Enable July / August 2024

Page 1

Accessible homes



Denise Connelly denise@dcpublishing.co.uk


Melissa Holmes



Kate Stevenson kate.stevenson@dcpublishing.co.uk


Jane Ha on Rhiannon Louden

Samantha Renke

Tim Rushby-Smith

Alisdair Su ie


Lucy Baillie lucy.baillie@dcpublishing.co.uk


Marian Mathieson marian.mathieson@dcpublishing.co.uk

ENABLE MAGAZINE www.enablemagazine.co.uk

DC Publishing Ltd,

198 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG

Tel: 0844 249 9007



s I write this, the UK is days away from a general election, which will decide Westminster’s leadership for the next four years. By the time you read this, we’ll already have a result.

This election campaign has been marked by a distinct silence around causes that ma er to disabled people, with party manifestos severely lacking in solid promises. TV debates, milkshakes and mudslinging aside, even the UN found that recent UK government policy has violated disabled people’s human rights.

Those are not issues anyone can take lightly. I hope that positive change will soon be on the horizon.

Whatever the result, at Enable we’re always looking for the helpers; the good people who are making a di erence – whoever is making the decisions in Westminster. People like our cover star Louise Thompson, who’s helping normalise stoma, or stars of our ADHD and relationships feature Roxanne and Richard Pink, who are helping life make sense to neurodivergent people. From accessing quality healthcare to how to create a homely accessible space, this edition of Enable is packed with useful, interesting and entertaining features. I hope you enjoy it.

Till next issue, The July/August issue of Enable is here…



Focus on the sandwich generation – carers caught between raising their children and caring for their elderly parents.


New columnist Rhiannon shares her heartfelt story of her daughter’s diagnosis with Re Syndrome.

What’s inside



Birth trauma survivor and stoma advocate Louise Thompson shares her story.


Celebrating International Assistance Dog Week with Lindsey and her assistance dog Iris.


Brooke-Jade Millhouse shares her experiences of amplifying the voices of disabled people.


An exclusive chat with experienced disability consultant Simon Minty.



Top tips on how to save money on everything from your weekly shop to days out.



Inequalities and accessibility when it comes to healthcare.

28 THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE? Managing the menopause when you’re disabled.



New columnist Rhiannon

Louden shares her experiences of her daughter’s diagnosis of a rare, life limiting condition.


Tim Rushby-Smith o ers his thoughts on the assisted dying debate.


Samantha Renke reports back on her accessible break at Maison des Landes.

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Expert advice on how to help your relationship thrive when you have ADHD.


The lowdown on the latest wearable assistive technology to make life more accessible.


Our round-up of the latest events in the disability calendar.


What is the National Trust doing to make its special places more accessible?


It hosts the biggest arts festival in the world, but how accessible is Edinburgh during Festival season?


We go backstage at the Business Disability Forum’s groundbreaking shoot for its Changing the Image of Disability campaign.



From mindset shifts to time-blocking, an expert offers her tips on how carers can manage their time, headspace and energy.


Caught between raising your kids and your elderly parents? You’re a member of the sandwich generation. Our editor finds out more.



Employment expert Jane Hatton covers the topic of difficult interview questions.


From ramps to adjusted schedules, we look at the reasonable adjustments that can help you get a job and stay in work.


Funding for equipment, support and transport to help you in employment.



Exclusive interviews with tennis star Lily Mills and track champ Thomas



Young, in the run-up to a busy summer of sport.



How to create a beautiful, homely, accessible space.



An in-depth review of Honda’s hybrid SUV.

Pathways to work

BIG ISSUE GROUP and brain injury charity

Same You have joined forces to launch a new partnership – Big Issue Recruit – to help brain injury survivors find sustainable pathways into employment. Their research found that a third of the 300 survivors and carers surveyed did not feel ready to return to their jobs after injury.

SameYou was founded by actor Emilia

Clarke MBE and her mother, Jenny Clarke MBE. Emilia told the Big Issue: “When you have a brain injury, because it alters your sense of self, the insecurities you have going into the workplace quadruple overnight.”

Big Issue Recruit aims to help survivors like Emilia cope with returning to work by providing one-to-one job coaching. To find out more, visit jobs.bigissue.com.


A TRIBUNAL HAS ORDERED the DWP to pay a deaf man almost £50,000 in damages after years of “institutional failure”. A Leeds Jobcentre repeatedly failed to arrange BSL interpretation for Paul Rimmer’s job interviews over a six year period, with the tribunal finding their poor service and “victimising” approach damaged his mental wellbeing. In his witness statement, Mr Rimmer said: “I do feel [they] have not wanted to help me because it is too difficult and too expensive for them, [and] that most DWP staff do not understand the difficulties facing me as a profoundly deaf person.”

Nick Whittingham of Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre, said: “This case shines a light on the way disabled benefits claimants are treated by the DWP. The indications are that failings are systemic and that provision for supporting deaf and

other disabled people is limited both by funding constraints and by an institutional failure to understand, or even attempt to understand, their needs.”


A LEADING FRENCH DISABILITY charity has slammed accessibility arrangements for the 350,000 disabled visitors expected in Paris for the Paralympics. APF France Handicap said it was “absolutely scandalous” that more hasn’t been done to improve the accessibility of the underground Metro system, describing it as a “big black spot” for the legacy of the Games.

This is despite the organisers placing accessibility at the heart of their bid, when they promised “accessible infrastructure and attitudes befitting the most visited country on Earth.”

The Metro is arguably the fastest way to get around Paris, but only one of its 16 lines is fully accessible.

The Paralympic Games start on 28 August.


Louise Thompson starred in reality TV show Made in Chelsea for eight years. Since appearing on the programme, she’s won more fans thanks to her honesty in documenting her experiences of birth trauma, living with ulcerative colitis, and having a stoma. She spoke to Enable’s editor, Melissa Holmes

QFirstly, congratulations on the release of your book, Lucky. How does it feel to have a Sunday Times Bestseller?

A: It’s such a surreal time. It’s overwhelming, but it’s also brilliant, because it means I can close one chapter and open the next. Now that what happened to me is out in the open, I feel like I can drive forward in my mission to help people. It took me a long time to feel courageous enough to share my story.

Q: Your book focuses on the traumatic birth you experienced with your son, Leo, which led to PTSD. In the book and on social media, you write so eloquently. Does writing feel like therapy?

A: When I was younger, I was terrible at writing. I was always told I wasn’t very creative, and English was my worst subject.

After having my son, I had horrendous flashbacks and I was caught in the state of hypervigilance for long periods of time. I couldn’t communicate. In those really dark moments, I wrote. At the beginning, it was incredibly basic – just handwriting in journals – like 'what did I achieve today?' 'I stayed alive'.

It built up from there. It’s almost like I’d accessed a different part of my brain where I was truly authentic. Even sharing things through Instagram felt nice – I was connecting with people at a time when I couldn’t really accomplish anything.

Q: You were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2018, and had your stoma surgery in January 2024. The way you’ve documented your experience has really opened up a conversation. How do you feel, knowing you’ve helped normalise stomas for people?

A: It’s very kind of you to say that I am helping normalise it. A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the situation that I’m in currently. But given everything I’ve been through with the birth trauma and the resilience I’ve built up, it’s led me to this place where I’ve been

able to handle the surgery so much better. Because now I really know the difference between life and death. I’ve come very close to dying, so I know how much I want life. I know what I’m willing to sacrifice – it feels like having a grey bag attached to my stomach is such a small price to pay for that.

Q: The way you’ve shared your experiences of having the stoma is really making a difference to others…

A: If I can destigmatise it so people see it through a new lens – just to come out the other side of surgery and be alive is pretty impressive. People get in touch all the time, like the stunning girl who’s lived with a stoma for many years, who messaged me to say she’d never worn a bikini before, and she’s now ordered four. It’s such a privilege to be in a place where I get to interact with these people.

Q: Given your numerous health issues, do you view yourself as disabled?

A: I see people that are so much more unwell than me and I feel like I wouldn’t be able to honour that label. When I was at my worst, when I couldn’t go anywhere without pooing my pants, I was really limited. Back then, I did feel like this was hugely impacting my life.

Louise with her book
Louise, fiancé Ryan and Leo
I’ve come very close to dying, so I know how much I want life

Adapting to life with a stoma hasn’t stopped me from doing anything I want to be able to do. I’m very fortunate in that I can control a lot of areas in my life – I’ve created a life that works very well for me.

Q: What’s been the best thing about sharing your story?

A: It’s nice to know I no longer need to explain what happened to me, because everybody just knows. Plus I’ve realised I’ve spent a lot of my life doing things that were expected of me, instead of doing the things I really want to do. I’m a much more serious person than I thought. I’ve never been able to harness that, and now it feels empowering to be able to talk about serious, interesting stu .

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I had a meeting yesterday with a birth trauma charity. I’m really excited by the idea of making change so that trauma doesn’t happen to people in the first place. For the moment I’m continuing to raise awareness and work for di erent campaigns. Longer term, I would love to set up facilities, like a mother and baby unit, or a safe space for women who are su ering with really bad perinatal health.

Q: How does it feel to get such amazing feedback from readers?

A: I feel privileged. It’s nice to know I have turned something really negative into something positive. There really is no be er feeling than helping others. People just want to feel seen and to know they’re not the only one.


Follow Louise on Instagram at instagram.com/louise.thompson

Louise is an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis UK: crohnsandcolitis.org.uk

Louise’s book ‘Lucky: Learning to Live Again’ is available from all good booksellers



Janey Holliday is a mindset coach, parent-carer (her daughter is homeeducated and has ASN), and sandwich generation carer. She o ers her five top tips for managing your time, energy and headspace as a carer


Put your focus only on what you can control, and learn to let go of the rest. The things always in our control are our thoughts, our reactions (even to things that are out of our control), and what we say yes and no to (outside of the things we have to do).


Consider your schedule, what goes where, and when your peak energy times are. Put in non-negotiable activities (for doing key things) and respite/self-care slots. Deliberately bookend your day with ‘you first’ slots to fill your cup, even if these are just 15 minutes. Create an hour per week to do your favourite thing, to give you something to look forward to.

Deliberately bookend your day with ‘you first’ slots to fill your cup, even if these are just 15 minutes


Compromising well is essential when you’re juggling a lot. There’s only so much of you, and only so many hours in the day. Temporarily, you may have to turn FOMO (the fear of missing out) into JOMO (the joy of missing out). It’s essential you look a er yourself, but o en you can’t give yourself that. A mindset shi that’s super helpful is ‘What’s the next best thing?’. Identify what you want, then acknowledge it’s not possible right now. Instead of giving up on it completely, search for and create the next best thing.


