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enable Forget can’t - think can!

July/August 2016



From housing to products, everything you need to know about living independently


ENABLE GUIDE Independent living


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EMPLOYMENT 04/07/2016 17:25


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Book your test drive at The official fuel consumption figures in mpg (l/100km) for the cars shown are: Urban 67.3 (4.2) – 80.7 (3.5); Extra Urban 74.3 (3.8) – 91.1 (3.1); Combined 72.4 (3.9) – 85.6 (3.3). The official CO2 emissions are 103-85g/km. EU Directive and Regulation 692/2008 test environment figures. Fuel consumption and CO2 may vary according to driving styles, road conditions and other factors. To qualify for the Motability Scheme you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or the Armed Forces Independence Payment. Advance Payment offers are only valid for Motability applications between 1 July and 30 September 2016, are correct at time of going to press and subject to acceptance of Motability application. The Motability Contract Hire Scheme is administered by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No.1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HB. Full written details, including terms and conditions, of the Motability Scheme are available on request from Motability. Please note 60,000 miles over 3 years are allowed on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme.

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forget can’t – think can

PUBLISHER Denise Connelly EDITOR Lindsay Cochrane STAFF WRITER Kirsty McKenzie EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Rachael Fulton Tim Rushby-Smith Alisdair Suttie DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Gillian Smith SALES Dorothy Martin ADMINISTRATION Lisa McCabe

ENABLE MAGAZINE DC Publishing Ltd, 200 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG Tel: 0844 249 9007 Fax: 0141 353 0435

Hello, and welcome to the latest issue of Enable! I can hardly believe it, but summer is finally here – well, apparently. The rain outside my window right now is telling a different story all together...! And with this issue of Enable, we’ve got a real summer feel to get you in the mood for the sizzling season ahead. If you’re ready to think about your summer break, don’t miss our guide to days out on page 59, all planned with access in mind. From ice cream factories to pretty parks, we’ve got it covered! We’ve also been dipping into the realm of the cultural to look at improvements being made by theatres, galleries, museums, gig venues and beyond to make sure everyone has access to the arts. Turn to page 51 to get inspired. Also this issue, Enable’s Rachael Fulton headed off to Dusseldorf in Germany to explore the vibrant city and put its accessibility to the test – and what she found was highly impressive. If you’re after a summer holiday with a difference, Deutschland could have the answer. Find out more on page 56. We’ve also got a bumper sport section as the Paralympics edge ever closer. From our interviews with top athletes Libby Clegg and Chris Skelley to a look at what’s going on behind the scenes at ParalympicsGB, it’s a must-read for sports fans! If you turn to the middle section of the magazine, you’ll see we’ve teamed up with retailers Argos to explore the topic of independent living, to tie in with the chain’s increased focus on living aids and useful products for older and disabled people. Head to page 35 to find out more about the services that are out there to help you live the life you choose. And this is just scraping the surface! Don’t forget to check out this issue’s competition either – we’re giving away a Galaxy Tablet for all your social, shopping, streaming and surfing needs. You’ll find that on page 60. As ever, don’t forget to let me know what you think of what we’ve pulled together this issue! Email me at


Lindsay Cochrane, Editor





This issue, we’ve been finding out how cuts to benefits and services are really affecting Britain’s disabled people, with one man sharing his story.


Reporter Rachael Fulton headed out to Germany to see what’s going on in terms of accessible tourism.


When banker Angus Drummond was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he knew he had to do something to help disabled people see the world.

©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 time of going to print, DC Publishing Ltd takes no responsibility for omissions and errors.

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What’s inside Spotlight 22 MS: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? We caught up with the MS Society to find out what’s going on in the research world to help patients.

31 DEEPENING CUTS We take a look at how government cuts and sanctions are changing lives.

71 LIFE AFTER DEATH Whatever your financial position, planning for the future is essential. From wills and trusts to funeral plans, we find out more.

Sport 10 THE RIO INTERVIEW Sprinter Libby Clegg talks to Enable about warming up for this year’s Games and her hopes for making it on the team.

Chris Skelley talks VI judo ahead of his first time at the Paralympic Games representing Great Britain.

What goes into planning a Paralympic team? We found out.

17 A SUMMER OF SPORT If you’re keen to get active this summer, we look into some sporting opportunities worth checking out.

Life 27 BECOMING A MUM One mum talks to Enable about embracing motherhood – despite a few physical challenges.

51 CULTURE VULTURES Accessible arts opportunities for all.

56 BARRIERFREE TRAVEL IN DUSSELDORF Enable headed over to Germany to find out more about the country’s accessible tourism initiative.

Voices 20 THE PARALYMPIC LEGACY Tim Rushby-Smith is looking forward to this September’s Games – and what they could mean for disabled people.

24 THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORT Editor Lindsay Cochrane shares her recent health difficulties, and talks about those who have helped her through.



This issue, we’ve joined forces with Argos to explore the importance of independence and what services, products and initiatives are out there to help you gain control of your life – from Argos’s independent living range to assistance dogs and housing services.

64 THE REVIEW This issue, we took the Honda Jazz out for a test drive.

Employment and education 76 BE YOUR OWN BOSS How to go about setting up your business – and what support is out there for disabled bosses.




78 INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE We found out about some of the employers going the extra mile for staff with disabilities.


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July/August 2016

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the latest

IN JUNE, ATHLETES with a learning disability from across the country came together in Barnsley to compete in the National Athletics Championship, hosted by Mencap. Taking place at the Dorothy Hyman Athletics Stadium on 25 June, the athletes took part in a range of track and field events including 100m, 5000m, hurdles, long jump and javelin. Alongside the competition, there was a festival of athletics, open to people with a learning

disability of all abilities. The championships are sanctioned by INAS, in partnership with Special Olympics GB and England Athletics, to encourage more people with a learning disability to get involved with sport. It also serves as a talent ID day, working to spot athletes to take part in major events like the Paralympic Games. Martin Lees, national sport manager at Mencap, commented: “Competitions like these are so important in making sure that people with a learning disability know that they have the same opportunities to participate, enjoy and excel in sport at all levels.” For more information about the Championships or Mencap Sport, email

ONE OF THE BBC’s most respected journalists has stepped down from her role following a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Caroline Wyatt, the former war reporter-turned-religious affairs correspondent who has worked for the Corporation since 1990, revealed in June that she would be stepping down after finding out she has MS. Despite experiencing symptoms for 25 years, she wasn’t diagnosed until recently, which, the journalist says, brought a huge sense of relief. Speaking to the Radio Times, she said: “Inevitably there is the ‘why me?’ moment. But I think it’s pointless to go back and think ‘if only’, because I chose the life I wanted and I’ve had a fabulous time. I feel really sad now because I’m not going to be a correspondent full time any more – I physically can’t.” While leaving her correspondent role, Wyatt will continue to work with the BBC, hoping to move to radio and she has plans to work on coverage of the canonization of Mother Theresa later this year.


Athletes with a learning disability compete at national championships


STUDY FINDS CUTTING BENEFITS DOES NOT MAKE PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO FIND WORK A GOVERNMENT-BACKED study has found that cutting a person’s benefits does not make them more likely to get into work – despite aims of ‘incentivising’ individuals to look for a job. The report found that the likelihood of long-term unemployed people finding work dropped by 2% for every pound of income that they lost. Charities have voiced their concerns over the findings, particularly with the 6

impending cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those in the work-related activity group (WRAG), which the government says is also being reduced to encourage people to seek employment and get off benefits. Kate Fitch, head of public policy at national deafblind charity Sense, said: “Rather than incentivising disabled people to find work the cut to ESA will push them further away from employment and closer

to poverty. Instead of penalising disabled people who are out of work, the government should turn its focus to dismantling the real barriers preventing disabled people from finding a job, such as negative attitudes from employers, failure to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace, inaccessible transport and ineffective back to work support programmes which are continuing to fail in helping disabled people find and keep work.”

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FUEL YOUR INSTINCTS WITH THE NEW ALFA GIULIETTA. Enhanced features include a 5” Colour touchscreen radio with DAB, Bluetooth® and Smartphone connectivity, 16” 5 Double spoke alloy wheels, manual climate control and Alfa D.N.A. driving mode selector. Insurance, servicing and maintenance are all included as part of the Motability Scheme package. For more information and for a complete list of all Alfa Romeo models available on the Motability Scheme visit

Range of official fuel consumption figures for the Alfa Giulietta range: Urban 29.7 – 60.1 mpg (9.5 – 4.7 I/100km); Extra Urban 54.3 – 88.3 mpg (5.2 – 3.2 I/100km); Combined 41.5 –74.3 mpg (6.8 – 3.8 I/100km). CO2 emissions 157 – 99 g/km. Fuel consumption and CO2 figures are obtained for comparative purposes in accordance with EC directives/regulations and may not be representative of real-life driving conditions. Factors such as driving style, weather and road conditions may also have a significant effect on fuel consumption. Model shown: New Alfa Giulietta 1.4 TB 120hp at NIL Advance Payment. Advance Payments are correct at time of going to press and subject to orders being placed between 1st July and 30th September 2016. Not available in conjunction with any other offer. Terms & Conditions apply. Offer may be varied and withdrawn at any time.

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the latest UBER LAUNCH WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLES TRANSPORTATION GIANTS UBER have launched a new wheelchair accessible service, called UberWav. Operating in London, wheelchair users will be able to get an accessible cab at the “touch of a button”, according to Uber bosses, at the same rate as the cheaper UberX fares. Scope, Whizz-Kidz and Transport for All have all voiced their support for the service, with the company investing over £1m over the first 18 months to get the product up and running. The accessible cars will have rear-entry ramps, restraints and a winch, and wheelchair users can travel with one other passenger. The new fleet will initially have 55 vehicles, expanding to over 100 in the coming months. Lisa Quinlan-Rahman, director of external affairs at Scope, said: “We are pleased that Uber is launching a new service for disabled customers. Accessible transport is absolutely vital for many disabled people and can help drive down the extra costs they face. It supports disabled people to do everyday things like get to work, hospital, go shopping or visit family and friends.”


CELEBRATING ACHIEVEMENTS OF SPINAL CORD INJURED COMMUNITY IN JUNE, the annual Spinal Injuries Association Rebuilding Lives Awards celebrated the achievements of men and women with spinal cord injuries at a ceremony in Birmingham. The awards, which took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, were hosted by 2012 GB wheelchair rugby team captain and SIA ambassador Steve Brown. He was supported by a number of Paralympians and SIA supporters, including Claire Williams OBE and Natasha Baker MBE, to hand out 18 awards to spinal cord injured people, healthcare and legal professionals.

Sue Browning, the chief executive officer of the charity, said: “The Rebuilding Lives Awards is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of people in the spinal cord injured community. “The winners, and everyone who was shortlisted for the 2016 awards, are very deserving of the recognition that they received during the event, for their great commitment to improving the care and support to spinal cord injured people and their families.” Head to to check out the full list of winners.

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She’s already got two silver Paralympic medals under her belt, but for visually impaired sprinter Libby Clegg, that’s not quite enough for one career – and she’s currently training her hardest to make the cut for the ParalympicsGB squad in Rio. Here, Libby tells Enable all about her career so far, and what her hopes are for the future


got into sport through sports day at school. I was always quite competitive. I used to dance – which obviously isn’t that competitive itself. So my mum took me along to my local athletics club. I got involved with athletics from there. When I was 12, I dropped dance and only did athletics. When I was 14, I got asked along to a development day for potential future athletes, and at 16, I got selected for my first World Championships as a senior. It was then that I thought, ‘This is something I could potentially go into.’ At that point, I didn’t really know how far it would go. I run with a guide. The easiest way to describe it is it’s like doing a threelegged race, but you’re attached at the hand. It’s really similar to that. A lot of communication is involved – you need to do quite a bit of training together to get the synchronicity correct. The more


in sync you are, the more efficiently you run. Initially, it can be quite daunting, especially when you don’t really know someone that well – trust-wise, it can be a little bit hard. It’s really good once you get into it! I’ve only been working with my current guide Chris Clarke since January. It’s been going really, really well. He’s a really good athlete himself. He’s a nice person, I get on really well with him and he’s quick enough. It’s all about getting our confidence together. Guiding is really different to competing for yourself. I had a tough year last year, with injury and losing my place on the UK Athletics World Class Performance Programme – but I’m doing well now. I’m looking after myself, so I’m responsible for everything, but it also means I’m in control of everything. Obviously, I discuss everything with my coach, but there are little things I can just change

without getting the all clear. My injuries are something I’m going to have to manage long-term. Touch wood, I’ve not been injured so far this year. I think it would have been very easy for me to give up after being removed from the WCPP programme and losing my funding. For me, sport is really important and I’d feel like a bit of a failure if I just gave up, especially so close to Rio. It’s not something that you want to just throw away. I have my sponsors who are supporting me as well – that makes my journey much easier. I’m really fortunate to be in the position that I’m in, that I can look after myself. Final selection for ParalympicsGB is 25 July – we’re quite late, I think we’re maybe the latest. Training for Rio is going really, really well. I’ve started racing; I’ve done a few which have gone well. I’m really enjoying training at the minute as well. I train with Charnwood Athletics Club, and

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LIBBY CLEGG then I do a variation of big volume sessions with club runners, sessions with myself and my guide and my coach, and then strength and conditioning in the gym. There’s good variety. I’ve decided that even if I don’t get selected for the team, I’m going to go out to Rio anyway, because I’ve been on a journey with my teammates from previous years. I’ve got a lot of really close friends who are very likely to be on the team, in lots of different sports. So I definitely want to go out there and cheer everyone on. And Rio looks amazing! I’ve been to so many different countries with my sport. I really liked Doha last year. That was quite an interesting country. I think South Africa is probably the nicest place I’ve been for training. Lovely weather! I didn’t get to see much of South Africa while I was there, but it was definitely the nicest place.

I’ve competed in two Paralympic Games, and a lot has changed in that time. The biggest difference is the interest that it has generated. I think people are more accepting of disability now too. With different programmes that Channel 4 have put on as well, disability has been shown in a really positive way. That really helps – the profile of disabled people in general, not just parasport.

