibs are as available and affordable as possible for communities across the country. “We're proud to support this campaign so that community groups, businesses and charities across the UK can ensure more defibs are where they need to be in the ultimate medical emergency." Patrick Gollop, Director of Red Cross Training, said: “A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time, and survival rates are significantly greater by using chest compressions and a defibrillator quickly. This means much more should be done to increase the numbers of defibrillators across the country and particularly in community spaces; removing VAT on all defibrillator purchases would help to increase affordability and access and save lives in turn.”

The Heart Restart Tax campaign is run by the British Healthcare Trades Association. For more information, please see: www.hearttax.co.uk & www.bhta.com 20

Ability Needs Magazine


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Preparing for the colder weather: advice for powered wheelchair and scooter users

HEN heading out on your scooter or powered wheelchair, you should plan for whatever the weather may bring. Especially in the colder months, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s even more important to be prepared before you head out.

Top tips for scooter and powered wheelchair users: 1. Stay Visible The shorter days mean it’s more likely you’ll be travelling outside of daylight hours. If you need to travel after dark, make sure you’re as visible as possible. Many of the larger scooters have lights, but if yours does not, it may be worth buying a high-visibility jacket or vest so that you’re more noticeable.

2. Protect the battery The cold weather can affect your scooter’s battery so you should try to store your product away from the elements – ideally inside, such as in a shed or garage. If this is not possible, keep it under cover to help prevent the battery from freezing. Remember, a weather-proof storage cover was included in your lease package for when your product is not being used.

3. Check the forecast Always check the weather forecast before you travel. If you have a smartphone, you may want to consider downloading a weather forecasting app so that you can check for any changes whilst out and about. In the event of snow, or where snow is forecast, it’s really best to avoid any journeys that are not absolutely necessary.

4. Plan your route If it’s icy outside, try to avoid any hills by taking an alternative route, and stay clear of rural roads or places you know may be hazardous. This may add more time to your journey but it will be worth it to

stay safe. If you do go on a longer journey than normal, ensure your product is fully charged – you could even take your charger with you in case you need to top up the battery while you’re out.

5. Watch out for kerbs Fallen leaves can accumulate against kerbs and make them appear lower than they are, or even disguise them altogether, so it’s worth using dropped kerbs and designated crossings wherever possible. You should always be careful, and reduce your speed, when mounting or dismounting pavements and kerbs. Your dealer should have explained the maximum kerb height that your product can climb, but if you do not know then please ask your dealer or refer to the manufacturer’s manual.

6. Pre-journey checks Before you set off, we recommend taking a moment to check the following: • Tyres: Are your tyres sufficiently inflated? Are there any signs of damage? If you notice anything, speak to your managing dealer for advice. • Battery: Do you have enough battery charge to complete your planned journey? If you’re in any doubt, you might want to consider delaying your trip. • Clothing: If you break down, will you be warm enough while you wait for recovery? If not, take an extra layer just in case. • Medication: If you take any prescription medication, would an issue with your scooter impact when you next need to take this? If so, it might be worth taking it with you.

7. Speak to your dealer If you have any concerns about your scooter, now is the time to speak to your managing dealer and make sure everything is working as it should. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and get any issues checked out as soon as possible, even if it’s only a minor concern.

For more information on the Motability Scheme www.motability.co.uk or call 0300 456 4566.

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Ability Needs Magazine


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Providing independence & comfort through standing Designed and developed in the Midlands over the past 15 years the Genie V2 is one of the most advanced wheelchairs available. Combining advanced engineering and practical design, the Genie provides independence and comfort for all levels of dependency. At Genie Wheelchairs we pride ourselves on developing practical and affordable solutions that make your day to day life that little bit easier! Appropriate for all levels of dependency from our basic model through to a complete care system tailored to each individual.

The Genie V2 has been designed with your everyday needs in mind, providing upper and lower body support to allow washing, air circulation and relief from pressure pain. The ability to stand opens up many possibilities such as access to previously inaccessible places or even getting back into the workplace as many of our Genie users have, whilst providing everyday health benefits such as aiding circulation and digestion. Standing is an important part of maintaining good health. The Genie can aid in the prevention of bladder problems and assist with bone development and pressure management. The Genie V2 is incredibly easy to manoeuvre, light and compact when stored. It is easily folded away into a cube which is ideal for transportation on planes or in non converted vehicles, enabling you to do more and go further in comfort. Providing independence for yourself and your carer is our main aim. With its range of control options from the attendant control system, which allows a carer or family member to drive, stand and manage comfort to our unique head control system allowing you to use all functions of the Genie just by head movement alone. The Genie V2 comes complete with hygienic, easytouse toilet facilities that can revolutionise your quality of life. All features are removable depending on your needs. When you can sit, recline, stand up and be mobile in safety without leaving the chair the possibilities are endless.

Everyone’s needs can change. All the Genie’s facilities and functions can be added or removed easily at any time to suit your requirements as an individual. Our base unit is easily adapted to accommodate a wide range of additional features, from vehicle docking systems to our unique head control system. And when it comes to one off customization at Genie wheelchairs nothing is impossible, from ventilator shelving to customised seating if you have any special requirements let us know. Nothing is too much when it comes to your comfort and independence.

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Tanni’s View Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE writes for Ability Needs

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e received some sad news this week of the passing of Alan Benson, disability rights campaigner, expert on accessible transport and perhaps how we first bonded, our mutual love of cake. As the Board co-chair of Transport for All (led by disabled people to improve access to public transport and street space) he has been described as an outstanding campaigner. Over the years he has provided me with much support and guidance and a friendly shoulder but was also keen to share his knowledge and understanding of what is quite a complicated sector. He began his career in activism about 13 years ago.