Micro-joys are teeny joys that help li us a li le. When juggling and caring, it can be hard to feel super happy or have the time, energy, or headspace for the big, joyful things in life. But we can always embrace micro-joys. This could be si ing on a bench listening to birdsong for 10 minutes, having a kitchen disco to your favourite song, or treating yourself to a new mug and a good book and finding a quiet place in your home where you can se le and just be. One of my micro-joys is a bag of hot chips at my local beach.


The ability to compartmentalise (so you don’t take the di cult things from one area of your life into another) is your superpower! For me, the following expression is helpful: ‘When caring, be caring. When at work, be at work. When with loved ones, be fully with loved ones’. As you move between di erent tasks (possibly wearing di erent hats), ask yourself ‘What do I need to leave out of this next block of time? How do I want to show up? What does my energy need to be?’ Be where your feet are and fully embrace where you’re at right now.


Learn more about Janey at janeyholliday.com






If you’re caught between raising your young children and caring for your ageing parents, you’re part of the ‘sandwich generation’.

Editor Melissa Holmes finds out more

Cat with her parents

Cat’s mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2020. She says the diagnosis “put me into a place of feeling really unsafe.” Cat’s dad is her mum’s primary carer. At 81, he’s had knee and hip replacements, and can sometimes be “out of action,” says Cat. “Mum’s diagnosis was the first time I’d had to face the fact that my parents weren’t going to be able to look after themselves.”

Cat Sims is a member of the “sandwich generation” – a group of people, often women, who are raising their children while caring for their elderly parents. It’s estimated there are between 1.3 million and 6 million multigenerational caregivers in the UK. Cat is also a podcaster and writer, who’s used her online platform to share her experiences of being caught between mothering her two children (aged seven and ten) and ‘parenting’ her parents.


“You feel like you’re living on a knife edge,” she admits. “In a lot of ways, I’m super privileged – we’ve got money, our jobs mean we have flexibility and freedom. I’m somebody who can drop everything and go from London to Devon to look after mum and dad.”

For some, there can be resentment around caring for their parents when they have so many other responsibilities, but there’s also a deep sense of gratitude and honour in caring as well. “The two things can be true at the same time,” reveals Cat. “I want nothing more than to be able to be there for mum. But this narrative that you should be grateful and joyful in your role as a carer – of course there’s an element of that – but it’s really hard. Especially if you’re in this sandwich generation and you’ve got small children, parents, a relationship, a job… It’s going to be difficult.”


Cat has experienced other issues as well, like the kickback from her parents who don’t always want her to care for them. She describes it as “a complex tapestry of emotions, and not all of them feel good.”

Sometimes – and I say this with love – we are at risk of confusing motherhood and martyrdom. And that breaks us

“My relationship with my mum has been complicated, but one of the biggest gifts has been that, as we’ve got older, we’ve got a lot closer,” admits Cat. “Some of my favourite moments are doing her hair and makeup, sitting and chatting. Those are the moments I’ll take with me.”

Being a multigenerational carer can have a deep impact on your family. Recently, Cat spent a month with her parents in Devon. “My youngest took my absence hard,” reveals Cat. She feels guilt around this and, although she can explain to her daughter what’s going on, “it doesn’t change the fact that she really does feel that.”

As a carer, you can feel in constant fight or flight mode, worrying about the next phone call, or always thinking one step ahead. Cat has ADHD, and told us: “In some ways, my ADHD is helpful, because I’m great in a crisis. But the more pressure with work, parenting or caring, the more my ADHD becomes noticeable.” Even without “the neurospicy stuff”, Cat says

it’s emotional seeing her parents decline.


How can an intergenerational carer ensure they’re taking enough care of themselves so they can also support their family and their parents? It’s a hard act to balance. Cat recognises she needs to look after herself first, whether that’s a session at the gym or a day when everybody leaves her alone.

Cat has been “clean and sober” for almost three years, after recognising how much she was using alcohol and drugs to cope.

“Part of my desire to look after myself is so that, when I have grandkids, I can be the grandparent that helps out. I want to look after myself and my body so that’s something I’m able to do.”


What advice might Cat give to someone who finds themselves caring for their children and their elderly parents?

“Sit down and think about your support system,” she explains. “Get it in place, with lists of phone numbers, schedules, a packed bag. I’m lucky I’ve got my husband, but I also have some school mums on call.” She advises letting school know about your caring responsibilities, reminding older children that they can take on some tasks for themselves, and talking to your boss if you’re in work – being upfront with them from the start, rather than waiting until a crisis.

Cat concludes: “You need to look after yourself as well. Sometimes it feels like you’re the only one who can do everything, but if we tell others we can’t do this by ourselves, someone else will have to step up. It’s a very difficult conversation because sometimes – and I say this with love – we are at risk of confusing motherhood and martyrdom. And that breaks us.”


You can follow Cat online at instagram.com/ notsosmugnow or visit notsosmugnow.com Carers UK offers helpful resources for caregivers carersuk.org


Nearly a quarter of people in the UK have a disability, yet the healthcare system continues to let disabled people down. We spoke to Dr Hannah Barham-Brown and Disability Rights UK about problems with the NHS and your rights as a disabled person

enable health

Accessing quality healthcare as a disabled person is often a challenge.

Inequalities in the healthcare system, from physical barriers to social barriers, mean that we often receive poorer care than our non-disabled counterparts.

Yet, on average, people with disabilities will often require more healthcare throughout their lifetime. Depending on the nature of their disability, a disabled person may be in and out of hospital, making it even more important that they receive high quality healthcare.

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown is an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Consultant, as well as a fully qualified GP. She’s using her own experiences as a disabled woman with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome to help influence how our healthcare systems are designed in the future.

“My experiences are slightly different because I’m a GP, which always changes the dynamic,” admits Hannah. “But from my personal experiences, our systems aren’t set up for disabled people.”


Accessing healthcare services from the NHS should be as easy for disabled people as it is for non-disabled individuals. But in Dr Hannah’s experience, this has not always been the case: “Quality healthcare means that, first and foremost, it’s accessible” she affirms. “But can I get a cervical screening? No, because I’m one of a quarter of a million hoist-dependant wheelchair users in the UK, and only 0.1% of surgeries have a suitable hoist.”


Under the Equality Act 2010, it’s against the law for doctors’ practices, dental surgeries, hospitals, and any other healthcare provider to discriminate against a person with a disability who requires treatment.

If you think you’ve been discriminated against under the Equality Act, or have had your rights violated, there are protections in place. Contact Disability Rights UK for advice on what to do next.

The NHS needs to ensure disabled people’s voices are valued and prioritised in planning and delivering healthcare

Disabled women routinely struggle to access smear tests because medical professionals believe they’re sexually inactive, or because they cannot get into GP surgeries. Campaigners have argued for at-home tests to detect HPV, which are undergoing trials in England, to be made available to disabled women to help reduce inequality.

Dr Hannah confesses that it’s the norm for her fellow medical professionals to hold untrue assumptions about their disabled patients, which she says can adversely affect their treatment: “There’s a tendency to see disabled people as sick people,” she reveals. “It’s time we started seeing disabled people as individual human beings. People who have relationships and – god forbid – have sex.”


To fix the issues within the NHS, Dr Hannah says we need to address the training our medical staff receive first: “There’s definitely a gap in our training when it comes to disabilities,” she muses. “But there’s also a lot of red tape and systems in place that we have to abide by. It’s easy to feel stuck, and it’s something I’m keen to do more about.”


Disability Rights UK works closely with disabled people’s organisations to ensure disabled people have all the information they need to exercise their rights, including in healthcare settings. Like Dr Hannah, Laura Horton from the organisation believes that the government needs to involve more disabled people in the planning process when creating new legislation or building new facilities.

She explains: “The NHS needs to ensure that disabled people’s voices are valued and prioritised, particularly in the planning and delivering of healthcare services. We know there are solutions out there, but disabled people continue to die avoidable deaths, and many more have experienced unfair, poor outcomes.”


The government recently set up integrated care systems (ICS) in a bid to address some of these issues, which Laura says is a step in the right direction. The system brings local partners – the NHS, councils, the voluntary sector, and more – together to help create better services based on local needs. While ICS have reduced some inequalities, disabled people are still disproportionately affected by issues within the UK’s care system.

“In our experience, disabled people want to be heard and valued. They want their concerns to be raised and taken seriously so they can access more services,” maintains Laura. “We’d like the NHS to work more collaboratively with disabled people, so people will feel like their needs will be addressed if they raise a concern.”


Laura believes that an “open door policy” in the NHS could have a positive impact on disabled people’s care plans moving forward: “We need to think more about how we shape our services and the barriers that are in place. Sometimes people feel intimidated around raising any issues they might have about their treatment, and we need to find ways to encourage people to raise any issues as soon as they occur. It’s about changing our mindsets and improving our services too.”

Dr Hannah

Confidence comes from being comfortable in your own body.

So why isn't your prosthetic comfort guaranteed?

With us, it is.

Or your money back.

That's how confident we are.

Rhiannon Louden

Originally from Canada and now based in Glasgow, mum of two Rhiannon Louden is a freelance photographer specialising in weddings, elopements and proposals. In spring 2024, she received the news that her youngest child has Rett Syndrome.


Rhiannon Louden shares her experience of receiving the diagnosis of her daughter’s rare, life limiting condition

Iknew something wasn’t right. Poppy had stopped hitting her milestones, and her behaviour had really changed. Everyone assured us she was “probably just taking her time”, but soon their concerns grew too. Just shy of her turning 18 months old, this nightmare began.

It was a fight from the get-go. To be taken seriously, to see the right people, to get proactive care. So many appointments; no answers. We ruled out the less severe explanations, and our worry grew. Finally, just after Poppy’s second birthday, we got an appointment with a developmental paediatrician who wanted to run genetic testing.

Months of waiting. They tell you not to Google, but of course you do

Four months of excruciating waiting. They tell you not to Google, but of course you do. I came across Rett Syndrome: a rare neurological and developmental disorder that fit Poppy’s symptoms.


The doctors thought so too, and decided to test specifically for Rett. We asked for a change in paediatrician to someone with experience of rare genetic disorders (Rett affects one in 10,000 girls), so Poppy would get the best care. We would never have known to do that had it not been for the support we found through the Rett community online: they were, and are, our lifeline.