When my sporting career is over, I’d like to go to university and study osteography; I’d like to learn how to do bone manipulation and stuff like that. I’m already a sports massage therapist, so I’d quite like to continue on with that route. I don’t know if I’d like to work in sport though, that’s the only thing! I might have had enough of it by then. That’s something I’m looking into when I decide to retire.

I’ve learned a lot as an athlete. Even though athletics is a really individual sport, it teaches you a lot of skills. Social skills, meeting new people, confidence, independence – it teaches you a lot of skills that can help with other aspects of your life. I used to be really shy – being an athlete has put me in situations where I felt very uncomfortable, but I’ve learned how to overcome them. I know I can look after myself. The social aspect and giving me independence are the best things about it.

For now, I’m focusing on Rio. I just want to put myself in the best possible position for selection. I have a couple of competitions coming up too, lots of training to go – I’m giving it my all. Fingers crossed! AS TOLD TO LINDSAY COCHRANE

i Follow Libby on the road to Rio on Twitter, @LibbyClegg

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How are you feeling about the Games? Nervous! Very nervous. People like Ben Quilter and other athletes from Paralympics 2012 have been very influential in the last few months, coming in and helping us understand that it’s just another competition – it’s just a bigger stage and more people are watching.

How did you get started in judo? I started in judo when I was five. My mum and dad wanted me to get into it because they wanted me to socialise in different types of friendship groups, and they didn’t want me on the street at night. I’m very lucky that they did that. What do you enjoy about the sport? It’s very physical. It’s incredibly hard. Your body takes such a pounding on the ground, you get thrown about, and you have to get yourself out of situations. Unlike other sports where you get second chances, with judo, you only get one chance. How much training do you do? I train at the Centre of Excellence in Walsall, and I train maybe five, six days a week, two to three sessions a day. That includes judo, strength and conditioning, technical work, flexibility work, performance analysis work, injury prevention work – a lot goes into judo! I’m fairly new to this, so it’s been quite a big step for me. It’s been a bit

of a shock. It’s so much intense work for maybe a five-minute fight! Have you come up against any nasty injuries? I suffered a really bad accident when I was fighting one of my friends and I dislocated my hip, right out of its socket. It was a bit of a traumatic one, that one! You’re heading to Rio in September. How did it feel when you got selected for the team? Incredible. It’s been a long three years – longer than that really, from when I lost my sight at 15, 16. I’ve got through the first step. The next step is to go get a medal.


When Hull native Chris Skelley’s parents sent him to a local judo club as a kid, he had no idea he would end up representing Britain in the Paralympic Games! The visually impaired judoka speaks to Enable ahead of his first Paralympic outing

You took part in the Paralympic Inspiration Programme in 2012. What did that involve? You go and have mini camps in how to become a Paralympian. Then in the September, I spent three days living alongside the athletes, going to the venues, getting a feel for it as an athlete and a spectator. It definitely spurred me on. What are your hopes for this summer? To put my best performance in. If that means I get a medal, that’s great, if it doesn’t? As long as I do my best and I know I’ve given it 100%, I won’t regret anything – that’s what I hope for. But, obviously, I do want a medal!

i Follow Chris’s progress on Twitter, @ChristopherSke2


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ver the last few weeks, things have hit fever pitch at the British Paralympic Association’s headquarters. It’s been a blur of team announcements, planning meetings, fact finding trips and more – and chef de mission of the ParalympicsGB squad Penny Briscoe is more than happy to be in the thick of it. “We’re in a busy period of team announcements – that’s where our focus has been lately,” Penny says. “We’re feeling pretty good. It’s a very busy period but a very exciting period.” Because there’s so much more to organising a team of athletes for a Paralympic Games than picking out the best of the bunch and popping them on the plane to their host nation. With roughly 260 British athletes heading to Rio competing in 19 different sports, along with coaches, staff from the national governing bodies (NGBs) for each sport, BPA



The Paralympics are looming ever closer – and the athletes announced so far for ParalymicsGB are getting more and more excited about their journey to Rio. But just how do you prepare to take over 500 people to a different continent for the world’s biggest disability sporting event? The team’s chef de mission Penny Briscoe fills us in

staff, invited guests, friends and family – the figure reaches well over 500 people. And Penny and her team have to make sure that every one of them is as prepared as possible for whatever Rio has to throw at them.

CLUED UP For London 2012, things were slightly more straightforward – operating on home soil, it was an environment which wasn’t completely alien. Heading to South America, however, comes with a few more logistical challenges, from climate and culture to navigating transport and access. Penny and her team will make sure that all NGBs are fully clued up on what to expect, from the journey from the airport to what the accommodation is like. A Paralympic Games is totally different from European or world championships which take place annually – everything is on a much bigger scale, and the pressure is ramped up too.

MEANWHILE, It’s not just the BPA who have been putting in the work over the last few years – the organising committee for the Games in Rio have been working hard to make sure that the 2016 event is one to remember PARALYMPIC HOST NATION Brazil have spent billions of dollars preparing for this summer’s event, investing in new venues and upgrading existing ones, building new accommodation for the athletes’ village, upgrading the city’s transport links and more. At the Paralympics, events will take place across 21 different venues, from swimming at the Aquatics Stadium in Barra to the triathlon at Copacabana Beach. As with London 2012, volunteers will play a key role in the Games. The majority have been recruited, with more lined up to perform at the opening and closing ceremonies, which for the first time since the 1900 summer Olympics won’t take place at the athletics stadium – instead, it’ll be held at the Maracanã football ground.

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“Often athletes are on the ground for longer than they would be at another single-sport major championship,” Penny points out. “The environment is quite different in terms of the length of the Games, the global spotlight on the Games, both in terms of spectators and media pressure. It’s about working with each of the NGBs to ensure that athletes, staff and supporters understand the environment and have a game plan. From our perspective, it’s almost about demystifying the Games to allow the athletes to focus on performance on the field of play.”

ParalympicsGB who have the inside scoop on just how good our athletes are this year. “If selections are anything to go by to date, we’ll be selecting the most exciting and most talented ParalympicsGB team ever,” Penny says. “We can only control our own performances, but the track record of the national governing bodies over the last few seasons have been exceptional, both at world and European level. Of the 19 sports we’ve been selected for, 15 have got world medallists. It doesn’t matter which sport you watch on the

IN RIO... For the Paralympic Games, access is paramount – and as well as ensuring good access at the venues, the Brazilian government has been spending money to improve access at tourist attractions, from levelling pavements and roads to installing ramps. Preparations have hit a bump or two – the extension to the city’s metro system has been slow, while a cycle path created to go over the sea collapsed and killed two people. The Zika virus too is causing concerns for sportspeople and spectators alike, however the International Olympic Committee have said that the dryer, cooler climate of August and September – Brazil’s winter – will help ease the problem of the mosquitoborne virus. With just weeks to go until the Paralympics kick off, the world is watching and waiting with high expectations – can the Games meet the standard of London four years ago? Only time will tell... • Catch all the action on Channel 4 from 7 September

“From our perspective, it’s almost about demystifying the Games to allow the athletes to focus on performance on the field of play” Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB

BUILDING EXCITEMENT Team announcements will be taking place right through to the end of July, before athletes focus on their final training preparations for the big event – names confirmed so far include Paralympic veterans like swimming star Ellie Simmonds and wheelchair racer David Weir. The athletes will be heading out to Rio at different times, depending on their competition schedules, ahead of the opening ceremony on 7 September. As the Games edge ever closer, excitement is building – perhaps even more so for Penny and the team at

Paralympic programme – and please, please do turn on the TV, go onto social media! – whichever one you tune into, you’ll see British Paralympic athletes gunning for personal bests and medal-winning performances. That’s all we can hope for.”

i Keep up to date with ParalympicsGB’s preparation ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at www.paralympics.

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All-New Hyundai Tucson

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And a friendly face whenever you come in to see us. We make it possible. The bold design, spacious interior and long list of cutting-edge technology make the All-New Hyundai Tucson hard to ignore. But more impressive than all of this, is the warm welcome you get from our staff every time you come in to see us. Find out more at Model Shown: SE Nav available from £399 Advance Payment.

Fuel consumption in MPG (l/100km) for All-New Tucson range: Urban 35.3 (8.0) - 52.3 (5.4), Extra Urban 50.4 (5.6) - 67.3 (4.2), Combined 43.5 (6.5) - 61.7 (4.6), CO2 Emissions 170 - 119g/km. These official EU test figures are to be used as a guide for comparative purposes and may not reflect all driving results. Model shown: All-New Tucson

SE Nav 1.6 GDi Blue Drive manual in White Sand metallic paint with £399 Advance Payment. To qualify for the Motability Scheme you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or the Armed Forces Independence Payment. Offer available between 1st July and 30th September 2016 inclusive and subject to acceptance of Motability application. The Motability Contract Hire Scheme is administered by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HB. Full written details, including terms and conditions, of the Motability Scheme are available on request from Motability. Please note 60,000 miles over 3 years are allowed on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme.

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CYCLING Since cycling was introduced into the Paralympics in 1984, it’s fast become one of the most thrilling sports both to watch and participate in. Paralympic track cyclists compete under the exact same rules and conditions as the Olympic cyclists, but often with special adaptations, equipment or, in the case of VI cyclists, a tandem bike with a sighted ‘pilot’ up front. British Cycling has disability cycling hubs across the country to improve access to the sport for people with a disability and ensure that those wanting to improve their cycling performance receive the support they need. To find one near you head to

A SUMMER OF SPORT With the Olympics and Paralympics on the horizon, Britain will soon be gripped by sporting fever. And parasport is much easier to get involved with than you’d think! If you want to be the next Ellie Simmonds, Jonnie Peacock or Sarah Storey, check out these exciting sports to get you started

GOALBALL This is a team sport designed specifically for blind athletes, originally invented during World War II to help with the rehabilitation of blinded war veterans. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents’ goal. “Although it is primarily targeted for those with a visual impairment, it is also very inclusive in that anyone can play, because everyone wears eyeshades creating a level playing field,” says Becky Ashworth, national development manager at Goalball UK. “It’s a fast paced, exciting, fun team sport that relies heavily on communication and team work and I would encourage everyone to give it a go.” For more information check out their website at

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TENNIS Tennis is a fully inclusive sport which can be enjoyed by everyone, and is easily adapted to suit a range of ability levels so that disabled people can play along with their family and friends. “Tennis brings so many personal benefits such as improving your physical and mental health and wellbeing. It’s also a very sociable sport and a great way to make new friends,” says Jill Osleger, national disability development manager at the Tennis Foundation. The foundation works with the community to support tennis clubs and other tennis venues to ensure disabled people are able to access and get involved in a way that meets their needs. To find a tennis session or club near you, visit uk, where you can search for your nearest inclusive venue and start playing.

Lots of sports can be adapted to suit people with different abilities – and quite often, it comes down to equipment or a bit of specialist know-how. In recent years, prosthetics have come on leaps and bounds to enable people to participate in sport. Running blades, like those used by sprinter Jonnie Peacock and runner Richard Whitehead, have enough strength and flexibility to help amputees give it their all on a running track. Prosthetics aren’t just about running though – upper limb prosthetics are used by athletes in swimming, hockey, cycling, golf and more. Big-name companies like Ottobock are constantly working to create new, innovative devices that will enable amputees to participate in sport on every level. Sports wheelchairs too are opening doors for budding athletes around the world. From racing chairs to those designed for wheelchair basketball, tennis and rugby, these specially-designed wheelchairs enable users to move more swiftly to meet the demands of their sport. Hand bikes, too, are becoming more accessible and affordable, offering an alternative to your traditional mode of cycling. Get in touch with local clubs to find out more about accessible opportunities and funding to help you get involved.


TAEKWONDO In this ancient martial art, you get points for sparring, and it’s easily adaptable to include people of varying abilities. It’s not yet an official Paralympic sport, but it’s joining the programme in 2020 at Tokyo, so it’s the perfect time for budding athletes to try the dynamic and exciting sport. “It’s good for both physical and mental health, but also at the elite level there is a chance to go for Paralympic glory,” says BBC taekwondo commentator John Cullen. “All ages and all physical capacities are welcome, and quite a few athletes have already shown the way in para-taekwondo, so with four years to go there’s time to get involved.” Head to to find a club in your area.

POWERLIFTING The ultimate test of strength, powerlifting has been part of the Paralympic Games since Tokyo 1964, with women joining at Sydney 2000. Competitors with a range of physical disabilities, from lower limb amputation to spinal injury, bench press their way to glory, taking three lifts that increase in weight by 1kg each time. At the Paralympics Games, there are 10 different weight categories to compete in, and it’s growing in popularity – in 1964, just 10 countries competed in the sport, but by 2008, 74 were getting involved. Head to to find out more.

i This is just a taster of the different sporting opportunities that the UK has to offer – there’s plenty more out there, from table tennis to horse riding. Head to the Parasport site,, to find sports suited to your ability and search for clubs in your area.

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04/07/2016 16:12


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01/07/2016 24/06/2016 14:42 10:57



tim rushby-smith With the Paralympics just around the corner, columnist Tim Rushby-Smith reflects on the legacy of London 2012, and his hopes for the Rio Games this September AS THE PARALYMPICS in Rio approach, it is perhaps unsurprising that I find myself thinking back to 2012, when the Games came to my home town. London rose to the challenge in a way that still fills me with a sense of pride. The atmosphere was fabulous, as the public embraced the Paralympics every bit as enthusiastically as they did the Olympics before them. I was immensely privileged to be a torchbearer for the Paralympic relay, as part of a team of people who promoted sport as an inclusive activity. This is a principal that I am still very passionate about, and one that I have brought with me to Australia.

i 20

CAN DO The torch sits in the back of my wardrobe mostly, but I’ll dust it off soon, when I attend my daughter’s school to talk about the Paralympics. My message will be the same one that I push wherever and whenever I have the opportunity: sport is something you can do yourself, not just something you watch others do. There are many who feel disappointment that 2012 didn’t bring all the changes and improvements that were promised before the Games. While I share that sense of frustration, I must confess that I expected as much. The circus came to town and it was great, but it moved on. Politicians made promises and pledges and took every photo opportunity to be seen with disabled people. But four years on, we still don’t even have a resolution to the tedious issue of wheelchair spaces on public transport, and the benefits system (that has enabled Paralympians to commit themselves to sporting excellence in the past) has been picked apart. Perhaps the

biggest legacy of the Paralympics in 2012 is the ongoing success of The Last Leg.

