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What’s going on to make the German capital accessible to all
an accessible trip to Berlin!
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September / October 2017
DISABILITY BEHIND BARS
The reality of life in prison for disabled people
The London bombing survivor on her incredible life
Making the most of the season ahead
SPOTLIGHT ON LONELINESS
One in four disabled people have felt lonely – it’s time for change
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PUBLISHER Denise Connelly email@example.com EDITOR Lindsay Cochrane firstname.lastname@example.org STAFF WRITER Lorne Gillies email@example.com EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Tim Rushby-Smith Alisdair Suttie DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Lucy Baillie firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Lisa McCabe email@example.com SALES Marian Mathieson firstname.lastname@example.org ENABLE MAGAZINE www.enablemagazine.co.uk
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Welcome Hello, and welcome to the September/ October issue of Enable Magazine! It feels like we blinked and missed it, but somehow summer is nearing an end and autumn is on its way – and we’ve got another jam-packed edition of the nation’s favourite disability magazine to go with the new season. To kick things off, we’ve been speaking with Martine Wright, one of the most seriously injured survivors of the July 7 London bombings. Martine lost both of her legs in the 2005 terror attack, but her life since has been nothing short of incredible. We found out more about her experiences, and how she’s managed to turn a tragedy into a triumph. Elsewhere, we’ve been out adventuring – all the way to Berlin. In July, we headed out to the German capital to check out just how accessible it is for disabled tourists – and were wowed by what we found. You can read all about it on page 14. If you’d rather explore a little closer to home, we’ve been checking out accessible autumnal activities to try out this season. From woodland walks to coastal trails, there’s nothing quite like Britain in the autumn! We’ve also been taking a look at what the future holds for the housing sector, with the clever gadgets, gizmos and design features making independence a reality for thousands – and we’ve also been finding out about advances in prosthetics, orthotics and mobility products. Prepare to be amazed by what’s out there! Other topics covered this issue include learning disability and love, autism and mental health, living with an invisible disability, and what life’s like in prison if you’re disabled. And that’s not all – don’t miss our bumper employment and education focus in the middle section of this issue. We’ve got some handy hints and tips, and real-life experiences, to help you in the world of work. So grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and enjoy! Until next time,
Lindsay Cochrane, Editor
EDITOR’S PICKS... 24 LEARNING DISABILITY AND LOVE Everyone’s entitled to find love – but what’s it like trying to meet your match when you have a learning disability? 55 FOREVER FAMILY Ahead of National Adoption Week, we spoke with one family who have adopted a disabled child. 77 PLANNING AHEAD If you’re the parent or carer of someone with a disability, what does the future hold in terms of their care? We take a look at how to prepare.
DON’T MISS… This issue’s competition – you could be o to Berlin on page 18.
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©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 ublishi g td. he ublisher takes o res o sibility for claims made by ad ertisers withi the ublicatio . ery 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.
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: WOLFGANG SCHOLVIEN
Fancy a change of scenery? ou could be o o a incredible trip to Berlin, courtesy of the German National Tourist Board and visitBerlin. Find out how to enter on page 18.
11 14 11 82
34 interviews MARTINE WRIGHT The 7/7 London bombing survivor, Paralympian, mother, presenter and now author reveals how that fateful day changed her life – in many ways, for the better. CONFIDENCE FROM UNDERNEATH Meet the woman who has taken inspiration from her own disability to create a blossoming business.
life BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS IN BERLIN We took a trip to the German capital to see what’s going on in terms of accessible tourism – and were completely blown away by what we found there. LEARNING DISABILITY AND LOVE Having a learning disability doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on dating, marriage and beyond. We take a look at what’s out there to make romance a reality. ACCESS AUTUMN It’s a truly beautiful time of year – and there’s plenty going on for you to get involved with this season.
voices CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY This issue, Tim Rushby-Smith reflects on the
often-misinformed attitudes of others when it comes to disability.
sport GETTING ACTIVE TOGETHER We find out about the MS Society’s new fitness-focused campaign.
care HOUSING OF THE FUTURE
Blinds which open and close via a smartphone app, moving countertops in your kitchen, a machine which washes, dries AND irons your clothes… No, it’s not the stuff of sci-fi dreams, it’s all available in housing for disabled people now.
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION This issue, we’ve got a special focus on the world of work and learning to help boost your chances in the workplace. With interview tips, a roundup of the organisations that can help you, and insight from two people who’ve reached out to get help, we’ve got it covered. Check it out from page 37 onwards.
spotlight KNOW YOUR NORMAL With a recent report showcasing just how many people with autism have struggled with their mental health, we find out what’s going on to help professionals better support those affected.
DISABILITY BEHIND BARS Life can be challenging when you have a disability – but trying to manage your needs when in a restrictive prison environment is even harder. We found out about the reality of life in custody for the evergrowing disabled prison population.
LIFE WITH ARTHRITIS Arthritis isn’t just a condition which affects older people – and it can have a really devastating impact on the day-to-day lives of thousands of people.
PLANNING AHEAD What happens when you’re no longer in a position to care for your loved one? It could be time to look into setting up proper provisions for the future.
“WE HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN THAT WHICH DIVIDES US” Recent research from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has found that one in four disabled people have felt lonely. So why is this? And what needs to change?
family FOREVER FAMILY: ROAD TO ADOPTION Ahead of National Adoption Week, we speak with one mum who adopted a child with complex needs to find out about the positive impact he’s had on their family.
motors THE REVIEW We’ve been out roadtesting another Motability motor – this time, the Renault Grand Scenic. REFUEL WITH CONFIDENCE The apps and gadgets that are making life easier at the pumps.
WIN an Amplicomms M9500 Amplified Simple Smartphone 52
We’ve teamed up with Amplicomms to offer you the chance to win a fantastic M9500 Amplified Simple Smartphone! The smartphone, worth £179.99, has lots of handy features to help you live more independently. It can be turned into a remotely-controlled device so that carers can support operation of the phone or help in an emergency, has an SOS button for emergencies with Google Maps GPS location, features press and hold operation to avoid accidental touch dialling, and it’s hearing aid compatible. To be in with a chance of winning, head to www.enablemagazine.co.uk/ amplicomms, or send us your name, address, daytime telephone number, email address and where you picked up
your copy of Enable to: Amplicomms Competition, Enable Magazine, DC Publishing Ltd, 198 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG. All entries must be received by 31 October 2017. Amplicomms – Provider of Accessible Communications to All! www.hearingdirect.com Tel: 0800 032 1301 For full terms and conditions, head to www.enablemagazine.co.uk/ amplicomms
LATEST A roundup of the disability news stories making the headlines
STELIOS AWARD OPEN FOR ENTRIES
Game of Thrones star backs Mencap campaign KIT HARINGTON, star of HBO smash-hit Game of Thrones, is supporting Mencap’s latest campaign, urging the government to rethink new rules regarding overnight care. Mencap’s #StopSleepInCrisis campaign came about after the government ruled that overnight care workers should be paid minimum wage, and that employers should back-pay all staff for the last six years – amounting to £400 million, money that many care organisations either don’t have, or would impact upon current service provision. While the charity isn’t arguing that care staff deserve to be paid fairly for their work, they do believe that the government should cover the £400 million bill. Mencap ambassador Kit, who plays Jon Snow in the
global TV phenomenon, fears that people like his cousin Laurent, who has Down’s syndrome and autism, could suffer as a result. He said: “The learning disability sector in the UK is on the brink of crisis. It is faced with a back-pay bill of £400 million which it cannot pay. “Many of the providers of this essential, ‘sleep-in’ service face bankruptcy. “And some of the most vulnerable people in our society will be left, without care, without hope and without an independent future. “Stand with Mencap and stand with the incredible people our colleagues support and care for every day. “Please sign our petition. People’s lives depend on your support.” To back the campaign, head to www.mencap.org.uk.
THE STELIOS AWARD for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK is now open for applications. The annual award, run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire Disability, is the brainchild of easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Now in its eleventh year, the award is designed to recognise the work of disabled people operating their own businesses – with the overall winner getting £30,000 and mentoring from Sir Stelios himself. Last year’s winner was Alex Papanikolaou, founder of Freedom One Life wheelchairs. Alex applied twice for the award before winning in 2016, and will this year be joining the judging panel. Alex said: “We were so lucky to have been the 2016 winners with our wheelchair design. The award has directly made our prototype development plans possible and propelled us forward, so we are very grateful.” To find out more about the criteria for entry, head to www.leonardcheshire.org/stelios.
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Jonnie Peacock joins Strictly Come Dancing
PIC: ©ONEDITION 2016/PARALYMPICSGB
PARALYMPIC CHAMPION JONNIE PEACOCK has become the first disabled person to join the cast of TV smash Strictly Come Dancing. The show, a wintertime Saturday night favourite, will see Jonnie compete against celebs like singer Mollie King, comedian Susan Calman and TV chef Simon Rimmer. Jonnie says: “The opportunity to be the first contestant with a disability to take part in Strictly’s main show was too good to turn down. I’ve got no previous dance history outside of the occasional ‘worm’ at a mate’s party and I know this will be a challenge and a new experience. I can’t wait to see what I can achieve and how far I can push myself.” The sprinter is no stranger to hard work, having scooped his first Paralympic medal at 18 in the T44 100m – and has remained unbeaten at every major championship since. The show returns to BBC One in September.
8 out of 10 carers feel ‘lonely or isolated’ A NEW REPORT FROM the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness and Carers UK has highlighted the problem of loneliness amongst the s u aid carers. A staggering 81% of unpaid carers described themsel es as lo ely or socially isolated due to their cari g res o sibilities. he re ort also suggests that carers who have not felt lonely are less likely to experience mental or physical ill health com ared to those who did. er three quarters of carers who had felt lonely also re orted worse ed me tal health. According to carers, measures such as regular breaks from caring, more understanding from society and being able to take part in leisure acti ities would all hel combat their lo eli ess. Helena Herklots CBE, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Caring for someone is one of the most important things we do but without support to have a life outside caring, it can be i credibly lo ely worse ed by fi a cial pressures, poor understanding from friends and colleagues a d a lack of regular breaks. i e the sig ifica t me tal a d hysical health be efits of breaki g this isolatio we re aski g e eryo e to start a co ersatio about cari g.
UBER DOUBLES WHEELCHAIR ACCESS OPTIONS TO EIGHT CITIES THIS SUMMER, UBER rolled out its wheelchair accessible taxi options to four more cities doubli g its o eri g. The uberACCESS service is now available in Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool and Newcastle, as well as the existing cities of London, Manchester, irmi gham a d ol erham to . With Uber, you can book a taxi through an app on your smartphone, which uses GPS to tell the driver exactly where you are. ou ay electro ically too maki g it a cashless ser ice. ACCESS means you can book an accessible ride at the touch of a button, with no advance planning, at the same rice as the a ordable uber o tio . All ACCESS vehicles have a rear-entry ramp and restraints, enabling wheelchair
users to ride safely and comfortably with o e other asse ger. ri ers ha e received disability equality training from ra s ort for ll. The wheelchair-accessible service builds on Uber’s ASSIST option for those with mobility problems, which is available i cities wide. Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said: “We’re really pleased to be doubling the number of cities which have a wheelchair accessible o tio . a di g uber is an important step forward in making reliable a d a ordable tra s ort a ailable to e eryo e at the touch of a butto . Thousands of wheelchair users now have an extra option to get from A to B on their terms a d at o e tra cost.
Find out more about Uber’s access o tio s at www.uber.com.
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“Anyone can achieve
they put their mind to”
One of the most seriously injured survivors of the July 7 London bombings in 2005, Martine Wright has been through more than many of us could imagine. Yet she’s still smiling. The athlete, public speaker and now author spoke to Enable’s Lindsay Cochrane about her journey so far
Martine (left) taking the Tube for the first time since the bombings and (below) on the tenth anniversary of 7/7
hen Martine Wright rolled out of bed on the morning of Thursday 7 July 2005, the day didn’t feel especially different to the 32-year-old marketing manager. She had a slightly fuzzy head, due to celebrating the London Olympic bid with colleagues the night before, and she was running late, but other than that? From her point of view as she rushed to get ready, it was a day like any other. She decided to take a different route to work, heading for the Circle Line at Liverpool Street. She ran to catch the Tube train, knowing she’d be late for work, and climbed aboard, sliding into her favourite seat, just beyond the vestibule. At 8:50, 22-year-old Shehzad Tanweer from Bradford, just six feet away from Martine, detonated a bomb as the train headed towards Aldgate. In a blinding white flash, eight people were killed, and dozens more injured. Tanweer was one of four suicide bombers who threw the capital into chaos that fateful day in July. Between them, the four men killed 52 people, and injured 784 others. Martine was one of them. INCREDIBLE The last person to be pulled from the wreckage of the Aldgate train, Martine has decided now to get her story down in writing. After years of public speaking and diary-keeping, she felt that the time had come to share how that day changed her life – and the lives of thousands of others. Her autobiography, Unbroken, details the events of that day, and the incredible life that Martine has lived since. “It didn’t just happen to me. It didn’t just happen to the people on the Tube or the bus and all the innocent souls that
lost their lives,” she reflects. “It happened to everyone that day.” On 7 July, Martine lost both of her legs above the knee. She spent a year in hospital, where she lived through the most difficult days of her life – but there’s one thing, she says, that got her through. “In the beginning, you don’t laugh a lot,” she says. “My family had found their daughter, who was literally half the person she was before, at death’s door. And they were – not doing it on purpose – but still managing to laugh. I think that laughter is a great healer.” Martine’s family and boyfriend Nick – now her husband – ferried in every day to see her. Cracking jokes, bringing food, doing all they could to get their girl through. With their love and support, and the incredible care provided by the NHS, Martine was determined to move on. She wasn’t going to let terrorists stop her. SURVIVOR And so began Martine’s journey from victim to survivor. “I wanted to prove to myself and others – not that they were judging me – that, OK, I might not be able to run for a bus as fast as you. But I can fly a plane.” Flying a plane and writing a book are just two of Martine’s achievements. Since losing her legs, she’s become a public speaker, learned to ski, done a sky dive, become a mum, been awarded an MBE and represented Great Britain in the Paralympic Games in sitting volleyball. None of which she would have been able to do if it hadn’t been for the bombings. Martine believes that maybe, somehow, it was all meant to be. “The whole reason why I was late that morning on 7 July, I’d been out
INTERVIEW celebrating with colleagues on 6 July because we’d won the Olympic and Paralympic bid. What could be seen as a weird twist of fate, seven years later I was taking part in that,” she says. “My son, Oscar, was due on 7 July 2009. I wear a number seven on my shirt. I decided that if I embraced number seven and tried to make it a positive, then maybe it would be positive to my life.” It’s been a real rollercoaster for Martine and her family. Participating in London 2012 brought things to a peak though, after being introduced to sitting volleyball by physiotherapist Maggie. Sport, she says, has been a huge part of her recovery. “I do believe I wouldn’t be speaking to you now if it wasn’t for volleyball,” she says. “I missed the drive and ambition I used to feel at work. It was about being able to jump out of my chair and move in a way that I’d never moved before, on the floor. That was huge. It was just me, my bum, a ball and a net.” The women’s sitting volleyball team weren’t victorious in 2012 – but just making it to that court against the odds, seeing her family in the stands, was good enough for Martine. EXCITED “I remember feeling so nervous as I came out of that tunnel, but really excited,” she says warmly. “I couldn’t wait to get on court. That’s when I looked to my left and saw my family. I just looked at them and cried, and they cried back!” In 2016, the squad decided not to go for the Paralympics – but Martine was still there, this time as a reporter for Channel 4’s coverage. “It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant,” Martine enthuses. “When I go to events like that, I’m total tunnel vision – volleyball, volleyball, volleyball. I was able to go, but also have that empathy for the athletes – I’ve been there.” This September, she’ll be commentating at the Invictus Games in Canada, and she’s keen to try more TV and radio work if she can. She fancies taking on an expedition, a huge physical challenge, too. That’s her attitude now – she’ll try anything once. If an opportunity comes along? She’ll grab it. “[July 7] really taught me that we can go through the darkest, darkest days, but if you have that love, if you have that support and if you have that belief, anyone can achieve anything they put their mind to,” she concludes. “It does take time. I don’t want people to think I’m Superwoman. But it can happen.”
