Heathrow celebrates International Wheelchair Day 10th anniversary

International Wheelchair Day

Heathrow, in partnership with its special assistance service provider OmniServ, recently showcased a revolutionary Japanese-designed WHILL high-tech wheelchair to mark the 10th anniversary of International Wheelchair Day.

The WHILL – which has been dubbed "the world's most futuristic-looking wheelchair" – was designed by a start-up company created by a team of engineers from Japanese companies Sony, Toyota, Olympus and Panasonic.

When used in conjunction with beacon technology, mobile devices and other high-tech systems, WHILL wheelchairs can be controlled using smartphones, can travel in convoy through an airport and can be programmed to move themselves to where they are needed, without passengers or attendants.

Could you make a Videocamp film about inclusive education?

Videocamp supporter Sally Phillips

Filmmakers with disabilities are being invited to enter a Videocamp funding competition, where the winner will be given prize money to spend on producing their movie.

The $400,000 (£285,000) Videocamp Film Fund 2018 will be awarded to the maker of a film (animation, documentary or fiction) on the theme of “inclusive education”. The competition is open to filmmakers worldwide, and is the largest social impact film fund of its kind. It launches at the UN on World Down Syndrome Day, 21 March 2018, and entries close on 21 June 2018.

New handbook for teenagers living with brain injury

Childrens Trust

A new handbook for teenagers living with brain injury has been launched by The Childrens Trust. Me and My Brain gives advice and guidance on topics such as independence, bullying, driving and education. It also includes real life experiences of young people living with the condition.

Created by The Childrens Trust’s team of medical professionals and teenagers affected by brain injury, Me and My Brain helps explain the lifelong condition. It provides tips and strategies on some of the challenges such as fatigue and memory loss.

The resource is recommended for family members, teachers and carers, emphasising brain injury as a hidden disability, which can be very difficult for those affected to explain.

Legendary Personalities to Join Sir Richard Stilgoe’s Orpheus - the Mythical

Legendary Personalities to Join Sir Richard Stilgoe’s Orpheus - the Mythical

So here is our story, more ancient than hist’ry, With monsters and mortals and Gods on their thrones. This March, the Orpheus Centre celebrate their 20th birthday with a musical extravaganza at The Other Palace. Highlighting their important work, alumni and current students from this pioneering disabilities charity will join forces with recent graduates from the Arts Educational School to present Sir Richard Stilgoe’s Orpheus – The Mythical.

Disability rights campaigner and scientist Stephen Hawking dies

Prof Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking — 'Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.'

Professor Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, leaving a legacy of scientific discoveries as well as years of campaigning for disabled rights.

Prof. Hawking, who suffered from motor neurone disease and had been wheel-chair bound since the late 1960s, saw worldwide success as a leading physicist. his book The Brief History of Time (1988) sold over 20million copies in its first 20 years of publication. It was written in an easy-to-understand style, so readers without prior knowledge of scientific theories could understand complex ideas including general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Why aren’t more people with disabilities in ads? Because they ‘make people uncomfortable’

physical disabilities

New research has highlighted the ongoing struggle for people with mental and physical disabilities when it comes to appearing in advertising and getting away from negative stereotypes.

When asked why they think those with mental disabilities aren’t currently visible enough in UK advertising, 62% of Brits say it’s because they ‘make people uncomfortable’, while 43% say it’s because Brits aren’t exposed enough to people in this community.

Regarding the lack of those with physical disabilities in ads, 55% of Brits again say it’s because they make people uncomfortable – while 43% believe that brands are risking ‘not appealing to people’ with those adverts. A shocking third (34%) even say that it’s because people with physical disabilities are ‘not attractive’.

Opticians to get Clearer View of Visual Impairment

Thomas Pocklington Trust

Thomas Pocklington Trust are supporting entrepreneur Daniel Williams, and dispensing optician Peter Black, to drive forward the message that no patient should be diagnosed with an eye condition and left to fend for themselves. 

This innovative and insightful course leaves optometrists and dispensing opticians empowered with knowledge to deliver the highest quality service to their VIPs (visually impaired patients).

Experts to carry out independent review of Disabled Facilities Grant

Disabled Facilities Grant

The University of West of England has been appointed by the Government to carry out an independent review of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) that England has to offer.

The University will be working with Foundations, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), Ferret Information Systems and an experienced occupational therapist to look at both the operation of the grant and the wider delivery of home adaptations to support the independence of disabled people living in their own homes.

The review, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, will include a series of workshops this month.

