Features

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/  

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.

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.

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. 

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things 

Doug Smith - ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Volunteers are at the very heart of the success of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), and are the glue that binds every aspect of the charity together.

Every year, Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) provides a chance to celebrate the amazing contribution that is made by ordinary people from every walk of life who give up their valuable time to benefit others.

But, as a recent RDA report found, volunteering doesn’t just benefit the participants but has a huge role to play in tackling loneliness and mental health, helping people gain more perspective and become less inward focused.

Meet the 50 Faces Breaking Down Barriers

RDA 50 Faces Campaign

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is celebrating 50 years of achievement, therapy and fun through horses with a stunning online collection of portraits and stories from all over the UK. 

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability, volunteering and the world of horses, 50 faces is a celebration of the brilliant, fearless and pioneering people who make up the RDA family.

Right from the start, RDA has helped to open up the world of horses to everyone. The charity’s radical mission in 1969 that ‘no disabled person who could benefit from riding shall be denied the opportunity of doing so’ was the start of a quiet revolution that is still breaking down barriers today. 

Stairlift donations to transform palliative care

Acorn Stairlift

Acorn Stairlifts has announced plans to raise £20,00 for Marie Curie to fund 1,000 hours of care from its specially trained nurses.  

Continuing the partnership between UK-based stairlift manufacturer and Marie Curie, £10 will be donated to the charity for every stairlift installed before 9thJune. 

Acorn Stairlifts already installs up to 60 free stairlifts each year to Marie Curie patients, helping support people living with terminal illness by giving them the freedom to be cared for at home. 

Caren Larkman-Ayre, national sales manager at Acorn Stairlifts, said: “We’re very proud to be supporting Marie Curie, a charity that does amazing work caring for people during exceptionally difficult times.

Ten ways to make a meeting more inclusive

A group of people in a meeting at work, one of them is in a wheelchair

To mark the launch of its new guide, Meetings Matter, Business Disability Forum is offering advice to all businesses on how to make meetings and events more accessible for disabled employees and clients.

The 10-point meeting checklist is adapted from the not-for-profit membership organisation’s new 24-page guide. The practical and up-to-date resource provides advice on arranging meetings which meet the needs of all colleague and attendees.

The guide covers all aspects of organising a meeting, from set up to on the day, and follow up arrangements. It also reflects the fact that more and more people are now using technology to enable them to take part in meetings and events remotely and from anywhere in the World.  

10-point meeting checklist

Tapping into the Therapeutic Benefits of Riding

Two horses ready for riding

Tapping into the Therapeutic Benefits of Riding with Accessibility Mark

Barnfields Riding Stables based in Chingford, London is looking forward to welcoming more disabled riders to take to the saddle, thanks to Accessibility Mark.

Located near the popular horse riding locations of High Beach and Epping Forest, Barnfields Stables offer lessons to riders of all abilities but specialise in novice and nervous riders.

Owner Natasha Burke decided to apply for accreditation after finding details of the joint scheme between the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and the British Equestrian Federation online.

Accessibility Mark aims to provide riding schools with the knowledge to confidently deliver sessions to disabled riders.

London transport nightmare

London transport

London transport nightmare – New travel experiment reveals dire commutes for wheelchair users. London wheelchair users’ commutes take 49% longer than an able-bodied person’s on average

A shocking 71% of London tube stations NOT fully accessible

Disabled public transport users don’t feel that official apps or planners cater to their individual needs

People with mental health conditions waiting too long for workplace support

Woman suffering with bad mental health

Findings reveal people with mental health conditions waiting too long for workplace support

Some people with mental health conditions could be waiting for over a year for employers to put in place much needed workplace adjustments, new findings published today show. 

The findings come from The Great Big Workplace Adjustments Survey 2019, a comprehensive study of disability and long-term conditions conducted by Business Disability Forum and based on the views of over 1,200 employees and managers working with adjustments.

The new findings announced today relate specifically to the experiences of the 385 respondents with mental health conditions and/or workplace stress who took part in the study. 

The responses show the following:

International mental health expert praises work of Northumberland

innovative day services for mental health at the The Woodfuel Centre

A local charity has been praised for its innovative day services by a leading international authority on mental health on a recent visit to the UK.

