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enable Forget can’t - think can!

the Scottish issue


Accessible Scotland The ultimate guide to days out and activities

PUTTING DOWN ROOTS Housing options in Scotland


GET ACTIVE Disability sport opportunities for all


LIBBY CLEGG The Paralympian shares her Scottish highlights



SEASON 2016 | 17

Opera: music, costumes, set. We want you to experience it all. And with our audio-described performances and Touch Tours, you can.

Glasgow | Edinburgh | Aberdeen | Inverness For dates and more information, call Iona Jack on 0141 248 4567 or go to Registered in Scotland Number SCO37531 Scottish Charity Number SCO19787

Scottish Opera is core funded by



the Scottish issue PUBLISHER Denise Connelly

EDITOR Lindsay Cochrane EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTOR Rachael Fulton DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Emma Goodman SALES Dorothy Martin ADMIN Lisa McCabe Brought to you by the team behind Enable Magazine

ENABLE MAGAZINE DC Publishing Ltd, 200 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG

enable Forget can’t - think can!

the Scottish issue


Accessible Scotland The ultimate guide to days out and activities

PUTTING DOWN ROOTS Housing options in Scotland


GET ACTIVE Disability sport opportunities for all


LIBBY CLEGG The Paralympian shares her Scottish highlights




Tel: 0844 249 9007 Fax: 0141 353 0435


Hello, and welcome to the very first Scottish issue of Enable Magazine! We’ve seen huge success with the UK-wide edition of Enable, which goes out across the country every other month. But, being from Scotland ourselves, we know that our small country has a lot to offer – so we thought it was high time that we celebrated everything that makes Scotland great with a special edition of the magazine. Our Scottish issue is jam-packed with inspiration on things to do here in Scotland and places to visit – all with access in mind. If you’re a keen explorer, check out our guides to Glasgow and Edinburgh, where you’ll find loads of ideas for days out and activities, as well as restaurants, bars and places to stay. You’ll find it from page 10 onwards . If you want to venture to some of the country’s more picturesque locations, check out our pick of the islands on page 18, or see some of the best accessible activities on offer in the Highlands on page 23. You’ll not be disappointed by what they have to offer! Scotland is home to some great events too, from T in the Park to the Royal Highland Show – and the organisers are going the extra mile to make sure disabled patrons can get in on the action too! Get the lowdown on page 20. Scotland’s not just a great place to visit and explore – it’s a fantastic country to live, work and learn in too. We’ve taken a look at housing options and support north of the border, plus we’re looking at how you can expand your learning and found out about the organisations helping people with disabilities get into work. And that’s just scraping the surface of our debut Scottish issue – there’s loads more to get involved with! I really hope you enjoy this Scottish issue– if you like what you’ve read, you can get top class articles like these every other month from the main Enable Magazine too, meaning you don’t have to wait a whole year for the Scottish edition. Find out more about subscribing at subscribe, or call us in the office on 0844 249 9007. So what are you waiting for? Turn the page and get stuck in!

Lindsay Cochrane, Editor



18 Island hopping Scotland is home to hundreds of beautiful islands - we pick out our favourites.

24 Day and night Whether you’re a daytime dweller or a night owl, there’s plenty of accessible activities on offer across Scotland.

50 Local hero Blogger Eilean Stewart talks fundraising, hobnobbing with the royals and what makes Glasgow shine.

©DC Publishing Ltd 2016. 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 Publishing Ltd. The publisher takes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers within the publication. Every effort has been made to ensure that information is accurate; while dates and prices are correct at the time of going to print, DC Publishing takes no responsibility for omissions and errors.

What’s inside © Getty images



18 Explore 10 Access Glasgow Scotland’s largest city is jampacked with things to do and places to visit. We round up some of the best.

15 Access Edinburgh The nation’s capital is a fantastic place for a day trip or even a longer holiday – and there’s lots of accessible things to do!

18 Island hoppers With hundreds of islands decorating the coast, there are lots of beautiful offshore destinations for you to explore.

23 Access Highlands Head north for some fun days out – we’ve picked out some of the best activities

26 Spending a penny Getting out and about is one thing – but if there’s no accessible toilet facilities, life can be difficult.

Independent living 34 Housing options: putting down roots Scotland is a brilliant place to live – so what are your options?

36 ILF SCOTLAND The fund that’s making a difference.

Sport 29 Get into sport We find out about getting sporty in Scotland with Scottish Disability Sport.

Social Scotland plays host to a huge variety of festivals, events and things to do. We’ve rounded up the cream of the crop.

Enable - The Scottish Issue |

32 Rio 2016: the ones to watch We take a look at some of the Scots athletes hoping to make it on the plane to Rio this summer.

People 6 My Scotland Athlete Libby Clegg shares her Scottish favourites.

8 Euan’s Guide to getting out and about Euan’s Guide founder Euan MacDonald talks about the site’s success.

41 Charity sportlight: ENABLE Scotland

Carers 38 Caring about carers Carers Trust tell us about the new legislation that’s offering Scotland’s carers improved rights, support and opportunities.

Work and learning 46 Back to class Want to boost your education? Scotland is home to some of the best centres of learning in the world. We find out how you can boost your qualifications, whatever your needs or ability.


The organisation tell us about their current campaigns and projects.

One care provider tells us how they’re supporting service users

50 Legless in Glasgow

24 Day and night


We caught up with reps from some grassroots sports clubs to find out about getting active at a local level.


20 What’s on?

Whether you’re more of a daytime dweller or a night owl, there’s plenty to get involved with, from safari parks to pubs.

30 Sporting chances


Blogger Eilean Stewart talks about fundraising, royalty and why she loves her home city.

48 The support network The local and national organisations and support schemes offering disabled people and carers a boost in the world of work.

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She’s a two-time Paralympic silver medalist, Commonwealth gold medal holder and firm fan of the country where she spent her formative years – Scotland! Sprinter Libby Clegg, who has a visual impairment and moved to the Scottish Borders from England aged 12, shares her favourite things about our country


Edinburgh is Libby’s

favourite city

MY SCOTLAND What was it like growing up in Scotland? I had the best of both worlds. I was at boarding school in Edinburgh Monday to Friday and came home to the Borders at the weekends. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, and it’s really easy to get around. But at weekends, being in the Scottish Borders – I loved being outside. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere, you have to make your own fun! I normally go home around Easter time – the smell of the grass, I love it. It reminds me that the lambs are on the way.

What’s your favourite place in Scotland? Probably Edinburgh. It’s so pretty. It’s a really beautiful city. It’s clean. It’s easy to get around – in terms of cities, it’s really small. Everyone is really friendly.

You attended the Royal Blind School – what was that like?


I loved it. When I started I was quite worried – I was quite ‘mainstreamed’ up until that point, so going to a special school was quite nerve-wracking. I quickly made friends with lots of children who were like myself though. I was in my element!

Where did you train in Edinburgh? I trained with Edinburgh City, and it was amazing. I loved training with the club and they were brilliant with me. I never had any problems there. I loved the training group that I was in.

Glasgow 2014 must have been quite special for you – what was it like competing in front of a home crowd at Hampden? It was amazing. People try and compare it to the Paralympics, but it was totally different. It was a complete home crowd. I knew the majority of people there!

Enable - The Scottish Issue |

What would be your dream day out in Scotland? When I go up to Edinburgh, I always go to this café with my brothers called Kilimanjaro – the coffee is amazing. So I would go for breakfast there. Then I’d go for a wander on the Royal Mile, pop into one of the local shops and get my lunch then go eat that in Princes Street Gardens in the sun. I used to live in Portobello, which I love, so I’d go there for a wander. And I’d finish the day going up Arthur’s Seat.

What do you think makes Scotland special? It feels like one big family; everyone is so friendly. I love all the little traditions that are in Scotland.

FREE Home Fire Safety Visit and FREE Smoke Alarms JOIN SCOTLAND’S FIGHT AGAINST FIRE The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) want to make sure that every disabled person in Scotland has the best protection from fire and they want your help. Enable talked to Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott, the SFRS director of prevention and protection, to find out more. He explained: “We need your help, not just to keep your home safe, but to think about friends, relatives or neighbours who could be at risk. Are you a care worker, a care manager, or a friend or loved one of someone receiving care? “We can offer advice and fit smoke alarms. Helping you make a fire action plan for your home, or even spotting potential hazards, could save your life.”

“We can also direct people to other agencies who can assist with a range of issues. There is also assistive technology such as linked smoke alarms which our partners can often provide.” “If you, or someone you know, for example, doesn’t have working smoke alarms in their home, please tell them about our service or call us to see how we can help.” The visits only take around 20 minutes and help householders spot fire hazards, make sure their home is safer at night. Firefighters also help residents plan what to do if fire does break out. They are entirely free and SFRS crews even fit smoke alarms free of charge if the home is found to need them.

To request a free home fire safety visit for you, or someone you know: call 0800 0731 999 text ‘FIRE’ to 80800 visit


EUAN’S GUIDE TO GETTING OUT AND ABOUT Want to hit the town, but not sure which bars and restaurants are accessible? Help is at hand in the form of Euan’s Guide, a TripAdvisor-style review website and app for disabled people. We spoke to the man behind the site to find out more


ights out, business lunches and trips to the supermarket are fairly straightforward for the able-bodied, but if you have a disability there are numerous factors to consider before a trip out. For wheelchair users, ramps, lifts and seating height are crucial accessibility considerations, while the visual and hearing impaired want to know of BSL, subtitles and signage when heading to a theatre or museum. Review website Euan’s Guide was created for exactly this reason. When Euan MacDonald was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) at the age of 29, his priorities and attitude began to shift. As his physical condition deteriorated, Euan started thinking towards his future and how he would negotiate access in a wheelchair.

