enable Forget can’t - think can!
WE’RE ALL GOING ON A
SUMMER HOLIDAY The best accessible destinations for a getaway, both at home and abroad
May / June 2017
CARERS WEEK 2017
Celebrating the country’s carers
WIN AN ACCESSIBLE BREAK
ou cou d e off to Scotland with The Chalet, Holidays for All
Why disability hate crime needs to be on the agenda
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
A special focus on the support and services for injured servicemen and women
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THE PROBLEM WITH HOSPITAL FOOD
What’s being served up on wards across the UK – and why it’s time for change
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enable Forget can’t - think can!
PUBLISHER Denise Connelly firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR Lindsay Cochrane email@example.com STAFF WRITER Lorne Gillies firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Jordan Bone Kirsty McKenzie Tim Rushby-Smith Alisdair Suttie DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Lucy Baillie email@example.com PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Lisa McCabe firstname.lastname@example.org SALES Marian Mathieson email@example.com ENABLE MAGAZINE www.enablemagazine.co.uk
DC Publishing Ltd, 198 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG Tel: 0844 249 9007
COVER PRICE £3.00
Welcome Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Enable Magazine. You might have noticed that we’ve had a bit of a makeover this issue – it’s always good to look your best with summer on the horizon, after all. And that’s one thing that’s really influenced this edition of the magazine! We’ve got holidays on the brain, with our guide to some of the best accessible holiday destinations, plus we’ve been taking a look at what’s going on in airports to make air travel an option for everyone, no matter what your access needs. Elsewhere, we’ve been investigating the state of food being served to patients in the nation’s hospitals, two carers have shared their experiences of caring ahead of Carers Week, we’ve found out more about fostering, plus we’ve got the lowdown on changing career if your disability means you have to rethink your working life. This issue, we’ve got a special section dedicated to injured military personnel, looking at the support services that are out there to help those whose Forces careers are cut short due to illness or injury. We’ve been finding out about elements like housing options and financial support, plus we’ve got a special focus on post-traumatic stress disorder and the life-altering impact it can have. You’ll also find a pretty special column on page 12. Blogger, YouTuber, L’Oreal ambassador and author Jordan Bone, who became quadriplegic following a road accident in her teens, has been sharing her journey to acceptance and embracing the power of positivity – it’s definitely worth a read. Please do let me know what you think of this issue – I’m always keen to hear your thoughts, so look out for the ‘over to you’ sections on some of the articles. We’d love to hear your view on the subjects covered! Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S PICKS... 23 BREAKING THE SILENCE With disability hate crime figures on the rise, we take a look at what needs to change – and soon. 52 DEMENTIA FRIENDLY THEATRE We’ve been finding out about the theatre company making adaptations for audience members with dementia. 74 OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL How accessible is the workplace for people with learning disabilities? It’s much more inclusive than you’d think.
DON’T MISS… With this issue’s competition, you could win a two-night stay in Scotland. Find out more on page 33.
Until next time,
SUBSCRIBE TO ENABLE Lindsay Cochrane, Editor
You can get every issue of Enable delivered direct to your door, for £25 for two years or £15 for one. Head to www. enablemagazine.co.uk/ subscribe, or call us in the o ce on 0844 249 9007.
©DC Publishing Ltd 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without prior written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of DC ubl sh n td The ubl sher ta es no res ons b l t or cla ms made b ad ert sers th n the ubl cat on er e ort has been made to ensure that information is accurate; while dates and prices are correct at time of going to print, DC Publishing Ltd takes no responsibility for omissions and errors.
BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE YouTube 12 MY 10 star Jordan Bone shares her journey from a life-changing accident to a positive future.
YOUR PS AND 2S 73 MINDING The latest from Tim Rushby-Smith.
YOU WERE HERE… Some of 26 WISH the best accessible destinations and
holiday providers for summer.
FLY WITH ME What’s going 29 COME on in the nation’s airports to improve accessibility? We found out.
FRIENDLY THEATRE The 52 DEMENTIA magic of the stage shouldn’t be offlimits to anyone – as we found out.
BACK Doug shares how a 54 GIVING volunteering placement has boosted
his career prospects.
BANKING The high 65 ACCESSIBLE street banks going the extra mile for customers with additional needs.
care and support
PROBLEM WITH HOSPITAL 20 THE FOOD Cold dinners, unusual food
combinations and few options for those with dietary needs – it’s the harsh reality for patients in Britain’s hospitals.
THE SILENCE With 23 BREAKING disability hate crime figures on the rise, what needs to be done to tackle this injustice?
A LIFE LESS EQUAL Access to healthcare, in the workplace, in housing, education and beyond – none of it’s as good as it should be. So what is life like for people with disabilities in Britian today? And what needs to change? We take a look at the findings from a recent Equality and Human Rights Commission report.
GIVE A CHILD A CHANCE Fostering is hugely rewarding – as foster carer Doreen knows all too well. The Scot, who’s been fostering for ten years, talks to Enable about her experience.
employment and education OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL Following one woman’s controversial view that business owners should be able to pay people with learning disabilities less than the minimum wage, we find out about job opportunities and support schemes to make sure this should never be the case.
MEET THE HEAD TEACHER Kerry Sternstein, head teacher of TreeHouse School, tells us about her role.
THE CAREER SWITCH If your disability means you can no longer continue in your line of work, what are your options? We find out, with some help from charity Back Up.
FUTURE OF SOCIAL CARE IS 16 THE IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND We
find out about the techy devices and services changing the face of care.
LIFE AS A CARER The nation’s carers do incredible work, much of which often goes unrecognised. Ahead of Carers Week, two women share their experiences as unpaid carers, providing support for loved ones.
AND SUPPORT FOR A NEW 14 CARE GENERATION Residential care services aren’t just for older people. We take a look at planning appropriate support for young people with disabilities.
motors GET MOTORING! Want to know more about your motoring options? You’re in luck! We take a look at the best disability motoring events coming up. THE REVIEW This issue, we’ve taken the SEAT Leon out for a spin.
This issue, you could be in with the chance of winning a two-night stay at The Chalet, Holidays for All in Scotland. Turn to a e to find out how to enter.
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES This issue’s special section is dedicated to the men and women whose military careers are cut short due to illness or injury. We’ve got the lowdown on support services, housing options, nancia help, and a special focus on PTSD. Check it all out from page 35 onwards.
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LATEST A roundup of the disability news stories making the headlines
Government announce U-turn on Motability vehicle rules
Katie Price launches petition to make online abuse a criminal offence MODEL, REALITY TV STAR and entrepreneur Katie Price has launched a petition, calling on the government to take online abuse more seriously following her son Harvey’s experience with web trolls. Harvey, who has multiple disabilities, has been targeted by online bullies on several occassions over the years, and mum Katie has done all she can to expose his assailants, even getting two arrested – but, she says, there have been no repercussions. She’s calling for online abuse to be a specific criminal offence, and for a register of offenders to be created. The petition has already exceeded the 100,000 signatures required for the issue to be debated in Parliament. You can show your support by heading to petition.parliament.uk/petitions/190627. 6
THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced a new policy, which means those who don’t qualify for Personal Independence Payment following reassessment will be able to keep their Motability car until a final decision has been reached. The announcement follows the publication of statistics from the Motability charity, which showed that 50,000 people no longer qualify for the Motability Scheme since moving over to PIP from Disability Living Allowance. Muscular Dystrophy UK estimate that as many as 900 people a WEEK are losing their cars –but with 65% of those who appeal the decision winning their case, the majority were later having their cars returned. Under the new rules, Motability Scheme customers will be able to keep their vehicle for up to six months, including during appeals, offering extra time to find alternative transport.
Laura Wetherly, policy manager at the MS Society, said: “Extending the Motability Scheme is a welcome, if small, step towards making a welfare system that makes sense. Many people with MS who rely on their Motability cars will be relieved to know they can avoid the distress and expense of losing their cars after receiving the initial PIP decision. Right now, some people have them returned, but only after a lengthy and stressful appeal. “There’s still a lot to be done to make sure disability benefits assessments work for people with MS. Initial PIP decisions are often inaccurate, meaning people have to appeal to get what they deserve. PIP assessment criteria must therefore be improved to accurately reflect the barriers people with MS face.” Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams commented: “If the government really cared about disabled people, they would have done this a long time ago.”
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Find out more on 0800 804 8828 or at cars.suzuki.co.uk/motability Model shown Vitara SZ-T 1.6 Petrol Manual from Nil Advance Payment. *Nil Advance Payment based on Vitara SZ-T 1.6 Petrol Manual. Other models may require a higher Advance Payment. **ALLGRIP 4-wheel Drive models available from £399 Advance Payment based on Vitara SZ-T 1.6 Petrol Manual. †SZ-T and SZ5 models only. Vitara range official fuel consumption figures in mpg (L/100km): Urban from 42.1 (6.7) to 61.4 (4.6), Extra Urban from 55.4 (5.1) to 76.3 (3.7), Combined from 49.5 (5.7) to 70.6 (4.0). Official CO2 emissions from 131g/km to 106g/km. Fuel consumption figures are based on an EU test for comparative purposes only and may not reflect real driving results.
The Motability Scheme is available to the recipients of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or Armed Forces Independence Payment. The lease agreement is with Motability Operations Limited, City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HB. This offer is available on orders placed with participating Dealers between 1st April 2017 and 30th June 2017, subject to availability and is not available in conjunction with any other offers. Full written quotations and details, including terms and conditions, are available on request. All payments and specifications correct at time of print.
Half of Premier League stadiums still inaccessible for disabled fans ONLY SEVEN PREMIER LEAGUE clubs have fully accessible toilets for disabled football fans, according to research from learning disability charity Mencap. The ‘Toilet League Table’ looks at how many clubs have installed Changing Places toilets, after 17 of the league’s current clubs signed an accessibility pledge in 2015. The pledge included the promise to include Changing Places toilets, the recommended industry standard, by August of this year. With just a few months to go, only seven clubs have them installed. Changing Places toilets include features such as hoists and adult changing tables, and are vital for people who require more space than standard accessible toilets provide – it’s estimated that they’re vital for as many as 250,000 people. Mencap have highlighted that a Changing Places toilet costs £10,000 to install – the equivalent to two hours of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard’s weekly salary. Clare Lucas, Mencap activism manager, said: “It’s inexcusable for over half of the Premier League to be without fully accessible toilets for all disabled fans. Nobody wants to leave a game halfway through to go home just to use the toilet,
but without a Changing Places facility the only other option is the degrading experience of being changed on what may be a dirty, unhygienic toilet floor. This is not a choice anyone should have to make.”
New chair of British Paralympic Association announced DR NICK WEBBORN HAS been elected chair of the British Paralympic Association, after winning the majority of votes from BPA voting members. Webborn takes over the role of chair from Tim Reddish CBE, who stepped down at the end of his two-term tenure. He is one of the country’s leading sports medicine specialists, with a particular expertise in disability and Paralympic sports. He has attended nine Paralympic Games in various roles, including Chief Medical cer or aral m cs at London 2012, and also works with the Invictus Games for injured military personnel. Webborn said: “It is a great privilege to be nominated for this position and an even greater honour to be elected by my peers from across the movement as chair. My experience as an athlete, a medic and as an international representative working with the IPC and WADA gives me the credibility in the international arena to carry or ard the a enda o the
RESALE SCHEME LAUNCHED FOR LONDON WORLD PARA ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS THE ORGANISERS OF THE World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships taking place in London this summer have launched a ticket resale process. This means that spectators won’t be taken advantage of by touts – and that those who already have tickets they can’t make use of won’t see them go to waste. Tickets can be resold and bought through tickets.london2017athletics.com. London 2017 Ltd championship director Niels de Vos said: “The Summer of World Athletics is the biggest sporting event in the world in 2017 and we are acknowledging that with a robust and an r endl t c et n ser ce that o ers re-sellers and buyers security that no other lat orm can o er
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Life as a This June, events will be taking place across the country to recognise the fantastic work carried out by the country’s unpaid carers as part of Carers Week. But what’s life really like providing support for a family member, friend or neighbour? Two women share their experiences
Barbara’s Story Barbara Jones, 72, lives in Merseyside. She’s been the main carer for her son Barry, who has epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and uses a wheelchair, since he was born 51 years ago. Over the years, she’s also provided care for her mum, her dad and her brother – all while managing COPD and osteoporosis herself. “I’ve cared for Barry for 51 years. I had my mother living with me for 10 years – she was in a wheelchair. And my brother, too. He had a massive stroke. He lived with me for 12 months, so that wasn’t too bad. And I provided care for my dad too. “Barry is really good fun. He’s a lot of work for me, obviously, but he gets on with people – people enjoy his company. They are quite happy to be with him, which is nice. We do bounce off each other. I always treat him the way I would my other two sons. He’s got wonderful manners, which is great. People always comment on that. “He needs help with everything – which is getting harder for me. We’ve got PAs coming in now. I’ve got COPD, osteoporosis and a few other things, so I find I can’t bend to put his shoes on, and basically to dress him. So carers come in to help with that, and to shower him. “While it’s great that I get help, the help isn’t always there when I need it. I keep thinking, ‘I’d like to go out for a meal.’ And you can’t just do that. Because Barry is epileptic, it’s a bit of a problem in case carers aren’t trained to cope with it. “I’d like to keep Barry at home with me for as long as I can. We’re waiting for a review at the moment, and I’m going to say, ‘Is there 10
any way I can call on somebody when I need extra help?’ That would make a difference. “I’ve been caring for so long, I don’t know any different. But I think it’s taught me tolerance. Barry might disagree! “I’d like to see more awareness of what goes on in carers’ lives. A lot of people don’t realise what the situation is and what I have to do. I’ve been in the system for so long, and I know where to shout – or I’m getting to know – so I’m OK. I have the support of my local carers centre too – I don’t use them often, but I know they’re there if I need them. But I feel for people who perhaps their husband gets Alzheimer’s and they don’t know where to go for help. That must be hard.”
Kerryanne’s Story Kerryanne Wilde, 43 , from Cumbria, cares for her son Bailey, 15, and also provides support at a distance for her mum, who had a stroke and a heart attack ten years ago and lives in Edinburgh. She runs charity CERT (UK), formerly Eden Flood Volunteers, alongside her caring responsibilities. “My son is 15 and he lives with us. But with my mum, I’m a distance carer. So I manage her care package and carers going in, all her finances and everything for her. Because of Mum’s deteriorating health at the moment, and other issues with her health, we’re having to change from self-employed carers to bringing different agencies in. Having to find the best care agency within the meagre funding that you’re given so someone can be independent is really hard. “Bailey was born 16 weeks early. He’s partially sighted, and he has been diagnosed with hemiplegia cerebral palsy. He has learning, developmental and behavioural delay. He has issues with his bowels, which is related to his cerebral palsy. And he has Reynaud’s phenomenon, so the cold affects his extremities. But all of that doesn’t stop him. We’ve
brought him up as we have my older son Daryl, who’s 22. We encourage him to participate in everything. He may be nearly blind, but he can ski – he’s now a level two merit skier. “I get Direct Payments from social services, and Bailey has an Education, Health and Care Plan, which means that education, health and care all come together to link with his needs. We use the Direct Payments money to let him access mainstream clubs and activities, like Army Cadets, which he really enjoys. When he went to Italy with the school at February halfterm, we paid for a carer to go with him to support him – he loved it. We have a child minder who has looked after Bailey since he was two as well, so if we need any extra respite care overnight or at weekends, he can go to her. “Caring has taught me to step back, listen, and be more open. It’s taught me to look at the wider picture. I know myself that you put on a big façade every day. That you’re coping, you’re getting by, everything’s OK. And a lot of the time, you aren’t. “I would like to see carers being recognised for what they actually do. If the government was to take every single carer out of the equation, and had to put in paid support and care for the individual or individuals that they’re caring for – that would put things into perspective.”