It was about being able to jump out of my chair and move in a way that I’d never moved before
With husband Nick and son Oscar (top), volleyball captain Claire Harvey and on her wedding day, 2008
Receiving her MBE, reporting from Rio, playing volleyball and skydiving – adventure is key for Martine, who travelled a lot before the bombings (below)
Unbroken by Martine Wright is out now, published by Simon and Schuster
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Breaking down barriers in
Berlin One of the most exciting cities in Europe, Berlin is leading the way in accessible tourism. Lorne Gillies discovered the innovative movements being made to make Berlin ‘BarrierFree’
he cosmopolitan city of Berlin invites travellers to be immersed in culture, history and a journey free from worry. Elegantly catering for all abilities, Berlin is being hailed as BarrierFree, barrierefrei in German, as visitBerlin, the official marketing organisation proudly promotes.
© SCANDIC HOTEL
BUSTLING BERLIN Finding the right hotel for your specific needs is crucial to start off a holiday. One establishment going above and beyond the call of German regulations is the Scandic Hotel chain (www. scandichotels.com). Visiting Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, located a mere hop, skip and jump away from the vivacious hub of the city, we discovered just how accessible the hotel really is. You are not disabled in a Scandic Hotel – you are a valued guest. A holiday is a time to escape reality and you deserve the opportunity to visit Berlin without apprehension over what your stay will be like. Scandic has a 135-point checklist of small, yet effective adaptions that make their hotels accessible for all – at no additional cost.
“Our aim is to deliver on the promise that everyone is equal,” explains director of e-distribution Germany, Steffen Seichter. “We measured every door entrance, we measured every distance between the bathroom and the bed and put it on the website. It is super easy for guests to check all the information – you don’t need to call the hotel. You can plan your trip by yourself.” With every detail thought through, this is a hotel that puts guest experience at the forefront. There are currently three Scandic Hotels in Germany, with plans to open a fourth in Frankfurt in the coming year. Popularity for Scandic is paramount, with the hotel chosen as the official supplier for the Wheelchair World Championship in Basketball 2018. Steffen says: “Due to the fact that we have now been the ambassador brand
for disabled travellers and athletes, whenever there is a meeting coming to a city or the city is in scope for doing a meeting, event or tournament, they check if there are any Scandic Hotels.” From athletes to tourists and no accessibility addition ignored, Scandic is the must-stay location for all travellers. In colourful and seasonal themed rooms, Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz has 60 rooms well-suited for all needs – the fourth floor is dedicated to visually impaired visitors. FREEE CITY TOURS Tourists looking to travel around the city in a unique way should call on Freee City Tours (barrierefreie-touren.de). Offering Segway-based electrical wheelchair tours for all abilities, this is guaranteed to make for a thrilling tour of the city.
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: ANDI WEILAND
Managing director Klaus Ruddat, explains: “Berlin is perfect for everybody who wants to use the Freee F2. All year round in Berlin – even when it’s snowing – you can go with our Freee F2 everywhere – on the ground, on the beach or in the mountains and hills with a pitch of up to 17 degrees.” Worried about using a Freee F2? Klaus, and his assistant Gudrun, will be on-hand to provide a tutorial on how to use the chair. Having experienced the chair first-hand, it is surprising how quickly you pick up the controls. Simply lean forward to go forward and vice versa – it truly is an innovative method of sightseeing. Chair hire comes at a cost of 60€ for four hours or 20€ for 45 minutes, meaning it’s also highly affordable. “In Stuttgart, they have awards [hosted by ZSL Stuttgart – an institution for people with disabilities] for the best tour operators for disabled people. At the annual travel fair, I presented Freee Citytours and our travel business for
accessible journeys Betreute Erholung (betreute-erholung.de) to them. They loved it and we were awarded with the first prize – the Golden Wheelchair Award,” says Klaus. As an award-winning company, Betreute Erholung offering Freee Citytours will meet you at the airport or any other location to get your holiday underway. © VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: WOLFGANG SCHOLVIEN
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: WOLFGANG SCHOLVIEN
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: ANDI WEILAND
ACCESS BERLIN Visiting a new city fills a traveller with unlimited possibilities and visitBerlin ensure you will be spoiled for choice with their brand new accessBerlin app. The innovative app, suitable for Android and iPhone, details accessible routes and key sights alongside information on what attractions provide for disabilities, as well as real-time transport details and details of functioning elevators at public transport stations. With routes for food lovers, history buffs or those after some retail therapy, the app will provide necessary details to make the most of your journey. Take a stroll along an accessible route to the Ottobock Science Centre Berlin (www. ottobock.com) where you will discover the technological advancements being made to improve the lives of disabled people worldwide.
visitBerlin is Berlin’s official travel website filled with the best locations, activities and news to make the most of your trip, www.visitberlin.de/en
A café is also located at the top of the tower for those keen to stick around a little longer. An iconic piece of Berlin’s history is also present in the Panoramapunkt. After teaming up with Scandic Hotels, a section of the Berlin wall was placed into the viewing area – this is the highest section of the Berlin wall in the world, another sight you don’t want to miss out on. Berlin is a city that will not only cater for your needs but also open your eyes to fascinating history, modern advancements, incredible architectural structures and forward-thinking tourism. For a weekend break or a longer stay, families, couples or solo travellers, Berlin is waiting to welcome you to a land of new experiences.
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: ANDI WEILAND
PANORAMIC VIEWS Finally, see Berlin in a totally different way with a visit to Panoramapunkt (www.panoramapunkt.de) in Potsdamer Platz. Another location subtly suited for those with a disability, this is possibly one of the best ways to see Berlin. At a cost of 6€ for disabled visitors, make your way to the 24th floor – in just 20 seconds in the fastest lift in Europe – before breathing in the fresh air and views. History of the tower, Potsdamer Platz and the fall of the Berlin wall will welcome you at the top, with open space for visitors to take an obligatory picture of the view.
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: ARTFULLY MEDIA, SVEN CHRISTIAN SCHRAMM
BERLIN ZOO A quick journey on either a bus 100 or 200 – fully equipped with braille, handles, ramps and audio announcements – will take you to a location where your senses can run wild. Zoo Berlin (www.zoo-berlin. de) is a zoo like no other. With an array of wildlife from elephants, giraffes and lions to exotic birds and the zoo’s latest arrivals, pandas Meng Meng and Jiao Qin, the zoo has been fascinating visitors since 1844. Wandering through the tropical hippopotamus house, the smells and sounds will transport visitors to the wilderness of the hippo’s home. Two visually impaired visitors were smiling from ear to ear listening to the grunt of the hippo, bird hoots, dripping of water, and smells of adventure engulfing the atmosphere – the zoo really does bring your senses to life. Home to 360 species and with guided tours, feeding displays and shows, complimentary wheelchair use (you must register in advance) and much more, this is a trip that will please all the family.
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTO: WOLFGANG SCHOLVIEN
Take in the sights on Berlin’s public transport – also accessible to all. For wheelchair users, modern subways are flat so entry doesn’t require a ramp. Raised sections on station floors are well-suited for visually impaired travellers and feature regular audio updates – using public transport won’t cause any anxiety.
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on BarrierFree travel in Germany, visit the German atio al ourist ce website www.germany.travel/barrierfree
Discover Germany BarrierFree. Many cities and regions in Germany are able to provide some outstanding facilities for visitors who may need assistance, leaving them to concentrate on all the beauty that Germany has to offer without having to worry about everyday obstacles. To discover more about accessible Germany visit: www.germany.travel/barrierfree
Dresden: Zwinger Palace ÂŠ TMGS S.Dittrich
WIN A TRIP TO BERLIN Inspired by our visit to the iconic German city? You could be off for your own BarrierFree visit to Berlin with this issue’s competition
heckpoint Charlie. The Reichstag. The Holocaust Memorial. The Berlin Wall. The German capital has so much to see and do, that you’ll certainly not be bored during a break to Berlin! And with Germany’s commitment to BarrierFree tourism, emphasising the importance of access for disabled tourists, nobody has to miss out – as we found out on our recent trip. From fantastic accessible hotels to tourist attractions which include people of all impairments, Berlin is the ideal destination for a city break. And now you could be experiencing it all for yourself. We’ve teamed up with the German National Tourist Office and visitBerlin to give you the chance of winning a two-night stay in the capital.
To be in with a chance of winning this prize, answer this question: Which of the following tourist attractions is found in Berlin? he i e o er B. Big Ben C. Checkpoint Charlie
• Return flights from the UK to Berlin
• 2 nights in the 4* Hotel Mondial, including breakfast and a welcome drink • 2 Berlin WelcomeCards providing free public transport in Berlin and discounts at some of the most popular attractions • A four-hour accessible Segway tour through Berlin with Freee Citytours
Send your answer, along with your name, address, daytime telephone number and where you picked up your copy of Enable to: Berlin Competition, Enable Magazine, DC Publishing Ltd, 198 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG You can also email your details to email@example.com, or enter online at www.enablemagazine. co.uk/berlin.
BARRIERFREE GERMANY www.germany.travel/barrierfree
All entries must be received by 30 September 2017. Good luck!
HOTEL MONDIAL www.hotel-mondial.com
FIND OUT MORE
© VISITBERLIN, PHOTOS: ANDI WEILAND
HOW TO ENTER
VISITBERLIN www.visitberlin.de/en FREEE CITY TOURS www.barrierefreie-touren.de
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Competition is only open to UK and Irish residents aged 18 or over. The prize does not include any transfer costs in the UK or in Germany, including to or from the airport. All prizes are subject to availability. No changes are permitted once flights and accommodation is booked. You must inform the organiser of any access requirements at the time of booking. The winner is responsible for their own safety and security whilst on the trip. Flights must be booked before 1 November 2017. Travel Insurance is not included. One entry per household. Prize is non-refundable, non-transferable and there is no cash or other alternatives. The publisher’s decision is final.
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Captains of industry Columnist Tim Rushby-Smith explores the often-misinformed attitudes of others when it comes to disability
ocial media is a fairly blunt instrument. The communication it hosts is rarely a conversation, but more akin to a thousand people with loudhailers in an aircraft hangar, all shouting at once. But it also provides many people with a vital connection to others with similar life experiences; the peer support that we all need at times. INSIGHT Social media can also offer an insight into how other people see the world and, by extension, us. I recently came across an example when people in my local area were discussing a proposal to build a footbridge over the mouth of a river to enable more people to access a coastal footpath. The first reaction from many in the comments this attitude excludes section was anger that To refer to us as an people new to the ‘industry’ risks making disabled people, the contrition was area were messing social inclusion a immediate. with the way things hostage to the need for have always been economic profit, rather JUSTIFICATION (that’s always the first than a principle of The first response, response, regardless social justice ‘that’s not what I meant of the subject). Then and I’m sorry if it came others joined the debate, across that way’, is familiar pointing out that very to anyone who has followed little of the coastal path was a discussion on a social media accessible to people with limited forum. It’s fair enough, given that typing mobility. a comment is a fairly blunt instrument to Attitudes revealed themselves soon execute a nuanced argument with. But after, with the disability equivalent of the the justification that came after was more ‘I’m not racist, but...’ opener. concerning. “If people find it difficult, they shouldn’t “I understand about disability, as I have be on the path. Not everything can be worked in the industry for ten years.” made accessible.” So we’re an industry now, are we? If you One contributor suggested that we ‘understand’ so much about disability, the should just level the whole coastline and first thing you would avoid on a general concrete it over. social media discussion is referring to us When other people suggested that
as an industry. I am being a little disingenuous, perhaps. I understand that facilities, equipment and support for people with disabilities represent an extensive range of products and services. I’m also aware that for many disabled people, being viewed as consumers is an empowering concept after years of being seen as in need of charity. But to refer to us as an ‘industry’ risks making social inclusion a hostage to the need for economic profit, rather than a principal of social justice. Why should we be trying to make that path accessible to all? Because it’s the right thing to do. Looking Up by Tim Rushby-Smith is published by Virgin Books
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DM Orthotics help sports star Kadeena Cox MBE scoop gold, silver and bronze at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships Kadeena Cox MBE came home with a trio of medals from this year’s World Para Athletics Championships – DM Orthotics tell us about their part in her success
io 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox MBE can now add World Champion to her list of accomplishments as she takes home a gold, silver and bronze medal from the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships. Kadeena competed in the 400m, 100m and 200m, winning a gold, silver and bronze medal respectively, with the 400m, her specialist event, cementing her with her world champion status. For over two years, Kadeena has been wearing hand-made orthoses manufactured by DM Orthotics and is currently their platinum brand ambassador. BEST SHAPE “Although I struggled the night before the 400m due to my condition [multiple sclerosis], I knew I had a good team around me who would help get me into the best shape I could be so that I could still perform,” she said. “It’s not just the team that helps me prepare it’s my DMO products too – my sleeve especially helps to control the movement and spasms in my arm so I can power through right up to the end of my race.” DM Orthotics orthoses help both children and adults with a range of neurological and musculoskeletal conditions such as stroke, cerebral palsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and multiple sclerosis (MS). Managing director Martin Matthews said: “We’ve been helping patients with a wide range of neuro-muscular conditions, such as MS, for over 10 years and were extremely happy to help Kadeena when she approached us back in 2015. Kadeena uses our socks, vest, shoulders and glove, all of which have strategic panelling and
proprioceptive properties to improve her body alignment and to enable her to perform at her best.” DM Orthotics supports athletes and individuals of all ages, and continues to develop new products and conduct clinical research studies to provide patients with the reassurance and medical knowledge about how their products work and can help them regain their independence. They also export their medical orthoses to over 25 different countries worldwide. TEAM WORK Kadeena is part of Team DMO, an athletic sponsorship programme created by the Cornish manufacturer. She said: “Without DM Orthotics and Team DMO, I don’t think I would be able to compete and run the way I do as there are so many benefits to wearing their orthoses, even after you’ve taken them off. The carry-over from my
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KADEENA COX Double Paralympic Gold Medallist at Rio 2016 Gold Medallist in the T38 400m at the World Para Athletics Championships 2017
Kadeena uses a range of DMO products not just for her training but as an integral part of her day-to-day life.