NOT ALONE “Euan’s Guide came from knowing that my family and I could not be alone in our search for disabled access information,” says Euan. “There had to be many other disabled people with friends and families who were looking to visit new places and not wanting to worry about whether there would be accessible parking, or a wide entrance, or simply good access that would meet their requirements.” Beginning with Euan’s hometown of Edinburgh, Euan and sister Kiki began a directory based on their own experience of disabled access. Although they were providing a much-needed service for people in their area, they knew they had to expand Euan’s Guide with the help of


reviewers across the UK and the world. Euan’s Guide was created to detail access for shops, museums, hotels – any venue that disabled people would like to enjoy on a regular basis. “You see, a restaurant might be brightly lit with large print menus, making it more easily accessible to visually impaired people; but it may also be in the basement of an old building making it virtually inaccessible to many wheelchair users,” says Euan. “That’s why we wanted reviewers to build Euan’s Guide from the ground up, as everybody’s experiences will be different. A simple sign saying ‘disabled access’ can’t ever tell the full story.”

ACCESSIBILITY COVERED Reviewers rate every aspect of accessibility for venues such as the National Museum of Scotland, Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford and ASDA Coatbridge. Every part of daily life is covered, whether you want a day out with your family or just need to pick up a pint of milk. “The response has been fantastic,” says Euan. “It’s always a really proud moment for us when we hear that someone has found the site useful. Much of the feedback we receive is from people who are excited to find that people with similar requirements to them have shared their experiences of disabled access at so many places. That’s the empowering part of Euan’s Guide.”

Enable - The Scottish Issue |

i Want to see other people’s reviews at Euan’s Guide or become a reviewer yourself? Check out the site at

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GLASGOW It’s the country’s largest city, with a bustling arts scene, fantastic shopping, incredible food and drink, pretty parks and much more! With so much on offer, you’d be daft to miss out on a trip to Glasgow. We take a look at the Dear Green Place’s best bits

THINGS TO DO Glasgow is packed with great museums and galleries, and they’re all free to enter. The Riverside Museum is one of the newest additions to Glasgow’s brilliant lineup. Located on the banks of the Clyde, it’s home to the former Transport Museum’s collections – and the brand new building means access is first rate. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is also worth checking out, with a fascinating collection of artefacts, including Salvador Dalí’s famous Christ of St John on the Cross and a huge stuffed giraffe. Spacious galleries and good lift access make this one great for exploring too. Find out what’s on offer at The city’s fast becoming a hub for art and culture – it played host to this year’s Turner Prize, and a number of big-name artists have started their careers in the city. Tramway ( is well worth checking out for exhibitions from up and coming artists, while CCA on Sauchiehall Street ( is home to visiting artists operating in a range of media. Glasgow’s also home to some of the UK’s best music venues, and attracts massive names throughout the year. The


city’s huge SSE Hydro Arena has great access for disabled gig-goers, who this year can catch acts like Justin Bieber and Rod Stewart. Find out more at www. If you’re a shopaholic, then Glasgow’s the place to be. The city’s famous Style Mile is dotted with shops from high street to high-end. The city centre has two modern indoor shopping centres – Buchanan Galleries and the St Enoch Centre – with flat, accessible pathways throughout. If you fancy a bit of fresh air? Glasgow’s for you! Glasgow is Gaelic for Dear Green Place, and the city is home to some

GETTING AROUND Buses are the best way to get around Glasgow if you have access requirements. The city’s main rail stations – Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central – are good for those coming into the city, with lifts and helpful

Enable - The Scottish Issue |

fantastic outdoor spaces to explore. From the magnificent Pollock Country Park in the Southside to the pretty Victoria Park in the west, you won’t be disappointed – fingers crossed the weather holds up.

FOOD AND DRINK Jamie’s Italian ( italian) overlooks the city’s iconic George Square – and it’s fantastic in terms of access. The spacious dining room is level throughout, and friendly, attentive staff will see to your every need. What’s more, the food is fantastic, with the TV chef’s take on traditional Italian. Hutcheson’s Bar and Brasseries on

staff on-hand. Check out the SPT website at for more information. The city’s Subway network doesn’t have guaranteed access at all stations, so if mobility is an issue, it’s best left alone. One of the best

ways to see Glasgow and get around is through the tour buses you’ll find parked in George Square. Access is good, with wheelchair spaces and dipped floors, and you can take in the city’s history, culture and impressive architecture.



BIG DAYS OUT: (from top) Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; The Riverside Museum; Buchanan Street

Ingram Street (www.hutchesonsglasgow. com) is a stylish, three-floor dining experience. The weekend Bubbles and Brunch deal is a steal, getting you a bottle of Prosecco between two along with freshly squeezed orange juice, a basket or croissants and a tasty brunch dish each for £20 a head. Even better, disabled access is fantastic. With a spacious lift, level access and an access statement online, they have it covered. For something a little different, get out to the West End and check out the Hanoi Bike Shop ( This Vietnamese restaurant dishes up super healthy, fresh food made to order – and apart from one small step into the restaurant, it’s got good access too. The atmosphere is as good as the food. For a night out, head to the Corinthian Club ( in the Merchant City for a bit of glamour. With a restaurant, bars, club and casino all under one roof, this chandelierbedecked nightspot is popular with locals. Ramped access and a lift let you move freely throughout too. Cottiers ( in the West End is a former church that’s been transformed into a theatre space,


1. Citizen M, Renfrew Street With its funky interior and gadgets and gizmos aplenty in its rooms, the city’s Citizen M makes for a really fun stay. Accessible rooms are available throughout the hotel, and adaptations can be made at your request. 2. Blythswood Square Hotel, Blythswood Square For a slice of luxury, head to the Blythswood in the heart of the city centre. This opulent building houses 100 luxury rooms, five of which are disabled accessible, and they have a range of handy extras for guest with extra needs like vibrating alarms. 3. Radisson Blu, Argyle Street This bright, airy hotel has level access from the front door and spacious lifts to take you to one of 13 accessible rooms. The location is great too.

restaurant and bar. Wheelchair access is good throughout, and the staff are just as warm and welcoming as the venue’s overall atmosphere! This unique hangout is worth a visit. | Enable - The Scottish Issue






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Employment Opportunities Know what you want to pursue as a career, or looking for ideas? Interested in employment or placement opportunities? NHS Lothian is responsible for providing healthcare services to a population of more than 800,000 people. We have a wide range of jobs at entry and qualified level and offer great opportunities for career development – and much more. 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 actively support a range of different groups to gain or get back into employment. The types of careers we offer include:

Management and administrative Accountants, Clerical Officers, Communications, Human Resources, Medical Records, Receptionists, Secretaries, Telephonists, and many more…

Treatment and care Dentists, Doctors, Health Visitors, Healthcare Assistants, Midwives, Nurses, Allied Health Professionals, and many more…

Information and IT Analysts, Librarians, Audio Visual Technicians, Computing Staff, Information Manager, IT Trainers, and many more…

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GETTING FROM A-B IN THE CAPITAL Edinburgh’s transport providers tell us what their buses, trams and tour buses have to offer disabled residents and visitors WELCOME TO EDINBURGH – all of our buses and trams are fully accessible, so make public transport part of your visit. Easy access buses have been high on Lothian Buses’ agenda since 2000, and now all 721 buses in our fleet are easy access, operating across the network of over 70 services in Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian. This means that all buses offer low entrances that can “kneel” to kerb height to give step-free access where possible; retractable boarding ramps for wheelchair access; completely flat areas on the lower deck so that there are no internal steps to worry about; high visibility handrails and a dedicated wheelchair space. Drivers are also

WANT TO SEE THE SIGHTS? Join an open-top bus for an incredible experience with Edinburgh Bus Tours. Visit sights including the Royal Yacht Britannia, Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and choose between multi-lingual commentaries in up to 10 different languages or let a guide tell

specially trained to help passengers enjoy the full benefit of accessible buses. Since its launch in 2014, Edinburgh Trams has prioritised making travel by tram as easy as possible for everyone. All trams offer low entrances throughout the vehicle; high visibility handrails; two dedicated wheelchair/buggy spaces per tram; dedicated disabled priority seats and passenger alert buttons signposted in Braille for blind and partially sighted passengers. In January a mobility scooter trial was launched allowing those who are eligible to apply for a permit, enabling them to travel with their mobility scooter by tram – visit access for more information. The 14km tram you all about their city. Modern, open-top buses are equipped with entrance ramps and wheelchair spaces, offering easy access to all aboard the Edinburgh Tour, City Sightseeing Tour, Majestic Tour and Forth Bridges Bus & Boat Tour (bus only). Guide dogs are welcome on board and for hearing impaired persons, screens with subtitles

route operates between Edinburgh Airport and York Place in Edinburgh City Centre, with stops in between including Ingliston Park & Ride, the Gyle Shopping Centre, Edinburgh’s West End and Princes Street. Enjoy endless possibilities and unlimited access to Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams in the City Centre for one day with DAYticket. This great value ticket unlocks the majority of Edinburgh’s public transport network, including services to Park & Ride facilities. Adult £4, child £2, family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £8.50. Find out more and plan your journey at, or head to our fully accessible Travelshop on Waverley Bridge. are available on the lower decks of City Sightseeing, Majestic Tour and Forth Bridges Bus and Boat Tour buses. Disabled users pay the relevant adult/child fares, and a carer carrying valid identification can enjoy concession prices. Find out more at, or start your journey at Waverley Bridge.

