Review of Blue Badge fraud as scheme is extended to those with ‘hidden disabilities’

blue badge holders sign

People with hidden disabilities will soon be able to access Blue Badge parking permits, thanks to the roll out of new guidance today (Saturday, June 15).

For drivers or passengers with dementia, anxiety disorders or reduced mobility, anticipating difficulty travelling, such as trouble finding a parking space, can result in a build-up of stress on top of the stress of the journey itself.

The new guidance, which represents the biggest change to the scheme since the 1970s, will offer a lifeline to people who often find road travel difficult by providing better access to work and other amenities, while also helping combat loneliness by helping them stay connected to family and friends.

Calvert Reconnections unveils panel of expert advisors

Bill Braithwaite from Calvert Reconnections

Calvert Reconnections - the UK’s first intensive Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) rehabilitation centre focused around outdoor activities - has unveiled its panel of expert advisors.

The ground-breaking centre, run by The Lake District Calvert Trust (LDCT), is being advised by nationally regarded brain injury experts Bill Braithwaite QC, Heather Batey, Professor Mike Barnes and Dr Rob Forsyth in the run up to its Autumn opening.  Calvert Reconnections has also launched a new website at http://www.calvertreconnections.org.uk/  

Adults with learning disabilities to compete at Bradford dragon boat festival

HFT team at Bradford dragon boat festival

A team of adults with learning disabilities and their support workers are taking to the water this month for Bradford’s annual dragon boat festival. 

The Aim Higher group, supported by national learning disability charity Hft, is one of the first mixed ability teams to participate in the Multi Charity Championship on 23 June, which forms part of Bradford’s annual three-day dragon boat festival.

The 20-strong team is made up of seven people supported by the charity and 13 members of staff. Together they hope to raise funds for new musical equipment for one of Hft’s day opportunities centres, The Learning Zone.

Secret Access - Changing the world one step at a time

Secret access step

Once Upon a Time, there was a young man in a wheelchair. This young man was a Prince and lived in the kingdom of a King and Queen. One day, the Prince had enough of being told how to live his life. He wanted to be like all of his friends living independently in a Castle and creating a Kingdom. The time had come.

The Prince spent many months valiantly battling to find the perfect Castle. Some were too old, some too small and some did not even have access at all. The King and Queen cried for the Prince to return but his determination grew. Through extremities of weather and the challenges faced, the Prince pursued with his dream.

 Legoland Windsor: putting accessibility at the heart of a day out

accessibility – ​UCan2's editor visited Legoland Windsor

If your family has accessibility issues, finding a day out can be somewhat of a nightmare at times – ​so ​UCan2 editor Victoria Galligan visited Legoland Windsor to see how accessible the park is, and how scary the rides are, too!

Although Legoland Windsor’s latest attraction has a horror theme, you won’t be left trembling when trying to organise your day out there.

I went along with my family to see how staff at the block-built wonderland have been working with the Business Disability Forum to ensure they are meeting the needs of disabled customers and delivering the best customer experience possible.

More businesses are becoming Disability Confident

Disability confident man working at a warehouse

The Department for Work and Pensions reported that over 46,000 people have used a new search engine filter that gives them a direct line to Disability Confident employers, in the first six months of the tool being launched.

Jobseekers have been able to search for vacancies with Disability Confident employers on the government’s Find a Job website since November 2018.

The news is evidence that there is growing demand for opportunities with inclusive employers.

The art of independent living - at 99!

Independent Jean Butchart turning 99 and cutting her birthday cake

With an ageing population, finding centenarians is becoming less rare, but a 99 year old enjoying independent living is still quite a find.

Miss Jean Butchart is her own boss, with her own home, friends and hobbies. When asked what her secret was, she retorted: “Your guess is as good as mine!”

Born in Newcastle, Jean Butchart moved to Scotland aged six months where she grew up and qualified as a teacher in Domestic Science and Home Economics. During the war Miss Butchart taught in a Herefordshire school until a role in Aberdeen’s College of Domestic Science brought Jean to the Granite City in 1948.

A tribute to disability activist Professor Mike Oliver

A tribute to disability activist Professor Mike Oliver

UCan2’s Jenni Meredith on the legacy of disability activist Professor Mike Oliver, and the future of disability rights in the UK under new Disabilities Minister Justin Tomlinson as Brexit looms...

In March this year, Professor Mike Oliver, a fiery disabled activist and the man who changed mainstream attitudes with his social model of disability, sadly died.
He was the person largely responsible for forcing the UK Government to adopt anti-discrimination legislation in the form of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), yet was disappointed with the Act when it finally appeared on the statue books.

Able2 expands their comprehensive range of rollators

Woman sat on Able2 rollator

June sees Able2 expand their comprehensive range of rollators with another string to their bow – the EZ Fold-N-Go.

For many, a rollator is a great way to keep mobile as the years pass: it provides support when walking, is often somewhere to sit for minute and can on occasion handily store bits and bobs picked up during a trip to town. Nowadays, with space at a premium wherever we go, a rollator can seem a cumbersome piece of equipment when you’re trying to tuck it out of the way.

The new EZ Fold-N-Go is different, folding both widthways and front to back this product measures just 33 x 25cm when folded and so is easy to tuck in a corner out of the way.  

Housing association develops policy for employees and tenants

Housing association step free route sign

Housing association L&Q has partnered with two leading organisations to ensure it is offering the best service to its disabled staff and residents.

As part of its disability inclusion initiative L&Q will work with Evenbreak, a social enterprise that helps inclusive employers attract and retain more talented disabled people.

L&Q is also working with disability charity Scope to develop housing advice content for their website and advice line.

Already L&Q has upskilled its employability service, to better engage and support disabled residents in securing employment.

Fellowship award offered by children’s disability partnership

Staff from Newlife charity with children's disability partnership signs

An exciting new funding partnership will see dedicated investment of £270,000 ring-fenced specifically to help children with disabilities across the UK.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children have joined forces to offer talented post- doctorial researchers the opportunity to compete for a pioneering three- year fellowship award.

The partnership, launched earlier this week at RCPCH’s annual conference in Birmingham, will enable the chosen recipient to have a real impact on the lives and health of children with disabilities across the UK.

Learning disability charity recognises outstanding volunteers 

HFT Learning Disability Charity Logo

This Volunteers’ Week, national learning disability charity Hft is celebrating its 110 volunteers, who have dedicated more than 8,000 hours of their time in the last year. 

The charity offers various opportunities for volunteering, ranging from corporate volunteering and fundraising to a buddy scheme. Volunteers have the chance to make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities, while also gaining confidence, skills and new friendships as a result.