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We had similar views on the long-term impact of the 2012 Paralympic Games. While I believe they were amazing as an event, we both didn’t believe that it had changed the world for disabled people and that there was still a lot to fight for. He was awarded an MBE for services to Public Transport for Disabled People and the Freedom of the Borough of Richmond, of which Sir David Attenborough is another recipient. I was privileged to be asked to attend which was amazing (apart from the fact that I had crashed my chair and had two black eyes, which luckily he didn’t seem to mind too much). He did let me in on some of the photos which was really kind of him. Campaigning for improved public transport is not an easy or a quick thing to try and get across the line and he worked hard between various groups to keep shifting the conversation. He worked with Ability Needs Magazine


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Crossrail managers to ensure it was accessible and he is going to be sorely missed by everyone that knew him. His partner, Yvonne, was ever present and I only saw them about 10 days ago at an event which was for promoting better access. That fight is needed now more than ever as this summer the potential closure of tickets offices has been front and centre of everyone’s mind. There was a consultation which the Government was forced to extend which changed its tone from the potential ‘closure of tickets offices’ to ‘how tickets are sold’. They are in effect the same thing, just the latter sounds a bit nicer. There was a tremendous push back with the biggest response to a public consultation with a huge majority saying that it wasn’t a good idea. What about safety, support and buying the best price ticket? While there are still so many failures on the system (regardless of what booking app you may or may not use), removing more staff doesn’t seem to be a great idea. The idea that staff will be trained and be able do different things seems fine in principle, but as ever the devil is in the detail. The Government have changed their plans, but they might just try and do it in a different way. I still travel by train a lot because of living about 300 miles north of where I work and there are three train

companies that I use more than others. One of them (LNER) had a meeting in Parliament this week, which was well attended by MP’s and Peers. so that they could talk about their plans for the future. For me, making sure that Turn Up and Go (where you don’t have to book) remains important to them and they agreed that it was. Where it affects everyone (like a train delay) there is nothing that I can about this, so it is not something that I tend to get annoyed about. When I experience a worse service than anyone else who is on the train then I do get fed up. I have had a couple of bad experiences in the last few weeks where I haven’t been able to book assistance to a station that was not accessible, which isn’t very helpful. On that occasion I then had to travel to the next station up the line but found that wasn’t accessible either. So I had to go back down the line but was able to arrange for someone to come and get me. Some of this simply isn’t good enough. I tried to think this week what Alan would have done and that is not a bad mark to measure yourself against. Work with the company, yes, but also challenge them to do better. I still can’t believe that we have lost him, but his legacy will live on in everything that disability rights campaigners go on to do.

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Celebrating the boundary-pushers: Nominations open for the 2024 Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List Awards

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he Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List, an annual awards spearheaded by not-for-profit Dimensions, member organisation VODG and sector collaboration My Vote My Voice, has opened for nominations for 2024.

Now in its sixth year, the Leaders’ List is the UK’s first national awards which recognises people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are challenging stereotypes, taking a lead in their lives, and making communities better for themselves and others. It is a unique celebration of boundary-pushing individuals who have achieved something incredible – anything and everything that they’re proud of. From cooking their own dinner to raising thousands for charity to breaking barriers for people with disabilities in the arts, the Leaders’ List celebrates stories of real people who have made a meaningful difference to the lives of themselves or others. This year, the winners will be invited to an extra special event to honour their achievements at Cineworld O2 London in April. Hosted by Greatest Hits Radio DJ Ken Bruce, the ceremony will put the inspiring winners at its heart, offering free entry, supporting them with accessible information and facilities, and letting them take centre stage to get the recognition they deserve. Nominations for the Leaders’ List Awards are now open, and they close at 8am on Monday 29th January 2024. Anybody with a learning disability and autism can enter or be nominated. Nominations can be made online at www.dimensions-uk.org or a more accessible option can be agreed on. The submission forms are available in plain text and easy read, and there’s a Word document available to download to prepare your answers. A team of people with lived experience and inspiring former winners will be judging the awards and selecting the winners. Dimensions is encouraging anyone who feels proud of, or inspired by, someone with learning disabilities or autism to submit a nomination. Rachael Dodgson, Chief Executive of Dimensions, said: “We are incredibly excited to usher in our next cohort of Leaders. We still see so much misrepresentation and underestimation of autistic people and people with learning disabilities across society, so providing a platform to celebrate their achievements remains as important as ever. “Our awards ceremony next spring is set to be a standout event of the year. Have you had an exceptional 12 months? Did you overcome a huge barrier or reach a personal goal? Do you know someone who is particularly creative, strong, or kind? We’d really love to hear about it.” Ken Bruce, Greatest Hits Radio DJ and 2022 Leaders’ List ceremony host, said: “Year in year out, the stories we see through the Leaders’ List are incredible. It is a brilliant kaleidoscope of people pushing forward and building better communities for us all, and it’s always a joy reading about their achievements, spanning arts and entertainment, education, and advocacy. Amidst a news cycle that can admittedly focus on the negatives, it’s great to take a step back and shine a light on individuals who show we can always be doing more for the world around us.” There are four categories for the Leaders’ List, recognising a vast range of achievements of people with learning disabilities and autism: • •

• •

Sports, Arts and Entertainment – celebrating people who have creative and athletic achievements Advocacy, Policy and the Media – celebrating people who are trying to make their communities a better, more inclusive place where everybody is respected• The original poster can then assign a student to the task and are put into a private chat to communicate the finer details. Local Communities – when people work together, brilliant things happen. This award celebrates people who are making a difference to, or getting involved in, their local community Work and Education – celebrating people who are in paid work or are learning new things

The Leaders’ List is supported by VODG and My Vote My Voice, a campaign encouraging people with learning disabilities and autistic people vote in the 2024 General Election. 28

Ability Needs Magazine


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The Changing Face of Specialised Home Care Hello everyone, Samantha here from Happiest at Home. Today, I’d like to talk about something that is very close to our hearts – the changing landscape of specialised home care and the crucial role of dedicated carers.

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n recent years, we’ve seen a significant shift in the home care industry. More and more, people are recognising the necessity of personalised, specialised care for their loved ones. At Happiest at Home, we believe that this is a step in the right direction. After all, every individual is unique, with their own set of needs, preferences, and life experiences. It only makes sense that their care should be just as unique.

One aspect of this personalised approach that we feel strongly about is the importance of having a dedicated carer for each client. Why is this so important, you ask? Firstly, consistency is key in any form of care. By having a dedicated carer, our clients can build meaningful relationships based on trust and mutual respect. This relationship becomes a source of comfort and familiarity, which can significantly enhance the quality of care. Secondly, a dedicated carer is able to gain an indepth understanding of their client’s needs, preferences, and routines. This intimate knowledge allows them to provide a level of care that is truly tailored to the client. They can anticipate needs, respond effectively to changes, and provide the kind of care that feels less like a service and more like assistance from a trusted friend.

Lastly, having a dedicated carer ensures continuity of care. With multiple carers, there’s a risk of miscommunication or inconsistent care practices. A single carer, on the other hand, provides a consistent care experience, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. At Happiest at Home, we don’t rotate our carers. We strive to match each client with a carer who not only has the right skills and experience but also shares similar interests. We call them CarePals and believe that they create a more enjoyable and enriching care experience for both parties. In conclusion, the face of specialised home care is changing for the better. At Happiest at Home, we’re proud to be part of this change, championing dedicated carers and personalised care practices. Because we believe that everyone deserves to be Happiest at Home.