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Learning Disability and Love Love is a many-splendoured thing. All you need is love! And that should be the case for everyone – but some people find the quest to meet their match harder than others. We find out more about the search for romance when you have a learning disability
hen Ciara Lawrence was younger, she was told that she wouldn’t be able to achieve much in life – she certainly wouldn’t get married. But in 2013, she proved that theory wrong when she walked down the aisle towards Mark. “When I got married, I knew I had Mark for life, I had the person I wanted,” Ciara says of their partnership. “I feel more settled. I’ve got everything I wanted now. I like having the same name as Mark as well, that’s really lovely.” Ciara has a learning disability, so the notion of romance seemed for her, at times, more difficult than most. This is a common theme for people with a learning disability – finding a partner, meeting
someone who understands your needs, and even the logistics of dating can be complicated when the way you understand the world is slightly different to the majority of the population. RIGHTS People with a learning disability are less likely to find themselves in sexual and romantic relationships, and just three per cent of people with a learning disability live as part of a couple, compared to 70% of the general adult population. A person with a learning disability has just as much right to look for a partner as anyone else – to feel the excitement of first dates and the thrill of falling in love with someone who truly understands you. But
they do face a few barriers, such as needing support to access the community and meet people, a lack of accessible sex education and a lack of understanding from other people. Issues like consent can cause concern too – but with the right support, a relationship is a possibility. “I’ve faced some stupid attitudes when I’ve dated, when people have opinions about me dating someone,” reveals Amy Clarke, who also has a learning disability. “If you tell people you’re dating someone, they aren’t always happy for you. I used to worry what people thought, but then I think, ‘If my brother’s engaged, why can’t I be?’ My family have been supportive, they let us just get on with things. They’ve always been all right with my boyfriends.”
I used to worry what people thought, but then I think, ‘If my brother’s engaged, why can’t I be?’
GETTING OUT Amy is yet to meet someone she’d like to settle down with – but she isn’t giving up hope. She’s dated on and off since her school days, but she’s still to meet the person for her. “I used to meet people out in clubs or pubs or through friends,” she says. “I go to events at my local Mencap, I go to socials. That’s how you meet people, by accident. I’d like to meet someone who’s nice, who’s similar to me and someone I can do things with. Someone with a good personality – Scottish, I love the accent – practical, down to earth, not bossy. Someone who has charisma – you can’t buy it.” With support – or without – people with a learning disability can access opportunities
to meet someone who ticks their boxes. From dating apps to websites, introduction agencies to friendship groups, there are lots of great organisations out there making dating more accessible, including newlylaunched Happily. Happily is the brainchild of Helena Reed, a charity worker who was inspired by her sister, who has a learning disability. “It was only when I was trying to support my sister that I realised how hard it was to meet people,” explains Helena. “I mean, it’s hard to meet people anyway in London, but when you have learning disabilities, it’s that much harder. I felt that there wasn’t much out there that was accessible to my sister. We started going on online dating websites and there are some apps. Later down the
line we tried a few introduction agencies as well. We did this for about three years – it’s quite a long process. But none of it was really appropriate or working for her.” Happily, which is a social enterprise, is a friendship and dating agency in London that supports people with learning disabilities. To join, you must be over 18, have a learning disability, be from the UK and pay a membership fee. You’ll undertake a face-to-face interview, be supported to put together a profile, and then matched up with another member who shares your interests and wants. “Once you put people together, whether they’re friends or more than that, the most important bit is supporting that introduction,” Helena explains. “Making sure that someone is there to witness the first meeting and make sure that no personal details are shared, just so that everyone is safe. That’s something that’s quite important.” Happily will also be offering workshops centred around relationships, sex and even breakups, to make sure that members are fully supported, informed and comfortable in their quest for companionship. LIFE CHANGING Ciara says that being part of a couple has changed her life for the better – even if being in a relationship isn’t always straightforward. “I know I have someone who understands me, knows I might need support sometimes, knows I might need a bit more time to understand things,” she says. “I know he won’t judge me. We share everything. We have ups and downs like any other couple, but we always talk things through.” And Amy is still hopeful that one day she can find the perfect partner too – even if she isn’t sure that the white dress and flowers are for her. “I used to think sometimes what it’d be like to be married,” she says. “But it’s difficult – I’ve never been married to know what it’s like. I don’t want to say never, but I don’t know. I’m open to seeing what happens. I hope to find someone nice.” i
FIND OUT MORE
Mencap www.mencap.org.uk 0808 808 1111 Happily www.happilydating.co.uk 0207 792 5026
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The trees are preparing to change colour, temperatures are starting to dip, and the days are getting that little bit shorter – autumn is on its way! So what activities are available across the country this season? We take a look
eats really hit the nail on the head with his ode To Autumn back in 1819 – there’s no prettier season here in Britain. As the trees turn shades of orange, red and yellow, leaves crunch underfoot and the cooler air is filled with that distinctive autumnal smell, there’s no better time to pull on your jacket, head out and enjoy the great outdoors. There’s plenty to do over the autumn months, and our parks and woods are brimming with activities to get involved with – that are accessible too. Whether you’re an adventurer or prefer to take life at a slightly slower pace, there’s something for everyone this season. WOODLAND WONDERS One of the biggest draws for autumn is the spectacular changes in the natural environment – and where better to explore it all than in the fantastic woodlands that decorate the country? Wooded areas nationwide can offer accessible routes and trails to help you get in amongst the trees and plant life. Do bark rubbings with your kids, collect leaves for a collage, go wildlife spotting, settle down for a picnic – there’s plenty on offer! As well as being a breath of fresh
air, a woodland walk can be an incredible sensory experience too – with crunchy leaves, ridged bark on trees, interesting smells and sounds, it’s a real feast for the senses. More and more woodland areas have pathways for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues, level paving and even wheelchairs and scooters for hire or loan, ensuring the whole family can get involved. You can search for woodland walks near you through the Woodland Trust website at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk, or check out Walks With Wheelchairs (www. walkswithwheelchairs.com) for details of accessible walking routes nationwide. If you’re looking to combine some outdoor exploration with socialising, check out the Disabled Ramblers for accessible, organised group walks across the country. The Ramblers pick out accessible routes, and they’ve got events lined up for September and October, including Angmering Park Estate and a ramble across the Solent Coast. You can find out more at www.disabledramblers.co.uk. EXPLORATION The UK’s National Parks are also worth a visit to take in the best of autumn. There
LIFE are 13 National Parks in England and Wales, and two in Scotland, and there are accessible activities and routes available in many. The Brecon Beacons park is home to 50 easy access routes, the Lake District has 48 Miles Without Stiles routes, the Peak District has 40 different accessible sites, while the Pembrokeshire Coast has 15 Walks for All routes. Guides are available to highlight accessible activities for people with different access needs – check them out at www.nationalparks.gov.uk. The National Trust and National Trust for Scotland offer the best of both – gorgeous outdoor spaces for when the autumn sun is shining, and an indoor escape if the weather turns! The National Trust have lots of beautiful properties surrounded by gorgeous gardens – and access is better than you’d expect at many stately homes and historic buildings, which are even more beautiful amidst the autumn colours. Check in advance for access details. Best of all, carers or PAs go free at National Trust properties – making for a very affordable day out. You can request an ‘Access for all Admit One Card’ which is made out in the disabled person’s name, and grants free entry to a carer – and there’s no restriction on taking the same person for every visit. Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
GET ACTIVE If you want to up the pace beyond a leisurely stroll, there’s lots you can get involved with. Go Ape (www.goape.co.uk) have got sites nationwide where thrillseekers can try out treetop adventure courses, zip trekking and forest Segway experiences. If you require support, call ahead to see if your needs can be met, or to book assistance – there are options for people with hearing impairments, visual impairments, learning disabilities and amputations, so get investigating. Elsewhere, the Calvert Trust’s three centres in England have got lots on offer for disabled adrenaline junkies! Their outdoor centres have fully accessible activities, ranging from hand cycling to rock climbing, kayaking to horse riding. You can book in for a midweek or weekend break, and each centre is accessible with brilliantly trained staff there to cater to your needs. Care support isn’t provided, so you’ll have to bring a friend, family member, carer or PA for day-to-day help. Discover what’s on offer at www.calvert-trust.org.uk. HEAD TO THE COAST The UK is home to beautiful beaches and coastal pathways that make for a fabulous day out. There’s nothing quite like the sea air to get you feeling refreshed
and rejuvenated! Beaches nationwide are improving access, with beach wheelchairs available to borrow or hire at more and more locations up and down the coast. Britain’s seaside towns are great for short breaks and holidays too during the autumn half-term – providers like Butlins (www.butlins.com) and Haven (www.haven. com) have holiday parks dotted across the country, and they have fantastic accessible caravans and chalets available too. So your access needs are catered for, you get to be beside the seaside – and you have a comfortable escape if the weather takes a turn for the worse! The country’s coastlines are also home to some wonderful wildlife. You can see bats, otters and even red deer out in the wild at this time of year. Grab your binoculars and embrace your inner ornithologist – in autumn, lots of birds will be migrating south for the winter, while others arrive in the UK for the colder weather. You can find huge flocks of waders on the coasts, and geese arriving from their Arctic breeding grounds. With so many accessible autumnal activities on offer, there’s no reason to stay indoors this season – let’s just hope the rain stays off…!
www.visitbritain.com VISIT ENGLAND www.visitengland.com/ accessforall VISIT WALES www.visitwales.com/ explore/accessible-wales VISITSCOTLAND www.visitscotland. com/holidays-breaks/ accessible
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AUTISM AND MENTAL HEALTH
KNOW YOUR NORMAL What’s it like to struggle with your mental health when you find communicating and understanding emotions more difficult than most? We take a look at the reality for young people with autism and mental health issues – and what needs to change
ental health is a hot topic right now. From royal campaigns to popular soap storylines, celebrities sharing their experiences to front-page news stories, as a nation, we’re becoming more aware of mental health and more willing to talk about it. But there’s one part of society who are struggling more than most. New research from Ambitious about Autism, the charity for autistic children and young people, has shown that four
out of five young people with autism have experienced mental ill health. Even more concerning is the fact that over three quarters say that, even when they aren’t experiencing mental health issues, they feel more under strain than their non-autistic peers. UPSETTING “The research itself was looking at how young people with autism normally feel, how they experience mental health issues, and what their experience is like of getting help around those,” explains Elizabeth Archer, policy and campaigns director at Ambitious about Autism. “In all three of those areas, our findings are deeply upsetting, frankly. Everything is set up for neurotypical people. And if you’re autistic,
you’re supposed to squeeze yourself in and control yourself in order to make systems work, rather than us saying, ‘I will make these systems work a little bit better.’” The research was the work of Ambitious about Autism’s Youth Patrons, a group of 18 autistic young people who work with the charity to help direct their work and ensure that it is relevant to them and their experiences. In October last year, the Youth Patrons decided that they wanted to investigate mental health – and so they worked with UCL’s Centre for Research in Autism and Education to find out more about other young people with autism’s experiences. “They wanted to make a change outside of the autism community and be heard,” explains Elizabeth. “They wanted to check that the experiences that they were talking about weren’t just their experiences – that they were typical of young people with autism. They also wanted to support young people with autism, like themselves, to feel more in control of their mental health, and more in control of being able to talk to professionals about it.” NO CONFIDENCE The Know Your Normal report, published in June, highlighted a number of worrying trends. Just 4% of survey respondents said that they were confident in knowing who to talk to if they were experiencing
It’s really hard to tell someone that you’re depressed and anxious – when you’re autistic, it’s doubly hard Elizabeth Archer, Ambitious about Autism
mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. Even more worrying still, over two-thirds say that if they did ask for help, they had little or no confidence that they would get what they need. “They were all saying that when they were talking to professionals, they weren’t being believed and they weren’t being understood – ‘You’re not depressed, you’re just autistic!’ Super offensive things like that,” Elizabeth says. “They wanted to raise awareness in the professionals that work with young people with autism every day, and the fact that being autistic and having a mental health issue are not necessarily the same thing, and the way that young people express themselves as autistic young people isn’t necessarily bad.” One of the things that many of the young people identified is that changes in behaviour are, for them, often an indicator that something is wrong. They highlighted that ‘normal’ is different for everyone – and commissioned an animation, which you can watch at www. knowyournormal.co.uk, to help people understand and recognise that when things start to get ‘abnormal’, something might be wrong. The young people created a toolkit which can be used by individuals to identify what’s normal for them when they are happy and well. That way, when things do start to change, they have evidence to take to their GP, a teacher or family member to help them understand that they need help – before it gets to crisis point. A massive 90% of young people with autism say that they aren’t comfortable talking to education professionals about mental health – so the toolkit can help them open up. 32
DIFFERENCE “It’s really hard to tell someone that you’re depressed and anxious,” says Elizabeth. “When you’re autistic, it’s doubly hard. “You’re not sure whether or not what you’re feeling is normal. You’re then being told that everything about you is different and that you should just get used to it. And they’re not as comfortable talking to other people about things that might make them emotional.” The Youth Patrons’ research has highlighted one major point – that things need to change for autistic children and young people, to ensure that they are healthy and happy. It is not acceptable to feel depressed and stressed. There needs to be better understanding and support available, and we need to work to tackle the stigma that exists around mental health and autism for young people. “We need to go back to how people access primary healthcare and primary support,” Elizabeth says. “Every GP’s surgery should be making adjustments.
Every single clinical commissioning group in the country should know, at the bare minimum, who has expertise in autism, who knows what they’re doing around autism, who knows what they’re doing in mental health – and ensuring that every GP in their area has that information so that when they have a young person with autism come in, they get sent to the right place. “At a really basic level it’s about not accepting that this is inevitable. It’s about using language that encourages people to come forward and ask for help. And when people do ask for help, it’s about hearing that and doing everything in your power to ensure that people get the right support.”
