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ANIMAL MAGIC! Coronation Street star talks about p11 her pooch with special healing powers FEBRUARY/MARCH 2006

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GRANADA TV’s Coronation Street scooped the Media Award at a national disability organisation’s annual award night.

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BRUSH STROKES: Pupils from St Anne’s school with their display at St John’s Centre

Royal Academy next YOUNG artists whose work brought a smile to shoppers in Liverpool’s St John’s Centre are having their work exhibited at London’s Royal Academy. Their thought-provoking exhibit is lining up alongside other works from children across the UK during February. The project — part of a national initiative between Arts & Kids, Land Securities and the Quentin Blake Gallery of Illustration — gives young

people the opportunity to explore their creativity by illustrating the place in which they live. The children from Palmerston School depicted Calderstones Park, using a collage of different textured papers and leaf rubbings with over printed images of the Calderstones’ standing stones and paintings of the Linda McCartney play area. St Anne’s Primary School pupils produced illustrations of

their local park with its playground, views of the city’s two cathedrals and the dominating St John’s Beacon. Francis Salway, chief executive of Land Securities who own St John’s Centre, said: “The artwork developed from this project will help inspire a visually more interesting and unique shopping environment, hopefully instilling a sense of belonging and pride amongst the local community.”


Action man Swasie’s next date

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A FORMER police sergeant — turned fundraiser — is to give an inspirational talk to Wirral Hospital NHS Trust’s Action on Disability group.

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NEXT EDITION: Wednesday April 5, 2006 All Together Now! is published by All Together Now! Ltd, The Bradbury Centre, Youens Way, Liverpool L14 2EP Registered Charity No.1106387 Company No. 5096931 Printed by the Liverpool Daily Post & ECHO, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB

Swasie Turner, who had his right leg amputated following a road accident, will address the group at Bebington Civic Centre on Thursday, February 24, 7pm. Swasie said: “I am only too pleased to be helping to raise more funds for Action on Disability. Hopefully, my talk will raise awareness of people with disabilities and dispel some of the myths about one of society’s most undervalued groups. “Until I became disabled I never realised quite how selfish the world can be. How able-bodied people can think someone like me can get from A to B with hurdles like revolving doors and

stairs in the way is truly amazing. “I took so many things in life for granted as an able-bodied person. When I came to be in a wheelchair I realised how many barriers I would face on a daily basis. Simple things like widening doors or replacing stairs with ramps are pretty obvious but make such a huge difference.” Anne McGinnity, the Trust’s disability coordinator, said: “Everyone involved with Action on Disability really does believe actions speak louder than words. The group has already made a big impact within the Trust at policy and practice level, as well as on smaller, everyday concerns that can be just as important to patients.” To obtain tickets for Swasie’s talk contact the Trust’s fundraising office on 0151 604 7469 PUSHING FOR OTHERS: Swasie Turner

The long-running soap won the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation’s accolade for giving the best portrayal of the lives or viewpoints of disabled people on television. The employment award went to HBoS, while Intercontinental Hotels won the accessibility award. Among the individuals rewarded for their exceptional work was Dr Richard Light for his efforts on the United Nations Disability Convention and his continuing work to place the disability movement in a global context. Dr Philippa Russell was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the rights of disabled children and their families throughout her life. Kate Nash, chief executive of RADAR, said: “The awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the achievements and ongoing work of people who are passionate and determined to achieve real change for disabled people.”

Roll of Honour: Furtherance of Human Rights for Disabled People in the UK: Brian Lamb OBE, director of Communications, RNID Judges’ Award for Achievement by a RADAR Member: Ian Loynes, director of the Southampton Centre for Independent Living Young Person’s Award: Claire McCambley, chair of the board of Whizz-Kidz Employment Award for Excellence in Reasonable Adjustments: HBoS Media Award for the Excellent Portrayal of the Lives and Viewpoints of Disabled People: Coronation Street Enhanced Accessibility Award: Intercontinental Hotels Furtherance of Human Rights for Disabled People International Award: Dr Richard Light, director of Disability Policy Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Philippa Russell, Disability Rights Commissioner


February/March 2006

All Together Now!


Can you help us to help you? Hello: AS MANY of you will know, All Together Now! is a registered charity, set up two years ago, to provide a unique and absolutely FREE news service. Through our triple award-winning magazine, and daily updated website, we aim to raise awareness about the everyday issues faced by millions of people who are disadvantaged by disability, ill health or age. And we are extremely proud to report on people’s fantastic achievements — and to highlight the increasing opportunities for people with all sorts of abilities. With help from NHS Trusts, local authorities and community groups, 75,000 FREE copies of the publication are now being distributed across the North West and North Wales to venues such as hospitals, GP practices, health centres, libraries, schools, colleges, universities, sports centres,

Is your school ready for the fun and thrills of Kielder?

Banks in firing line BANKS are merely paying lip service to helping their most vulnerable customers and would-be customers, according to a report from national charity Citizens Advice. Based on evidence from nearly 300 Citizens Advice Bureaux, the report shows how banks are failing to meet the needs of those on the margins of the financial mainstream, by refusing to let them open basic bank accounts, or hitting them with high charges when they do. Citizens Advice Director of Policy, Teresa Perchard said: “The issue of access to bank accounts has become all the more urgent with the Government’s announcement that from 2010 it will no longer fund Post Office Card Accounts, which are currently used to pay pensions and benefits to around four million people. “At the moment many banks are just paying lip service to financial inclusion.”

Volunteer’s award

CHALLENGING TIMES: Pupils learning the ropes at Kielder Forest

CHOOLS and youth clubs across the UK are being invited to enter the 2006 Kielder Challenge, a unique outdoor adventure competition for youngsters with and without disabilities. The competition — now in its 22nd year — is open to teams of eight youngsters between the ages of 13 and 16 (Years 8 to 11) with and without learning, sensory or physical disabilities. Each team will take part in a day long heat in April or May at a local country park or wood where they will attempt a series of activity challenges.


disability/carer centres, and supermarkets. We’ve come a long way in a very short time. And it’s all down to the extremely generous financial support from various funders, charitable trusts, and from our advertisers and sponsors. We are also indebted to our ever-growing band of volunteers who help in all sorts of ways. However, costs are high and in order for us to continue providing this FREE and vital news service we are going to need more support. We would, therefore, be delighted to hear from ANYONE who might want to consider getting involved with our trailblazing work — either as an advertiser or as a sponsor/partner. In the meantime enjoy this action-packed edition. It’s another cracker that will help you through the last throes of winter. Like the daffodils, we are back in the spring . . . on April 5. See you then.

The games are designed to integrate those with and without disabilities and can be anything from completing giant jigsaw puzzles and climbing rope mazes to blindfolded orienteering and giant croquet. Run by the UK’s leading outdoor access charity, the Fieldfare Trust and supported by the HSBC Education Trust, the Kielder Challenge develops teamwork and communication skills between teenagers in a countryside environment. Up to 200 places are available but only 12 lucky teams get to go to the two-day grand final in the impressive

surroundings of Kielder Forest in Northumberland in September. Rod Holmes at the Fieldfare Trust says: “We had an amazing competition in 2005. Each and every one of the teams that entered got something out of the experience, as did the teachers and the helpers. “I really can’t wait to get the 2006 competition underway. It’s great to see all the team members working together towards a common goal and having a lot of fun along the way.” n Contact the organisers NOW on 0115 9486926 or visit the website:

SHIVAKURU Selvathurai, an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka, was presented with a Year of the Volunteer award from the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Alan Waterworth. Mr Selvathurai (pictured) and his family fled Sri Lanka five years ago and has devoted his time to helping people with mental health problems — including Merseyside charities Imagine and PSS. He said: “We have received so much help in looking after our daughter who has severe learning and physical disabilities, that I felt it only right and proper that I, too, should help others.”

Competition winners WINNERS of our gardening competition: Mr Stephen John Purnell, Arnside Road, Hndley Green, Wigan Mr A T Purcell, Southway, Widnes Mrs M F harrison, Waterside Mews, Cyril Bell Close, Lymm Each wins a superb Botanic Electric Propagator, worth £64.99. Prizes will be arriving shortly.



All Together Now!

February/March 2006


Alliance is all set to lead the way

Helping people to stay independent TWO new factsheets are available from Counsel and Care to help older and disabled people to live independently in their own homes. Your Home: How To Get It Adapted If You Are Disabled explains about Disabled Facilities Grants, which are available to people who are disabled and who want to remain at home. Your Home: How To Pay For Its Maintenance is aimed at older people who need to finance maintenance, repairs and adaptations to their property. n Contact: 020 7241 8555 or visit n Helping Hands: Pages 28/29

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Orange links up with deafblind charity

CONTACT a Family, the national charity for families with disabled children, has extended its freephone helpline opening hours in a bid to reach more working parents. The helpline is now from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on Mondays, in addition to its usual opening hours of 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. n Helpline: 0808 808 3555

NATIONAL deafblind charity Sense is to be supported by mobile communications giant Orange. The partnership will raise awareness of the issues surrounding deafblindness among Orange’s 13,000 staff and 15 million UK customers. Experts from Sense will also join the company’s newly

Need a little ExtraCare? We provide services for customers with extra needs such as: G Older customers G Customers who have

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established disability forum. Fundraising events so far range from quizes and dress-up days to shark dives. Also in the pipeline is a specially designed cycling race, ‘Tour d’Orange’, which will go from Orange’s London office to the French headquarters in Paris. Bernard Ghillebaert, executive vice president of Orange UK,

said: “The theme of enabling communication means we have a great opportunity to use the skills and enthusiasm of our staff and customers to make a difference by raising funds and awareness for this fantastic charity. “We are looking forward to a fun packed successful partnership.” n

Robin’s key role T

HE HEAD of a North West care charity is to play a key role in advising the Government on future policy. Robin Currie, chief executive of PSS, who has written several books and articles published across the world, will join a special Government task group, to spearhead reform in health and social care. The Government social care green paper, Independence, Well-being and Choice, published this year, plans a major upheaval in the way care services are delivered, with a much more prominent role for the independent sector. Mr Currie believes the proposed changes have enormous implications for people who need care provision. He said: “They offer the opportunity to develop the kind of services that PSS has fought for over many years, giving people more choice and helping them to feel more in control of their lives rather than more dependent. “But we need to learn the lessons from both this country and abroad if we are to avoid major problems of cumbersome procedures and long delays for people needing help. It is in the interests of us all that we get it right.” PSS has worked in partnership with health and local authorities for more than 20 years and has contracts with more than 30 different government bodies. Nevertheless, Mr Currie feels there are barriers to greater involvement of private and voluntary organisations in the health and social care sector, not least the building of trust and understanding.

A NEW alliance will provide a strong and united voice for disabled people in Halton. Launching Halton Disability Alliance, the borough’s mayor Peter Lloyd Jones said: “This is a fantastic initiative. The Alliance will pull all the disability groups together. “The more people there are in a group, the better their voices will be heard.” Councillor Tom McInerney, vice president of Halton’s Let’s Go (stroke) club, said: “A campaigning body like the Alliance is needed in Halton. “It’s about getting everybody together to help make the borough a better place to live for everyone. Cllr McInerney said the Disability Discrimination Act meant the council needed to take action to do more for disabled people in the borough. “We know we haven’t got it right yet, but we are trying. “The council aim to promote independence – a vision shared by the Alliance. By working together with the Alliance we can achieve great things in Halton.” Ciaran Shanahan, chair of Halton Autistic Family Support Group, said: “The local authority recognises it has a challenge on its hands, but the Alliance will help them to achieve their goals.” Dave Thompson, chair of Warrington Disability Partnership, said: “The new Alliance provides a great chance to improve the quality of life for so many people in Halton.” n Halton Voluntary Action, Sefton House, Public Hall Street, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 1NG. Tel: 01928 592405.


February/March 2006

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LET’S GET IT RIGHT! Council boss pledges to expand opportunities for disabled people


PPORTUNITIES for disabled people in Sefton are to be given top priority in 2006. Sefton council’s chief executive Graham Haywood said: “We all need to recognise the difficult task we are facing. Many of us in the public sector continually bemoan the level of financial resources. “But we are a huge organisation and we need to do more.” Mr Haywood was speaking at the launch of a new charter for disabled people, organised by Sefton’s umbrella body for disability groups, Ability. “The council is one of the biggest organisations in Sefton,” he said at the Formby golf club launch. “Its services touch most people’s lives. So it’s very important

New rights for more people

SEFTON chief Graham Haywood

Public sector must do more – Page 14 we are seen as not just joining this initiative – but as a leading player. “I believe we should be one of the first, if not the first organisation to sign up to this charter.” The Social Model of Disability charter calls for organisations to accept that it is attitudes and the environment that disables people, not a person’s impairment. Mr Haywood continued: “It is important that groups like Ability are at the heart of our planning and thinking. “It’s going to be an uncomfortable time

because the questions they pose are going to be difficult for us to cope with. “Nevertheless, disabled people represent a very large part of our community and they have a long-term investment in Sefton. We need to recognise this and give them a very strong voice. “One of our major problems is the age of our buildings, but we are serious about removing as many barriers as possible. “It is very important that we liberate more resources to diversity and equality work. “I am personally committed to this. We need to make the giant step forward in the next six months. This is such a marvellous opportunity – and an opportunity my organisation will not be missing.” n Sefton Ability: 0151 928 2233, ext 109.