POTENTIAL Maybe I’m being a bit cynical; the real legacy potential that the Games offer will become much clearer come September, when the Rio Paralympics get under way. The test will be what impact the Games have on the lives of disabled people in Brazil. In the UK, Rio will provide another opportunity to reflect on the legacy of 2012. Will Paralympic sport attract the support it enjoyed four years ago? And will the Games give the wider public the confidence to talk about disability? Perhaps. Over here in Australia, I am excited about the Games, mainly for the brilliant sport that will be on offer, but also to see how the wider public engages with it. I must say that it will be nice for people to talk about elite athletes as inspirational, rather than applying that label to me when I’m doing the shopping…

Looking Up by Tim Rushby-Smith is available on Virgin Books

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FUTURE HOLD? Multiple sclerosis, or MS, affects 100,000 people in the UK – and thousands of pounds are being funnelled into research to try find a cause of the condition, better treatments and, ultimately, a cure. Enable caught up with the MS Society, the country’s biggest charitable funder of MS research, to find out more about what progress is being made in the field


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t’s the most common condition of the central nervous system affecting young adults, yet relatively little is known about where MS comes from or what can be done to stop it in its tracks. Over 100,000 Brits are living with multiple sclerosis, every one of them at different stages, displaying different symptoms and having completely different experiences of the disease. No two patients are the same – making it difficult for researchers to pinpoint exactly how best to treat it. That said, huge progress has been made in recent years. The MS Society, the UK’s leading charity for people with MS, provides information and support for people with the condition and their carers, as well as funding research into the condition. Dr Emma Gray, head of clinical trials at the MS Society, has been overseeing lots of exciting research in her four-anda-half years with the charity. She says that there’s a lot of exciting trials taking place right now offering a lot of hope for people with the condition.

BROAD RANGE “We fund a really, really broad range of research,” Emma explains. “Everything from trying to find out what causes MS to looking for treatments, as well as trying to improve how people can manage their symptoms and developing new and more effective services.” There are different forms of MS – until recently, much of the research focus was on relapsing and remitting MS. About 85% of people diagnosed with MS have RRMS, which, as the name suggests, comes with periods of flare ups and latterly remission. In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin which protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as vision problems, mobility issues, numbness or tingling, spasms or bladder and bowel issues. Over time, the flare ups in RRMS can lead to permanent damage or scarring to the myelin and nerve fibres, causing the temporary symptoms to become permanent – this is known as secondary progressive MS. There’s also primary progressive MS where, rather than experiencing relapses, patients’ symptoms gradually worsen with time, which affects about 10% of patients.

THE FACTS • MS is a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord – the central nervous system. • In MS patients, the immune system – which normally helps to fight infections – mistakes myelin, a substance which protects nerve fibres in the central nervous system, for a foreign body and attacks it. This damages the myelin and strips it away from the nerve fibres, either partially or completely, leaving scars known as lesions or plaques. • Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. • Physical symptoms of MS include vision problems, balance problems and dizziness, fatigue, bladder problems, stiffness and/or spasms, bowel problems, difficulties with speech or swallowing, tremors, problems with memory or thinking and issues with sexual function.

BREAKTHROUGH More and more funding is being put towards progressive MS, to slow down the symptoms of disability and even repair the damaged myelin. “Last year, we saw the first positive phase three trial of a treatment in progressive MS of an anti-inflammatory, which is an immune modulating drug,” Emma explains. “This drug is called Ocrelizumab. It was tested in people with relapsing and remitting MS and a lot of them showed that it was effective in reducing relapses, but also for the first time, we saw it was able to slow disability progression in people with primary progressive MS. This is a huge breakthrough.” Researchers have also been doing a lot of what’s known as ‘repurposing’ drugs – taking medications which are already being used to treat other conditions and trialling them on MS patients. This is a huge positive as it cuts down the trial time – on average, it takes 17 years

for a drug to be approved – but by repurposing drugs, a lot of time is saved as the safety phase has already been dealt with. “There’s a trial we’re funding called MS Smart,” Emma says. “They’ve got one placebo and they’re testing three drugs in one go. So they don’t have to set up three trials. It’s using three different drugs for other conditions. One is Fluoxetine, which is otherwise known as Prozac. Another one is Amiloride, which is for heart disease. And the other is Riluzole, which is the only licensed treatment for motor neurone disease. We should have results in 2018.”

REPAIR Another area of research showing promising results revolves around stem cells in relation to myelin repair. “They’re trying to stimulate the body’s own stem cells to repair the myelin,” Emma says. “They’ve shown in animal models that this can be done – they’re now about to start a small phase two trial of a drug called Bexartoene which again is a repurposed drug, it’s a cancer drug. It hits the molecules that they found can stimulate the brain’s own stem cells to repair myelin.” With so much going on in labs around the world, it’s a really exciting time for people working in MS research – and MS patients. For those who perhaps it’s too late in terms of different treatments, the MS Society can offer different types of support, including information on talking therapies or practical support at home to make life easier. “MS is never the same for two people,” Emma points out. “I think that’s what makes it so hard for people to manage. That’s why emotional support, support from family, is so important. At the MS Society, we appreciate that it’s really exciting research but we also bear in mind that people need support to survive day to day so we try and make sure that we provide that when we can.”

i MS Society Free helpline: 0808 800 8000

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORT LINDSAY COCHRANE Enable Editor Lindsay Cochrane shares her recent health-related difficulties – and reflects on why emotional and practical support is so important when you’re waiting on a diagnosis IT’S BEEN 18 MONTHS. Eighteen months of pain, mad dashes to the loo, no energy and generally feeling disgusting. And yet the medical team at my local hospital can’t quite figure out what’s going on. Aged 18, after months of stomach pain, I was told I had Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, which affects 115,000 people in the UK. It’s a hidden condition – to look at me, you probably wouldn’t think there was much wrong with me most of the time – but Crohn’s involves inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain and diarrhoea, fatigue, feeling unwell or feverish, loss of appetite, weight loss and more. They don’t know what causes Crohn’s, and there’s no cure. After my initial diagnosis, I underwent surgery to remove part of my bowel and since then, thanks to daily medication, I’d


kept really well. I was in remission – the end goal for IBDers like me.

MYSTERY Then in December 2014, nine-and-a-half years later, I fell apart. I’ve undergone multiple tests – colonoscopies, an endoscopy, a small bowel MRI – but there’s no evidence of inflammation to be seen, despite other inflammation tests coming back through the roof and my symptoms getting worse. So I’m a mystery. I’m guzzling antidiarrhoeal medications like they’re going out of fashion, carefully monitoring my diet, trying my hardest to get to work (although this is being written from my sofa) and hoping that someone somewhere will figure this out. I’m in limbo. Until a doctor is able to say what’s wrong with me, they can’t really treat me. Of course, with the NHS being so stretched, waiting times are long and resources restricted. And at times like these, support matters. MY NETWORK I am very, very lucky to have a fantastic family who are open to laughing at me

and then being nice to me in the same breath. I have a wonderful boyfriend who will happily go pick up prescriptions for me. My friends don’t mind when I cancel plans last minute. And I’m really fortunate to have an understanding employer too – I think anyone with any type of disability would agree that’s worth its weight in gold. If I didn’t have all of this, I don’t know how I’d cope. When you’re in a position like mine, having people to lean on is vital. Even if it’s just a friendly face to listen when you have a moan, someone who’ll do a bit of research on your behalf or a pal who will pick you up when you’re at your lowest – I’ve learned that having people around you who are on your side at a time when it can feel like the world is against you is so important. And I am so thankful to have people like these in my life.

i Crohn’s and Colitis UK Support line: 0121 737 9931

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04/07/2016 17:12

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27/06/2016 11:17 01/07/2016 14:41


Becoming a mum Having a baby is daunting for any new mother, but when Mum has a disability it can be trickier to raise a little one. Rachael Fulton spoke to Carol Barraclough about her experiences bringing up baby Albert

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04/07/2016 12:40



rowing up, Carol Barraclough never saw herself becoming a mother. Her vision of the future with partner Jonny didn’t feature a wedding day or a brood of children; that was the sort of life Carol recognised suited other people, but wasn’t for her. “Having a baby just wasn’t on my radar,” says Carol, 43. “I wasn’t planning to get married or have children, but then again I wasn’t planning on becoming paralysed either.” In 2006, Carol began to experience ‘drop foot’ – a walking abnormality that often signposts a more serious medical problem. She was given crutches for support while doctors investigated the cause of the problem.

CHANGE After three weeks, a trip to the bathroom changed Carol’s life forever. Sitting on the loo, she instantly lost any sense of feeling from her bellybutton down. Carol was paralysed. “The feeling went completely within a matter of seconds,” says Carol. “I did a hospital tour trying to work out what was wrong. I have no sensation there at all, but I’ve been pragmatic about it. “I just thought, ‘This is how it’s going to be.’ A diagnosis became so much more important to other people than it did to me; I just wanted to know if I was going to get better. You just have to soldier on, don’t you?” Eight weeks later, Carol was diagnosed with neurological condition transverse myelitis. The condition causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in turn damages the nerve fibres and has a devastating impact on the central nervous system. Despite her hope, Carol would never regain the feeling in her lower body. OUTLOOK As she began coming to terms with her disability, Carol’s outlook on life understandably changed, and over time so did her plans for having children. She and Jonny began trying for a baby when Carol was 37.


After an extensive period of attempting to conceive, fertility tests offered no clues as to why Carol and Jonny had not become pregnant. A week before the couple were to begin IVF treatment, the news arrived that baby Albert was on the way. “My partner and I have been together 20 years and we always thought we weren’t the type to get married and have children, then when I was paralysed it dropped even further down the list of importance,” says Carol. “Then suddenly it became really important and we decided to go down that route. “When it came to being pregnant I thought, maybe being paralysed will make childbirth a bit of a breeze – I won’t be able to feel anything.”

“Being disabled needn’t affect your ability to have kids. There are aids and support available if you need it, you just need to look” This was sadly far from the truth in Carol’s case. Blood pressure issues caused complications during Albert’s birth, as did the umbilical cord looping around his neck. Carol was induced at 38 weeks and gave birth via emergency C-section. “I was in hospital for over a week and couldn’t get out of bed for three days,” says Carol. “I’m quite independent so it took quite a long time for me to get back to normality. Because I’m paralysed, every movement I make pulls on my tummy and that was so painful.”

HURDLES Despite these initial hurdles, Carol quickly embraced her new role as a mum. She attended a parenting course run by the Spinal Injuries Association,

which put her in touch with mothers in similar situations, and gave her provisional support about what to expect in the early stages of motherhood. “The course talked about being pregnant, the different options and support that was available,” says Carol. “Being disabled needn’t affect your ability to have kids. There are aids and support available if you need it, you just need to look.” Carol only needed a few adjustments to her home and lifestyle to make caring for Albert easier. An adjusted cot with a drop-down side allowed her to place her baby gently in his crib, while a swivelling car seat lets her take him in and out of the car with ease. When Albert was very small, Carol wore him in a baby sling so that he could sit on her lap. Now two-and-a-half, Albert has a little more freedom on his walking reins and can run alongside Mum’s wheelchair. “I got a lot of ‘aaaahs’ and ‘ooohs’ in the beginning, especially when he was in the sling,” says Carol. “If people react to me differently in the street, or wonder whether he’s my child, I don’t notice any more. If we go out and he’s on reins, I’m sure people have their questions but it doesn’t bother me.” Carol works part-time as a peer support worker at the Spinal Injuries Association and loves being a working mum. Although it wasn’t always her plan to have kids, and she admits she and Jonny aren’t planning to have any more, she has embraced motherhood and hasn’t let her disability get in the way of being a wonderful mum to Albert. “If I was advising new mums, I’d tell them – don’t be scared,” says Carol. “Being a parent is hard work whether you have a disability or not. I’m a really independent person and still needed support. Help is out there.”

i For more information on Spinal Injuries Association, visit, or call the advice line on 0800 980 0501.

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CUTS Since the general election of 2010, there’s been one word that’s taken over the headlines on a fairly regular basis: cuts. More specifically, budget cuts. Prime minister David Cameron inherited a deficit of £149 billion – and savings had to be made. And who’s been the hardest hit? Those who rely on government support most. We take a look at how government cuts to welfare benefits are affecting disabled people across the nation


hat would you do with £30? It might cover your child’s new school shoes. A trip to the cinema for you and your other half. Maybe a tank of petrol if you’ve got a small car. But if someone was to say to you that they were going to take that £30 away from you every week, how would you respond? Chances are, you wouldn’t be too pleased. And you’d notice the difference. Because £30 a week adds up – £120 a month, £1,560 a year. When you have limited income, £30 is a lot of money too – and it can be the difference between eating and paying for a taxi to take you to the Jobcentre to look for work. As of next year, people across the UK might have to make that choice. At the moment, people in the workrelated activity group for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – that’s people who aren’t able to work just now because of their disability or health problem, but are anticipated to make it back to work – receive £103 a week. As of April 2017, all new claimants for ESA will get £73 a week. Existing claimants will receive the same amount – for now. But if they do go back to work, stop receiving ESA, and then have to come out of work again, they’ll go onto the new rate.