7 Worrying Things You Should Know Before Buying Home Care Navigate the complex world of home care with our insider guide – and get the right result for you and your loved one. Our guide gives insight into what is available, where to look for funding, and how to get a great care outcome, amongst other snippets of useful information. Download the free guide at wearehappiestathome.co.uk/freeguide/ or call our client team on 0345 030 3845 Ability Needs Magazine

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20+ Benefits You Can Claim If You’re Living with a Long-term Disability

ISABILITY doesn't limit potential; it often opens doors to a world of unique advantages that empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives. Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks, an innovative mobility aid company, has revealed a list of over 20 benefits that disabled individuals can take advantage of, some of which may come as a surprise. “As someone who personally navigates life with a disability, I understand the daily trials and triumphs that come with it. My own experiences have driven me to not only provide mobility solutions but also to highlight the often surprising benefits that can significantly alleviate the financial strains faced by the disabled community.” Amelia Peckham, Co-Founder of Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks

Accessibility and Mobility 1. Blue Badge: Disabled individuals can access designated parking spaces and enjoy free parking when displaying a Blue Badge. 2. London Taxicard: Offering discounted black taxi services in London, this card can also be used to book taxis in advance for added convenience. 3. Disabled Person’s Railcard: With the Disabled Person's Railcard, individuals can enjoy one-third off rail fares (with an annual fee of £20). 4. Freedom Pass: The Freedom Pass provides free bus travel, ensuring mobility and independence. 5. Motability: Disabled individuals have the option to use their benefits toward purchasing or leasing a vehicle or mobility scooter through the Motability scheme. 6. Public Transport Assistance: Receive support with an "Offer Me a Seat" badge on public transport and enjoy free seat selection on flights. 7. Access Card: The Access Card, costing £15 for 3 years, acts as proof of disability, facilitating access to various services and venues. 8. Radar Key: The Radar Key, available for free from local authorities and online, unlocks disabled restrooms across the UK without requiring proof of disability. 9. 'Just Can't Wait' Card: A discreet way to request help when needing a restroom, the 'Just Can't Wait' card ensures comfort and dignity.

Financial Support 1. Financial Benefits: Many disabled individuals are eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), providing essential financial support.

2. Access to Work: This scheme is designed to support people with disabilities or a health condition to secure employment. It also offers grants for practical, mental health, and communications support during the process. 3. Council Tax Discounts: Council tax discounts are often available to disabled persons, offering relief on living expenses. 4. Capped Water Bills: Water bill caps help manage utility expenses, making it easier for disabled individuals to budget effectively. 5. Energy Bill Savings: The Warm Home Discount Scheme offers eligible individuals a £150 reduction on energy bills. 6. Vehicle Tax Reduction/Exemption: Disabled individuals can enjoy reductions or exemptions on vehicle taxes. 7. VAT-Free Equipment Purchases: Certain equipment needed to support disabilities can be purchased VAT-free, providing cost savings. 8. Water Bill Discounts: In addition to bill caps, disabled individuals may also qualify for water bill discounts. 9. Disabled Facilities Grant: Up to £30,000 is available through the Disabled Facilities Grant to make homes more accessible. 10. Disabled Student Allowance: Students with disabilities may be eligible for Disabled Student Allowance, offering financial support of up to £25,500 annually. 11. Blind Person's Allowance: A special tax code for blind individuals ensures fair taxation.

Entertainment and Cultural Benefits 1. Discounted Days Out: Carers using Essential Companion Cards and CEA cards can enjoy free or discounted access to National Trust, English Heritage, and UK cinemas. 2. Carer/Companion Benefits: Disabled individuals can access free companion tickets for theatre, cinema, and football matches. 3. Cultural and Entertainment Discounts: Some museums and art galleries offer free entry, and discounts on TV licenses are also available for disabled individuals. These benefits collectively support the disabled community, offering essential assistance in navigating the high costs of living they face, and contributing to fostering a more inclusive and accessible society.

Founded in 2006, Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks aims to empower those who need support to walk. With fun and stylish designs plus innovative design features to provide the most comfortable and safe experience for users, Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks’ products prevent painful injuries and frustrating limitations that often come with regular walking supports. The company was inspired by the founder’s experiences of using regular crutches following a spinal cord injury from a quad bike accident leaving her with a life-altering long-term disability at the age of 19. Further information can be found by visiting www.coolcrutches.com

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Ability Needs Magazine


TAKE BACK CONTROL Move safely up and down steps with ease hen it is no longer easy to move up and down a step either inside or outside your home, it’s time for a little bit of help.

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Introducing Motorstep - the British-made motorised step

Independence matters

The cost effective way to help people to manage steps without bulky ramps or expensive building work.

A step between her living area and kitchen meant that Mrs H was reliant on the local authority and her family for food - even a cup of tea. By choosing Motorstep, she has regained her independence, can enjoy a cuppa whenever she chooses, and has saved thousands of pounds in care costs. Mr and Mrs L love their caravan holidays. When Mr L was no longer able to climb up into the caravan due to his failing health, Motorstep allowed this couple to continue to travel and explore. Today they are out loving life and building happy memories. Freedom to live life again When Mrs J’s deteriorating health condition meant she could no longer manage the two steps from the garden into her home, she found herself isolated and reliant on others to get out and about. A ramp or wheelchair lift were out of budget and unsightly. Mrs J chose Motorstep. 75% cheaper to buy and install than other options, it was in place within 2 weeks of placing the order. Today, Mrs J can easily and safely - leave her home or potter in the garden whenever she chooses.

Product pictured: Motorstep MS 600H

MOTORSTEP effortlessly lifting people inside or outside the home. • • • • • • •

Designed for people with disabilities Free standing - place next to the existing step, no bulky ramps needed! Weather proof Discreetly folds up for storage: set up in seconds Easy touch control button & strong support frame to make lifting easy and safe Mains or battery powered options Multiple lift heights and weight capacities visit www.motorstep.net for more information


AN_p34 Speed of sight_02_AN107.qxd 21/12/2023 15:30 Page 1

Charity reveals it’s exhibiting at Autosport International! Charity, Speed Of Sight, which hosts track days for people with disabilities, will be exhibiting at Autosport International at the NEC in Birmingham from 11th to 14th January 2024 and unveiling their new car!