ABOUT CARERS WEEK help and support available on the Carers Week site, www.carersweek.org. ■ Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society and Which? Elderly Care.
AS TOLD TO LINDSAY COCHRANE
■ Carers Week takes place 12-18 June. It’s an annual awareness campaign designed to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers. It’s also a time of intensive local activity with thousands of events planned for carers across the UK. If you’re looking after someone, make sure ou nd out a out the
She’s a YouTube star, appeared in L’Oreal’s most recent campaign and now she’s written a book – but it hasn’t always been easy for Jordan Bone. In a guest column for Enable, the beauty blogger and author shares her journey from the depths of despair to a positive future
n May 2005 I was involved in a car accident and broke my neck at C6 level. Ever since that day, I have lived my life as a quadriplegic. I was only 15 when I had the accident, and it was at a time when I had started to gain a bit more independence. Breaking my neck felt like the rug was pulled from under me and life was making me start again. I am sure many of you can relate. Being paralysed is hard. However, that doesn’t mean life is over. I once thought it did mean it was though. UNDERSTANDING Depression hit me seemingly out of
nowhere a couple of years after my accident. Looking I’ve gone from back now, I think it the girl who took me that time to BELIEF understand that my life thought her life These days I create wouldn’t be the way I a mixture of beauty was over to a had intended. I started tutorials and motivational woman with the to think I was worthless videos on my YouTube world at her feet and unable to achieve channel. Beauty has always anything. The idea of death been something I loved, so suddenly felt like the only when I was younger I made escape. Luckily, I did the sensible sure I taught myself how to apply thing and headed to my GP who gave makeup, despite my paralysed hands. I me antidepressants for the foreseeable am so happy I am able to do what I love future. as a job. I have just written my first book One day, whilst sat in my university called My Beautiful Struggle, which feels bedroom, I discovered guided meditation like an absolute dream. I’ve gone from on YouTube. That day changed my life. I the girl who thought her life was over to a would keep doing the guided meditations woman with the world at her feet and it’s whenever I had a free moment, and it all because I have believed in myself. gave me a new vision. My life wasn’t over; All in all, we all deserve a wonderful I just needed to find a new way of doing life. We are all so lucky to be here. The things and to stop thinking negatively chances of us being born are ridiculously about my life. Being negative only brings slim so despite your struggle, always live you more negativity. life as fully as you can and push yourself I came off of the antidepressants, to achieve your dreams. I believe in you. much to my GP’s surprise, and I started creating my own YouTube videos all about Jordan’s book, My Beautiful Struggle, positivity. These days when I look back at is out on 4 May, published by Trapeze. those videos I cringe because I don’t seem Keep up with the latest from Jordan like my authentic self but it is good to look at www.jordansbeautifullife.com. back and see how far I have come.
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Care and Support
for a New Generation Whether you’re a teenager yourself or the parent or carer of one, there’s the expectation that, at some point, we’ll all live away from home. But just how plausible is that when you have a disability or specific support needs? We take a look at how care is changing to meet the needs of the younger generation
oving out of the family home is almost a rite of passage. Young people often leave home to carry on with their studies, in pursuit of work, to live with friends or a partner – or simply to escape their parents! And young people with disabilities have just as much right to this stage in their independence as anyone else. However, for some, the seemingly straightforward act of moving into a flat on their own or with friends isn’t an option, and more support is needed to help with everyday tasks and responsibilities. Which is where care services come in. The idea of care, whether that’s supported housing or a residential care home, can be off-putting for young people and their families – visions of old-fashioned ‘old folk’s homes’ and structured days can be worrying. But fortunately, these days more and more care facilities are cropping up either specifically targeting young people, or where residents are of a similar age group, giving residents of all ages, stages and abilities the opportunity to live amongst their peers. “Residential care and supported living particularly cover a vast range of age groups,” clarifies Sarah Clarke-Kuehn, operations director at Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL). “Some of our supported living projects are specifically designed with the 16 to 25 age range in mind. More traditional services are open to certain age groups, but some services are technically open to all age groups. We tend to work with our commissioners to make sure that people of a similar age live together.”
PERSON-CENTRED The beauty of modern-day care services, from domiciliary care to residential care homes, is that service providers follow the person-centred model. All residents have individual care and support plans, and staff work to make sure that they are living the life they choose. For young people, there are sometimes specialist services or features which need to be incorporated. “With 16 to 25-year-olds, we make sure that we have the right links with local colleges and youth services, to help people access education, training and youth projects,” Sarah explains. “They’ll probably be looking for work or reaching the end of their studies, so if our support teams work with people of that age, we can make sure that we have links with all the right places, meaning that everybody can achieve what they specifically want to achieve.” INDEPENDENCE For many, supported housing is an appealing option. In most schemes, you’ll have your own flat, and be responsible for things like paying your bills and preparing meals, but this can vary depending on your support needs. Staff are on-hand, often round the clock, to help with anything you need, and the support offered tends to taper off as you learn new skills and increase your independence. “Supported living offers high quality housing that promotes independence and makes sure that people who live there get the plan that they need,” Sarah says. “We can do
Supported living o er high u li hou ing h pro o e independence nd ke ure h people who li e here ge he pl n h he need r h l rke uehn Sanctuary Supported Living
CARE AND SUPPORT
things like help with medication, or if there are any mental health needs, we’ll have the links to make sure that everybody’s life is fulfilled.” Parents often find the idea of their child moving out quite difficult. Sarah has had to reassure a number of mums, dads and carers over the years – but says that the majority agree in the end that supported living was the best move for their son or daughter. “This is a two-way relationship – we’re all working together to get the right outcome for every individual,” Sarah points out. “So talk to the service about how they would draw up personalised support plans, and how that service will reflect the individual’s circumstances and goals.” LIFE-CHANGING And getting the right support really can be life-changing, enabling young people to try things they might not have before and chase new goals. Harvey Saunders, 20, has been living in SSL’s Foyer supported housing scheme in Brighton and Hove
for over a year now after a fallout with his family led him to sleeping on his aunt’s sofa. Harvey, who has ADHD and Tourrette’s, was referred to the Foyer, which is designed specifically for young people, by his local YMCA and he soon moved in. With the help of staff, he drew up a personalised support plan, to help him build the skills required to live independently. He’s now working through his plan, developing personal living skills such as money management and doing his own laundry. He has received help in finding work too, taking part in the Foyer’s employment progamme, Launch Pad. Harvey now undertakes seasonal work doing landscape gardening at local cemeteries, and has decided he’d like to work in construction, something he’s now studying towards. Harvey said: “I’d heard of the Foyer from friends who had stayed here in the past and they talked about how it had helped them; it’s not at all how I pictured supported housing. It is clean,
staff are friendly and approachable and the atmosphere has been really good for motivating me to do the best I can.” To find out more about support options for young people in your area, contact your local social services or housing department and ask for an assessment of need to see what’s out there, and what’s best for you, whether that’s help at home, supported living or residential care. “Sometimes, the supported housing arena might not work for somebody,” Sarah points out. “But there are other options available, such as floating support going into an individual’s home. It’s about the provider working with the commissioner, working with the individual, to tailor that approach – and finding what works best for them.”
FIND OUT MORE
To find out more about Sanctuar Su orted n s ser ces, head to www.sanctuary-supported-living.co.uk
CARE AND SUPPORT
ocial care has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism in recent months. There’s not enough support. What’s out there isn’t good enough. There’s not enough money. Too much is being cut. And people are suffering as a result. Something has to change. In the 2017 Budget back in March, chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £2 billion investment in social care – but many argue that this isn’t enough. As an ageing population, pressure on social care services is only going to increase – and waiting times for assessments and support will get longer. Something within the system has to change. REDUCED WAIT Which is why, last year, a new Uber-style app was launched to try cut down on waiting times, and streamline services. Based on the same principle as the taxi service – users log in to the app, request a cab and location tracking lets drivers in the area know they’re nearby before matching them up – Cera will let individuals or family members instantly book personal assistants directly. It will cut out the middle man – and drastically reduce waiting times. The founders of the business say it will help get people out of hospital and back to their own homes, giving more choice and control to individuals and their families. The service has a pool of trained PAs to offer the best support – and they’ve even teamed up with Uber to provide transport for patients and carers. GUARANTEED SUPPORT The idea comes from a team of experts, including an NHS advisor, and it’s received £1.3 million in investment – making it the biggest health startup in Europe. The app will guarantee support within 24 hours of requesting it – a big reduction on the weeks people often wait to get help through the NHS and social services. Since its launch, Cera has partnered up with the NHS’s biggest trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, as well as a number of clinical commissioning groups in London which will allow doctors to refer patients to the Cera platform. While only operating in London for now, the founders are hopeful that it will be rolled out nationwide in the future. i
Find out about the service at www.joincera.com.
The future of
Social Care is in the palm of your hand
With increased demand for services, the face of social care is having to evolve, and fast. We take a look at what’s going on in the sector
Futuristic solutions Cera isn’t the only service changing care. Here’s what else is out there. Robotic feeding machines Obi is a feeding machine which gives individuals support and independence at meal times (www.meetobi.com). Home monitoring systems GrandCare is a smart system which lets family members and care professionals monitor older and
disabled people remotely thanks to a ran e o d erent tech ser ces (www.grandcare.com). Patient data capture uMotif is a clever app which captures patient information and relays it to their doctor – cutting out the need for checkups and appointments (www.umotif.com).
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ACCESS FOR ALL
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ADVANCE PAYMENT from only
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Advance payments correct at time of going to press. Images for illustrative purposes only.
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Free UK-wide home demonstrations call 0800 587 9674 19/04/2017 24/04/2017 15:15 12:45
CRACKING DOWN ON
NUISANCE CALLS BT tell us more about their Call Protect service, which is free and exclusive for their home phone customers, and helping thousands take control
he average British person receives four nuisance calls a week – and 60% of people find receiving such calls stressful, according to BT research. So we’ve developed a breakthrough service called BT Call Protect to help customers avoid nuisance calls on their landline by diverting them to junk voicemail. It’s free and easy to set up.
TAKE BACK CONTROL FROM NUISANCE CALLERS BT Call Protect has three main features:
BT BLACKLIST – We continually monitor for the worst nuisance call offenders and once we’ve identified them, we will automatically divert them for you. And we’ll turn it on by default when you get BT Call Protect. PERSONAL BLACKLIST – You can add any number to your personal blacklist. Future calls from these numbers will go straight into your junk voicemail. CALL TYPES – You can also send unrecognised, withheld and international numbers to your junk voicemail. How will BT Call Protect work with my personal voicemail service? If you’ve got BT Answer 1571 or Call 18
Minder, you get two extra features. DO NOT DISTURB lets you set times of the day when all calls will be sent to your voicemail. Wanted calls will go to your personal voicemail, and unwanted ones to your junk voicemail. VIP lets you highlight important numbers so calls from these are never sent to your junk mail. How do I add numbers to my personal blacklist? BT Call Protect is very simple to use. If you receive a nuisance call, hang up the phone, dial 1572 and follow the simple instructions to add it to your personal blacklist. You can manage your settings and personal blacklist online at bt.com/btcallprotect where you log in using your BT ID. Alternatively, you can dial 1572 free from your home phone. How do I sign up? If you are an existing BT customer you can get the service by simply dialing 0800 328 1572 from the landline you want it on and following the prompts. How much does BT Call Protect cost? BT Call Protect is completely free to all BT home phone customers. Find out more at bt.com/callprotect.
Christine Lampard is our BT Call Protect ambassador. She said: “All of us have experienced the frustrations of nuisance calls at home, be it interruptions at family meal times, while you’re busy working or just trying to have a quiet evening in. “My own parents have noticed a huge rise in these sorts of calls recently, an increase that seems to be a ect n a ma or t o the older generation. BT Call Protect is a great new service designed to help prevent these calls. Any help we can give to our parents and grandparents to avoid the stress of nuisance calls gets my vote.”
How BT can give you peace of mind and help you budget We know that some of our customers need extra support. That’s why here at BT we have specially-designed products and services that can help. BT Basic and Home Phone Saver We understand that everyone needs a phone, whatever their income. BT Basic has low line rental (£5.10 a month) – including a call allowance of up to £1.50 to spend on specific call types. We’ve also introduced a monthly ‘price cap’ so you can make as many calls as you like to numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 08, as well as UK mobile numbers starting with 07, and only pay a maximum of £10 a month for them. Customers who also want broadband access can get BT Basic + Broadband priced at £9.95 per month,which includes your BT Basic line rental. You can usually get BT Basic if you’re claiming one of these benefits (conditions apply): • • • •
Income Support Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance Pensions Credit (Guaranteed Credit) Employment and Support Allowance (income related) • Universal Credit (and are on zero earnings) To find out more about BT Basic, go to bt.com/btbasic
If you just want a phone line with us but you might not be suited to BT Basic, we also have a package called Home Phone Saver. This bundles together line rental, unlimited anytime calls to other UK landlines, and some of our most popular calling features for £21.99 a month.
For more details visit bt.com/hps2020. To switch, call 0800 032 4624 from 8am – 9pm weekdays and 9am – 6pm at weekends. If you switch to our latest Home Phone Saver 2020, we’ll guarantee that the price of your Home Phone Saver plan will stay the same until 2020. Note: this deal can’t be taken as part of our BT Broadband or BT Infinity packages.
More ways we can help PROTECTED SERVICE SCHEME If you’re going through exceptional circumstances, like being in hospital for a long time, you might be unable to pay your bill, and we offer a free scheme that protects you if that happens. You can choose a relative or friend for us to talk to about how to keep your phone connected. Visit bt.com/pss or call 0800 800 150 to find out more and to get an application form. OUTGOING CALL CONTROL At BT, we want to help you control call costs and understand that people with certain conditions (like shortterm memory loss, learning difficulties, dementia or obsessive compulsive disorder) sometimes make a lot of calls to the same number. We offer a free service to bar outgoing calls to 123 and 118 numbers, often made by those with dementia. This means there is no need to change the user’s phone and solves the problem of repetitive calls and the associated charges. Find out more about 123 and 118 call barring at bt.com/unwantedcalls or call 0800 919 591 free, 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday.