Almost one year to the day that we first raised concerns, we got the call. I walked into that appointment feeling almost certain we were getting a positive diagnosis. My husband was more optimistic, wearing the ‘lucky’ t-shirt he’d worn for the births of both daughters.

We sat down facing our new paediatrician and a geneticist. She had tears in her eyes. I knew before she said

the words. “The test has confirmed Poppy has Rett Syndrome.”

I don’t remember much else. I sat there quietly, listening but not hearing.


On the drive home, we desperately tried to push past our grief, reassuring each other that knowing was good: a diagnosis meant we could better help Poppy. Sharing that news with Poppy’s big sister, Charlotte, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. She listened carefully, and let out a wail of grief: perfectly encapsulating everything I felt.

The three of us held each other tight, clinging on for dear life as we mourned through our tears. In that raw moment, we found a new closeness and strength.

And, for the first time that day, I felt sure that we would get through this.


Discover Rhiannon’s work at rhiannonneale.com, and keep up to date with her experience as a busy mum juggling business and a child with additional support needs via instagram.com/rhiannonneale

Rhiannon and Poppy

Arranging Medical Travel Insurance may not be the most fun aspect of planning a trip, but it’s a vital one. Without the right cover you could be left out of pocket if you have a medical emergency abroad or need to cancel your trip before you go.

Here are the three most important things you should look for, when it comes to finding cover for your trips in 2024.

• Choose a specialist provider. Not all insurers

so make sure you get

• Make sure you declare your pre-existing conditions. When getting a quote, be sure to include your medical history, and answer all questions fully and honestly.

• Pick the right region of cover. Because treatment costs vary from country to country, you need to select the correct area for your Travel Insurance.

AllClear has over 20 years experience providing holiday insurance to people with medical conditions, so you can travel with peace of mind. More than half (62%1) of their customers have two or more conditions.

When you choose Travel Insurance with AllClear, introduced by Motability Enterprises Ltd, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:


PLUS AllClear will make a contribution of up to 20%* of your premium to Motability Enterprises Ltd.

Whether your trip is fully booked, or you’re still planning your getaway, get comprehensive cover from the UK’s most trusted Travel Insurance Provider3

By following these tips you can relax on holiday, with the confidence which comes from having the right Medical Travel Insurance.

House, Glacis Road, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA. IES Limited is licensed and regulated by the

on a freedom of services basis, FCA FRN 824283. AllClear Travel Insurance is

Registered Office: AllClear House, 1 Redwing Court, Ashton Road, Romford, RM3 8QQ.

311244. AllClear is a registered trademark.


Finances are challenging for a lot of people right now, so we’ve put together our top advice on how to save money on everything from your weekly shop to days out

We’re all feeling the pinch, with the cost of living crisis continuing to impact many of us. And, of course, disabled people pay more for simply existing – Scope’s latest Disability Price Tag research found that disabled households with at least one disabled adult or child face extra costs of £975 a month on average. These extra costs include everything from higher heating usage, specific nutritional needs, the cost of specialist equipment, and difficulties with using public transport meaning a car or taxi must be paid for instead.


One of the first things you can do to improve your financial situation is to maximise your income. Ensuring you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to – whether you’re in work or not – can make a big difference. From council tax reductions to Personal Independence Payments, it’s vital to ensure you’re not missing out. The application process can seem complex. But Amelia Peckham, founder of Cool Crutches – who created a downloadable guide to the benefits available for disabled people – explains: “There are plenty of organisations that will apply for these benefits on your behalf.”

We’re all looking for ways to beat the crunch and save money on our day-to-day living costs. Martin Lewis’s website, moneysavingexpert.com, has long been the go-to for ordinary people who are looking to save money. From budget planning to cost comparison tools, Martin’s advice is always up to date and super helpful.

Social media and YouTube are filled with all sorts of financial tips

and tricks, like cash stuffing (where you allocate set amounts of cash to different ‘envelopes’ each month) and loud budgeting (where you’re upfront about your financial situation and saving goals, to help remove stigma around money and to enable you to live within your means).


There are a number of ‘finfluencers’ (financial influencers) online who love to chase deals and find great prices on everything from skincare and flights to the weekly shop. Chloe’s Deal Club was set up by Chloe Carmichael, who was named Money Influencer of the Year at the 2024 British Bank Awards. She has some great advice for Enable readers. “Cashback is one of the easiest ways to save money,” she told us. “I know what you’re thinking… it sounds like a scam and too good to be true, but I promise you it’s not.” Put simply, cashback is where you get money back on your shopping. “My current favourite cashback apps are Cheddar and everup,” reveals Chloe. “They have over 100 brands on their app that you can buy a gift card for and get instant cashback. For example, if you’re spending £50 in Sainsbury’s, instead of paying with your bank card, you buy a gift card via the everup app and get 4.5% cashback [rate correct at the time of writing]. Then you pay with the electronic gift card via your phone at the till, so your £50 shopping technically only cost you £47.75.”

These small everyday savings really add up. Chloe says: “Over the year, you can easily save hundreds of pounds doing this when you’re buying groceries, clothes, coffee, dinner and more.” These apps are also authorised

You can save hundreds of pounds by using cashback apps when you’re buying groceries, clothes, coffee, dinner and more
Chloe Carmichael
Chloe Carmichael

and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, so you know transactions are secure.


Technology has opened up all sorts of opportunities for improving financial management. If you employ a PA or carer and they regularly run errands for you, it’s worth considering a separate bank card for them to reduce paperwork and ease your worries around handling cash.

Starling Bank offers a Connected card, which is linked to a Space (like a separate pot of money) within your account. You can top up the Space at any time, and the Connected cardholder can use their card to shop on your behalf. The balance on the Connected card is capped at £200,

there’s no overdraft facility, and the card can’t be used to withdraw cash from an ATM, so you’re in more control than you would be if you were handing over your own bank card and PIN.


And, if you’re a self-employed carer or you employ a carer or PA through Direct Payments, having insurance makes a lot of sense. Insurance from a provider like Surewise (surewise. com/carers-insurance) can cover you as an employer in the event of injury or damage to your property, for example, while self-employed carers can be covered for permanent disablement caused through work, the cost of replacing keys and locks to external doors of a service user’s

home following key loss or theft, and administering prescribed medicines and first aid. Investing in the appropriate insurance for your needs can save you money in the long run. We’re all feeling the squeeze right now but, with the right tools and knowledge, you can help boost your budget. Every small saving adds up – whether you’re checking out the benefits you’re entitled to, or using a cashback app. Here’s to smart spending and savvy saving.

Paws with a purpose

From 4 to 10 August every year, we celebrate the incredible and heroic dogs helping people around the world. In honour of International Assistance Dog Week, Kate Stevenson speaks to Lindsey Moore about her partnership with her furry friend

It takes a certain type of pooch to become a guide dog. The extensive training each dog undergoes before earning their badge of honour takes around two years. But all that hard work is worth it.

Lindsey Moore was paired with her dog, Iris, two years ago a er her first dog, Charlo e, passed away. It took her 12 years from being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) to apply for her first assistance dog.


Retinitis Pigmentosa is one of the most common eye conditions, a ecting one in 4,000 people in the UK. It impacts everyone di erently, but causes deterioration of vision over time.

It took Lindsey a while to come to terms with her RP, so she put o

applying for a guide dog because she wasn’t in the right headspace. “Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t get a guide dog sooner,” she admits. “Having Iris has opened up so many doors for me.”

More than 90% of people who own a guide dog are not completely blind. Lindsey has around 3% vision and says most people are surprised when they realise she’s visually impaired: “People think I’m a guide dog trainer because I don’t look blind,” reveals Lindsey. “It can be quite dangerous because they don’t realise they’re distracting a working guide dog.”


Distractions are one of the biggest obstacles Lindsey and Iris face, and she’s been put in harmful situations because of other people’s ignorance.

Lindsey and Iris out and about
Iris can understand me when the rest of the world can’t

“I’m more than happy for people to say hello, but not when we’re trying to walk down the street,” stresses Lindsey. “The worst case I’ve ever had was when I was walking down a flight of stairs in an arena, and somebody was distracting Iris. That was very frightening.”


From struggling in social situations to being able to pop out to the deli or meet up with her singing group, Iris has transformed Lindsey’s life.

“Iris can understand me when the rest of the world can’t,” explains Lindsey. “Having your guide dog by your side is the best feeling in the world. She’s given me back the independence and freedom I thought I’d lost forever.”


Guide dogs are a type of assistance dog trained to assist people with vision loss or impairment. Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are the most commonly used breeds because of their size, intelligence and temperament. Any visually impaired person can apply for a guide dog, including children. To find out more, visit guidedogs.org.uk

Iris has transformed Lindsey’s life

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Living with ADHD has its challenges. How do issues like motivation, impulsive behaviour, and problems with concentration play out in a relationship?

And how can neurotypical people best support their neurodivergent partners?

Imagine being in a relationship where you constantly think the other person doesn’t really love you. Or resenting the fact you have to do all the household chores, because your partner doesn’t have the ‘get up and go’ to get things done. For mixed couples, where one has ADHD and the other is neurotypical, relationships can be trying. “The first challenge is understanding that ADHD is there at all,” admits Melissa Orlov, author of the book ‘The ADHD Effect on Marriage’.


“So many adults who have it are not diagnosed, so they don’t realise why these relationship patterns are there,” says Melissa. “There’s a lot of misinterpretation of the ADHD symptoms that can lead to distress.” She highlights that one of the main symptoms of adult ADHD – distractibility – can be misinterpreted as your partner not caring about you or loving you.

Richard and Roxanne Pink have gained over 2.5 million online fans with their honest, informative videos about ADHD and relationships.

“The thing I found the hardest about my own behaviour was memory,” explains Roxy, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021.

“I’ve forgotten anniversaries, buying gifts, dinners out,” she says. “Obviously that impacts relationships. In our first couple of years together, the shame of that was intolerable.” But Richard, who is neurotypical, doesn’t see the issue: “I don’t care that she forgets birthdays or anniversaries!” he laughs. Rich’s main challenge is his desire for a tidy house. “I understand this can be difficult for Rox,” he reveals. “It’s sometimes really difficult to express my needs without sounding shaming, critical or judgmental.”