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peed Of Sight, which will have a stand in hall 2 (stand number 2232), is run by blind race car driver and multiple World Record holder Mike Newman, BEM, and his cofounder John Galloway. Interested participants can have any disability and can drive themselves and an instructor around a racing circuit, the charity hosts track days at various circuits across the UK. The team is trained to help everyone in and out of the cars, which are specially designed and built – two racing cars and three all-terrain buggies – to allow people of all ages with disabilities to enjoy the excitement and thrill of driving. The vehicles, named after Mike’s guide dogs, are specially designed with dual controls and twin steering wheels and the buggies are equipped with hand controls. However, the number of vehicles in 2024 will be rising, as MEV Kit Cars, another company exhibiting at Autosport International, has been building a dual controlled car for the charity, which will be revealed for the first time on the Speed Of Sight stand on the first day of the show (11th). This is all thanks to three companies that have generously provided funding for this new car, Sigma Capital Group, The Ardonagh Community Trust and the Peter Harrison Foundation. Representatives from both Sigma Capital Group and The Ardonagh Community Trust will be on Speed Of Sight’s stand during the event and for the unveiling of the car. Mike Newman enthused: “We’re so excited to be revealing our brand new car at such an incredible event such as Autosport International. We’re so thankful to the sponsors of the car, Sigma Capital Group, The

Ardonagh Community Trust and the Peter Harrison Foundation, without them, this would not be possible! MEV Kit Cars has built such a fantastic car, which will help us allow more people with disabilities to drive around a track – something they never thought they’d do! We’re incredibly grateful to MEV Kit Cars for building this car, and to Sigma Capital Group, The Ardonagh Group and the Peter Harrison Foundation for funding it, it will change so many people’s lives, they have no idea how big of an impact this generous donation will make, we’re so so thankful. “We created this charity because we believe that no disability should get in the way of having the incredible experience of driving a car, which is why, when I was told I would not be able to because I have been blind since birth, I decided to become the fastest blind man – on land, water and in the air! “I did not let my disability stop me and it has changed my life, and that’s what we are trying to bring to every person who has a disability and has been told they cannot do something that is so normal for everyone else. We are trying to bring these driving experiences to as many people as possible, so that’s why we’re so excited to be exhibiting at Autosport International, because there will be so many more people aware of us and what we do. “Sometimes we have people who attend our track days who don’t realise that they’ll actually be able to drive the cars themselves, but when we get them in the seat and tell them how to use the pedals and steering wheel, their faces just light up and they get so excited – it really does amaze me that we’re able to provide that joy to people.”

For more information visit www.speedofsight.org 34

Ability Needs Magazine


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AN_p36_p37_eddiepea_40+44_AN107_Long.QXD 20/12/2023 19:52 Page 1

Eddie The king, the watchmaker and the plumber! Hello again,

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bet that you didn’t know that King Philip of Spain (1527 – 1598) suffered from gout. Was I right? For those of you rolling your eyes or heading for the door, please stay with me. I promise it is relevant and might even keep you interested for a moment or two.

Without drifting too far from the purpose of this piece, please consider who first thought of the wheel. It is widely believed that the wheel was first invented 4,100 B.C. by a group of chaps, with some free time on their hands, in ancient Mesopotamia. There is even evidence that the wheel was also independently invented in China around 2,800 BC. Whoever was responsible, it is fair to say that this was a revolutionary invention that had a profound effect on the development of mankind. Allow me to move on a few steps, and centuries, to our world of mobility. Did you ever wonder who, and how, our current mobility products were developed? Indeed, who first thought of the idea of a wheelchair? Who made the first powered (electric) wheelchair? Furthermore, which busy bee thought of mobility scooters? The answers to these questions are fascinating and relevant to today`s mobility industry and the thousands of us with limited mobility. Well, back to poor old King Philip who struggled to walk far because of his gout. Exercising his powers of rank and importance, he had some subjects knock up a chair with small wheels and, apparently, some upholstery. Being a king, he was then pushed around by a loyal servant. Problem solved. We then move on a hundred years or so until we discover a paraplegic watchmaker in Nurenberg, Germany. Stephan Farfler must have interrupted his

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watchmaking for a while as he invented the first self-propelled wheelchair. We even have a drawing of his creation Now this is not a comprehensive history of mobility $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $ products with wheels, but$ it is worth noting that over the following centuries there were subsequent improvements and adaptations $ ingenuity, $ $ $ $ alongside improving $ $ $ $ $ $ as man’s technology, $ $ $ to$ those $ struggling $ $ We $ $ brought more benefits to walk. $ $ $ $ $ can fast forward $to 1763 and find$ John Dawson of Bath in Somerset. He $ refined $ the $wheelchair $ $ to such $ an $ $ $ $ extent that$ it $was revered and famed for many years. $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ The “bathchair” through $ $was $still$ featuring $ extensively $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ the Victorian era. $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ It is difficult to nail down precise dates for further $ $ $but$ this $ story$ is littered $ with $ dazzlingly $ $ $ $ development, $ individuals. $ $ the early 1930s, $ $ $ $ $ $ $ enlightened In for example, an ingenious$ American $ disabled $ mining $ engineer, $ $ $ $ Herbert Everest, met another equally talented engineer, $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Harry Jennings. $ $ $ Together $ they $ worked$ on a wheelchair $ $ $ $ that could be folded and, They $ $ $ $ therefore, $ $ stored easily. $ $ $ $ $ $ patented their invention and formed Everest & Jennings, $ $$ a company which went on to become a huge, worldJ success. $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ wide What next on$ to the $years$ after $ you may $ ask? Move $ $ $ $ World War 2 when a highly creative $ $ $ Canadian $ $named $ $ $ George Klein the $ recognised $ $ $ need $ for$ an $electrically $ $ $ $ powered wheelchair. George was $ $ $ a$ formidable $ $ $intellect $ $ $ $ and inventor, creating the first surgical staple gun and $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Eddie $$$ Peacock has worked in the mobility

industry for “rather a long time”. He enjoyed a challenging career having started by selling wheelchairs, scooters and stairlifts for Sunrise Medical, eventually working his way to the position of UK sales manager. After a period as a self-employed consultant he was invited to manage movingpeople.net, then Handicare Ltd, in