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Housing of the We’ve come a long way from dowdy one-size-fits-all care homes and impossible-to-convert homes. Here’s what’s going on to make life that little bit more accessible for disabled people nationwide
inding a home that meets your needs can be a struggle. Common problems include physical access, deciding whether or not you require support, choosing residential care over staying in your own home – there are lots of questions to be asked and answers found. Fortunately, life is getting more accessible for those exploring their housing options. From forward-thinking care providers to futuristic homes, there’s something for everyone when it comes to finding accommodation that meets your needs while maintaining your independence. TOP TECH Technology has been one of the biggest game changers in the world of accessible housing. Both in residential care facilities and in individuals’ homes, there are more and more gadgets and gizmos available on the marketplace to help them live as independently as possible. Systems like Canary Care and GrandCare monitor a person’s movement in their home, and allow family, carers or local authorities to log in and see if they’re up and about and adhering to their usual routine using sensors positioned around the home. These can be used in individuals’ homes or in supported living schemes, and it reduces the need for carers to go in and out throughout the day. Furniture and equipment is getting more high-tech too. From wash and dry toilets to robotic feeding machines, voice activated technology to smart equipment like fridges which monitor what’s in them and send you reminders when you’ve run out of milk, there’s so much out there. More and more can be controlled by an
app on your phone too. Smart thermostats, for instance, let you check the temperature of your home wherever you are, and you can set your heating to come off and switch on from your smartphone. This is good first of all from an access viewpoint, but also in terms of money saving. NEXT LEVEL Housing association and care provider Blackwood have been introducing some life-changing technology into their new Dundee development, taking their housing offering to the next level. The independent living scheme, which has care on-hand, consists of six flats built across two storeys – and each comes with lots of clever features to boost residents’ independence. “Our customers told us that they want to live as independently as possible,” explains Colleen Robertson, marketing manager at Blackwood. “The technology can enable
people to live in their own home, in their own neighbourhood, as opposed to residential care.” Each flat comes equipped with ‘pocket’ doors which slide open and shut at the touch of a button, disappearing into the wall. The blinds can be controlled by an app, the kitchens have rise and fall surfaces and cupboards, and a rise and fall stove. The bathrooms are adjustable, with a rise and fall sink and a remote-controlled Geberit toilet – so a carer can wait outside and control the automatic cleaning system. The most popular feature though is the Brompton Washscape – a washing maching that washes, dries and irons laundry! “Blackwood’s very own digitallyenhanced care system CleverCogs™ was a big focus too as it will play an integral part in the daily home life of the tenant,” explains Colleen. “Programmed to control things like the lights throughout the home,
The technology can enable people to live in their own home, in their own neighbourhood, as opposed to residential care
it also means that the tenant receiving care at home can stay in touch with their care provider at the touch of a button and have video calls with them too.” OUTSIDE THE BOX Providers are really starting to think outside the box when designing residential care homes and independent living schemes, building and adapting their services around the common needs of their client group and making changes to suit individuals. In September last year, the Abbeyfield Society opened a multi-million pound dementia care home with lots of clever design features to ensure residents are happy, safe and stimulated. The 60-bed Berkshire home is the result of years of research from Abbeyfield, and designed entirely with dementia in mind. Each resident has their own front door, letterbox and key, as well as a ‘window’ beside their front door containing a memory box filled with personal items to help them identify it as their own. The hallways also have adjustable lighting to help residents recognise whether it is night or day. Royal Blind in Scotland are expanding their services beyond their Edinburgh base, opening their first care home for elderly visually impaired people in Paisley. The new-build, which is opening in October, has been designed with visual impairment in mind, and features specialist lighting to reduce glare, hand rails to make moving
around easier, tactile signage, talking notice boards and a sensory garden. “It’s all been specially designed for people with sight loss, and all the staff will be trained from the very beginning in working with people with sight loss,” says the organisation’s Davina Shiell.
include details like window handle heights, circulation space and potential for fitting hoists. The idea is that people will be able to enjoy their home now, and stay there forever, adapting to their needs, rather than having to move when they get older. As technology – and thinking – within the housing and care sectors develops, more and more is being done to enable disabled people to live full and independent lives. The home of the future might not be to space ship standards – but it has got access in mind.
ACCESS FIRST Building design, like with Abbeyfield and Royal Blind’s new developments, is starting to come round to the way of access too, with the Lifetime Homes standards becoming commonplace for many developers and local authorities. i FIND OUT MORE In London, all local Blackwood authority housing www.blackwoodgroup.org.uk is now built to 0131 317 7227 the standards – a set of 16 design Abbeyfield criteria which make www.abbeyfield.com a house more 01727 857 536 accessible, and easy Lifetime Homes to adapt. www.lifetimehomes.org.uk The criteria
www.royalblind.org 0131 229 1456
www.canarycare.co.uk 01865 408 366
www.grandcare.co.uk 0161 241 1777
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EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
From finding a job to making yourself more employable, your guide to the world of work and learning
ACE THAT INTERVIEW
Top tips to help you wow your next boss
ON THE JOB
Two employees on the support theyâ€™ve received to get into work
There are pathways for everyone in the world of education
GET INTO WORK
The services and organisations supporting disabled people into employment
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
Looking for a job can be hard work – but, fortunately, there are lots of support organisations and schemes out there who can help you along the way. Here’s a list of some of the services worth checking out REMPLOY
www.remploy.co.uk 0300 456 8110 Remploy is a UK-wide organisation working to improve the lives of disabled people through the power of work. They offer interview coaching, support in searching for work, and also work with employers to help them support disabled members of staff.
www.shaw-trust.org.uk 0345 234 9675 Shaw Trust supports over 50,000 people a year, providing employment opportunities, skills development training, and health and wellbeing services nationwide.
www.mencap.org.uk 0808 808 1111 Learning disability charity Mencap’s Employ Me programme offers preemployment support, work trials and placements, support to find paid work, job coaching and employer support, to help people with a learning disability get into – and stay – in work.
ACCESS TO WORK
www.gov.uk/access-to-work 0245 268 8489 The government’s Access to Work scheme offers grants to employers to pay for practical support in the workplace – so keep this in mind when you’re job hunting. It’s there to help you start work, stay in work, or even move into self-employment and start a business.
www.gov.uk/work-choice Work Choice is a voluntary governmentrun programme to help you find and keep a job if you have a disability and find it hard to get into work. You can find out more at your local Jobcentre Plus.
with disability confident employers across the country. www.gov.uk/education/ apprenticeships-traineeships-andBUSINESS DISABILITY FORUM internships www.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk www.apprenticeships.scot BDF work with an array of big-name Apprenticeships offer a fantastic pathway employers to make sure that into the world of work, combining their businesses are disability work with training. You’ll get inclusive – so checking not only a paid job, but a out their member list is qualification out of it too – Remember a great starting point and apprenticeships are Don’t be afraid to search if you’re looking to becoming increasingly mainstream job boards for join a company which accessible for people work – you aren’t limited to understands disability. with support needs. specialist services, but this way, you are guaranteed EVENBREAK better understanding of www.evenbreak.co.uk your disability. 0845 658 5717 Evenbreak is an online jobs board which posts jobs from disability confident employers – the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, the BBC and John Lewis. It’s a great starting point when you’re searching for work, as you know all of the employers recruiting here are positive about disability.
www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentreplus In branches of Jobcentre Plus, you’ll get support on applying for benefits (both in-work and out-of-work), you’ll be able to apply for jobs, and in some places, you’ll find a Disability Employment Advisor, who will be clued up on different opportunities and support options in your area.
www.wearepurple.org.uk 01245 392 300 Purple is a relatively new organisation that’s bringing disabled people and businesses together. It’s the largest recruitment agency of its kind, working specifically to place disabled job seekers
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*. We’ve developed our award-winning supported internship study programme into a national model. Interns and Outcomes offers people with a learning disability, aged 18-24, 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 you’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 email@example.com 0808 808 1111 *Department of Health (November 2010) The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework 2015/16
ITV is the biggest commercial television network in the UK and behind every famous face, there are hundreds of others, all doing their bit to make things happen. We love telly, we’re passionate about content and most importantly we understand our audiences. As a growing international company, we’re commercially minded and have a global focus. We’re all about pushing the boundaries and being innovative. We are always looking for new talent. We have a range of great opportunities from Finance, Technology, News, Global Entertainment, Commercial, Marketing, Interactive, Research, Studios, Creative and much more
so whatever your interest, you’ll always be evolving and looking to the future. Just like ITV. So why not check out ITVJobs.com for our latest jobs or register via our database to create alerts so you are notified straight away when new opportunities come up. ITV is committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce and we strongly encourage applications from candidates from all backgrounds and as a Disability Confident employer we are committed to offer an interview to disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the role.
itv loves celebrating individuality
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH MENCAP
Employer attitudes mean people with a learning disability still face barriers to get into work Mark Capper, Head of Employer Engagement at learning disability charity Mencap, reflects on the barriers that still exist when it comes to employment for people with a learning disability
t is estimated that fewer than 6% of people with a learning disability known to social services are in paid employment. Since 2012, this woefully low figure has gone down. We work with thousands of people with a learning disability every year and from our experience, we know that people with a learning disability want to experience the joy and independence that comes with having a paid job. But, unfortunately, there are still a number of barriers that stand in the way – meaning that most people with a learning disability are missing out on being able to work. A large number of employers still don’t understand what a learning disability is and what people with a learning disability are capable of. This often means that negative attitudes are one of the biggest barriers that people with a learning disability face – employers simply don’t think people with a learning disability can, or want to, work. THE TRUTH In fact, the opposite of this is true. We work with thousands of people with a learning disability every year to offer advice, training and support. From confusing application forms to rigid interview processes, people with a learning disability regularly need support to help them navigate the often confusing and daunting job market. Earlier this year, Mencap commissioned research which highlighted how wrong this misconception can be, showing that having people with a learning disability as part of the workforce actually brings a whole host of benefits, including:
• Financial savings as recruitment and training costs are reduced as people with a learning disability typically stay in their jobs for longer and have fewer sick days • Better staff morale, with employers saying they see better workforce cohesion and increased company productivity • Improved company reputation as the majority of consumers say they’d prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities. DIFFERENCE We’ve helped jobseekers into a wide range of roles, from horticulture to baking to working with a Premier League football team. We worked with one job seeker with a learning disability last year to get his dream job at Kew Gardens as a horticulturalist. He’s since told us how much of a difference it has made to him to be able to earn his own money, learn new things and get a real sense of achievement. His manager there tells us
how he has become a ‘rock solid’ member of the team. Just like anyone else, having a job gives an important sense of wellbeing and lets you earn your own money to live independently. For people with a learning disability it can go even further, ensuring they can play a key role in a society that all too often excludes them. i
FIND OUT MORE
Find out more about Mencap and how they can help you in the world of work at www.mencap.org.uk or call 0808 808 1111
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
For more hints and tips on acing an interview, check out our chat with a careers advisor on our website, www.enable magazine.co.uk
There’s no denying that preparing for a job interview can be as daunting as the day itself. But enough prep and practice will have you acing any interview that comes your way
ou’ve applied for a job and got a call for an interview – now the real work begins. Preparation is essential to beat the anxiety and nerves that come with attending a job interview – and wowing your potential employer. PREPERATION Practice makes perfect as they say, and practice is an essential method to excel in an interview. Getting in touch with a recruitment firm or employment expert, like leading disability employment specialists Remploy (www.remploy. co.uk), or Shaw Trust (www.shaw-trust. org.uk), can be a great starting point for advice, coaching and even training. Before an interview, find out as much as possible about your prospective employer to understand what they do and what they expect from their employees. Doing your research comes across extremely well because it shows you have an interest in the company. Looking over the job description is also imperative. Doing this will familiarise yourself with the role, responsibilities, and gives you the chance to relate past experiences to potential tasks you will be expected to complete if you get the position – which your interviewer will ask about. Asking questions is also an important step. This will show you’re interested in the position; it also gives you the opportunity to find out more about the company. Remember, you need to know you will be fulfilled in the role so this is a great chance to ask about career progression.
but there are ways to ensure a potential employer remembers you for all the right reasons. Appearance is key during an interview, meaning it’s best to turn up in smart, sensible clothing. Whether you have an interview for a mechanics’ or in an office, if you arrive looking dishevelled and in old clothes, it paints the picture that you are disorganised and uninterested. DISABILITY-FRIENDLY Research? Done. Appearance? Looking sharp. Now make sure you know your rights. Candidates should not be discriminated against because of a
disability, meaning it’s important you understand what to do if this happens. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (www.equalityhumanrights. com) is there to support and give advice to candidates who feel they have been discriminated against. Offering free assistance, the commission provides information on benefits and how to discuss flexible working hours. Simple steps can make a big difference when it comes to impressing in an interview. Preparation, appearance and knowing your rights will ensure you can enter the interview room knowing you are the best candidate for the job.
APPEARANCE Did you know people make decisions about a person, based on appearance alone, in three seconds? Entering a room full of people you don’t know can be daunting, there’s no denying that, 42
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Positive action recruitment The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest and busiest teaching hospital trusts in the North of England, employing over 5000 staff and providing services to over 1 million patients each year. There is no doubt that the people working for and with the hospital are the key to our success and with a plan to build a new hospital and an application for Foundation Trust underway there’s no better time to join our team. We are committed to equality and diversity and to having a workforce and Patients Council that is representative of the local population. We have a range of opportunities and welcome applications from all communities.
For information on our Trust and current employment opportunities log on to the NHS jobs career website http:// jobs.rlbuht.nhs.uk/ and search for vacancies.
Employment Opportunities Over 100 careers paths – one employer Know what you want to pursue as a career, or looking for ideas? Interested in employment or placement opportunities? We recognise the value that everyone brings to our organisation. Through our ‘Job Interview Guarantee’ we will consider you on your abilities and guarantee an interview where you meet the essential criteria for the post. We have a wide range of jobs at entry and qualified level and offer great opportunities for career development – and much more. All our vacancies are advertised on: www.jobs.scot.nhs.uk More information on the initiatives NHS Lothian are involved in and details of our modern apprenticeships can be found at: www.careers.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk Come and see what we can offer for your career in healthcare.
Help and support towards
We find out how two individuals overcame barriers to employment with a little bit of help from specialist programmes
REBUILDING WITH REMPLOY When Monika needed help getting into work, she turned to employment specialists Remploy
hen 62-year-old Monika Thomas arrived in London from Pakistan aged 20, with her husband and small baby in tow, she didn’t speak any English and struggled to make friends. She spent years holed up in the family’s onebedroom flat, and later suffered a major trauma when one of her three children was killed in a car accident aged nine, 25 years ago, which led Monika to have a heart attack, severe anxiety, panic attacks and stress. Monika’s mental health has been a major barrier, and prevented her from getting out into work – that was until she contacted Remploy. The disability employment specialists helped Monika to rebuild her life, and with the support they offered, she’s managed to secure a job as a seamstress with London-based Fashion Enter. “I can’t work in a stressful environment with my condition, so it was hard for me to find a suitable job,” she says. “Remploy helped me a lot with my confidence and they gave me the encouragement and support I needed to get this job which I really enjoy! It makes me feel emotionally happy and I now have a great support network of colleagues and friends who know how to help me if I am feeling low.” Remploy work with people with various different disabilities, from physical health conditions to learning disabilities to mental health problems. From their branches, located nationwide, they offer pre-employment support and training, helping candidates identify their skills and potential, and provide help in looking for work too. Thanks to Remploy’s support, Monika is now thriving in her new job. Fashion Enter is a not-forprofit social enterprise which aims to be a centre of excellence for fashion production, while providing learning and development opportunities. They supply
major clothing retailers across the UK. Monika said: “I help to make all sorts of garments, from dresses and shirts to scarves and even babies’ booties. The styles are often quite different depending on the company order and I work on a variety of clothing which is interesting, it is a good challenge for me. I’m now a happier person and I have a seven-year-old granddaughter who is very intelligent and loves to sing – I really enjoy spending time with her and my family.” Jenny Holloway, director of Fashion Enter said: “Monika is quiet and unpretentious, with a really good heart. Initially, she was lacking in confidence but it has been an absolute privilege to see how she has grown and flourished. Now she is one of the best machinists in the fashion studio. It is important for us to give people an opportunity to succeed and Monika is doing really well with the company.” To find out how Remploy could help you, head to www.remploy.co.uk.