AT LEAST a quarter of a million people with serious health conditions have new legal rights. People diagnosed with cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis (MS), but not yet showing signs of their illness,are nowprotected for the first time under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005. People with mental illness also no longer have to prove their condition is clinically well-recognised to be afforded their rights under the DDA. From December 2006 all public bodies in Britain will have to lead by example and integrate disabled people in their policy-making from the outset as well as promote ‘equality of opportunity’ for disabled people. n DRC helpline: 08457 622633. n SKILLZONE: p13-21

Taking the plunge PEOPLE over 60 in Rhyl are signing up for free swimming sessions in the town’s refurbished leisure centre. The Welsh Assembly Government has invested more than £1.8m in 60+ free swimming and will continue the scheme across Wales.

Euro pledge on air travel T

HE European Parliament is backing of measures to improve the rights of disabled people when travelling by air. MEPs voted in favour of a proposal for an EU Regulation “concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air”. Significant improvements have been made to the original Commission proposal as a result of a report prepared by UK MEP Robert Evans. Chief executive of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, Kate Nash said: “It has long been clear that the voluntary code covering the air travel sector was not delivering for the seven million disabled passengers who use European airports every year. “Legislation at an international level was therefore clearly needed.” The Parliament and the European Council had reached a compromise on the revised text of the proposal before the vote. EU Transport Ministers will approve Parliament’s first reading without amendment. Once approved, some parts of the legislation will then come into effect in a year’s time and the whole package by the

start of 2008. Ms Nash added: “Pleasing as it is to see progress in the air travel sector, further international legislation is needed so that disabled passengers can take full advantage of the rights to freedom of movement the EU confers on all its citizens. “The accessibility and design of the actual aircraft needs to be improved via appropriate legislation. “European proposals to replace the current voluntary industry code and improve the accessibility of sea travel to disabled and are also vital.” The new regulations will mean: n Airports will be responsible for ensuring that disabled passengers receive appropriate assistance both at the airport and on board the aircraft at no extra direct cost to the disabled passenger. (Airports will, however, be able to contract out the provision of this service); n Disabled passengers will receive all essential information, such as evacuation procedures, in alternative formats; n Air carriers will be required to carry assistance dogs, even on long-haul flights; n Airport and airline staff will be given disability awareness training.

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February/March 2006


The curtain rises on some of our

National helpline grabs top award THE National Deaf Children’s Society Helpline has won an award for the way it monitors its service. Judges at the BT and Telephone Helpline Awards handed the NDCS the award for Innovation in Measuring Impact. The helpline offers information and advice on any issue related to a child’s deafness. Parental concerns range from how to cope with the news that their baby is deaf, through to communication choices as they grow up, and what support deaf students can have at university. Language Line is used to allow the Helpline team to respond to calls from parents whose first language is not English. Amy Skipp, NDCS head of policy and research said: “A questionnaire is sent to callers a month after their contact. By waiting a few weeks to ask for their feedback, we allow people to reflect and decide how to act on the support and information that our team has provided as well as what outcomes this had on them and their child. “In this way we can measure the true impact NDCS had on the family.” Three babies are born deaf every day and 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little experience of deafness.

EMERGING PERFORMANCE ARTIST — Craig MacDonald receives the award from Lorraine Gradwell (Breakthrough UK)


HE cream of disabled and deaf artists were given top billing at the annual DaDaFest awards.

Mike takes on new access role MIKE Elkerton, pictured, has been appointed marketing and publicity officer for the National Access Association of Great Britain. Mr Elkerton, from Birkenhead, is also an auditor for the National Register of Access Consultants. He recently retired as Chester Zoo’s disability advisor and stood down from his post as chairman of Cheshire Tourism for All consortium to make way for his new role. The Access Association aims to improve access and facilities for disabled people and consequently for all people who would benefit from an accessible environment. The organisation was formed in response to the need to network and support professionals whose primary responsibility was to promote and facilitate accessible environments and services for all, including people with disabilities. Members are working in local authorities, and the voluntary and private sector. n Contact Mike Elkerton, 0151 201 5277 email

EMERGING ARTIST — Roger Cliffe-Thompson with Michael Eakin (Arts Council England: North West)

PERFORMANCE GROUP award — The Heroes

The showcase event, at Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, celebrated the fifth festival organised by North West Disability Arts Forum. Ruth Gould, creative director of NWDAF, said: “This has been the best DaDaFest yet. This festival now has a national profile. People have been travelling all over the UK and Europe to be involved. “Many disabled and deaf artists have emerged over these past five years as a direct result of DaDaFest. “People are seeing the arts as a way of supporting and endorsing disabled people’s place in society. “We have booked the

Crowne Plaza again for November 30 and will also end the festival with the family day at the Palm House on December 3 – the International Disabled People’s Day. “A staggering 120,000 website hits were made to the NWDAF website with votes for the awards coming from Australia, California, Europe and North America, as well right across the UK.” Liverpool’s city council’s new leader Cllr Warren Bradley said: “DaDaFest has grown incredibly over the past five years and is right at the heart of our plans as we approach 2008, European Capital of Culture year.” n NWDAF, MPAC Building, 1-27 Bridport Street, Liverpool L3 5QF: Tel 0151 707 1733


VISUAL ARTIST — Rachel Duerden

Emerging Visual Artist (sponsored by World of Glass): Roger Cliffe-Thompson. Roger, 62 and based in Wirral, is an emerging innovative installation and sound artist. Emerging Performance Artist (sponsored by Breakthrough UK): Craig MacDonald. Fifteen-year-old Craig, a student at Sandfield Park School, Liverpool, has been involved in several NWDAF projects. Performance Artist (sponsored by Merseyside Disability Federation): Laurence Clark. Laurence, 32, is continuing to tour the UK with his comedy show ‘The Jim Davidson Guide to Equality’ Visual Artist (sponsored by The Mersey Partnership): Rachel Duerden. For the past year Rachel has been exploring the human condition through the

representation of decaying asylum buildings. Performance Company or Group (Liverpool Culture Company): The Heroes. Integrated pop group based in Manchester, the Heroes have already released an album, and are ready to start recording tracks for their 2006 album ‘Classic’. Community Arts Company or Group (sponsored by Alliance & Leicester): Sundowns. The Wirral-based charity support individuals with Down’s Syndrome and their families, promoting selfexpression and creativity through arts workshops. The Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by National Museums Liverpool) was given posthumously to sculptor to Adam Reynolds who died last year, aged 45.


February/March 2006

top disabled and deaf artists

COMMUNITY ARTS — members of the Sundowns group, Wirral, receive their award from Bob Towers, director of credit and risk at Alliance & Leicester


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PERFORMANCE ARTIST award — Laurence Clark (top) LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT award — Laurie Peake receives the trophy on behalf of the family of the late Adam Reynolds from John Millard (Keeper at Liiverpool’s World Museum)

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February/March 2006


‘Victorian’ treatment of young disabled MORE than 9,000 young disabled people are living in residential settings often designed for older people, says a top disability charity. Mike Shaw, chief executive of John Grooms, says: “Despite Government rhetoric, thousands of young disabled people are being let down. “Shutting young disabled people away in elderly care homes is a Victorian concept. Care homes should not be institutions where people simply pass the time. “The care homes John Grooms promote are vibrant, modern places where the individual needs of each and every resident is taken into account and people live as independently as possible with the security of 24-hour care on hand. “The centrepiece of the Government’s 20-year vision for disabled people is independent living. “Appropriate residential schemes that encourage independence should be available for those who choose to live in them, just as wheelchair accessible houses should be available to others.” n Tel 020 7452 2000


PAKISTAN APPEAL: Tony Latimer, Tara Shikh, Dave Thompson, and Tommy Hammond

Creedon Healthcare 10th successful year

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WARRINGTON Disability Partnership is asking for unwanted wheelchairs and other equipment to help survivors of the Pakistan earthquake. Doctors have appealed for wheelchairs, zimmer frames, crutches and walking aids. Children’s equipment has been identified as the most urgent. Dave Thompson, WDP chairman, says: “Equipment that somebody might feel is outdated will probably be of great use to those in Pakistan during this desperate situation.” Tara Shikh, whose sister, Natasha lives in Lahore, helped set up the Survivors Support Group. She says: “I have received help from friends and neighbours and welcome Warrington Disability Partnership’s support.” n Can you help? Call Tommy Hammond on 01925 240064

Woman wins war of roses A

DISABLED woman employed as a gardener at a special needs school has won her case at an employment tribunal after being disciplined and put on “gardening leave” for two years for wrongly pruning the roses. The Stratford tribunal has suggested that £12,000 compensation be paid to her. Melissa Wade, 24, who has learning disabilities, was employed by Trinity School, Heathway, Dagenham, in 2003. After only six weeks in the job the head teacher issued disciplinary proceedings after telling her that she was not performing her duties as a gardener correctly. This was despite the fact that Ms Wade had an NVQ in gardening and a good reference from her previous employer. Although Ms Wade declared on her application form that she was disabled, the tribunal found that the head teacher, Ms Helena Hardie, and other staff had failed to apply the

VICTORY: Melissa Wade London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s policy on employees with disabilities and look at ways to provide effective support to Ms Wade. Under the Disability Discrimination Act employers are under a duty not to treat a disabled employee less favourably on account of their disability and must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the workplace so that individuals can do their job as effectively as a nondisabled person. One way Ms Wade’s disability impacts on her is that she has a short term memory. A simple and effective way for the school to

have supported her would have been to give her clear, written instructions and provide adequate supervision. The Tribunal found that the school had failed to look at ways of providing support; in fact the school had failed to assess her disability at all. As a result of the school’s action, Ms Wade was put on “gardening leave” for two years while awaiting redeployment from Barking and Dagenham Council. The tribunal found that “ the claimant’s disability was not properly assessed. This led to less favourable treatment for a reason relating to the claimant’s disability”. Because the school had failed to correctly assess, and even made assumptions about, Ms Wade’s disability, it had failed to apply its own equal opportunities and disability policies. Ms Wade said: “This whole experience was very upsetting and stressful for me and I hope that now the local authority will treat disabled people with more respect and understanding.”

February/March 2006

All Together Now!


Your guide to the good things in life — countryside, gardening, travel, and much, much more

Guide to accessing UK’s top days out THE new edition of Leisure Time: Days Out gives information about a wide range of places to visit around the UK, particularly larger attractions at which disabled people may face or anticipate problems. Some limitations on full accessibility may be unavoidable, for example at large outdoor sites that are built on hillsides or in some historic buildings. However, there are plenty of examples of places where considerable efforts have been made to overcome these problems. In other situations, the very size of an attraction, such as an out-of-town shopping centre, can create problems despite the fact that it will have been built in full accord with access standards. John Stanford, who compiled the guide, said: “Even where physical barriers have been overcome, there is still an information barrier that prevents disabled people living life to the full. “Although some places have information for disabled visitors readily available, it is much more common to find publicity images of grand staircases, gravel paths or escalators.” Among the new entries are Merseyside’s National Wildflower Centre, the Alnwick Garden in Northumberland with its accessible treetop walkway, and the Big Pit Mining Museum in South Wales. n Leisure Time: Days Out is available, price £5 + £2 postage and packing, from RADAR, 12 City Forum, 250 City Road, London EC1V 8AF. Tel 020 7250 3222.

Sage showtopper THE SAGE Gateshead arts centre has won a major national award. The judging panel of the RIBA Inclusive Design Awards said: “Front of house, in the form of a covered concourse, provides an ‘urban living room’ that attracts huge numbers of local people and visitors. “Lifts are large and can be used for evacuation; they are also ‘intelligent’ to facilitate communication with Possum systems. “There are 200 WC cubicles, of which 27 are unisex accessible facilities. There are both adult-changing and baby-changing facilities and some accessible WCs have an overhead hoist.” The judges were also impressed with the commitment to extending accessibility and inclusion in the broadest sense, through ticket pricing, a shopmobility scheme, free performances and the opportunity for the public to sit in on rehearsals. n Tel 0191 443 4666

Kids to cash in WIGAN Pier Theatre Company has been given the green light to continue its excellent community work following a £34,000 grant from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust. The grant will cover the costs of drama workshops and theatre performances over the next three years on the Higher Folds estate in Leigh. In 2004, Coalfield gave the theatre company a Best Practice Grant of £4,000 to test pilot a youth theatre for young people aged 12 to 15 years old in the Higher Folds Community Centre. This resulted in the performance of ‘A Higher View’, a play based on the Higher Folds estate and the people that live there, as part of the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust organised ‘Words ‘05’ literary festival. The youth theatre has since performed at conferences such as the Tenants Association Conference and The Arts Factor event at St Joseph’s Hall in Leigh. The company’s development

officer Martin Green said: “It is wonderful news that we will now be able to carry on with the theatrical activity on the Higher Folds estate. Another youth theatre has been set up that will perform a new piece to be written by local professional playwright, Julie McKiernan. “This project will provide a fantastic opportunity for the community to work together creatively and all age groups are welcome. A further performance will be created for 2008 so the next three years promises to be a busy and creative time and we urge people of all ages to get involved.” Drama classes are scheduled to take place every week during school term times. Higher Folds Community Theatre meet every Thursday at Higher Folds Community Centre (6.30pm-9.30pm). The workshops are open to everyone aged eight and over.

n Contact Martin Green or Stewart Aitken on 01942 709305 or at


All Together Now!

February/March 2006

Seeds of change CHECKLIST FLOWERS: Start into growth the fleshy roots (rhizomes) of tuberous begonias, for eventual planting in the garden, and gloxinia corms for growing as pot plants. Plant them in a half-and-half mixture of sand and peat substitute, or a proprietary cuttings compost. The mixture should be just damp and the temperature kept between 13C and 16C (55F-60F). Save long, twiggy prunings from trees and use them in spring for staking tall flowers such as lupins.