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04/07/2016 16:21


NOT ENOUGH “We surveyed disabled people about those cuts in October 2015, and almost half of respondents – 45% – said that the cut would probably mean they would return to work later than expected,” explains Laura Wetherly, senior policy officer at the MS Society and chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium, the national coalition of over 60 different charities committed to working towards a fair benefits system. “As well as that, almost seven in 10 said it would cause their health to suffer. In fact, some people say that the current amount of ESA support isn’t enough for them, that they’re

LOST INDEPENDENCE David, a 32-year-old IT worker from Dalkeith near Edinburgh, is one such person. In March, he was told that he no longer qualified for the enhanced rate mobility component of PIP, which he used to lease a car through Motability. “I know there’s been a lot of talk from people who have gone through the process about the assessors not quite submitting the truthful information,” he says. “That didn’t happen with me. My assessor wrote what I said. But she asked how far I could walk without any pain, and I’d said 10 steps – that’s the distance from my front door to the edge of the road where the car was

a mandatory reconsideration from the DWP – that’s nine months of waiting, and nine months without the car David so desperately needs.

FURTHER CHANGE And the move from PIP to DLA is just one area which is having an impact in the name of saving government cash. The impending changes to ESA is projected to save the government £640 million – and existing claimants are scared that they too might be hit with a reduction in payments, despite work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb saying there are no plans for further cuts to welfare.

“My nearest bus stop is 150 metres away, but they’ve said I can walk no further than 50 metres. I don’t quite understand what they want me to do” David in financial difficulty.” It’s the latest in a long line of cuts that are affecting disabled people in the UK. Since 2010, politicians have spoken of wanting to cut unemployment rates and get more Brits back to work – and they’ve been making lots of changes to the welfare system to ‘incentivise’ people into employment. From changing Disability Living Allowance, the payment designed to cover the extra costs of disability, over to Personal Independence Payment (and moving the goalposts in the process) to putting a cap on how much people can claim under the new Universal Credit scheme, disabled people are coming out worse off – when they in fact are the ones who need government support most, particularly if their disability means they can’t work or they need support to work.


parked. That got turned into being able to walk between 20 and 50 metres, meaning I was no longer eligible. My nearest bus stop is 150 metres away, but they’ve said I can walk no further than 50 metres. I don’t quite understand what they want me to do.” Now, without his car, David has had to give up work and admits to not having left the house since his vehicle was taken away the week before we spoke. “It’s taking away my independence,” David explains. “Under PIP, if you can walk less than 20 metres, you’re eligible for the car. What if you can make it to 25? 30? That’s not much of a difference. It doesn’t get you anywhere.” David, like many others, is currently appealing the decision. However, the process could take as long as nine months to get a decision, having already gone through an initial nine-week wait for

The government estimated that the change from DLA to PIP would impact on 640,000 people – and the new change to ESA will affect even more. “At DBC, we do an annual benefits survey,” explains Laura. “What we hear is concern about the amount of support that people have. There are consistent difficulties highlighted with the process of claiming benefits, difficulty with the forms and assessments not properly considering the impact of their condition. There’s real concern out there amongst the community about these changes.”

i Find out more about the Disability Benefits Consortium’s work at disabilitybenefitsconsortium.

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Kingsmead Care Centre


01403 265335

Kingsmead Lodge


01403 211790

Norfolk Lodge


01403 218876

Orchard Lodge and Boldings Lodge


01403 242278

Rapkyns Care Centre (The Grange)


01403 276756

The Laurels


01403 220770

Rapkyns Care Home


01403 265096

Sycamore Lodge


01403 240066

White Lodge


02087 632586

Wisteria Lodge and Stable Lodge


01825 713082

Woodhurst Lodge


01444 401228

STOP PRESS: Brand new purpose built facilities now available to view for anyone wishing to arrange a visit. The service provisions include specialist care facilities for people with acquired brain injury, profound learning and physical disabilities and residential services for people with Autism.

Great care starts with great people – are you one of them? Due to expansion, Sussex Healthcare has fantastic opportunities to become part of a leading healthcare company that provides exemplary care to the service users in a positive and friendly environment.

If you are thinking of a career in care please visit our website and submit your CV to stating the position you are interested in working in.

To find out more about our homes and the services we offer, contact: Corrine Wallace Director of Operations

01403 217 338 |

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03/03/2016 14:38 16:12 01/07/2016


From technology to transport, everything you need to know about gaining greater independence

The Enable Guide






Helping disabled people live more independently

The support schemes helping you get into – and stay – in work

The right property can change your life – we found out how

One assistance dog owner shares their story

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04/07/2016 16:21

EXPLORE OUR RANGE Simple things are often the best.

So we’ve hand picked a huge range of products designed to help you out around the home and when you are out and about. Whether you need a wheelchair or mobility scooter to keep you mobile, or some extra support doing jobs about the house, we got the products, advice and inspiration to make day-to-day life easier and more comfortable.

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Home delivery: We can deliver anywhere in the UK and Northern Ireland (unless otherwise stated) as well as Channel Islands via our partner Ship2me. We are unable to deliver to the Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Orkney. Western Scottish Islands and Shetland Islands. For full details of out deliver services and lead times see page 6 of the main catalogue or visit and click on home delivery.

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Independent Living

product roundup The marketplace is brimming with innovative products to help you maintain a bit more independence at home. Here’s a taster of what’s out there

BELLAVITA BATH LIFT At the touch of a button, you can be lowered into the bath with the help of this bath lift from Bellavita – and it’s just as easy to get back out. This light lift can be split into two pieces, making it easy to store, and comes with a waterproof controller which has an emergency stop button and will float on top of the bath water to be kept close at hand. GET IT: Co-operative Independent Living, £189.99 with VAT relief, or £227.99 inc VAT (, 0800 622 6001)

ROTA-PRO® CHAIR BED The Rota-Pro® from Nexus has been developed to help those who have difficulty getting into and out of bed. This rotational chair bed helps users go from lying down to sitting upright and finally standing in a smooth, comfortable motion. Best of all? You can do it all yourself – no help needed, preserving your dignity and independence. GET IT: Nexus, POA (, 01905 774 695)

SUPER GRIP TAPES If you have difficulty gripping, Dycem’s super grip tapes are for you. With a thick, cushioned surface, the tape can be cut to size and stuck to any appliance where you might need a bit more help to hold on, like crutches, walking frames or even cutlery. The tape increases friction to prevent rubbing, and it’s available in three different colours. GET IT: Dycem, £7.99 (, 0117 955 9921)

RISER RECLINER CHAIRS As part of it’s new independent living focus (read all about it on page 43), Argos has introduced two new riser recliner chairs. The Bradley at £349.99 and Paulo (inset) at £399.99 fit the current suites found in the furniture department – so you can get a full matching set. The mechanism operates quietly and efficiently to help you to your feet with ease, and is backed with a 2 year warranty. GET IT: Argos, Bradley from £291.66 with VAT relief, or £349.99 inc VAT (

AMPLICOM POWERTEL 97 SOS PHONE The SOS phone from Amplicom is perfect for those who want to be independent but would like a bit of reassurance too. The phone has lots of handy access features – amplified calls and ring tone, a large display and big buttons, and talking caller ID. It also has a wireless SOS transmitter that will transmit to the phone in case of an emergency. Push the button and your three pre-programmed emergency contacts will be alerted. GET IT: M2C Shop, £89.99 (, 0208 829 9130)

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04/07/2016 15:15

Independent Living

MOVING ON OUT If you’re thinking about moving out but are worried how you’ll cope on your own, look no further. We take a look at housing options that will make independent living far less daunting


o live independently is an aspiration shared by many people with long-term disabilities. Whether you’ve outgrown the family home or just need a little more personal space, there are plenty of ways to live a more independent lifestyle and adapt your home to meet your individual needs.

HOME CARE OPTIONS Living independently does not mean you will be completely on your own – far from it. Home care options are available to assist you, not only with transitioning into your new home, but to support you long-term after you move in. NHS carers or home care professionals from private care agencies can aid you with washing, dressing and preparing meals, as well as any nursing or health care needs you have. Services are also available to do light housework and offer companionship should you need it. The availability of home care and financial support to pay for it can be a postcode lottery. Your local authority may provide your care, or outsource to an approved agency to do so on their behalf. If the council allocate you a personal budget to arrange your own care, you automatically have much more choice over the way your care schedule is handled.


“When I first became disabled, I moved back home into my farmhouse, but now I live in a bungalow,” says Ian Campbell from Castle Douglas. Ian was in a road traffic accident in 1999 and was paralysed from the neck down. “My carers are mostly funded through the council, through direct payments that I manage myself,” he says. “I have 36 hours of day care a week and an overnight carer that’s nine-and-a-half hours a night, mostly funded by the council. The support I’ve had from them is pretty much spot on.” Ben Wimbush is tetraplegic and has 24-hour care in his ground floor flat in Manchester. Ben became disabled after a trampoline accident and now requires round-the-clock care, all provided by the NHS. “Luckily I’m so injured I’m dealt with by continuing health care,” says Ben. “So all care is paid for by the NHS. As a result I have a case handler who helps find an agency to deal with my care needs. “The downside of agencies is they all face the same set of problems. The plus side is they can get replacements in place quickly if they are any good. Getting around independently is a piece of cake, all you have to do is ask for help.”

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Independent Living

ADAPTATIONS Kitting out your home to enable independent living has never been easier. The market is full to bursting with state-of-the-art products and adaptations designed to give you the freedom and independence to enjoy life in your own home. Hoists, grab rails, adjustable beds and accessible showers can all benefit your day-to-day life, allowing you to become more self-reliant. Jackie Maceira has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. He lives in his own semi-detached house and has extended his home to include another room with an adjoining wet room to suit his needs. He extended his kitchen, lowered the worktop and cupboards to make them more convenient and decked over the grass in his garden to make it more accessible. “I paid for most of it myself, but also got a government grant for adaptations,” says Jackie. “Disabled people have to grasp every opportunity they get to live as independently as is possible for them.” To find out more about funding to adapt your home, make enquiries about disabled facilities grants in your area, or head to HOME SWAPPER If you live in social or council housing and find that your house or flat no longer

“Disabled people have to grasp every opportunity they get to live as independently as is possible for them” Jackie Maceira

suits your disability needs, you can apply for a home exchange on the aptly named HomeSwapper scheme. Lorraine Cameron of Facebook group Disability Views UK applied for a swap on the site when her three-bedroom home became unsuitable for her needs. “Our family was hit by the bedroom tax, because we had an extra room, and also the house became no longer suitable,” says Lorraine. “We were looking for a two-bedroom with access to a front and back door garden. We found a ground floor flat via HomeSwapper and managed to move in after two years. I can’t fault the council in the support they’ve given us, they’ve been brilliant.” You can apply for HomeSwapper if you live in permanent, self-contained accommodation such as a flat or a house and rent your home from your local housing association or council. If you find someone in a similar situation who has a

house you could swap to, you must gain permission from both landlords. Find out more at

HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS Housing associations can help you live more independently by finding a home that’s right for your needs – and their rental rates are affordable, usually in line with housing benefit rates. Some associations specialise in housing for people with disabilities, and can include supported housing, wheelchair accessible properties and specialist services for people with mental health needs and learning disabilities. Moat Homes is a housing association working in the south east of England. They are on hand to provide advice for people within the community, whether you are interested in a new home or would like adaptations made to your current one. For more information you can visit www.moat. Don’t live in the south east? Find local housing associations at Whatever your needs, there are ways of gaining more independence in terms of where you live. Contact your local social services department to request an assessment of need and see what’s available in your area.

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Independent Living


Whether it’s a bus down to your local shops or a day trip by train, public transport plays a big role in all our lives, and it’s a huge part of being independent. We’ve looked into the best ways for you to get out and about this summer on public transport


ar ownership, taking taxis or renting a vehicle can become very expensive – especially if you already have a limited budget. Public transport can be a huge help for disabled people, giving you the freedom and independence to get out, explore and be part of your community – and it’s much more accessible, and affordable, than you’d think. In England, if you have a disability or are over 60, you can receive free offpeak travel on the whole English local bus network with the English Bus Pass scheme. Check out what you are entitled to at Meanwhile, Scotland and Wales operate independent bus pass schemes. In Wales, contact your local council for a pass you can use on buses at any time of day. A similar scheme is run by Transport Scotland ( and requires a National Entitlement card.

FURTHER AFIELD For those going a little further afield, Network Express offer a Disabled Coachcard for £10 a year, giving you a third off your travel, all year round. Adapted coaches have wide entrances, lift access, level flooring and a large toilet. Network Express recommends phoning at least 36 hours before travelling so they can fully assess your travel requirements. You can contact their helpline on 0871 781 8181 or go online at A Disabled Persons Railcard (www. is well worth investing in if you have any big trips lined up via train. The annual card costs £20, allows for a third off most rail fares and can also be used to get a third off Oyster cards in London. If you’re travelling with another adult they will also get a third off their rail fare, so you can save money for a friend or family member too!

BOOSTING CONFIDENCE For some people, using public transport can be a daunting experience. For people with learning disabilities, check out travel training schemes to become more independent in terms of travel. The programmes give trainees journey support and assistance, face-to-face advice and help them gain skills in personal and road safety as well as journey planning and preparation. Travel training is now delivered by a variety of organisations including charities, local authorities and schools and colleges. Contact your local authority to find out more about a training programme near you. Whether it’s logistics or cost that’s putting you off venturing out this summer, from your local shop to a different town entirely, support is out there to help you make the trip. Start making enquiries now.


Packing extra medication will help you avoid any extra stress when you face those inevitable disruptions or delays.

If you’ve got a wheelchair or scooter, note contact details for repair shops or mobility companies in the area you’re going to. It can be worthwhile taking a small repair kit too.

Try jotting a rough itinerary of your trip, especially if you plan on sightseeing, and research the attractions before you go in terms of any access needs you might have.