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
INTOWORK WITH NHS LOTHIAN Sometimes looking for work takes a bit of extra help, as 24-year-old Kieran found out
n August 2016, Kieran got started with Edinburgh Project SEARCH, a partnership between City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh College and Intowork, which provides employment and learning opportunities for people with a disability. He now works with NHS Lothian full-time as a domestic assistant. Kieran’s disability means that he can have difficulty expressing himself and taking in information. New situations in particular can be difficult for him. Before applying to Edinburgh Project SEARCH, Kieran had undertaken five different work experience opportunities and applied for countless jobs, but had never been successful in gaining employment. Kieran began Edinburgh Project SEARCH at the Western General Hospital site. He participated in three weeks of full-time induction, during which time he practised his teamwork and interview skills and undertook relevant training in manual handling and first aid. Kieran’s previous work experience placements had mainly been in catering. During his induction he reflected on his preferences for work and decided he was ready to try something different. In September 2016, Kieran began his first internship in domestic services, learning to clean rooms on a ward. He was supported throughout the internship by both Intowork job coaches and a domestic assistant ‘buddy’ who works for the NHS. Instructions were broken down and stepby-step, Kieran learned the many procedures involved in the domestic services internship. Kieran initially found it quite difficult to speak to patients and struggled with distractions in the busy ward environment. However, he worked hard throughout the internship, displaying a strong work ethic and good motivation. With support, Kieran improved his pace of working and became more comfortable communicating with patients and the team of staff. His department recognised his progress and potential and extended his internship with a view to offering him a paid position. In January 2017, Kieran began his paid post as a domestic assistant on backshift at the Western General Hospital. He has a supportive employer who was willing to help him to make a
Kieran has a supportive employer who was willing to help him make a smooth transition into his paid role from his internship smooth transition into his paid role. He was able to complete the last few weeks of his internship in his new ward, so that he could familiarise with the new environment and tasks. The job coaches worked alongside Kieran to help him learn to prioritise his tasks and manage his workload. He became increasingly independent and confident in his role. He has now almost completed his probationary period and has impressed his employer with his progress and dedication to the role. Kieran now warmly communicates with patients across the ward and manages his workload in an efficient and confident manner. He is very proud to have achieved his goal of securing and maintaining his first paid job. Find out more about Edinburgh Project SEARCH at www.edinburgh.gov.uk, or search for roles with NHS Lothian at www.careers.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk.
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
Learning Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Across the UK, educational organisations are going the extra mile to ensure disabled people can get involved. From evening classes to a degree, there is a path for everyone
earning is an enriching activity to participate in. Further learning welcomes people from all backgrounds and abilities to advance their education. Students can expect to be supported during their time studying, paving the way for new qualifications.
CREATIVITY Releasing your creative side is part of the parcel with education – UK-wide, the creative arts are embracing the skills of disabled students. The iconic Glasgow School of Art (www.gsa.ac.uk) supports students with a variety of disabilities to ensure they get the relevant assistance during their time in education. Similarly, London’s City Lit (www.citylit.ac.uk) run a range of creative courses for adults with learning disabilities, including performing arts, acting and performance, all the way to percussion orchestra – education is bursting with creativity.
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY One of the leading providers of further education is The Open University (OU). Offering a variety of different courses, over a time period that suits your individual needs, there is a degree or course for you. Depending on your ability, OU (www.open. ac.uk) offers comprehensive support and adjustments for students.
As it’s all distance learning, the majority of the course is done from home – so there’s less pressure, and access isn’t an issue. You may have to attend tutorials occassionally, but access is generally good. Many other universities offer distance learning options, so check out UCAS (www.ucas.com) or search online for opportunities.
GROUP SUPPORT As well as offering flexible learning options, OU has a disability group. The Disabled Student’s Group (DSG) is run by and for students with a disability, be that sensory, learning, physical or mental. And they’re not the only ones – universities and colleges nationwide offer groups for disabled students through their student unions.
AFTER HOURS Many FE colleges across the country and training centres offer evening classes, covering everything from A-levels to specialist interest classes like languages and wine tasting. Whether you get a qualification or not, undertaking learning like this in your own time always impresses employers. Search for courses in your area – and be sure to have a chat with them about your needs and requirements to make sure they can make adaptations to support you.
FUNDING When it comes to learning, it’s important to get the funding to support your studies. You may be able to apply for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) for further and higher education. To qualify for the support you must have a long-term health condition, mental health condition or a specific learnin difficulty undin di ers dependin on full or part-time study and does not need to be repaid – an extra helping hand to encourage more people to get into further and higher education. s education providers o er a wider variety of courses, more funding is made available and on-campus groups supporting disabled students appear, gaining new skills and ualifications is only a click away.
NORTHWEST WESTREGION REGION NORTH DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION
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The halow project supports young adults with a learning disability to live the life they choose as independently as possible. We believe that the young people we support have a right to the same life choices and chances as any other young person.
douglasbaderfoundation.com Registered Charity Number 800435
In the Driving Seat... halow aims to put young people with a learning disability in the driving seat and help them take control of their own lives by providing opportunities and support to: • make and meet friends through social activities • build confidence and life skills • access meaningful work and homes of their own halow currently supports over 170 young people (aged 16-35) throughout Surrey and the surrounding area.
Kyle “halow has been a big part of my life and has helped me a lot”
halow offers a range of activities including: • Social Activities • Parent2Parent • Building Futures • Buddy Service • A Reason To Get Up • Supported Living Please visit
www.halowproject.org.uk for more information or call us on:
Sarah “I really love halow because I have good friends and I know the halow staff really well” Gareth “Living with Buddy support from halow means that I have my own space which is important”
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Take control of your care and support
Employing a personal assistant If you use your direct payment, personal health budget or your own money to employ your own personal assistant (PA), Skills for Care has practical advice to help you recruit the right people.
www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iepahub Enable magazine SFC Sep Oct.indd 1
8/1/2017 9:51:57 AM
IN ASSOCIATION WITH SKILLS FOR CARE
ersonal assistants (PAs) support people to live their lives according to their wishes and interests. There are many benefits of employing a PA. They can give an individual more choice and control over the support they get – they work for you so you can decide what you want them to do and when you want them to work. Being able to find, recruit and keep good PAs means individuals will have the right support when they need it. New research from Skills for Care explains the ‘secrets of success’ to employing PAs.
Employing personal assistants According to nearly 1,000 individuals, the best ways to recruit and keep good PAs are to: • employ someone you know • ask for recommendations from other individual employers • ask for advice from support organisations, such as social services • be clear about your needs up front, and • be seen as a good employer.
Employ someone you already know The most successful way to find PAs is to employ someone you already know such as a family friend, neighbour or someone who has previously worked for you via an agency. One parent said: “I employ PAs who have previously worked with my daughter in a school setting, who already know her and have an understanding of her complex medical needs.”
Find the right ‘fit’ The Skills for Care research highlighted that employing someone who’s the right ‘fit’ was more important than employing someone with previous care experience or qualifications. One individual recommended: “Don’t just look for someone with care experience, look for someone who communicates well.” This means ensuring that PAs have the right values or ‘soft skills’ through the recruitment process, and then developing their skills and knowledge through training.
Carers who care New research from Skills for Care explains the best ways to find PAs who really care
Be clear about your needs
• treat PAs with respect • be flexible This comes hand in hand with ensuring • pay well and on time that you’re seen to be a good employer • create a pleasant working environment and being clear up front. • show your PAs that you appreciate One individual told us: “Ensure you them. know exactly what you’re looking Skills for Care has funding for and advertise accordingly for adults over 18 who so there are no surprises GETTING employ their own PAs on either side.” through a direct payment STARTED or with their own Skills for Care has lots of Being a good money, to pay for resources to help make your employer training which might role as an individual employer include courses around To be a good easier. Visit www.skillsforcare. topics like ‘being a employer, individuals org.uk/infohub where you good boss’. suggested you should: can read the full research Find out more about • ensure that you report. the funding and apply at have good lines of www.skillsforcare.org.uk. communication
Exercise is an important part of keeping fit and healthy – but living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can make exercise difficult. That’s why the MS Society has launched their MS Active Together campaign, alongside exercise videos, to showcase the benefits of staying active. Having been active prior to diagnosis, Gabrielle Adjei explains how exercise encourages her to be strong enough to fight her condition
Getting ACTIVE together Q
Tell us about your journey to being diagnosed with MS. At first it wasn’t picked up as MS – I was diagnosed with endometriosis. MS was the third diagnosis after I lost the vision in one of my eyes when I was driving. When my legs started going from underneath me a couple of months later, they started different tests and took me to hospital. Then they eventually diagnosed me with MS. It didn’t really change my life – it was quite a relief to know what was happening to me.
What do you do to maintain an active lifestyle? I normally swim three times a week and I go to the gym a couple of times a week. I don’t allow myself to become too relaxed – I would rather be out there doing something. Swimming keeps me mentally and physically strong and prepared to fight my MS.
How has swimming helped you? I’m in a wheelchair so getting in the water is like a freedom for me. I get out of
Getting in the water is like a freedom for me
my wheelchair for an hour and I can relax in the water; have a little bit of fun. It’s not an MS group [that I attend], it’s just a group with lots of people. It’s just fun.
who doesn’t like to stay in the house. Do something rather than nothing to prevent your body seizing up. Even if you do a little – a little is better than nothing. When you’re in a situation READ MORE You took part in the of having a condition like To read Gabrielle’s full MS Active Together MS and you can’t see interview and watch the videos – what was that outside and see how MS Active Together videos, visit the Enable website, like? other people manage, www.enablemagazine. There are various different you feel a bit rubbish. co.uk ones depending on your You think, ‘Why me?’ and level of mobility. I obviously there are violins, but if you did the wheelchair one. I actually see other people in the same know Dom [Thorpe, who specialises position as you and they’re doing in working with people with MS] from it, it motivates you to get involved more. before, and he was my personal trainer. The exercises are accessible. It’s not me jumping up and down, it’s me doing exercises at my level.
How do you think the videos will help people with MS get active? MS affects everyone very differently. It’s an individual thing. Just doing what you can helps. You don’t have to be like me
For anyone wanting to get active with you ca take the first ste s with the ociety s ew e ercise ideos available at www.mssociety.org.uk/ MSActiveTogether
At present, more than 85,000 people are residing in Britain’s prisons – and it’s estimated that 36% of them have a disability. So what’s it like to be disabled and serving time? Enable editor Lindsay Cochrane found out
Disability behind bars P
rison isn’t a holiday camp. We all know that. People sentenced to time in jail are there for a reason – they’ve been found guilty of a crime deemed too serious to be punished with a fine or community service. You’ll live in a restricted space and your entire day will be planned out for you, in an under-staffed, over-crowded, out-dated building. It’s hard for anyone. But what’s life like for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and physical disabilities who are currently in prison? DIFFICULT “I think it’s very difficult,” says Ryan
Hardman, an information officer for the Prison Reform Trust (www. prisonreformtrust.org.uk). “Life is difficult enough at the moment for everyone [in prison], but if you add in difficulties getting around and doing basic daily living things, accommodation which isn’t practical – it isn’t wheelchair accessible, it lacks the space to do the more difficult things, you can’t get to the library or education. If you have a learning disability which might affect comprehension, you’re in a system which is baffling at the best of times.” According to estimates, over a third of the prison population in England and Wales have a disability. And, Ryan says, the actual figure could be much higher. “Disabilities can be so wide-ranging and
difficult to pin down,” he points out. “There was an estimate of 36% of prisoners having a physical or mental disability, which came out of an MOJ study in 2012. By now, that will almost certainly be more. The biggest trend we’ve seen over the last few years is an ageing population – the over-60 population is by far the fastest growing, and social care needs are going to be growing too.” COVER UP Some inmates hide or cover up their disability too. They might see it as a sign of weakness – disabled prisoners are more likely to be targeted by fellow inmates than those without a disability – or want to keep a low profile. But this can prevent them
Prisons were made ith the o n , fit and healthy adult male in mind – they’re not well designed for their main purpose, let alone for people who have extra needs
in the community, I couldn’t get a single social service to take responsibility.”
from participating fully in prison life, and accessing the facilities and services, like education, that aid their rehabilitation. “We heard from one guy a few times last year – it was quite heart-breaking to read his letters to us,” Ryan says. “He simply had difficulties using the communal showers. He was concerned about the danger of slipping, hurting himself, but for the most part it was guys in the queue behind him giving him hassle about how long he was taking. “I remember a few years back trying to get social services to respond to a man in his mid-90s in a London prison. He was incontinent, he had dementia, he was hugely frail and really struggled to move around. Just because he was homeless
DUTY While there’s no suggestion that people should be having a good time in prison, they should be looked after at a basic level. Prisoners still have rights. And if you have a disability, illness or other requirement, Her Majesty’s Prison Service have a duty to make sure that you’re catered for. Changes brought in with the Care Act mean that the social services department for the local authority where the institution is located must take responsibility for the care needs of inmates – regardless of their living situation in the community. This, Ryan says, is a step in the right direction – but there are still problems. He says: “We’ve still got a little way to go, and part of that is because the prisons still have to identify people first and so much disability is hidden.” However, progress is being made in individual prisons. The Prison Reform Trust are seeing more and more prisons introducing a ‘buddy’ system where members of the general prison population are paired up with disabled inmates to help them with their day-to-day requirements. “Obviously they draw the line at things like intimate care, but it’s about trying to get people out of their cells, active, doing some sort of activity, be it work or something more recreational, and making sure that they have access to things in the same way that everybody else does,” Ryan says. “Obviously, prisons were made with the young, fit and healthy adult male in mind. A lot of the buildings are ancient.
They’re not well designed for their main purpose, let alone for people who have extra needs.” CHALLENGES Research estimates that seven per cent of the prison population have a learning disability – completely disproportionate to the figure for the general population, which is two per cent. And people with a learning disability face additional challenges in a very bureaucratic environment, dominated by rules and paperwork which are difficult for most people to understand. “The Prison Service is making more of an effort to translate stuff into easy read,” Ryan points out. “It’s not quite there yet, but that’s quite high on our list of recommendations. All this information should be available in easy read.” With current staff levels, prisoner numbers and funding, life for disabled prisoners isn’t going to be getting easier any time soon. But, with an ageing prison population and ever-increasing number of inmates with support needs, something needs to change. “One of the things that we have been saying for quite a long time, and we’re not alone in this, is that there needs to be a national strategy for the prison service to deal with older people in prison, and the social care needs that come with that,” Ryan says. “Everywhere you go, someone needs to unlock a gate for you – it means that you just don’t have the same access to things that you normally would. And that’s before you add the challenges of disability onto that. I do think it’s a very, very difficult situation to be in.”
Can you help brothers and sisters stay together?