Despite increases to the annual DFG budget, demand for adaptations has always outstripped supply and this is set to continue as the population ages.

Disability employment specialist awarded Most Inspirational Social Care Professional

Autism Awards

A Surrey Choices employment support specialist is celebrating after winning a prestigious award at the National Autistic Society’s Autism Awards 2018.

Winner in the ‘Most Inspirational Social Care Professional’ category, Carolyn Tucker impressed the judges with her exceptional contribution to the lives of autistic people.

Carolyn supports people with a wide range of disabilities by helping them to find employment opportunities with local employers.

The support specialist works for the EmployAbility Service at Surrey Choices with adults who may have traditionally found it difficult to secure employment. EmployAbility is a dedicated service that helps to find work placements, training, volunteer opportunities and paid work with employers.

Wheelchair star Ade Adepitan launches crowdsourcing campaign #mymobilityunlimited

#mymobilityunlimited ambassadors

Wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan and journalist and broadcaster Martyn Sibley announce a global crowdsourcing campaign to find solutions to the challenges faced by people with lower-limb paralysis. The crowdsourcing, entitled #mymobilityunlimited, will hopefully inspire innovators taking part in the Mobility Unlimited Challenge. 

Birmingham man who is deafblind to take on 52 mile trek

Birmingham man who is deafblind to take on 52 mile trek

A Birmingham man, who is deafblind, will attempt to complete an epic 52 mile trek in the summer, walking the distance of the RidgeWay, a historic national trail in the South of England, helping to raise money for the national disability charity, Sense.

44 year-old John Churcher, from Erdington, has a hearing impairment and only 3% vision. His friend, 49-year-old Mark McGowan, from Glasgow, will be John’s sight-guide for the walk, assisted by Jay Owen (27) who is autistic.

John, who has Usher Syndrome, is no stranger to great feats. Over the last decade he has become an accomplished climber, competing at the Paraclimbing World Championships, and being recognised as the first blind person to climb to the summit of the Eiger. 

Freedom of the Borough for rugby club who keep on giving

Freedom of the Borough for rugby club who keep on giving

European rugby champions Saracens, who are at the forefront of a scheme to help young people with learning disabilities, have been awarded the Freedom of the London Borough of Barnet.

The prestigious award was granted to the club for their match winning performances on the pitch as well as for their work in the community.

Chairman Nigel Wray said: “To be awarded Freedom of the Borough, makes us as a club, incredibly proud." 

 The Sarries Foundation,  has teamed up with sponsors Alan Day Volkswagen ,who supply the club with a fleet of vehicles for players and senior staff,  pioneering touch rugby sessions every Monday for youngsters aged between 11-20-years-old.

Torch Trophy Trust honours Goalball volunteer

Torch Trophy Trust honours Goalball volunteer

A dedicated volunteer for Goalball, the only Paralympic team sport specifically designed for blind and visually impaired (VI) athletes, has received one of the highest sports volunteer honours.

On Wednesday 7th March, Adam Knott was given the Jimmy Hill Award for Young Volunteer of the year. The honour was bestowed by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at the Torch Trophy Trust awards for his commitment to goalball.

The Torch Trophy Trust has been celebrating sports volunteers since 1962, with a member of the Royal Family presenting the awards each year since 1980.

Adam, an NQT music teacher from Winchester, was nominated by the governing body of the sport, for his dedicated service to the game – as a GB player, club founder and coach.

Raising the Bar for Disabled Riders with Accessibility Mark

Accessibility Mark

Cloud Stables based in Reading has become the latest equestrian Accessibility Mark Centre to gain accreditation with a national scheme to provide more riding opportunities for disabled riders.

Cloud Stables based in Reading has successfully fulfilled the necessary criteria to become an Accessibility Mark Centre. Established since 1972, Cloud Stables provides lessons for riders of all abilities, using their fantastic facilities that boast both an indoor and outdoor arena.

Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

No Barriers Radio: disabled DJs wanted to join team

No Barriers Radio Josh

A radio station set up by a DJ with learning difficulties are looking for disabled volunteers to present their shows – and are appealing for help to find a premises. No Barriers Radio is headed by station master Josh Hornsey – who is just 14 years old – and founder and chairman David Braysher, who has been DJing since 1978.

The members pre-record shows from their homes and transfer them via MP3 onto the website, nobarriersradio.com, where they can be listed to globally. Shows vary from 50s and 60s music to current pop and dance music. Anything goes and requests are welcome.