Communication is key for any mixed couple, to acknowledge the differences in priorities and ways of thinking, and to try to create a judgement-free environment in which the relationship can thrive. “We have a phrase,” says Richard. “Curiosity, not judgement. It’s just being curious about what’s going on for each other.” Roxanne feels the words and tone used within the partnership are important. “It’s for Rich to be clear, but also kind,” she shares. “And it’s for me to be accountable, and not defensive or upset. It’s communicating from a place where you see the other person as having good intentions, knowing their needs

It’s communicating from a place where you see the other person as having good intentions, knowing their needs really matter

really matter.”

Melissa Orlov holds a similar view. “Developing a habit of transparency means the person who’s struggling to do things needs to have the space to speak up, and the other person needs to be able to receive what they say non-judgmentally and embrace it,” she advises. “So rather than saying, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t do that again’, you would say ‘Ok, I trust you’ll get to it another time’.”


Melissa describes the ADHD brain as reward focused. She told us: “If you can create rewards or games to keep a task interesting, or create rituals of connection – like gratitude interactions before you go to bed –those things can really help.”

Richard and Roxanne have taken that a step further by developing a body doubling app to make dull tasks more interesting. Roxanne struggles with cleaning: “It’s a massive area of shame,” she admits. “Rich made me little educational videos – step one, do this; step two, do that – and it changed the game.” They then worked with developers to transform their idea into an app called Dubbii, focusing on tasks like getting up in the morning, self-care and decluttering.


When two worlds collide, and two people with different neurochemistry fall in love, magic can really happen. But it’s important that the neurotypical person doesn’t get caught in a parentchild dynamic, taking on the struggles of their neurodivergent partner. “This

is the number one issue I see by the time couples are struggling,” explains Melissa. “I encourage each partner to look to themselves and organise their own behaviour in a way that makes them even partners again. That takes quite a lot of work.”

“Strap in for some turbulence,” Rich laughs. But seriously, his advice for neurotypical partners of ADHD people is: “Knowledge – take the time to understand, ask questions, be curious. And don’t forget yourself. It would be really easy to get lost in the needs of the neurodivergent person, but there are two humans in the relationship.”

Follow Richard and Roxanne Pink via instagram.com/adhd_love_ or tiktok.com/ adhd_love. Their new book, Small Talk, is out now (published by Square Peg, £14.99)

Melissa Orlov’s work and courses at adhdmarriage.com

Melissa Orlov

enable health


With menopause rarely out of the headlines, we take a look at going through “the change” when you’re disabled

Although discussing menopause is becoming more mainstream, learning about how menopause a ects disabled people, and how you can manage its symptoms – many of which, like joint pain and brain fog, can overlap with symptoms of a diagnosed disability – is something of a challenge.


“There’s so much misinformation out there,” reveals Sam Palmer, a menopause fitness and lifestyle coach who has been supporting women for more than a decade. If you think you might be in perimenopause (the time your hormones are fluctuating, before your periods stop), she suggests keeping a diary of your symptoms. “You can take this to your GP and explain you know these symptoms could be linked to your disability, but ask how

you move forward and what support is available,” she says.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the solution most people think of when it comes to managing menopause symptoms, but it can be problematic for some – for example, increased risk of blood clo ing can mean some forms of oral HRT are a no-go for people with reduced mobility.


Managing symptoms with a holistic approach can help empower you through your journey. Strength training is o en recommended, and finding a way to increase and maintain your muscle strength and bone density to suit your circumstances – by using resistance bands for example – is “paramount” says Sam: “Maintaining your strength will mean you can take care of your personal needs for as long as possible.” Moving more and

preserving your version of mobility will also help your body “earn its sleep,” as Sam says – because sleep and rest are vital in helping manage symptoms.


“What you eat also has a big impact,” explains Sam. She recommends ge ing plenty of colour on your plate and prioritising eating well most of the time, as well as being aware of foods that can help or hinder, like dark chocolate (good), and spicy foods (can exacerbate night sweats).

“The most important thing is having access to information so you can make informed decisions,” admits Sam. Being open about what you’re going through can also benefit you. “Talking to friends is always going to be helpful,” says Sam. “And speak to your employer, because changes can be made to alleviate things you know are causing you stress” – especially now that employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for menopause symptoms that could be considered a disability.

“Menopause is a journey,” concludes Sam. “We can only work on one area of our life at a time. This is just another life stage you’re moving into.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION Sam’s website, Midlife Makeover midlifemakeover.co.uk

Menopause Charity themenopausecharity.org


patio doors to decked area, ramped access and gate for the security of

Situated at Thurston Manor Leisure Park near the beautiful harbour town of Dunbar, East Lothian. Accessible Self Catering


Accessible Living at Elephant Park


Whether you own or rent your home, making your space as accessible as possible will be high on your DIY to-do list if you or a family member are disabled

For wheelchair users, an accessible home might mean creating level access throughout, fitting magnetic internal doors, or installing hoists, while for someone who’s hearing impaired, accessible living solutions may involve installing an audio hearing loop, using vibrating fire alarms, or fitting acoustic insulation.


Katie Radtke’s daughter Jessica has cerebral palsy and complex epilepsy. “Jessica needs 24/7 care,” explains Katie, “so we needed to make sure we had space to accommodate PAs in the house, as well as having space for the family.” Until she turned 12, Jessica and her family lived in a threebedroomed bungalow but, as she grew and her equipment requirements changed, it became clear they’d need more space. The family moved to a new build home, which they “went in and ripped to shreds,” laughs Katie.

Moving walls, creating partitions, installing a wet room, adding an extension, and fitting hoists and tracking throughout the home were just some of the changes the family made to their new build property. Jessica now has a bedroom, wet room and day room (which links into the family lounge) on the ground floor, plus a utility room/medical store in which they store her food, medication and personal care products.

Jessica’s family is based in Scotland, and much of the cost of their home adaptations was met with a housing grant from the family’s local authority.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, funding for structural changes and major home adaptations is provided through the Disabled Facilities Grant. This can even be used for privately rented properties. If you feel adaptations may benefit you or your loved one, you should contact your local authority to enquire about a needs assessment.


A Disabled Facilities Grant or housing grant might not cover everything you require, so you may need to invest in extras. “We wanted to make sure we could hoist Jessica through to her day room, or into the lounge to sit on the couch with us if she wanted to – not just to carry her from her bedroom to the bathroom, which was the grant criteria for a hoist,” explains Katie, “so we paid the extra for the hoist.” Katie’s dad even built in a lower kitchen worktop for Jessica, and constructed an adapted table. “We wanted to make sure it was a proper family home and that, whatever we did, she was able to be fully involved,” Katie explains. Adding sensory touches, plenty of colour and furnishing the family home to their taste has meant Jessica’s current and future needs are met in an accessible building which feels like a real family home, rather than a clinical space. The property even featured on Scotland’s Home of the Year in 2022.

If you feel adaptations may benefit you or your loved one, you should contact your local authority to enquire about a needs assessment
There’s room for fun
Jessica’s bedroom


While the cost of adaptations might seem prohibitive, there are some simple, good value solutions which can make a real difference to how accessible your home is. These can include motion-activated lighting, grab rails or even kettle tippers, which let you do everyday tasks more easily and safely.

What’s more, some ‘mainstream’ products – which aren’t aimed directly at the disability market – provide useful features that help make your home more comfortable and safer. IKEA offers blackout blinds which are operated via voice control or a phone app. They can also be scheduled to open and close at set times. The Google Nest Protect smart smoke detector sends you (or your carer) smoke or carbon monoxide alerts, whether you’re at home or away. The detector can also trigger other devices, for example causing lights to flash. What’s more, if the alarm goes off, it can be silenced in-app, rather than having to reach a ceilingmounted device.


Technology is always evolving, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research, along with UK Research and Innovation, are jointly investing £7.56 million in research to advance adaptive and smart home technologies. Innovations like home automation, smart sensors and bioadaptive lighting will help disabled people and the ageing population manage daily tasks, alleviate symptoms and support healthy behaviours, helping to promote independence and reduce pressure on the social care sector.

When it comes to making changes to your home, Katie advises: “The first thing I would recommend is to seek help – go and get advice from your local authority.” Katie’s second tip is to take a long-term view so the property is futureproofed. “Research what you need,” she says. “Because you could do a quick fix, but then have to change it again in a year. Whereas if you do the research and look at it from a long-term perspective, any adaptations you make are going to serve you for a lot longer.”

Jessica has plenty of space
Practical and personalised
An extension added more room
The colourful Radtke family home

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IIn 1987, the BBC reported on ‘running shoes with a built-in brain’ – trainers which featured a built-in stopwatch and pressure sensors on the sole. When plugged into a very retro computer, they provided data like distance run and calories burned. Some 36 years on, the tech we wear and carry every day does much more than the ‘advanced’ running shoes of 1987. Assistive wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular and part of the mainstream, helping to make life more accessible and inclusive for disabled people. Even the smallest smartwatch features assistive technology. The Apple Watch offers inbuilt health functions like fall detection, a heart rate monitor and GPS tracking – so useful for disabled people and their carers. Wearers can control smart home devices from the watch, including lights, thermostats, and window shades, while Apple’s AI assistant, Siri, is helpful for setting reminders – ideal for people who struggle with executive function.


Wearable assistive tech featuring biometric sensors is becoming more mainstream too. Wristbands and rings deliver round-the-clock information on metrics like heartrate, blood

Assistive technology design is moving at lightning speed. We give you the lowdown on wearable tech that helps make life more accessible

Assistive wearable technology is helping to make life more accessible and inclusive for disabled people

pressure and blood glucose – vital to help manage conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

Then the tech starts to get even more complex. People with limited or no head movement can control their devices through GlassOuse, a wireless headset ‘mouse’ which uses gyroscopic sensors and a variety of switch options that can be activated via bite, blink, puff, press or muscle movements to control mobile phones, computers, tablets, and smart TVs via Bluetooth (from £599, visionaid.co.uk).

Xander Captioning Glasses use a ‘sight for sound’ principle to transform speech to on-screen text (that only

the wearer can see), providing realtime captions to help deaf people understand speech and take part in conversation ($4999, xander.tech).


As technology evolves, we’re seeing more wearable assistive technologies being created. SWAG (Soft Wearable Assistive Garments) is a research project focused on developing lower limb exosuits. These soft, exoskeletal robots aim to empower the lower body and core, to aid rehabilitation and provide mobility assistance. Meanwhile, UK Research & Innovation is funding research into a range of assistive technologies, including a wearable armband that suppresses tremors using electrical stimulation, canes integrated with smartphone applications and AIdriven visual agent technology to enhance visually impaired individuals’ mobility, navigation and social skills, and sensory foot orthotics to assist wearers with their balance.