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EDINBURGH There’s much more to Auld Reekie than tartan in tourist shops and the annual Fringe Festival. Scotland’s capital dishes up a glorious mix of rich history, stunning architecture and fascinating culture that makes for a great day trip location, mini break destination and place to stay. Despite the steep hills and cobbled streets, Edinburgh’s got plenty to offer visitors with access needs too – here’s the very best of what the city has to offer

THINGS TO DO Perched at the top of the Royal Mile and overlooking the city, Edinburgh Castle ( has good access for many of its attractions, including the huge Mons Meg cannon and the Crown Room. Carers get free entry, and there’s Braille guidebooks, audio tours and assistance dogs are welcome too. Prepare to be wowed by the castle’s impressive architecture and rich history! The Royal Yacht Britannia (www., moored at Leith, is one of the nation’s top attractions in terms of access. This giant floating residence has great facilities for wheelchair users, those with reduced mobility, people with sight and hearing loss and learning disabilities alike, with specialist tours and facilities in place. Check out how royalty

once lived aboard this magnificent vessel. There’s two Edinburgh residents that many are itching to meet – giant pandas Yang Guan and Tian Tian! The famous duo are just two good reasons to visit Edinburgh Zoo ( uk), which is home to a diverse range of species, from the cute and cuddly to the creepy crawly. Built on a hill, this isn’t perhaps the most accessible for those

with mobility needs, but an adapted car is available to take visitors to the top, and an access map will let you see which paths are suitable. Carers get free entry too. Edinburgh’s history brings tourists in their droves every year – so get out and explore it on the streets! There are lots of different tours on offer, from the factual to the spooky, and many providers can alter routes and offer assistance for disabled customers. Mercat Tours (www. offer historical tours and ghost tours, and can make alterations to routes, as well as offer details of access info ahead of time. Shopping in Edinburgh is also good. In the city centre you’ll find a range of shops, from high-end stores like Harvey

EXPLORE EDINBURGH: Mercat Tour (left) and Edinburgh Zoo | Enable - The Scottish Issue



WHERE TO STAY 1. Motel One, Princes Street Located at the end of Princes Street, this central hotel is incredibly spacious, with 14 accessible rooms on offer. 2. G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Royal Mile If you want to treat yourself, this quirky five-star hotel is total luxury in a great location. Seven accessible rooms, spacious corridors and colour coded pathways make access straightforward.

BOTTOMS UP: Stop for a drink at the Jolly Botanist (top), The Scotch Whisky Experience (bottom left) or the opulant Forth Floor Bar (right)

3. DoubleTree by Hilton, Bread Street This city centre hotel by Hilton has very helpful staff and four accessible rooms, two of which are ‘deluxe’ for something a bit more special.

Nichols to high street favourites such as Primark and John Lewis, as well as quirky independent boutiques in the city’s old town. Head further out of the centre for modern indoor shopping centres like The Gyle, which has step-free access and lifts to make life easier.

FOOD AND DRINK At the Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile (www.scotchwhiskyexperience., find out about Scotland’s national

GETTING AROUND Lothian Buses (www., 0131 554 4494) is one of the city’s main transport providers, and every one of the company’s fleet offers easy access. All buses have low entrances, retractable boarding ramps, high-vis handrails, completely flat areas on the lower deck and a dedicated wheelchair


drink on a variety of tours, sample a wee dram, take part in a tasting masterclass or dine in the Experience’s fantastic Amber restaurant, serving up a fine selection of Scottish fare. The venue won a Scottish Tourist Board Tourism Award for its access facilities too. Spanish tapas restaurant Café Andaluz ( has first-class access features to match its menu. Located on George Street, this is a spacious eatery with a stunning, Med-inspired interior –

space on board. While the city’s tram network caused chaos at the time of construction, it’s become a really handy tool for getting from A to B – and every train is fully wheelchair accessible. All trams have low entrances, priority seating and other access features to make your journey more comfortable. Find out more at www.

Enable - The Scottish Issue |

Edinburgh Bus Tours (www.edinburghtour. com) have routes with accessible buses, including the City Sightseeing Tour and Majestic Tour. Each bus has a low, ramped floor and dedicated wheelchair position, as well as a subtitled screen on the lower deck for deaf and hard of hearing patrons.

with plenty of room. From tapas to paella, the menu is as reasonably priced as it is delicious. For high-end eating, you can go for a Michelin-starred dining experience in Edinburgh. Tom Kitchin’s The Kitchin in Leith ( serves up French cuisine using fresh Scottish produce – it’s so good, it won its Michelin star within six months of opening. Access inside is good, but you do have to tackle some cobbles outside to get in. For a good night out, check out The Jolly Botanist (www.thejollybotanist., a cosy gin bar in Haymarket. With 72 different gins to choose from, there’s plenty to experiment with! There’s just one step into the pub itself, and staff are incredibly helpful. The Salisbury Arms (www.thesalisburyarmsedinburgh. is a truly traditional pub with a great atmosphere in Newington – it’s got everything you’d want from an Edinburgh boozer, plus good wheelchair access. For something a little bit special, head to department store Harvey Nichols (www. and take the lift to the Forth Floor Bar, where you can sample an array of cocktails with stunning views over the capital.

Interested in Whisky? not get in touch and take advantage of our expert knowledge and our 170 years experience. As Scotland’s oldest independent bottler we Make your journey easier... with the cherry pick the best casks for bottling and offer fun and informative tastings. Em ail us to receive our stock list or bring this advert into the shop for a quick lesson (with dram).

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Why not get in touch and take advantage of our expert knowledge and our 170 years experience. As Scotland’s oldest independent bottler we cherry pick the best casks for bottling and offer fun and informative tastings. Email us to receive our stock list or bring this advert into the shop for a quick lesson (with dram). 172 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8BN Tel: 0131 556 5864 Email:

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island hoppers Scotland has over 790 offshore islands, from tiny pieces of land without a single inhabitant to bustling hives of activity with plenty for tourists to embrace. Stunning scenery, friendly locals and rich culture are all just a short ferry ride away – and it’s more accessible than you’d think. Here are some of the nation’s best island getaways

SKYE The Isle of Skye is famous for its dramatic landscapes, beautiful beaches and wonderful wildlife. Dunvegan Castle and Gardens is well worth a visit – while it’s not 100% accessible, it is good given the building’s age! Don’t miss the Fairy Pools or Museum of Island Life either. No visit to Skye is complete without a trip to the five-star Three Chimneys restaurant for exquisite local produce and stunning views over the shores of Loch Dunvegan.


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ISLAY Islay is home to eight distilleries producing the nation’s favourite drink – Bowmore is probably the best in terms of disabled access, offering tours of the facilities and tasting sessions. Whisky aside, Islay is incredibly picturesque – the perfect place for a quiet getaway in the warmer summer months. The island is also great for ornithologists, home to plenty of bird life, including golden eagles and coughs. Twitchers should take along their binoculars to catch a glimpse of these rare creatures.

ISLAND LIFE: Be inspired by the landscapes in Islay (above), Harris (left) and Arran (below)

HARRIS There’s more to this island than the geography teacher’s fabric of choice. The Outer Hebrides give a real feeling of escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with its awe-inspiring beaches. Arts and crafts are big business

on Harris. With art galleries, craft cafes and the iconic Harris Tweed Company all on offer, this is a haven for art lovers – check out local artists and get yourself some stunning work inspired by the island’s landscapes to adorn your home.

• SEE IT ALL Caledonian MacBrayne’s Hopscotch tickets let you go from island to island at purse-friendly prices. CalMac offer discounts for Blue Badge users travelling with their vehicle, and have excellent assistance for people with access needs too – just make sure to contact the team more than 48 hours in advance to organise any help. Find out more at

ARRAN Located off the west coast of Scotland, Arran is the most southerly of the country’s islands, and easiest to get to. The island is famous for its cheese, chocolate, whisky, beer and Arran Aromatics cosmetics, and there’s plenty to do too, including golf, horse riding, cycling routes, woodland walks and the top class Auchrannie resort (which has good disabled access).

i Head to to search for disabled accessible accommodation on the island of your choice.



© EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE SOCIETY FRINGE BENEFITS: Performers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

WHAT’S ON? Looking for some dates for your diary this year? Here are some of the best accessible events across Scotland, from music and performance to independent living exhibitions T in the Park 8-10 July Strathallan Castle, Perthshire The Stone Roses and Calvin Harris are due to dominate T in the Park’s main stage across three days in July, with acts like Disclosure, Bastille and LCD Soundsystem also on the bill. Although the festival took a hit from mud and rubbish weather last year, they’re bouncing back with big name acts and a new approach to disabled access tickets. If you want to experience Scotland’s most famous, energetic music


festival in all weathers, Strathallan is calling for you in 2016. Previously, music lovers were asked to buy ‘disabled access’ tickets to the festival, but for 2016 you are asked to buy a standard ticket and apply for access to disabled facilities separately via the T in the Park website. Edinburgh Festival Fringe 5-29 August Venues across Edinburgh It’s one of the most vibrant and colourful events in the global arts calendar – and it happens right in the heart of Scotland. Every August, the Fringe explodes into our nation’s capital, bringing acrobats, ballet dancers, fire eaters, tassle-adorned burlesque acts and risqué theatre with it. It can be tricky to negotiate the bustling

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cobbled streets of Edinburgh during the festival, so if you have mobility issues it’s best to plan ahead. Thankfully, many of the venues are much more accommodating than the busy Royal Mile. The Fringe Box Office also has designated staff to help with access and ticket bookings, assisting disabled theatregoers in their choices and facilitating complimentary companion tickets where necessary. There are audio described and captioned performances available, as well as BSL signed performances. Relaxed performances are also part of


the schedule for people with autism. A full list of accessible performances can be downloaded from the Fringe website. Kidz to Adultz Scotland 15 September Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston This is one of the biggest free UK exhibitions for kids and young people with disabilities and special needs, with an incredible array of state-of-the art products and information on mobility, funding, seating, beds, toys and loads more. There are also free seminars running in tandem with the event, held for parents and professionals, that deal with topics such as sleep issues, continence and legal advice. Kids and young adults can try out everything from new scooters (with flashing LED underlighting, no less) to toys and bedding. True North Festival 25-27 September Venues across Aberdeen truenorth If you love music and live in the Granite City, this festival will be right up your street. Aberdeen’s festival of music in September will feature a headline concert by award-winning songwriter Tom Odell with support from Siobhan Wilson at the Music Hall. Other events include performances by Fatherson, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, and Scottish Album of the Year winner Kathryn Joseph. With such incredible songwriting talent in venues across the city, music lovers would be daft not to snap up tickets to True North. There is good wheelchair access at both The Music Hall and the Lemon Tree, where some of the best of the festival’s gigs take place. Wigtown Book Festival 23 Sep-2 Oct Venues across Wigtown Bookworms and budding authors flock to the heart of Galloway to attend Wigtown Book Festival in late September to hear readings and gain inspiration from some of Scotland’s most celebrated authors. In the past, the festival has attracted authors like Frank Gardner, Phil Jupitus, Joanna

ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW 23-26 June Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston Celebrating the very best of Scottish rural life, from farmhouse jams to prize heifers, the Royal Highland Show is a fantastic event that draws visitors from across the UK. There are equestrian shows, cooking demonstrations, livestock competitions and delicious food on display at Ingliston in Edinburgh on the last weekend in June. It’s a great family event that has plenty of activities, animals and grub to entertain the wee ones. The RHS excels at accessibility, with electric scooters and manual wheelchairs available for hire. Phone 01353 653752 or email There is also disabled parking available, and carers can apply for a free ticket to the event.

GO NORTH: For the exciting music festival

Lumley and Alasdair Gray. The 10-day festival is packed with exciting literary activities and a full schedule can be found on the book festival website. There’s also an access document on there which details exactly which venues are fully accessible, and the good news is that most are.

Independent Living Scotland 5-6 October SECC, Glasgow In October, the SECC will host Independent Living Scotland, a two-day event for everyone with disabilities, long-term conditions and their carers. The event is also open to professionals working in nursing or care, giving them the chance to learn from and socialise with people in similar fields. From free workshops in the Inspiration Theatre to hanging out in the sensory room, Independent Living Scotland is packed with wonderful, interactive activities for everyone to enjoy. Entry to the event is free and over 100 exhibitors will be showcasing innovative and inspirational products that you can browse over two days. | Enable - The Scottish Issue


Touch Tours & Audio Described Performances Enjoy Scottish Ballet’s Hansel & Gretel with a touch tour and audio description during Saturday matinee performances, at a specially discounted price for visually impaired patrons. When booking, you will receive a CD with a brief synopsis and detailed descriptions of the characters, costumes and set. Get up close to a selection of costumes and props and hear about the dancers and their characters during a touch tour. Then experience the performance through live commentary describing the movement and action on stage and hear the music played by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. Touch tours begin at 12.30pm followed by the audio described performances at 2pm. Book via your venue’s box office where staff can advise on the best seat to enjoy the audio description. “It was really excellent … the audio describers did a fantastic job.” Insight Magazine

Relaxed Hansel & Gretel Join us for a special, hour-long, relaxed performance of Hansel & Gretel for those with additional need and their families. There will be plenty of trained staff on hand to help with any needs and everyone can feel free to make noise and move around the auditorium. The lights will remain on, but dimmed, and there will be breakout spaces with a live stream of the show so that if you feel the need to leave the auditorium you won’t miss the action. Please discuss your requirements with the box office by calling 0131 529 6000 and please note that wheelchair spaces are limited. Edinburgh, Festival Theatre Tue 20 December, 1pm

Cast lists and programme articles are also available in braille or large print on request. For more information please visit or email

Edinburgh, Festival Theatre Sat 17 December 2016 0131 529 6000 Glasgow, Theatre Royal Sat 14 January 2017 0844 871 7647** Aberdeen, His Majesty’s Theatre Sat 21 January 2017 01224 641122 Inverness, Eden Court Sat 28 January 2017 01463 234 234*

*Booking fee | **Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.  Registered in Scotland No. SC065497, Scottish Charity No. SC008037. | Photography by Nisbet Wylie.

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HIGHLANDS Head north away from the hustle and bustle of city life in the central belt and prepare to be blown away by the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. There’s more to this picturesque region than mountains, glens and valleys however – there’s plenty for daytrippers to get involved with too. We pick out our top three activities to keep you occupied on your trip up north Highland Wildlife Park Kincraig, Kingussie, PH21 1NL 01540 651 270 The Highland Wildlife Park is a great day out for animal lovers. Home to Amur tigers, polar bears, magnificent snow leopards and super cute red pandas, the park has an eclectic mix of creatures not often seen in UK zoos and safari parks – and they’re just as popular with big kids! Access at the park is great too. Carers get free admission, and assistance dogs are welcome as long as they meet the regulations set out by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria – all of which is available online in the park’s access statement. You can hire wheelchairs too for a small refundable deposit, and access throughout the park is generally good, but some paths and tracks may be off limits – staff are always willing to help where possible, however, so call ahead to let them know of your requirements.

Cruise Loch Ness By canal swing bridge, Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus, PH32 4BD 01320 366 277 She’s the Highlands’ most famous resident – but no one’s actually sure if she’s ever been seen! Go in search of the Loch Ness Monster on one of Cruise Loch Ness’s fantastic daily tours. The company’s daily 60-minute cruises are great for all the family – take in that stunning Highland scenery with a drink and spot local wildlife, with tour guides explaining what’s going on around – and under – the vessel! The boats are accessible for disabled visitors too – just make sure to call ahead to check staff are aware of your requirements and able to help out. In spring and summer, cruises leave hourly from 10am until 4pm, with an evening cruise leaving at 8pm.

The Ice Factor Leven Road, Kinlochleven, PH50 4SF 01855 831 100 Just 10 minutes away from Glencoe, The Ice Factor makes for a fantastic day out. With indoor climbing, ice climbing and adventure courses, this is a great one for adrenaline junkies. Whether you’re scaling the indoor ice wall or heading outdoors for some hillwalking, there’s something for everyone who wants to get active! Guide dogs are welcome on-site, and you’ll also find a hearing loop, information provided in Braille and large print, wheelchair access, accessible loos and trained staff who are able to offer assistance. Ring ahead to discuss your needs and see what exciting options are open to you. | Enable - The Scottish Issue





The Scottish weather might be miserable, but it doesn’t put a dampener on our nation’s thriving culture or its nightlife scene. We’ve rounded up a few activities for those who want to live their days and nights to the fullest


INTO THE WILD For animal lovers, having lemurs frolicking around you in an enclosed space might just be a dream come true. At Camperdown Wildlife Centre, Dundee, you can get up close with these magnificent Madagascan creatures in special animal experiences, taking you inside the enclosures as the animals go about their day. If you fancy keeping your distance, you can stay on the human side of the fence and wander around the park. Brown bears, marmosets, owls and wallabies are just some of the animals


who perhaps aren’t native to Dundee, but who call it home. Details: Camperdown Wildlife Centre, Camperdown Country Park, Coupar Angus Road, Dundee, DD2, 4TF T: 01382 431 811 W:

OUT ON THE WATER There are few better ways to celebrate Scotland’s incredible lochs than to go out and sail them. Galloway Activity Centre on Loch Ken caters for disabled sailors of all experience levels, whether you’re interested in their weekly disability

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sailing club or you’d prefer to get oneon-one instruction. Drop keel boats make capsizing much less likely, ensuring disabled sailors can get out on the water safely. If you’d rather try your hand at onland activities, you can pick up a bow and arrow or a laser gun at the centre too. There’s also a climbing wall, which is accessible depending on the level of disability. Call ahead and one of the centre staff will advise you which activities are best. Details: Galloway Activity Centre, Loch Ken, Parton, Castle Douglas, DG7 3NQ T: 01556 502 011 W:

ON SAFARI Meet lions, tigers and sea lions in the heart of Stirlingshire! Blair Drummond Safari Park offers fun for all the family in


that allows people to mingle and have fun in a relaxed, inclusive environment. The event is run by disability dating agency dates-n-mates and members of the service get discounted entry to the club night. If you’re not a member, tickets will cost you £8. Details: LATE by dates-n-mates, O2 ABC 2, 300 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 3JA T: 0141 427 2957 W:

TALKING ‘BOUT A REVOLUTION If you’re in the capital and fancy a few cocktails, why not pop in to Revolution bar and club on Chambers Street? The bar is spacious and has an entrance from street level, with low tables and chairs. If you want to continue your evening into the depths of Rev’s nightclub, a lift will take you downstairs and onto a fully accessible dancefloor where you can enjoy big tunes into the wee small hours. If you don’t fancy dancing, the bar also offers great grub, cocktail making classes and caters for hen and stag dos if you’re getting hitched. Details: Revolution, 30A Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HU T: 0131 220 5679 W: Scotland’s only safari park. Mischievous monkeys might sit and ponder life on your windshield (or try and make off with your wing mirror) and elephants, giraffes and big cats roam the Scottish plains as if they were back home in the Serengeti. There are ample disabled facilities at the park including ramps for animal viewing areas and wheelchair hire. If you need to hire a wheelchair, call 01786 841 430 ahead of your trip. Although the park is mostly wheelchair accessible, there is no access on the safari boats. Details: Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, By Stirling, FK9 4UR T: 01786 841 456 W:


A NIGHT AT THE THEATRE The Tramway theatre delivers groundbreaking performance and visual art from the heart of Glasgow’s Southside. In the past, it has hosted the Turner Prize exhibition and Alan Cumming’s spectacular one-man Macbeth, within an action-packed annual schedule welcoming

artistic talent from across the globe. The theatre champions the arts across the board and has an inclusive approach to its performances, both in its accessibility and its booking schedule. There is level access to all Tramway spaces and bar, with a lift to the upper levels so that you don’t miss out. The venue also boasts an infra-red system for audio described performances and a hearing loop system for the hard of hearing. Large print brochures for performances are also available. Details: Tramway, 25 Albert Drive, Glasgow, G41 2PE T: 0845 330 3501 W:

STAY UP LATE LATE is Scotland’s first fully inclusive club night for people with learning disabilities. The successful club night takes place at Glasgow’s O2 ABC 2 and welcomes everyone with learning difficulties and their friends to meet new people and have a good boogie. Although its original home of The Arches has closed its doors, LATE is still thriving. This is an over 18s event

PANTO, BALLET AND MUSICALS (OH MY!) His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen is a thriving, accessible venue with incredible visiting shows, including the all-singing, all-dancing Guys and Dolls and the moving performance of Swan Lake by Scottish Ballet. Later in the year, the theatre will play host to an evening with TV physicist Brian Cox, The Simon and Garfunkel Story and sassy musical Chicago as well as lots of other exciting shows. His Majesty’s Theatre wraps up 2016 with its incredibly popular pantomime, for which relaxed, autismfriendly performances are available. The theatre is wheelchair accessible on all levels except for the upper circle, and there are hearing loops and audio captioning available on selected performances, normally held on Saturdays. Details: His Majesty’s Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen, AB25 1GL T: 01224 641 122 W: | Enable - The Scottish Issue




A PENNY It’s the most basic of human functions – but just how accessible are toilet facilities on high streets and at tourist attractions across Scotland? We investigate some of the initiatives that are out there to make spending a penny that little bit easier IT’S A PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE, and one not many of us are keen to talk about – going to the loo. And a lack of accessible toilet facilities is making getting out and about increasingly difficult for people with a range of disabilities. If you’re not going to be able to get to a loo, it can make the thought of going out pretty unappealing.

LOCKED UP Accessible loos are often locked, making them hard to find in times of need. As the toilets are larger and quieter, they tend to be abused by members of the public – hence the need for the locked doors. However, you can get access. The Radar National Key Scheme links up over 9,000 accessible facilities nationwide. For £5, you can purchase a key which opens the door to well-maintained, accessible toilets UK-wide. Only those considered eligible can apply for the key, meaning the toilets won’t be abused. You can purchase one


online at, and you can also download an app which lets you search for nearby accessible facilities when you’re out and about.

CHANGING PLACES Of course, a standard disabled loo isn’t always going to have enough space, depending on your needs – in fact, a quarter of a million people across the UK can’t use standard accessible loos. For people who perhaps have a stoma

A quarter of a million people can’t use standard accessible toilets or rely on nappies, a standard toilet simply won’t have the space to facilitate a change – or be particularly hygienic, as many are resorting to sitting or lying on the floors of public loos to change. Changing Places are larger accessible toilets with additional equipment including a heightadjustable changing bench, tracking hoist or mobile hoist, lots of space to

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allow you or your carer to get around, a screen or curtain to provide privacy and all the right facilities to ensure a safe, clean environment. You can find your nearest Changing Places toilet at www.

INVISIBLE DISABILITIES Accessible loos aren’t just needed by wheelchair users. People with invisible conditions often attract disapproving glances from those in the queue – which is what led 10-year-old Edinburgh girl Grace Warnock to design a new sign to show that accessible facilities were for wheelchair users and people with other disabilities, symbolised by a man and woman in a standing position, each with a red heart. Grace has Crohn’s disease herself and was fed up with people making a fuss when she used an accessible loo – and decided it was time for the signage to change. The signs are beginning to take off across Scotland, with the Scottish Parliament already putting the signs up in their three accessible bathrooms. Find out more about the campaign, and ask local amenities to get involved, by heading to gracessign10.

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Get into sport Keen to get involved with sport, but don’t know where to begin? Scottish Disability Sport are here to help SCOTTISH DISABILITY SPORT (SDS) helps thousands of disabled Scots get involved in sport, whether that’s in performing, competing, volunteering or coaching. With 13 branches dotted across Scotland, from Galloway to the Highlands and islands, the organisation helps increase sporting opportunities for disabled people and raise awareness of disability sport across the board. Funded by sportscotland, SDS supports disabled people from grassroots sport right through to competitive level where appropriate. Whether you’re curious about accessing your local club or well on your way to sporting glory, SDS are able to offer advice and guidance along the way.


Eaglesham, chairwoman of SDS. “We all know the positive impact sport can have on people’s lives, but with someone with a disability the impact is so much more obvious. Not just on a physical level, but the broader social impact is huge.” Janice has observed these drastic improvements within individuals’ confidence and fitness from grassroots level, seeing people embrace sport and reap the benefits. “One lady with cerebral palsy was given the chance to try a running bike,” says Janice. “They are used for people with limited mobility. She couldn’t believe the independence it gave her. Just that freedom of movement is so important. “There was also a set of twins and both played football, but one of them had a physical impairment and was getting left behind,” recalls Janice. “His parents called SDS in desperation, looking for something to help him out. He now plays in Scotland’s international cerebral palsy football squad. Can you imagine how it feels for that young lad representing his country? The impact is immeasurable.”

PROFILE Aside from encouraging people into sport, SDS also work to raise the profile of disability sport within mainstream education. As part of SDS’s educational programme, disabled athletes accompany teachers into schools to talk about their experiences. The organisation works to involve disabled people in coaching and volunteering within SDS, strengthening employability skills and confidence. “Big sporting events like London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 have really pushed disability sport,” says Janice. “Mostly because the reporting was done on a sporting level. It veered away from the nice, sympathetic stories of ‘oh haven’t they done well’, and actually reported on the sport, on the athletes. The pathways into competitive sport are as tough for disabled athletes as they are for mainstream athletes, if not more so.”

i If you’re interested in finding out more about getting into sport, visit the SDS website:

“Sport is instrumental,” says Janice | Enable - The Scottish Issue



SPORTING C Whether you’re a badminton addict, track athlete or prefer crashing your wheelchair into people at high speed, Scotland has a wealth of grassroots sporting clubs for disabled athletes. We caught up with four different groups to find out what they do

CALEDONIAN CRUSHERS Their name is intimidating for a reason. Glasgow’s successful wheelchair rugby club play full-contact, high octane matches on court in this challenging sport. Wheelchair rugby demands physical fitness and upper body strength – as well as a high pain threshold! “Wheelchair rugby allowed me to be aggressive and a bit dangerous, which appealed to me. As soon as I was in that chair, I fell in love,” says Jo Butterfield, former Caledonian Crusher and now world discus champion. “When you have a spinal injury people are constantly telling you, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ and then in wheelchair rugby you’re allowed to smash into people and knock them out of their chairs. It turns the image of a disabled person on its head.” The Crushers boast the state-of-the-art facilities of the Emirates Arena as their weekly training ground. Although the club is based in Glasgow, players travel from across the country to participate in the sessions. Training is open to all genders and to a wide spectrum of disabilities, though in order to play competitively players must have a disability affecting their arms or legs. There are no restrictions for those who would like to train for fitness or social benefits though, and The Crushers – although they sound a little menacing – are a very open and friendly team who welcome new people to the sport. For more information on how to join, visit


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ABERDEEN FOOTBALL COMMUNITY TRUST Scotland loves football. Regardless of whose colours you wear or which stadium’s seats you keep warm on match days, our nation shares a love for the beautiful game. Pitodrie Stadium in Aberdeen is not only home to The Dons but also disability football training thanks to the Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust. As part of its multi-faceted community programme, the Trust offers walking football sessions, football training for people with learning difficulties and dementia workshops to name but a few activities held within the stadium grounds. “It’s not just about playing football,” says Steven Sweeney, senior Scottish FA community coach. “People with various learning and physical disabilities can get involved in volunteering at the Trust. As long as you have a good attitude and want to learn, you can come along and volunteer to be an assistant football coach. “Our openness is why people come along and why we’re so successful at engaging with different groups. It’s fun, enjoyable and everyone on the staff is very welcoming. Everyone that comes along is in the same position and there’s no judgment. You’re just encouraged to do what you love.” Head along to for more information – you don’t even have to be a fan of The Dons…


G CHANCES LOTHIAN DISABILITY BADMINTON CLUB If you live on the east coast and would like to try your hand at badminton, the Lothian Disability Badminton Club has a great track record for training up disabled champions. Their clubs in Bathgate and Musselburgh are open to people of all ages and disabilities, whether you want to play recreationally or competitively. “We’ve got players who are visually impaired, amputees, people from across the spectrum of learning disabilities,” explains chairman and founder of the club Lyndon Williams. “The great thing about badminton is that it’s played in a small area and the equipment is easily adaptable. A wheelchair isn’t a barrier either.” The club has around 70 members, supported by a team of coaches and volunteers. Players recently took home an impressive medal haul at the Four Nations, a UK disability tournament. They have also entered the local badminton league and although competing in the lowest division, at time of going to print they were yet to lose a game. Find out more at www.