T first glance, winter does not look like a promising time for garden-lovers. But there are benefits to be seized. First, you may well have time to spare because garden chores are minimal and often delayed by the weather. Secondly, most trees and shrubs are bare so it is easy to assess ways in which the garden could be made more attractive or practical. And, thirdly, this is the time for resolutions and inspirations. Take time – and a notebook – to consider a few possibilities round the garden: n Does your garden look too flat? Then install high points. They can be obelisks planted with pillar roses or an evergreen climber such as Clematis armandii, rustic cones of woven willow to help sweet peas achieve a scrambling scented display, or garden sculpture – whether classical, modern glass and metal, or humorous. n Are your walls and fences an eyesore? Fix support wires securely in place and plant some of the many reliable climbers. Roses and clematis are outstanding choices, of course, but there are also honeysuckles, ivies, Virginia creeper and many others. n What about your pots – are they too plain? Invest a few pounds in something different enough to catch the eye before the plants in the pot have started to bloom. n Do your borders become boring? Use those plain pots to plant bulbs and flowers which can be placed among fading plants to add colour and interest at different times of year. There is time to plant summer bulbs such as lilies in pots. Then in autumn, plant daffodils and tulips. Meanwhile, treat yourself to a comfortable, good-looking garden seat from which to admire

your improvements. In areas where appearance is not so important, such as fruit and vegetable plots, save time and effort by covering vacant ground with black polythene to control weeds. I don’t much like concrete in the garden but it has its uses. Some of the most helpful improvements I have made to my garden over the years have involved laying concrete. One was a tiny project, laying a small triangle to bridge an awkward right angle in a path, making walking and wheeling easier. Finally, make a resolution to name sowings of seed, whether flowers, herbs or vegetables, with clear labels. It can save embarrassment and confusion, as more than one novice has found when planting cabbages in the flower bed and lupins among the runner beans.

SHRUBS AND TREES: Check them and prune out dead twigs and branches showing signs of coral spot fungus – pink or orange spots on the bark. Bin or burn infected prunings. Check that shrubs’ roots are firm and the ties securing climbers are sound. PATIOS: Check frost has not lifted paving stones on patios or paths – they can be dangerous. Choose a day after the ground has thawed and set the stones back in place using sand mixed with a little dry cement to bed them in. LAWNS: Keep lawns clear of debris, twigs, wormcasts, etc by brushing them off. Do not walk on frost-covered lawns. PONDS: Float a ball in the pond to reduce the chance of it freezing over, depriving fish of oxygen and birds of a drink. If it does freeze, use a pan of hot water to melt a hole in the ice. Don’t break with a hammer – shock waves can harm fish.

FOCAL POINT: A classical statue adds class to a colourful bed of petunias

Three great encyclopaedias to be won HERE’S a great chance to brighten the dreary days of late winter — win a book that will bring joy to everyone who loves gardens and plants. We are giving away three copies of the sumptuous new fourth edition of the ‘Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers.’ It will be published, price £35, on February 23. Written and researched by leading plant experts under the guidance of editor-in-chief Christopher Brickell, this classic reference work illustrates more than 8,000 readily-available garden plants. The three earlier editions have sold 2m copies, making

the up-to-date fourth version the must-have gardening book of 2006. It includes a stunning new section on Colour in the Garden, which has full colour galleries of key plants through the seasons, making it simple to create the

garden you really want at all times of the year. It also includes informative features on some of the most popular plants and includes over 500 of the latest varieties. To win one of our three prize copies, answer this question: How many copies of earlier editions of the Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers have been sold? Send your entry with your name and address —and telling us where you picked up your copy of All Together Now! — on a postcard or sealed envelope to The Editor, All Together Now, The Bradbury Centre, Youens Way, Liverpool L14 2EP, to arive by Friday, March 17.

REACH 200,000 READERS, tel 0151 230 0307

VEGETABLES: Buy seeds for the spring but first check last year’s packets. Cabbage, cauliflower and brussels seeds, along with lettuce, beetroot, onion and carrot, should remain viable for three years, and peas and beans for two years while marrows, cucumbers and celery often last longer. But parsnip seed is never reliable for more than a year. FRUIT: If grubs have spoiled your apples in past years, prepare to apply a series of insecticide sprays containing bifenthrin. The ideal times are budburst, when the leaf and fruit buds are just beginning to open, pink-bud – or white-bud on pears – just before the flowers open, and petal-fall when at least three-quarters of the petals have dropped. That approach avoids harming bees and other pollinating insects. HERBS: Near the end of winter, sow a few herb seeds in pots in a greenhouse or indoors on a windowsill. GENERAL: Check fences, trellises, pergolas and other timber structures for decay and stability. Now is a good time to replace and repair – and erect new ones. But don’t paint woodwork, or try to set concrete, if frost is expected.


February/March 2006

All Together Now!


Pet better soon The pooches with special healing powers . . .

LETTERS ON BEHALF of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation I wanted to thank All Together Now! for all the support you gave regarding our Walk to Cure Diabetes. Your article brought JDRF into contact with 19 new families in the North West, nine of whom actually participated in the walk. These teams have already raised over £1,700 with money still trickling in. Undoubtedly, we would not have reached these families if it were not for the coverage you gave us. The walk was a tremendous success: we have already collected over £38,000. Stuart Shepherd, regional administrator, JDRF, Tel: 0151 236 3939

AS Penny, the girlfriend of Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, Pauline Fleming is used to rehearsing her lines. But no amount of rehearsals could prepare her for what happened when she took her Cavalier King Charles spaniel pup to be assessed as a hospital ‘visitor’. Pauline, from Wavertree Garden Suburb, was hopeful that Aubrey would pass the Pets As Therapy (PAT) charity test. That would mean he could be registered in the scheme which provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues across the country. Sadly, her hopes were quickly dashed. “Aubrey failed miserably,” she says. “He weed all over the vet. As she was cleaning herself up he did a number two over the floor. It was an instant fail.” The rigorous testing proves just how well behaved dogs need to be in order to be accepted on to the PAT scheme. Since 1983, more than 18,000 dogs across the country have been registered into the scheme. Today there are around 3,500 active PAT visiting dogs and 90 cats at work in the UK. And, despite some initial behavioural problems, Pauline was keen for at least one of her two dogs to assist in their work. “I have a friend whose dog is a PAT dog, and I always thought what a good idea it was,” she explains. “I got my little boy dog, Aubrey first and then my little girl dog, Doris. Cavalier King Charles dogs are very sweet-natured dogs anyway, but Doris was so good I thought I could probably do something with her for a charity. “We recently went on a dog walk for Alder Hey Hospital and there were lots of PAT dogs there. I decided I wanted to go ahead and apply. Aubrey failed. Then my daughter took Doris for her tests. “Thankfully, Doris didn’t blink and she passed with flying colours. “I am waiting to find out where my placement will be. I have requested Alder Hey – I have a history with the hospital as my niece was in there when she was a child and she was very very ill. Alder Hey saved her life. “It is lovely to be able to do something like this with your animal, and I believe the people they help are immensely comforted by them. I know that those who are in hospital long-term often have pets and

Cumbrian praise MANY thanks for All Together Now! It is excellent — though I would like to see more news about West Cumbria. Maybe you will be able to do this in the future. I have also gleaned all sorts of interesting stuff from the website. Anne Bailey, Cumbria

Spain calling

DOG DAY: Pauline Fleming with PAT pooch Doris really miss them. By bringing our pets to them, we are giving them that animal contact that helps make them feel better.” A PAT spokeswoman says: “Sick patients often feel isolated and even the most withdrawn seem to open up and let the barriers down when their regular PAT visiting dog is around. “These dogs bring everyday life closer and with it all the happy associations for them of home comforts. The constant companionship of an undemanding animal, that gives unconditional love, is often one of the most missed aspects of their lives. PAT was formed to help make this loss more bearable and speed recovery.” Research shows that animals have a real role to play in improving the nation’s health. In fact, Val Upton, health intelligence manager for Central Liverpool Primary Care Trust, has recently published an MSc dissertation entitled: Dogs: A Potential Public Health Role to Improve Health and Well-Being.

PAT co-ordinator for Merseyside and Wirral, Eileen Slattery, regularly takes her dog, Chester, to visit patients in Clatterbridge and says patients are delighted to see him. “I had one guy who was about 6ft 3ins stroking Chester and he burst into tears. He had been in Clatterbridge for three months and he had two dogs at home and didn’t realise how much he missed them until he saw Chester. “There was also one elderly blind lady who said Chester’s ears were just like velvet. She said she could see in her 30s but had slowly lost her sight. I described his colour – and the next thing she said she could see him through my description. “Everyone at PAT is committed to the work we do – we just want more people to know the enjoyment of doing charity work with their animals.” n FOR more information about working with PAT, contact Eileen Slattery on 0151 677 8239.

RACHEL TINNISWOOD (Reproduced with kind permission of the Liverpool ECHO)

HAVING read the article on amateur radio in the autumn issue of All Together Now! I would thoroughly endorse the comments made by John and Dorothy Rimmer. I have been an active radio amateur for more than 40 years, and I can confirm that the hobby has something for everyone — there are so many different aspects to it. As with any new activity, newcomers can benefit by speaking to as many other enthusiasts and active radio amateurs as possible. This can be done by contacting local clubs and groups who meet in their area. Assistance for those with limited practical capabilities is usually available from such groups. A list of clubs affiliated to the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) is available by visiting (then click on ‘Clubs and Societies’ then click on ‘local clubs’). The postal address for RSGB is Lambda House, Cranbourne Rd., Potters Bar, Herts. EN6 3JE Tel 0870 904 7373. If I can be of any assistance with any queries related to amateur radio don’t hesitate to contact me at Apartado Correos 190 Dolores 03150, Alicante, Spain. Email: Best wishes to all involved with All Together Now! John Saunders, Spain

Want to get something into All Together Now? Call 0151 230 0307


Nature springs into life All Together Now!




OW this is more like it – the days are getting longer, and while winter can still pack a punch meaner than a young Mike Tyson for a few weeks yet, all the promise of spring looms on the horizon. After the short days and dormant plants and animals of midwinter, there’s so much to look at, and it can only get better. It’s true that many places are muddy and difficult to negotiate at this time of year, but you can still see so much without getting dirtier than a mountain biker trying to traverse the La Brea tar pits. The chromium yellow blooms of coltsfoot light up the drab foliage of the coast and as little else is flowering it is quite easy to find. Coltsfoot prefers sandy soil, and sheltered dips, where it can tough out the coldest of springs. It looks like a small-headed dandelion, but its purplish grey scaly stems give away its identity if you’re not sure what you’ve found. Largish leaves in the shape of a horse’s hoof – hence the name of this early spring gem – are found at the base of the plant. Popular as a medicine for treating chest infections all over the world, I’d rather admire it as one of the first splashes of colour in the plant world each year. One of the earliest flowers to bloom, coltsfoot really makes the spirits soar – almost as much as the first wheatear of spring, which should be arriving somewhere along our shoreline in March. These long-distance migrants pass through the north west heading to breeding grounds still further north, and are found all along our coastline, in small groups or as single birds. They don’t hang around much in spring though, so you have to be out early to catch them as they flit about seawalls and the shore, their presence betrayed by their flashing white rumps. Try the Wirral seafront at New Brighton or West Kirby, Hall Road at Crosby or, if you can trudge through the dunes, anywhere along the Sefton coast. Marshside often has good numbers in March and April. Brightly coloured males appear first – with peachy chests, black masks and lovely grey backs contrasting

February/March 2006

All Together Now!


. . . with John Dempsey

Getting around

Royal Blind Society Hotel Friendly Hotel in a relaxed atmosphereOffering specialist holidays for Guests who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Carers Set in beautiful Llandudno

Winter Warmers throughout January and February & March 2006 Only £120.00 per person per night Dinner, Bed and Breakfast to include Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea. For further information please contact hotel on:

THE RSPB's Marshside Nature Reserve is one of the most important places in the country for wintering wildfowl with the number of birds on the reserve often exceeding 40,000. The foreshore is a European Special Protection Area. Marshside has some of the best lowland wet grassland in north west England. Hides and viewing points are wheelchair accessible. Groups should book the hides. Marshside is two miles north of Southport — on the coastal road (Marine Drive). n Tel 01704 536378 (9am to 5pm). The Sefton coast is internationally important for its rare species of wildlife including natterjack toads, sand lizards and red squirrels so tame they can even be fed

Belmont Hotel 21 North Parade Llandudno LL30 2LP Tel: 01492 877770 Fax: 01492 872171 E-mail: Charity Number 207827 Patron: Her Majesty the Queen

IRTON HOUSE FARM Holiday Breaks in the Lakes near Keswick

Brown hares by Mike Price. Watch out for boxing matches by hand. It is also one of Europe's major birdwatching locations and to date more than 200 different bird species have been recorded. The Sefton coastal path runs from Waterloo to Crossens, north of Southport.There are stretches of the path where access is difficult. Check withSefton Rangers on 0151 934 2964.

with black wings, they really are a tonic each year, arriving weeks before our swallows and warblers start putting in an appearance in April. The male wheatears pass through before females as they need to be on breeding grounds first, so they can set up territories before the missus arrives from Africa. Tremendous, robust birds like big colourful robins (they are related). Make a note of when you see your first and you can

There is a sizeable car park at Hall Road but no disabled toilets. n The Wirral peninsular teems with wildlife and is a prime fuelling station for migrating birds. A fully accessible cycle track, used by hand cyclists, runs from Woodside, via New Brighton, to West Kirby.

compare it year on year; as global warming becomes more obvious, will our wheatears arrive even earlier? Brown hares are value for money in February and March – they frequently start “boxing” on our farmland and coast now and can provide top notch entertainment. The boxing matches are not bouts of supremacy between rival males looking for a mate, but rather females fighting off the unwelcome attentions of suitors full of the joys of spring. Females can have up to three litters a year – when

Self catering apartments for 2-6 people. Specially designed with the wheelchair in mind. No steps. Beautiful views in a superb location. Friendly owners in residence. Open all year.