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24/04/2017 06/04/2017 13:33 15:39
THE PROBLEM WITH
HOSPITAL The NHS is a wonderful thing – but the food they’re serving up in their hospitals? Not so much. Lindsay Cochrane looks into the state of the food on offer on wards across the nation – and what needs to change
n December, I spent ten nights in my local hospital, admitted after a two-year battle with my Crohn’s disease got all too much to handle. I was going to the loo with extreme diarrhoea about 30 times a day; I was dehydrated and exhausted. Food was, I’ll be honest, the last thing on my mind. The nature of my inflammatory bowel disease means that, at times, eating can be tricky. I go through spells where I eat predominantly white food (think pasta, mashed potatoes and plain chicken). Greasy, fatty, spicy foods are never welcome, and red meat is best avoided. I told the staff on my ward all of this. Yet at mealtimes, I would be presented with unappealing food that I knew I couldn’t digest. Dodgy-looking kormas. Roast dinners with overcooked, dried-up chicken drenched in gloopy gravy. Shepherd’s pie featuring grey mince. The highlight was a veggie burger served with cold mash. So I went without, and relied on my parents to appear once they’d finished work with something appropriate. Nobody questioned this. Nobody offered me an alternative. I was simply told I’d ‘need to eat more’ when my ever-plummeting weight was checked. But eat what? UNAPPETISING My experience of hospital food is, sadly, not unique. In wards across the country, patients are being presented with unappetising, unhealthy dinners that are doing nothing to aid their recovery, boost their defences or make them feel better. “We do hear horror stories,” admits Katherine Button of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. “Most patient concerns we hear could be summed up as a lack of thought and care going into the food as it’s served, and not enough money going into the ingredients.” In 2014, a set of standards was issued for hospital food in England as part of the NHS Standard Contract – at the time, campaigners were assured that this was as good as law. The reality is that it’s merely guidance. In March, the campaign published a new report, which analysed food output in London hospitals. The report found that half of London hospitals surveyed were not meeting the basic food standards set out in the NHS Standard Contract. Department of Health figures from January also found that half of English hospitals are failing to comply with these standards – so the campaign research is representative of the
country as a whole. The report also found that two thirds of hospitals do not cook fresh food for patients. Only one of the London hospitals met all five standards. And 20% failed to provide a hot meal for patients who aren’t there at mealtimes – so if you’re taken off for a scan or procedure elsewhere over lunch, you can look forward to a sandwich upon your return. If you’re lucky. PATCHY PRACTICE “What we found was that practice was very patchy,” Katherine explains. “Most hospitals are doing well in some areas and poorly in others. A couple of hospitals are failing across the board, but even the highest performing hospitals have work
standards to be set down in law, akin to the standards that exist for school food,” Katherine says. “Right now, if you’re a patient and you think you are not getting the food you need to get well, you don’t really have any legal recourse to complain. The food rules are laid down in a contract between the hospital trust and the local clinical commissioning group, so it’s much more complex, and patients are locked out of the process. We think that we need legal hospital food standards to simplify things for hospitals and patients, and to raise the bar on food quality and catering standards in hospitals across the board.”
IMPROVEMENT The Campaign for Better Hospital Food is also calling for better quality, sustainable ingredients, as well as tighter restrictions on food sold in hospital shops and in vending machines. “At the moment, there are no restrictions on what can and can’t be sold in hospital vending machines. So in an emergency room, you could have a vending machine full of fizzy drinks and no water,” Katherine explains. “Or crisps and chocolate on a ward for children. Perhaps, as a patient, you’ve missed a meal or there’s nothing still to do. Hospitals that we hold up as available that you can eat – your option being real beacons of good practice – ones is the shop or the vending machine. Then like Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital – cook it becomes a real issue. In Scotland, they great fresh food on-site but even they have really strict rules around what you don’t always meet all of the hospital food can sell in a vending machine in hospitals, standards. Hospital food standards are not in what’s called the Healthy Living Award set down in law in the same way as school Plus. We’d like to see an equivalent food standards. So we call the situation standard introduced in England.” with hospital food now a ‘loose regulatory The NHS Standard Contract standards environment’ – there’s no legal standards, are a step in the right direction – but so what exists instead is an opt-in, opt-out Katherine argues that these need to situation, and what food hospitals serve be tightened up, and strictly enforced, depends largely on the individual staff in to ensure that patients are getting the that hospital.” nutrition, variety and respect that Katherine and the campaign they deserve. are calling for tougher “From the reports that we OVER standards to be written get and the stories we’ve TO YOU into legislation – so been told, there’s a lot to What’s your experience, good or bad, been like of that serving up good be done in terms of patient hospital food? Share your quality, nutritious, food,” she says. “But views on Twitter, tagging freshly prepared food there’s also a lot of good @EnableMagazine, isn’t an option, but a practice, which shows or email us at editor@ requirement for it can be done. It just enablemagazine.co.uk hospital chiefs. takes a bit of time, thought “We want hospital food and prioritising.”
We need legal hospital food standards to simplify things for hospitals and patients
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, to share your experiences and show your support, head to www.sustainweb.org/hospitalfood
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09/01/2017 12:46 14:39 24/04/2017
ELIMINAT HATE E
DISABILITY HATE CRIME:
Breaking the Silence In 2015-2016, there were 941 prosecutions made for disability hate crimes – but it’s estimated that as many as 70,000 people are being victimised each year. We take a look at the reality for people with disabilities across the country, and what needs to change
magine leaving your house and immediately having a stranger make a derogatory comment about you – to your face. Having things thrown at you, simply because of the way you look. Being beaten up because you’re ‘different’. Laughter and names, all because you don’t understand things like others do. Sadly, for some of us, we don’t have to imagine. This is a reality. Disability hate crime is an offence – it could be violence, name calling, damage to property – which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability, whether that’s physical or a learning disability. This definition includes ‘mate crime’ too,
where a person is taken advantage of physically or financially due to being vulnerable or having a learning disability. Crime of this nature is a real problem in Britain, with Office for National Statistics estimates suggesting that as many as 70,000 people are victims of a disabilityrelated hate crime each year – yet only 25,000 are reported. Research from learning disability charity Dimensions reports that 48% of people don’t report such incidents. As well as being under-reported, it’s under-prosecuted too. Just 941 prosecutions were made last year, and while this was a 44% increase on the previous year, it’s still not enough. Thousands of people are suffering at the hands of bullies and criminals – and they’re getting away with it. And that’s something which Dimensions want to see change. “There’s a big gap between what’s recorded and what we think is probably the real situation, what people are experiencing,” explains Andie Gbedemah, public affairs officer at Dimensions. “Within that, we don’t know learning disability and autism on its own. It’s just one big disability statistic.” The charity says that 73% of people with a learning disability have been victim of a hate crime. Last year, Dimensions
launched #ImWithSam, a campaign calling on officials and the public to take disability hate crime more seriously, especially for people with a learning disability or autism. Sam represents anyone with a learning disability or autism – male or female, young or old, Sam shares real stories and experiences that have affected people across the UK. And the campaign is proving that it’s time for change. “There’s been times when I’ve been coming home from work and people have thrown things at my car or called me names,” explains Mark Brookes, Dimensions’ quality auditor, who has a learning disability himself. “I don’t sit in an empty carriage if I’m coming home late from work on the train. I still feel a bit unsafe.” Mark has also been the victim of ‘mate crime’, where someone he called a friend started stalking him, harassing him – he even smashed a window in his home. “I wanted him to stop,” he recalls. “It was a bit worrying. I didn’t know what the next level was. Every time, I kept on saying that I wouldn’t be his friend any more, and he’d stop. Then it’d get brought up again.” Mark, who lives in a supported living scheme, eventually sought help – but he says that many people with learning disabilities don’t do this, and let the bullying, victimisation and hatred carry on. “People need to know that even if it happens once, they can report it,” he says. “I think that some people think when it happens, that it’s OK.”
ELIMINAT HATE E
CALLING ON CHANGE Following his own experiences, Mark is keen to see change happen – and he says it has to start with the police. “Things are a lot better now than they have been in the past, but it’s still underreported,” he says. “People still don’t know what a hate crime is. Frontline police need the training. Even though they do a great job, and the police forces have done some great work over the years, they’re still not getting it. We’re going to be working with Kent Police soon, and hopefully one of the London forces, to work on that.” You can get involved too. Head to the Dimensions website and sign up to support the #ImWithSam campaign – the more people involved, the more likely it is that this campaign will get heard and change will be made. You can share your stories and experiences too, and find out what to do if you need help. “I’d like to see more awareness of hate crime and mate crime,” Mark says. “Both for people with learning disabilities, and the general public – so they can do something to help stop it.”
It’s estimated that 70,000 people are victims of disability hate crime each year
ARE YOU WITH SAM? Dimensions’ #ImWithSam campaign has eight objectives – eight things that they would like to see change when it comes to disability hate crime, and speci ca hate cri es a ainst those with a learning disability or autism. Here’s what they’re asking for: 1 Separate disability hate crime statistics into learning disability, autism and other disabilities. 2 A change in the law to make disability hate a crime online too. 3 The Department for Education to adapt resources to better support all primary and secondary schools with positive messages around di erence. 4 Manufacturers to incorporate greater learning disability sensitivity into toys, games and other children’s entertainment. 5 The Department of Health to develop simple guidance to help families and support workers identify and manage cases of hate crime. 6 The Crown Prosecution Service to improve investigation protocols within the criminal justice system in situations where there is a learning disabled victim. 7 he ome ce to impro e resources and training for police o cers and others to help them when receiving a report of hate crime from a person with a learning disability or autism, including funding self-advocates to provide specialist victim support. 8 Stronger legislation to protect vulnerable people from mate crime. If you support Dimensions’ objectives, get online and sign up to the campaign to show your support now at www.dimensions-uk.org/ campaign/imwithsam
Days out for all with National Museums Liverpool
Open daily 10am to 5pm FREE ENTRY liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/whatson 025_EN_MJ17_ADV.indd 25
Wish you were here... Excitement is building as the sun dusts itself off and people begin to get giddy for the summer holidays. More and more travel agents are now offering accessible holidays to make sure everyone can get booked up for their dream destination. We found some of the best holidays out there this summer
o matter what your preferred holiday is, be it lounging on the beach, taking in the sights of a European city or setting sail, there is a holiday for everyone. In the UK and abroad, many travel providers have upgraded their holiday packages to make them more accessible, with several dedicated travel agents working to provide customers with the best holidays on the market.
Holiday at Home
â€˜Staycationsâ€™ are all the rage these days, with many people ditching their passports to take in the wonderful, breath-taking sights right outside our own front doors. Are you a nature buff, and love nothing more than taking in the beauty of well-kept gardens and pretty scenery? Premier Cottages (www.premiercottages.co.uk) have all you have ever dreamed of. With a range of cottages available for those with a variety of different access needs, there is guaranteed to be a cottage that suits you perfectly. Premier Cottages work directly with Visit Englandâ€™s National Accessible Scheme to identify properties that meet specific criteria for accessible holidays. There is a wide range of cottages available through the site with accommodation for small parties of four all the way to family getaways with cottages suitable for up to 15 people. Affordable and luxury cottages are available with a plethora of amenities including live stock, space to play, games rooms, different catering options and so much more to make your holiday in the English countryside everything you want it to be.
LIFE Sticking with the outdoors, Borders Asperger’s and Autism Group Support has funded their Carer-Van (www.baags. co.uk/caravan), which sleeps eight people. Situated at Berwick Holiday Centre, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, in the Scottish Borders, the caravan is easy to get to from any mainland UK destination. The upgraded caravan has double-glazing, central heating, window locks, and much more, including an extra toilet to make the new caravan even more luxurious. A four-night break will cost from £160, with prices increasing to £450 for a week-long stay during peak season. Carer-Van is the perfect location for a fun family holiday or respite break, with lots of activities on-site, including sports, entertainment during the day and night, and many water activities. TravelEyes (www.traveleyesinternational.com) are the world leaders in blind and partially sighted travel with destinations in the UK and abroad. Founded by blind entrepreneur Amar Latif in 2004, each holiday focuses on the five senses. Many holidays are available through TravelEyes during the summer months, including a three-star trip to Queen Victoria’s seaside home in the Isle of Wight. Each trip includes sighted travellers to help to guide and explain sights to blind holiday-goers, and ensure all of the senses are utilised during any trip. The five-day trip to Ryde on the Isle of Wight costs £598 for visually impaired visitors and £299 for sighted tourists, and sails from Portsmouth in August.
Looking to indulge in sun, sea and mojitos? There are many destinations worldwide that now offer excellent accessible holidays. TravelEyes not only provide UK-based holidays, they have lots of summer destinations abroad too, with a four-star holiday in Lanzarote mid-September. The holiday, coming in at £1,229 for visually impaired travellers, has many activities to ensure you will get the most out of your time on the white sands of Playa Blanca, including a barbecue on a private yacht cruise. For family-orientated holidays, make your way to kids’ favourite Disneyland Paris (www.disneylandparis.co.uk). This year, Mickey and co will be celebrating their 25th anniversary, so it’s an even more exciting time to get involved. Catering for many disabilities, Disneyland offer access passes allowing admission to certain attractions via specially adapted entrances – and up to four companions
can accompany the individual on the pass. For those looking to be even more adventurous, P&O Cruises offer fantastic, accessible cruises throughout the year. Summertime could see you travelling to Norway for a four-star cruise for seven nights on the Norwegian Fjords voyage, where you will explore the four counties in Norway. Booking a cruise is simple and easy through Disabled Cruise Club (www. disabledcruiseclub.co.uk), the only cruise club catering for those with a disability. With 30 years of experience in accessible cruise holidays, you can ensure that your time on the seas will be safe, secure and spectacular. Disabled Cruise Club work with many big name cruise liners, including P&O, to make your holiday one to remember with purposebuilt cabins, wheelchair access and docking at accessible ports. So get your suitcase out, pack away the sun cream and grab your camera, as there is a mountain of destinations across the world and at home waiting on you. No matter where your dream destination is, be it America, Asia or Europe, there is a plethora of places now accessible to both those with a disability and carers to ensure the holiday of a lifetime.
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Interested in Whisky? not get in touch and take advantage of our expert knowledge and our 170 years experience. As Scotland’s oldest independent bottler we cherry pick the best casks for bottling and offer fun and informative tastings. Em ail us to receive our stock list or bring 8 accessible luxury lakeside this advert•into the shop for a quick lessonlodges in Devon • 5 Caravan Club CL pitches with electric hook up (with dram).
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Why not get in touch and take advantage of our expert knowledge and our 175 years experience. As Scotland’s oldest independent bottler we cherry pick the best casks for bottling and offer fun and informative tastings. Email us to receive our stock list or bring this advert into the shop for a quick lesson (with dram). 172 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8BN Tel: 0131 556 5864 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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COME FLY WITH ME Air travel can be highly stressful thanks to long queues at check-in, uncertainty of departure gate locations and long distances between terminals. For those with a disability, airports can be even more taxing, overshadowing the excitement of going on holiday. We looked at whatâ€™s going on to make air travel more accessible
s the excitement builds for jetting off on holiday, so can the anxiety of navigating the airport. Many airports across the UK see thousands of passengers pass through check-in and security on a daily basis, which can make it a daunting place. More airports are now, thankfully, upgrading their services to make the transition from land to air as smooth as possible for passengers with specific access needs.
THE INNOVATORS Leading the way in accessible air travel is Shannon Airport (www.shannonairport. ie) in Ireland. March of this year saw the airport opening the very first sensory room in Europe for young travellers on the autistic spectrum. The room, based in the airportâ€™s departure lounge, is designed to reduce potential stresses caused by the uncertainty of travelling and a break in routine.
Designed by Adam & Friends, the facilities in the sensory room include colour changing LED lights, an aquatic bubble tube, and a wavy wall, plus much more to help children feel relaxed and safe in the airport. For people with less visible illnesses or disabilities, Outsourced Client Solutions (OCS) have partnered with Manchester Airport (www.manchesterairport.co.uk) to introduce services for travellers who need extra assistance but don’t want to disclose information on their illness or disability. Lanyards, badges or pin ribbons are now available as a ‘discreet sign’ worn to alert airport staff that extra assistance may be necessary in some areas of the airport. These are optional for people with hidden disabilities – but it can be a huge positive. The discreet signs will not allow priority during travel, but give passengers the chance to get extra assistance on their journey. This includes allowing more time to check in and get through security, remaining with family and friends throughout, and getting more comprehensive briefings on what to expect in the airport, making transitions from check-in to going on the plane as smooth as possible. OCS has worked with different charities to get more information on how travelling with a hidden illness or disability can make airports more stressful. By highlighting the need for additional support through discreet tools, it will ensure that going on holiday is a fun experience from start to finish.