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04/07/2016 18:15

WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE APARTMENTS One, two and three bedroom apartments designed to be wheelchair accessible in four fantastic locations. Each home benefits from high specification interiors including contemporary fitted kitchens with integrated appliances* and allocated wheelchair-accessible parking*. All apartments are available on a shared ownership basis. Also known as part by part rent, shared ownership is a government backed initiative that helps people, often first time buyers, to purchase a home. MOAT AT GREENWICH MILLENNIUM VILLAGE


• Part of the exciting new urban village on the Greenwich Peninsula • Excellent transport links, shops, leisure facilities and green open spaces • Easy access to the O2 Arena, Greenwich and the River Thames

• Fantastic new residential quarter in Bromley town centre • Stunning new landscaped public square • Multiplex cinema, cafés and restaurants close by

For more information, please contact

Computer generated image

For more information, please contact

E: T: 0845 359 6330

E: T: 0845 359 6330


MOAT AT KIDBROOKE VILLAGE London Borough of Greenwich

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Fabulous waterside location Private balconies to all apartments Superb retail and leisure facilities Bus to Brighton station in less than 20 minutes**

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For more information, please contact

For more information, please contact

E: T: 0845 359 6387

E: T: 0845 359 6387

Or register at

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As a charitable housing association, Moat supports the development of mixed tenure communities and is proud to provide homes for affordable rent and shared ownership across the South East of England. We are here to guide you through the process and to help you find a suitable and affordable home. Artists’ impressions are indicative only. We welcome discussions with you if you or a member of your household is registered disabled. We shall do our best to accommodate your needs within the fit-out, provided this comes within the build/construction programme. Eligibility criteria apply *On selected apartments. **Sources: Compass travel &

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Independent Living


FANTASTIC RANGE While getting older can be worrying, especially if you notice your health and wellbeing deteriorating, it doesn’t have to be this way. Earlier this year, Argos launched a contemporary new range of independent living products, with a host of fantastic tools, gadgets and aids available online at independent-living, which can help you to maintain your independence and rely less on others to help you. According to Argos survey respondents, active and independent living today means being mobile, mentally stimulated and able to live in your own home. Other key elements include exercise, using technology and being able to work in the garden, and the new Argos range has items to help individuals with all of these things.

ARGOS: bringing independence to the high street Thought independent living aids were reserved for specialist suppliers? Think again. Retail giants are working hard to make these products easily accessible and available in the mainstream – we found out more about Argos’s brilliant new range

THE ARGOS CATALOGUE is as much a part of the British home as your TV set or stash of tea bags – and now, the retailer has increased its focus on independent living for older and disabled people. According to research carried out by the chain, the biggest worry amongst over 50s is a loss of independence, with a further 29% anxious about not being able to go out alone, and one in 10 fearing not being able to exercise – which is where Argos Independent Living comes in.

EASIER Argos now stocks a range of living aids to make life that little bit easier, and has a number of buying guides and articles available online to offer advice, regardless of whether you are purchasing. From wheelchairs to walking frames, kitchen gadgets to accessible tech, mobility scooters to riser recliner chairs, all of it can be ordered online and either collected from any one of the over 800 Argos stores in your local area, or delivered straight to your door. “We want to help everyone to live their life to the full,” says Adam Chaplin, Buying Manager at Argos. “That’s why we have expanded our selection to build a credible range of living aids, giving our customers the most choice to find exactly what they need. By no way are we completely finished as we continue to learn from our customers, constantly striving to improve our offer.” With such a fantastic variety of living aids available on the high street, it’s easy to get the support you need. Head to the Argos website now to check out the articles and guides, and to see what’s out there to help you continue to live happily and independently.

i For more information, visit the Argos website at or search for Argos’ Independent Living range

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04/07/2016 13:06

Discover accessible living at the timberyard deptford One-bed wheelchair accessible units from ÂŁ445,000 020 3815 9000

Image for illustrative purposes only, the park is made from natural grass and may not be suitable in all weather for wheelchair access. These particulars should not be relied upon as accurately describing any of the specific matters described by any order under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This information is not intended to form part of or constitute a contract or warranty. June 2016.

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Independent Living


Education and employment play a massive part in helping you live more independently, improving your skills, confidence and – with a bit of luck – leading to financial gain too. Check out these providers, schemes and support services helping disabled people boost their qualifications and career options

COLLEGES FE colleges offer a range of vocational and academic subjects, with some mainstream colleges offering specialist courses and support for students with physical and learning disabilities, including life skills courses for young people with learning difficulties to help them live more independently. Specialist colleges are also available nationwide – use the NATSPEC site ( to see what’s on offer near you. UNIVERSITIES If you’ve got the grades at A-level, Higher or the appropriate college qualification, university could be an option. A degree can really boost your employment prospects and earning potential – and universities nationwide are upping their game in terms of access and support. Check out courses at EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT SCHEMES If you need a bit more support to access work, there are organisations out there to help. The likes of Shaw Trust ( and Remploy ( help people with disabilities get into work, while a number of charities have specialist schemes like Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Change100

scheme for graduates with disabilities ( and Scope’s Employment Service ( Get online and start searching for support in your area.

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMMES For people with learning disabilities, employment support programmes are definitely worth exploring. Charities like Community Integrated Care ( and United Response (www.unitedresponse. are just two organisations running such schemes, where you’ll get a work placement and a support worker from the programme provider to help you do your job. Over time, their input will be less and less before you eventually work on your own. This is great experience, and can, in some cases, lead to paid employment. JOBCENTRE PLUS Your local Jobcentre isn’t just a place to check out local vacancies. In-house disability advisers can offer advice and information on support schemes and services, and different benefits you can access too.

SPECIALIST JOB SITES Disability Job Site (www.disabilityjobsite., EmployAbility ( and Evenbreak (www. are just three of many job sites out there posting ads from employers who promote themselves as positive about disability – well worth checking out. MAINSTREAM JOB SITES Nowadays, employers are far more disability friendly than in times gone by – so head to mainstream job sites or your local Jobcentre Plus to see what’s out there. Legally, employers cannot discriminate against you because you have a disability, and are always keen to get the best person for the job – so don’t be afraid to apply. ACCESS TO WORK The government’s Access to Work scheme ( access-to-work) provides funding for employers to help them make any necessary adaptations or to purchase equipment for disabled employees – so employers can no longer use ‘additional costs’ as an excuse for not employing a person with a disability.

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04/07/2016 14:23

Independent Living

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY One of the keys to independence is financial security – but when you have a disability, life tends to be a bit more expensive. Follow our top tips to help you make sure you’re getting access to all the money you’re entitled to, and to make your budget stretch further

ACCORDING TO RESEARCH from disability charity Scope, disabled people end up spending an average of an extra £550 a month to cover the costs of their disability – and for some, that can be even more. A report from the Extra Costs Commission showed that people with neurological conditions can spend a huge £200 more a week, while people with physical impairments can be parting with as much as £300 weekly. This is a lot of money – especially when you perhaps don’t have much cash to start with. As a result, some disabled people find it difficult to save while others find themselves in debt as they try to keep up with the financial demands of daily life. But, luckily, there are steps you can take to get your finances under control and spend a little more time in the black than the red.

CHECK YOURSELF First of all, it’s important to see if you’re getting access to all of the welfare benefits that you’re entitled to. Charity Turn2Us found that nearly half of low income households are missing out on vital welfare support, so it’s important to check what you could be claiming. Head to the Turn2Us website and use


their Benefits Calculator to see what you could be entitled to – benefits-calculator.

BUILD A BUDGET When you’ve got your income under control, it’s time to set yourself a budget – and stick to it. Budgeting is an art form, and there are lots of handy websites and apps out there that’ll help you identify how much money you have, how you’re spending it and where you could make savings. Money Saving Expert’s Budget Brain is a good starting point – check it out at GO COMPARE There are ways of making savings on your current outgoings too. Use online comparison sites like Compare the Market (, Go Compare ( and Confused ( to see where you can shave some pennies off your gas and electricity, broadband, car insurance, home insurance, mobile phone… Just about everything. VAT RELIEF If you have a disability or a long-term health problem, you won’t be charged

VAT on products which are designed or adapted for your disability, such as adjustable beds, stair lifts, wheelchairs, certain medical appliances and alarms. As specialist equipment can be pricey, it’s wise to enquire about VAT discounts – the supplier will likely give you a form to fill in to confirm your eligibility.

SAVVY SHOPPING When it comes to everyday expenses, always shop around to see where you can save some cash. That might mean trying a different supermarket for the weekly shop, keeping an eye out for special deals or using online discount code sites like and When it comes to living independently, keeping on top of your finances is crucial – and it is possible. By making sure you’re getting access to all the support you’re entitled to, things can become more manageable – it just takes a bit of careful planning.

i Money Advice Service 0800 138 7777

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04/07/2016 13:17

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01/07/2016 14:34

Independent Living

THEY SAY THAT dogs are man’s best friend, and it seems Becky Andrews has met her match in four-year-old Labrador retriever Gino. “He’s given me much more confidence, he makes me feel important,” says Becky. “I’ve never really had anybody who loves me quite as much as he does. He accepts all my faults and all my shortcomings; he doesn’t care.” Before meeting her assistance pooch through charity Canine Partners, Becky, who has cerebral palsy, was reliant on a carer to help her with everyday tasks such as getting dressed and going to bed.

INSPIRED But stumbling upon a Paws in the Park event in her hometown of Cheltenham inspired Becky, a long-time animal lover, to sign up online for her very own assistance dog through Canine Partners. After a two-year wait, Gino moved in with Becky, her four cats and two fish.

Kirsty McKenzie found out more about the charity bringing independence to the lives of hundreds of men and women across the UK – with a little bit of help from some four-legged friends

“They’re not so helpful,” she says of her other pets with a laugh. “But they’re cute!” Now, almost three years on, Becky says she can’t even imagine life without Gino by her side. The specially-trained pup helps her with everyday tasks such as opening and closing doors, picking items up off the floor, removing her shoes, jacket and socks and even retrieves the milk from the fridge. Becky says she is astounded by the amount Gino can do. “He amazes me more every day. The longer you are with them, the stronger the bond is and the more they are willing to do for you. “They trust you and you trust them. It’s a wonderful thing, it really is,” says Becky. “To be able to take my shoes


CANINE PARTNERS MORE THAN just MAN’S BEST FRIEND “Having Gino by my side has made all the difference” and trousers off truly changed my life, because before I would have to sit and wait for someone to do it for me.”

CONFIDENCE Becky now has the independence she’s always wanted and has even taken up a part-time job, something she admits she didn’t have the confidence to do before. Thanks to Gino, things like going out alone at night no longer faze her. “Having Gino by my side has made all the difference,” admits Becky. “Because I’m

not really doing it on my own, am I?” What’s her advice for someone in a similar position who is thinking about signing up for an assistance dog? “Do it,” she says. “It will be the best thing you’ll ever do. It will change your life. “Gino has such a kind gentle heart, he really cares about people and that’s what is lovely,” says Becky. “You know how you say you have an angel with wings? I’ve got an angel with fur instead of wings. I’m so lucky.”

i Canine Partners 08456 580 480

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04/07/2016 13:06

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Accessible arts

CULTURE VULTURES The bright lights of the theatre. The rich history encased in a museum. The awe-inspiring art of a grand gallery. The thrill of seeing your favourite band live. The UK offers all of this and more, and getting access to it is easier than you might think. We take a look at accessibility in the realm of the cultural, with a roundup of some of the best attractions, events and spaces to check out

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n recent years, the British arts scene shoes to the Edinburgh Playhouse for a has had a bit of an access overhaul. signed performance on 28th, a captioned What was once a frustrating performance on 29th and an audio experience for disabled people has described show on the 30th. Find out become a whole lot more accessible, with more at venues upping their game and going the extra mile to welcome disabled patrons. WORLD CLASS ART Thanks to the Art Council’s promise Nothing beats seeing art up close, and to provide ‘great art and culture for all’, thanks to improved accessibility there is fantastic events no reason for you to and locations miss an inch of the are popping world’s best paintings up all over the and sculptures. Get country. Britain up close and personal is a hotbed of with the likes of Dali fantastic talent and van Gogh at with a thriving Glasgow’s magnificent arts scene – and Kelvingrove Gallery there’s no reason or explore their why anyone summer-long should be missing mummy exhibition EUREKA! THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S MUSEUM out on the chance called “Gifts from to be inspired, the Gods”. This enthralled and entertained. stunning gallery is welcoming to all and provides free access to over 8,000 objects and 22 themed galleries. Wheelchairs, FRONT ROW SEATS portable stools and induction loops are One area which has seen perhaps the all available, and guide and assistance biggest change is that of the nation’s dogs are welcome ( theatres. Venues are increasingly uk). If contemporary art is more your catering for wider audiences by offering thing, the Tate Modern in London has alternative performances to make the pop art aplenty, and was recently named magic of the stage more accessible, as the most accessible attraction in the including captioned, signed and audio UK. Check out their free daily welcome described performances, as well as tours or explore their range of free talks special shows for people with autism and workshops for adults with learning and learning disabilities. These specially disabilities via its community programme adapted “relaxed” performances allow ( families to see hit shows at theatres in the West End and throughout Britain in a safe and inclusive atmosphere. The EXPLORE AND DISCOVER lights aren’t as low, the volume not as Forget dull and stuffy, museums are high and everyone is encouraged to where ideas and information really come show acceptance and understanding. to life. Eureka! The National Children’s On 10 August, the Lyric Hammersmith Museum in Yorkshire (www.eureka. in London will be showing a relaxed inspires children and adults to performance of Bugsy Malone (www. discover more about, while opera lovers will themselves and be thrilled to see an autism-friendly the world around performance of Alice in Wonderland at them through Holland Park in London on 11 August interactive exhibits ( Elsewhere and activities. The in the UK, the Ambassador Theatre Wonder Walk, for Group theatres offer a whole host of example, features accessible performances throughout scented plants the year. Audio described and signed that encourage performances of CATS will be playing at visitors to use the Liverpool Empire on 13 July and in all their senses BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL September, Billy Elliot brings his dancing and feel, listen,


pull and smell everything around them. The Science Museum in London offers Early Bird and Night Owl access throughout the year, allowing people with autism the chance to explore the museum away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds (www.sciencemuseum. Meanwhile the fully accessible Museum of Liverpool tells the story of the city through compelling and interactive displays. While you’re in the city, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and International Slavery Museum are also worth a visit. All three offer easy accessibility to stunning exhibits and installations that are guaranteed fun for all the family (www.liverpoolmuseums.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT Lose yourself in the big screen with a trip to the cinema. Cineworld welcomes guide dogs and provides subtitles, hearing loops and audio descriptions where possible ( Vue cinemas are fully accessible to wheelchairs and subtitled versions of popular films are offered every week. Audio descriptions are also provided occasionally and an Autism Friendly Film is shown at 10am on the last Sunday of every month in Vues across the UK – July’s film will be Zootropolis, the story of a crime-busting bunny and one sly fox (www.myvue. com). THE SOUND OF SUMMER We all love going to music venues and seeing our favourite artists perform, but some venues make it difficult for those with disabilities to experience what many people take for granted. Last year the BBC found that only 1% of seats in music arenas across the UK are available for wheelchair users. Luckily things are changing. Scotland’s newest major venue, the SSE Hydro (www., offers level access, automatic doors and ramps, and all staff receive disability awareness and equality training. The O2 Academy venues are some of the most accommodating