Childcare Time experience
Talk to us about Adoption or Fostering
0300 555 1384 Visit hants.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering @HantsChildren
Road to Adoption Adoption is a wonderful and daunting journey, and it can differ from family to family. Opening the door to new possibilities for a whole family, what happens when you decide to adopt a child with additional needs? One mum shares her family’s journey so far
ll children deserve the right to be raised in a nurturing and loving home with a family that wants to give all the care they can. Sadly, for some children, it can take time before finding their forever home – but agency ARC Adoption go the extra mile, uniting children with loving families to ensure they get the best start in life. PROCESS “You must be married, you must have a certain level of income, you must be in employment, you must be a certain ethnicity – these are all myths. The bottom line is, we need to make sure children are going to be safe,” explains director of ARC Adoption, Terry Fitzpatrick. “The majority of people who come
on board with us are people who are interested in adopting from the harder-toplace category.” Children can be harder to place because they are over the age of four, have siblings, come from difficult backgrounds, or have a disability. ARC Adoption work tirelessly to place children with the right family, whilst going above and beyond the call of duty to offer continued support to families long after the adoption process has been completed. Understanding what is right for a child, and for families, is imperative to ensuring a placement that is right for everyone involved in the process. AS Empringham* and her husband adopted their son, Leo*, who has additional needs. Their journey – similar to that of many families who
PERFECT MATCH “We got a phone call about this little boy and on paper, he was a very poorly little boy, probably wouldn’t do very much, wouldn’t amount to very much,” continues AS “He was non-verbal, he doesn’t make eye contact, he doesn’t cuddle, and it just painted a very bleak picture.” After being provided with information about Leo and his condition, the couple were unsure if they could provide for his needs. “We sort of read Leo’s information and spoke to a social worker for a little bit and we just said it wasn’t for us; we can’t take this child on. We both agreed that we weren’t good enough to care for this child,” explains AS. As Leo was three at the time of adoption, it was clear this little boy was a fighter. AS and her husband had previously been
There was just something magical about him – all that dark information on the paper just melted away and we knew we could look after this little boy rejected from several adoption agencies prior to placing an interest to adopt with ARC Adoption. With over 100 combined years of experience, ARC Adoption work to bring families together. The process of adoption can be long, filled with background checks, social work visits and interviews to determine a person’s motives to become an adoptive parent. As daunting and intrusive as it sounds, everything is done to ensure the best interests of the child. “The process is the same for a family who go on to adopt a child with a disability as a family who adopts a child with no overt needs. There will be tailored elements of it if you understand at an early stage that people have a particular interest in taking a child
that has a particular disability,” says Terry. FOREVER FAMILY Another common myth when it comes to adoption is that the refusal of a child will exempt you from future matches – this is not the case. “People don’t need to feel pressurised to accept the first option that comes along. It’s got to be right for them and it’s got to be right for the child,” adds Terry. Despite initial apprehensions, when AS met her son, she knew it was the right match. “Leo was playing in a little ball pool and he had the biggest, darkest, most incredible eyes, and it was absolutely love at first sight,” she says. “There was just something magical about him – all that dark information on the paper just melted away and we knew we could look after this little boy.” Having recently celebrated their first year together as a family, AS explains: “There have been hard and really dark times... We would do it again in a heartbeat.” AS urges other families considering adoption to apply. Research is an important part of the process and not being afraid to ask for advice. “Almost play naivety when it comes to getting information at medical appointments. Adoptive parents Google everything so I often feign naivety and say can we start again, and I think doing this helps a lot to get a better understanding of Leo’s condition,” she concludes. With the support of their agency, AS, her husband and now their son are all very happy. Leo has settled into his forever family – and there could be another child out there waiting for you to bring them home. To find out more, get in touch with your local authority or an adoption agency like ARC Adoption to find out how you could expand your family – and give a child a second chance at happiness. If you’ve got love to give? There’s a child out there who’s ready to take it.
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on the adoption process or to register your interest to adopt, visit ARC Adoption at www.arcadoptionne.org.uk or call 0191 516 6466
*NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT IDENTITIES
have adopted a child – was filled with highs and lows. AS explains: “Like everybody, we came into the process wanting a zero-day-old baby with no problems, no issues, nothing at all. That’s not what we got, but it was a journey in itself to decide that that wasn’t what we wanted.” Leo is now nearly five and has polymicrogyria, a condition affecting the brain so severely that babies are not expected to live past the first 30 days.
Turning down the volume for
AUTISM HOUR Shopping centres are a hub of activity, noise, crowds, and bright lights. It can cause sensory overload – especially for an autistic person. October will see the first nationwide week-long Autism Hour event take place to make shopping an experience everyone can enjoy
The National Autistic Society on Twitter to get regular updates on the Autism Hour, @Autism
places to start actually thinking about how accessible they are and what they could be doing to take that first step to becoming more autism-friendly,” explains Tom.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION Bright lights and loud music can cause difficulties for autistic people whilst shopping, but the National Autistic Society’s revolutionary Autism Hour is set to change all that. As part of the Too Much Information campaign, launched in April 2016, NAS is on a mission to change public understanding of autism so that autistic people, and their families, have better experiences in public. “We need a first step to becoming autismfriendly, for places to understand the small things they could do that would make a big impact for autistic people and their families,” says head of campaigns for the National Autistic Society, Tom Purser. Taking the idea of a ‘quiet hour’, already trialled by big-name retailers like Asda, Tesco and Toys R Us, the Autism Hour will allow autistic people to go into their community without experiencing sensory overload. Through the success of previous quiet hours, the week beginning 2 October will see businesses across the UK introduce an Autism Hour – and it is hoped the initiative will spark an annual event. “What we wanted to do was have a big national movement, across a week, so that we could use that as a way of encouraging as many
ACCESS FOR ALL A recent study from the National Autistic Society revealed that 79% of autistic people and 70% of parents felt socially isolated, and 64% of autistic people and their families avoid going out to the shops. Attitudes towards autism need to change in order for autistic people to feel comfortable in public environments, such as shopping centres. Karen Hood, from Forfar, is mum to Eilidh and Corrina – both girls are on the autism spectrum. Taking her daughters shopping has had its difficulties, and due to limited knowledge of autism it has caused judgment. “Both my girls have had meltdowns when out shopping – Eilidh gets very upset and cries, and Corrina gets aggressive. There have been occasions when both have had meltdowns at the same time. That’s incredibly difficult to deal with, especially when people make comments about them being spoilt, or out of control,” says Karen. During the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, retailers involved will take simple steps to make their space more accessible for autistic people, like Eilidh and Corrina. “What we’re asking for is four main things. We’re asking all businesses to: turn down any music and reduce noise in-store; dim bright lights or rely on natural light; share information about autism with their
usinesses across the UK are set to provide better shopping experiences for people on the autism spectrum during the National Autistic Society’s inaugural Autism Hour event. Retailers will take simple steps to make shopping more accessible.
staff so staff are able to support customers in any hour; then help customers better understand by helping promote the Too Much Information campaign in the week around our Autism Hour,” details Tom. AUTISM HOUR Simple steps made to ensure autistic people have an enjoyable experience can make such a difference. Karen remembers: “One day when Corrina was very upset in a supermarket, a member of staff came over and asked if we were OK. I explained that she is autistic, and he offered her some bubble wrap. That really helped to calm her down. It was such a small thing but it made a huge difference to us both.” The National Autistic Society has been overwhelmed with the number of establishments who have signed up to take part in the Autism Hour, with the initiative launching at 14 intu shopping centres across the UK. Alexander Nicoll, intu’s corporate responsibility director, says: “We want to demonstrate that the Autism Hour is going to both make autistic people more comfortable in our centres, but also demonstrate to retailers that it can be done without affecting a business. This isn’t a one-off for us; we already train staff to be autism-aware and offer autistic customers support to plan and prepare their visit. We plan to hold more autism hours as part of our regular approach.” Understanding of autism through the Too Much Information campaign and Autism Hour will encourage better knowledge of autism so Karen, Eilidh and Corrina – like many other families – will be able to enjoy shopping without any difficulties. Tom concludes: “We hope, in simple terms, that it creates a moment where [autistic people] can access parts of their community that they may currently find difficult to access because of things like a lack of public understanding or a lack of sensory environment.” With reduced noise, dimmed lighting, trained retail staff and information on autism made available, more community spaces will be available for those on the autism spectrum and their families. If the event proves to be a success, the National Autistic Society is committed to ensuring their Autism Hour is an annual occurrence. Shopping is an activity that should be accessible to all the family. Autism Hour will help spread awareness of autism and associated behaviour so more people can go out and treat themselves to something special from the shops – just like everyone else.
e nee a fir t tep to ecomin a ti m rien , or p ace to n er tan the ma thin the co o that o ma e a i impact or a ti tic peop e an their ami ie
om r er, he ationa ti tic ociet
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on The National Autistic Society visit, a ti m or Find out what stores in your local intu centre are taking part at int ro p co
DIARY 14 SEPTEMBER
KIDZ TO ADULTZ SCOTLAND
PIC: © KIDZTOADULTZ
Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk One of the largest free exhibitions for children and young adults with disabilities, Kidz to Adultz are heading to Scotland with over 100 exhibitors ranging from legal help to sports. Meet the experts, check out new products – and stop by and meet the Enable team too! Register for free tickets online now.
DISABILITY AWARENESS TRAINING COURSE
105 Judd Street, London www.rnib.org.uk This awareness event, organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), will provide understanding and appreciation for various disabilities. Professionals or those with close experience of disability are welcome to attend the event to gain a clearer understanding of disability. Tickets cost £49.99 and can be purchased through Eventbrite, www.eventbrite.co.uk.
LEARNING DISABILITY BIG HEALTH EVENT
Charis Centre, Crawley email@example.com The Big Health Event 2017 is returning to West Sussex for another year to spread awareness of various health issues. This year’s theme is: ‘We need to talk about cancer screening.’ Everyone is invited to attend the free event to promote early cancer detection for people living with a disability to know the signs of the disease. Food and drink will be provided throughout the day. To register your attendance, head to www.eventbrite.co.uk. 4-5 OCTOBER
INDEPENDENT LIVING SCOTLAND
SEC, Glasgow www.independentlivingscotland.org This independent living and disability lifestyle event is a must-attend for those in the central belt of Scotland. With exhibitors from a range of different fields, from motoring to mobility products, furniture to support services, this is well worth checking out. Head online to register for free tickets.
23 SEPTEMBE R
ONE BIG DAY
Royal Highland Centre, Edinburg h www.motability.co .uk Motability’s succes sful One Big Day ev ent is heading north of the border to show case the best in accessibl e motoring. At the Royal Highland Centre, yo u can check out m ore than 50 cars from 13 different manufactu rers, discover more than 30 mobility scooter s, find out more abou t vehicle adaptation s, test-drive cars and meet the experts fro m the Motability Scheme and partner organis ations like Kwik Fit and RA C.
IMPROVING LIVES: AUTISM AND LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester www.openforumevents.co.uk Professionals and members of the third sector working with people living with learning disabilities are called to attend the Improving Lives: Autism and Learning Difficulties conference. Filled with guest speakers, the conference will be a get-together of likeminded individuals and there will be a host of benefits for attending. Tickets for the event start at £160 for members of the charity sector.
Hyde Park, London www.forcrohns.org firstname.lastname@example.org Dedicated Crohn’s charity forCrohns are calling on enthusiastic walkers or runners to join in their 10k event. You can be involved in raising money for vital research into Crohn’s disease whilst enjoying the picturesque 10k route. Applications are still open and there is a minimum sponsorship of £20 per person aged 16 or over. The family event will include live music, entertainment and food.
If you have any events coming up in November or December, email us at
email@example.com with the details for inclusion in next issue’s diary.
Get inspired at Scotland’s largest independent living event
Inspiring care for older and disabled people
4 & 5 October 2017 SEC Glasgow
Join us and discover the perfect products to suit your needs or the needs of those you care for. With over 100 companies you’ll find everything from daily living aids to advice from a host of industry experts. Free Entry and Free Parking* for all visitors. Visit independentlivingscotland.org for more! New for 2017: Sally Magnusson, renowned journalist, broadcaster and Playlist for Life founder will open the show! Alzheimer's Hub • Autism Awareness Hub • Energy in Scotland Area • Lifting, Moving & Handling Area • Ability Fest Pavilion
Register for FREE tickets at www.independentlivingscotland.org *(Excludes multi-storey car park)
Join us at One Big Day Find out everything you need to know about the Motability Scheme at One Big Day Over 55 cars from 20 different manufacturers
Over 30 scooters and powered wheelchairs
Over 25 adapted cars and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
Over 35 cars available to test drive including 18 fitted with adaptations Free entry, free parking and a FREE tea or coffee in a fully accessible indoor venue
Royal Highland Centre Ingliston, Edinburgh EH28 8NB
Saturday 23 September 2017 9am to 4pm Find out more at motability.co.uk/onebigday or call 0800 953 7000 Please quote MO713C * To test drive the cars you must bring your full UK driving licence and sign our test drive declaration on the day. Full Terms and Conditions can be found at motability.co.uk/onebigday. One Big Day is organised and hosted by Motability Operations Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
RENAULT Sleek new looks are complemented by a stylish interior for the seven-seat Renault Grand Scenic. There’s also a host of safety kit to make it a tempting choice against crossover rivals. But what’s it like on the road? Alisdair Suttie took it out for a spin
The ‘Grand’ part of this Renault’s name is the key to its appeal, as it denotes the seven-seat version of the French MPV range. Laid out in a 2-3-2 design, it affords plenty of flexibility when it comes to varying the number of people you carry with luggage. With the third row pair of individual seats folded flat into the boot floor, there’s more than enough room for a folded wheelchair to fit as well as other bags. Where the Grand Scenic lets itself down is the amount of space for those in the third row and the versatility of the middle seats. This model may be 23cm longer than the standard Scenic, but legroom in the rearmost chairs is limited for adults. This can be improved by sliding the middle bench forward, but that compromises knee room there. Also, the central three seats are divided 60/40 rather than as three separate sections, which is a hallmark of truly great MPVs. However, the Grand atones for this with loads of storage spaces spread throughout the cabin that total some 56.5 litres, so you should never be short of somewhere to stash a water bottle.
Driving There’s no shortage of choice here, but we’d avoid the 115- and 130bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrols unless all your driving is around town, as they lack punch at higher speeds. The 1.5 turbodiesel is a much better bet and can be had with manual or automatic transmissions, a d also with ybrid ssist to o er e e lower fuel consumption and emissions, though it’s restricted to the manual gearbox option. For anyone using all seven seats, the 130and 160bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel is the best o tio but either is as refi ed as the smaller 1.5 unit. There’s little noise from the large 20-inch wheels and the ride is supple too, but plenty of body lean and dull steering peg back the Renault from being class best in this area.
Equipment The range starts with the Expression+ that has 20-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air conditioning and a seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment that includes Bluetooth hands-free connection for mobile phones. It also comes with Active Emergency Braking to warn of and avoid low-speed collisions. To this, the Dynamique Nav adds satellite navigation with voice control and music streaming facility. You also enjoy parking sensors front and rear, a fatigue alert that tells the driver when to take a break and the Multi-Sense driving mode selector to tailor the way the throttle and steering respond. Multi-Sense also comes with ambient cabin lighting that changes colour with whatever mode is chosen. Next is the Dynamique S Nav with head-up display in front of the driver, rear parking camera and a panoramic glass roof. The Signature Nav tops the range with LED headlights, electric adjustment for the front seats and picnic tables for the rear passengers.
The Grand has loads of storage spaces throughout the cabin, totalling 56.5 litres – so you’ll always have somewhere to stash a water bottle Summary As an alternative to a large estate car, the Renault Grand Scenic works well, but as an MPV, it’s outdone by the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.
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.