As more of us pack our bags to jet off into the sunset, airports are getting busier and busier. This can be a problem for those who are unsure of what to expect in the airport environment and get anxious in new settings. Thankfully there are now many organisations and airports working to give passengers the opportunity to try the airport experience before travelling. Tryb4uFly (www.tryb4ufly.org.uk) provide disabled adults and children realistic taster sessions to familiarise them with what happens in the airport. Part of the UK charity Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF), the concept behind Tryb4uFly arose after parents of children with a disability detailed their anxiety and confusion when it comes to flying. Due to the unfamiliar processes of going on a plane and finding designated seats, it was revealed that many people with a disability or their families avoided air travel. QEF Mobility Services introduced the Tryb4uFly concept and began offering consultations for disabled children and adults in October 2012. Through the purchase of an old cabin safety trainer fuselage, clients are able to try seating options, make transfers and get a feel for the plane. With the guidance of trained occupational therapists, clients are able to select and sample equipment that can
Shannon Airport h urope fir airport sensory room for young travellers on the autistic spectrum
aid their journey too. Clients will gain first hand experience of what to expect when they get on an aircraft, in a realistic environment. EFFICIENT
Manchester Airport, alongside highlighting hidden disabilities, does a fantastic job for those with visible disabilities. A fast-track service is available when travelling through security to help reduce anxiety and stress levels, ensuring speedy passage through all security gates. Manchester Airport and Birmingham Airport (www.birminghamairport.co.uk) also offer private search areas in security for those with additional needs, making potential searches discreet. Alongside providing private searches, Birmingham Airport security officers have all had training to detect potential sensitive issues for those with a disability to ensure the smoothest journey through to the departure lounge. For metal detectors, walking aids are available for assistance alongside seats situated at security. Passengers with liquid medication in their hand luggage often worry about how to safely transport it without having it confiscated. Most airports understand that some travellers will have liquid meds, and Birmingham provide a service that tests medication in hand luggage to ensure it is safe to travel – making sure nobody has their vital medicines removed prior to flying. It’s wise too to get a note from your doctor declaring what it is – make sure you do this well in advance. With much better understanding and fantastic services on offer, the maze of the airport doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Contact your preferred point of departure before booking flights to see what they have to offer, and to let them know of any particular needs you might have – guaranteeing a smoother journey for all.
Your Rights The UK government (www.gov.uk/transport-disabled/ planes) has ensured that accessible air travel is available to those with a disability. People with limited mobility, sensory problems or learning disabilities travelling through any European
airport have the right to ass stance at s ec fic arr al points, including check-in, help moving around the airport freely and the right to travel with two items of mobility equipment free of charge and not part of their luggage allowance.
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WIN A TWO-NIGHT SCOTTISH BREAK We’ve teamed up with The Chalet, Holidays for All to offer you a two-night break in their beautiful, brand-new, accessible accommodation. Read on to find out how to enter…
e all need the opportunity to relax and unwind from time to time – and where better to do that than in the Scottish countryside? Situated in East Lothian, The Chalet, Holidays for All is a unique selfcatering holiday home, with fantastic access features. Opening this May, guests can enjoy a relaxing holiday on West Meikle Pinkerton Farm. The Chalet is a large building with fantastic views over the Firth of Forth and the Bass Rock. Low thresholds allow for ease of access and the adapted kitchen offers independence to guests. The three bedrooms have the option of single or double rooms to make sure that guests are comfortable. The master bedroom has two electric lifting beds as well as a ceiling track hoist which leads into the en-suite wetroom with Clos-omat toilet. The exterior of The Chalet has good parking spaces and a large ramp built into the decking area, so that guests have a relaxing holiday without stress. And this issue, you could enjoy it all – we’re giving away a two-night stay at The Chalet for up to six people! i
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on The Chalet, Holidays for All, head to www.thechaletdunbar.co.uk or call 07788 374 030.
HOW TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this question… he h le o er unning iew of whi h of he following din urgh le he ir h of or h he i er l de Send your answer along with your name, address, daytime telephone number, email address and where you picked up your copy of Enable Magazine to: The Chalet Competition, Enable Magazine, DC Publishing Ltd, 198 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG Or email your details to o pe i ion d pu li hing o uk with ‘The Chalet’ as the subject. All entries must be received by 30 June. Good luck!
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Prize is a two-night stay at The Chalet, Holidays for All (West Meikle Pinkerton Farm, Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1RX) only. Transport, food and entertainment not included. The winner will be contacted within 1 month to arrange the stay during an off-peak time of year, subject to availability, excluding school holidays. Valid for one year. £100 damage deposit required, to be returned on checkout. Arrival is on the Friday any time after 4pm and checkout is required by 9:30am on the Sunday. No pets allowed except assistance dogs. Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and there is no cash or other alternative and cannot be sold to another party. One entry per household. The publisher’s decision is final.
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The lowdown on support and services for men and women leaving the Armed Forces due to injury or illness
THE ROAD TO CIVVY STREET A look at the charities and organisations offering support and advice for injured vets
035_EN_MJ17_Resettlement_cover FINAL.indd 35
We find out more about the financial support and money management services for ex-Forces
MAKE A HOUSE A HOME
Getting access to housing that meets your needs â€“ and your budget
SPOTLIGHT ON PTSD We find out more about the mental health condition, what it means, and its impact after war
We exist to provide a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families. We support up to 100 front line charities and specialist organisations – such as SSAFA, Combat Stress, Royal Star & Garter and the NSPCC – to deliver help on our behalf. We also make direct grants to some 5,000 individuals, ranging in age from 6 months to 105 years old. Through our network of support, our work touches the lives of around 80,000 people worldwide, every year. Donate or get involved in fundraising at www.soldierscharity.org facebook.com/soldierscharity
@soldierscharity ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is a registered charity in England and Wales (1146420) and Scotland (039189). Registered Office: Mountbarrow House, 12 Elizabeth Street, London SW1W 9RB, Tel: 020 7901 8900, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Jamieson, former Scots Guardsmen, injured in Afghanistan in 2010, Charity Beneficiary. © Malcolm Cochrane
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES Leaving the Armed Forces is a massive life change for anyone – but it’s even more difficult when you have a new injury, disability or illness to contend with too. We take a look at what support is out there for individuals transitioning to civilian life after leaving the Forces due to injury or sickness
THE ROAD TO CIVVY STREET
very year, 24,000 people leave the Armed Forces. Some will leave as their service has come to an end. Others will retire. Some have decided to take their career in another direction. But for others, there’s no choice involved. Research carried out by Help for Heroes found that, of those who served between 1991 and 2014, at least 66,090 people need some form of support now or will do in years to come due to an injury or illness sustained during service. That’s thousands of men and women whose time in the Forces has been cut short – and have a lot of change to contend with. For anyone leaving the Armed Services, the transition process to civilian life is complex. For many, the Army, Navy, Marines or RAF is all they’ve known after joining at a young age. But leaving with a disability too? It can make an already difficult process even more complicated, and many do struggle. SEEKING SUPPORT Luckily, there’s a lot of support out
At least 66,090 servicemen, women and veterans need some form of support now, or will do in years to come there to help individuals as they transition to life on Civvy Street. From work to finance, housing to general wellbeing, there’s a host of organisations out there supporting ex-Forces personnel through the resettlement process. Upon leaving the Forces, all men and women who are being medically discharged are entitled to support through the Career Transition Partnership. It’s wise to take advantage of any support offered by the MOD leading up to your discharge
date – they’ve been supporting people through their transition for decades, so have a fairly good idea of the different challenges you might come up against. Under normal circumstances, your length of service will affect how much support you’re going to get – but those who are wounded, injured or sick automatically qualify for the Core Resettlement Programme (CRP), which is essentially the full support package, including one-to-one career consultant support, core and additional workshops, housing briefs, online tools through MyPlan, one-to-one employment and job seeking support and vocational training. SPEAKING TO SPECIALISTS Outside of the support offered by the Forces, there’s a number of charities working with ex-Forces personnel too, offering help, advice and specialist support in a number of different areas. For many, employment is a key area of concern when transitioning to civilian life – and finding an employer who
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
is supportive of their disability or additional needs is, for many, a daunting prospect. Hire a Hero, for instance, is one charity offering support to those leaving the Forces and keen to get back to work, or you can check out RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, who boast an 80% success rate in finding work for those who have been wounded or injured. Housing is another concern for many – finding somewhere affordable to stay for you and your family can be a real challenge. Even deciding where to settle is a big choice. Haig Housing Trust is a good point of call, as is Stoll, which provides housing and rehab support for veterans. The Royal British Legion can also offer lots of advice, and the Royal British Legion’s Industries service can provide accommodation for Armed Forces personnel too. Turn to page 42 for more information on your housing options. There’s even injury-specific organisations – BLESMA, for instance, is for those who have lost a limb in combat. Blind Veterans UK is for vets who have lost their sight. Combat Stress is aimed at those with mental health issues. While many charities exist which relate to different disabilities and health conditions, the advantage of making contact with a Forces-based charity is that they really understand your situation – and all the additional challenges which those leaving the military face.
RFEA boast an 80% success rate in helping find work for injured or wounded ex-Service personnel
Useful Organisations Here are the contact details for some of the country’s most useful organisations for exForces personnel. If you don’t need help? Consider making a donation to support their work.
Royal British Legion
MAKE CONTACT While the thought of leaving the Forces is daunting, it’s reassuring to know that there is support out there for the men and women who have served our country – so if you, or someone you know, is leaving the military with a life-changing injury, it’s time to make contact with some of these fantastic organisations to find out more about the type of support they can offer. There’s no sense in struggling on your own – take advantage of the experts. After giving up so much for the sake of our country, it’s only right that you get looked after for a change. So reach out, get help and don’t go through the resettlement process alone. Help is out there. It’s just a matter of asking for it.
www.britishlegion.org.uk 0808 802 8080
Help for Heroes
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
www.soldierscharity.org 020 7901 8900
www.combatstress.org.uk 0800 138 1619
RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity
Hire a Hero
www.hireaherouk.org 01495 366 670
Haig Housing Trust
www.blesma.org 020 8590 1124
Blind Veterans UK
www.blindveterans.org.uk 0800 389 7979
www.ssafa.org.uk 0800 731 4880
www.sorted.org.uk 0800 319 6845
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LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
A group of injured military personnel have joined forces to work towards an incredible goal – to become the first all-disabled team of drivers to compete in the Le Mans 24-hour race. We found out more
Racing to recovery T
he 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most prestigious motor racing events in the world. Taking place in the town of Le Mans in France, drivers work in teams of two to spend 24 hours driving on a circuit made up of closed public roads and a professional racing track, covering over 5,000km during the course of the day – avoiding damage to the car in the process. It’s the ultimate in team endurance racing. And Dave Player is hoping to make history at the 2020 event with Team BRIT. IMPACT Dave established KartForce in 2010, a charity which offers endurance karting for injured servicemen and women. A former Army man himself, and having sustained a spinal cord injury after leaving the Forces,
he recognises the impact that competitive sport can have on members of the military coping with a life-changing injury. Some of the karters asked if they could move things up a gear and go into team endurance racing – Team BRIT was born. “Up until now, anybody with a disability had to race in a semi-automatic car with push-pull hand controls that we use in our everyday cars – and they can’t compete. It’s impossible,” Dave says. “So I’ve designed a new set of hand controls – they’re the world’s most advanced set of racing hand controls, that allow anybody with a disability to race using hands only.” Team BRIT, which is run as a limited company to teach its members business skills, currently has two cars, and four drivers – Warren McKinlay (former lance
corporal in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), Tony Williams (Former Corporal, Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps), Andy Searle (Former Rifleman in the Rifles Regiment) and Jimmy Hill (a serving Royal Marines corporal). BROTHERHOOD “I was into contact sports, but because of my injury now, I can no longer do that,” explains Jimmy (pictured above), who was shot seven times by a machine gun in Afghanistan, with five of the shots hitting his legs, resulting in a fractured femur, damaged calf and damaged sciatic nerve, meaning he has a semi-paralysed ‘dropped’ foot. “In the Royal Marines, you are part of a family. And you do lose that camaraderie, the bond, the brotherhood. Being part of a team again is great – you’re surrounded by people in a similar situation.” Team BRIT gives the men the challenge, adrenaline rush and competition they miss from their military careers – and a fantastic goal to work towards. At present, they’re competing in the Fun Cup, and hope to move into the GT4 next year, followed by GT3 – bringing them one step closer to Le Mans. “Motorsport is a really level playing field,” Dave adds. “They’re just another driver on the track. They get treated equally – it normalises disability.”
FIND OUT MORE
Keep up to date with the latest from Team BRIT at www.teambrit.co.uk
HOME? Going from a career where accommodation, bills and food are all provided to fending for yourself can take a bit of adjusting – so what’s out there to help injured veterans find a suitable place to stay? We’ve been finding out
ost people follow a similar path in life. After school, they’ll often go onto further or higher education, get started in a career, cobble enough cash together, then they’ll try get a place of their own. Independence is all about finding somewhere to stay, fending for yourself and dealing with all the bills that pop through your door on a monthly basis. In the military, however, it’s a different story. Many flee the nest and soar straight into a career which comes with the bonus of somewhere to stay, someone else paying your bills and even food being provided. It’s a whole different type of independence. Which means that leaving the Armed Forces can be a daunting prospect – there are lots of ‘life skills’ that the men and women of the Forces haven’t had to handle before. And housing can be one of the most challenging aspects of all. “Being ill-equipped and having high expectations is one of the biggest issues we see in serving personnel leaving the military,” says Joannah Mitchell, welfare team leader at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. “Many veterans assume that council housing will be provided to them when they leave the military and are unaware of the shortage of social housing in the areas that they wish to relocate to. This lack of affordable and social housing is UK-wide and veterans will find that they’ll be waiting for a very long time for a council property to become available.”
Fortunately, support is available, and people leaving the Services have lots of different options when it comes to housing – even accessible housing for those who have been medically discharged and have specific needs. Your first point of call when going through the transition process should be the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO), the MOD’s housing service for service personnel and their dependents. They can help those who are serving and looking to move to civilian housing, as well as those transitioning during the resettlement process. Housing tends to come in a few different forms. There’s social or council housing, where rent is affordable and often covered by housing benefit – and there are even housing associations specifically for ex-Forces personnel like Haig Homes. Alternatively, you can rent privately, which tends to more expensive, but does give you more choice in terms of where you stay and what type of property you live in. And then there’s the option of buying. “When servicemen and women leave the military, they are given a full brief on transition onto Civvy Street,” says Joannah. “This includes debt management, rent, mortgages and bills, and includes information on what properties are available, including private renting, council housing and the Forces Help to Buy scheme.” The Forces Help to Buy scheme was
Being ill-equipped and having high expectations is one of the biggest problems in serving personnel leaving the military
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
initially set to run for three years following its launch in April 2014, but has proven so popular that it’s been extended to 2018. The scheme lets you borrow up to 50% of your salary and any recruitment and retention pay, up to the value of £25,000, to be repaid over 10 years – so it can be a huge help in terms of getting a deposit together. You just need to factor in monthly repayments to your budget. Most mainstream mortgage providers accept Forces Help to Buy, but always check before signing up to anything. CHARITABLE SUPPORT A number of charities supporting exForces personnel are able to provide help on housing too. Single people may be eligible for help from the Single Persons Accommodation Centre for Ex Services (SPACES), who help with finding housing throughout the UK, be it temporary or permanent, within six months of leaving the Forces. For those who left more than six months ago, they
can provide information and advice. SSAFA have support services available too, ranging from advice to the more practical. “SSAFA provides impartial housing advice to veterans and their dependents that have left the Armed Forces,” Joannah explains. “Our housing advisors can offer guidance on homelessness, housing benefits, accessing social housing, tenants’ rights, mortgage arrears, repossession and eviction. Although we are unable to offer legal advice, SSAFA looks into each individual’s situation and explains the options available to them. SSAFA can then signpost them to other organisations that might be able to help.” MAKING CHANGES Finding a home can be even more challenging if you’re leaving the Services with a disability or injury, as there’s a huge shortage of accessible homes in the UK. If you’re looking for council or social housing, in some regions, as
many as 70% of accessible properties are being let to people without access needs, while charity Liveability’s Freedom to Live report from 2008 showed that just 15% of disabled people had a secure long-term tenancy or owned their own home. That’s a lot of people living in accommodation that doesn’t meet their needs. That’s not to say, however, that it’s impossible to find an accessible property. You can search for properties which are already accessible, both to buy and to let, through the Accessible Property Register. If you find a property, but need adaptations made to your home, you’ve got options there too. People living in social housing have the right to ask their landlord to make adaptations to the property – and, legally, they are required to follow through. In private lets, you can request adaptations, but your landlord isn’t legally obligated to make them. If you’re a homeowner, you can apply for funding through your local authority for a Disabled Facilities Grant to make adaptations such as installing a wet room, a stair lift or handrails. If you’re rejected for a grant, a number of charities offer support – the Royal British Legion, for example, have grants and support to help veterans make their home meet their needs. If you’re concerned about your housing options after leaving the Forces, get in touch with your local authority and any charities for service personnel in your area to see what sort of support is on offer. You don’t have to settle for unaffordable, inaccessible accommodation – help is out there to make sure you get the right home for you and your family. i
FIND OUT MORE
The Royal British Legion
Accessible Property Register
Disabled Facilities Grants
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
FINANCES GET CLUED UP First of all, it’s sensible to get familiar with the different support services out there, and to assess your current financial situation. The MoneyForce website is a really useful resource, aimed specifically at serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans. “We have a whole range of tools and information,” explains David Rowley, national lead on the project at the Royal British Legion, one of the organisations behind MoneyForce. “When they do leave the Forces, they’ll be aware of who they can engage with, how to access things like Learning Credits, finding a home or a cheap area to live, mortgage costs – that’s all available for them on the site.”