LOCKERBIE WHEELCHAIR CURLING Yes, that’s right – wheelchairs on ice. Traditionally the sport Scotland excels at, the good news is that curling is also wheelchair accessible. In Lockerbie, there’s a thriving grassroots club for wheelchair users in Dumfries and Galloway which is gradually building, attracting more members and bringing home trophies. Wheelchair curling involves launching stones from a stationary chair across the ice, and lacks the frantic sweeping of able-bodied curling. It’s not an aerobic sport, making it more accessible to people with various levels of disability. “There’s great health benefits to curling,” says Isobel Cowan of Lockerbie Wheelchair Curling Club. “The social aspect is also a big part of it – you get the chance to meet other wheelchair users and after we’ve been out on the ice everyone stays behind at the ice rink to have something to eat. We’ve also had some success as three of our players won trophies at a competition in Inverness recently.” For more information about your nearest curling club, visit www. | Enable - The Scottish Issue



With the Paralympic Games just around the corner, we find out about some of the Scots hoping to be flying the flag for ParalympicsGB in Rio this September

RIO 2016: the ones to watch


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Independent living

Scotland is a fantastic country to live in – we find out more about what your options are when it comes to finding a property


ouse hunting is up there in one of the most stressful things you do in life – and disabled people have a whole other set of challenges they face when it comes to finding the property of their dreams. While most will worry about school catchment areas, flood planes and working central heating, some of us are thinking about door widths, easy access and whether or not there’s potential for adapting bathrooms or extending. And then there’s the small matter of finance. But all hope is not lost – there are options, and lots of fantastic organisations out there who can help. “Disabled people have the same options, in some senses, as anyone else, when it comes to housing,” explains Moira Bain, CEO of Housing Options Scotland, the charity offering housing advice and information for disabled people, older people and armed forces veterans. “And the same barriers and obstacles. There’s lots of support and information out there. Our experience is that people don’t know how to access it.” Housing Options Scotland offer a bespoke service for clients, putting together an individualised report detailing their options based on their circumstances. Whether you have a straightforward question about mortgages, or you’ve found yourself in a difficult situation, the team can get the details together to send you in the right direction. And you do have lots of options.

HOME OWNERSHIP Home ownership is the most common form of tenure in Scotland today – and claiming benefits needn’t affect your ability to buy. Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get help to pay your mortgage interest, or you could opt for a shared ownership agreement, or one of the government’s Shared Equity schemes. “We’ve been very successful in helping someone who has an income derived from benefits successfully

getting a mortgage,” explains Moira. “We use a specialist independent financial adviser for that, because we’ve found that high street IFAs don’t have the skills to persuade lenders to do this type of lending.” Buying is more affordable now too, with the LIFT Scheme (Low-cost Innitiative for First-Time buyers), Help to Buy and Shared Equity schemes available. LIFT is primarily aimed at first-time buyers, but disabled people are also eligible – find out more at

INTO RENTING Social renting is probably one of the most affordable ways of renting. You won’t have to pay a deposit, and rents tend to be covered by housing benefit. However, waiting lists are long. As a disabled person, you might be given priority on council waiting lists, but it’s still not a guarantee that you’ll be housed quickly. You can also apply for housing through a housing association, not-forprofit organisations offering low cost accommodation. Some specialise in housing for disabled people, and can offer support and assistance too. “There’s very good homelessness legislation, and someone who’s unsuitably housed will be considered to be homeless by their local authority,” Moira explains.

GOING PRIVATE The other option is to rent through a private landlord. The real benefit here is that you have more choice and control in terms of where you live and what the property is like. “The main issue of private renting is the security of it,” Moira points out. “The other issue is that landlords quite often don’t or can’t take people on benefits.” However, that’s not to say private renting is impossible. There are some very accommodating landlords out there, and accessible properties on the market too – it might just take a little longer to get the perfect match.

MAKING CHANGES In any situation, adaptations might be a concern – and it can be expesnive. Local authorities can offer help to cover costs, whether you’re a social or private tenant or home owner, and there are grants and funding available too. Contact your local authority to see how they can help.

Knowing what option is best for you can be complex, so get in touch with an independent organisation like Housing Options Scotland, Shelter, Citizens Advice or a local Independent Financial Adviser (search for one near you at www.unbiased. to assess your situation. HOS can offer a brokerage service too, so once you’ve decided what you’d like to do, they can help with applications and support right up to the point where you get the keys for your new property. “A lot of people come to us as a starting point,” Moira says. “We have all kinds of resources behind us to help people. The first step is to fill out the application form and we’ll get back to you – we’ll always call you back.”

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS SOCIAL RENTING Pros Security of tenure Rents are almost always met by housing benefit for those who qualify Cons: Demand far outweighs supply You can’t always get a property in your desired area PRIVATE RENTING Pros You can get the right type of property in the area you want Can move in quickly Cons Lack of security of tenure – landlords can ask you to leave at short notice Not all landlords will accept tenants on benefits, and the amount of rent eligible for housing benefit is limited HOME OWNERSHIP Pros Ownership or shared ownership is affordable to people in a wide range of circumstances Ability to adapt Cons It may be difficult to get a mortgage, depending on your circumstances The buying process can be long and complicated | Enable - The Scottish Issue


Independent living

ILF SCOTLAND: LIVING THE LIFE YOU CHOOSE Since its launch last year, Independent Living Fund Scotland has been helping Scots to gain more independence. The team tell us how the fund is changing lives, and how you can get involved

organisations and all other relevant stakeholders. Further detail on this will be announced in due course.

individuals have choice and control over how and when they are supported in all aspects of their daily lives, as well as facilitating real participation and inclusion for individuals within their local communities. Zara is 47 and has been a recipient of ILF and ILF Scotland for 24 years. Her mum Claire says: “I’ve always wanted to give Zara a normal life. ILF Scotland funding not only gives her that, but it provides so much more. Without it, she would be unable to do the things that she loves and she would be isolated from her friends and those in her local community.” In addition, the Scottish government has committed to providing new funding of £5 million to open up the fund to new recipients for the first time since 2010. We are currently working alongside the Scottish government to co-produce the process for applications to the new fund, together with the award criteria, with disabled people, representative

PROGRESS Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland, says: “We are delighted with the progress of ILF Scotland since its launch on 1 July, particularly with regards to the successful transition of recipients living in Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UK wide organisation to ILF Scotland. We are currently working very closely in both consultation and co-production with the Scottish government, disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and all our other key stakeholders on proposals and a timescale for the new fund.” You can find our latest news and events on our website and you can sign up to our newsletter by emailing enquiries@ILF. scot.


ndependent Living Fund Scotland (ILF Scotland) was established on 1 July 2015, following the UK government’s decision to close the UK Independent Living Fund on 30 June 2015. At ILF Scotland, we provide financial support to ensure over 3,000 disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland have the ability to exercise choice and control to live their lives as independently as possible. This funding enables these individuals to pay for care, from agency support workers to employing personal assistants, to support them in their home and within their local communities.

INCLUSION FOR ALL As an organisation, we are focused on all our recipients using their ILF Scotland awards to achieve specific outcomes that will make a difference and will subsequently empower them to live more independent lives. Our aim is to ensure


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CARING ABOUT CARERS In February, a new piece of legislation passed through the Scottish parliament to support the rights of carers – so what has changed? We spoke with Carers Trust Scotland to find out more about the difference the new Act will make


arers play a vital role in helping Scotland function. Providing care and support for family members, friends, partners and neighbours, Scotland’s 657,000 unpaid carers are almost a hidden army, working tirelessly to ensure that those close to them are happy, comfortable and as independent as possible. But what happens if these carers aren’t supported themselves? The stats show that carers are more likely to suffer with ill health, both physically and mentally, than non-carers – and if the carer becomes unwell, what happens to the person they care for? This is why, earlier this year, the Scottish government passed a new piece of legislation which will ensure that carers have better support and increased rights, helping them carry out their caring role and stay on top of all the other things that matter in their lives like work, relationships and a social life.

NEW RIGHTS “The Carers Act is a new piece of legislation that brings together all the bits of legislation that have applied to carers over the years,” explains Heather Noller, policy and parliamentary officer at Carers Trust Scotland. “It does bring some new rights and recognition in for carers, but it is mostly putting the bits of legislation together so there’s one clear point of reference for carers.” Carers Trust Scotland and a number of other carers’ organisations, both at local and national level, have been working closely with the government since 2013 to develop an easier-to-understand, more inclusive piece of legislation that helps more carers get access to the support that they often need but aren’t always aware of – one in 10 Scots are already in a caring role,


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but many aren’t getting support, which can have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing. The Act brings together important parts of various policies, and includes some more up to date points to create a more personalised Act that gives increased support to a greater number of carers with varying levels of need. It includes points from the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act, as well as the Scottish government’s Carers’ Strategy from 2010, and the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act of 2013.