Ability Needs Magazine


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Peacock realised that he could make a vehicle powered by a Canada’s first nuclear reactor amongst numerous other achievements. It comes as no surprise that Everest & small electric motor that would carry her around in Jennings, using their commercial expertise, soon seated comfort. In the true spirit that links all these mighty men, he set to work in his garage and built the developed a range of powered wheelchairs to the first commercially available mobility scooter. Here he is marketplace, thus creating mobility for the previously a year or two later, still working away in his garage! immobile. Now it is time to introduce a proud Englishman to A very astute pair of English fellows, one of whom, this brief history of the giants of mobility. Ray Hodgkinson MBE, $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ I am proud to count as a personal friend, heard of this exciting development and Bert Greeves was a keen motorcyclist and with his $ $$ $ ventured over to meet Al and his invention. Ray and his disabled cousin Derry Preston-Cobb, in 1948, they P $developed $ a small $ $ car$ for the disabled $ that $ ran $ on $ a $ partner $ Martin $ Corby had already formed their company Raymar and motorbike engine. Just like their American $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ they brought Al`s scooter back here to the $ $ UK market. Hence the Amigo was introduced to the contemporaries, they spotted a business opportunity. In $ they $recognised $ $ that $ there were $ hundreds of $ UK,$ and it is$ fair $ to say, “the rest is history”. Ray, $ $their case $ the $ Second $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ on to be a significant figure in our $ $ $ service men$ after incidentally, has gone invalid World War. They $ the$ government $ $ with $their design, $ $received $ $ and $ we have worked together for the BHTA industry $ $ $ approached $ $ $ (British Trades Association) of which he was some and$ the “Invacar” was $ $ $ $ financial $ $ backing, $ $ $ born. $ $ $ Healthcare $ $ for many years, Director General. Some of you will remember, as I do, these curious blue $ $ $$ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ He is a wise man, and he holds firm views about the three wheeled cars that were prolific on our roads $ $ $ $ $ the 50s$ and $ 60s. $ $ $ $ $ $ mobility $ market which we both consider extremely throughout $ $ $ This$ tale $ continues. important. The importance of safety and responsible $ $ $ When did $ the $ mobility sales practice are subjects that you will have read in these columns for a long time. Our industry must lead $ $ scooter $ arrive on the scene? We are all familiar the way in providing $ $ $ $ $ ethical services to the with these impressive $ $ $ vehicles. We see them less able. Sellers and $ $ $ $ $ buyers have a mutual everywhere, every day. A few years later, over $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $ responsibility to look $ $ $ $ $ in the USA, a heating and carefully and diligently at mobility products before engineer called Al Thieme was experiencing a $ $$ $plumbing $ $ a purchase is made. $ $ “lightbulb $ $moment”. Al happened across someone $using$ a vacuum$cleaner. $ His $ wife $ suffered $ from multiple $ $ $ $ The work $ of$ these $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ and$ inspirational $$ diligent people in this brief history, $ $ $ sclerosis,$ and she was inevitably struggling with her mobility. Being a man of great resource, he immediately have delivered the basis for the amazing choice of $ $ $ S$=#*$9#+/H$2+,#/)$7M#/$&'$,"#$e>S)$+$"#+,&'($+'0$123.4&'($#'(&'##/$-+22#0$S2$ highly technical vehicles that we see today. They $ $ ! $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $provide$ the fundamental $ right of mobility to hundreds of the UK. In recent years he held the post of $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ thousands of less able people all over the world. We Marketing Manager for Mobility which also $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ owe a debt of gratitude to their incredible foresight and involved supporting and working with the $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ industry. $ $ $ $ BHTA. It has been a long $ has $ now$ retired $ and $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ journey from King Philip and his He is looking gout, but what a journey it has been.

$ $ to finding $ $ the $ time $ $ to perform $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ forward To contact Eddie send an email to $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ useful tasks in the industry, playing drums abilityneeds@btinternet.com. or write to him at $ in a blues band, travelling and most important, being silly with his grandchildren. Ability Needs, 7 Montgomerie Terrace, Ayr, KA7 $ 1JL Ability Needs Magazine

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How to talk about hearing loss

or some people, talking to their older family members about hearing loss will be a straightforward chat over a cuppa. But for others – maybe because of a loved one’s sensitivities, or past chats about their hearing health having gone wrong – starting a conversation about hearing loss with a loved one might need more thinking about.

If that sounds like you, family psychotherapist Dr Annette Wilson shares their advice on how to navigate this discussion..

Before you begin Before beginning a conversation about hearing loss with a loved one or encouraging a family member to take the RNID online hearing check, you might want to consider a few different things. First, it’s always good to think about what to say and how to say it. It’s also worth considering how your family member or loved one might interpret your meaning behind the conversation. They might interpret your suggestion in many ways and may have some unexpected (and what might feel to you unreasonable) emotions in response. How you’re both feeling at the time, and what you were doing before the talk, can impact how they react. It’s also a good idea to try and treat every time you raise their hearing health as if it’s the first time.

Talking to family members about their hearing loss Your relationships with your older family members – especially if they cared for you when you were young – can be set in their ways and guide how we continue to communicate with each other as adults. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable to ‘challenge’ the usual way you communicate by making suggestions about their health, as if the normal rules of the relationship are being broken. This means that thinking about the words and the tone we use when having this kind of conversation is particularly important.

Try and understand how they are feeling Similarly, your older family members might feel unable or uncomfortable to be vulnerable with you. Their feelings might be complex, and their responses may feel defensive or abrupt, especially if they’re covering feelings of shame and embarrassment. In our society, hearing loss can feel like something to be ashamed of – something to hide. It’s important to remember that checking your hearing should be a natural part of your healthcare, just like checking your eyesight, or going to the dentist. Starting the conversation with this perspective could help your family member to feel that way, too. Pausing and thinking about their feelings or emotions before starting the conversation could be the difference between a family member checking their hearing or not.

Don’t turn it into ‘a big thing’, and choose your moment to start the conversation We hope the tips above will help you to feel more confident in starting that conversation with your loved one. You are doing the right thing by addressing their hearing health – getting treatment for hearing loss, if that’s the result, will have huge benefits both for them and your family. Just find that relaxed moment, think about what you are going to say, get the kettle on, and have that chat!

For more information visit www.rnid.org.uk 38

Ability Needs Magazine


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VELA Tango Promoting Independence for All! Why choose a VELA Tango? Reduced risk of trips and falls Safety and stability Seated to standing positions with ease Feel included BE INDEPENDENT!

The VELA Tango can support you with:

Safety: Accessible brake provides stability when transferring to and from the chair. Mobility: Wheels are positioned on all four corners for easy manoeuvring.

• Standing up and sitting down • Accessing higher surfaces (science benches, breakfast bars, dining room table) • Cooking and kitchen activities • Eye level interaction • Reaching high cupboards • Transferring to the bed or sofa • Desk/dining room table activities • Manoeuvring around the office, classroom or home

Adaptability: Various seat and back sizes allow the chair to adapt to changing requirements. Electric hi/lo: The chair rises at the touch of a button allowing access to surfaces of varying heights Sit to stand: The electric hi/lo enables users to sit/stand unaided. Footprint: The small footprint ensures easy access through tight doorways, kitchens, classrooms or offices.