When you’re leaving behind a career you know so well with a newly-acquired disability, all of a sudden, finance becomes a whole new level of worry. There is, however, help out there, to make sure you’re on top of things financially and avoid spiralling into debt
from their pay and put into a savings account,” David explains. “That’s a really good way to get people into the habit of saving.” They also offer affordable loans, so if you do get into difficulty with your cash flow, know you don’t have to turn to payday loan companies and end up in even more trouble.
OTHER BENEFITS “All of what we call the ‘Civvy Street benefits’ are open to ex-Forces personnel if you meet the eligibility criteria,” David explains. “The most common one is Personal Independence Payment, or if you’re caring for someone, you could get Carer’s Allowance.” You might also be able to apply for Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance to boost your income.
GRANTS You may be entitled to support in the form of a grant too. These are generally provided for a purpose, such as adapting your home or to pay for specialist equipment, and are provided by a number of organisations, including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. You can search for charities offering grants on the Turn2Us site, www.turn2us.org.uk.
MoneyForce www.moneyforce.org.uk Joining Forces www.joiningforcescu.co.uk
If you’re leaving the Forces due to illness or injury, you might be eligible for financial support in the form of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme if your injury or illness was caused by your service on or after 6 April 2005, or the War Pension Scheme, if it was before this date. David explains: “The two schemes will give either a grant or a lump-sum payment, or depending on the scheme or the level of impairment, you might receive a continuous payment as well.” There’s also the Armed Forces Independence Payment, which is designed to cover the additional costs of having a disability.
EASY SAVING AND AFFORDABLE BORROWING The recently-launched Joining Forces Credit Union is made up of three leading credit unions with backing from the Ministry of Defence. “They’ve set up a savings account which enables either those who are currently serving or veterans to have money directly taken
For some, leaving the Armed Forces comes with one burden that’s hard to shake – posttraumatic stress disorder. We find out more about the condition, and what can be done to tackle it
n the Armed Forces, you’re exposed to things which the vast majority of the civilian population couldn’t even begin to imagine. Horrific injuries, death, destruction. The realities of war are unfathomable. And they can have a lasting impact on some men and women serving our country. “Essentially, post-traumatic stress is a disorder where people can’t lay down frightening memories,” explains Dr Walter Busuttil, medical director with Combat Stress, the veterans’ mental health charity. “When someone’s experienced something horrendous, the mind suspends operations. The rule is that everything that happens to us has to be filed in a memory, so later on, bits of information – it could be visual or sounds or smells – pop up in intrusive memories and nightmares and flashbacks.” REAL ISSUE While it is a serious issue, PTSD affects a minority of service personnel, and is roughly as prevalent as it is with the general population. It’s estimated that one in 25 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will develop PTSD. However, the real issue in the Forces isn’t so much PTSD itself, but rather reaching out and getting help.
MENTAL SCARSof WAR 046-047_EN_MJ17_Soldiers_PTSD.indd 46
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
“I’m a typical bloke in that respect,” admits Rick Dolan, who served for 11 years in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps after joining at the age of 16. “It’s the whole mental health issue. People don’t want to talk about it. I’m quite open about it now, but before, there was nothing wrong with me. It’s only now that I look back that I realise that there was, and it was quite severe at times.” Dr Busuttil agrees. “The problem we have in the military – and I served in the Air Force for 16 years – is that we have a culture where people are training to fend for themselves, to deal with problems and to sort things out,” he says. “And really there’s a culture, if you go off sick, people will laugh at you.” LIKELIHOOD PTSD can affect anyone of any rank within the Forces, whether they’ve seen combat or not – although the likelihood of developing it does increase if you’ve served in a war zone. Rick, who’s 51 and lives in Welwyn Garden City, struggled with symptoms for 15 years before reaching out. “I’d get quite frequent sweating, night terrors,” explains the dad of two, who undertook tours of Germany and the Gulf during his 11 years of service. “I couldn’t put it down to anything. Always the same nightmares. It was just one of those things
that you learned to live with. I used to fly off the handle – for no reason at all. I look back and think, ‘Why get into such a state over such a simple issue?’” It wasn’t until his wife of almost 30 years issued an ultimatum – get help or their marriage was over – that Rick went to his GP, who referred him on to their local mental health services, who in turn referred him to Combat Stress. “The evidence is that the majority of GPs don’t really get what PTSD is,” Dr Busuttil points out. “Many GPs don’t have any experience of dealing with military veterans.
swings are common too. It can be hugely debilitating, affecting relationships, your working life, even your ability to hold down a job. “As part of the avoidance, what people tend to do is isolate themselves,” Dr Busuttil adds. “The more they isolate themselves, the more likely it is that they’ll develop depression. That’s common in presenting with PTSD. Some people use alcohol to avoid things – it’s part of our culture. Others use cannabis. Others, because of the emotional numbness, use nicotine or caffeine, chocolate. Some might use amphetamines, cocaine or ecstasy.”
I’m quite open about it now, but before, there was nothing wrong with me. It’s only now that I look back that I realise that there was, and it was quite severe at times
TREATMENT The good news is that PTSD is treatable, through trauma-focused psychotherapy where sufferers can talk about their experiences and address how it makes them feel. The longer individuals go without support, more intensive therapy is required – but veterans can go on to live normal, fulfilling lives, something which Combat Stress work hard to ensure. As well as raising awareness of mental health issues amongst veterans, they provide a range of support services to help individuals address their problems and recover. Rick went to the charity’s treatment centre in Surrey for two weeks last July, and returned for a six-week residential PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme in the August. The difference it’s made to his life, he says, has been immeasurable. “The help and support that they’ve given me has been phenomenal. Would I even be here if it wasn’t for the help they’ve given me?” he reflects. “My son came down to visit during the six-week stay. We were sitting with a psychiatrist, and he said, ‘What have you done to my dad? This one’s much better.’ That really hit home how much I’d been hiding all that time.” So what’s his advice for anyone struggling mentally after time in the Armed Forces? “Go and get help,” he says straight away. “Even go see your GP, who can refer you through the system. It can take time. It is frustrating. It can be very upsetting, it’s very emotional – but once you’re out the other side? It’s a much nicer place.”
That’s part of the problem. For people who are still in the military, there are very good GP services on offer, and secondary care, psychiatric or mental health services, who will deal with your PTSD. As long as you admit that there’s a problem, there’s help. That’s positive.” RECOGNITION
Recognising there’s an issue there is also a big hurdle for many veterans. Dr Busuttil explains that symptoms can largely be split into three cluster groups – re-experiencing (including nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive memories), hyper-arousal and emotional numbness (which can result in anxiety), and avoidance. “The more you avoid, the less likely you are to be able to address what’s happened,” he says. “The more likely it is that you’ll get a lot of reexperiencing symptoms if you avoid what happened. So the whole thing feeds itself.” There are also more subtle symptoms which could be a hint that there’s more distress to come. Survivor’s guilt can trigger PTSD, depression can often go hand-in-hand with the disorder, and mood
Combat Stress www.combatstress.org.uk Helpline (open 24 hours): 0800 138 1619
LIFE AFTER THE FORCES
OBSTACLES When paratrooper Phillip Horne suffered a devastating stroke, he thought he’d lost the ability to communicate forever. But learning sign language gave him back his independence – and the confidence to embark on a brand new adventure. We find out more about the support that got him there
aking on a challenge is nothing new for former paratrooper Phillip Horne. As a physical training instructor in the Army Air Corp, Phillip was at the peak of fitness, travelling the world, working closely with troops and coaching them to endure the most gruelling of physical tasks. But his life changed in an instant when he suffered a debilitating seizure while training to compete in a charity boxing match. Doctors found that the seizure was caused by an undiagnosed blood clot and credited Phillip’s healthy lifestyle for saving his life that day.
CHALLENGES But the experience still left him paraplegic, with brain damage that all but destroyed his ability to talk. For a former serviceman, adapting to a life of disability was a huge undertaking for Phillip – for many men and women in the same situation, even admitting that you need help is a big step. He soon discovered, however, that the right support was going to change his life. Today, he lives in a Sanctuary Supported Living scheme in Aylesbury, receiving 24-hour care and support from the fullytrained staff. Supported living comes in many different forms nowadays, with as much or as little care as is required on offer at services nationwide. It’s no longer reserved for people with minimal care needs – schemes operate where 24-hour support is on offer, but tenants are given as much independence as possible too. In the Aylesbury scheme, staff assist Phillip through his day, helping him to wash, dress and eat. They’ve also helped him to overcome his biggest challenge yet – learning to sign.
When he first moved in, Phillip was only able to communicate by saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Now, since learning sign language with the help of SSL care staff, Phillip can express his feelings, wants and needs through a new language. ADJUSTMENT “Phillip was very active before the stroke,” says Wendy Porter, Sanctuary Supported Living’s local service manager. “So he has had a harder time adjusting to his disability than some. “He has found it difficult not really being able to talk, which is why we’ve taught him sign language. Learning sign language has given him a lot more independence and much greater control over communicating.” Since being taught to sign, staff say the change in Phillip has been ‘spectacular’ and they are now hoping to help him complete his next big challenge – but this one might be slightly more adventurous than signing! Bungee jumping has long been on his bucket list, so the staff – along with Phillip’s former squad – are currently arranging for Phillip to take part in a daring jump. A leap of faith? Somehow, we have a feeling Phillip will ace it. i
Find out more about Sanctuary Supported Living at www.sanctuary-supported-living.co.uk
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NAEC Stoneleigh, Warwickshire www.mobilityroadshow.co.uk 01332 810 007 This free event is a must-visit for anyone wanting to learn more about accessible vehicles. The three-day exhibition is one of the largest in Europe, giving you the opportunity to try out the best in the market; from adapted driving controls and products to wheelchairs and cars. Plus, you can find out more about the organisations that exist to help with your mobility needs. Experts and charities will all be on hand to dish out advice and offer information. Racing driver Nicolas Hamilton will be opening the event too – don’t miss out!
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KIDZ TO ADULT Z SOUTH Rivermead Le isur
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e Complex, R eading www.kidzexh ibitions.co.uk 0161 607 8200 This free event is dedicated to children and young adults w ith disabilities and the parent carers and prof s, essionals who support them. day plays host The to over 120 exhi bitors, all there to offer advice, information an d products that are designed to make life that bi t easier. Expect to find details on ever ything from funding, along mobility to with free semin ars for parents professionals. and Register for fre e visitor tickets now. 7-8 JUNE
DATES THROUGHOUT JUNE
Excel, London www.copashow.co.uk The COPA Series is Europe’s leading event for rehabilitation professionals, delving into sectors including physio, prosthetics and orthotics and podiatry. If you work in the sector, this is an absolute mustattend, with lots of interesting exhibitors, fascinating talks, live demos, and plenty of opportunities to learn from the experts and boost your practice.
THE AUTISM SHOW
If you have any events coming up in in July or August, email us at
email@example.com with the details for inclusion in next issue’s diary.
London, Birmingham and Manchester www.autismshow.co.uk 020 8882 0629 The Autism Show is back at London’s Excel (16-17 June), Birmingham’s NEC (23-24 June) and Manchester’s EventCity (30 June-1 July). The national events round up the best advice from the UK’s leading autism professionals, and you can choose from over 90 hours of talks and clinics. Not only will you get expert tips, the day also gives you the opportunity to meet with other parents, teachers and practitioners and become familiar with the latest products on the market.
Dementia Friendly Experiences and memories make us who we are; when they are taken from us, it can challenge our sense of identity. Dementia is one of the most common conditions in the UK, and now theatres are bringing positivity back to those living with the condition through their creativity. Lorne Gillies found out how theatres are helping people with dementia reclaim their identity
CREATIVE RELIEF Leading the way in dementia friendly shows, the Playhouse have been working with people living with dementia since 2010 – with their first dementia friendly performance of White Christmas hitting the
stage in 2014. Community development manager Nicky Taylor found it striking, seeing how a live theatre show resonated with those living with dementia. Success from smaller groups highlighted a need for more people to get involved with theatre. “I thought, if this is working for the small groups of people we work with regularly, there is clearly a need for people who have lost confidence or don’t feel able to attend anymore,” Nicky explains. “We started talking to people with dementia about what would be easier for them.” Prior to adapting mainstream shows, the team at the Playhouse have conversations and consultations with groups of people with dementia to discover how best to alter the shows. Of their pilot performance of White Christmas, Nicky says: “It was a musical, so we used a lot of the songs to engage people. Also, it’s a very human story about friendship and support and how things change as you age.” It was a powerful story to adapt as their first dementia friendly performance. Through engaging storylines, people with dementia can continue to be creative and appreciate activities as they once did. “People with dementia benefit physically and mentally from participating in the arts,” says Emma Bould, partnerships project manager at Alzheimer’s
Society. “Arts activities are overwhelmingly described by people living with dementia, their families and their carers as pleasurable, as engaging and stimulating and positively challenging for them.” ADAPTATIONS Altering shows to be more dementia friendly can be complex, and involves a lot of problem solving – this goes hand in hand with the feedback given from consultations. Visitors in the past expressed that, due to the loudness of a show, it affected their perception of the performance, making the enhancement of a person’s experience paramount. Nicky continues: “Some people with dementia might have difficulty processing sounds, particularly competing sounds, so if there is a very vibrant sound design on a show we might look at stripping that back, still telling the story in the same way, but making it a more comfortable experience.” The team also work hard to ensure the shows being adapted are appropriate. Schedules are set 12 months ahead and have been vetted by those with dementia who attend regular meetings with the theatre – although adapting shows is time consuming. “People with dementia don’t just want to see things they’ve seen before,” Nicky says. “They still want to have new adventures.” And this led to the theatre’s production of Anniversary. A contemporary piece of dance performance, made entirely by older
PICS: © ANTHONY ROBLING
n this fast-paced world, we can all be slightly forgetful at times. But when this begins to affect your day-to-day life it can be terrifying – and this is the reality for the 850,000 people in the UK who have some form of dementia. Theatres across the UK are now stripping dementia of its negative connotations with dementia friendly theatre productions. West Yorkshire Playhouse is gearing up to host their first Festival of Theatre and Dementia later this year, telling the story of dementia from those with first hand experience.