STRENGTHENED support “The Social Care (Self-directed Support) Act changed the way that carers access support and gave them options about what kind of care they had provided,” Heather explains. “It also provided a power to local authorities to support carers if they deemed it necessary that they get support. But it was a power, not a duty – so they didn’t have to provide support to carers. This Carers Act now places a duty on local authorities, so if a carer is eligible for support based on local authority criteria, the local authority must provide it. has to provide support.” The Act also has definitions of what carers, adult carers and young carers are. This will make a big difference for individuals in terms of understanding their role and seeking support. “It doesn’t focus so much on the amount of care a person is providing – it’s now more about the impact it has and personal outcomes,” Heather says. “If


Carers in SCOTLAND • There are almost 657,000 carers in Scotland – and thousands more who are ‘hidden’. • Scotland is home to 100,000 young carers. • 110,000 people provide over 50 hours of care each week. • Unpaid carers and young carers are more likely to have poor physical and mental health. • The cost to replace the care provided by carers would amount to more than £10billion annually. • 3 out of 5 of us will be carers at some point in our lives. • By 2037, Scotland will have 1million carers.

somebody is looking after someone for a few hours a week but having to juggle that with a full-time job and taking care of children as well, or if they’re caring at a distance and having to travel a long way, it’s going to have quite an impact on their life in a way it might not for someone who’s caring for a longer number of hours for someone who lives with them.”

PERSONAL OUTCOMES Personal outcomes – or what the carer wants to acheive – are now set out in an adult carer’s support plan or a young carer’s statement, which have replaced what was previously called a carer’s assessment. “Even if they don’t need any support at this time, that will be noted and it will be reviewed at a later date,” Heather adds. The one concern that Carers Trust have is that, due to budget cuts and some local services already at capacity, there might not be the resources in place to offer the support that’s deemed to be required – but the charity

will be working closely with its network partners to meet demand as far as possible. “What’s great is that the Act is going to allow services – both statutory and those that are independent – to identify more hidden carers,” Heather points out. “If more people are aware, it might encourage people who don’t identify or recognise themselves as a carer to come forward. It’s really, really important that local authorities and the Scottish government fund carers support services enough to meet demand.” If you feel that you could be entitled to support under the new Act, get in touch with your local social services department now to arrange an assessment and see what’s out there for you.

i Carers Trust Scotland is the largest provider of support for carers north of the border, reaching around 40,000 adult carers and more than 3,500 young carers nationwide through a network of independent carers centres and young carers services. For more information on how Carers Trust Scotland can help you, head to scotland, call 0300 123 2008 or email | Enable - The Scottish Issue


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As the country’s leading member-led campaigning organisation for people with learning disabilities, ENABLE Scotland has been at the centre of lots of social and political changes which have benefited the lives of thousands


hen you have a learning disability, sometimes life can be a little bit more difficult. Gaining access to certain services, having your voice heard, getting involved with things that interest you – it’s not as straight forward as some people would like. Which is why ENABLE Scotland exists. The charity, founded in 1954, is all about fighting the inequality and discrimination that people with learning disabilities face in day to day life, and making sure that their members are treated as equal members of society.

ENGAGEMENT “We have between four and five thousand members across Scotland, and we engage with them regularly through our branches, a network we have called ACE [Advisory Committee of ENABLE Scotland] and our Scottish Council,” explains Jan Savage, executive director of campaigns and external affairs. “We do no more than two major campaigns in a year, and work together to identify what are

the big current issues, and what has the most chance of success.” The charity’s work has changed lives and won awards, most recently for its Stop the Bus campaign, a reaction to quietly-changed legislation which saw people with learning disabilities no longer qualifying for bus passes – and their work overturned this. This year, ENABLE Scotland are looking at two issues – voting and inclusive education. Voter engagement has always been important for the organisation (only 30% of people with learning disabilities vote, but 70% want to), but this year, they moved things up a gear. “The campaign was called Enable the Vote, and it had three strands,” Jan explains. “One was around information, to promote people with learning disabilities’ right to vote. The second was participation and the process. That was around the hustings events that we hosted. The third element was to get as many political parties, through that process, to sign up to our election pledge, that’s called Be the Change, and agree to work with us on a few key issues that matter to ENABLE

Scotland members.”

UNDERSTANDING The charity is now turning its attention to the topic of inclusive education. At present, they’re undertaking research to get a better understanding of what is and isn’t working, hearing from young people, parents and teachers. “Usually, when we have a campaign, we know exactly what we want to achieve and we’ll build the tactics to achieve that from there,” Jan explains. “This campaign, however, is a national conversation which recognises the fact of life for children with additional support for learning needs in Scotland’s schools and their parents, which is that it’s not always a great experience.” The charity is always looking for new voices to add to their campaigning work, and you can get involved online or in person – so reach out now and see what you can do to change life for people with learning disabilities in Scotland today.

i Find out more about campaigning with ENABLE Scotland, and the support services they can offer, at uk or call 0300 0200 101. | Enable - The Scottish Issue



care and support

GOING THE EXTRA MILE Here in Scotland, there’s a wealth of care organisations offering a variety of support solutions for people with disabilities and special needs, all to the highest standards – and sometimes, it’s the people behind these services who are making the biggest difference

IT’S NORMAL TO BE A BIT WORRIED about getting social care support, but these days, services are improving rapidly, with service users’ interests, wants, preferences and best interests at the heart of what they do. One care service which stands out is Cheshire House in Inverness, which is run under the leadership of Freda Murray. Operated by UK-wide care charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, Cheshire House is a care home, supported housing service and day centre for young adults with physical disabilities, located on the banks of the River Ness.

WORTHWHILE “Seeing the service users getting up and having a purpose to their day – having something to look forward to – is very satisfying,” says Freda. “Long-term goals. Short-term goals. Planning a holiday. Going to concerts. Just making life worthwhile. I would say my service users have a better social life than I have!” Freda, who has worked in the sector for almost 20 years, truly believes in putting service users at the heart of her work, and does everything she can to ensure that they’re achieving their goals and aims, living as full a life as possible. She and the team really go the extra mile to ensure that the people they support can live out their dreams, whether that’s fundraising, travelling to the USA or getting into work. “One girl did the Colour Run recently,”


Freda says. “She’s involved in looking after young children, we support her to do that, and she’s always doing some sort of fundraising activities and we support her with that too. Anything that’s on in the town, she’ll have a go.”

CAMPAIGNING Cheshire House is home to a campaigning group too, the Musketeers, who staff support to make a difference in their local community. “They’ve campaigned for all sorts of things,” Freda says. “We’re very short of wheelchair accessible taxis in Inverness, and we’ve had a real good go at raising awareness of that. They’ve successfully campaigned for wheelchair and pushchair access to Chanonry Point on the Black Isle, the dolphin viewing platform. They’ve also successfully campaigned for

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better seating for people with disabilities at the Caledonian Thistle football ground.” Scotland’s care industry is full of people like Freda who advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, and believe in the power of good quality support – and how far it can help people go. “It’s not just down to me – we have a really good team and good support,” Freda adds. “Leonard Cheshire himself said that anything you do in life will be a success if you’ve got the right people. And I do think we have the right people. That’s more important than anything.”

i Find out more about Leonard Cheshire’s care services at


COMMUNITY SPIRIT One thing that sets Scotland apart as a nation is our friendly, welcoming spirit – and that’s never been truer than for little Aaron Murray. When the six-year-old needed a walking aid, the people in his local community of Carmyle, Glasgow, clubbed together to give him the chance to run in the park IF IT’S ONE THING SCOTS know how to do, it’s stick together in times of crisis. Community spirit is still alive and well in Scotland’s towns and cities, with neighbours ready to rally around to help those in need when times get tough. Siobhan Murray felt the full support of her community in Carmyle when she held a fundraiser to buy a gait trainer or ‘walker’ for her young son, Aaron. At age six, Aaron has global development issues which prevent him from speaking and walking, leaving him dependent on his wheelchair.

IMPACT Although over the years Aaron had tried various walking aids at school and nursery, few were a suitable fit. When he tried the RMS Grillo walker, Siobhan realised it could have a huge impact on her son’s life. “The walker will make a huge

difference,” says Siobhan. “He can get out and about. He hates his wheelchair – when we go to the park, he’s fine sitting in the swing but he’d prefer to run about.” The Grillo is designed to support and assist a disabled child’s self-movement and has a variety of supports and adjustments to help children walk freely. The trainer costs in excess of £2,000. Siobhan and family originally signed up for a 5k run to help pay for the equipment, planning to include the race as part of a schedule of fundraising events. Little did they know that the good people of Carmyle would not only assist with fundraising, they would help the family surpass their target long before Siobhan had the chance to put on her trainers for the 5k.