For a colour brochure

Tel: 01768 776380 email: Book now for 2006

THE GLAXO NEUROLOGICAL CENTRE. Supporting people with neurological conditions and their families.

EARLY BIRD: A male wheatear, photographed by Steve Young, is one of the first spring arrivals. More of his pictures at


Impressive views at new RSPB platform TELL us about your favourite haunt — and don’t forget to mention about access! Letters please to: All Together Now! The Bradbury Centre, Youens Way, Liverpool L14 2EP email:

GOOD news for those who find it hard to deal with rough terrain in our countryside – the new viewing platform at the RSPB reserve at Marshside in Southport is now open. Overlooking “Fairclough’s Pool” off Hesketh Road, Southport, the large, sturdy platform is fully wheelchair accessible and commands impressive views of the southern section of this popular reserve. Water levels will remain high enough to attract large numbers of wildfowl, waders and gulls to the area the platform overlooks at least

FAST FORWARD: A young hare lollops along – they are the quickest mammals in the UK. Right, lapwing and teal at Marshside nature reserve. Picture courtesy of the RSPB

until the end of March, and it can be good for migrants later in the year. You should be able to see wigeon, teal, shoveler, pintail, lapwings, black tailed godwits and occasionally ruffs on most days – and brown hares are usually loafing or boxing in drier areas at this time. Park about 100 metres inland from the platform on Hesketh Road – and enjoy.. If you visit the platform, keep an ear open for water rails squealing in the reed fringed ditch on your right. They may even pop out of cover for you!

Join us at an exhibition to be held at the Glaxo Centre in central Liverpool, which will provide information on holidays of all kinds, both in the UK and overseas. If you are a travel company, agent or organisation which provides accessible holiday and travel advice - this is the event for you. Exhibition places will go fast – so please contact us for full details including costs.

Admission is FREE to visitors

MENTAL CAPACITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS March 16th 2006 The Trust will present a conference for lawyers, medical practitioners, nurses, social workers and voluntary groups. Topics include: mental capacity and the law, medical overviews of mental capacity, court of protection, and workshops on money, property and family issues. For further information and a booking form, contact:

The Mersey Neurological Trust, The Glaxo Neurological Centre, Norton Street, Liverpool L3 8LR Tel: 0151 298 2999 Fax: 0151 298 2333 email:

February/March 2006

Public bodies ‘must do more’ A

CAMPAIGN is being launched to persuade senior public sector bosses to implement new laws giving disabled people greater rights. The Disability Equality Duty laces a duty on the public sector to actively promote disability equality, similar to the duty to promote race equality under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act. In addition, public sector bodies charged with “specific duties” will be required to publish a Disability Equality Scheme setting out how they intend to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. Organisations with specific duties – from local councils to government

departments and from universities to hospitals – must involve disabled people in drawing up their schemes. But a survey among chief executives and public sector managers has revealed low levels of understanding of the new duties among senior managers. The Disability Rights Commission survey also showed that: n Senior public sector managers had low levels of interest in the DED and, unlike the race equality duty, lacked the personal commitment to see it through; n Senior managers were transferring their responsibility to take the lead in implementing the new duties to HR directors and equalities officers;

n There was evidence of marked complacency on the impact of the DED. DRC chairman Bert Massie said: “Most public bodies must have their Disability Equality Schemes in place by December and this means they need to start involving disabled people in both design and implementation right now. “They have grasped the message about better building access for disabled people. But the duty is more wide ranging than this.” The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 has been amended by the DDA 2005. From December the DDA will extend to functions of public authorities, placing a duty on them to promote disability equality.

All Together Now!

FACT FILE THE Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005 extended the scope of the DDA 1995. A key aspect of the new legislation is a duty on public bodies – from local authorities, healthcare to education providers – to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. Over 40,000 public bodies are likely to be covered by the duties in some way. The duty to promote equality duty comes into force in December 2006 and will mean that as public authorities carry out their activities, they will need to have “due regard” to the need to:

n Eliminate discrimination against, and harassment of, disabled people. n Promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. n Promote positive attitudes to disabled people, and n Encourage disabled people to take part in public life. This includes a requirement for a Disability Equality Scheme that sets out: n How disabled people have been involved in drawing up the scheme. n How the impact of existing and proposed policies and activities on disabled people will be assessed.




high on your agenda?

Let our charity deliver your message to TENS of THOUSANDS of disabled and older people who are eagerly awaiting your announcements To advertise in these pages — AND on our sensational website —call Chris Groves

0151 230 0307



All Together Now!

February/March 2006


Patricia’s inspiring advice to teachers A NEW handbook is available for teachers of literacy skills to deaf and hard of hearing students. Written by Patricia Neville, the book contains practical advice on communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing person when teaching, and suggests inspiring activities for lessons. The book also outlines in detail the adult curriculum, and offers individual learning plans, which can be tailored to each student. Michael Cox of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People says: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share Patricia Neville’s expertise and knowledge with the wider deaf teaching community. “This book is an essential resource, as not only does it offer information and advice to teachers, but it also provides essential worksheets which will also be available to download and print off from the RNID website.” n The book costs £9.99. Tel 0808 808 0123 Textphone 0808 808 9000

MOBILE LIBRARIES: Some have computers equipped with Microsoft Office

MOBILE libraries are moving with the times. It’s not just a good book and a chat they can offer – some have computers on board to help those who have difficulty getting to libraries. Warrington’s mobile unit has two computers equipped with Microsoft Office. Cllr Pat Wright, Warrington Council’s executive board member for community services, says: “The mobile library is a great way for people to access library services practically on their doorstep. “I hope these facilities will encourage even more people to come on board.” n Contact 07919 558 598 or 01925 442732. BREAKTHROUGH UK, who help disabled people into work, are putting on an open day at their Liverpool premises. The event, at Orleans House, Edmund Street, takes place on Thursday March 9 (10am-2pm). n Contact: 0151 236 1030

Earning and learning Change your life... by making a FRESH


START NOW for new skills and employment What is FRESH START?

• Fresh Start is a programme of courses designed for people who want to make that first step back into education. • Many students begin with basic English, maths, IT and developing study skills. • We have 20 neighbourhood centres all around the city as well as six main centres. Course enquiries:


252 3000


ORE than 380,000 students across England have received Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) payments since the start of the September term and the Learning and Skills Council is urging more young people to apply. The allowance entitles students who continue in training or further education at 16 and who live in a household with an annual income of up to £30,000, to £10, £20 or £30 a week paid directly into their bank accounts, in return for regular attendance on their courses. Students who take vocational courses such as NVQs, as well as those studying A levels at school or college, can apply for the allowance at any time throughout the academic year. Maria Eagle, Minister for Children, Young People and Families and Liverpool, Garston MP, said: “I am really pleased that so many students are now benefiting from regular EMA payments. I am particularly pleased that they are attaining qualifications and developing skills that will help them to succeed in life. “I urge all young people who may feel tempted to drop out into low-paid work to get in touch with their local

Students entitled to cash college and enquire about available courses. It’s a great way to boost their career prospects and earnings potential long term.” The EMA initiative encouraged more young people to participate in further education last year than would have done before the policy was introduced, the vast majority of whom would have entered low paid work or unemployment. It also helped many thousands more young students concentrate on their studies and reduce their reliance on part-time work to make ends meet. EMA is available at colleges, schools and sixth form centres to study GCSE retakes, vocational or academic courses. Application forms are available from schools, colleges, Connexions centres or by logging onto What are the key features of EMA? Weekly payment bands of £30, £20 and £10 per week, depending on household income.

Bonus payments of £100 (worth up to £500 in total over two years). Available for both academic and vocational study, up to level 3, which can include courses such as basic skills GCSE retakes, GNVQs, NVQs, as well as AS and A2s. No other household benefits affected. Young people can still have a part-time job. Who is eligible? Young people aged 16 or 17 at the start of the 2005/6 academic year). Young people living in one of the 56 pilot areas and born between 01/09/1986 – 31/08/1987 may also be eligible. Those whose household income is up to £30,000. Those doing at least 12 hours a week of guided learning on further education courses in school sixth forms, sixth form colleges, FE colleges and other non-standard educational institutions. You must also be a UK national born here or have UK citizenship or a UK passport with three years’ continuous residence in the UK prior to the start of your course; OR have ‘indefinite leave to remain or enter’ or refugee status; OR come from a European Union or European Economic Area country and have lived in the UK for at least three years.

Shop for a job

February/March 2006

All Together Now!


All Together Now! Ltd, The Bradbury Centre, Youens Way, Liverpool L14 2EP Telephone: 0151 230 0307 Fax: 0151 220 4446 email:


OBCENTRE Plus and their partner organisations – including Job Brokers who deliver the New Deal for Disabled People programme – are continuing their awareness raising events across the North West. District marketing executive Chris Massey says: “Jobcentre Plus are going out into the community meeting people in libraries and shops. “We are getting to places like Asda, Tesco and Morrisons and speaking to people in the stores as they shop. Feedback has so far been excellent. “Comments have included ‘Coming along has made me hopeful’; ‘We were impressed with how helpful everyone was’; and ‘I came away thinking there is light at the end of the tunnel’. “We are arranging more informal, information advice events across Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire.” Euan Cragg-James, marketing executive for Liverpool and Wirral, said: “If you are receiving benefits for a health condition or disability, and you’re interested in finding out more about the support available, then try to get along to one of these events. “It’s a chance to talk to us – in a

relaxed and informal atmosphere – about the sort of help you need. “We can advise on training you could do to open up new opportunities, and the practical and financial support on offer.” Dates for your diary: February 13: The Lauries, Corner of Claughton Road/Exmouth Street, Birkenhead, 10am-4pm February 15: Walton Jobcentre, Church Road, Walton, Liverpool (noon-4pm) February 16: Leasowe Millennium Centre, Twickenham Drive, Leasowe, Wirral (10am-1pm) Sure Start Speke Family Centre, Conleach Road, Speke, Liverpool (10am-3pm) February 17: Park Road Learning Centre, 155-163 Park Road, Toxteth, Liverpool (10am-3.30pm) Contact 0151 801 5772. CHESHIRE: February 10: Memorial Hall, Northwich (10.00am-2.30pm) February 20: Capesthorn Room Town Hall, Macclesfield (10.30am4.30pm) n To find out more contact 0800 783 8216,

Thinking about returning to work? We’re ready when you are.

SPECIAL OFFERS: Mayor and Mayoress of Sefton, Cllr John and Catie Walker at Morrisons

If you are claiming incapacity benefits and live in Merseyside, Cheshire or Warrington and are thinking of returning to work, there are a number of new choices open to you. You could get help with: • looking for work; • suitable training and how to find it; • advice on work you are able to do while still receiving benefits; and • information and an assessment of how financially better off you could be in work. Please contact your local Jobcentre Plus office or visit the Jobcentre Plus website:


All Together Now!

February/March 2006

Febraury/March 2006

All Together Now! Now!


reg charity no. 513814

Greenbank College Greenbank lane Liverpool L17 1AG

Interested in a Job? Want to acquire skills local employers want


Resident in Speke/Garston or Netherley Valley Declare a disability and are unemployed

For more information contact: Christian on 0151 733 7255

The barriers come down for teaching


NE in 20 new trainee teachers – 1,585 people – has a disability, according to the Training and Development Agency for Schools who report record levels of people entering the profession. In all, about 41,900 people are expected to begin training in England this year, an increase of 600 on last year, based on data collected from the universities, colleges and schools that offer initial teacher training. New figures reveal: n 33,828 people starting in mainstream training; and n 7,892 starting on employment routes, including the Graduate Teacher Programme and another 180 on the Teach First programme. Mainstream trainees comprise: n 16,113 undertaking primary teacher training; and n 17,715 undertaking secondary teacher training,

Record numbers join profession

including increases in science (up 131), music (54), and RE (56), but less in modern languages (down 82). The proportion of people from diverse backgrounds has also increased: n 3,379 people have declared themselves to be from an ethnic minority - now 10% of the total, up from 9.4% last year, exceeding the proportion in the general population; n 1,585 people have declared they have a disability – now 5% up from 4.1% last year; and n 2,293 men are training as primary school teachers - bringing the proportion of male trainees to 14%, up from 13% last year. The TDA’s executive director for Initial Teacher Training, Graham Holley, said: “These figures are further evidence that teaching

remains a top career choice for graduates, with more and more people electing to register online. “Our campaign highlights that teaching is an intellectually stimulating and satisfying job. “We acknowledge that challenges remain in some subjects at secondary level, and are making more pre-training courses available in mathematics, science and modern languages as we work with training providers to attract the highest calibre of people into the profession.” Jacqui Smith, Minister for Schools, said: “Once again we have record numbers training to be teachers and I would like to congratulate the TDA on this. “My own years in teaching showed me that it is a challenging job, but it is also immensely rewarding. I believe there is no more important job in our society than teaching the country’s next

generation.” A newly qualified teacher (NQT) can expect to start on a salary of at least £19,161 (£23,001 in inner London). The pay scale for good, experienced classroom teachers who have ‘crossed the threshold’ rises to at least £30,339 outside London and £35,985 in inner London. The pay scale for head teachers can rise to over £90,000 depending on size of school. Eligible trainees on postgraduate initial teacher training courses in England are entitled to a tax-free training bursary worth £6-9,000. n Details are available at:

For more information about how to become a teacher, see Personal advice is available from the Teaching Information Line on 0845 6000 991 - 992 for Welsh speakers (minicom 01245 45 43 43).