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*Fees may apply. Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

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CULTURE FEST It wouldn’t be summer without a music festival! Event organisers around the UK work hard to level the playing field and make our favourite muddy venues accessible for all. Glastonbury became the first ever festival to be awarded “gold” status by disability campaigners and every year the site welcomes around 600 deaf and disabled festival-goers. One



of Glastonbury’s regular features is its DeafZone area, which gives lessons in British Sign Language and has a team of interpreters for deaf people to access acts across the festival site. The legendary British festival also offers free tickets for carers, raised viewing platforms and a fully accessible campsite, Spring Ground. Look out for tickets for 2017 on their site, Latitude isn’t far behind Glasto – offering disabled access tickets and providing wheelchair

charging, hearing loops and free carer tickets (14-17 July, www.latitudefestival. com). If you prefer your entertainment without the mud, why not head to Edinburgh for the world’s biggest arts festival, the Fringe? Check out the full programme and search for accessible performances at September sees the much-anticipated return of Unlimited, Southbank Centre’s festival celebrating the artistic vision and originality of disabled artists, bringing together talks and debates with visual arts and poetry. See what’s on offer this year at unlimited.southbankcentre. North of the border, check out the Glasgow offering of Unlimited Festival at Tramway in the city’s South Side. From 15-25 September, you can check out an array of performance art, visual art and more from talented disabled artists. Head to for more info.


in the music biz ( encouraging the use of Access Cards and often providing free tickets for carers. Campaigners Attitude is Everything run regular Club Attitude nights to showcase the talents of disabled and non-disabled musicians and DJs, and to promote best practice by demonstrating to the industry what fully accessible club nights should really look like. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events (

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Days out for all with National Museums Liverpool

Open daily 10am to 5pm FREE ENTRY 55_Enable.indd 55

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usseldorf, with its collage of baroque palaces and slanted modern towers, is one of Germany’s most architecturally stunning locations. It boasts a thriving arts scene and vibrant nightlife, drawing tourists from across Europe to appreciate the eclectic collections of the Kunstpalast Museum and enjoy glasses of the city’s famous, locally brewed dark beer. In summer the annual cartwheeling festival takes place, a tradition that dates back to 1937, and throughout the city there are tributes to this unusual custom reflected in art, statues and

postcards of cartwheeling children. Among its many attributes, the city is also extremely accessible for disabled people. As part of Germany’s commitment to ‘BarrierFree’ travel in the country’s major cities, adaptations have been made across the city to provide efficient wheelchair access on trams, trains and other forms of public transport.

WHERE TO STAY The Maritim Hotel, located next to Dusseldorf airport, is a convenient, disability-friendly hotel that provides an excellent base for travellers visiting the city. A connecting walkway runs from the airport directly into the hotel and a wheelchair service is provided to take disabled tourists to their rooms. The hotel is equipped with excellent facilities for disabled visitors and has six en suite rooms with their own wet room, hoists, hypoallergenic bedding and laminate rather than carpeted flooring. Each accessible room has an adjacent ‘family room’ which can be accessed through an internal door,



DUSSELDORF After a bit of summer holiday inspiration? Rachael Fulton headed to Germany to find out just how accessible the city of Dusseldorf is for disabled travellers

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The locals of Dusseldorf are very friendly, accommodating and willing to help


allowing family members and carers to be on-hand when needed, but also retain some privacy. The rooms are fitted with emergency alarms throughout and trained hotel staff are available around the clock.

WHAT TO SEE Once you’ve settled and dropped off your luggage at the hotel, give yourself time to explore this bustling city; from its central old town and shopping district to the parks that fringe its outskirts. BarrierFree tours are highly recommended as a unique way of discovering Dusseldorf, taking you through centuries of the city’s history while exploring its major attractions and monuments via accessible routes. The tours are wheelchair-friendly, provide information in Braille and offer signing tour guides if needed. The juxtaposition of 12th century buildings in the Altstadt [old town] and the modern office structures of the

Media Harbour are a wonder to behold. The tower of St Lambertus Church is twisted at an angle, its wooden spire warped by fire damage, and allows a surreal perspective of the sky when admired from below. Local legend claims that the tower twisted in shame when a dishonoured woman secretly married in the church, but in reality the spire has braved storms, fire and World War II since it was first built in 1206. It is one of many captivating sites of interest peppered around the old town and it is well worth booking a tour to find out more.

FOOD AND DRINK While visiting the Altstadt, stopping off at Im Fuchschen [The Little Fox] for some traditional German fayre is a must. Huge servings of hearty meat dishes, such as ham hock and schnitzel, can be washed down with two-euro glasses of Altbier in this tavern-style restaurant. Dusseldorf is famous for its traditional brewing process and locals pride themselves on the dark colour of the beer, particularly as Cologne’s beer is much lighter in colour. The local legacy of one famous grumpy waiter has trickled down into the stern faces of Altstadt’s modern-day staff, so don’t take it personally if they seem a little serious. Low-level tables are available within the restaurant, so wheelchair users

need not be put off by the tall outdoor standing tables. After dinner at Im Fuchschen, the Altstadt’s bars are yours to explore. Ratinger Strasse is often referred to as ‘the longest bar in the world’ and this is an extremely busy strip at weekends. It therefore may be trickier to navigate if you have mobility needs (especially after several Altbiers) but is certainly not impossible. The locals of Dusseldorf are very friendly, accommodating and willing to help in bars and restaurants, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it.

INCREDIBLE VIEWS The river Rhine snakes through Dusseldorf, ferrying industrial ships back and forth from neighbouring ports and providing an afternoon activity for local rowers on sunny days. A highlight of any late spring or summer trip to Dusseldorf is a trip along the river promenade, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city’s major walkway with views over the Rhine. The promenade is wheelchair accessible at both ends and is paved smoothly all along the river. Here you can stop off at one of the many quaint cafes for an ice cream and some shade, before visiting the Rheinturm [Rhine Tower]. The Rheinturm is an impressive structure that towers across the city at 240m high. Providing 360 degree views of the city, a trip up this 70s media tower should be part of every visitor’s Dusseldorf itinerary – provided you can cope with heights. The top of the tower has a cafe with spectacular views of the city’s patchwork landscape and is wheelchair accessible via the central elevator. If you can’t handle the view from the very top of Dusseldorf, best stay on terra firma – what better excuse for another Altbier and a wiener schnitzel...?

i For more information on BarrierFree travel in Germany, head to

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Feeling Fearless? Did you know that in BarrierFree Germany, you can try accessible skiing, cycling for the blind, explore scented gardens or jump on a jet ski? You can delve deep into a coal mine or feel on top of the world, on Düsseldorf’s famous Rhine Tower. To discover more visit:

to all

Düsseldorf Rhine Tower © Natko


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THE BEST ACCESSIBLE DAYS OUT After a great, accessible day out with the family? Look no further. We’ve rounded up some of the best day trips you can take with minimum fuss

This incredible London museum has won awards for its disability access in the past. On the first Saturday of the month there is a BSL interpreter at free family events, you can borrow wheelchairs at the venue and there are info books available in Braille or large print.




If you’re not familiar with Edinburgh’s world-famous pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang, now is the time to make friends with this adorable Chinese twosome. Edinburgh Zoo has excellent disability access, including free wheelchair hire, mobility vehicles and an accessible route through the park.

THE DEEP, HULL Few days out exceed being surrounded by sharks, rays, turtles and fish at an aquarium. Hull’s Access for All Awardwinning aquarium provides electric scooters, wheelchairs and walking aids where required.

CADBURY WORLD, BIRMINGHAM Willy Wonka eat your heart out – Cadbury World in Birmingham is the real-life chocolate factory everyone can enjoy. Visitors with additional access needs are encouraged to get in touch to discuss their requirements before their visit.


THE DONKEY SANCTUARY, SIDMOUTH What’s not to love about the gentle Eeyores of this world? The Donkey Sanctuary takes care of 3,000 donkeys in their centres, and has special accessibility days and events for people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Why stop at chocolate? Cream O’Galloway ice cream factory doesn’t just teach you about ice cream making, they also have disability access nature trails and an adventure play park for children.


If you like wandering through the lavish grounds of country houses and gardens, Bowood might suit you for a big day out. The estate has been in the Landsdowne family for over 250 years and boasts beautiful surroundings and wheelchair accessible routes. There’s also an adventure play area if you’re entertaining kids.

Another one for history lovers – the Churchill War Rooms were the underground HQ for Winston Churchill’s war effort. They’ve improved their accessibility since Churchill was plotting down there – it now has lifts, sound guides and allows assistance dogs.





BLETCHLEY PARK, MILTON KEYNES History buffs will love the old stomping ground of World War II’s greatest codebreakers. An accessibility guide is downloadable from the Bletchley Park website.

NATIONAL TRUST, COTSWOLDS There are several beautiful National Trust properties nestled in this idyllic part of the UK, just ready for you to explore. National Trust’s motto is ‘For Ever, For Everyone’ and they stick to that with excellent accessibility.

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This issue we’re giving away a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A. This electronic companion has loads of great features, including: • A touchscreen display with 1280 x 800 resolution, delivering lifelike images and stunning graphics • Long-lasting battery of up to 11 hours • Built-in webcam, speaker and headphone jack • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth


WIN A SAMSUNG TABLET Always on the go? We’ve got just the prize for you this issue… WITH THE SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A, you can do just about everything on the go. From socialising to streaming, surfing to shopping, you can do it all on this fantastic tablet computer. From showing your granny libraries of holiday photos and keeping the kids entertained with apps and movies on long car journeys, to checking emails on your way to work, this tablet has you covered. Want to video chat with friends abroad? No problem. The tablet has a built-in speaker and webcam to allow you to catch up with Aunty Sue living in the land Down Under, or wave hello to your friends at home while you holiday in sunny Spain. Its slim, lightweight design allows you to slip the tablet easily into your bag without weighing you down, making it easy to transport wherever you go. It has a multi-touch 7-inch screen which can

support the display of multiple languages at the same time, as well as endure the powerful pressing of enthusiastic little fingers. The Tab A comes with a whole host of accessibility features, including large and high contrast text for visually impaired people, a text-to-speech function and touch and hold delays for people with dexterity issues too. Battery life can often be a problem with phones, tablets and other electronic devices, but there’s up to 11 hours of battery life in the Tab A, ensuring you don’t have to be plugged into a wall socket all day to get the most of your device (and the kids will stay quiet for those long drives.) Once you own a Samsung Galaxy tablet, your only problem will be the fights over who gets to use it first – and that could soon become a reality with this issue’s competition!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: All entries must be received by 15 August 2016. Entries accepted from the UK only. One entry per household. Prize is one 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A only. The prize is not transferable to another individual, no cash or other alternatives will be offered and will be delivered to the address provided by the winner. The winner will be drawn at random. The publisher’s decision is final.


• Android™ 5.1 Lollipop operating system

• HOW TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this question:

WHAT OPERATING SYSTEM DOES THE SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB USE? A. THE ROBOT™ 5.1 LOLLIPOP OPERATING SYSTEM B. THE ANDROID™ 5.1 LOLLIPOP OPERATING SYSTEM C. THE ANDROID™ 5.1 ICE POLE OPERATING SYSTEM Send your answer, along with your name, address, daytime telephone number and where you picked up your copy of Enable to Samsung Tablet Competition, Enable Magazine, DC Publishing Ltd, 200 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG, or email your details to competitions@dcpublishing. with Samsung Tablet in the subject line. All entries must be received by 15 August. Good luck!

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Get into golf Because... A NEW INNOVATION IN DISABILITY SCOOTER DESIGN The real beauty of the Electrokart Ranger is the ease with which you can take it apart. No other buggy folds away to be as neat and compact as the Ranger. It dismantles simply, in no time at all, to fit neatly into the boot of most saloons and all hatchbacks. This off road mobility scooter is rugged built quality, constructed from high quality steel tubing, phosphated and epoxy coated to give longer life and all weather protection. Adjustable steering column adjusts for comfort and easy, step-on access, with comfortable steel backed, foam filled and weatherproof bucket style seat as standard. With 2 x braked motors for safety.

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FROM THE WILDS of the Scottish Highlands to the beaches that skirt southern England, Britain provides fantastic opportunities for adventure without having to go too far from home. Our little island boasts rugged woodlands, spectacular lakes, cliffs and hills from north to south, but these beautiful destinations aren’t always accessible for wheelchair users. That’s where the off-road wheelchair comes in. These powerful chairs enable users to explore the countryside, tackling terrain that ordinary wheelchairs just can’t handle. Steep incline? No problem. Rocky walkway? Not an issue. These chairs are designed to hit the toughest terrain and come out unscathed.