Any technology that can improve accessibility and boost independence is a great thing. But, through it all, we mustn’t forget the importance of designing a more inclusive, accessible world for everyone.

Xander Glasses

Brooke Millhouse LOUD AND PROUD

Podcast host, advocate and disability

activist Brooke-Jade Millhouse speaks to Kate Stevenson about why she’s dedicated to amplifying the voices of disabled people

For most disabled people, activism is an everyday part of our lives. There’s no such thing as a day o when it comes to advocating for yourself and your rights.

Disabled activist and professional speaker Brooke-Jade Millhouse is passionate about her community’s rights and inclusion. She originally started her podcast – Disabled and Proud – to create a space for disabled people to have raw, open, and funny conversations in the media.

She wanted to show the world that there is beauty in disability, and focus on something that wasn’t about the “Paralympics or pity… I wanted to create a space for people to share real stories without judgement,” reveals Brooke-Jade. “Because yes, sometimes being disabled is really di cult, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be incredibly proud of the people we are.”


Starting conversations about disability issues is super important, but sometimes it can feel like no one’s listening… And, if they are, you might be making them feel awkward: “It’s not the most comfortable thing to do, but that’s life. It sounds harsh, but sometimes we have to stand our ground and make people feel mildly uncomfortable about our experiences.”

Once you start using your voice and rallying with your peers, Brooke-Jade

says it can be hard to stop. She’s been involved with some powerful projects in the past, including working with Breast Cancer UK to promote inclusive fitness spaces, and partnering with Twickenham Stadium for the Six Nations, to encourage venues to think about accessible facilities.

Being an activist is a full-time job, and it’s also a lot of fun. But BrookeJade reminds us to look a er ourselves and ensure we find joy in our projects, whether big or small. “It doesn’t have to be a massive protest,” she divulges. “You’re no less involved because you didn’t turn up to a protest – emailing someone is a form of activism too.”


Change doesn’t happen overnight and, unfortunately, it’ll take more than just disabled people to make enough noise to make a di erence. Brooke-Jade encourages disabled people and their friends, families and colleagues to get involved: “Allies need to be accomplices, not the star of the show,” says Brooke-Jade. “It’s almost like I need you to hold my hand while I’m saying something, but I don’t need you to say it for me. It’s great you’re supporting us, but just make sure you listen too.”

Sometimes we have to stand our ground and make people feel mildly uncomfortable about our experiences

Tim Rushby-Smith

Originally from London, writer, artist and paraplegic

Tim Rushby-Smith is based in Australia. He is the author of two books: Looking Up and Beyond the Break.

Follow Tim on Twi er @trushbys


Enable columnist Tim


o ers his views on the assisted dying debate

With the recent news regarding the death of a young woman who decided to end her life following a spinal cord injury (SCI), there followed a number of discussions on the various forums where those of us with SCI share our thoughts. Opinions ranged from people saddened by how soon a er the injury she made the decision, while others felt that the choice was hers alone to make and should be respected. Where there was consensus was over how insensitive much of the media coverage had been.

I recognise that this can be a di cult topic for many people, and I am genuinely conflicted on the issue of assisted dying.


I can see why many people see the choice to end one’s life as being a ‘human right’, and a choice that provides real comfort for some people living with a degenerative condition.

But I also recognise there are concerns over choice and control, and whether it’s possible to implement su cient safeguards to prevent people being pressured into a decision, either by other people, or indeed by their own

mental state. Adjusting to sudden disability is tough. It’s traumatic for the person directly a ected, but also for those close to them. Relationships o en fail. It also takes time to adjust, and some never really make the adjustment. I was informed so many times that coming to terms with SCI takes a couple of years. When the second anniversary of my injury arrived, I was fully expecting to receive a certificate to denote that I was now a fully qualified paraplegic.

As the debate over assisted dying continues, we are guilty of overlooking a fundamental issue: the lack of mental health support in society


Jokes aside, the process of adjustment is as di erent as the people a ected. Age, family circumstances, the nature of the disability and the way the disability occurred, rehabilitation, peer supports, religious faith, sense of self; all these factors play a significant role. In the case of SCI, the levels of post-injury suicide are truly shocking, estimated at between 8 and 11%.

But as the inevitable debate over assisted dying continues, I can’t help feeling that we are o en guilty of overlooking a fundamental issue: the lack of mental health support in our society. Many people are in crisis, a situation undoubtedly worsened by Covid. Yet mental health services are still underfunded and short of sta . This should be brought into much sharper focus in the debate on assisted dying. Because if we can’t give people the right support when they are in crisis, we will never a ord them real choice. And we’ll never know whether the outcome might have been di erent.


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The diary


Differently Various

Westminster City Hall, London

Daily 10am-5pm, free entry

An exhibition by members of the Submit to Love Studio, a group of artists living with brain injury, who are all members of Headway East London. Works on display include the monumental installation Us Lot, a collection of portraits by members of themselves and each other, along with the intricate sculptural column When Women and Fish Ruled the World, plus monochromatic drawings by Tirzah Mileham. headwayeastlondon.org/events


Jason and the Adventure of 254

Wellcome Collection, London

Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills presents a joyful exploration of the body, using large, interactive sculptures to create a colourful, creative experience that draws on his experience of becoming disabled as a child. Reimagining the gallery space as a hospital ward, Wilsher-Mills’ installation of sculptures, illustrations and interactive dioramas challenges cultural and societal perceptions surrounding disability, medicine and the human body. Throughout summer, a selection of artworks from the artist’s series ‘Jason and his Argonauts’ is on display in the venue’s entrance lobby. wellcomecollection.org


Disabled Cants

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, Edinburgh

Taking to the stage as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this revolving line-up of disabled comedians presents an irreverent comedy show. Described as 'Wonderfully relaxed and friendly' by the Scotsman, this is one to add to your list for the Fringe this year. tickets.edfringe.com / £0-12.50


Disability Pride Month

Various venues across the UK

July is Disability Pride Month, an awareness-raising month for disabled people to celebrate being themselves, unapologetically, and to highlight the issues disabled people face in society. Events and exhibitions will take place across the country, from grassroots disability organisations to national charities. In London, Disability Festival in the Park will be staged on 17 July at Christchurch Green, London (E11), while Chester’s fourth annual Disability Pride Parade is happening on 8 July. Keep an eye on local event listings to see what’s on near you.

8-14 JULY

Para Sport Festival

Various venues, Swansea

Head to Swansea for the first ever Para Sport Festival. Headlined by the 2024 World Triathlon Para Series and the Ironman 70.3 Swansea, competitors and spectators can also enjoy adaptive judo, the wheelchair rugby Welsh Open, table tennis, boccia and shooting. This action-packed festival of high quality insport and competitive para sport events across the city promises to be unmissable. parasportfestival.co.uk

Samantha Renke

Samantha is a broadcaster, actress, disability activist and the author of ‘You Are the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’.

Follow Samantha on Instagram @samantharenke

Jersey: always in season

Enable columnist Samantha Renke reports back from a trip to Maison des Landes, the Jersey hotel designed exclusively for disabled people

Living with an impairment or condition shouldn’t mean living with regrets or missed opportunities. On the contrary – my condition, bri le bones, has a orded me many wonderful experiences. But one of my biggest regrets is that travel is not as easily accessible to me as my non-disabled peers.

When I’m on holiday I want to be as free as possible to do what I want, not have to rely more on those I’m with due to inaccessible infrastructures that make holidaying a headache.

That’s why I didn’t hesitate to accept an invitation from the Enable team to enjoy a trip to paradise. Nope, not the Maldives… Jersey! More specifically, accessible hotel Maison Des Landes, which is nestled on a hillside overlooking the island’s National Park.

My friend Laura and I enjoyed two nights in a premium twin room

The hotel successfully accommodates people’s needs without feeling clinical

(featuring a track hoist and wet room) on a half-board basis (breakfast and dinner).

A er a one-hour flight from Manchester, the hotel’s accessible shu le bus and crew were ready to greet us, taking us the scenic route via a beachfront café, which is also home to Healing Waves accessible surfing.


The beautiful landscape – with breathtaking views, clear waters and clean spaces – washed over me, and I forgot about my stresses back home.

For our first day, we’d planned a boat trip with WetWheels. Due to strong winds, my lack of sea legs, and the captain warning it would be rough, we decided to pass. Instead, we meandered round the markets (just in time for Jersey Royal potatoes), enjoyed cocktails at the quirky Le Bouche café, and stopped for tapas in Royal Square.

Prices were on a par with London, but one could po er and peoplewatch for hours without spending a penny. As a wheelchair user I found the streets easy to navigate too.

Later, we indulged in cocktails on the terrace, rounding o the evening with a pre-dinner dip in the hotel’s hydro pool, followed by a blissful night’s sleep.


I o en find that accessible spaces aren’t very aesthetically pleasing, but Maison Des Landes couldn’t be further from my initial scepticism. A er a recent £3.8 million refurbishment, the hotel was spotless, modern and welcoming. The hotel successfully accommodates people’s needs without feeling clinical. Everything has been considered, from lightweight doors and plenty of bathrooms throughout the hotel to a lowered wardrobe rail in my room, which all made my stay so much more pleasant. A return visit is definitely on the cards!

Maison des Landes
Samantha and Laura

Relax in Jersey’s accessible hotel

Explore without limits with Hoss and the AddSeat, gyro based chairs designed for those who crave accessibility, self-reliance and adventure.

Hoss is Austrian made, AddSeat is Swedish made and for both, we offer full UK service support.

The only hotel in the Channel Islands designed specifically for people with disabilities, Maison des Landes provides the relaxing atmosphere of a modern hotel and the very latest facilities. With daily activities and entertainment, a large accessible pool and tranquil gardens overlooking Jersey’s National Park, Maison des Landes provides relaxing holidays for guests and carers alike. Everyone gets a break at Maison des Landes.

‘As a carer, to feel looked after is such a novelty. I felt like I had a holiday too and all I had to focus on was looking after my husband’


We learn more about what the National Trust is doing to improve access for all to its special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The National Trust was set up more than 125 years ago by three people – Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley – who saw the importance of the nation’s heritage and open spaces, and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy.

Today, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the charity cares for more than 500 places and is doing as much as possible to ensure they’re accessible to everyone. More than £9 million is being invested to improve accessibility for disabled people. The Trust is introducing new pathways, Changing Places toilets, improved access for wheelchair users, sensory tours, and specialist mobility vehicles which promise to open up our beautiful countryside and gardens.