How you can help us to spread the word YES! I would like to support the All Together Now! charity by subscribing to the next SIX editions of the magazine with a £10 donation. NAME ................................................................................. ADDRESS .................................... ...................................................... ..................................................... .................................................... .................................................... Post code .................................. Tel No: ........................................

Get the next SIX magazines delivered straight to your door — for just a tenner!

Please send this form to: All Together Now! The Bradbury Centre, Youens Way, Liverpool L14 2EP



All Together Now!

February/March 2006


A good work-out MICHELLE VALENTINE at the Disability Rights Commission answers readers’ questions . . .


DOES a university have any duties regarding work placements?

WORK placements are clearly listed as a student service in section 3 in the Post 16 Code of Practice. However, this only applies where the university sets up the placement rather than students having a working year out which they organise for themselves. Where the university has set up the placement, they would have a duty to ensure that the student was not treated less favourably in the arrangements for the placement and that reasonable adjustments were made where a student was, or was likely to be, placed at a substantial disadvantage. There is a limit to what the university can do within the placement provider’s domain. However, in order to ensure that the student was not treated less favourably, it would seem reasonable that the university ensures that a placement provider caters for the student’s needs. Whether the university has an ongoing duty to ensure the placement is going well may well depend on what is the usual procedure. If students were normally left in their placements without checking or interference, then it would not be less favourable treatment to leave the disabled student in peace. However, if the disabled student tells the university that the placement is not going well for reasons related to disability, the university would definitely have duties to assist that student so that they were not placed at any disadvantage.

An automatic right?


WE are a small firm of solicitors. We provide company cars for all partners within the firm. We plan to appoint a new partner and the applicant we have in mind has a disability which means he can only drive an automatic car but we only have manual cars. What should we do? PARTNERS, or prospective partners, have similar rights under the Disability Discrimination Act as employees or job applicants have with employers. The duty to make reasonable adjustments also applies in respect of partners or prospective partners. It may be reasonable, in the above example, for the firm to provide an automatic car. The Act also allows firms, in certain circumstances, to require a reasonable contribution from partners in respect of any adjustments made. A relevant factor in deciding whether a contribution is reasonable, will be the proportion in which the disabled partner is entitled to share in the firm’s profits.


The hit list

SHOPPED: High street stores could face being taken to court


ANY high streets stores are ignoring the new disability access laws, says the Disability Rights Commission. DRC chairman Bert Massie said: “We’ve got a very simple message for those high street businesses that are dragging their feet – the DRC will vigorously pursue offenders through the courts. “We are already taking legal action against two major leisure and retail providers and have a hit list of several others to follow. “Laws to make business and services more user-friendly for disabled people have been on the statute book for 10 years and there really is nowhere to hide anymore. To do very little for your disabled customers is no longer an option.” The leisure and retail sectors – which include pubs, shops, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, gyms, sports facilities and hotels – accounted for over half of 1,500 complaints about access received by the DRC helpline since October last year. The biggest problems disabled people faced were the lack of accessible toilets in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Other issues included steps to entrances where no ramp was provided, the lack of disabled people’s parking, poor changing room facilities for disabled people and poor staff attitudes.

Shops and pubs face court over access rights

The DRC recently supported a disabled shopper in Derby in the first physical access case to result in legal action against the retailer, Debenhams. The leisure industry is about to be the subject of another legal case supported by the DRC, against Spirit Group Limited. Spirit Group acquired Scottish and Newcastle breweries in 2003 and owns 2,400 pubs nationwide, employing 45,000 staff. The case concerns the lack of an accessible toilet at The Shirley Inn in Croydon. Mr Massie added: “Disabled people are rarely seen in pubs, shops, restaurants and clubs. The reason? Too many high streets still appear to have a sign up that says ‘disabled people are not welcome here’. The result is the social segregation of disabled people from everyone else on a grand scale.” The DRC, however, has been working successfully with a number of large businesses in the leisure sector who have already made significant improvements.

PROMOTE YOUR COLLEGE, tel 0151 230 0307

For example, Intercontinental Hotels, owners of the Holiday Inn chain in the UK, has allocated £12.8m for better access. Of the approximately 230 IHG-owned hotels in the UK, the vast majority are user-friendly to disabled people. Improvements include accessible bedrooms which are well-lit, wider doors, lower level toilets and handrails, and provision of ‘access kits’ which contain, among other things, vibrating pagers, induction loops, portable door chimes, evacuation chairs and larger print menus. The DRC has also been working with the London pub chain, Youngs, which has entered into a formal agreement with the DRC to make their premises more userfriendly to disabled people. As part of the agreement, Youngs have recently carried out access audits in all their pubs to identify any physical features that may create barriers for disabled people and has agreed to remove these as soon as possible. The new physical access duties were introduced on October 1, 2004. A disabled person has the right to sue through the county court if reasonable changes have not been made to any business or service open to the general public. Changes can include providing alternatives to steps for wheelchair users, better lighting for visually-impaired customers and plain English signage.


February/March 2006

All Together Now!

All Together Now! Ltd, The Bradbury Centre, Youens Way, Liverpool L14 2EP Telephone: 0151 230 0307 Fax: 0151 220 4446 email:

Body to push for equal rights A NEW Office for Disability Issues has been welcomed by leading disability groups. The organisation, set up by the Government, will be responsible for driving forward positive change in the lives of disabled people who will take a leading role in its direction. John Knight, head of external policy at disability charity Leonard Cheshire said: “This marks a tremendous leap in taking forward the recommendations in the Strategy Unit’s Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People report. “Make no mistake, these recommendations have the potential to radically transform disabled people’s role in society.” Kate Nash, chief executive of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, said: “Now that the Office has been established, we expect to see concrete plans and a clear timetable for how each government department will be held to account for delivering on promises contained within the Improving Life Chances report.”

Pension line PENSIONERS can now call one phone number to claim three key benefits – and some could find themselves substantially better off, says benefits minister James Plaskitt. “We are committed to making it as easy as possible for pensioners to get the benefits they are entitled to,” he said. “That is why we have already started calling people on Pension Credit to make sure they are also claiming their Housing and Council Tax Benefits. “The results have been very positive, with people receiving on average up to £700 back from the cost of their Council Tax bills. “Now we are making this service available to new Pension Credit customers. If someone calls to claim Pension Credit, they will be helped to claim Housing and Council Tax Benefit at the same time. “Some customers could receive substantial arrears.” n Call 0800 99 1234.

WINNING SMLES: David WadeSmith, chairman of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Neil Scales, chief executive and director general of Merseytravel, and Jack Stopforth, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

Award is just the job


EOPLE on Merseyside who suffer from mental illnesses are being given greater access to public transport. Merseytravel worked with training and development consultancy CPD and trainer and psychiatric nurse Rob Hughes to deliver the programme which has been highly commended in the National Training Awards. While people with specific and permanent physical disabilities had always been eligible for

concessionary travel on public transport, the 2001 Transport Act extended the criteria to cover severe mental health issues. Neil Scales, chief executive and director general of Merseytravel, said: “The challenge was to build awareness and skills to best deliver good customer care for difficult-to-understand and hard to-reach groups.” Actor Pauline Fleming helped by performing realistic, hard-hitting role-play exercises. One trainee said: “I find I now empathise and feel more at ease


with customers who have mental health and literacy problems. I always check they understand my answers to their queries.” Sarah Butler, of the Merseyside Mental Health Consortium, said: “The training was extremely important in raising awareness of mental health issues.” The National Training Awards, run by UK Skills on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills, reward training and personal development, and are viewed as a barometer of the UK’s attitudes to training.

MERSEYTRAVEL has scooped a major regional award for skills and workforce development. The region’s transport authority won the Northwest regional Award for Skills and Workforce Development, one of a handful of awards announced as part of the British Chamber of Commerce and Microsoftsponsored Chamber Awards 2005. Neil Scales, Merseytravel’s chief executive and director general, said: “Our goal is for an integrated public transport network, accessible to all, but that doesn’t just happen by itself. “It takes real dedication by our staff, high skill levels and innovation – and we are seeing that day in, day out.” David Wade-Smith, chair of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said that Merseytravel had been recognised “for its really outstanding achievement.”

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February/March 2006



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February/March 2006

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OTABILITY Operations, the company that operates the car scheme for disabled people in the UK, has seen a 56% growth in applications for wheelchair accessible vehicles over the last 12 months. The news follows an increase in the number of such vehicles available on the scheme, falling advance payments, and a dedicated section of the price list for this sector.

In addition, Motability is also working to significantly reduce the timescale between a grant application for a wheelchair drive vehicle and delivery. Mike Betts, chief executive of Motability Operations, says: “There needs to be a comprehensive choice of cars available on the Motability Scheme for all mobility and budget requirements. “As a driver or a passenger, our customers require everything from a fully wheelchair accessible vehicle to needing no

adaptations at all. “To cater for this range of needs we have increased the range of wheelchair accessible vehicles available, worked with our suppliers to reduce the advance payments on such models, and added the most popular adaptations to the quarterly price list.” The first quarterly price list of this year sees advance payments on wheelchair accessible vehicles reduced even further. n For more information on the Motability Scheme call 0800 093 1000 or visit:

Hot wheels OTHER highlights of the Motability scheme include popular models at nil advance payment such as the Ford Focus 1.6 LX, the Nissan Micra 1.2 S, and the new Clio 1.2 Authentique. The seven seat mini MPV Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 Life, and the VW Golf 1.6 S both have an advance payment of £399. Available at £3,250 advance payment is the Mercedes A150 Classic SE. A full range of automatic cars are also available at nil advance payment.

Drive away a new car…

MOTABILITY FAVOURITES: Pictured from top: Vauxhall Zafira, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Astra, and the Ford Focus

It’s easier and cheaper than you think!


• More makes and models • Lower prices • Increased mileage allowance • Simplified applications on-line • Improved adaptations process


0800 093 1000

n Clatterbridge Assessment Centre, Clatterbridge Hospital, Wirral, L63 4JY Tel 0151 334 4000 ext 4782 n Donald Todd Rehab Centre, Fazakerley Hospital, Lower Lane, Liverpool, L9 7AL Tel 0151 529 3039 n Wrightington Mobility Centre, Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan WN6 9EP Tel 01257 256409 n The North Wales Driving Assessment Centre, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, Tel 01745 584858 n Motability, Goodman House, Station Approach, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2ET Tel 0845 456 4566 n Disabled Motorists Federation. Tel 0191 416 3172. n Disabled Drivers Motor Club, Cottingham Way, Thrapston,

Northants,NN14 4PL Tel 01832 734724 n Disabled Drivers Association, Ashwellthorpe, Norwich, Norfolk NR16 1EX Tel 01508 489449 n Disabled Motorcyclists Association, Clyde Business Centre, Clyde House, Clyde Street. Ashton under Lyne, Tameside, OL7 0NQ Tel 0161 214 8314 n National Association of Bikers with a Disability Unit 20, The Bridgewater Centre, Robson Avenue, Urmston, Manchester M41 7TE Tel: 0870 759 0603 n MAVIS (Mobility Advice and Vehicle Information Service Tel 01344 661000


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Tell 200,000 readers about your business/services:

Call: 0151 230 0307


MOTABILITY HOTSHOTS: There’s a wide choice available from BMW (top), Volkswagen (below) and Mercedez-Benz (below, right)

TEN superb road atlases to be won FOR any disabled motorist, ‘The Gowrings Mobility UK Road Atlas: the essential parking and motoring guide for Blue Badge Holders’ is a fantastic companion to great days out in the UK. For the first time, key information such as parking for Blue Badge holders, accessible car parks and petrol stations, tourist information, Shopmobility locations, accessible beaches, toilets and accommodation has been incorporated into a unique road atlas. The 190 page atlas comprises a national road atlas and a more detailed street mapping of 65 city centres highlighting all the parking options and facilities for Blue Badge holders. The atlas contains a foreword from Paralympic athlete and gold medallist, Dame Tanni GreyThompson, who comments: “For the first time, this atlas provides all the important, practical information that • Wide range of vehicles disabled people need in one handy guide. It’s perfect to keep in the car • New and used available to buy and I hope it encourages more • Hire from just £60 a day disabled motorists to attempt journeys they may well have avoided • No obligation home demonstrations in the past.” • Fully accessible disabled facilities Gowrings Mobility has teamed up with All Together Now! to offer 10 • Finance / Hire purchase arranged readers the chance of winning an • Motability accredited dealer atlas! To enter the draw, send a postcard with your name, address and email to: All Together Now! Atlas Prize Draw, Gowrings Mobility, Bone Lane, FREEPOST, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5ZW or email The lucky 10 entries picked out on Friday March 17 will be sent a complimentary atlas! n If you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can order the atlas for a Wigan Road, Leyland, Lancs., PR25 5SB discounted rate of £12 by contacting Gowrings Mobility on Lo-Call 0845 Tel: 01772 622688 608 8020 or visiting:



All Together Now!