ALL TERRAIN WHEELCHAIRS’ EXTREME X8 The Overlander 4z is a state-of-the-art, electrically powered off-road wheelchair that excels in conquering challenging terrain. Not only does it allow wheelchair users to access previously impossible countryside, it looks extremely stylish while doing so. Available in five colours and in children’s sizes, wheelchairs in the Terrain Hopper range are more like mini 4x4 cars than they are wheelchairs. Driving through water, over sand or up steep inclines is no problem for the Overlander, and its unique suspension system prevents you from rattling around within the chair when you hit tricky terrain. The clear advantage of Mybility’s Stand Support System is that it gives wheelchair users the option to stand up, lie down or sit during their off-road experience. Most chairs limit users to an upright sitting position, but the Mybility chair allows for flexibility that isn’t available anywhere else on the market. Using cutting edge technology, engineers have created a system that provides stability and security while it tackles a wide variety of challenging terrains. Extras such as soft knee braces and chest harnesses show that comfort is a Mybility priority, and the chairs have a predicted 10-year lifespan. Whether you’re approaching inner city kerbs or towing your kids’ sledge across the snow, the Extreme X8 makes traversing any landscape much easier. Its four independent, high efficiency motors allow it to reach top speeds of 6.2mph and its low-pressure knobby tyres ensure a smooth trip even though the ground is rocky underfoot. Specialising in kerb and step climbing, the Extreme X8 is just as beneficial in your house or office building as it is in the great outdoors. To find out more about the X8, visit the All Terrain website.

Love the great outdoors, but don’t have a wheelchair that can tackle difficult terrain? Check out our pick of the best off-road chairs on the market and take yourself off the beaten track

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The review:

HONDA JAZZ When it comes to packing in as much space as possible to a small car, there’s none better than the Honda Jazz. This supermini offers room like that from the class above, yet it still has supermini running costs, giving you the best of both worlds. Alisdair Suttie puts it through its paces

EQUIPMENT There are five trims to choose from with the Jazz. None are the cheapest when you first compare them to rivals such as the Ford Fiesta or even the Volkswagen Polo. However, all Jazz models come with Honda’s City Brake Active system to guard against collisions. Each trim also has cruise control with a speed limiter, and if you avoid the base S version, you’ll enjoy all-round parking sensors too. Further included with all Jazz variants are electric windows front and rear, a height adjustable driver’s seat and air conditioning. You might want to look to the SE for its alloy wheels and Connect infotainment system, while the SE Navi has satellite navigation. Pick the EX and you get larger alloy wheels, rear view camera, climate control and keyless entry and ignition, while the EX Navi has sat-nav on top of this.


INSIDE While some cars wow with the opulence of their cabins or gadgets, the Honda Jazz does it with the sheer brilliance of how much space it offers. It’s the original quart into a pint pot, and it’s achieved thanks to simple yet clever engineering and design. Tall sides mean there’s plenty of headroom and, in turn, that allows occupants to sit comfortably upright to maximise legroom. So the Jazz can’t quite fit three adults across the rear bench, but it’s far more comfortable for four than any other in this class. For the driver, the classy dash is clear and now has a dash display screen that finally looks fully integrated. The seats are firm, so make sure you can handle them for longer trips, but all-round vision is excellent. In the back, you’ll find the Jazz’s party piece in the shape of the Magic Seat. It folds, tips and tumbles to provide an amazing variety and amount of space, and it’s more than able to hold a wheelchair securely in place.

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MOTABILITY CUSTOMERS The Honda Jazz is available through Motability, from zero Advance Payment plus your total weekly allowance. Find out more about the Motability Scheme and other motors available at www.motability., or call 0300 456 4566.

“Honda has improved the Jazz’s ride quality with this generation, and it’s a much better car to drive in every respect”

DRIVING There’s only one engine fitted to the Jazz and it’s a 102hp 1.3-litre petrol. It’s a free-revving little motor, but it has to be as there’s not a lot of zing at lower revs. If you’re not in a hurry, 55.4mpg combined economy is possible, but 120g/km carbon dioxide emissions is nothing to write home about in this day and age. There’s also the option of a CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic gearbox. It’s smooth in operation, but like all cars with this type of ’box, the Jazz is slow and less fun to drive. However, the upside is improved economy and emissions at 57.6mpg and 114g/km respectively. Honda has improved the Jazz’s ride quality with this generation, and it’s a much better car to drive in every respect. A Ford Fiesta is more fun, but the Jazz is better built.

SUMMARY The Honda Jazz has many attractive qualities, not least its space, practicality and generous equipment count. It’s also fantastically well-built and easy to drive. While it may not be the best in its class, it more than warrants your attention.

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The El Pleamar Apartments

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product roundup NO BEND PET BOWL


If you have difficulty bending and struggle to pick up your cat or dog’s food dish, this could be the product for you. The No Bend Pet Bowl has a removable, heightadjustable handle which allows you to pick up and place the bowl on the floor without – you guessed it – bending over. Available in three different colours, it’s dishwasher safe too. GET IT: No Bend Pet Bowl, £14.99 (

The Trail Rider from Da Vinci transforms your wheelchair into a powerful battery-powered trike. Available in 250W, 350W and 500W models, fitting the Trail Rider is straight forward and instantly turns your manual wheelchair into an off-road capable vehicle. The highest-powered battery can hold enough charge for a 40-mile round trip. For a free demonstration, contact Da Vinci now. GET IT: Da Vinci, POA (www., 0151 548 1999)

STEADIARM The SteadiArm is a device mount for wheelchairs and mobility equipment. The easily-attached mount is fully adjustable, adapting itself to you with rubberised balls and sockets, letting you position it any way you want. Holders are available for smartphones, e-readers and tablets, as well as an umbrella holder and self-righting drink holder. GET IT: SteadiMounts, from £219 (

6-IN-1 MULTI OPENER The Multi Opener is a great kitchen tool, helping you open six different types of lids and seals with ease. Its durable, comfortable grip helps you remove difficult-to-grasp safety seals, open metal bottle tops, ring pulls, jar lids and plastic bottle caps. There’s even an enclosed blade feature to help with tightly sealed bags. GET IT: The Mobility Aids Centre, £13.14 inc VAT (, 08082 503 499)

SCOOOT The Scooot three-in-one mobility rider is a fantastic product for children with mobility issues. The base model allows your little one to crawl, an added back support helps them to sit upright and move using their feet and the addition of wheels lets them propel themselves around the floor. Features include a removable, machine-washable lap belt for security, adjustable footrest, castors underneath to allow 360° maneuverability and a soft, padded cushion for comfort. GET IT: Firefly, POA (www., 028 9267 8879)

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GM_Coachwork_FP_July_Layout 1 27/05/2016 11:30 Page 1





GRAND IN EVERY RESPECT BOASTING PLENTY OF SPACE, CUTTING EDGE STYLING AND THE LATEST IN ENGINE TECHNOLOGY THE NEW FORD GRAND CONNECT FLAME+ GIVES YOU A NEW AND EXCITING ALTERNATIVE. With seating for up to five the Ford Grand Connect FLAME + is grand in every respect. Choose from Fords’ original three rear seats which fold 60/40 or two fixed rear seats either side of the wheelchair channel. Standard equipment list includes DAB CD/Radio, USB connectivity, Bluetooth pairing for your phone and air conditioning.

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Travel without limits challenges disabled people face when exploring the world. “While I was travelling, I started to see the problems that people with a disability When investment banker Angus face when they want to go away,” he Drummond received a life-changing explains. “I’d arrive at ‘disabled-friendly’ diagnosis, he was determined that his destinations to find stairs instead of lifts. love of travel wouldn’t suffer – and now “People just don’t understand your he’s going the extra mile to make sure needs. It was a real problem and I would other people with disabilities have start to worry and stress about where we opportunities to see the world too. Angus were going, I was afraid about doing stuff tells Kirsty McKenzie about his new and just knew that wasn’t right.” After returning to the UK and speaking business venture to others, Angus soon realised his experience was far from uncommon. “I’m a firm believer that there is always FIVE YEARS AGO, aged 22, Angus a way round something,” he says. “I knew Drummond was diagnosed with muscular I had to do something to try and create dystrophy. a positive service that really encourages “I had a tough couple of years trying to and enables people to travel, and so come to terms with it,” says Angus. “I didn’t Limitless Travel was born.” tell my friends about it and I was really The site, launched last year, aims closed off, trying to pretend that nothing to remove all the restrictions that was wrong.” But two years later, as his mobility started stop people with mobility issues from travelling by providing information, to decline, Angus decided to quit his job, reviews and booking information, pack his bags and travel the world with his starting with a focus on London. partner Lucy. Travellers can speak to the team on the phone or simply head to the website CHALLENGES to book everything from hotels to Angus was determined that the same eyeattractions. All locations feature useropening experiences should be available generated reviews, and the site allows to everyone, and wanted to eliminate the

you to tailor your travel plans based on your requirements.

REVOLUTIONISING TRAVEL “My ultimate goal is to really revolutionise travel for people with disabilities,” says Angus. “We really want to be able to provide information across the world so that people can visit a nearby place or as far afield as Thailand.” Limitless are busy launching their city guides, which will provide information on all the best places to visit across the UK. First up is London, with guides on Manchester and Birmingham to follow in the summer. Angus credits the site’s success to community spirit and the willingness of users to share their knowledge and experiences. “In all honestly, I always felt if I could just help one person to go travelling or to take more trips than they could before then that would be success,” he says. “To create a community whereby everyone can talk to each other, that’s been the biggest strength so far and the most rewarding thing.”

i Limitless Travel 0800 612 2605

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04/07/2016 12:32


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01/07/2016 14:23


Life after death Along with taxes, death is one of the few certainties in life – so why are we so afraid to prepare for it? We take a look at plans you can make to safeguard your loved ones when you pass away


eath remains a taboo subject in British culture. Discussing end of life forces us to accept that our loved ones won’t always be with us, that we may one day have to leave them behind. Considerations such as funeral plans and division of assets are better planned in advance, as preparations will save your friends and family from struggling to make any complicated decisions during the grieving process. These need not be upsetting discussions with your loved ones, but rather a way of gaining peace of mind

that everything will be taken care of when you die.

WRITING A WILL Having an up-to-date will is vitally important, as without it your financial affairs could remain in limbo for years, stuck inside inaccessible bank accounts. If you are in an unmarried couple your partner is unlikely to receive any of your assets in case of your death, as co-habiting partners are not properly recognised by law without a written will. Without the existence of a will, even a spouse is unlikely to receive

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much of your estate. If you don’t decide where you want your money, belongings and your dependents to go, the law will decide it for you. Using a solicitor to write your will costs, on average, £120 for one person. There are several ways to gain a will for a smaller cost, including DIY will packs and software available online. You can check out Simple Wills or Online Will Writer for more information. Be warned, however, that a badly-written will may cost some of your estate in legal fees should any of it be contested and lead to a court case. Companies such as Will Aid and Will Relief Scotland offer will-writing services in exchange for a charitable donation. The Free Wills Month campaign offers people aged 55 and over to have their will written for free in October and March. Keep an eye on for more details of the next campaign. If you have a child or relative with learning disabilities or specific care needs, a trust is a good way to ensure that they will be cared and provided for when you’re no longer around. This can sometimes be preferential to leaving money in a will, where the cash will go directly to the person you want to inherit it. With a trust, the money is controlled by an appointed trustee or an independent company – a good idea if a loved one might not be able to manage money themselves or could be vulnerable to pressure from others. Inheriting through a trust also means the money won’t have an impact on any state-funded care or benefits, whereas inheritance going straight into a bank account would affect their eligibility. Learning disability charity Mencap offers a Wills and Trusts service, which is incredibly useful – find out more at

POWER OF ATTORNEY Assigning the ‘power of attorney’ role to a trusted friend or family member will make things easier should you have an accident or fall ill suddenly. Appointing lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows your chosen person to make decisions


“If you don’t decide where you want your money, belongings and your dependents to go, the law will decide it for you” on your behalf at crucial times, if at any stage you lack the mental capacity or physical ability to make those decisions yourself. Registering an LPA costs £110, but reductions and exemptions are available depending on your circumstances. If you are on means-tested benefits at the time of appointing your LPA you will be exempt from the fee, and a 50% discount is available for those who earn £12,000 per year before tax or less. You appoint an LPA by filling out the relevant government forms and submitting them to the Office of the Public Guardian. You can find further information on the process and links to the forms at www.

FUNERAL PLANNING Funerals vary widely in size, style and cost. Regardless of your preference on ceremony, putting money aside to cover funeral costs is a wise idea to avoid your family being stung with the bill. The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £3,700, with most of that sum going towards funeral directors’ fees. Add that to burial or cremation costs, throw in extras such as headstones and flowers and you will see the total creep closer

to £6,000. This is why more and more people are paying monthly into ‘funeral plans’ which will cover the costs of your send-off. “If you have a strong preference that your funeral is conducted by a particular funeral director, you should check that the funeral plan you’re considering is accepted as payment by that funeral director,” says Stuart Cox of Dignity Caring Funeral Services. “If you want a cremation funeral, look for a plan that guarantees to cover both the funeral director’s fees and third party costs – commonly known as disbursements – such as the cremation fee and minister’s fees. Some funeral plans will only include a contribution towards cremation and other third-party costs, thus leaving your loved ones exposed to an unexpected and additional cost that can amount to approximately 30% of the cost of the funeral bill.” It’s advised to choose a company that is financially secure so that in 20 to 30 years’ time your money and the company are still able to conduct your funeral. You should also make sure that the money you pay for your plan is held independently of the funeral director and that your plan provider is registered with the Funeral Planning Authority so that there are safeguards in place to ensure the money you pay into the plan is securely held. “Funeral plans are all about making sure your loved ones know what your wishes are,” says Stuart. “That can be everything from whether you want buried or cremated, to which songs you want played and hymns you would like to be sung. It’s about providing peace of mind for the people you leave behind.”

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01/07/2016 14:22


The diary



Walton Hall Gardens, Warrington This summer, Warrington hosts the world’s largest voluntary-led pan-disability exhibition. The event is guaranteed to provide a fun-packed day out for all the family with over 250 exhibitors showcasing hundreds of ideas for independent living. What’s more, in the run up to the big day, there are plenty of other events to enjoy such as the Carers’ Tea Party and Children’s Party on 7 July, and Mental Health and Wellbeing Workshops and Exhibition on the 6th.

Exeter and Harrogate One Big Day provides the perfect opportunity to discover everything you need to know about worry-free motoring with Motability. You’ll find a huge range of cars, adaptations, wheelchair accessible vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs on display and best of all – admission is free!