By Autumn, AccessAble guides for all National Trust properties and holiday cottages will be available on AccessAble’s website at accessable. co.uk/national-trust, helping visitors with access needs plan their visits and stays.



Set high above the Thames with farreaching views, Cliveden’s impressive gardens and woodlands capture the grandeur of times gone by. To get around Cliveden, two manual wheelchairs (including off road) and two all-terrain mobility vehicles (non-powered) are available to hire. Cliveden has recently opened a new shuttle bus which is both sustainable and accessible, with ramps for wheelchair users, and facing seats to support neurodivergent visitors.



For the green-fingered, Cherryburn, former home of artist and naturalist Thomas Bewick, has recently had a major garden renovation to introduce an accessible vegetable garden with beds at different heights to suit a variety of needs.

The National Trust is investing more than £9 million to improve accessibility for disabled people, with new pathways, Changing Places toilets, improved access for wheelchair users, sensory tours, and specialist mobility vehicles which promise to open up countryside and gardens.

Orford Ness


From this summer, visitors to Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast will be able to enjoy step-free access to the nature reserve for the first time.

The former military site is now a haven for wildlife, but it could previously only be accessed by the ferry Octavia from Orford Quay, which means climbing steep steps and going over the side of the boat. However, a new landing craft will allow visitors unable to use steps or who need a bit more space on board to access the Ness.

Most of the tracks on the Ness are flat, level and hard surfaced, but getting across the river has been a barrier for many visitors. It’s now hoped that many more people will be able to explore this mysterious and fascinating landscape.


Sizergh Lake District

There are 2,838 metres of accessible paths to explore at this imposing manor home, with the newest path, The Holeslack Accessible Trail, launched in March this year. In partnership with Outdoor Mobility, a second Tramper is also now available to hire. Inside the house, the team is looking to reinstate a ramp installed by Cecilia Strickland in the 18th century so she could access the first floor. BSL guided tours of the house and garden are running throughout the summer, and specially made films about the house can be found on the website with audio description, BSL interpretation and subtitles. In the café, sensory toys and other thoughtful features are available to enjoy as part of a visit, including fidget toys developed by the Alzheimer’s Society. Noise cancelling headphones for children and adults can also be borrowed.



Tyntesfield collaborated with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to develop an accessible guided tour of the grounds, specifically tailored to the needs and perspectives of blind and partially sighted people. Walks take place on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 11am.

Runnymede and Ankerwycke


The Trust celebrates the completion of a £3.8m five-year programme of work at Runnymede and Ankerwycke on Friday 14 June; work made possible thanks to a £1.6 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Runnymede Explored involved extensive community engagement which resulted in new accessible pathways, a new audio tour, and interpretation boards with video about the JFK memorial for those unable to access the steps leading up to it.



At Saltram, the Trust is working with the RNIB and NaviLens to pilot NaviLens technology within the gardens between June and September 2024. This is part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Future Saltram project, which is focused on increasing accessibility to heritage and nature. The codes will be hosted around the site for NaviLens users.


With a wide range of beautiful, fascinating and relaxing spaces and places to explore, the National Trust continues to work hard to improve access for all. To find out more, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/access, or head to nationaltrust.org.uk/visit to search for places to visit.

Gardens at Sizergh, Cumbria
The West Front of Saltram, Devon
A guided sensory walk for people with visual impairments at Tyntesfield



This issue, Enable has teamed up with the National Trust to offer the prize of a free break in a stunning National Trust holiday cottage. One lucky reader will win a holiday worth £1,000!

If you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate something special with a big group of friends, or you simply want to bring your extended family together for some quality time away, there’s nowhere be er than a National Trust holiday co age.

Discover a range of more than 500 holiday co ages – including 24 co ages which are either wheelchair accessible or have partial wheelchair accessibility, plus more than 100 co ages with ground floor facilities with improved accessibility to appeal to a wide range of visitors.

Take a look at the National Trust’s accessible holiday co ages via nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/ co ages/accessible or visit nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays to discover more destinations.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: The prize is a National Trust holidays voucher worth £1000. The holiday is subject to availability and does not include any extras. The winner will be able to pick from the available locations found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ holidays. No cash alternative or refund will be given, and winners must be over 18. There is a limit of one entry per person. Prize to be chosen from the current National Trust holiday website and cannot be used to purchase National Trust gift cards or vouchers, or redeemed against purchases already made. The prize is not valid for Historic House Hotels bookings or those managed by third parties. The competition is not open to employees and volunteers of the National Trust, their partners and their families, or anyone associated with the prize draw. We recommend guests take out travel insurance after booking their holiday. The competition winner can use the prize as part payment towards a higher value holiday and pay the balance. The holiday must be booked and taken before 31 January 2025. If the holiday booked is less than £1000 in value, the booking will still be deemed full se lement of the prize, and any remaining value cannot be used towards a second break. The National Trust will not be responsible for any other transport or accommodation costs incurred in the acceptance or fulfilment of the prize. Our holidays are self-catering. Standard terms and conditions of a holiday booking apply – see website for details: nationaltrust.org.uk/features/holidayco age-bunkhouse-and-bothy-terms-and-conditions

you picked up your copy of Enable. All entries must be received by Monday 26 August 2024. Good luck! BY EMAIL competitions@dcpublishing.co.uk quoting NT Holiday.


POST Competition, DC Publishing Ltd, 198 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG

With thanks to supporters of our Access initiatives



How accessible are Edinburgh’s festivals, from Edinburgh International Festival to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Scotland’s capital attracts four million visitors annually, and it’s the UK’s second most visited city after London. The thought of Edinburgh evokes images of quaint cobbled streets, majestic ancient castles, and pipers playing tunes on the Royal Mile.

But cram an extra three million visitors into the city for the month of August, when the world’s biggest festival of arts and culture swarms into town, and you’ve got what sounds like an accessibility nightmare. So how accessible is the city during Festival season?

Edinburgh International Festival began in 1947, in an attempt to unite people through art after the horrors of the Second World War. The Fringe started the same year, when several theatre troupes turned up to the Festival to perform, uninvited.

Every August, the International Festival presents a hand-picked programme of the finest performers in dance, opera, theatre and classical and contemporary music. The Fringe has now outgrown the original Festival, with every genre of live performance on offer – from theatre and comedy to circus and cabaret – taking place in the street, in theatres, on buses and even in shipping containers.


In 2022, the Fringe organisers launched a new vision “to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat”, in order to make the event as accessible, sustainable and equitable as possible. One of the Fringe Development Goals states that: “Who you are and where you are from is not a barrier to attending or performing at the Edinburgh Fringe”.

Visitors and performers alike have bemoaned the high cost of attending the event in recent years – the price of accommodation in Edinburgh soars as much as 1,500% during August. And the last couple of years have seen more feedback given about accessibility (or lack of) – after all, in an ancient city like Edinburgh, many of the venues used for performances were not built to modern accessible standards. However, event organisers have gone to great lengths to improve accessibility for disabled people.


Visitors can use search filters on the Fringe website at tickets.edfringe. com to find shows via specific accessibility criteria. Ticking every single accessibility box – captioning, audio description, signed performance, relaxed performance, wheelchair audience access, hearing loop and wheelchair accessible toilet – only returns one “fully” accessible show for 2024. But reduce those filters to wheelchair audience access and an accessible bathroom, and 1,511 different shows pop up, out of a total of 3,424 shows this year. Some shows even offer a touch tour, enabling visually impaired audience members to get up close with the cast and set before or after the performance, to create a more immersive experience. Street performance has always been a massive feature of the Fringe, and BSL-interpreted performances at West Parliament Square will take place this year, with specific dates finalised nearer the time. Meanwhile, for people who find busy, noisy environments a challenge, sensory tools are available to borrow, and neurodivergent people can make use of visual timetables

Who you are and where you are from is not a barrier to attending or performing at the Edinburgh Fringe

designed by Tzipporah Johnstone, a neurodivergent artist, to help them plan their time at the Fringe.


The Fringe box office also offers an access tickets service, available to anyone who needs to book specific accessibility services like a hearing loop, AD headsets or seating near to a BSL interpreter. The service is also available to anyone who needs extra assistance at a venue, has specific seating requirements, is a wheelchair user, or who requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance.

To reach a broad audience, half of tickets for the 2024 International Festival will be sold at £30 or under, £10 Affordable Tickets will be available for every performance, and the

concession ticket for D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people is increased from 30% to 50% off all full price tickets, with options for a free essential companion ticket still available where required.


Edinburgh is well connected by public transport, and has a modern, fully accessible tram and bus system within the city. Edinburgh is a compact but hilly city, so being able to hail a black cab (all of which are accessible) can give some relief for visitors who have access needs.

When it comes to finding other places to visit, stay, relax or eat in the city, Euan’s Guide has plenty of up-to-date access reviews for Edinburgh. There are also nine Changing Places toilets in Edinburgh (including one set up

specifically for the Fringe on Lauriston Place).

With large crowds, old buildings and bustling streets, finding your way around Edinburgh when you’re disabled is likely to be a challenge. But thanks to the efforts of organisers and staff, and with venues working hard to accommodate disabled people, there’s no reason you shouldn’t head to Scotland’s capital to soak up the atmosphere at the greatest cultural celebration on earth this August.


AccessAble: accessable.co.uk

Edinburgh Fringe: edfringe.com

Edinburgh International Festival: eif.co.uk

Euan’s Guide: euansguide.com Forever Edinburgh: edinburgh.org

We went backstage with Business Disability Forum on their Changing the Image of Disability photoshoot


Seeing yourself represented on TV and in newspapers, advertising and social media can be a game changer for self-acceptance and increased awareness. Business Disability Forum’s Changing the Image of Disability campaign aims to encourage businesses and the media to use images of real disabled people, either by creating their own or by using the BDF’s Disability Smart Image Bank.


As part of Changing the Image, researchers questioned more than 6,500 adults across the UK. Around 35% of them identified as disabled. A third of adults surveyed (32%) said they’d not seen any disability represented in content they had seen, watched or read during the previous six months.

“Having been an amputee for 30 years, you very rarely see people who look like you, that you connect with, in any form of media,” admits Lucy

Ruck, Taskforce Manager at BDF. “So when this was suggested, it felt like a no-brainer.” Lucy (pictured in the main image, wearing blue) put herself forward to model for the campaign photoshoot, which featured a mix of professional and non-professional models.

“If you have a corporate website, you wouldn’t dream of putting just white men on there, would you?” asks Lucy. “You think about gender, race and age – yet we’re not thinking about disability. Why not?”