February/March 2006

ARIES (March 20 - April 19) It’s unlikely that everything has gone as hoped so far this year because the cosmic tide has not been flowing in your favour. However, all is not lost and the situation changes for the better as January ends when developments in your personal and business affairs will prove that more than one conversation has started to bear the right sort of fruit. Meanwhile, the conveyor belt of life is about to bring along a new set of social opportunities, so welcome newcomers on the scene, be receptive to what existing friends offer and give due consideration to all invitations. You are liable to find that one introduction or worthwhile encounter soon leads to another. TAURUS (April 20 - May 20) There are two main themes in your chart. One relates to your hopes, interests and status in the material world, where you should be ready to push yourself forward, stake your claim and, when appropriate, sing your own praises. On no account, allow yourself to be overlooked or passed by, due to not acting or speaking out when you sense you should. The other theme is to do with your personal and domestic affairs, where you may have to make a decision that has far reaching implications. Planetary activity also indicates that the time is right to strengthen old ties and pick up where you left off with people from the past. GEMINI (May 21 - June 20) Planetary activity is designed to spur you on, increase your sense of purpose and help you make your mark. However, involve loved ones in any scheming or planning or the mood could become decidedly chilly. On a brighter note, an emphasis on travel and expansion suggests you’ll have the chance to venture further afield and fulfil at least one of the promises you have made to yourself. Overseas connections in particular are favoured at this time of the year so bear this in mind if you have the chance to take a trip or become more involved with an individual who comes from a far away place. CANCER (June 21 to July 22) As the Sun passes over the angle of your chart relating to taxes, shared money and shared resources, there is every chance you will gain because of what someone else knows or is willing to do for you. Indeed, it looks as if you will have a new enthusiasm and plan of campaign by the time March arrives. By tradition, the world then becomes your oyster but if you hope to find the real pearls be ready to explore ideas that take you along new avenues and constitute a change. The main thing to understand is that providence promises you the chance to find greater satisfaction and fulfilment generally. LEO (July 23 - August 22) You have entered into an important period of change in which a great deal will be decided and set into motion for the future. In particular take note of what comes to pass around the time of the auspicious Full Moon in Leo on the 13th February when you are liable to arrive at a crossroads of the emotional or professional kind. A few days later, you are due to

SCORPIO (October 23rd - November 21st) Although 2006 is Scorpio’s year, you may feel as if it’s hard going until 17th February when Mars, a planet that tends to bring problems, stops challenging your birth sign. From then onwards you will go from strength to strength as one planet after another becomes more supportive to your romantic, creative and financial interests. The icing on the cake is the New Moon on the 28th because by tradition, it’s a lucky New Moon for you. Make at least one wish and think positively about it coming true.

June Baker-Howard

What do the stars have in store for you? receive an offer, invitation or opportunity that will act as the springboard to a more contented existence. Obviously, how you respond is up to you but there is much to suggest that you could bring out the very best in a business or emotional opposite number. VIRGO (August 23 - September 22) Your circumstances continue to alter and, in the process, so will the possibilities that can be considered. At this point, thanks to the energetic planet Mars, rising high over the success angle of your chart, a plan that was a non starter or put on a back burner last year, due to circumstances beyond your control, can be set into motion. Above all, allow for this to be an action packed phase in which the greatest challenge will be to know when to delegate or, instead, deal with things yourself. At the same time you can expect reassuring proof of the fact that ‘what goes out always comes back’ in one form or another! LIBRA (September 23 - October 22) The light at the end of one particular dark tunnel should be clearly visible by the end of January because February promises to be one of the more rewarding months of the year in your experience. The proof of this statement will be reflected by developments in your social and personal affairs, as well as in business dealings because a helpful cluster of planets boost both your financial and romantic fortunes. If you have felt unhappy about the state of play in your love life, you could not choose a better time to do something about it! In all situations be optimistic because providence is very much on your side.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22nd - December 21st) February has the makings of being a busy or even frantic month, with a list of people to contact or who decide to contact you, and too much to think about rather than too little. Don’t hesitate to draw on the store of goodwill accumulated in the past because who you know could be more important than what you know in the current climate. As March approaches, home, family and property matters come to the fore, so don’t be surprised if new schemes evolve in connection with your home comforts, residence or nearest and dearest. Try to clinch any new agreement before Mercury turns retrograde on March 2nd, warning of changes of mind or break downs in communication. CAPRICORN (December 22nd - January 19th) A planetary emphasis on the angle of your chart relating to money draws attention to matters such as budgets, income and spending. Fortunately Venus, a planet associated with the power to attract, is on your side, enabling you to win friends, charm others and obtain the responses you seek so you should be well pleased with one or two of the arrangements made before March arrives. All in all, the world is now going to seem a friendlier place so make the most of your chances. AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18) The Sun, the main player in the zodiac, visits your birth sign between 20th January and 18th February to help you start a new cycle or phase of experience. In theory, the motto is ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ but in practice, the presence of Saturn, planet of cause and effect, in your house of opposite numbers, denotes that you will soon be blocked if you are unrealistic in what you ask of others. Even so, as the winter passes, you should start to feel happier and more confident. PISCES (February 19 - March 19) The presence of fiery Mars in the part of your chart governing domestic and family affairs indicates that a problem that has troubled you before must be resolved for once and all by mid February. However, it is advisable to do some serious soul searching to ensure that you are true to yourself rather than acting out of habit or because of what someone else expects of you. In one direction, it may well be a case of ‘off with old and on with the new’ because there appears to be some finishing off to do in readiness for the bright new phase commencing once the Sun starts to shine in Pisces on 18th February.


Personal battle in a cruel war n A Frank Account, by Frank Cheyney, published by The Book Guild, £10.99 “THE stretcher was placed on the floor and people gathered round me. An examination of the left leg was made, amid conversation in French. Finally a doctor addressed me in his best English: “I ask your permission to take your left leg off, or you will die.” After a very exhausting day, this was the climax. Involuntary tears welled up and I remember uttering, ‘no more running!’ And with that agreed with a nod of the head. Frank Cheyney, a keen amateur runner, enlisted in the Royal Engineers at 20. His leg was amputated after he was wounded in retreat from Dunkirk. Now as a prisoner of war, he was shuttled from one camp to another. Over 1,000 of the 10,000 POWs were unfit for service and more than 100 were leg amputees. This is a side of the war that very little is known about, and Frank Cheyney describes it all with modesty and humour.

How the Great Pyramid was built n The Golden Thread of Time, by Crichton Miller, published by Pendulum Publishing, £19.99 AT LONG last it seems the search might be over to the big question — how was the Great Pyramid built? Expert navigator and historian Crichton Miller unravels the mystery with the artefacts that were themselves discovered in the pyramid by Waynman Dixon. For over 100 years these artefacts have remained a mystery to academics, but Miller has managed to piece together the puzzle for all to see — and it looks like the Celtic Cross. Using his unique insight in navigation, Miller was able to work out that the fragments from the pyramid were in actual fact part of an incredible measuring device — used and hidden by the ancient Egyptian priesthood to locate, measure and build structures such as the Great Pyramid. Miller also discovered this device within the pages of history and prehistory around the world — not just Egypt. Miller makes the case that this device was then lost from our grasp, only to be re-discovered in the 21st century.

February/March 2006

All Together Now!


Into battle with the big freeze Illustration by MARK NORMAN


T’S painful, debilitating and often needs an operation to fix it but the condition commonly known as Frozen Shoulder sounds fairly minor in the list of medical disorders. Until you suffer from it. The name, known to raise a smile from the unsympathetic, conjures up an image of a patient sitting in a draught. A hot water bottle might warm it up – no such luck. Frozen means just that. Motionless, stuck, fixed solid. You can’t sleep properly, drive a car, swim, wash your hair, get dressed without help, or do simple tasks. And, boy, does it hurt. To have one is unfortunate, two is unfair. In 1994 I bought a small hover mower to tidy my mother’s garden. I plugged it in, the machine lurched to the right and my shoulder went with it. After a yell, I handed the job to my husband and forgot about it. Weeks later I couldn’t stretch up to the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard or close a

Frozen shoulders are no joke as VAL SURRIDGE discovered – twice! window without wincing. Working on a computer was almost impossible. Slowly, because every movement was painful, I started to use my left arm more and hold my right into my body. It was during the initial visit to my GP that the words FROZEN SHOULDER were uttered for the first time. Anti-inflammatory drugs failed to help and I was referred to a consultant. Two steroid injections later – straight into the joint – I was still in agony and as frozen as ever. An MRI scan followed and revealed

the damage. The capsule surrounding the shoulder joint had thickened and contracted. Next stop, the operating theatre for a day case manipulation. Put simply, you are anaesthetised and the surgeon pulls and pushes your arm into positions you couldn’t attempt if you were awake. I came to with my arm in ice and a physiotherapist ready to carry on the good work. I left hospital with an exercise sheet, painkillers and an appointment card. Many physio sessions later, I was more or less back to normal – six months after that gardening mishap. It was marvellous to wave off the children to school again. I could even do up my bra! Ten years later and it happened again – but to my left arm. I recognised the signs when I reached for the phone on my desk and there was a telltale twinge in my shoulder joint. In days it was stiffening and I was treading a familiar

Helping teenagers to combat depression A BOOK that’s helped many parents and teachers cope with teenagers with depression has been relaunched. In So Young, So Sad, So Listen authors, psychiatrist Philip Graham and psychotherapist Carol Hughes, provide practical advice and information about the wide help and support available. Around five in 100 teenagers in the UK are seriously depressed, and at least twice that number show significant distress. In troubled inner-city areas, the level of depression among the young may be twice this. As many as two or

three girls in every 100 make a suicide attempt at some time during their teenage years. Carol Hughes underlines the importance of listening to the young person with depression. “Try listening with the heart and not just the ears. Behind every attention-seeker is a real problem that perhaps the child needs to dramatise in order to ensure an audience.” She gives some basic ideas on how to be emotionally available to young people, and advises on how to access further specialist help if home, school and GP support prove not to be enough. The book also looks at the

range of talking treatments available, from cognitivebehavioural therapy to family or group therapy, and individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Although physical treatments are usually less important than talking treatments, they are sometimes helpful. The book has helpful action sheets and lists of further reading and useful organisations. Price, £7.50 from Book Sales, The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 17 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PG. Tel: 020 7235 2351 ext. 146;

path to GP, consultant and physiotherapist. This time it was more serious. Injections didn’t work. I needed keyhole surgery and manipulation before numerous physio sessions and a home exercise programme. Like many, I couldn’t pinpoint what had caused the freeze this time, although I have my suspicions. For 10 years I had been extra careful not aggravate my right shoulder, for instance carrying heavy bags on my left side. Time had taken its toll. The operation was a success, but I was absent from work more than seven months. There really is nothing funny about frozen shoulders. Apart from the pain, the endless exercises become boring and there is only so much afternoon TV you can watch. Immobility leads to depression. Luckily, I was able to ease myself back into the routine and abandon the keyboard every now again to carry on the exercises. So are YOU a candidate for the big freeze? Two in every 100 people will suffer from one in their lifetime and it has nothing to do with arthritis. It is most common in people aged 40 to 60; it affects 10-20% of diabetics, and if you are a woman your chances increase dramatically. There are three stages. The first lasts two to nine months; the pain increases with movement and is often worse at night. There is a growing loss of motion. In the second stage the pain begins to diminish but there is even less movement, and this can go on for another four to 12 months. Finally, the condition begins to resolve itself but it could be years before you feel anything like normal. There is no quick cure, no wonder drug, though in some cases surgery can speed the recovery process. I still get occasional pain but I’m keeping my fingers crossed there are no more cold shoulders in store for me – of any kind!


All Together Now!

February/March 2006

Life’s worth Time to take stress out of your life PHYSIOTHERAPISTS are urging people to take active steps to reduce the stress in their working lives. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has produced a series of free self-help, stress-busting tips that can easily be followed. Tessa Campbell, vice chair of Chartered Physiotherapists Interested in Massage and Soft Tissue Therapies, says: “Small amounts of stress can actually help stimulate, excite and boost performance. “But when stress levels become too high and are experienced over time, they can seriously affect people’s health, personal lives and work performance. “By using a variety of therapies such as relaxation techniques for sleep problems, massage for muscle tension and headaches, and exercise regimes for general wellbeing, physiotherapists can help people beat the effects of stress. They can also advise on how you can take steps to manage and combat stress.” The CSP’s factsheet provides information on identifying stress, selfhelp relaxation and coping measures, and where to seek professional advice and assistance. n The Stress-Buster factsheet is available by calling 020 7306 6666. It can also be downloaded from the website:

Mental health help A NEW information pack has been produced to help family carers and professionals understand the mental health needs of young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. The Well-Being Workshop pack, designed and developed by parents based on their personal experiences, includes guidelines and practical tools to help services run workshops for carers. It covers issues including change and transition, health, loss and bereavement and supportive therapies. Hazel Morgan, co-director of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities says: “It is important we recognise the needs of young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities as they may not be able to express themselves in words. “Those close to them must be able to identify changes in their mood and sense of well-being. This pack will enable frontline staff and family carers to give these young people the emotional support they need.” n Copies of the Well-Being Workshop pack cost £35 and can be obtained by calling 020 7803 1100 or visiting

Community matrons are helping patients to stay at home


HE LIFE of one patient with long term conditions has been transformed by a new health and social care initiative.