HELP “Everyone always says the people in Carmyle are great at times like these,” says Siobhan, “but I’d never been on the receiving end of it before. You really don’t know how much people help each other until they are helping you out when you need it.” The family was only expecting to raise £2,000 towards the walker, but a disco fundraising night held within the local community managed to raise a whopping £6,000. Local businesses donated raffle

“Everyone always says the people in Carmyle are great at times like these, but I’d never been on the receiving end of it before” Siobhan Murray prizes, offered hire of the venue for free, and cut their DJ services by half price to make the night a roaring success. “Everyone came together and chipped in,” says Siobhan. “It was so busy, there was standing room only in the venue. There were so many raffle prizes gifted that we had to combine some of them. It was really overwhelming.” Thanks to the generosity and efforts of their local community, and support from RMS, Aaron’s gait trainer has now been delivered. Siobhan plans to put the remainder of the fundraising money towards an adapted car seat for Aaron and still plans to run her 5k, despite no longer needing the sponsorship money.

i See the full range of RMS products at | Enable - The Scottish Issue


Work and learning

BOOST YOUR PROSPECTS THROUGH EDUCATION Scotland is home to lots of great inclusive companies offering job opportunities for talented people of all abilities – but competition is fierce in the job market. If you want to get ahead in the world of work, it can pay off to boost your education, skills and qualifications. We take a look at some of the education providers in Scotland who can help give you a leg up on the career ladder


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Work and learning College

Distance learning

Further education colleges nationwide have learning opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, from life skills courses for people with learning disabilities to help them prepare for independent living and the world of work, through to industryspecific training to get you ready for a certain job. Whether you’ve no school qualifications behind you, or you’ve got your eye on university education, there’s a real mix of vocational and academic courses, some of which can take your straight into second or third year of a degree at an associated university. Some colleges have higher education establishment status, meaning you can study to degree level there. Colleges are well-equipped to cater for disabled students too, with dedicated disability support teams in place to help make sure you can access all of their facilities. Before applying for anything, get in touch to see what sort of support can be provided. Search for colleges in your area at, and get in touch with the institutions directly to apply.

If access is an issue, or you’re already working, you could go down the distance learning route to broaden your educational horizons. Distance learning is great for people who maybe find traditional learning environments difficult to access, and it enables you to take things at your own pace in your own time, with certain deadlines and goals to work towards. The Open University (OU) is the country’s leading provider of flexible, distance learning options – it currently offers more than 500 courses to 15,000 students here in Scotland. The great thing about The OU is the fact that it has an open admission policy – you don’t need any qualifications to study to degree level. What’s more, 15% of students have a disability, proof that there’s plenty of support in place for learners who maybe require extra support. Search for courses and find out more about funding and support at Many colleges and universities have a selection of courses which can be studied at a distance too, then there are specialist providers like ICS Learn (www.icslearn. and learndirect (www.learndirect. com), so you have lots of options.

University Scotland’s universities are among the best in the world – and you can study anything from animal behaviour to nuclear physics. With 15 universities to choose from, there’s a real range of exciting educational opportunities to cash in on. If you let the uni know about your disability at the time of applying, they’ll put you in touch with their disability services team. They’ll be able to make any necessary adjustments and adaptations, make sure classrooms are accessible and help you with any additional support or assistive tech you might need. Search for courses that fit with your interests and aspirations at www. Both uni and college students in Scotland can apply for financial support in the form of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This funding can be used to pay for the additional expenses which often come with having a disability. You can apply for funding through SAAS at

Adult education If you want to boost your skills or simply learn more about a specific area of interest, learning providers run a huge range of different adult education courses. While many of these courses don’t hold the same gravitas as a degree or diploma, and tend to cover topics which are more general interest than academic, they do show employers that you’ve got commitment, dedication and an eagerness to learn – all really appealing qualities. You can apply for funding to cover your studies too. Skills Development Scotland’s Individual Learning Accounts offer up to £200 for training or learning opportunities. ILAs are available for people aged 16 or over who live in Scotland, have an income of £22,000 or less and don’t hold a degree or postgraduate qualification. A huge range of courses can be covered by ILAs, so if you qualify, have a look and see what you could get involved with.



A ‘Trailblazer’ disability campaigner, Karis Williamson (now 17) began studying with The OU in Scotland aged 16 – and she says the experience has been ‘life changing’. The Inverness teen has congenital muscular dystrophy and left school in the last year of primary. With OU courses in ‘Making sense of the arts’ and ‘The arts past and present’ under her belt, Karis is now studying for a BA Open (Honours) Degree. She’s currently finishing ‘Introducing the social sciences’ and hoping to start a creative writing course this autumn. Outside her studies, Karis is a member of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s ‘Trailblazer’ network, which campaigns on key issues for young disabled people. She says: “I first got involved with Trailblazers around 2010; educational inequality and other issues surrounding disability motivated me to become involved with them.” Karis receives Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). She explains: “The DSA has been invaluable for my studies, providing the equipment and assistive technology I need to access the course materials, such as an eye-gaze computer, special software, a printer and a bookstand.” Karis has enjoyed the variety of OU study methods, including study days in Inverness and Edinburgh where she has met tutors and fellow students. “I would definitely recommend The OU as it’s been life-changing for me, has given me some self-respect, and re-educated me about what education REALLY is and who I really am and what I’m capable of,” she says. “Even if I never get to graduate, I have gained so much from it that I could never regret it.”

Find out more at | Enable - The Scottish Issue


Work and learning

Despite best efforts, in Scotland, only 48% of disabled people are in work compared to 80% of non-disabled people. If you’re unemployed and keen to get back to the workplace, you’re in luck – there’s lots of support out there, both from national organisations and smaller local projects. Here are a few worth checking out

INTOWORK Edinburgh and the Lothians 0131 475 2600 Intowork is a not-for-profit organisation helping people with disabilities and long-term health conditions from Edinburgh, West Lothian, East Lothian and Midlothian get into work and stay there. The team have got lots of advice for jobseekers and employers, helping to identify opportunities.

ENABLE WORKS Nationwide 0300 0200 101 ENABLE Scotland’s ENABLE Works programme is all about helping people with learning disabilities get into work. This person-centred support service helps individuals learn new skills and identify existing ones, organises work experience and helps in the search for paid work.

ACCESS TO WORK Nationwide The UK government’s Access to Work programme offers funding to help people get into and stay in work, paying for support and adaptations for the workplace.

REMPLOY Nationwide Remploy have branches across Scotland, where specialist advisors can offer people with physical impairments, learning disabilities and mental health



THE SUPPORT NETWORK needs overcome barriers to work. From interview tips to help finding suitable work, Remploy’s staff are worth meeting.

PATHWAYS FOR CHANGE Glasgow Glasgow Disability Alliance’s Pathways for Change programme is a free service which offers coaching and learning opportunities. People who struggle to get into work will see their confidence and opportunities boosted, and ready to get back on the job search.

INSPIRE Aberdeen 01224 280 005 In the north east, Inspire offers a range of services for people with learning disabilities and other support needs. The Project SEARCH programme, for example, sees 12 people put through internships at the University of Aberdeen each year, while studying towards a vocational qualification.

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JOBCENTRE PLUS Nationwide Branches of Jobcentre Plus on your local high street have got support in place for disabled job seekers. Disability employment advisors have an understanding of some of the challenges disability can present, and will carry out an assessment to see what might suit you before helping you look for appropriate work.

CAPABILITY SCOTLAND Nationwide 0131 337 9876 Leading disability charity Capability Scotland’s Capability Work programme offers practical support and advice to people with a wide range of different disabilities, helping individuals to develop their skills, confidence and employability. The charity has hubs across the country, including Aberdeen, Fife and Dumfries.

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For a competitive quote, more information or to discuss your needs email or call 0141 212 3395.





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LEGLESS IN GLASGOW She’s challenged Prince Philip to a wheelchair drag race, carried the Commonwealth Baton and raised over £35,000 for charity. Eilean Stewart, aka Legless in Glasgow, is our Glaswegian local hero


ilean Stewart’s Legless in Glasgow blog follows the highs and lows of being a wheelchair user in Scotland’s largest city. From her unfortunate adventures getting trapped in a shop lift to her celebrations of ‘rolling along’ with the Commonwealth Baton, Eilean has won the hearts of her readers with her honesty and her positive, yet self-deprecating, approach to life. She even managed to charm Prince Philip by suggesting he race her at a royal event. “People say this all the time, but it really is the people that make Glasgow,” says Eilean. “I’m an outgoing person and I love the Glasgow chat; I never get tired of people joking that I’m a bad driver when I’m in my wheelchair, accusing me of drunk driving when I’ve had a drink. Someone leant out their car window the other day and shouted, ‘Three points on your licence for baldy tyres!’

COMFORT The Legless in Glasgow blog and accompanying Facebook page have


“It really is the people that make Glasgow” amassed thousands of followers thanks to Eilean’s hilarious posts. They have also become a source of comfort for her fans. “It means so much to me to make people laugh through my blog,” says Eilean. “I’ve always loved being a bit of a joker but it’s been really humbling to get such a response – to know that even if I’ve reached one person, I’ve made a difference.” Limb girdle muscular dystrophy (type 2i) may have left Eilean dependent on a wheelchair at 19, but the now 26-year-old has not allowed herself to be held back by her disability. She and chocolate labrador Zonda, her assistance dog from Canine Partners, now take on the world together.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE When she’s not writing about tackling Glasgow’s potholes and dipped kerbs in her electric wheelchair, Eilean is a successful

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fundraiser. Over the years, she and her loved ones have raised over £35,000 for charities such as Muscular Dystrophy UK and Canine Partners through a series of events, including a 1940s themed night and a bride and groom party. “My advice to other disabled people would be not to put pressure on yourself to be a ‘hero’ or to be ‘inspirational’ all the time,” says Eilean. “Acknowledging the trials and tribulations of disabled life is important, but don’t let it swallow you up. There is a big, beautiful world out there and slowly but surely, it is becoming more accessible. Embrace your disability as a small part of you. Don’t let it take over and define who you are. “Oh and my last piece of advice – if somebody offers you a Glasgow Kiss, politely decline. It’s not as nice as it sounds!”

i Read Eilean’s blog at leglessinglasgow.











22/03/2016 10:47:04

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