performers, Anniversary was a huge success due to the pace of the show. Made up of short scenes and clear storytelling, strong visual moments and being musically engaging, it was an extremely successful show that could be enjoyed by those with dementia and their peers. FESTIVAL West Yorkshire Playhouse are true pioneers of dementia friendly performances and have advised other theatres across the UK to do the same, including Curve in Leicester, The Millennium Forum in Derry, Nottingham Playhouse and more. Encouraging awareness of dementia friendly arts programmes will allow more centres to get involved in showcasing similar shows. “We encourage all cinemas, theatres and arts venues to work with their local dementia friendly community to either hold dementia friendly performances or screenings, or do outreach to see what they can do to bring the arts into care homes and independent living facilities,” Emma from Alzheimer’s Society explains. “Knowing that places are aware of what dementia is and how they can support people can really help those affected become less isolated and more engaged.” As well as spreading information on such performances, the Playhouse has been awarded a grant to host the inaugural Festival of Theatre and Dementia later this year. Focusing on storytelling, the festival will share stories from people with
If we can get more stories out there that show what people are still capable of, that life doesn’t end at the point of diagnosis, we’d really like to help tell that story dementia themselves, above the experience of carers and professionals. Although still as vital, Nicky explains: “We can tell stories that draw in lots of different experiences, like what it’s like to have dementia if you’re a younger person, or coming from a particular ethnic community – dementia is so multifaceted, and we wanted to explore that in the festival.” The Festival of Theatre and Dementia will shine the spotlight on the positives of living with dementia. A dementia diagnosis can regularly be met with despair and misery, but through the productions, the potential for a new way of life will be explored. “There are people who come to our groups who say, ‘My life is better now since having dementia because I’m approaching life differently, I’m getting out there, meeting people.’ That’s really powerful to hear that,” Nicky says. “If we can get more stories
out there that show what people are still capable of, that life doesn’t end at the point of diagnosis, we’d really like to help tell that story.” Creativity is paving the way for those living with dementia to diminish negative aspects of their diagnosis and continue enjoying activities they did before. As more theatres follow suit, it won’t be long until everyone can enjoy a dementia friendly performance. i
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on West Yorkshire Playhouse and their dementia friendly productions, head to www.wyp.org.uk Alzheimer’s Society can provide information on living with dementia through their website, www.alzheimers.org.uk
VOLUNTEERING MATTERS Volunteering is a fantastic way of giving back and helping others in your local community, but people with physical or learning disabilities can sometimes find it difficult finding volunteer work that suits their needs. Doug, who has mental health problems, had been in this situation, but he is now in employment and enjoying life – all thanks to volunteering How did you get involved with Volunteering Matters? I was time banking in the afternoon, on Tuesdays – they have a lunch club, and when I was there someone from Volunteering Matters came in. Liz ended up keeping in touch with me and when something suitable came up, she got me involved. I was on mental health medication at that point, and I was starting to feel better. I started thinking about volunteering – at the time, I was doing tai chi with Mind and started their nutrition course, which was great, so it all just came at the right time. You’re volunteering with The Loop – tell us about what you do there. The Loop works on upcycling and reusing furniture. I have some skills in working with furniture and I enjoy the idea of upcycling and reuse. I’ve been volunteering for a year now. I would go along to The Loop for most of the week and then they gave me a job. It’s part-time, and the rest of the week I volunteer with them.
What would be your advice for people looking to start volunteering but who are unsure of what to expect? Do it for yourself and only when you can, not before. Part of the recovery process through volunteering is to get out and meet people, learn skills – I have been able to hone in on my furniture skills. There is no pressure in volunteering. Paid work, you have to be on time, reach targets. But with this, if I’m late for whatever reason it’s cool; if I’m not well, they’re empathetic. Just go for it. Everywhere you volunteer, they will be empathetic; they will understand your situation, so there is no pressure. Volunteering Matters have so many different sectors; even if you’re an accountant you will find something, as people are grateful to have you there, whatever your skills. Initially, look after yourself. I couldn’t go on the bus so I bought a Nintendo and I would sit in the corner and go into my own world until I was ready to go out – there are little things you can do for yourself. I’m slowly getting better and I love it.
Everywhere you volunteer, they will be empathetic; they will understand your situation i
Have a disability and looking to get into volunteering? With 180 programmes across the UK, check out how Volunteering Matters can help you at www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk.
Do you have speech or movement problems? Would your life be improved by the provision of a communication aid to help you lead a more independent life? Then perhaps The Sequal Trust can help We operate throughout the UK, fundraising to provide speech aids for disabled people of all ages. Sequal aims to provide speech aids to those people who cannot afford to purchase such very vital equipment, to allow them to lead more independent lives and especially when statutory bodies are unable to help.
3 Ploughmanâ€™s Corner, Wharf Road, Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 0EJ Tel: 01691 624222
GIVE A CHILD A CHANCE From 8-21 May, it’s Foster Care Fortnight, two weeks dedicated to celebrating the nation’s foster carers, and encouraging potential carers to come forward and join their prestigious ranks. Here, one woman shares her family’s experience with fostering
n the UK, almost 64,000 children are living with 55,000 foster families. These are everyday men and women who open up their homes to give kids, often from complicated backgrounds, a chance at a stable, loving upbringing. Around 30,000 children come into the care system each year, with approximately the same number leaving to return home, to move in with another family, to live with adoptive families or to move onto adult life.
“We’ve tried a number of things over the years – Guides, Brownies, swimming club,” Doreen explains. “She did really well at swimming; she won medals and competitions. A couple of years ago, she joined the inclusive skating club, which meets on a Sunday night near our home. They got access to two coaches who came along and showed the more able bodied young people some figure skating moves. We discovered that she had a knack for it.” Louise has done so well that she’s represented Britain at an international level in figure skating, even picking up a gold medal at a major competition in Europe earlier this year.
“Foster carers need to look out for these things, activities to try out – just like you would with your own children,” Doreen says. “You find things that they’re interested in, places for them to go. She’s met so many friends now. Socialising was a huge issue for her until we went to this club. Now, she’s got a great circle of friends. Skating is her life. We spend quite a lot of time at the ice rink – but we’ve made friends through that too. It’s becoming a social thing for us all.” INSPIRED Doreen, who is a trained nursery nurse and worked as a child minder for years,
* NAME CHANGED
REWARDING When it comes to foster care placements, children and young people with disabilities or additional needs are often hardest to place – but fostering a child with special needs can be hugely rewarding, as Doreen from Cumbernauld near Glasgow discovered. Doreen, along with her husband, has been a foster carer for 10 years. They’ve offered short-term and respite support for children with a variety of needs, but they’ve also been supporting 16-year-old Louise* for nine years now. Louise has global developmental delay and learning disabilities. She has difficulty developing relationships, but with the support of Doreen and her husband, she’s come on leaps and bounds.
SUPPORT Through Care Visions, Doreen and her husband get access to lots of support. All carers are given specialist training prior to having a child placed with them, and further training opportunities are available as they go along – so if there are any particular issues they feel they need better informed on, Care Visions can help. “We have a supervising social worker who meets with us monthly,” Doreen says. “She’s always available if we need support. We also have an on-call service, which means if we need help at any time, 24 hours, there’s someone at the end of the phone. They provide allround support, whatever your needs are, whether that’s training or just a chat.” While the fostering experience hasn’t been without its challenges, it has, over all, been a really positive thing for Doreen and her wider family – Louise is just one of them now, and has even been on family holidays to Australia and America. “The way it’s worked out with Louise has been great,” Doreen says. “With the skating; she was picked as the gala princess at school – she’s thriving. That’s all down to persevering and working together. It’s about being supportive, providing a stable and loving family home. If you’ve got the room, welcome them in as a family member and treat them like that. If it wasn’t for Louise, we’d be sitting watching TV every night. It keeps you young-minded and fills a gap that we weren’t ready to give up on.”
Becoming a foster carer got into fostering after her sons had grown up and left the family home. Her sister fostered a child, and Doreen found herself helping out. Inspired by her experience, she realised that she too could offer something to a child in need. She and her husband attended an information evening on fostering in their area, and got in touch with agency Care Visions to find out more about getting involved. “We filled in an application form, and after that, you go to preparation groups,” Doreen explains. “Over a period of time, someone comes to assess you, assess your home and your family. It’s quite an
in-depth assessment. It’s not something that you can take lightly, or that they can take lightly.” From application to approval, the process took about 10 months – but, as Doreen points out, it’s something which needs to be done thoroughly, to ensure it’s the right thing both for the potential carers and children who need looked after. “It gives you time to reflect too,” she adds. “You are opening up your home to someone that you don’t know anything about. You’ve go to be prepared to do that. It does affect your whole family, and your whole family life.”
If you’re over 25 and have a spare room, a big heart and a sense of humour, you have the potential to become a foster carer. You’ll get paid, receive full support – and get to make a hu e d erence n a ch ld s l e at the same time. To find out more about becom n a foster carer, contact Care Visions Fostering (Scotland only) via their website, www.carevisionsfostering. org, or email fostering.enquiries@ carevisions.co.uk. You can also check out the Fostering Network for agencies in your area – www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk.
Accessible Vehicles A division of
Lateral Design Ltd
Get Motoring! A host of fun, informative events for disabled drivers will be taking place in the months ahead. We found out about what’s on offer
Motability’s One Big Day The Motability Scheme has been helping people with disabilities get behind the wheel for decades with their affordable car leasing scheme – and their One Big Day events throughout the year are a great way for individuals to find out more about how it works and what’s on offer. With the two-day Big Event in Manchester on 5 and 6 May, there’s lots lined up across the country for the remainder of the summer – Exeter on 15 July, Harrogate on 12 August, Peterborough on
9 September and Edinburgh, the event’s first Scottish venture, on 23 September. At the One Big Day events, you get to meet with Motability experts, find out about dealers in your local area, test drive a range of cars from different manufacturers, and even look into adaptations, wheelchairs, scooters and wheelchair accessible vehicles. You can find out more about the Motability events at www.motability. co.uk/whats-on/one-big-day.
The Mobility Roadshow Since its launch in 1998, the Mobility Roadshow has been focused on helping people with disabilities access the best advice and information on mobility services. This year’s show is taking place at NAEC Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, running from 1-3 June – and it’s completely free, with no tickets necessary. The show is fully accessible and there’s a mobility loan service too, with wheelchairs and scooters available to borrow in exchange for a deposit. Over the long weekend, you can test drive and compare the latest accessible vehicles, try out hand controls, experiment with hoists, investigate different
wheelchairs and scooters, and much more. Beyond the mobility equipment and getting to speak with the experts, you can check out different sports and activities, listen to fascinating talks and head along to Get Going Live!, the exhibition within the Roadshow, dedicated to young and newly disabled people hoping to find out more about their motoring options. Best of all? This year, racing driver Nicolas Hamilton will be opening the show – that alone is worth checking out! Find out more about the show and what’s on offer at www. mobilityroadshow.co.uk.
Dealer Events Across the country, car dealerships specialising in Motability vehicles host special events for disabled drivers and carers to help them get a bit more clued up on the Scheme, what it entails and how to get involved – and there’s the chance to check out some of the models available too! From Dunfermline to the Isle of Wight, car dealers far and wide are opening their doors to help current and potential Scheme customers get a better idea of what’s available to them. Pop into your nearest Motability dealership to see if they have anything coming up, or head to the Motability website at www.motability.co.uk to search for events.
A mid-life refresh keeps the SEAT Leon well and truly in the hunt as one of the best mid-size hatches you can choose, with improved safety and connectivity to make it even easier to live with. Alisdair Suttie put the reboot through its paces
Anyone who has sat in the Ateca SUV will instantly recognise where the inspiration has come from for the update of the Leon’s dash. Most models have a clear central infotainment screen that’s one of the easiest to reach and use in this class of car. All but the base model have an 8.0-inch monitor. The rest of the dials are easy to read and the SEAT has an excellent driving position. The only blots here are a lack of lumbar adjustment as standard on the entrypoint S model, and the rear screen pillars’
thickness can make it tricky to judge other traffic when changing lanes. Otherwise, there’s loads of space in the Leon – it’s built to a very high standard and the boot is one of the largest in the sector at 380 litres. It’s big enough to store a folded wheelchair or walking frame, and there’s the option of folding the 60-40 split and tip rear seats for more cargo capacity. Only the high load sill might present a problem when lifting in heavier items, but the load floor has two height settings, so it can be made deeper for those DIY store visits.
The engine range has been revised to improve emissions and you’re not short on choice. The 1.2-litre petrol is the entry-point but we reckon the punchier 1.0-litre is more fun and it’s easier on fuel thanks to 64.2mpg. The 1.4-litre turbo petrols are great if you drive long distance regularly, while the 1.8-litre has a sporty edge. The 2.0-litre in the Cupra now boasts 300bhp, but you do pay a penalty at the pumps. The 115bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel is another good bet for those looking to keep running costs down, while the 2.0-litre diesel is swift and smooth. Ride and handling of all Leons is up with the best in the sector.
The 1.4-litre turbo petrols are great if you drive long distance regularly Find your ideal car Rica, a consumer research charity working with older and disabled people, has a unique online car search with key measurements and fact sheets. Check it out online at www.rica.org.uk/content/ car-search.
Equipment All models have air conditioning, touchscreen infotainment and DAB digital radio as standard. Move from S to SE Technology and you gain cruise control, height adjustment for both front seats and driver’s lumbar support. You also get the larger 8.0inch touchscreen. The SE Dynamic Technology has bigger alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and privacy glass. For a sportier take, the FR Technology has sports seats, LED headlights, climate control and automatic lights and wipers. The more luxurious Xcellence Technology has
chrome trim details and keyless entry. For hot hatch fans, the Cupra models have suede leather upholstery and adaptive shock absorbers to tailor the drive to your mood. There’s also a choice of new safety kit that includes Traffic Jam Assist so the car takes the strain out of stop-start driving. Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control also keep you out of harm’s way, while Blind Spot Detection warns of cars you might not be able to see. Lastly, a new Connectivity Box allows wireless charging for smartphones.
The SEAT Leon remains a splendid all-rounder with crisp looks, classy cabin and a great drive. Added tech makes it safer and even easier to live with. Definitely one of the best in its class.
Motability Customers The Seat Leon is available on the Motability Scheme, from zero Advance Payment, plus your total weekly allowance. For more information, head to www.motability.co.uk or call 0300 456 4566.
Safe and Reliable Accessible Transport Solutions Whether it is Wheelchair Lifts, Ramps, Wheelchair Tie-downs or Occupant Seatbelts; we offer quality products and on-time delivery worldwide. Call 01935 827740
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n active father of two, Gareth Jones suffered an ankle inversion injury during a Special Forces exercise. He tore ankle ligaments and sustained multiple fractures, meaning he was unable to walk or stand for long periods without agonising pain. Gareth underwent multiple operations to regain use of his ankle and to ease the pain, without success. He was devastated when doctors said he would never run again. Like others in similar circumstances, Gareth was considering an elective amputation, when he heard from a friend that a new bespoke brace was being offered at Headley Court rehabilitation centre to military personnel with similar injuries. ADVANCED Blatchford Clinic has developed an advanced customised carbon fibre leg brace that has allowed fitness fanatic Gareth to run again. He was fitted with his Momentum brace in August 2014, and he’s been amazed with the progress he’s made. “Momentum has been life-changing for me,” he says. “I have always been very active so being practically immobile and in agonising pain for eight years has been extremely frustrating. Now, I am more active with my children, I can walk all day and even run for three miles. We’re moving to Canada and I can’t wait to start hiking, jogging and skiing once again. “Nicole from Blatchford has been continually excellent and so supportive throughout the whole process; I can’t praise her enough – she’s given me my life back!” TECH SPECS The Momentum Brace works by off-loading the injured foot / ankle area resulting in a reduction of pain and improved stability. Carbon fibre struts, similar to prosthetic running blades, store and return energy to propel the user forward, allowing them to walk faster or run. It is suitable for treating a range of ankle injuries, including ankle fusion, fractures, complex soft tissue injuries, nerve damage and partial foot amputations. “We’ve fitted this brace to over 30 military personnel with severe foot and ankle injuries at Headley Court with good success,” says Nicole Bennett, lead orthotist for Blatchford, who is based at DMRC Headley Court. “Gareth is the first person outside Headley Court to wear this device; without it, he couldn’t contemplate doing any of the activities he’s now enjoying.”