Fear of offending people, of getting it wrong, and not being able to represent disability authentically are some of the reasons businesses and the media might not be thinking about disability. “In our free guidance, we talk about keeping it real,” says Lucy, “communicating with disabled people and representing them truthfully.”

Just like Lucy when she put herself in front of the lens, this is a cause we can definitely get behind.


1. Commission disabled models to make sure disabled people are represented in the images you use to promote your products, services and job opportunities.

2. Show a wide range of disabilities, remembering that less than 10% of disabled people use a wheelchair.

3. Reflect the diversity of disabled people, including diversity of age, race, gender and culture.

4. Use a model’s own aids or adjustments, such as noise cancelling headphones, to illustrate less visible disabilities.

5. Be authentic. Create scenarios that are real for the model. Ask models for their input.


The Business Disability Forum is the leading business membership organisation working with government, businesses and disabled people to remove barriers to inclusion. Read more about their work and find the guidance and Disability Smart Image Bank via businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/changingtheimage


A closer look at the work of Audit Scotland

Audit Scotland exists to hold public bodies to account, keeping tabs on public spending to ensure it’s being effectively managed and spent.


Each year, Audit Scotland looks at £59 billion of public spending, covering almost 300 public sector accounts along with services and projects that affect all people and every community across Scotland. The independent body audits performance, value and spending, as well as looking at broader issues like housing benefit, the NHS, health and social care, councils and climate change.

So what does this mean for you?

It means you know your taxes and contributions are being used properly. “We don’t just publish a report and leave it there,” says Jillian Matthew, Senior Manager in Performance Audit and Best Value. “We follow up with the necessary bodies across the public sector, encourage them to improve, and get updates on the action taken following the recommendations in our reports.”


One of Audit Scotland’s core values is equality, as Jillian explains:

“We’re really taking a human rightsbased approach which is based on participation, accountability, nondiscrimination, empowerment, and

It’s important to bring this issue to light to increase awareness and drive change

legislative aspects.”

The organisation is also continually working on improving how it spreads the word of its reports, offering printed materials, animations and videos, blogs, easy-read solutions, and getting its message out via social media.

When carrying out audits – especially for its forthcoming digital exclusion report – the body focuses on listening to the voices of people. “As part of our field work for the digital exclusion audit, we did the lived experience work first – speaking to people with experience of being digitally excluded first, before we spoke to stakeholders,” says Jillian. “We’ve used that to inform our approach and our questions.”


The digital exclusion report will be published in late August, having been delayed by the general election. The report is important, focusing

on how some people are excluded from the digital world due to issues like digital literacy, affordability, age, disability and access. “The report gives an understanding of what digital exclusion is, the scale and the extent of it, and how it impacts people,” says Bernadette Milligan, Audit Manager.

The report looks at how some people are being left behind because they can’t access services online. This includes people who don’t have or can’t afford a suitable digital device, internet connection or data package, or do not have the skills and confidence to use digital technology. People with a disability can find it more difficult to access digital services if their needs aren’t considered in the way services are designed. “It can be a hidden issue for those that are affected,” reveals Bernadette, “so it’s important to bring this to light to increase awareness and drive change.”

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is my second time

at the Paralympics, so I know what to expect now, and I know what I can achieve
Thomas Young


With a summer of sport underway and Wimbledon and the Paralympics coming up, our Editor Melissa Holmes caught up with two sporting pros at the top of their game

What does sport mean to you? That’s the question I pose to Lily Mills, the 23-year-old tennis player who has represented Team GB at the Special Olympics. “Tennis is my life,” she replies. “If I didn’t play tennis, my life would be really boring.”

Lily’s life is far from boring – she’s travelling the world representing her country at the highest level of learning disability sport. From bagging a wildcard slot at the Australian Open’s Persons with Intellectual Impairments Championships, to becoming a

three-time Special Olympics World Games gold medallist, it’s game, set and match for Lily’s sporting achievements.


Next on her agenda is playing in France in September for the Virtus World Tennis Championships. Someone else who’s heading to France soon is track star Thomas Young. “I can’t wait to go to Paris in a couple of months’ time to compete

Thomas Young wins gold in the 100m T38 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

again at the Paralympics,” he told me, his enthusiasm as broad as the smile on his face. “I’m really excited,” he admits. Tom, whose first Paralympic competition took place in Tokyo during lockdown, meaning he had no instadium family support, said: “I know what to expect now, and I know what I can achieve. And, with the Games being so close to home, my friends and family can just get a train across to Paris from the UK and come.”

Thomas told Enable that his training is going really well. “I can’t wait to defend my title in August,” he says. At the time of our interview, Tom was playing his way around Europe competing in various athletic events, before making his way back to the UK for more training, then out to Paris for the Paralympic Games. “I can’t wait to see the Stade de France with 64,000 people in there in 10 weeks’ time,” he told us.


Thomas, who was awarded an MBE in 2021, has neurofibromatosis type 1, which affects his coordination. He’s recently been involved in a campaign called Super Movers for Everybody, which aims to inspire young disabled people into sport. “With the younger generation being so tempted to play on their Xboxes all day and be on social media, if they can get into sports from a young age, they could go through the levels and eventually, hopefully, make it as far as they can – like I have,” enthuses Tom. “Or they can enjoy doing fitness as a hobby, because it’s so important for mental health.”

Soon after being born, Lily contracted meningitis and later sepsis. She was then diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called galactosaemia. She started playing tennis at the age of three and, although finding an accessible club and inclusive coach initially proved difficult, she’s now playing at the highest level. “I’m super proud of her,” reveals Lily’s mum, Tallulah. “She’s amazing. Her tennis coach says he’s learned so much from her; as much as she’s learned from him. She’s so enthusiastic and never gives up. And it’s given her such a good life –tennis has been amazing for Lily.”

Tom, who turns 24 in July, began his athletics journey in primary school, working his way up through different age groups and clubs to eventually work with Joe, a Paralympic coach.

“Joe has taken me from being a club athlete to winning gold at the Paralympic Games,” he explains. “Being involved in athletics has opened up so much. It’s given me a job, and I get to go to so many events in different places, like Japan and Dubai. I’m even studying a sports coaching degree at Loughborough University. I think that when you’re physically fit, I believe you’re mentally fit and mentally happy as well.”


Tallulah only has positive things to say about the effect sport has had on Lily’s life. “Anyone can take up sport,” she says, “and you can meet friends, you can enjoy it. To me, it’s more important than academia. It gives people a chance to shine and achieve.”

There’s no doubt that any kind of physical activity has holistic health benefits for everyone, no matter what level you’re playing your sport at, or what kind of movement you’re doing

– from housework to boccia or track sports.

So, to people looking at getting involved in sport or trying something new, Lily says: “Just don’t give up on your dream.” Tom echoes similar advice. “Just never, ever give up,” he says. “If you want to be involved in sports and give it a go… you don’t have to be a world beater, you don’t have to be a champion. But everyone is born a champion – it’s about finding out what you’re a champion at. You don’t have to be a gold medallist in sports, you could just be involved in sports. And if you enjoy that, then you’re a champion.”

Lily in action
A mural of Lily in her hometown of Highbury, created to celebrate the Special Olympics World Games

Limitless, British Cycling’s brand new inclusive club programme provides cycling opportunities for disabled people, regardless of age, impairment and ability.

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Honda’s CR-V is more competent than ever before, but it does require a substantial Advance Payment


There’s a great deal to like about the interior of the CR-V. The driver’s seat is at the ideal height to make entry easy from a wheelchair, yet it still gives that raised-up SUV feeling and decent all-round visibility. All the major dials and controls are easy to read and use – the pared-back design includes physical bu ons, rather than having to work everything through the infotainment screen. The driver enjoys eight-way electric seat adjustment and lumbar support. There’s plenty of room for all sizes of driver, and for backseat passengers too. The 617 litre boot is more than ample for carrying a wheelchair and other kit, and the boot floor sits flush with the bumper to make it simple to slide larger items in and out.

The 617 litre boot is more than ample for carrying a wheelchair


For Motability customers, the Honda CR-V only comes in high-spec Advance Tech trim. This brings a panoramic sunroof, all-round parking sensors, rear-view camera, parking assist, adaptive headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, and a powered tailgate. Inside, you’ll find heated and cooled front seats and steering wheel, leather upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, electric windows front and back, electric front seat adjustment, wireless phone charger, heated windscreen, and a rear-view camera. The 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display features sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and uses a premium Bose stereo with 12 speakers.


This Honda CR-V uses the company’s plug-in hybrid technology, which features a 2 litre petrol engine and 17.7kWh battery. Fully charged, the CR-V claims a range of 51 miles, which works out at around 35 miles in normal use. That’s ideal for town driving, while the petrol motor combines to give a claimed 353mpg in ideal conditions. More likely is a real-world 50mpg, which means the CR-V e:PHEV is on a par with diesel rivals. Charging the battery should take no more than 2.5 hours. This is all impressive stuff but, if there’s a chink in the CR-V’s armour, it’s the way it drives. It’s far from poor, but the low-speed ride is a tad on the firm side on the 18-inch wheels of this trim.

It also leans more in bends than a Mazda CX-5, but the steering offers good feedback. It’s quiet, too, especially in EV mode, plus there’s an easy-going nature to the Honda that makes it ideal and comfortable on longer trips.


The initial high cost of the Honda CR-V e:PHEV – requiring an Advance Payment of £7,999 and using the full weekly mobility allowance – is offset by its generous equipment, space, comfort, and low running costs.

The life style Pod

Jane Hatton

Jane is the founder of Evenbreak, a social enterprise run by and for disabled people, with a specialist job board and a career hive.

Send your questions to editor@dcpublishing.co.uk



In her column, Jane Hatton, founder of Evenbreak, answers your employment questions

I’m quite good at getting to the interview stage, but never seem to get past that stage. If I’m asked a question I wasn’t expecting, it throws me, and I just blurt out a ridiculous answer. What can I do to stop this happening?

AFirstly, you can ask for the interview questions in advance as a reasonable adjustment. This way there’ll be no nasty surprises. However, if this isn’t granted, there are some things you can do.


If you’re asked something you don’t have an answer for, try not to panic. This is easier said than done, but remember the interviewers aren’t expecting you to give perfectly scripted answers.  If you understand the question and need a moment to gather your thoughts, let them know. Buy a little time by acknowledging their question

and paraphrasing it back to them to ensure you’re on the right track. Then take a moment to compile an answer which provides proof in the form of an example or two.