Blyth Star Enterprises welcomed a visit from Norway-based senior clinical manager and published scholar, Arne Thomassen, to its headquarters in Blyth, Northumberland, where he was taken on a tour of the charity’s extensive services by chief executive, Gordon Moore.

‘How Do I?’ lifeskill learning videos

Woman holding a question mark for learning videos

Swiss Cottage School teacher, Tom Casson, co-founder of ‘How Do I?’ has developed a new app to allow people to live, learn and work more independently.
Tom explained, ‘How Do I?’ harnesses NFC technology to teach life and vocational skills through easy to access step-by-step videos.

Swiss Cottage School in the London Borough of Camden, meets the needs of children aged 2-19 with complex learning difficulties, emotional, behavioural and communication difficulties and those on the Autistic Spectrum Continuum. ‘How do I?’ is a social enterprise, majority owned by the Swiss Cottage School Charity.

Tom has been at the school for six years. Starting as a teaching assistant. He has now been teaching life skills for three years.

Banish Stress With Boost 

Boost Oxygen Flavours

Whether it’s those long commutes to work, difficult clients or just too much work, we all feel stressed at some point. But now Boost Oxygen is here to help.

Offering 95-98% pure, natural oxygen in a handy portable can, Boost Oxygen has a range of benefits that can help make your day to day life that bit easier. Any commute can be stressful, especially when trains and tubes don’t always run on time and the air quality, particularly on tubes, can be very poor. According to a study by the Office of National Statistics on commuting and wellbeing, each minute added to a commute affects anxiety, happiness and general wellbeing. You might not realise, but you could be starting each day on a negative note, which only fuels the stress throughout the day.

Power of attorney shouldn’t be a will’s poor relation

Euan Fleming on Power of Attorney Shouldn’t be a Will’s Poor Relation

CREATING a power of attorney should be as commonplace as a will and failure to do so causes needless distress and frustration for family members, according to a leading expert.

Euan Fleming, Partner, Head of Private Client Law at Gilson Gray, believes appointing a power of attorney is as important and, in some cases, potentially more important than setting up a will.

The unpredictable nature of health can leave many – often irrespective of age – unable to sort their affairs for themselves.

Family members with no power of attorney are left helpless and unable to step in, causing issues during what is already a distressing time.

Wish comes true for guitar-fan Richard after workshop visit

Wish comes true for guitar-fan Richard after workshop visit

Staff at a specialist nursing and care home in Tredegar decided to reach out to the owners of a local guitar workshop in order to create a very special experience for one of their residents.

The team at Maes-y-Dderwen wanted to create a memorable experience for Richard Carradice, 36, one of their residents who moved into the home about four years ago. Richard has a passion for guitars and spends every other Saturday travelling into Cardiff, where he likes to browse around his favourite music shop. His bedroom at the 24-bed residential and respite care facility has also recently had a design make-over, and now features stencils of his favourite guitars on the walls. 

CASE STUDY: Removing Barriers: Children in crisis can’t get specialist equipment quickly enough

Mum Nikki during the specialist equipment crisis

Some situations require specialist equipment in an emergency – when a child’s condition and associated behaviours put their lives at risk of serious injury or death.  Despite most local health and social care services having jointly commissioned integrated equipment stores to cater for the emergency needs of adults, no such public service exists to respond to the urgent, often life-threatening, needs of disabled or terminally ill children.  As a country we’re failing some of the most vulnerable in our society.

For the past five years Newlife has been running the UK’s first and only Emergency Loan service, delivering specialist equipment to disabled children in crisis within 72 hours of request.

Urgent Action Needed To End Equipment Crisis

Malachi on sofa during equipment crisis

A disabled children’s charity will publish a damning report today exposing major and unlawful failings surrounding the provision of specialist equipment to some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.  

Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is urgently calling on the government to help those children whose lives are at risk because they don’t have the specialist equipment they need. 

In its report, Equipment Crisis for Disabled Children, launched today at the House of Commons, the charity highlights why children are being deprived of specialist equipment like walking frames, specialist car seats and beds, and has published a practical four-point-plan to fix it.