ORTHOTICS Prosthetics and orthotics have come on leaps and bounds in recent years – and the specialists at Blatchford Clinic are really pushing the limits in terms of what’s possible, as patient Gareth Jones found out
Providing clinical services to the NHS and military in the UK, and to private patients both in the UK and internationally, Blatchford is a world lead n rehab l tat on ro der th cl n cal e ert se n rosthet cs, orthot cs, s ec al seat n and heelcha rs To find out more, head to www.blatchford.co.uk, email email@example.com or call 0114 254 3706.
anks across the UK have been updating their services to ensure disabled access is at a higher standard. With better online options available, all the way to banks making their layouts more user-friendly, the essential task of controlling your finances is becoming much easier for everyone. Several leading banks on the high street now operate an open plan system for wheelchair users to move freely, with more chairs available within the space for those who need to sit down frequently because of their disability. In a bid to ensure their services directly help those who need more assistance, Barclays has worked with disabled customers to ensure their experience within their branches is as smooth as possible. You can find out more about accessibility features throughout all of Barclays’ services at www.barclays.co.uk/Accessibility. PARTNERSHIPS Many banks are now working in partnership with disability charities in order to guarantee the best possible service is available for people with specific impairments. The Bank of England and NatWest, for instance, have introduced new features in their banking with the help of RNIB. Last year, the new polymer £5 note was put into circulation and later in 2017, new £10 and £20 notes will also be introduced with specific attributes to help those with visual impairments. The new notes will continue to operate in tiered sizing, making notes distinguishable. The larger notes will have tactile features, like a series of raised dots to make them stand out from current cash. NatWest, with RNIB, have launched an accessible banking app where users can view their balance, transfer money or make payments from their iPhone or Android, all designed with access in mind. Withdrawing cash is getting more accessible too, with ‘talking’ machines cropping up on the high street, and NatWest even have Braille bank cards. CONTACTLESS With contactless payments all the rage, Barclays have introduced bPay. The series of gadgets will make buying something fun, fast and secure. A variety of device options are available for bPay, like key chains, fobs or an add-on for your watch. Each device has a one-off payment, with
Looking after and taking control of your money can seem like a mammoth task at times, but what are banks doing to help those with a disability look after their finances? Read on to discover the accessible services available prices starting from £15 (www.bpay.co.uk), and can be used to pay for items, costing £30 or under – a great option if you have difficulty with chip and pin machines or remembering your pin. There’s even banking help if you live in a remote or rural area and have difficulty getting to a branch. NatWest and RBS have mobile branches which come closer to your home, making it more accessible. Thanks to advancements in banking, support for those with a disability is more readily available – so managing your money doesn’t have to be inaccessible. Speak with your bank to find out what accessible features and services they have available now.
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PRO M VE A 2 B
W I T H
D I G N I T Y
Product Whether you’re in the market for a handy independent living aid or an advanced new mobility product, we’ve rounded up the best on the marketplace
Mountain Trike, POA (www.mountaintrike.com, 01270 842 616) The Mountain Trike Company’s range of wheelchairs provide users with far greater freedom and independence than ever before to travel off the beaten track. The unique lever drive system allows the riders to propel themselves, leaving them with clean, dry hands. Air suspension and hydraulic disc brakes ensure a comfortable, safe ride.
Autumn UK, POA (www.autumnuk.co.uk) Autumn UK’s freestanding bubble wall offers an engaging, multi-sensory experience. Air passing through water on a changing coloured background has a really stimulating effect. The wall engages the auditory and visual senses, creating a soothing atmosphere. A brilliant addition for sensory rooms.
Blue Badge Company, £3.50-£10 (www.bluebadgecompany.co.uk) Famed for their colourful Blue Badge holders, the Blue Badge Company are expanding their range, with lots of exciting new products out now – including these great pill boxes, complete with attractive prints and patterns which slip over the boxes to make them look that bit more stylish.
Clearwell Mobility, from £2.49 exc VAT (www.clearwellmobility.co.uk) Direct your dinner to your mouth at the angle of your choice with this range of bendable cutlery. It’s comfortable and easy to hold, with a soft cushioned grip – and the knife has a rounded blade, allowing the user to cut using a rocking motion.
LIFE KUVRS WRIST SPLINT COVERS
Kuvrs, £3.99 a month for four covers annually (www.kuvrs.com) Want to protect your clothes and furnishings from the Velcro® on your splint? Kuvrs’ four-way stretch washable Lycra® covers are the answer! Choose a simple cover for work or something for a special occasion from more than 25 fabrics. Join the Kuvrs Subscription Scheme and save more than £20 in your first year!
DYNAMO TRAVEL MOBILITY SCOOTER
CareCo, £425 (with VAT relief) (www.careco.co.uk) CareCo’s Dynamo Travel Mobility Scooter is packed with a host of innovative functions to help everyone enjoy getting out and about this summer. Handy features include easy dismantling into lightweight pieces for transport, four-wheel stability, delta tiller bar for easy operation and steering, puncture proof tyres – the list goes on!
NRS Healthcare, from £7.14 inc VAT (www.nrshealthcare.co.uk) From NRS Healthcare, the combi-reacher enables people with reduced hand function or who have difficulty bending to pick things up from the floor, or which are situated far away. It’s easy to use, and comes in two sizes.
PEDI-CURE FOR TOUGH NAILS
Essential Aids, £18.99 exc VAT (www.essentialaids.com) If you’d love perfectly pedicured feet, this is the product for you. The batterypowered Pedi-cure is great for tough nails, calluses and dry skin. With its comfortable-to-hold design, it comes with three snap-on pads for different uses and can be used at various speeds too.
Tomcat, from £99 (www.tomcatspecialneeds.co.uk) Handmade to order, Tomcat’s Twister children’s shoes are designed for independent use by AFO, DAFO and splint users, or those with reduced mobility or grip. The tilting rear heel means that the shoe can be completely opened, like it’s a backless slipper, letting the foot slide in easily.
The Good Life Guide, £15.99 (www.goodlifeguide.co.uk) Accidentally knocking over your tea will be a thing of the past thanks to this smart anti-spill mug. Its clever design includes suction on the base which helps the mug stay stuck to any flat, non-porous surface – making it immune to knocks and bumps.
A helpful approach for all ages to have dignity in the bathroom
ow often do you go to the loo? On average, we visit ‘the smallest room’ eight times a day! So if you struggle in any way – to transfer, sit down, get up, tear toilet tissue, wipe – it has a big impact on the quality of your daily life. And that of those who care for you. After all, would you like to have someone wipe your bottom, or wipe someone else’s? Intimate hygiene affects the life of lliterally millions of people: faecal incontinence affects 6.3 million – more people than diabetes and asthma. Arthritis impacts on 9 million people in the UK and is the biggest cause of disability. Yet matters toileting aren’t discussed. Developments by Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s brand leader in helpful toileting solutions, now mean that anyone can use the WC in style, and with little or no help The new Vita range features sweeping contemporary lines, for the floor-mounted Palma Vita, wall-hung Lima Vita and height-adjustable Lima Lifter. So it looks like a conventional WC, and can be used as one. But, if required, hidden, built-in douching and drying can be
triggered, to ensure you are consistently cleaned to the highest standard available(1). The Palma Vita – already the UK’s no 1 – can also be adapted to accommodate changing needs, initially and as those needs change with time. Accessories include something as small as a support arm or soft-touch operating switch through to integrated or ‘bolt-on’ lifting to be the toilet equivalent of a riser-recliner chair. And it will cope with up to 36st/250kg(2). And that adaptability applies however young – with the addition of a Rifton, even small children can be independent in their toileting needs. The Palma Vita can accommodate the full Rifton Hygiene Toileting System (HTS), and, with our purposedesigned brackets, have just the child-friendly seat clipped on and off as required. “Everyone deserves to be able to go to the toilet with dignity, and be confident they are clean afterwards,” says Mark Sadler, Clos-o-Mat sales director. “The new Vita range has been developed to give that opportunity, stylishly.”
(1) The Palma Vita has the most effective douche on the market, delivering 8l/min (2) With Big John bariatric seat as an optional extra
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on Clos-o-Mat’s products, head to www.clos-o-mat.com; call 0161 969 1199 or 0800 374076; or email email@example.com
A Life Less
With a new report indicating that disabled people in Britain are very much at a disadvantage in society, we take a look at the harsh reality faced by millions daily
eing disabled can be challenging – this is something that many of us know, either from personal experience or that of someone close to us. Discrimination isn’t uncommon. Many facilities aren’t designed with disabled people in mind. Accessible housing is, in some areas, a pipe dream. Attitudes towards disabled people still have a long way to go. Until recently, this was all very much anecdotal, with the occasional report investigating specific areas cropping up from time to time. But new research conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission published in April has confirmed what many of us knew – that disabled people are still lagging behind in terms of treatment, opportunities and access to facilities and services. LEFT BEHIND David Isaac, chair of the Commission, said at the time of the report’s publication: “Whilst at face value we have travelled far, in reality disabled people are being left behind in society, their life chances remain very poor, and public attitudes have changed very little. “This evidence can no longer be ignored. Now is the time for a new national focus on the rights of the 13 million disabled people who live in Britain. They must have the same rights, opportunities and respect as other citizens. “We must put the rights of disabled people at the heart of our society. We cannot, and must not, allow the next twenty years to be a repeat of the past.” So where are we behind? EHRC investigated six different areas of everyday
life: education; work; standard of living; health and care; justice and detention; and participation and identity. Its findings? That disabled people in Britain are at a disadvantage in each of these categories. LACK OF OPPORTUNITY The report, Being disabled in Britain: A journey less equal, found that disabled people, particularly those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions, are behind the rest of society, despite political promises and legislation to protect the rights of disabled people. It found that disabled people face a lack of opportunities in employment and education; barriers to access in transport, housing and health services; that they’re still paid less than non-disabled people and the pay gap is worsening; and that welfare reform is making the already poor standards of living for disabled people even worse. “It is shameful that in 2017 disabled people continue to face such high levels of inequality: at home, at school and at work,” says Andrew McDonald, chair of disability charity, Scope. “Scope research shows too many continue to face prejudice day in, day out. But government action has been incoherent. While there have been some positive commitments, the impact of recent reductions and restrictions to benefits and inaction on social care threaten to make life harder for many disabled people.
“We hope this report serves as a wakeup call. Urgent action is needed. If the government is serious about shaping a society that works for everyone, the prime minister should act now to set out a cross-departmental strategy to tackle the injustices disabled people face.” TAKE ACTION With the publication of the EHRC report so close to a general election, now’s the time for politicians to stand up and pledge their commitment to making positive change for the country’s 13 million disabled people – and stand by it if they come into power. EHRC’s David added: “This report should be used as a call to arms. We cannot ignore that disabled people are being left behind and that some people – in particular those with mental health conditions and learning disabilities – experience even greater barriers. “We must have a concerted effort to deliver the changes that are desperately needed. Vital improvements are necessary to the law and policies, and services must meet the needs of disabled people. “Britain must be a fair and inclusive society in which everyone has equal opportunities to thrive and succeed.”
Check out the full report at www.equalityhumanrights.com
We must put the rights of disabled people at the heart of our society
KEY FINDINGS Education • Disabled pupils in England, Wales and Scotland have much lower attainment rates than nondisabled pupils. • They are also more likely to be excluded from school. • In 2014-15, educational attainment for children with special educational needs was almost three times lower than that of non-disabled children.
Justice and detention • Prisoners are more likely to have a mental health condition than the general population. • Disabled people in Britain are more likely to have experienced crime than non-disabled people. • Disability hate crimes increased by 44% in 2015-16.
Standard of living • Disabled people are more likely to live in poverty than non-disabled people – social security reforms have had a disproportionate negative impact on the standard of living of people with disabilities. • Fewer than 17% of councils in England have plans to build disabled-friendly homes.
Participation and identity • Disabled people are still underrepresented in political o ce and face continued challenges to achieving equal representation. • Between 2009-11 and 2012-14, there was an increase in the percentage of disabled and non-disabled adults ho reported di cu t accessin ser ices in hea th, ene ts, ta , culture, sport and leisure.
Work • Disabled people are less likely to be in employment than nondisabled people. • Non-disabled people are more likely to get a job through the government’s Work Programe than
disabled people – 35% compared to 18%. • The disability pay gap is continuing to widen. In 2015-16, the median hourly wage of disabled people was £9.85, compared to £11.41 for non-disabled.
• More disabled than non-disabled peop e ha e een affected the ‘bedroom tax’. • Thirty per cent of homes where at least one person is disabled were living with below 60% of the median income after housing costs – compared with 18% of families with no disabled members.
+ Health and care • Disabled adults are more likely to report poor mental health and wellbeing. • Disabled people are less likely to report positive experiences in accessing healthcare services.
NEXT ISSUE… e e ndin out ore about disability discrimination, understanding your rights and what you can do if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly in any of the areas highlighted in the EHRC report and beyond.
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Minding your Ps and 2s For Enable columnist Tim RushbySmith, the issue of the often solitary accessible loo in public toilets is one of life’s major frustrations. Here he shares some of the more unusual uses for accessible bathrooms that he’s come across
aving waited patiently for the disabled toilet at my local shopping mall, I was disappointed when the previous occupant emerged, a spring in his step, and took off at speed. Yes, I know not all disabilities are immediately apparent, but this guy had gym gear on, and was carrying a bag of body builder’s whey protein (I’m really not making this up). As he left so swiftly, I was unable even to give him my best Paddington stare. Instead, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on disabled toilets 1. Most disabled people have hands as a way of venting. of average size. Please take the time Unless you are on the verge of an to find a sink that reflects this. If you accident, if you can use the other can’t even drown a mouse in it, then bathrooms, please do so. Do the maths: I’m certainly not going to be able to most places will have several stalls and/or wash my hands. At best, I will be able urinals, and one disabled loo. I can’t use to inadvertently redirect the water onto yours, so please avoid using mine. I get my lap, which always makes for a great that living with a disability is a glamorous look when leaving any bathroom. lifestyle choice, and that our facilities are amazing, but if you’re not a member of 2. Focus on single use spaces if you our group, you should stop at the door. can. Sharing with baby change tables The disabled toilet is not there for acts is a necessary complication. When my of sexual congress, nor is it a reading kids were in nappies, my only choice room. I have even watched was to use a disabled loo, so someone leave an accessible I was glad of the multi-use toilet eating a sandwich. approach. However, the Unless you One hopes he didn’t same does not apply to are on the verge make it in there, the storing of bar stools, of an accident, but he certainly took staff lockers, high chairs, long enough. or even boxes of fresh if you can use If you are providing lettuce (again, I swear I other bathrooms, a disabled toilet, then am not making this up. please do good for you. Here’s a few Though it could be handy suggestions that may help if you wanted to make a us to enjoy our stay: sandwich…). If you wish to
store beer in the accessible toilet, at least have the courtesy to leave a bottle opener. 3. Put the mirror at a height that is useful to wheelchair users as well as walkers. It makes it easier to see just how wet we are after using the tiny sink. 4. Do NOT put a time limit on the door lock. It is stressful and does nothing to speed up the process. If you must put a timer on the light, then make it more than 30 seconds. Waving in a pitchdark toilet cubicle is guaranteed to create a need for a sink, however small. Hope this helps!