As a family business with customer care at the heart of everything we do, we love to hear about lived experiences and see our happy customers using VELA chairs! VELA “Try Out” demonstrations are the perfect way to test

Free of out a chair before purchasing! Visit our website to view the charge range and book a no-obligation appointment ‘Try Out” www.bennett-workplace.co.uk/vela Ability Needs Magazine

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Angus Long

The Major

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N JK Rowling’s ‘The Goblet of Fire’, Professor Dumbledore counsels the troubled Harry Potter, pondering a difficult decision, by telling him: “It is sometimes harder to do what is right, than what is easy...”

Although plucked from a work of popular fiction this is, in my view, an uncanny metaphor for many an attitude and work ethic of today. I’m a great believer in the adage that one’s attitude and outlook is greatly influenced by the education and experience bestowed upon us in our youth. Well, it certainly applied to me 40

and none more so than during my time in the military. Back in the late 1980’s, I was a young soldier in the Army and had the pleasure of working with, and being mentored by, a great many excellent people who taught me much. However, there was one particular officer whose attitude to his role as the ‘Officer-inCommand’ will forever be etched in my consciousness. I’ll refer to him as ‘the Major’ to save his blushes in case he’s reading this. The military, believe it or not, is just like every other public sector organisation and is still required to adhere to various levels of administration, formalities, paperwork and officialdom. Contrary to what many may think, rather than running about in the woods wielding a gun and yelling orders, most senior officers spend a large proportion of their working day behind a desk dealing with bureaucracy and reloading a pen instead of a pistol. Like his peers and fellow officers, the Major had his office and said desk, he even had plastic ‘In’ and ‘Out’ trays in which to place the various work he needed to do and oversee. The Major, however, had a third plastic tray in the middle of the other two, which Ability Needs Magazine


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was labelled ‘Too Difficult’. It was the sort of thing that aroused a certain curiosity, but not the sort of thing a subordinate would ever overtly question the Officer-in-Command. Over time though, we got to know each other better and I was able to engage in less formal dialogue. So, one day my curiosity got the better of me and, with a nervous chuckle, I asked the Major what he put into the ‘Too Difficult’ tray. Slowly and silently, he put down his pen; his light-hearted demeanour instantly disappeared and with a steely look of absolute gravity he told me. He said that it is his job to ensure that when the time comes to go to war, the men in his command are ready and equipped, to the best of his ability, to undertake that task. They are to be trained, equipped, be fit physically and mentally to do the ultimate job. The men under his command are a team that work and live together, where each person’s role, job and function are like links in a chain and that chain is only as strong as the weakest link. It is his job to ensure there are no weak links in his chain. That means making decisions on the best use of the time and resources available to him. Anything that isn’t directly related to ensuring the combat efficiency and welfare of his troops is considered an extraneous or an inconsequential task and so destined for the ‘Too Difficult’ tray. That is because in the military we have a job to do and if we don’t have enough tools and resources we don’t stop, we don’t whinge and we don’t cry. What we do is, we improvise, we overcome, we adapt and we deliver. Therefore, what was put into that tray was anything that got in the way of Ability Needs Magazine

delivering the primary remit of having combat ready, 24/7, a unit of soldiers in the most professional Army in the world. What the Major said to me that day never left me and continues to play a big part in my attitude and work ethic today. Unfortunately, I think that there are too many managers in charge of our various public sector services today that also have a third plastic tray on their desks. However, unlike the Major, they are happier to spend their time, resources and our money dealing with all the extraneous and the inconsequential tasks and leave the job of actually delivering the public services languishing in the ‘Too Difficult’ tray. It seems, due to a huge public sector deficit, we must endure cutbacks to healthcare, security, policing, education, transport, libraries, swimming pools and community centres. Yet, there seems to be plenty of time, money, resources and enthusiasm from senior officials to engage in various vanity projects and crazy woke policies. For example, we now have government departments, town halls, the NHS, schools and universities, to name but a few, diverting finite money and resources on analysing almost every facet of their operations and protocols to ensure they don’t upset or offend anyone from what appears to be, in most circumstances, quite normal behaviour. And of course, ensuring their pay and perks remain unaffected by austerity and any failure to deliver is always the fault of others. For the sake of our country, we need to bring back ‘The Major’. Angus Long is owner of Writers4U Ltd 41


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Sight loss won’t stop Olivia A determined teenager from Castledawson is breaking down barriers for people with sight loss.

LIVIA O’KANE (19) was diagnosed with albinism at birth and is now registered as severely sighted impaired. Albinism is a rare, inherited lifelong condition. People with albinism do not produce sufficient melanin (pigment) and this can affect their skin, hair and eyes. “I get asked about my vision all the time”, Olivia says.” But because I was born with albinism it’s just the ‘norm’ for me. I can see outlines and colours, but not details. I would have to be very close to an object, or touch it, to know what it was.” She added: “I’ve always relied heavily on my hearing. In fact, when I was younger, I would know when my mum had come to pick me up because I knew the sound of her car’s engine!” Olivia is approaching the end of her first term at the University of Ulster, Magee studying Speech and Language Therapy. It’s a notoriously competitive course, with around 600 applicants for just 40 places. She said: “I always enjoyed school, I went to St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt which was wonderful, so university seemed like the next natural step. I knew I wanted to work with children with some sort of disabilities and in the field of communication, so speech and language therapy seemed like a good fit. My own experiences have taught me that communication is so important. Not having all your sight means you really need to communicate clearly to people what you need.” “When I went into secondary school I got an iPad and that was a total game changer. I could enlarge everything, make it bold etc. It made an amazing difference. My school was so supportive and never made me feel like my sight loss was an obstacle that couldn’t be worked around.” While waiting for her A-level results to come back during the summer, Olivia and her parents went to visit the campus and meet with staff to discuss reasonable adjustments. Olivia explained: “I think it would be fair to say there was some misgivings from the university. SLT can be quite a ‘visual’ course and I think they were concerned as to how I would be able to participate.” But Mum Fiona wasn’t deterred and she contacted RNIB for support. RNIB Employment Officer Clare Dixon worked up Olivia’s case and accompanied her and her parents to

another meeting with the course director. She proposed a number of possible solutions including using technology, in this case a distance viewer camera, to help Olivia see people’s faces from further away. She also offered visual awareness training to the faculty to help staff understand more about sight loss. Clare said: “It was a real pleasure to support Olivia with getting started on her university course. She is so capable and determined and I have no doubt she will be an amazing speech and language therapist in three years time!” She added: “People with sight loss may be worried that they will be unable to find work or stay in their current job but there is help and support available. Through our job retention programme, Workable NI, we provide tailored support to blind and partially sighted employees who are facing any difficulties in work due to their sight. Depending on individuals’ needs, options include IT training, advocacy and mentoring support.” Reflecting on the past few weeks, Olivia admits it’s been a time of big change. “It was a bit scary going to a new place where I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “I’ve always had mum and dad to help me but now I’ve realised I have to use my own voice and advocate for myself. “It helps that my support worker from school has come with me to uni which is lovely because she knows me so well. I can’t believe the first term is nearly done!” She added: “If I had one piece of advice to share it’s to not listen to the stereotypes about sight loss. Everyone’s experience is so different so it’s important to stay determined and just believe in yourself.”

