Koller Supports a Community Transport Event in Devon

Car parts

The annual Transport for Your Community Conference will once again take place on 1 March in the Kenn Centre, Exeter, and Koller, specialists in the design and manufacture of wheelchair accessible vehicle products, will be showing their support for the event by exhibiting several products from their range.

Transport for Your Community (TFYC) represents and provides support to a range of community transport providers across Devon. The annual conference brings together a variety of suppliers who deliver an invaluable service to people in the county.

Campaign launches to develop deeper understanding of attitudes towards home adaptations

 home adaptations

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to fund research into older people’s views on adapted homes.

It is hoped insight drawn from the work will help to improve support services and enable more people to live independently.

The campaign, launched on Crowdfunder – – has been set up by Foundations, the national body for England’s 200 not-for-profit home improvement agencies.

William Merritt Charity Moves into New Disable Living Centre


The William Merritt Disabled Living Centre have moved into a newly renovated building in Leeds and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and the Lord and Lady Mayoress officially unveiled the plaque on Friday 27th January 2017 and on Saturday the local community enjoyed the continued celebrations and got the opportunity to have a look around the new Centre. Guests enjoyed cake, sweets donated from Haribo, and samples from Wiltshire Farm Foods.

What it’s really like to date with a disability


Often surrounded by misconceptions, Leslie Ostrander, an Ambassador of Bard Care, sets the record straight. 

Can I find love, true love after spinal cord injury?  Who will love me just as I am?  I asked myself these questions for years.  I was confident in many areas of my life.  I conquered snow skiing, competed in “beauty” pageants (I was really after the scholarship money), and attended college.  But love?  Somehow that seemed unattainable.

I was in my early twenties and was satisfied with my life.  I had a great career.  I had a chic one-bedroom apartment in the suburb of Atlanta.  I travelled.  I had a core group of supporting friends.  I was comfortable with who I had become and the direction my life was headed.

Ground-Breaking Designs for People with Disabilities Win Top Awards

The Blackwood Design Awards


Digital glasses which assist people who have lost the use of their arms and a wheelchair that goes up and down steps have been crowned the winners of a “Dragons’ Den” style design competition.

The Blackwood Design Awards - which discover, and champion, new and innovativeideas to improve the lives of those with physical or learning disabilities - recently took place at the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre and saw nine shortlisted inventors pitch for the top spot. 

This year, for the first time, the competition was made up of two distinct categories. 

Blind Veterans UK supports GP training days

Blind Veterans

National military charity Blind Veterans UK is involved in an innovative joint project supporting Health Education England in delivering a series of half day and full day training sessions on veterans’ healthcare for GPs across England.

Blind Veterans UK, which provides free services and support for all veterans, no matter when they served and how they lost their sight, was approached to take part in the programme which launched in 2015 and delivered its first training event of 2017 this week in Lancaster. Blind Veterans UK, along with other military charities, supported the project by providing a variety of speakers across the country in 15 sessions run during the last academic year, with a further 15 booked during this academic year, 2016/2017. 

‘Wheelchair versus buggy’ ruling welcomed

wheelchair user and bus

Yesterday’s bus space ‘wheelchair versus buggy’ Supreme Court judgment has been hailed a “significant change of culture.”
Wheelchair user Doug Paulley, who brought the case, is reportedly “absolutely delighted” with the ruling – which means bus drivers will have to do more to ensure wheelchair users can get on buses.

Previously passengers with buggies occupying wheelchair spaces could be ‘requested’ to vacate the space. But FirstGroup’s policy did not require any more of their drivers than simply making the request. 

New MD for care-provider regard

New Regard MD Carole Edmond

The appointment has been announced of Carole Edmond as the new managing director for The Regard Group, the UK’s fourth largest private organisation providing supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury.

Her arrival coincides with a period of significant growth at Regard which currently cares for more than 1,100 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,200 people working at 148 locations throughout the UK.  

The organisation has opened 13 new services over the past year, with another three due to open during the first three months of 2017.

Regard’s CEO, Sandie Foxall-Smith, said: “We are delighted to have Carole join us at what is shaping up to be a very exciting time for Regard.

Now Delta 7 are taking the next step in their career with the release of first ever track ‘The Jungle’

Delta 7

Delta 7 are a seven-piece rock band from Eastbourne, East Sussex, who write and perform all their own material. Band members Mikey, Fraser, Elliot, Harry, David, Craig and Speedy have different personalities, talents and disabilities. But their shared love of performing, positive energy and mutual support allows them to create music that is infectious and inspiring, making Delta 7 an uplifting and powerful voice for everyone who feels a little outside ‘the mainstream’ of society. 

Ben’s mental health campaign raised hats and £10,000 to support automotive colleagues

Ben’s mental health campaign

• The UK’s automotive community showed support for colleagues and raised awareness about mental health challenges

• The event gained support from celebrities Mike Brewer, Tiff Needell and Vicki Butler-Henderson

• #HatsOn4MentalHealth trended on Twitter


Ben, the not-for-profit organisation that partners with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its people and their families, has announced that circa £10,000 has been raised so far from its first ever national fundraising event – Hats on 4 Mental Health Day.