London This sporting camp aimed at primary children with disabilities will help them discover sport in a friendly and inclusive atmosphere. Activities on offer can vary from martial arts to short tennis and wheelchair basketball, and coaches will try to include parents and carers where possible.

30-31 JULY •VITALITY SPORTFEST Wormsley Park, Buckinghamshire With both the Olympics and Paralympics fast approaching, there is no better time to get involved in sport. Sportfest is a weekend-long sports festival that gives families the chance to pitch their tents and pick up tips and tricks from their favourite sporting stars. Live music and DJs, family fun runs and games and competitions will also be on offer. From boxing classes to taekwondo comps, there is something for everyone at this disability-friendly event.



Shakespeare’s Globe, London This relaxed performance of Macbeth at the legendary Globe Theatre aims to make theatre accessible to all. Actors adapt their performance to create a calming environment for audience members with autism, sensory and communication disorders and learning disabilities. Lights and sound levels are all adjusted, but you’ll still get the same memorable Globe experience with talented actors and incredible storytelling. 20 AUGUST •GLASGOW WHEELCHAIR


Scotstoun Leisure Centre, Glasgow Forget Wimbledon, this free coaching camp in Glasgow is the tennis event of the year! Experienced coaches will take you through a day of exciting activities and competitions, giving you all their tennis tips and talking you through the basics. And you never know – your ace game might even catch the eye of the talent ID team!

* If you have any events coming up in September or October, email us at with the details for inclusion in next issue’s diary.


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01/07/2016 14:21

Employment and education

We take a look at what support is out there for those hoping to launch their own business


BE YOUR OWN BOSS WHETHER YOU DREAM of being the next Lord Sugar or Richard Branson, running your own business can definitely become a reality if you have a disability – as long as you have the right idea that’ll take off! Self-employment is really appealing for disabled people – you don’t have to worry about an employer understanding your condition, you can be flexible with your working hours, and you can often work from home or in specially adapted premises, to name a few advantages. And there’s lots of support out there to get you up and running, from grants to practical advice.

ASK FOR HELP If you have a great idea that you think could take off, the best thing to do is get some advice first. UK-wide, there’s a variety of organisations and charities who can offer advice and support to get your idea up off the ground. In England, growth hubs are a public/private sector partnership, led by Local Enterprise Partnerships. There’s a network of 39 hubs to tap into across the country, who can help with business plans, point you in the direction of funding, explore legal ramifications and more. Find out more at In Scotland, Business Gateway (www. offer a similar service, while in Wales, you can turn to Business Wales (


BEYOND BUSINESS Self-employment doesn’t necessarily have to mean running your own business – you could work on a freelance basis, contributing to another company’s services or acting as a consultant. This might involve working in another company’s office from time to time, or working from home. Your business model is a bit simpler – it’s just you providing a service. To work on a freelance basis, you still have to register as selfemployed, as you’ll have to pay tax and National Insurance on your own, so keeping track of your accounts is vital. Discover more at working-for-yourself.

FINDING FUNDING One of the biggest challenges people face when setting up a business is that of funding. Launching a company can be expensive, but there are grants and support available. You can search for help using the government’s Finance Support Finder at business-finance-support-finder. Access to Work is a government scheme providing funding to cover the cost of adaptations or additional support needed by disabled people in the workplace – and it’s open to self employed people. This might include things like screen reader technology, appropriate seating or certain adaptations. Find out more at The New Enterprise Allowance can provide money and support to help you launch a business if you are currently receiving certain benefits, including Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support. With the New Enterprise Allowance, you’ll get access to a business mentor, a weekly allowance paid for up to 26 weeks and the ability to apply for a business loan. Find out more at There’s plenty more out there to help budding entrepreneurs get into business – so don’t hold back. Tap into local advisory services, do your homework and get going.

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Employment and education


ou’re looking for a job, you come across a fantastic vacancy and you know you’ve got the skills to wow the employer. You’re all set to send off your CV, and then – you stop. Because in amongst the daydream of becoming that fantastic company’s new head of something-or-other, you forgot about one little detail. Access. And whether or not this employer will be able to meet your needs. That’s when the panic sets in. While, in some cases, this panic might be justified, things have improved vastly for disabled workers in recent years. Though the employment rate for people with disabilities is still too low, with just under half in work, some employers are making changes to their recruitment practices to ensure that their staff are fully supported, from the application process through to actually doing their job. “For the best in class employers, what they have in common is that they all recognise that a diverse workforce reflects them and the diverse community that they serve,” explains George Selvanera, Director of Strategy of the Business Disability Forum. “They also need access to the widest possible talent pool. We live in a society where the structure of the labour market is changing. We have increasing numbers of older people; more people have disabilities and health conditions. We have more people with caring responsibilities to older parents and to children. The modern workplace is one where making adjustments for different kinds of needs and requirements for people is almost standard.”

ADJUSTMENTS In fact, making adjustments is one area where employers are making the right moves. A BDF report published in 2015 found that 96% of 145 employers questioned had a workplace adjustment process for disabled employees.


INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE When you have a disability, finding an employer who understands your needs can be a daunting experience – but it doesn’t have to be. These days, both big-name and small companies are going the extra mile to ensure that everyone in their organisation, regardless of ability, is fully supported to do their job. We spoke with the Business Disability Forum to find out more about what’s going on in the world of work

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Employment and education

specific software, an interpreter service or disability awareness training for colleagues. “Lloyds Banking Group’s workplace adjustment process has two years in a row won the BDF Disability-smart Award,” George says. “About 80,000 employees have used the process over the last few years and it takes, on average, 15 days from someone requiring an adjustment to them receiving that adjustment, which is really outstanding practice.”

“We did a supplementary piece of research in December which was with 352 mainly disabled employees across 25 organisations,” George adds. “And disabled employees and employers said mainly the same thing. What’s important is to have an effective workplace adjustment process which delivers the right adjustment quickly.” And this is possible, as companies can get access to funding to make these adjustments. The government’s Access to Work scheme is available to meet costs that are not reasonable for a particular employer to fund. Depending on the type of organisation, this can include a special chair, an adjustable desk,

VISIBILITY Another area of importance highlighted by workers and employers was that of visibility of disability in the workplace – and this is really important for potential employees too, who want to know that this company understand disability. Networks for disabled employees are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in large businesses – and 80% of larger companies report having these in place. These networks let staff connect with a group of people who understand the challenges they face and to influence changes in culture and practice within the company to make the workplace work better for employees and customers with disabilities. “It’s about a narrative, if you like, within the organisation,” George points out. “To say, ‘We’ll do everything that we can for everybody in this organisation, including people with a disability.’ I think that the work of Barclay’s Bank in terms of creating a culture and visibility of disability within the organisation is great. They invest a lot in skilling up their line managers too.” Investing time in training line managers in disability awareness, understanding in-house policies and wider legal frameworks is also becoming more and more common in the workplace. This creates a better working environment for everyone, and stronger relationships between staff and their managers. A solid understanding of company policies, including differentiating between sickness absence and disability-related absence, makes for a fairer workplace too, ensuring that staff with disabilities aren’t discriminated against.

DIVERSITY Some employers are going beyond making sure they’re treating existing staff with disabilities fairly – they’re actively recruiting for disabled workers to join their ranks. Organisations are beginning to see the importance of diversity, and really want to tap into as large a pool of talent as possible. “Sainsbury’s in terms of support for people with disabilities in the workplace is very good, and they also have very active recruitment processes to provide opportunities for people with disabilities,” George says. “The BBC and Channel 4 too – both of those broadcasters have made a public commitment to growing the number of people with disabilities in their staff teams, and at the same time, they’re making a commitment to increasing the number of people with disabilities on screen.” Business Disability Forum work with a number of member and partner organisations across a breadth of different sectors to help make sure that their recruitment practices, and retention, are as inclusive as possible. Holding conferences and seminars, providing guides on a range of subjects, and offering advice on different topics, they’re committed to making sure that employers are fully equipped, ready and able to support their staff, whatever their needs. “It’s no longer good enough for organisations to say, ‘We don’t know how. We don’t think it’s possible’,” George says. “It’s not impossible. It can be done. It is being done. Look at all these different examples. And it’s not just large employers. Small employers can do it too. Companies like Microlink that provide adjustments for disabled employees and students, and Equal Approach, which is a recruitment and diversity consultancy, are good examples. It’s about commitment on the part of the organisation and their senior leaders.”

i Business Disability Forum 020 7403 3020

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Employment and education


THE FUN OF THE FAIR If you’re contemplating your next move in work or learning, head down to your nearest job or education fair to find out what local institutions or employers have to offer. We offer some tips to help you get the most out of these fantastic events

DRESS FOR THE JOB While some companies are becoming more relaxed with their dress code, don’t pull out the jeans and hoodie just yet. When heading to a job or education fair, make sure you dress smartly and look clean and tidy. A classic shirt and tailored trousers will help make the right impression and show you made an effort for your prospective employers.

UPDATE YOUR CV Although not all recruiters or educational establishments accept CVs at exhibitions, and some might not even have any vacancies, others might and it’s always useful to have yours to hand when explaining your interests and experience to recruiters. You never know – you might wow them so much that they’re asking for your CV!

ASK QUESTIONS Going to a fair or exhibition is mutually beneficial – recruiters get to find fresh talent and you get to put yourself out there and find answers to your burning questions, but don’t waste your time asking things you already know or could find online. It will make you look disorganised, or worse disinterested. Instead ask questions about the running of the company and what working there is really like, and don’t forget to chat about any upcoming opportunities not yet advertised.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO It can be really easy to focus on what you can’t do sometimes, especially when you have a disability. Instead, think about the skills and talents you could bring to the company and what employers can do to help you. Chat to the recruiters about what they do to support employees with disabilities and remember that being disabled could well be an advantage. These days, organisations are much more disability friendly, and open to making adaptations and being flexible if they have the right person for the job – so think positively when approaching representatives.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND While it is tempting to make a beeline straight for the big names, don’t pass by the ‘boring’ companies. Even if you don’t think they’re the perfect fit, they might have some fantastic opportunities on offer. Many companies have whole departments that are kept fairly hidden. Ask more about the area that interests you. Want to get into writing? Ask who writes the copy for their online output. Coding your thing? Chat about who designs their website. Worst-case scenario, they outsource these skills and will give you the name of another company you can badger.

FOLLOW UP Remember that job fairs are only the first step – first impressions alone won’t land you a job. Make sure you ask for business cards on the day so you can follow up with an email a couple of days later – just think of it as a friendly way to remind them of how great you were. It’s your enthusiasm and ambition you want to get across, so forget four-page emails, just write a couple of lines thanking them for their advice and reminding them of what opportunities you are looking for.


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Amazing opportunities to kick-start your career with Channel 4! 2016 is the Year of Disability at Channel 4. It’s the year when we will broadcast the Paralympic Games in Rio and provide more on and off-screen opportunities for people with disabilities on our biggest shows and with our biggest suppliers. Alongside this, we have ring-fenced 50% of places on our Apprenticeship and Work Experience programmes to support people with disabilities to get into the media industry, and start to build exciting careers.

Apprenticeship Programme - Work within a department at Channel 4’s offices in London, Manchester or Glasgow for 12 months - Study towards a NVQ Level 3 in Creative Media or Business Administration - Get paid an annual salary of £18,500 - Make amazing connections to support your future career. When? Apply online now via work-programmes/ apprenticeshipprogramme Successful applicants will start their roles at Channel 4 in October 2016.

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Work Experience Programme - Join 4Talent for one week to understand how a major broadcaster is run - Spend part of the week shadowing the department of your choice (such as Marketing, Sales, Commissioning, Research or Film4) - Unpaid, however all expenses will be covered including travel, accommodation (if you live outside of London), food and any required adjustments or support.

When? Work Experience Week will take place on 24-28 October 2016. Applications will be open six weeks before via getinvolved/work-experience For more information go to: Or contact us: E: T: 0207 396 4444

04/07/2016 10:34


She’s an award-winning campaigner and one of the founding members of a 700 member-strong group for young disabled people – and Michaela Hollywood has no plans of stopping there. Enable found out more about the Ulsterwoman’s work with Trailblazers

MICHAELA HOLLYWOOD IS A BIT OF A SUPERWOMAN. Born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Michaela has achieved more in her 25 years than most do in a lifetime. Whilst busy gaining a master’s degree in communication and PR from Ulster University, Michaela was awarded a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron for outstanding volunteering. And in November last year she was named by the BBC in their list of 100 inspirational women who are working to change the world in 2015. “I think most, if not all, of my achievements surprise me,” says Michaela. “I hope that the awards under my belt prove that there is a real difference being made in the society we live in. My achievements aren’t just mine, but a collective effort of the entire Trailblazers network.”

SUCCESS STORY And Trailblazers just might be Michaela’s biggest and best success story yet. Michaela helped set up the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign youth network, which campaigns on key issues for young disabled people, when she was only 17. After struggling to gain access to a music concert in Belfast, it dawned on Michaela just how little power and influence young disabled people had. It was then that she decided to take her future into her own hands. “At that time, non-disabled adults were making decisions and advocating on behalf of young disabled people,” says Michaela. “We were left with little to no say in the policies that had a major impact on our lives.”



BLAZING A TRAIL CHANGE But the Trailblazers team have changed all that. Growing from a small group of 20 peers to a 700-strong network across the UK, the group regularly provide suggestions for policymakers and politicians. Their next goal? Focusing on access to spectator sports and media representation of disabled people. Michaela admits the support they’ve garnered has been overwhelming. “The

initial response at the national launch of Trailblazers blew me away,” says Michaela. “So many disabled people saw that what we were doing could create a very real social change. I feel like we are on the cusp of making some bigger changes to society.” And despite the group now counting the PM as a fan, Michaela says there is no slowing down. “I’m looking forward to knuckling down and securing the long overdue changes needed for disabled people to lead full, active and accessible lives. Goodness knows what’s next for me personally, but I’m ready to enjoy the ride!”

i Find out more about Trailblazers and their work at

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