The RNIB Employment team can be contacted via email on EmploymentTeamNI@rnib.org.uk or via the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999. For more information, visit www.rnib.org.uk/nations/northern-ireland/employment-services 42 26

Ability Needs Magazine


Be free.

ShopMobility UK co-ordinates a network of local ShopMobility centres which hire mobility scooters, powerchairs and wheelchairs for everyone, of all ages, to enjoy independence. Find your nearest centre at:

www.shopmobilityuk.org Proud to be part of:

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Supported by:

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A HOME FIT FOR OUR TEAM

N November we formally opened the doors to our new HQ and workshop, based in Washington, North of Worthing, Sussex. At an open day on the 23rd we welcomed sponsors, friends, guests and media to our new home to showcase the incredible new space to house our cars and crew. Having been based at Dunsfold Park in Surrey for the past 5 years, we outgrew out unit there and began the hunt for a space that could accommodate our growing fleet of cars, whilst also offering a professional, welcoming environment for our staff and guests.

Once the perfect space was located, Engineering Director Al Locke led the task of directing his team to create a workshop interior designed entirely around our needs. Sponsors came to our aid, supplying top quality equipment and supplies to ensure the HQ is of the highest possible standard, and friends new and old joined the significant task of relocating us across neighbouring counties. With a new home fit for our growing team, the Team BRIT HQ at Rock Business Park is set to be the foundation for years of success. “When we initially set up the first Team BRIT HQ at Dunsfold Park, it was a big step forward for us; acquiring our own premises gave us the freedom and space to manage the engineering side of our team in house. Prior to that, we had outsourced a lot of the running of the cars to other race teams. “It was a really positive move for use, and we enjoyed being based at such a hub of businesses, with a real focus on motorsport and automotive engineering. Using the Top Gear track from time to time as we hosted events or photo shoots was

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fantastic and a real draw for our sponsors and guests. “As we have continued to grow, taking on more drivers and entering more championships, so too has our fleet and equipment and, before long, we were bursting at the seams at Dunsfold. The search for new premises began and it wasn’t easy. Finding something with the space we needed, the flexibility to make it our own, and all at a price we could afford was a challenge, but we got there. “For the past few weeks, my team have been hard at work turning what was a massive empty space into the specially designed workshop we have now. We even transferred our mezzanine floor from Dunsfold to Washington, also creating a separate space for fabrication work that can be set apart from the clean workshop bays. “This really was a team effort. The sponsors that have provided equipment have gone above and beyond to give us what we need to maintain the standards of which we are incredibly proud. We’ve also had great help from our new neighbours at the business park, who helped us with moving in. “I’m really excited about what the future holds from our new HQ and look forward to continuing the Team Al Locke BRIT story from our new home.”

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JAPANESE SUPERBIKE RACER JOINS TEAM BRIT FOR SEASON FINALE A former superbike champion from Japan joined us for our final race of the season. Takuma Aoki from Tokyo joined the team for the final race of the British Endurance Championship at Donington Circuit on Saturday 14 October. Takuma is a former motorbike racer who competed in the World Superbike Championship in the 1990s, before winning the All Japan Superbike Championship in 1996 and coming fifth in the world championships with Honda in 1997. In 1988 he was involved in a crash which left him paralysed below the waist, and he has gone on to support disabled drivers into motorsport. Takuma teamed up with driver Aaron Morgan, driving one of our McLaren 570S GT4s. Like Aaron, Takuma used the team’s hand control technology, with brakes, gears and throttle all positioned on the car’s steering wheel. After a day of testing on the Thursday, the pair took part in qualifying on the Saturday morning, putting them 3rd in class for the afternoons two-hour race. Takuma started the race and delivered a strong performance in changeable wet conditions, including torrential rain and a hail storm, before handing over to Aaron. Faultless pit stops by the crew and great driving from both saw them finish 4th in class. Since his injury, Takuma has worked with Honda, helping them develop cars for disabled drivers and he runs a racing school for people with disabilities. He now drives specially adapted cars and has competed in major events such as the Le Mans 24 Hour race as part of Frederick Sausset’s SRT41 team in 2021, and won the Asia Cross Country Rally Championship held this year. Takuma said: 2What a fantastic experience racing with Team BRIT. I have been so impressed with everything the team is doing to improve opportunities for disabled drivers, something that’s also very important for me. “The technology the team has created means you are racing completely equally, which is a real enabler for anyone like me who has come back to the sport from injury. “It was a joy to race with Aaron and the wider team, who welcomed me so warmly. I hope I can join the team for another race again soon, and show people at home who may also have suffered injury that there are so many opportunities ahead.”

More information at www.teambrit.co.uk Ability Needs Magazine

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Working with government can be like herding cats

Christopher Wood MBE

N THE 15th November we had a scheduled meeting with the Aviation Minister Baroness Vere, alongside the Disability Minister Tom Pursglove MP. There are times as an advocate when the world is against you, that week was just one of those. The repercussions of Suella Braverman’s shenanigans have a rippling effect, a cabinet re-shuffle, as such we lost our aviation minister and therefore she did not attend, just a few weeks later we lost Tom Pursglove. At the time of writing we have a new aviation minister, alas the role of disability minister had been downgraded to something being equivalent to a cricketing term Nightwatchman (woman).

I always believe when campaigning that it is best to remain apolitical (not difficult in the current climate). Government(s) are an essential to engage with when you are trying to make change – after all they write the law – despite what you may think, there are many good people across all parties inside Westminster. The bad news is they typically work at a glacial pace, at times its like trying to push tar up a hill. I asked a question to the minister as well as those civil servants present representing the Department of Transport (Dft), “what has been the most tangible change in accessible aviation in the last decade” there was silence “how about twenty years?” still silence. Perhaps as guilty as puppies next to a pile of poo! That reader is the challenge. Meanwhile in the US they take this subject far more seriously. Pete Buttigieg is the US Secretary of Transportation; he is all over accessible air travel alongside his advisor Kelly Buckland. Kelly has been discussing the next stage coming from their Department of Transport (DoT), it is likely the US will announce that any breakage/damage of a passenger’s wheelchair as a result of a flight will be seen as a violation, no doubt a heavy fine will be leveraged when a violation occurs. It is clear the US DoT will be scrutinising other aspects of accessible air travel. The secretary is very aware of the Air4All system, dedicated to allowing a passenger to remain seated in their own wheelchair whilst travelling by air, they are following closely the certification process of this innovation, but there is more to be done once this is introduced. In a good way this will impact the whole airport operations, I will be advocating for a full door to door dignified and smooth experience for every passenger. I foresee 2024 as a huge year for accessible air travel. We have the momentum, the infrastructure, and the legislation. It will be across the pond that we will be looking at to make these changes, everyone else will follow. For further information visit: www.flyingdisabled.org.uk and www.air4all.net