Looking Up by Tim Rushby-Smith is published by Virgin Books
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
Learning Disability and Work Just 6% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment – and this isn’t good enough. So what’s out there to help change this? We found out
n May, in an article for The Spectator, Rosa Monckton, close friend of Princess Diana and whose youngest child has Down’s syndrome, said that she believes that people with learning disabilities should be allowed to work for below the national minimum wage. She argues that, due to cuts in services, there’s nothing out there for people with disabilities – and that work could help individuals to get out and be included in society. But she says that employers should have the option to pay them less. This suggestion has sent shockwaves throughout the learning disability community. While many will agree that yes, everyone should have access to employment if that’s what they want to do, and that current provision simply isn’t good enough for the vast majority, the suggestion that people with learning disabilities are worth less is an issue. BARRIERS “We agree with Rosa that the number of people with a learning disability in work is appallingly low,” says Mark Capper, head of employment at learning disability charity Mencap. “But, in our experience from supporting thousands of people with a learning disability into work with hundreds of employers, the minimum or living wage is not the main barrier to people with a learning disability entering work.” The UK is home to 1.4 million people with
a learning disability, but just 6% are in paid employment. This figure is far too low – and Mencap say it has to change. “People with a learning disability can and want to work,” Mark says. “It helps people to feel part of society, feel valued and to earn their own money so that they can live independently. We should not place a lower value on their work by paying less than the rest of society. “We know that if employers are educated and the right roles are created, people with a learning disability can make excellent employees who are very much valued by their workplace. As such, they should be paid at the same level as any other employee.” FAIR Ciara Lawrence is a shining example of this. Ciara has a learning disability, and
has been part of the team at Mencap for 16 years. She’s working as a campaigns support officer, campaigning for the rights of people with a learning disability. Her work is a huge part of her life – and she strongly believes that all people should have the same opportunity to contribute, earn and be a part of the workplace. “I have a job that I love and I get paid,” she says. “I think it should be a fair day’s work, fair day’s pay. People with a learning disability should be paid fairly and equally to everyone else in society. I don’t think people with a learning disability should be paid any less – people with a learning disability want to work and want to be treated like anyone else.” And there are ways for people with a learning disability to get into employment – in roles from retail to sports, administration to hospitality. It’s all down
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION YOUR VIEW When we tweeted about Rosa Monckton’s view back in March over at @EnableMagazine, you lot had a thing or two to say. Here’s a selection of your responses*. If disabled people do get jobs, they should get full pay. This is just handing a loaded gun to employers. @TolerancePro Check the dictionary definition of ‘minumum’. You can’t pay someone less. To imply that people with learning disabilities are somehow worth less money implies that they’re working less hard – not true. @ClearAutism Yes, why not strip them of a little more dignity as they work alongside colleagues who are paid more? @Quinonostante What’s your view on this issue? You can tweet us your opinion to @EnableMagazine or email editor@ enablemagazine.co.uk * Some responses have been edited for clarity.
to the person’s preferences, skills and interests – just like it is for anyone else. Lots of organisations are offering support to help employers develop, and to give individuals the skills they need to succeed in the world of work. Mencap’s Employ Me scheme, for instance, works with individuals with a learning disability to develop skills, help with searching for work, support with CV writing and interview training. Organisations such as Remploy and the Shaw Trust, and Disability Employment Advisors at some branches of Jobcentre Plus, are able to offer similar services, and can work with employers to make sure everyone is informed and fully supported. What’s on offer does vary depending on where you live, so it’s a matter of reaching out and assessing what’s available in your area.
SUPPORT Supported employment schemes also exist to help people with a learning disability get into work, where organisations team up with businesses to secure a work placement or a permanent job, and they can provide a support worker to help with day-to-day tasks. The support generally tapers off as the individual becomes more confident in their role. With the right support and adjustments – which can be paid for through Access to Work – getting into work doesn’t have to be a pipedream. And it can be a huge success, for all involved. “The employers we work with often tell us of the overwhelming benefits that come with employing people with a learning disability,” Mark says. “These can include the fact that people with a learning disability are more likely to have strong
loyalty to their employer, they have a great work ethic and employing someone with a learning disability has a positive impact on staff morale.” “Having a job has helped me become more confident, it’s shown me what I can do and what I can achieve,” Ciara adds. “I can be independent. I can pay my bills, I can pay my rent, I can stay in my home, I can go out with friends and family. It means I can be just like anyone else. If people with a learning disability are paid less than minimum wage, I don’t think I’d feel like everyone else.” i
To find out more about enca s m lo e scheme, head to www.mencap.org.uk, or call enca rect on 0808 808 1111
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EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
For some people, acquiring a disability or progressive condition means that their 9 to 5 might not be an option for much longer – so how do you go about finding a job which meets your needs? We find out what you need to consider when changing careers
hen Yasmin Sheikh returned to work after sustaining a spinal stroke, it wasn’t long before she realised that a lot had changed for her during her time away from the office – and not just the fact that she was now a wheelchair user. “When something big happens in your life, it does put a sharp focus on what you actually want,” she explains. “It made me reconsider everything.” Yasmin realised that she didn’t have the passion for her career as a personal injury lawyer any more, and felt there was something more out there – the question was what. “I was still doing my job as a lawyer, but I found myself being really interested in diversity and inclusion and disability – so I was asked to join the diversity board at work,” she explains. “They were asking me about how to empower people with disabilities, unconscious bias, challenges
that a wheelchair user may face – they had no reference to it so they were asking me. Then it led me to becoming vice-chair of the Lawyers with Disabilities Division at the Law Society. I also started chairing a disability network at work, and coached people with disabilities, both visible and non-visible. I went to Business Disability Forum events, and they asked me to speak at their conference and events. I thought, ‘There’s a demand for this. People don’t know all the answers. They need guidance.’ So I decided to take the plunge and set up a business around it.” CONFIDENCE Today, Yasmin works as a disability consultant, coach, trainer and public speaker through her own business, Diverse Matters. Her role is to help give
people – individuals with disabilities and companies – confidence around disability, through speaking, webinars, workshops, disability-related events, coaching and panel events. “I’d never thought about starting my own business before my injury, but it just seemed to make more sense to be in complete control of the hours I needed to work,” explains Yasmin, who’s also an ambassador for spinal injury charity Back Up. “I enjoy the fact that I can be completely creative. It’s not somebody telling me what I need to do.” Yasmin isn’t the first person to reconsider their career after acquiring a disability, or when their health or condition deteriorates. In some cases, it’s a necessity – a wheelchair user can’t return to work on a building site, for instance. For others, like Yasmin, it’s a case of priorities and interests changing. “It’s about thinking about what you’re
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
good at, in terms of your core skills,” explains Becky Hill, chair of the board of trustees at Back Up. “Think about what you enjoy doing – what people around you tell you you’re good at. Use that to explore different career paths, or maybe in the industry you were in previously but in a different role. Don’t automatically write something off that you’ve done previously either – reasonable adjustments can be made.” Becky has a background in HR, and facilitates the charity’s Back Up to Work courses alongside Helen Cooke, who runs My Plus Consulting. The programme is aimed at spinal cord injured people assessing their working options, whether they’re currently going through rehab or it’s been some time since they sustained their injury. “It’s run and supported by people who have themselves got a spinal injury,” says Becky. “Myself and Helen have both got a spinal injury. It’s supported by group leaders who have also got a spinal injury – it’s about learning from peers and having peer support.” Yasmin has attended courses run by the charity in the past, and says that the peer support element is a huge confidence boost. “When I went on my first Back Up course in 2009, I went to Edinburgh to practice my wheelchair skills and mix with other chair users,” she says. “When I returned home after four days, my friends and family commented that the old Yasmin had returned – it was a real turning point.” SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE Back Up to Work helps participants identify their skills and experience, upgrade their CVs, investigate support options such as reasonable adjustments and, at the end of it all, undergo mock interviews. Each course is hosted by a Back Up corporate partner in their offices, giving it a more realistic work-like feel. If you’re considering a change of direction in your working life, getting support like that which is on offer from Back Up is a wise move. But, of course, Back Up to Work isn’t the only resource for
TOP TIPS FOR CHANGING CAREER 1. Believe in yourself If you don’t think you can do it, no one will. So work on that self-belief – it’ll make future meetings and interviews more successful. 2. Think it through Ask yourself what interests you, what kind of environment you work best in and what skills you have – and also what limitations, if any, your disability might present. 3. Do your research Look into different careers, assess different aspects such as salaries and working environments,
4. Network Talk to people – those who have been in your situation, and people who are in the line of work you’ve got your eye on. 5. Reach out There’s no shame in getting support – whether that’s Back Up’s workshops, your local Jobcentre Plus, or organisations like Remploy or Shaw Trust. Investigate what’s available in your area and get advice.
those looking to make a change – there are lots of other charities, organisations and support schemes out there, including Jobcentre Plus, who are all going the extra mile to help disabled people get into work. “There’s lots of support networks in people’s own communities,” Becky says. “It’s worth tapping into those, using family and friends, opening up networks and exploring possibilities.” “My advice is to find things that interest you,” Yasmin adds. “Even if you don’t think it’ll make money – do something that you have a passion for. You never know where things will take you.”
Training FIND OUT MORE i
Even if you don’t think it’ll make money – do something that you have a passion for. You never know where things will take you. Yasmin Sheikh
required skills and anything else that’s important to you in your place of work.
The next Back Up to Work course will be held in Manchester, 23-25 July. For more info, head to www.backuptrust.org. uk/backuptowork or call 020 8875 1805.
Helping people with a learning disability get ahead Most people with a learning disability can and want to work. But just 6% of those able to work are in paid employment*. Weâ€™ve developed our award-winning supported internship study programme into a national model. Interns and Outcomes offers young people aged 16-24, with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, the opportunity to get practical work-based learning experience as part of a full-time study programme, creating a smooth transition from education to paid employment. If you would like to join our internship programme, or youâ€™re an employer, college, local authority or training provider interested in helping us deliver Interns and Outcomes, visit our website or get in touch. www.mencap.org.uk/employment firstname.lastname@example.org 0808 808 1111 *Department of Health (November 2010) The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework 2015/16
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We will support you the way you want us to!
Our support is different for each person as we design it around their individual needs and wishes. We will work with you, your family and other people important in your life, to make sure we get this right for you. We can support you to live in your own home, with other people or when you are out and about. We can support you for a few hours a week to 24 hours each day. We will help you build your skills to become more confident and independent so that you can make choices about everything that affects your life and puts you in control.
0800 0884 377 United Response is an award winning charity and has been supporting young people and adults with a wide range of needs and disabilities for 40 years.
email@example.com www.unitedresponse.org.uk/get-support Registered Charity No. 265249
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
MEET THE HEAD TEACHER
erry Sternstein has worked in education for longer than she’d care to admit – and for her, it’s always been about supporting young people with complex needs to achieve their full potential. “I think supporting learning is the most important thing,” she says. “And you do that however you do that, whether that’s through social and emotional support or academic development. It’s about breaking down barriers to learning in whichever way you can. I’ve done that through the whole of my career.” Kerry arrived at TreeHouse School in North London, run by charity Ambitious about Autism, in 2016 after 19 years as a deputy head at a secondary school for children with special needs. TreeHouse is for young people with complex autism, with a roll of roughly 90 pupils aged between four and 19, almost 150 staff, and the mantra ‘making
the ordinary possible’ overarching everything that they do. EXTRAORDINARY “Every day, I come into school and think, ‘How can I do that?’” Kerry says. “At Christmas, we made Santa’s grotto. A lot of the young people here had never visited Santa. We had about 75% of the pupils come with their one-to-one support tutor, visit Santa, get a little present and have their photo taken. Many, many of them had never done it before.” Every pupil at TreeHouse School has an individualised learning plan using the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis, a scientific discipline which is centred around observation, evidence and coming up with specific interventions to suit each individual. “I’ve worked within ABA and I’ve worked with ABA practitioners within my school, and who have done home programmes, but I’ve never worked within an organisation where that underpins the
I think supporting learning is the most important thing
When she took up the role of head teacher at Ambitious about Autism’s TreeHouse School at the beginning of the school year, Kerry Sternstein had no idea how rewarding, challenging and fulfilling her job would be. We found out more about her role
philosophy and the work,” Kerry explains. “The detail that goes into the planning – even the tiniest thing – to enable these very, very complex young people to progress is incredible.” Kerry’s first few months at TreeHouse School have been an incredibly positive experience – and she’s really excited about a lot of what’s going on in the school just now. From enrolling a group of children in the Penathalon, a competitive sports programme for children with special needs, to a weekly film club encouraging children to work together, there’s lots going on at TreeHouse – and plenty more to come. “The best part of my job is seeing the staff enable the young people to do things they might never have been able to do,” she says of her role. “We have one teacher who is getting married, and she was getting the young people to create her wedding invitations. How amazing is that? The fact that she was investing herself in those young people and getting them to invest in her was so exciting. Things like that make me love this job.” i
To find out more about TreeHouse School, head to www.treehouseschool.org.uk.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an illness that affects 100,000 people in the UK, with many getting diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. We had a chat with Jade Lampe to discover how her MS diagnosis at the age of 24 set her life on a new path and what she’s doing to raise awareness
Raising awareness of MS Q
How did you discover you had MS? I got diagnosed in 2014, but I can see now that my symptoms went back to a couple of years before that. I had these problems in my leg, and I put it down to a gym injury because I was quite the gym freak at the time. I thought I had a trapped nerve that was affecting my leg. I had an MRI scan and when the neurologist said: “It is consistent with someone with MS,” I was shocked. I’m a healthy young girl, I never even caught a cold. To go from that to suddenly having this lifelong condition – it was just so out of the blue.
Did you know much about MS prior to your diagnosis? No, when I first heard about MS I had only heard about the worst-case scenario, which was Debbie Purdy [MS patient and right to die campaigner] – I was clueless on MS to begin with if I’m honest. I’m open about it – I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got MS. People know if they want to ask me something about it to go right ahead. I’m not one to shy away from having MS or be in denial about it – raising positive awareness about MS is key.
You do a lot of fundraising for the MS Society. In what ways has that changed your life? It’s satisfying. This year I’m doing a coffee morning – my boyfriend is a barista so I’ve got him coming into my work, serving coffee, and I’ll have a bake sale alongside it. I’m also doing a big raffle so I’m currently badgering companies for donations – last year I raised just under £450 with my coffee morning, which was only from nine till 12. This year, I’m hoping to go over that target. It’s all over Facebook, I’m going into shops – even if I don’t get a donation out of it, they still get to think about MS and what it is. I’ve had some people turn around and say they have a family member who is affected by it so they are more than happy to donate. You don’t actually realise that there are a lot of people out there that are affected by it – you just don’t think about it.
What would you like to see come out of your fundraising? Just raising awareness really. When I first got diagnosed, I got a lot of comfort from speaking to people who have it. Obviously you have friends and family
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got MS who are there for you but, they say themselves, they don’t know what I’m going through. I did get a lot of comfort from speaking with people who do have MS; awareness is one of the biggest things, even just having it on people’s radar as something to think about.
Get involved with the MS Society’s Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign by giving up something you love in May to raise funds and raise awareness of the condition. For more information, head to www.mssociety.org.uk.
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