Motability Customers The Renault Grand Scenic is available on the Motability Scheme, starting from your total weekly allowance plus £1,995 Advance Payment. o fi d out more about otability head to www.motability.co.uk or call 0300 456 4566.
hether you’re struggling to get out of your car or hanging out of your window waving your blue badge to get someone’s attention, a trip to the petrol station isn’t always the most straight-forward experience. Disabled drivers have had trouble for years when it comes to refuelling, whether they’re having difficulty gripping the pump or simply can’t get support from staff to fill up their car. It’s not out of the question to ask for help at a petrol station, but sometimes stations will only have one member of staff who can’t leave the building – putting you in a difficult position if you physically can’t get out of your car without help. Fortunately, some organisations have recognised this, and are offering some useful new services to make the process easier.
ALERT Contacta, for instance, have developed the MyHailo – a small fob which you keep in your car and press when you arrive at the station to let them know you’re there. Selected stations will have a receiver which lets staff know that you’re there and need help. The attendant will push a button to let you know they’re on their way, and they’ll be out to help as soon as they can. Head to www.myhailo.co.uk to find out where the system is available, and to purchase your fob for just £14.95. There’s a range of useful apps out there too. Petrol stations across the country are signed up to fuelService (www.fuelservice.org), which lets you alert petrol stations of your arrival via phone, text or through the app. It lets you know before you get there if there are any staff available to help – you just need to notify them that you’re planning on coming, and they’ll see if there’s anyone about to help in the next 30 minutes, beating the problem of only one member of staff being on the floor. Similarly, assist-Mi (www.assist-mi. com) is an app which lets you alert petrol station staff that you’re on the way. It goes beyond filling stations though, as you can communicate your arrival with a range of different businesses and see if your needs can be met – all actioned in real time.
REFUEL WITH CONFIDENCE If you have a physical disability, refuelling your car can be a struggle – but it doesn’t have to be, with these handy products and services
HANDS-FREE For hands-free refuelling, turn to the Pump Pal (www.pumppal.co.uk). This handy plastic clip is great for people who normally struggle to grip the petrol pump. The clip, which retails at £9.99 RRP, is available in a range of colours, fits onto any pump, and holds the trigger in place – so you don’t have to worry about your hands slipping. Refuelling doesn’t have to be a hassle. With all of these great services on the market, and plenty more to come in the future, that’s another barrier to car ownership broken down.
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Disabilities and illnesses come in various shapes and forms, and sometimes they aren’t even visible. Thousands of people across the UK are living with debilitating chronic pain, having seizures or worrying about going to the toilet – all whilst looking healthy and able-bodied. Lorne Gillies investigates the discrimination people living with hidden disabilities face
Not every disability is VISIBLE M
any define disability as something visible – use of a wheelchair, visual aid, or hearing aid. In the UK there are millions of people living with a disability, with public knowledge of various conditions becoming more widespread. However, there are also thousands living with an invisible illness, like chronic pain, cystic fibrosis or depression, which can be harder to understand. INVISIBLE ILLNESS “I think people still look at you as if you’re absolutely fine and there’s nothing the matter with you,” explains Ruth Adley, who has lived with Crohn’s disease for over 30 years. “Yes I do look fine but [people] have got no idea what goes on inside every day. When I take my dog for a walk, I start panicking – am I going to get round without having to go in a bush or ring another doorbell?” Crohn’s disease, alongside ulcerative colitis, is an inflammatory bowl disease (IBD), which affect around 300,000 people in the UK. People with IBD can experience periods where they are in generally good health, known as remission, or flare-ups where various symptoms – such as needing to use the toilet urgently – are more prominent. Ruth says: “I’m 61 now and I was diagnosed when I was 25… It was only about 10 years ago I got myself a Radar key. Before, I had been knocking on strangers’ doors to use the toilet.” Such urgency to use the toilet has seen Ruth face discrimination when using accessible toilets, as she does not have a visible problem.
During a visit to Wimbledon two years ago with her sister, who also has the condition, Ruth had to go to the toilet desperately. “We saw the disabled toilet and my sister went in first and people were looking strangely, she came out and I went in when someone said, ‘There’s nothing the matter with you, why are you using it?’ in a horrible tone,” Ruth recalls. “It makes you feel really small because they’ve got no idea what it’s really like. I don’t think I’ll forget the Wimbledon experience. It was such a lovely day and that ruined it.” DISCRIMINATION Unfortunately, many people living with a hidden illness have experienced various forms of discrimination – not dissimilar to someone with a visible disability. Claire Jones has experienced such negativity due to her epilepsy. Living with seizures has seen Claire’s working life affected through stereotyping of the condition. Despite 600,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK alone – that’s one in every 103 people – misconceptions of the illness are still easily made. “There is a lot more to epilepsy than people first think. It isn’t just a case of how many [seizures], as it varies. I have clusters, so I could have five days with seizures and then a two week gap,” explains Claire. “When I’m in a job interview, I always disclose my illness and then there’s that attitude towards someone with an illness. It is difficult.” Having spent almost 20 years furthering her education or volunteering, Claire feels recent changes to the benefits system is detrimental
When I’m in a job interview I always disclose my illness, and there’s that attitude towards someone with an illness. It is i c t
to people living with an invisible condition. “I really do feel I am not entitled to anything with the new benefits system, because the style of questions want to see if you can walk, talk, and wash yourself,” she says. “If you can do all this then there’s nothing wrong. The assessment completely discriminates against epilepsy and there are now pressures for financial help. It also intensifies coping methods and people don’t understand that – it all goes hand in hand.” Employment is an important part of anyone’s life, and feeling safe and supported is vital to a happy career. Fortunately for Ruth, she has not been
discriminated against during her working life, thanks to working with family, supportive employers and an increased awareness of the disease. OPENING DIALOGUES Living with a hidden disability can be difficult and, at times, lonely. Volunteerled charity forCrohns (www.forcrohns.org) provide a buddy system for people living with Crohn’s to meet new people and feel supported. Ruth, who is the bookkeeper for the charity, explains: “What a lot of people do say [when they speak to the charity] is that they don’t know anyone with Crohn’s, they feel quite alone.” Opening a dialogue
for people living with an invisible illness is important to end discrimination. Epilepsy Action (www.epilepsy.org.uk) supported Claire through her time trying to find work, and during assessments where she has left disheartened. “An invisible condition makes it harder to prove your condition or your case,” says Claire, who has had several accidents due to her blackout seizures, making work a health and safety concern. Claire hopes that a new parliamentary group for epilepsy will pave the way for improved knowledge of epilepsy. Living with a hidden disability can be difficult due to lack of understanding and discrimination. From Ruth and Claire’s experiences, and that of many more, it’s clear that more still needs to be done to support the thousands of people in the UK living with an invisible illness.
FIND OUT MORE
For more information on epilepsy, please visit Epilepsy Action at www.epilepsy.org.uk forCrohns is a dedicated charity raising awareness for Crohn’s Disease alongside funds for research, www.forcrohns.org
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PROSTHETICS, ORTHOTICS AND MOBILITY
THE NEXT GENERATION The world of prosthetics, orthotics and mobility aids is advancing with incredible speed, and disabled people worldwide will only benefit. We take a look at what the industry has to offer
hought-controlled limbs, computerised knee joints, robotic suits enabling people to walk again – it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but all of this is available on the marketplace today, giving people with a range of disabilities a renewed sense of freedom and independence. Prosthetic and orthotic devices, wheelchairs and mobility aids are all becoming more and more advanced, offering more variety, increased range of movement and more versatility. “The future within prosthetics is certainly geared towards maximising the potential for natural movement, allowing
the individual to wear their prosthesis for longer and ensure their mobility is pushed to its full potential,” says Emma Gillespie, head of prosthetics at Ottobock, one of the world’s leading prosthetics companies. “We are incredibly proud that our technology is becoming increasingly accessible to potential users in the UK; for example, thanks to recent NHS funding for microprocessor-controlled knees, our C-Leg 4 is now available to many hundreds of people living with limb loss every year. We see this as an industry game-changer as it is the first time such an advanced prosthetic solution has been made available through NHS funding.”
CUTTING EDGE Ottobock have been at the cutting edge of prosthetic technology for years now, introducing the world to smart ankle joints, lifelike prosthetic hands, and knee joints operated with microprocessors. “The bebionic hand has transformed the lives and abilities of amputees around the world,” says Emma. “With 14 different grip patterns and hand positions, the bebionic is designed to handle almost anything the wearer would do in an average day: from eating meals and carrying bags, to opening doors, switching on lights and typing.” Prosthetics that ‘feel’ are in the works too, identifying touch, as well as hot and cold. Ottobock’s range of lower limb devices are also breaking ground, with pioneering knee and ankle joints. “The Genium X3 is the world’s most technologically advanced microprocessor knee,” says Emma. “With this technology, we have reached the most natural gait possible and more physical capabilities than any other prosthetic leg. The X3 is made of corrosion-resistant materials and designed for military use which makes this leg durable, waterproof up to three metres and virtually impenetrable by dust or dirt. “The Empower ankle is the only prosthetic ankle available on the market for above and below-knee amputees offering powered propulsion for highenergy support in every step. It mimics muscle functionality when the wearer walks, propelling the foot and the body forwards and resulting in a more physiological gait pattern.”
FIND OUT MORE Ottobock
www.rewalk.com ADVANCES One of the most exciting advances in the field is that of targeted muscle reinervation (TMR). This is a surgical procedure for upper limb amputees that redirects nerves that were originally used to control an amputated limb to a new muscle group. “After a TMR fitting, the patient controls their prosthesis using up to six different thoughts about natural movements,” Emma explains. “For example, simply think of making a fist or closing your hand, and the corresponding muscle will be activated, with the associated signal then closing the prosthetic hand. Using this groundbreaking technology, several prosthetic movements can be carried out at the same time, quickly and intuitively.” The world of wheelchairs is also moving forward. Using strong yet light materials, they’re getting easier to transport and are less likely to sustain damage. We’re seeing sleeker designs, ‘off-road’ wheelchairs for adventurers, all-terrain chairs, tighter turning circles, longer-lasting batteries for powerchairs – and scientists are even experimenting with the idea of thoughtcontrolled chairs. The conventional wheelchair is being turned completely on its head. Japanese firm WHILL have totally rethought the wheelchair, ‘challenging today’s mobility conventions’ to come up with state-of-the-art four-wheel chairs which can take on any terrain, with rotating arms which help you sit closer to tables and extend your reach, and it’s compact too, making it easy to move. Elsewhere in the world of mobility, robotic ‘exoskeletons’ are becoming lighter, more streamlined and accessible to
The future of prosthetics is geared towards maximising the potential for natural movement, allowing the individual to wear their prosthesis for longer and ensure their mobility is pushed to its full potential the public. They may be a bit space-age in their appearance, but these mobility devices have the potential to change lives for people affected by paralysis or muscle weakness who might currently use a wheelchair to get around. Suits produced by the likes of Rex Bionics and ReWalk are enabling people to get up and get moving. Rex Bionics’ offering is completely self-supporting while the ReWalk requires crutches, but both let people get up and walking. As technology advances, experts say that we may be at a point where a suit like this could be worn under your clothes. MAKING WAVES The field of orthotics – artificial devices which are used to support, align, prevent or correct the function of different parts of the body – is making waves too. “Our most ground-breaking product is by far the C-Brace Orthotronic Mobility System which, for the first time, brings technology developed in the prosthetic world – Ottobock’s ground-breaking C-Leg microprocessor-controlled knee – into the orthotic arena,” says Denise Witman, marketing manager of orthotics at
Ottobock. “C-Brace can potentially be used by those suffering from any neurological condition involving the lower limbs and is particularly well suited to those who have suffered trauma or have incomplete paraplegia following poliomyelitis or postpolio syndrome. It’s the first ‘swing-phase’ control orthosis, which means that the computer and sensors inside the device control the leg in space – just like the advanced prosthetic leg.” Orthotic devices like this are changing lives every day – but there’s one client group which is requiring more and more support. Thanks to advances in medicine, an increasing number of people are living with the impact of a stroke – and orthotics are having to keep up. The specialists in the field are constantly working to help make life easier for those affected. With so many fantastic products on offer now, and even more life-changing developments in the pipeline, it’s a really exciting time in the world of prosthetics, orthotics and mobility products. Devices which are readily available now are making a huge impact – which means the next decade will have even more to offer. The future’s looking pretty bright.
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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
IOMI FOOTNURSE SOCKS
Sock Shop, from £8.99 (www.sockshop.co.uk/iomi) IOMI Footnurse health and wellbeing socks are designed to aid feet and manage symptoms of a number of complaints, including oedema, lymphedema and fluid retention. From gentle grip, cushioned-foot diabetic socks to socks for below-the-knee amputees, there’s a fantastic range of products worth checking out.
PANOVA WHEELCHAIR LIFT
Panova, POA (www.panova.biz, 01482 480 710) The Panova Wheelchair Lift is proving popular with homeowners, OTs and architects alike. Discreetly concealed in the floor when not being used, the lift will safely and quickly carry a wheelchair user over a set of steps. It can be installed indoors or outdoors and is available in a wide range of sizes and finishes to suit.
Smirthwaite, price from £300 (www.smirthwaite.co.uk, 01626 835 552, firstname.lastname@example.org) Smirthwaite’s new height-adjustable desks are perfect for home or school. Each desk has a sleek and modern heightadjustable design, and adjustments can be made at the simple turn of a handle. Change to the desired height easily and simply – ideal when there are multiple users of the table.
EXPERIA SENSORY CART
Experia, £2,790 inc VAT (www.experia-innovations.co.uk, 0800 612 6077) The Sensory Cart from Experia has been designed for dementia patients to help them relax and de-escalate from upsetting situations – perfect for care home environments. The cart has a built-in DVD player and screen, LED bubble tube, tactile fibre optic sideglow, LED projector and Bluetooth amplifier speakers. Also suitable for people with autism, ADHD and learning disabilities.
DRIVE DEVILBISS EXPLORER SCOOTER
Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, POA (www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk) The portable scooter has gone to the next level with the Explorer. This new addition to the popular Scout range from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare is described as ‘the portable scooter with a spring in its step’, designed to deliver the optimum combination of performance, comfort and style. Find your nearest stockist through the Drive DeVilbiss website.
