Independent Living

Tech and care industries unite to unveil case for a deal which could transform the learning disability sector

Man with learning disability using technology

A new report is being launched in Parliament setting out the case for a deal for the learning disability sector, focusing on realising the potential of technology to boost investment and transform the way care is delivered.

National learning disabilities charity, Hft, supported by Tunstall Healthcare, produced the paper outlining the key arguments for an economic partnership with the government as part of the UK Industrial Strategy – a long term plan for the future aimed at backing businesses to drive productivity through investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

Green fingered adults with learning disabilities dig their way to success 

Old lady with learning disabilities gardening

Flint town centre is in bloom thanks to a talented group of adults with learning disabilities, who have been working hard to create a new array of hanging baskets.

Tri Ffordd is a group of adults supported by national learning disability charity, Hft, as part of its supported employment initiative. The team are behind the 53 hanging baskets recently put on display in Flint town centre and a further 6 in use at Flintshire County Council.

Clearwell Mobility goes green to support national charity

Clearwell Mobility wheelchair gardening

Clearwell Mobility has implemented eco-friendly changes across its 12 stores and hopes to donate more than £1,000 to the Gardening for Disabled Trust.

The South East’s leading supplier of mobility and home healthcare products has started charging 5p for plastic bags and will be donating all proceeds to a charity that aims to help people get back into gardening in spite of disability.

Last year the company used 22,000 plastic bags and hopes that, by charging for its bags, it will encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags and, in turn, reduce plastic pollution.

Flats for adults with complex autism open in Droitwich

Happy man with autism

On Wednesday 19th June Autism West Midlands in partnership with Fortis Living and Worcestershire County Council celebrated the opening of a new supported living scheme for autistic adults and adults with complex needs. The scheme was developed by Fortis Living - part of Platform Housing Group, with additional funding of more than £400,000 from Worcestershire County Council and Homes England.

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.  

WashPod Set To Transform Washroom Access For Disabled

WashPod Washroom

For the elderly or disabled, being able to live in their own home becomes a real issue if they no longer have access to washing and toilet facilities but a unique, new ‘pod’ that can be erected inside or outside, may keep this the reality. WashPod units can be installed in as little as a day to provide a fully accessible washroom for those who have become disabled suddenly or through old age.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of over 65s is set to grow by 65% over the next couple of decades, while currently SCOPE estimates that there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK and 45% of pension age adults and nearly 10% of children are disabled.

Go-Anywhere Underwear

Two people in Confitex Go-Anywhere Underwear

Urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of factors, including certain disabilities and medications, menopause, pregnancy and childbirth, constipation, being overweight or unfit, and just general loss of muscle strength due to ageing. 

It can have a huge effect on confidence, sometimes even restricting participation in everyday activities and enjoyment of life. 

While medical-grade disposable pants and pads are recommended for those with no bladder control who need full-void absorbency, people with light-to-medium bladder leakage now have a more fashionable, affordable and environmentally friendly option. 

Confitex’s line of washable absorbent underwear for men and women is now available on

The Art of Independent Living - at 99!

The Art of Independent Living - at 99!

With an ageing population, finding centenarians who clock up a hundred years is becoming less rare, but finding 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, Miss Butchart retorted, “Your guess is as good as mine”. Admittedly there’s no magic wand or secret potion.

Born in Newcastle, Jean Butchart moved to Scotland aged six months where she grew up until qualifying 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. 

Alarming rise in joint problems set to pose major burden on society

Knee joint pain

Leading experts, who have concluded that the incidence of musculoskeletal conditions is increasing at such an alarming rate that it is set to affect three times more of us than cancer by 2030[i], are calling for urgent steps to be taken to protect the mobility and wellbeing of an ageing population.

Commenting in a new Joint Health of the Nation Report recently released, musculoskeletal experts and patient organisations warn that the burden of joint health problems is set to place an unprecedented strain on society and an already overstretched NHS. 

Guide Dogs Left Barking at the Door 

Guide Dogs Left Barking at the Door 

As someone with a severe visual impairment, my assistance dog is a vital part of my life, both as a guide and friend. We have a special bond that you will understand if you have seen the Sponsor a Guide Dog ads on TV. They show just how much assistance dogs give independent lives back to people with visual impairments, and how that independence is to be treasured.

My relationship with Zodiac is the best; we look after each other, care about each other, and occasionally irritate the hell out of each other. Quite honestly, we’re like an old married couple, but without the bickering over who gets to have the remote control. 

Innovative wheels will help you ‘spring’ in action

Man using innovation wheels by Loopwheels on his bike

Loopwheels are changing the way wheelchair users move – so much so that the pain and exhaustion from pushing over uneven surfaces can be relieved immensely. Here, Loopwheels director Ian Abbott explains how the wheels work and why they can make such a difference to pushing...

As the NHS itself reports, NHS wheelchair services are sub-optimal and frustrating for both practitioners and patients. The main constraints are budgets, awareness of
the options available and risk aversion. This leads to sub-optimal chairs being supplied, which means the patient does not get the right chair. Standard issue NHS chairs fit badly and are heavy.

Taking the dis- out of disability through extreme sports

Sportability a muddy quadbike rider and wheelchair

David Heard, the founder of Sportability, spoke to UCan2 editor Victoria Galligan about why he decided to set up a charity which helps people with paralysis to take part in extreme sports, and the range of activities now available...

Paralsis needn’t stop a person from living life to the full. But back in the late 80’s when David Heard’s friend Richard, a ski instructor, was injured in a motoring accident, there weren’t a lot of options available in sport for people with disabilities.

50 Faces Campaign - Meet Phoebe Boyce

Phoebe Boyce

To celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2019, Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign, telling the stories of some of the amazing people who make RDA the extraordinary organisation it is today. 

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability and volunteering, and to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of RDA, 50 Faces features a collage of portraits, as well as the surprising and often moving stories of horse riders, carriage drivers and volunteers from all over the UK. 

Top Tips for flying with a visual impairment or blindness 

Top Tips for flying with a visual impairment or blindness 

Altogether Travel is the UK’s leading Supported Holiday Company, our excellent holiday and travel companions accompany our customers all over the world. We asked our customers and staff for some advice, tips and what to expect if flying as a blind or visually impaired person. 

Booking stage

If you require additional assistance either within the airport or on the flight, then you should notify your travel agent or the airline direct. The more notice the better but at least 48 hrs before departure should ensure they allocate someone to help. 

Contact the airports special assistance team and advise them of your arrival time should you need assistance into the terminal.

Arriving at the airport