As part of an innovative ‘joined up’ approach to meeting the needs of people with long term conditions, a new sort of healthcare professional has been created. Community matrons, all experienced and highly skilled nurses, use case management techniques with patients who are particularly vulnerable and who represent a high proportion of unplanned hospital admissions. With the support offered by community matrons, these patients are able to remain in the community for longer, have fewer and shorter unplanned periods in hospital and enjoy a better quality of life. Knowsley resident, Betty McGrath has a long and complex series of health problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), angina and osteoporosis which affect her heart, her breathing and her mobility. Betty had been a frequent hospital inpatient following a series of emergency admissions. It was her only resort when her condition became too difficult for her or her husband Dennis, her chief carer, to cope with on their own. Now Betty is under the care of community matron Lorraine Rimmer from Knowsley Primary Care Trust. Since Lorraine has been ‘on the case’, Betty has had only one emergency hospital admission lasting only a few days. Betty said: “I hate hospitals and I get fed up with going in so I wouldn’t tell anyone I felt Ill and by the time I did it was always too late and I had to be admitted because I was so poorly.” With Lorraine’s support, Betty is now able to quickly recognise when her symptoms are worsening and seek medical advice in good time, avoiding the necessity of an emergency hospital admission. Betty said: “It’s different now because, when I’m not feeling well, I’ll tell Dennis straight away and he calls

FEELING THE BENEFIT: A new kind of support is helping to keep Betty McGrath out of hospital

Lorraine. She comes over to see how I am and looks at what needs doing to help me get well and keep me out of hospital.” As Betty’s carer, Dennis also benefits from the one-to-one support which Lorraine provides. He said: “Betty is so much better. I haven’t seen her so happy in years and it’s such a relief to know that Lorraine is only a phone call away.” As part of the process of shared caring, all patients with LTC under the care of a community matron are given a ‘Change in Condition’ check list of symptoms which acts as an early warning system, alerting patients to any deterioration in their condition. Building up a rapport is key to the success of the community matron role. Lorraine said: “Betty is happy to call me when she begins to feel unwell because she knows I’ll do only what’s best for her and try as hard as possible to keep her at home.”

However, sometimes this is not possible. Recently, Betty developed a chest infection which required the level of care that only a hospital environment could provide. But Lorraine was able to arrange for Betty to be admitted to a hospital close to home. This had benefits for Dennis, too. He said: “It was just down the road so it was really easy for me to visit. I could sit in Betty’s room with her all day talking and watching TV and I knew she was being properly looked after.” For Lorraine, the job offers immense rewards. “Initially, I used to visit Betty and Dennis three times a week. Then, as we got to know and trust each other, I reduced the visits to once a week. They know that they can call me any time and I will come out if there’s a problem. In just a few months there’s been a definite improvement in Betty’s condition – she’s much happier and more relaxed.”


February/March 2006

All Together Now!


living again by Stephen Hawkins chair, Mersey Care NHS Trust

US EXPERIENCE: Community matron Janet Ainscough is back from a successful fact-finding mission

A better way of working W

HEN Knowlseybased community matron Janet Ainscough was offered the opportunity to visit California on an all expenses paid trip, courtesy of the Department of Health, she jumped at the chance. This was no ‘jolly’ at the expense of the taxpayer – but a five-day working trip that left little room for sightseeing. As a community matron, Janet has particular responsibility for patients with long term conditions (LTC) and was keen to learn more from Kaiser Permanente, a San Francisco-based ‘managed care organisation’ on which the NHS approach to the treatment of LTC is based. Janet said: “I was really impressed with the total integration between primary and secondary healthcare services which had been achieved. “And prominent public health

Patients all set to benefit campaigns which encourage a healthy lifestyle mean that people are being made aware of both preventative action and available treatment where necessary.” Janet is one of a new team of 10 community matrons appointed to a joint team by Knowsley PCT and social services and based in Kirkby to meet the needs of the most vulnerable group of patients with LTCs. Nationally, the Department of Health aims to have 3,000 community matrons in post by 2008. Should patients need to go into hospital, Janet and her colleagues will be with them, literally every step of the way, from admittance, through treatment, liaising directly with hospital staff, and finally discharge. Long term conditions, estimated to affect some 17.5

million predominantly older people, are health conditions which cannot currently be cured but which need to be managed. These include diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), arthritis and renal disease. The current approach to the treatment of patients with LTCs, pioneered by Kaiser Permanente, identifies three levels of patient support. This links the type of support required from local health and social care services to the varying levels of patient need, depending upon the severity of their condition. Acting as a case manager and working with colleagues at their local primary care trusts (PCT), GP surgeries, hospital wards and social service teams, community matrons offer a joined up, one

to one support service for patients, their carers and relatives. This enables patients to live a near normal life, have fewer and shorter unplanned admissions to hospital and, most importantly, enjoy a better quality of life. Knowsley PCT is already well advanced in establishing ‘joined up’ working between health, social care services and the wider Knowsley Council. It was well placed to learn from the Californian model of care for long term conditions. Alongside the three tiers of caring represented by Kaiser Permanente, Knowsley has added a fourth tier – improving public health – to underpin the model. The new ways of working are already bringing benefits. Unplanned admissions to hospital among the first 65 patients to benefit from the community matron service have reduced by 85% in the first six months.

— PLACE AN ADVERT. Tel 0151 230 0307

IT HAS been called the classic chicken and egg situation by one of the country’s most eminent economists. The problem is the huge social and financial cost to the nation of mental illness — one of the biggest causes of misery in our society — and what can be done to remedy the situation. Mental illness costs the economy 2% of its gross domestic product (£25 billion) and a further 2% on the Exchequer (£21 billion). So the costs of keeping people out of work for long periods through, say Incapacity Benefit, is around £14 billion a year, while expenditure on NHS mental health services equates to £8 billion. The Confederation of British Industry estimates the output lost from time-off due to depression, anxiety and stress equates to £4 billion a year and that people with mental health problems have the lowest employment rate of any disabled group. Highlighting these costs has been Lord Layard, a professor at the London School of Economics and author of Happiness: Lessons From A New Science. Layard argues that mental health is Britain’s biggest social problem. Perhaps the fact there are now more mentally ill people drawing incapacity benefits than there are unemployed people on Jobseeker’s Allowance has raised the stakes on his recommendations for a new wave of improvement for mental health services. I support his conclusion that as a nation we must be smarter and flexible in developing tailored return to work programmes, where individuals are supported and encouraged without the threat of benefit withdrawal. My experience has shown the fragility of most mental health conditions means that people are reluctant to enter long term commitments without reassurance and support, which is one of the reasons my own trust has initiatives to support phased return to work by service users, but these are limited resources. With 16% of working age adults having a mental illness — and up to half of them are seriously ill — it is time to think again about how we respond to the scale of the problem. Perhaps the whole mental health issue should be looked at in a more holistic way in that is has not much to do with the NHS and more to do with all aspects of culture and commerce . .


All Together Now!

February/March 2006

HELPING HANDS DO YOU have a problem with everyday activities such as bending, reaching, dressing, getting in and out of your favourite chair, using the bath or toilet? If the answer is yes, your local Disabled Living Centre may have the answer for you. Assist UK, formerly the Disabled Living Centres Council, is the national voice for more than 40 DLCs around the UK. Assist UK has teamed up with All Together Now! to help readers of all ages and abilities to stay independent. The DLCs provide independent advice and the

The write lines . . . I HAVE a tremor which makes my writing pretty illegible. I don’t do a lot of writing but would like to improve it. Can you help?


YOU could try a weighted pen. Inside the barrel is a set of weights that can be added or removed as required. The weights help stabilise the pen while you write. Weighted universal holders can be used on pens, pencils, toothbrushes – anything up to 13mm in diameter. There will be a range of writing aids at your local Disabled Living Centre. Ring to arrange a visit.

. . . with Jan Lockyer opportunity to see and try equipment and they are there to help you make the right choice. Remember some equipment can be provided free on loan from the NHS or social services departments and if you are buying equipment there may be grants available to help you. Be a wiser buyer — it always pays to get impartial advice and there is the opportunity to test the item before you buy. There is also every chance your DLC will have the products you are interested in on display. So if you need help — use us. That’s what we’re here for!

The power to shower Q A

I HAD a step-in shower unit installed because I was having difficulty with getting in and out of the bath, but now I need to sit to shower. What are the options? IF it can be securely attached you could have a wall-mounted folding shower seat. Alternatively, there are shower stools – with or without arm suports – and static shower chairs with arms and backs. These all come in a range of seat shapes and sizes with fixed or adjustable seat height. Flat-bottomed chairs are designed to

spread the load evenly over the shower tray to prevent damage when weight is put on the tray. Folding shower chairs are also available. If you have difficulty getting over the step, and your shower is compatible, there are wall mounted swivel seats that swing in and out of the shower. For people who are considering having their bath taken out and a shower put in think carefully about all the options. Level access showers have no step and can even be used with shower chairs on wheels.

Liverpool Disabled Living Centre Enabling people to choose the right equipment Over 2,000 products on display: G Bathroom and toilet aids G Chairs G Shower equipment G Kitchen and feeding aids G Stair lifts G Beds and bed accessories G Walking aids G Telephone equipment G Personal care products G Hoists G Equipment to help with dressing G Gardening aids G Moving and handling equipment G Ramps G Reading and writing aids and more...

OPEN DAYS at Liverpool Disabled Living Centre: Wednesday February 8 (10am1pm) Tuesday February 28 (1pm-4pm) Wednesday March 15 (10am-1pm)

What’s the safest way Pan ban I can offer support? Q


THE person I care for has begun to need more and more help getting in and out of his chair, bed and car and on and off the toilet. I want to assist him in the way that’s safest for both of us. Where can I get advice? THIS kind of advice is provided by Manual Handling or Moving and Handling Coordinators. Your nearest Disabled Living Centre, District Nursing Service or council will be able to tell you how to contact the service. For free, practical expert advice go along to an Open Day at Liverpool Disabled Living Centre in 2006 where you can discuss your concerns with a Manual Handling Coordinator who will show you techniques and equipment to make assisting a person to move safer and easier.


Here and ready to help

Contact the centre for impartial advice and information on products to assist with independence and safety in daily living.

n CREWE Leighton Hospital, Middlewich Road, Crewe CW1 4QJ Tel 01270 612 343

Visits are by appointment except on open days.


The centre does not buy or sell equipment.

Collier Street, Runcorn, WA7 1HB Tel 01928 582 920

G Telephone: 0151 298 2055 G Email: G Fax: 0151 298 2952 G Website: G Liverpool Disabled Living Centre 101 Kempston Street, Liverpool, L3 8HE Liverpool Disabled Living Centre is part of Liverpool Community Equipment Service, a partnership between the NHS and Liverpool City Council.

n LIVERPOOL Disabled Living Centre 101 Kempston Street, Liverpool, L3 8HE Tel 0151 298 2055 n MACCLESFIELD

Macclesfield General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 3BL Tel 01625 661 740

n MANCHESTER: Assist UK 4 St Chads Street,

Manchester, M8 8QA Tel 0161 834 1044

n NORTHWICH Victoria Infirmary, Winnington Hill, Northwich, CW8 1AW Tel 01606 79260

n STOCKPORT St Thomas’s Hospital, Shawheath, Stockport SK3 8BL Tel 0161 419 4476


Beaufort Street, Warrington, WA5 1BA Tel 01925 638867


St Catherine’s Hospital, Birkenhead Tel 0151 678 7272

I HAVE been supplied with a commode, but with its metal frame it looks a bit clinical and I feel embarrassed when visitors call. Is there anything more discreet?


THERE are upholstered commodes that look like armchairs or dining chairs. The pan is concealed and the chairs are so stylish that you really wouldn’t know what’s concealed beneath the seat! For brochures illustrating a range of commodes call your local Disabled Living Centre.

Hair care I CAN’T lift my arm to comb my hair. Do you have any ideas?


LONG-handled combs and brushes are available – with the latest types being ergonomically shaped and balanced to make reaching easier. Other models include handles with detachable brushes and combs.

February/March 2006

All Together Now!



Care about your

Your free guides to help you through the maze

Time to claim those benefits


Carers UK has produced a Carers Rights Guide for all carers, and an additional guide for carers over 60, entitled Looking After Someone. Both are available free by calling the hotline:

0808 808 7777 or by visiting


ARERS are missing out on an estimated £746 million in unclaimed benefits, according to a report by a national charity.

Particularly hard hit are older carers, say Carers UK who provide support for the UK’s six million carers. Some 250,000 carers over 60 years of age are missing out on their entitlement to Pension Credit, with a further 64,000 losing out on the extra benefit, Carer Addition. Estimates show that in just the Carer Addition alone, £86 million is going unclaimed, which could be “just the tip of the iceberg” according to the charity’s chief executive Imelda Redmond. These entitlements are vital to help meet the costs of caring, and can be gateway to other benefits such as a discount on Council Tax. The report, Caring And Pensioner Poverty: A Report on Older Carers, Employment and Benefits, provides evidence that one in ten older carers is having to cut back on food to make ends meet, and nearly seven out of 10 (68%) are having to ease up on other essentials such as clothes and heating. High on the list of problems cited by carers is the financial impact of leaving work early because of caring. Paid employment makes up 9% of a pensioner’s income, underlining research which shows that the longer a person stays in work, the better their finances will be over the long term. This means that carers who give up work to care are missing out on an important source of additional income as well as the social benefits of the workplace. Women are the main losers, says the report. Twice as many female respondents report that caring had restricted their ability to save for a pension (20% as compared to 12%) and were more likely to have left work because of their caring role (30% compared to 27%). However men aged 60-64 also identify themselves as seriously financially affected.

Are you getting YOUR benefits? Key issues Carers UK would like to see addressed are; n Better information on benefits, rights and support services. n Tailored advice on major financial decisions. n Flexible care services to help carers remain in work as long as possible. n Flexibility from employers. n Support services to prevent deterioration of health. n An adequate income for those carers not in work. n Specially targeted support to carers in black and ethnic minority communities. Imelda Redmond says: “Claiming Pension Credit can clearly make a difference to carers’ lives. It is vital that carers claim their entitlements. We know that if they don’t, they struggle on a low income and this affects their health and well-being. “Carers can easily suffer a ‘double whammy’. For younger carers under the age of 60, giving up work and not claiming the right benefits on time can mean lasting poverty because their pensions will not be protected. Some 390,000 carers are currently not building up rights to a state pension. Then, in retirement, if they have small pension or savings, they may still not get their entitlements. “Every year, two million people become a carer and most of them just think of doing their duty rather than thinking about their rights and entitlements. “Carers also have new rights to assessments now which allow them to look at opportunities to work, to learn and to take up leisure activities. “These came into force last April, yet many carers do not know about them.”