Arctic Piranha offers a safe haven for learning disabled clubbers

disabled clubbers

A new report has been released by a leading charity which shows that 1 in 4 disabled people have been discriminated against in mainstream clubs and at music gigs, but ARC’s regular Arctic Piranha club nights are already going some way in combatting feelings of isolation and harassment for learning disabled adults in the Tees Valley.

The national report, which was published by Mencap as part of their Don’t Freeze Us Out campaign last week, asked 300 learning disabled people aged between 18 to 35 how they felt about going to clubs and music gigs. 

The report showed that 1 in 4 had been bullied at a nightclub, 13% said they were worried about asking for help if they needed it and 24% said they often felt like they couldn’t go to clubs and therefore felt isolated. 

Adam Hills calls for teammates to challenge Paralympians in new superhero Tri

Adam Hills calls for teammates to challenge Paralympians in new superhero Tri

In a super-charged start to the New Year, five new Celebrity Team Captains have stepped forward to take part in Superhero Series’ debut event Superhero Tri: comedian Adam Hills, Paralympians Ali Jawad, Stephen Miller and Liz Johnson and TV reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan. The series also unveils a new ‘Super Partner’: employee service provider Personal Group.
Big, bold and gutsy, Superhero Tri takes place on 19 August at Dorney Lake and is the first event in the only sports series dedicated to the UK’s 12 million people with disabilities and long-term injuries – the everyday Superhero. 

The sky’s the limit for helicopter fan James

James Jenner

A young man with learning disabilities from Worthing has fulfilled the dream of a lifetime and taken to the skies on board a helicopter.

James Jenner, who is on the autistic spectrum, and who has a passion for all things aeronautical, made the pleasure flight from Goodwood airfield.

The 20-year-old, who lives at Coneyhurst Lodge residential service in St Lawrence Avenue, was accompanied by his key worker Aimée White.

The pair enjoyed a thrilling 30-minute flight along the Hampshire and West Sussex coastline on board the G-Sunn helicopter.

“James really loves aeroplanes and helicopters and was delighted when he got the chance for a flight from Goodwood,” said Aimée.

2017 is the year to strike back against poor accessibility

Ted Hill & Anne Wafula

Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship 

2017 began with a shocking story of a woman forced to wet herself on a train with no disabled toilet. I was appalled to realise this was my friend, Anne Wafula-Strike MBE – a British Polio Ambassador and Paralympian who has campaigned tirelessly for those living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), and the millions who struggle to access even the most basic amenities.   A three hour journey with no access to a toilet beggars belief but is a scenario our members and many of your readers will identify with.

Ingenious Inventions Shortlisted For “Dragons' Den” Design Award

boy with a spoon

Glasses for computer users who don’t have the use of their arms and a wheelchair that goes up and down steps are just two of the shortlisted entries battling it out in a “Dragons' Den” inspired event to find the next rising star of design.

The Blackwood Design Awards discover, and champion, new and innovative ideas which aim to improve standards of living for those with physical or mental disabilities.

Dozens of ingenious entries were received for the competition and the nine inventions on the shortlist have now been revealed, with a blink-controlled, hands free phone system and a body-temperature regulating cushion for wheelchair users making up the finalists. 

‘Please Offer Me a Seat’ badge and card to be rolled out permanently, as trial proves to be a great success

badge of ladies top

• 1,200 people with invisible impairments took part in the successful six-week trial across TfL’s network 

• Badge and card to be introduced on a permanent basis in spring 2017

• TfL will be first European transport provider to officially recognise invisible impairments and conditions


Transport for London (TfL) is pleased to announce that a blue badge for those less able to stand on public transport will be introduced on a permanent basis in spring. 

94 year old British OBE global healthcare sector inventor gets further patent

David Edmund Talbot Garman OBE

David Edmund Talbot Garman OBE, the founder, former Chairman and previous owner of Mangar International Ltd, who will be 95 years old next May, has - with the help of his eldest son, Rupert, who is an international commercial lawyer - obtained a U.K. patent, for David E. T. Garman Concepts Ltd, for his latest product, which already has trademark protection as the "AIR CRADLE" patient transfer system.

Celebrating employment success for Andrew


A man with learning difficulties has been celebrating the achievement of a personal milestone with family and friends at a specialist training centre in the Dorset village of Sixpenny Handley.

Not only has Andrew Michael-Phillips earned the National Open College Network (NOCN) entry level 3 certificate in ‘Gaining Craft Skills for Employment,’ he has so impressed his new employers at the village’s Crossroads Café that they decided to fund a presentation evening as a ‘thank you’ for his dedication.

Andrew, aged 41, is one of seven people with learning disabilities or mental health needs who have gained an NOCN certificate this year, thanks to skills developed at Town Farm Workshop, an Outcomes With Learning (OWL) centre run by private care-provider Regard.