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Hi Lo Table
Arthritis affects over 10 million people in the UK, yet itâ€™s still widely misunderstood. We discovered how arthritis can be one of the most debilitating conditions, completely altering a personâ€™s way of life
Life with 74
dmit it – arthritis is something many of us would often associate with our grandparents. Would you expect a young, healthy and active 31-year-old to be diagnosed with a form of arthritis so debilitating it has affected all aspects of their life? Probably not, but it does happen. That’s why Arthritis Research UK is working tirelessly to find new treatments to prevent people’s conditions from degenerating, and giving them the ability to maintain and improve their independence. DIAGNOSIS There are estimated to be 200 different musculoskeletal conditions – arthritis, which affects 10 million Brits, is the umbrella term more commonly used by doctors to detail inflammation within a person’s joints. Diagnosis is the first stage in controlling the condition. Whilst pregnant with her first child, Amy Patterson was diagnosed with seronegative arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis. At only 31 years old, the diagnosis has altered Amy’s way of life drastically. “I think my experience of it has been incredibly challenging – physically and emotionally, I would say. It’s a struggle for me at the moment – everyday life and family life, work life, social life,” says Amy. Living with an aggressive form of arthritis has altered Amy’s ability to carry out daily tasks – a fact that might not generally be associated with arthritis. TREATMENT Finding the correct treatment is different for each patient, and it’s essential for controlling the condition. “Diagnosis for someone with arthritis is really important, as they want to take control of their condition. If you have inflammatory arthritis, it’s important that you receive the correct support, including advice on the best medication, to help control the inflammation,” explains head of research liaison and evaluation at Arthritis Research UK, Dr Natalie Carter. “We’ve done research that suggests the best way to treat inflammatory arthritis is to give people drugs to control it in the first 12 weeks. If that is possible and it happens correctly, you can essentially get some people to the point where they’re not experiencing any severe symptoms of arthritis – it’s almost like turning the clock back.” This is, however, a rare occurrence due to the progressive nature of arthritis –
The real issue with arthritis is that it is under-recognised as a condition and people almost apologise. Actually, it can be a very severe condition and can have a serious impact on your quality of life Dr Natalie Carter, Arthritis Research UK particularly rheumatoid arthritis. “I’m now on the full range of treatments that I could be on. I have been on methotrexate since December and that hasn’t really been working so I have recently started on a course of biologic Simponi injections,” says Amy. LIVING “I was working full-time, five days a week, and extra hours before I was diagnosed, and I now only work three days. That’s the impact it’s had. I just can’t do five days, it’s too much,” adds Amy, whose life has changed drastically in recent years. Since diagnosis, Amy’s condition has impacted on her mobility when it comes to work, playing with her young son, and putting a strain on relationships. “It’s the fatigue that comes with it as well. The kind of arthritis I’ve got, from the rheumatoid family, the inflammatory nature of the condition means that you’re constantly tired even if you’re not really doing anything,” adds Amy. When it comes to some disabilities it’s well-known, and appreciated, that every day is different. One day your condition is manageable and other days moving out of bed is the greatest hardship. Arthritis is no different. Some days, Amy has to walk with crutches and it can be from either increased pain or simply because she is so tired. With no clear public knowledge and representation of the condition, arthritis is often overlooked when it comes to living with a disability. “The real issue with arthritis is that it is under-recognised as a condition and people almost apologise. Actually, it can be a very severe condition and can have a serious impact on your quality of life,” adds Dr Carter. “It’s important to talk about that, and it’s important that we’re funding research that can change that in the future. i
We know that, considering the number of people that are affected by arthritis in the UK, it is really quite under-resourced when you compare it to some other things. We would like to try and change that.” Although a debilitating condition, accepting that arthritis changes your life in certain ways is crucial to learning how to live with it. “I would say don’t let it get you down. You can only do what you can do – if you can do what you can do and that’s your best then on that day, at that time, your best is good enough,” says Amy. “Don’t give yourself a hard time. I spent months giving myself a hard time about what I can and can’t do any more, and it just exhausts you when you’re already exhausted.” Arthritis Research UK continue to investigate treatments to further understand the different types of arthritis. As work progresses, it’s hoped that one day a cure could be found for some types of the condition. The debilitating nature of arthritis needs to be recognized and better understood. We need to forget about the common stereotypes associated with the disease – it’s time to look deeper into the condition, and get better support for those affected.
FIND OUT MORE
ore i formatio o di ere t forms of arthritis is a ailable o the rthritis esearch website www.arthritisresearchuk.org or you ca ho e their hel li e o 0800 5200 520.
Planning If you’re the parent of a child with a disability, you’ll perhaps have a certain concern playing at the back of your mind – what happens to them when you’re no longer here? We take a look at legal provisions to ensure their safety and security
hink of the future. Maybe ten years down the line. Where do you see yourself and your family? For many, this is a happy picture, of expanded families and new adventures. But for some parents of children with disabilities, or people who care for a disabled family member, the future is something full of uncertainty and worry. Loss of parental responsibility when your child turns 18, who’ll support them as you start to get older yourself, what happens after you die… There’s a lot to take into consideration to make sure that they’re cared for and supported, financially, emotionally and physically. Whether your child has a learning disability, physical requirements or a specific medical condition, their welfare is always going to be paramount. But not being able to support them is a huge worry for parents and carers nationwide. CONCERNED “Families are concerned about how they
will continue to support their child with financial, health and welfare decisions after they turn 18,” says Kathryn Sykes, a lawyer specialising in wills, trusts, probate and service for vulnerable people at Pickup and Scott Solicitors in Aylesbury (www. pickupandscott.co.uk, 01296 397 794). “Legally, at that age, parental responsibility ceases and the parents no longer automatically have legal authority to make decisions on behalf of their child. They are also concerned about how this support will continue when they get older.” Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool which allows an individual to give authority to make certain decisions about them to the people that they trust. This means you could manage your child’s finances, and make decisions relating to their health and welfare. The Court of Protection, on the other hand, is a special court which makes decisions on financial or welfare matters on behalf of people who can’t make decisions at the time that they need to be made – and a Court of
Protection order gives you the power to make such decisions. “If the child has an EHCP [education, health and care plan], then the parents will have the authority to make some welfare decisions while this is in place,” explains Kathryn. “However, in order to have full authority to make decisions on behalf of their child, then either a Lasting Power of Attorney or Court of Protection order needs to be in place.” INHERITANCE Thinking further ahead, many families have concerns about what happens when they’re no longer able to support their child due to old age, or even when they pass away. Many are tempted to leave money to their child in their will, to ensure that they’re looked after. But this can do more harm than good. If a person inherits a lump sum, this can affect any means-tested benefits or care funding. There are also worries about the beneficiary being taken advantage of or not having the capacity to handle such sums of money. “If your vulnerable child ends up inheriting from you, or anyone else, this money becomes theirs,” explains Kathryn. “If they do not have the capacity to manage it then either Lasting Power of Attorney or a Court of Protection order is required to look after that money. The money would also be included in any means-tested assessment – so they are likely to lose their means-tested benefits and care.” To address this, you can look into setting up a Vulnerable Person Discretionary Trust. A trust is a formal way of letting someone
Arranging a trust gives people reassurance that they have done everything they can to make sure their child will be looked after when they are gone else hold onto and control the money intended for your child. “A trust is a protective legal framework to look after assets,” Kathryn says. “Trusts come in two basic forms – fixed interest and discretionary. Under a fixed interest trust, the beneficiary is entitled to receive a specified benefit – such as income arising on the trust assets. With a discretionary trust, you have a group of beneficiaries who can all potentially benefit but are not guaranteed to do so, they only benefit at the discretion of the trustees.” WISHES You can either pick someone you know to act as a trustee, or use a specialist trust organisation, lawyer or accountant – but note that they will charge for this service. Whatever you leave to the trust, whether it’s money or property, is controlled and distributed by the trustees. To ensure that the trustees follow your wishes, you can
include a ‘letter of wishes’. “A letter of wishes is a non-legally binding document that sets down instructions for the trustees about how you would like them to administer the trust,” Kathryn explains. “You can include things like, ‘If my son is ready to move into supported living, I express the wish that my trustees use the funds within the trust to buy a property for him to live in that can be adapted and accommodate any live-in care,’ or ‘I would like you to pay my son £X a year from the trust.’” To arrange measures like these, get in touch with a specialist lawyer with experience in working with vulnerable people to find out more about the next steps. Solicitors for the Elderly is an organisation which specialises in older client law, but has expanded their services to cater for vulnerable clients too – they can offer a list of solicitors with experience in this arena who can help out. “Peace of mind is the main thing my clients take away with them,” Kathryn adds. “The reassurance that they have done everything they can to make sure their child will be looked after when they are gone. “In order to protect your child’s inheritance, you need to take steps during your lifetime. It cannot be fixed afterwards.” i
FIND OUT MORE
Solicitors for the Elderly
www.sfe.legal SFE is an independent, national organisation of lawyers providing special legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
The Law Society
www.lawsociety.org.uk Search for legal professionals in your area through the Law Society.
Mencap Wills and Trusts Service
www.mencap.org.uk/willsandtrusts 0207 696 6925 s well as o eri g semi ars o wills and trusts, learning disability charity Mencap has a wills and trusts service which helps families put a trust in place.
Loneliness does not discriminate against age, race, gender or ability. As more disabled people in the UK face disproportionally high levels of loneliness, charities are working to tackle the issue of isolation amongst the disabled community
We have far more in common than that ” which divides us Jo Cox
esearch from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has revealed that staggering numbers of disabled people feel isolated because of their disability. Partnering with Sense, the national deafblind charity, research has revealed that disabled people in the UK are still being marginalised by other members of society – in part because of lack of understanding. LONELINESS The figures show that one in four Brits admit to avoiding conversation with a disabled person – a staggering number ignited by a lack of knowledge and fear of offending, which has sparked an increase in loneliness amongst the disabled community. Being diagnosed with Usher syndrome – the most common genetic form of deafblindness – at 16 years old, Ellen Watson has had periods of loneliness. “I’m sure you remember, but when you’re that age, your freedom and independence, to do what you want, get away from your parents, is the most important thing in the world,” recalls Ellen, now 22 and getting ready to start a work placement with the House of Commons. “While my friends were gaining that freedom, mine was just stripped from me and I couldn’t leave the house on my own or anything like that. I think post-diagnosis was my trickiest point, definitely.” Ian Capon has congenital rubella syndrome and has also experienced loneliness in his life. He says: “I regularly
I would rather someone talk to me and get it a bit wrong and I explain the right way to go about things over avoiding me completely ELLEN WATSON
The number one thing for me is to see that connectivity within the community, enabling greater participation and involvement IAN CAPON
SPOTLIGHT Penny Mordaunt MP at the report’s launch
Rachel Reeves MP
feel lonely. I see very few people. Sometimes if the weather is bad and there is not much happening, I can be indoors on my own, never hearing from or seeing anybody.” Many people in the UK have an all too familiar relationship with loneliness, which is why the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness (www.jocoxloneliness.org) has stepped in. STARTING CONVERSATION Sense is an active participant in the Commission, working to break down barriers – their theme was spotlighting loneliness amongst disabled people. The research found that a quarter of disabled people feel lonely – a huge number. Alongside the research, Sense released their Someone Cares if I’m Not There report, detailing different experiences of loneliness people have had. It is important to remember that loneliness is not the same for everyone. “There is the quote from Jo Cox that says: ‘We have much more in common than that which divides us.’ I think this is a really powerful quote, and I think it’s just about highlighting those situations that can indirectly cause loneliness without people realising and just encourage people to make connections,” explains Sense policy manager, Sarah White. “If people are avoiding interaction because they don’t want to cause offence or they feel uncomfortable, then it’s about giving people the confidence to step out and realise they have got something in common with everyone.”
Leading a coalition of 21 disability charities, Sense are raising awareness of loneliness through social media channels and taking their report to Parliament. “We launched that report at a parliamentary reception. That was for all of the charity partners coming together and we had a number of speakers from some of the different organisations speaking about their experiences of loneliness and disability, alongside MPs and members of the House of Lords,” says Sarah. MORE IN COMMON Eagerness to change attitudes towards disability and encouraging a conversation is the first step to making sure there are no longer high levels of loneliness. Ellen says: “I became really quite depressed and lonely [post-diagnosis]. Thankfully that didn’t last forever, but it was a very tricky time, it was a very dark place.” But it was during her reintroduction into society where Ellen saw some challenges. She feels more understanding of disability is crucial. “What I love so much about what the Commission is doing in terms of raising awareness is that it’s not putting anyone on a pedestal – it is simply trying to show there is no need to overthink interactions with disabled people because it really is as simple as initiating a normal conversation,” she adds. Community is also important in tackling loneliness, and it’s through Ian’s community that he ensures he does not experience long spells alone. Volunteering in his local Oxfam shop and running his own radio
show helps Ian to interact with others. He says: “Working at the radio has helped to combat loneliness quite a lot because you get to know the listeners, they get to know you. We’re always talking to each other on the phone when they ring in. It’s good to have that connection really. It’s quite nice.” Ensuring facilities are available for a disabled person in the community is important to alleviate levels of loneliness and getting people to interact with each other. “It’s finding the right sort of activity where disabled and able-bodied people can participate on an equal basis. The number one thing for me is to see that connectivity within the community, enabling greater participation and enabling more involvement,” adds Ian. If more opportunities become available, and more disabled people feel comfortable and confident in joining groups and speaking out, the barriers of loneliness could be broken down. “I would rather someone talk to me and get it a bit wrong and I explain the right way to go about things over avoiding me completely,” says Ellen. Starting a conversation is the first step towards integrating everyone into the community and preventing unnecessary loneliness – we are all people, after all.
FIND OUT MORE
Get more information on the Someone Cares if I’m Not There report online at www.sense.org.uk/loneliness
Jasmine Stacey is an inspirational young woman designing lingerie for women with stomas, stretch marks and scars. Her own journey with Crohn’s disease inspired Jasmine to create the Jasmine Stacey Collection, encouraging women to feel confident, sexy and feminine, whatever their health needs
Jasmine Stacey Collection Q
What inspired you to start designing lingerie? The Jasmine Stacey Collection came about because I had surgery five years ago. I had all of my large intestine and rectum removed, so I’ve got a permanent ileostomy. I had the surgery because of Crohn’s – when I was in recovery afterwards I hit rock bottom. I hated how I looked, I hated everything about the fact it had changed my body image and I hated the fact I felt alone. I decided, instead of all my hatred towards myself I would just start designing something that would make a difference and try to make something of it, rather than let it be a burden. How has your experience of Crohn’s helped you when designing? With the bag, obviously I live with it day-today so I know how it does affect [a person]. When I am designing for the collection, I have support in mind, intimacy, and sex as well. I factor in all those things and the struggles I went through getting underwear I could buy on the high street.
Do you have to be conscious of what material you use? For me I just go for the softest kind of silk satin because it is easy to expand. I have to think, obviously, that the bag is going to get bigger throughout the day when you go to the toilet. It has to be a certain type of fabric that’s able to expand.
What reaction have you had from customers? It has been amazing. It just makes them feel more empowered because if you wear horrible underwear you tend to feel horrible, so if you’re wearing nice underwear it gives you that confidence boost. One customer said she never looked at herself in the mirror the whole time [she had a stoma]. She got my underwear and looked at herself in the mirror and actually took a selfie. She said, ‘That’s the first time I’ve done that since I’ve had a bag.’ Makes me emotional [laughs].
DON’T MISS… To read Jasmine’s full interview, visit the Enable website, www.enable magazine.co.uk
PICS: © DAN K PHOTOGRAPHY
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Any future plans? There will be a 2017 winter collection. I’m designing it all at the moment and figuring out all the different things because I want to get it into department stores, so I’ve got to have a manufacturing process which is reliable and can be used. It’s one of those things that I just don’t want it to be a taboo anymore. It puts you in a position when you’re dating because nobody really knows about it, and when people ask they don’t get it. If there is more awareness it eases off anyone who is young and dating with a bag and they’re not in a stigmatized category of having [a stoma]. Keep an eye on the Jasmine Stacey Collection website for Autumn/Winter 2017, www.jasminestaceycollection.co
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