If you don’t understand their question, ask them to clarify – was there a particular term that threw you off? Or perhaps you need some more detail on the context? By making sure you understand the question before answering, you’ll get ahead of others who take a stab in the dark and miss the point.

Writing interview questions can be hard, and the interviewer may be aware their question isn’t very clear. By working with them to clarify, you’re demonstrating that you can be collaborative and communicate well in a team.


If it’s a scenario-based question, for example, ‘What would you do if a customer was rude towards one of your colleagues?’, then the employer probably doesn’t want to hear just your answer. They’ll also want to understand the journey you took to come to that answer. Don’t be afraid to think out loud – these questions often look at

If you don’t understand the question, ask them to clarify

our problem-solving abilities, and those skills are about process as well as outcome.

Share your thoughts and build rapport so the employer has a real demonstration of how you work. Even without lots of experience, this can showcase your potential and intelligence.

Please look on Evenbreak (evenbreak.co.uk) for jobs with employers who are actively trying to attract disabled candidates, and set up alerts for the kinds of role you are interested in. If you require personalised career support, please see our Career Hive (hive.evenbreak.co.uk). These services are free of charge.

Visit the Evenbreak website to access candidate resources free of charge: evenbreak.co.uk and hive.evenbreak.co.uk

Celebrating difference since 1844

Co-op has a long history supporting equality, equity and solidarity with the disabled community. Today we’re committed to offering disabled colleagues opportunities to build a career in our unique organisation.

Jade – Customer Team Leader

My manager looks past my wheelchair to see me, my skills and my potential. Thanks to adaptations made in-store and the support from my manager, I’ve thrived in my role and achieved a promotion, all while studying for my degree at the same time!

Ellen – Customer Team Member

I’m deaf, and I wear two hearing aids at work. Due to my disability, I often struggle with low confidence. However, my colleagues and manager have been fantastic, and the Co-op is really supportive.

Paul – Software Engineer

My ADHD means I need reasonable adjustments to do my job to the best of my ability. Thankfully Co-op puts its values at the heart of what it does, and this includes taking the issues disabled people face seriously.

Find out more about working at Co-op and our commitments to diversity and inclusion by visiting jobs.coop.co.uk


To support disabled people into work, and help them stay in work, employers are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments. From ramps to adjusted schedules, what are your rights, and how do reasonable adjustments work in practice?

nder the Equality Act 2010, employers must provide reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and interview candidates to ensure their needs are met. You’re not legally required to tell your employer about your disability but, when you do, they’re legally required to support you to do your job.


Adjustments can be as varied as the people who need them. A visually impaired staff member might need screen reading software, while someone with joint pain may benefit from ergonomic seating, or neurodivergent colleagues might need access to a quiet, low stimulation workspace.

In the case of making adjustments, what does ‘reasonable’ mean? ACAS states that reasonable adjustments will remove or reduce the disadvantage a disabled employee faces compared to a non-disabled employee. They must also be practical, affordable and not harm the health and safety of others.


Making reasonable adjustments doesn’t just benefit disabled employees and keep employers on the right side of the law – it supports the whole business. Company-wide changes, like implementing flexible working or work from home policies, can support people who have regular medical appointments

or childcare needs, for example, as well as boosting workforce happiness and productivity.

If you need adjustments to help you do your job, you can let the employer know at interview stage or in the course of your employment. This can be done in writing, via an in-person meeting, or through a formal process if your employer has one.

Sometimes you’ll know what adjustments you need, but it can be helpful to seek professional advice via a workplace needs assessment. This can be carried out and funded via the Access to Work Scheme (although there are long waiting lists), or carried out by an independent assessor and paid for by your employer.


entitled to funding via Access to Work. Most adjustments aren’t expensive or complicated and, according to the Business Disability Forum: “The average cost of a reasonable adjustment is £75 per individual, and many are less expensive or even free – for example, changing start and finish times, or allowing someone to work sitting down.”

Reasonable adjustments are vital in helping disabled and neurodivergent people stay in work and succeed in their careers. Be confident in asking for the adjustments you’re entitled to, and seek support from professional bodies like ACAS if you’re unsure how to proceed.

Business Disability Forum

When it comes to paying for any adaptations, equipment, or support you need, your employer must cover the cost; however you may also be

A place of possibility

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Helping you access work

The lowdown on the Access to Work grant, which provides funding for equipment, support workers and transport to help you at work

Access to Work is a government scheme designed to support disabled people into work, and to help them stay in work. It provides funding for things like communication support in interviews (such as a BSL interpreter), equipment and software to help you carry out your job (like a standing desk, ergonomic seating, or time/task management software), support from a coach or mentor so you can perform your role, mental

health support to help you stay in work, and money towards transport if you cannot access public transport or your own vehicle.

Emma Cossey is a self-employed coach working with freelancers across many sectors. She has ADHD, and has received Access to Work funding to help her run her business, The Freelance Lifestyle.

“If it’s something you struggle with because of your disability, you can get Access to Work funding for that,” explains Emma. “I have a bookkeeper

enable employment

because I struggle with the numbers side of things. I get funding for resources like Sunsama, a productivity tool, and Flown, a coworking platform. I also have someone that helps me with admin and anything that requires an eye for detail.”

Emma’s business provides coaching, which many of her clients pay for via their own Access to Work grants. She explains: “I work with a lot of ADHD clients by helping them understand how their brains work, how to stay motivated, and supporting them with how we frame tasks to make them more interesting.”


You can apply for an Access to Work grant whether you’re employed or self-employed (and even before you’re employed, if you need communication support at interview).

To be eligible to apply for Access to Work funding, you must have a physical or mental health condition or disability that means you need support to do your job, or to get to and from work. This can include a physical disability, learning disability, neurodivergence, or mental health condition (like depression). You do not need to be diagnosed with a condition to apply.

Once your grant is awarded, it’s administered through an online portal where you can upload receipts and support worker invoices to have them paid out of your grant allowance.


The best way to apply is online, but there’s a helpline to call if you get stuck, plus you can also approach other agencies to help you complete your application. “The application process is not easy – I struggled with all the forms due to my ADHD,” admits Emma. “But I don’t want that to put people off because, once you’re through it, it’s definitely worth it.”

Emma offers her top tips for the application process: “Go in with as much evidence as possible. Do your research and find out what other people have received through Access to Work,” she advises. “Do the research on what things cost and what support workers are likely to be charging for their services.”


Once you’ve applied, your needs will be assessed. An assessor will call you/your employer, and you may have an in-person or online assessment of your workplace. Once a decision has been made, you’ll receive a letter confirming the amount of your Access to Work grant. If you disagree with the amount awarded, you can ask for a reconsideration.

The current maximum Access to Work grant for this tax year is capped at £69,260. The amount granted can vary, especially when it comes to fees for support workers (for example, Access to Work may allocate funding of £12 per hour for a proofreader to support your dyslexia, when the suggested minimum hourly rate for a professional proofreader is £29.85). If this is the case, you can ask for your grant to be reconsidered, or reduce the number of hours you use the support worker for.

It’s important to carefully consider exactly how much support, for how many hours per week, you really need. You’ll be required to renew your grant (timescales will be outlined in your decision letter, and you’ll be contacted 12 weeks in advance of the renewal date) to ensure you don’t miss out on your allocated funding.


Access to Work funding means you can get on and do your job to the best of your ability. Having access to the right equipment, support and resources benefits you, your colleagues, and your employer. For Emma, it’s been incredibly valuable. “It’s really helped me focus on the things that I can do,” she reveals. “It’s helped me grow my business, and I’m able to finish a lot more things because, as an ADHDer, one of my biggest challenges was finishing that last 10%. It also means I’m able to help a lot more freelancers through the coaching and mentoring I provide.”

She concludes: “For me to have the more challenging parts, due to my ADHD, supported, it’s meant I can flourish in my work.”


Find your perfect place.

As a leading recruitment outsourcing provider, Guidant Global can offer you direct and exclusive access to great jobs with some of the UK’s top employers.

We’re also a Disability Confident Leader, and our award-winning approach to disability inclusion is building careers and changing lives. It goes without saying, we welcome applications from people with disabilities! In fact, if you have a disability, we’ll guarantee you an interview for any internal role (assuming you meet the minimum

criteria required for the job) and please don’t forget to tell us about any adjustments you might need during the recruitment process.

If you would like to find out more about inclusive careers at Guidant Global, or search for roles with our amazing clients, please visit our website. jobs.guidantgroup.com


Simon Minty works with businesses to advise them on how best to a ract and support disabled employees, as well as how to create inclusive workplaces

Simon Minty knows a thing or two about how to create accessible, inclusive workplaces. His business, Sminty Ltd, has worked with clients like the BBC, Barclays PLC, Google, HSBC and Motability.

Simon’s consultancy firm o ers a range of services, from training on the Equality Act, to role playing scenarios with fellow disabled actors to provide problem-solving sessions for clients. “It’s a brilliant way of learning,” he explains. “If you can get two or three things to really land with people and shi how they think, that’s amazing.”

He even performs with a disabled comedy troupe – Abnormally Funny People – to enlighten businesses about disability issues through humour. “These are comedy gigs where you get a bonus of learning,” he reveals.


Currently, Simon’s favourite service to deliver is a six-month career development programme. “It’s for managers and sta who have disabilities who might have got a bit stuck,” he explains. “I love it because you can see the transition in front of you. You witness people change how they think

about themselves, how they work in an organisation.” For this, a colleague delivers information on topics like management models, growth mindset and imposter syndrome, while Simon shares his knowledge around identity, disability, rights and social/medical models.

Simon has been working in inclusivity training for 20 years, so what changes has he seen over that time? “Statistics show very li le change in terms of the number of disabled people in employment,” he says. “But there’s more visibility now –sta networks, top leaders who happen to have a disability and talk about it. The topic is not taboo anymore.”

So what changes does Simon think need to happen to create more equitable workplaces and be er experiences for disabled employees? “For people who have a disability, to not have to carry the burden, to be able to shake o the stigma, to be comfortable with themselves,” explains Simon. He feels this will make people feel more confident and able to ask for the right support when they need it. “The only problem with that is it puts the emphasis on us as disabled people to do all the work.”

The flip side of that, he explains, is to have managers who are very relaxed around disability as a topic. “They’ll just have an informal chat, they do what they need to do, and they carry on,” he says. “It’s all about being disability confident –both for organisations and applicants or employees.”

There’s more visibility now –sta networks, top leaders who happen to have a disability and talk about it. The topic is not taboo anymore

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