Remember... check your visitor’s ID A genuine visitor won’t mind you asking • • • •

Don’t open the door unless you’re sure Keep the chain on when you open the door Always ask for an identification card If in doubt – Keep them out!

Check who they are before they set foot in your home! You can check if a caller from United Utilities is genuine by ringing our head office on 0845 746 2200 We have a password scheme or extra peace of mind call 0845 746 1100 or textphone 0808 143 1195 to register

If in doubt, keep them out!


All Together Now!

Fbruary/March 2006



Help for people with dyslexia


ERSEYTRAVEL is pioneering new ways to support dyslexic people, as it aims to become one of Liverpool’s first ‘dyslexia friendly’ organisations.

As part of its mission to make public transport more accessible to all, Merseytravel is launching new dyslexia friendly literature - and staff across the organisation are being trained in dyslexia awareness. In Liverpool alone, an estimated 44,000 people are believed to

have dyslexia in some form. Councillor Mark Dowd, chair of Merseytravel, said: “Around 10% of the population have some form of dyslexia and it can cause people difficulties. What we’re trying to do is make our services more accessible to all and we hope these new initiatives will help with that.” The Liverpool Dyslexia Association has trained 12 Merseytravel officers, from various outreach, front line and officebased departments in dyslexia awareness. Merseytravel has also appointed

dyslexia ‘champions’ to help officers with information about dyslexia, training and screening. Special focus groups have been set up with Liverpool Community College, Liverpool Dyslexia Association and dyslexic students to review Merseytravel’s publicity and find new ways of making marketing and publicity materials more dyslexia friendly. Neil Scales, chief executive and director general of Merseytravel, said: “We want to become one of Liverpool’s first dyslexia friendly organisations. “Something as simple as using

EASY READING: Councillor Jack Spriggs, vice chair of Merseytravel, and Colette O’Brien with some of the dyslexia friendly leaflets

cream coloured paper in our literature, rather than white, can make publications much easier for dyslexic people to read. “We’ll be looking at a number of other ways in which we can make all our literature easier for dyslexic people to read. “We need to make public transport more accessible for everyone. “Dyslexia doesn’t exclude people because of intelligence, race or social class, and neither will we. This is just one of the ways we are improving access to information and our services.”

Colette O’Brien, chair of the Dyslexia Friendly City Steering Group and Liverpool city council’s commissioner for children’s services, said: “Merseytravel is one of the leading organisations in the city for consistently seeking ways to develop dyslexia friendly information. “As an organisation Merseytravel is very proactive in looking at ways to meet the needs of the public and its employees. “Making public transport more accessible is so important to so many people.”

February/March 2006

All Together Now!


HELPLINES: DISABILITY INFORMATION CENTRES: n CHESHIRE Disabilities Federation: Tel 01606 888400 n CHESTER Dial House: Tel 01244 345655 n ELLESMERE PORT DICE: Tel 0151 355 1420 n HALTON Disability Service: Tel 01928 717222 n KNOWSLEY Disability Concern:Tel 0151 480 4090 n LIVERPOOL Association of Disabled People Tel 0151 263 8366/Text: 260 3187 n Disablement Resource Unit, Local Solutions Tel 0151 709 0990 n Glaxo Neurological Centre: Tel 0151 298 2999 n Merseyside Society for Deaf People: Tel 0151 228 0888 n GREATER MANCHESTER

Coalition of Disabled People: Tel: 0161-273 5154 / 5155 / 8141. n WARRINGTON Disability Partnership: Tel 01925 240064 n WIRRAL WIRED: Tel 0151 647 6162 n SKELMERSDALE West Lancs Disability Helpline: Tel Freefone 0800 220676 n ST HELENS DASH: Tel 01744 453053 NORTH WALES: n ANGLESEY CIL: Tel 01248 750249 n DENBIGHSHIRE: 01745 354445 n MOLD Flintshire Disability Forum: Tel 01352 755546 n RHYL: Tel 01745 350665 n WREXHAM: 01978 262955

Olympians set for Sefton

CARERS’ CENTRES: n CHESHIRE Unit 8, Albion Walk, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5XU Tel 01606 330 853

n ST HELENS Millennium House, Bickerstaffe Street, St Helens, WA10 1DH Tel 01744 675 615

n MANCHESTER Beswick House Beswick Row Manchester M4 4PR Tel 0161 835 2995

n WEST LANCS 49 Westgate, Sandy Lane Centre, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, WN8 8LP Tel 01695 733737

n KNOWSLEY 149 Cherryfield Drive, Kirkby, L32 8SE Tel 0151 549 1412

n SALFORD 1 St Philip’s Place Salford M3 6FA Tel 0161 833 0217

n SEFTON Third Sector Technology Centre, 16 Crosby Road North, Waterloo, Liverpool, L22 0NY Tel 0151 285 4000

n WARRINGTON The Bungalow, Garven Place, Warrington, WA1 1GP Tel 01925 644 212

LL77 7TS Tel 01248 370797 n BANGOR Carers Outreach 60 Fford Deiniol, Bangor, LL57 1AA Tel 01248 370 797 n CONWY 74 Conwy Road, Colwyn Bay, LL29 7LD Tel 01492 533714

n WIGAN & LEIGH 27 Charles Street Leigh WN7 1DB Tel 01942 683711

n DOLGELLAU Swddfa Ganol, Plas y Dre, Dolgellau, LL40 1AD Tel 01341 421167

n NORTH WALES: n ANGLESEY Units 1 & 2, Mill House, Llawr y Dref, Llangefni, Anglesey,

n PORTHMADOG St David’s Building, Lombard Street, Porthmadog, LL49 9AP Tel 01766 513 975

MOST sporting events’ organisers would be delighted to have one Olympian involved in their race. But to have THREE involved — Steve Parry (swimming: bronze), Steve Cummings (cycling: silver) and Steve Smith (high jump: bronze) — is a dream come true. Organisers of the Sefton Triathlon have not only persuaded them to officially start the North West Schools’ Triathlon’s Disability race but also to compete in the Sefton Triathlon! And to put the icing on the cake, the most famous Olympian of all time, fivetimes Olympic Gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave will be officially launching the 2006 event. Sir Steve, who is also helping to train a team of rowers from Toxteth, agreed to the request during a specially arranged interview by Range High school’s Jonathon Daley at a medal presentation

at Henley Rowing Club. “It was an amazing experience,” says Jonathon, who was accompanied to Henley by fellow team members from Range High and Blackburn and Darwen special schools. John Moran, a teacher at St Mary’s College and one of the triathlon organisers, handed Sir Steve a cheque for £16,720 for the nominated charities, Aspire (rehabilitation for children with spinal injuries), Macmillan Cancer Relief, Steve Redgrave Trust, Jospice and Riding for the Disabled. “Plans are well under way for the 2006 Sefton Triathlon,” he says. “We want to make it the biggest schools’ triathlon event in the world! ”We are expecting 1,000 children to compete in the event.” n Contact John: 0151 924 3700. e-mail

SHOPMOBILITY CENTRES: n ALTRINCHAM: 0161 929 1714 n ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE: 0161 339 9500 n BARROW: 01229 434039 n BIRKENHEAD: 0151 647 6162 n BLACKPOOl: 01253 349 427 n BOLTON: 01204 392946 n BURY: 0161 764 9966 n CARLISLE: 01228 625950 n CHORLEY: 01257 260 888 n CREWE: 01270 580 031 n KENDAL: 01539 740 933 n LEIGH, Wigan: 01942 777 985. Minicom: 01942 777 986 n LIVERPOOL: 0151 707 0877 n MANCHESTER Trafford Centre: 0161 747 8046 n MANCHESTER Arndale Centre: 0161 839 4060

n NELSON: 01282 692 502 n NORTHWICH, Vale Royal: 01606 46874 n ORMSKIRK, West Lancashire: 01695 570055 n PENRITH: 01768 895 438 n PRESTON: 01772 204 667 n RHYL: 01745 350665 n ROCHDALE: 01706 865 986 n RUNCORN, Halton Lea: 01928 717445 Minicom: 01928 717999 n SOUTHPORT: 01704 546 654 n ST HELENS: 01744 613 388 n STOCKPORT: 0161 666 1100 n WARRINGTON: 01925 231941 n WARRINGTON, Birchwood: 01925 822 411 n WIGAN: 01942 776 070

‘Bionic’ rowers in top form


OR the second year running a team of paralysed rowers amazed the crowds at the British Indoor Rowing Championships. Kevin Brooks, Robin Gibbons and Sol Solomou, whose legs were moved using electrical stimulation, competed against able bodied rowers in the 2,000m event. Another three-man team comprising Shaun Sewell, Danny Quacoe and Helene Raynsford took part in an “arms only” 2,000 metre race - and in a one-minute sprint using the electronic technology. The new electrical stimulation rowing is being developed by a Brunel University-

based research team headed up by Professor Brian Andrews. The aim is to help paralysed athletes to attain high intensity whole-body workouts to keep fit and healthy. Robin and Sol completed in times of 11.11 minutes and 13.58.7 respectively, while Kevin, clocked a time of 11.38.9 minutes by alternating between electrical stimulation and by using just his arms. Using only their arms, Shaun Sewell achieved a time of 10.18.7 minutes, Danny Quacoe finished in 16.02.1 minutes and Helene Raynsford completed the distance in 12.41.4 minutes.

32 All Together Now!

February/March 2006

Italy here we come! GREAT Britain’s winter Paralympic team fly off to Turin in March with real hopes of bringing back a stack of medals. Mike Brace, chairman of the British Paralympic Association, said: “Every athlete in the GB team has already shown great determination and talent to qualify for the Winter Paralympics and we are very hopeful that Turin will

be the most successful Winter Games ever for Britain.” For the first time, wheelchair curling is included in the Paralympic Games, and, having won gold in the World Championships in 2005, the team will be among the favourites to bring home Britain’s first ever gold medal in the Winter Paralympics. On the ski slopes, the British team has an outside chance of a medal with Russell Docker and Sean Rose

activities and events

20-24 Feb 2006


both in the form of their lives.The team is completed by 26-year-old Liz Miller, the British Ladies Adaptive Ski Champion in 2005. The sledge hockey team earned their ticket to Italy by winning the final qualifier, held in Turin last year. The team, captained by Londonbased solicitor Ian Warner, features a number of outstanding multi-sport athletes, including 17-year-old Nathan Stephens, ranked number two in the

Athletes on their marks for Melbourne Games TWO North West disabled athletes — and two swimmers — are included in the Team England squads for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games (March 15-26)

world in disabled discus, javelin and shot putt; Stephen Thomas, gold medallist in the Sonar class in last year’s World Sailing Championships and a member of the GB sailing team in the Athens Paralympics; Russell Willey, former world and European champion in powerlifting, and former British skiing champion Philip Saunders. n The Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 10-19

greenbank sports academy greenbank lane Liverpool L17 1AG reg charity no. 513814


Half term sports camp for young people Fun sports programme Booking essential

10-12 March 2006 Eurocup (preliminary round) Wheelchair basketball 5 Top European teams compete over a weekend of fast exciting play! 17- 19 March 2006 International Wheelchair Table Tennis 10 countries in world class competition including world no. 1, Tommy Urhaug (Norway)

Spectators welcome at both events!

For more information tel: 0151 280 7757

Course leader Mark Palmer (seated) with the trainees

Leading the way TEN teenagers gained their Level 1 Award in Sports Leadership at a course run by Liverpool’s Greenbank Sports Academy. During the week-long programme, the group, aged 14-19, learnt everything from warming up safely, lesson planning and umpiring, correct

use of the whistle, fair play and effective ways to communicate. Louis Cassim, 14, said: “I love everything about sport and think it would make a great career coaching kids. I’ve learned that you have got to have confidence and patience.” n Contact tel: 0151 280 7757

Hall of Fame for Lee SIX TIMES Paralympic Games equestrian gold medallist Lee Pearson has become the first Paralympian to be inducted to the British Horse Society’s Hall of Fame. Pearson, 31, won three gold medals at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and repeated the achievement with another hat-trick of golds in Athens last year.

Matt Cliff (Liverpool Harriers & Athletics Club) and Shelly Woods (British Wheelchair Racing Association) will compete in track events for elite athletes with a disability (EAD). And Fran Halsall, from Southport, and Stockport’s Matt Walker are in the 26-strong swimming squad. Cliff, 19, from Wirral, goes for the T12 100m event. Having won medals at both the 2004 and the 2005 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Youth Championships, he missed out the opportunity to set qualification standards for the 2005 European Championships when he went down with pneumonia just before the start of the season. Shelly, 19, from Blackpool, competes in the T54 wheelchair race. Shelly had a terrific year in 2005, finishing runner-up to Italy’s Francesca Porcellato in the wheelchair race at the 2005 London marathon, beating multi gold medal winning Paralympian Tanni GreyThompson into third place. Top swimmer Fran Halsall, struck gold in the 100m freestyle title at the European Junior Championships in Budapest in July, taking silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Meanwhile, Walker, 27, will be competing in the EAD events.


To advertise call 0151 230 0307


From the archives, issue 5 of All Together Now magazine!


From the archives, issue 5 of All Together Now magazine!