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Spotlight on Eddy Anderson – the founder of Rebound Therapy

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DDY has been a paratrooper, a specialist exercise therapist in the RAF, a remedial gymnast, a physiotherapist and a qualified teacher before becoming the headmaster of Springwell Special Needs School where he started developing the techniques for using the trampoline for therapeutic exercise for children with additional needs. He coined the phrase ‘Rebound Therapy’ in 1969, and in 1972 he opened the first Rebound Therapy ‘club’ near where he still lives in Leeds. The club provided sessions to members of the public and ran at weekends from his school’s hall. In 1979, with the encouragement and support of Cleveland Education Authority, Eddy started the development of a staff training course in Rebound Therapy, which he used to train staff in other special needs schools so that they could introduce it for their students. Following the success of this, Eddy took early retirement from teaching so that he could expand his work in Rebound Therapy by running training courses not only for schools, but also NHS groups, adult

groups, leisure centres, gymnastics clubs and charity agencies. He ran the original special needs trampoline courses for the British Trampoline Federation and trained physiotherapists for the CSP to equip them to introduce Rebound Therapy into their practices. In 2006 Eddy joined forces with inclusive sports coaches Paul and Shirley Kaye. He says he had been following their work and was waiting for an opportunity to speak to them about a collaboration when Paul phoned him out of the blue. Together, Eddy, Paul and Shirley formed the Rebound Therapy Organisation (known as ReboundTherapy.org ) and developed the website. This began to further raise the awareness of the benefits of Rebound Therapy, and the requirement for training courses grew. Eddy's team expanded as they started to add more tutors, and they introduced Rebound Therapy into many more schools and centres, and into many countries outside of the UK. The team (https://www.reboundtherapy.org /about/team) now comprises four office staff and ten training course tutors; all of whom are professionals in a wide range of competencies from physiotherapists, speech and language therapist, disability sports coaches, centre managers and more. The Rebound Therapy training course now has multiple national and international accreditations and Eddy has received a number of awards for his work, including the 'nPower Special Award for Outstanding Achievement' and the EFDS 'Lifetime Achievement' award. In 2019 Eddy was offered the OBE, which he surprisingly turned down. He modestly stated that the success of Rebound Therapy was a team effort and he would have been delighted if the award had been for the Rebound Therapy team and not to an individual. Eddy is also the inventor of Sensafloat ( www.reboundtherapy.org/hydrotherapy ) which is a unique special needs swimming support and floatation aid. It is used to facilitate relaxation and movement in water for people with profound and multiple impairments. The product was developed in the early 1990s and in 1993 Eddy won the Toshiba / CBI Invention of the Year award for the design. Eddy continued to run training courses well into his eighties and still provides advice to the team.

For further information about Rebound Therapy, visit www.ReboundTherapy or email info@reboundtherapy.org Ability Needs Magazine

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CROSSWORD CLUES

ACROSS 1. Hypothetical virus that didn’t cause global computer chaos on 1/1/2000 (10,3) 8. Sea (abbr) (3) 9. Occurred later in time – adopts Ted (anag) (9) 10. Spring plant with bell-shaped flowers (8) 11. Sicilian volcano (4) 13. Me taut? (anag) – change fundamentally (6) 14. Soup dish (6) 16. Egyptian port (4) 17. Make small adjustments (to) (4-4) 20. Convert to sloping type (9) 21. Sign of the zodiac (3) 22. Container with a teat for the very young (7,6)

All these events occurred in the same year but in which year was it? • Disposable contact lenses are invented • World population reached 5 billion people • Fiji was declared a republic • A German, Mathias Rust, landed a plane in Red Square

…In seeking happiness for others, you will find it in yourself.”…

Author Unknown

APOTHEOSIS

The word may seem familiar but do you know what it means? A – A chemist’s warehouse B – Deification C – Type of speech defect

• A boxer, I was born in Hammersmith in 1972. • I’m sometimes known as the ‘Pride of Wales’. • I was BBC Sports Personality of the year in 2007.

Who am I?

Ability Needs Magazine

DOWN 1. Infectious childhood disease (5) 2. Legendary keeper of Arthur’s sword, Excalibur (4,2,3,4) 3. Push through faster (8) 4. One failing to appear as booked (2-4) 5. Cancel – reverse (4) 6. Grasp the nettle (4,3,6) 7. Blasted – odd G-man (anag) (7) 12. Part of the unconscious mind – pose urge (anag) (8) 13. Powerful, smooth-coated dog used for security work (7) 15. Supposedly, the secret of great comedy (6) 18. Portray feelings theatrically (5) 19. Short skirt – small car (4)

1. Which European capital was once called Lutetia by the Romans? 2. Festfolk, which translated means 'party people' or 'engaged couples', was the original name of which band? 3. What is the very well-known Spanish word for 'fox'? 4. Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia is an acronym. What do each of the letters stand for? 5. What is the French word for a large covered earthenware pot? 6. What is an oenophile? 7. Which Oscar winning film holds the record with more than 300,000 people used as extras? 8. What is used when performing cryosurgery? 9. Which game, now a popular sport, was originally called whiffwhaff in the late 19th century? 10. The beautiful 'Blue Fairy' grants wishes in which popular film?

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Answers can be found on page 52

51


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TEA BREAK ANSWERS Quick Crossword ACROSS 1. Millenium bug; 8. Med; 9. Postdated; 10. Snowdrop; 11. Etna; 13. Mutate; 14. Tureen; 16. Suez; 17. Fine-tune; 20. Italicise; 21. Leo; 22. Feeding bottle DOWN 1. Mumps; 2. Lady of the Lake; 3. Expedite; 4. No-show; 5. Undo; 6. Bite the bullet; 7. Goddamn; 12. Superego; 13. Mastiff; 15. Timing; 18. Emote; 19. Mini

Quiz 1. Paris; 2. ABBA; 3. Zorro; 4. Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services; 5. Marmite; 6. A wine lover or wine connoisseur; 7. Gandhi; 8. Extreme cold; 9. Table tennis; 10. Pinocchio

Remember When . . . Word play

1987

B – Deification

ABILITY NEEDS Who Am I?

Joe Calzaghe

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