Tamworth Castle Grounds toilets re-open with Changing Places facility

Changing Places disabled toilet

Tamworth Castle Grounds refurbished toilets re-open with town’s first ever Changing Places facility

A major project to refurbish public toilets in Tamworth Castle Grounds is now fully completed and the facility re-opened on Friday, August 23, just in time for the busy summer bank holiday weekend in the grounds.

The new toilet transformation includes the town’s first ever Changing Places facility - an assisted accessible Closomat Palma Vita wash and dry toilet with a height adjustable changing bench, hoist that moves across the room and its own coded door access.

Friendship & dating agency for adults with learning disabilities launched

Two people with learning disabilities at the dating agency

First friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and autism launches at event in Bristol

Bristol’s first friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and autism launches this month with a party. 

The new Luv2meetU service, which is run by national learning disabilities charity Hft, will celebrate its launch with music, food and games at Bristol’s Za Za Bar on the ground floor of Za Za Bazaar on Monday 23 September. There will also be information about the service available for potential members and their families, as well as carers, support workers and service providers.  

Rutland Sailability expands services thanks to £23,400 grant 

Women stood in front of boats at the Rutland Sailability

Sailing centre of excellence, Rutland Sailability, celebrated an expansion to its services for disabled sailors on 29 August with an official champagne launch of a brand new rigid inflated boat (RIB) by the High Sherriff of Rutland, Margaret Miles. 

The purchase of the safety boat, along with a launch and recovery vehicle, was made possible thanks to a £23,400 grant from the LEADER funding programme managed by Opportunity Peterborough with support from Rutland County Council.

People with hidden disabilities can access Blue Badges for the first time from today

Disabled parking bays that can only be used if you have blue badges

People with hidden disabilities, including anxiety disorders or a brain injury, can apply for a Blue Badge for the first time from today (August 30).

The Department for Transport has issued new guidance to councils in England on Blue Badge parking permit eligibility, along with a new online eligibility checker to make the scheme clearer for people before they apply.

In the biggest change to Blue Badges since the 1970s, the DfT has been working with specialists to expand the eligibility criteria for the badges, which now includes people who cannot walk as part of a journey without considerable psychological distress or the risk of serious harm.

UnLtd joins forces with City & Guilds Group to help social entrepreneurs to thrive 

Disabled man working at Repair Centre thanks to UnLtd and City & Guilds Group

A new partnership between UnLtd and City & Guilds Group will provide funding for social entrepreneurs with bold ideas to create positive change in society.

Funding from City & Guilds Group will be used to support UnLtd’s Thrive programme, which aims to improve access to employment by providing more employment and training opportunities for people furthest from the labour market.

City & Guilds Group, the global skills development body, has joined forces with UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, in a new partnership that will provide funding and expert support for social entrepreneurs to scale up and achieve greater impact.

Council Spending On Disabled Facilities Grants Reaches 10 Year High

Disabled man in wheelchair with his girlfriend

Freedom of Information Requests submitted on behalf of A Wood Idea have revealed that council funding through Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) is at a 10-year high.

Data from 73 councils in England shows that the collective spend through DFGs has grown by over 25%, rising from £75,000,000 in 2009/10 to over £100,000,000 in 2018/19, as an increasing number of people use the grants to fund essential accessibility adaptations to their homes.

Of the councils who responded to the requests, Leeds City Council was found to spend the most on funding the grants, averaging £6,508,716 annually between 2009/10 and 2018/19. Manchester City Council followed in second place with an average spend of £4,654,900.

Social care provider holds heart-warming community soup event

Social care staff at community soup event

A social care provider hosted a Soup Event at Westmead Day Centre to bring the community together and give local organisations the opportunity to raise awareness and pitch for funding for their community project.

The event, organised by Optalis, provided an opportunity for members of the community to listen to a variety of community project ideas. Through a secret ballot, attendees chose a project and were awarded with funds raised during the evening, match funded by Optalis, and will be later used by the winning organisation to invest in their ideas.

One in seven hospitals charges for disabled parking

disabled parking at a hospital

One in seven hospital sites now charges for disabled parking, an increase of 12 per cent in a year.

The figures, from NHS Digital, emerged as it was revealed that one of England’s flagship hospital trusts is poised to make disabled patients and visitors pay for parking.

Disabled people were charged up to £2.70 per hour at 155 hospital sites across England in 2017/18, up from 139 in 2016/17, 135 in 2015/16 and 132 in 2014/15.

Hospital parking is free in Scotland and Wales but patients and visitors in England paid a total of £156.8 million in fees in 2017/18.

A deal which could transform the learning disability sector

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

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

A new report is being launched in Parliament today 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.

Unique salon for people with learning disabilities opens its doors

Salon for people with learning disabilities

Bradford’s first beauty salon exclusively for adults with learning disabilities has opened its doors with the help of celebrity hairdresser, Andrew Collinge.

Mirror Mirror is located at The Learning Zone, which is just one of many day opportunities run by national learning disability charity, Hft. Based on Preston Street, the beauty room will offer people a chance to enjoy some pampering ranging from hair styling and hand massages to manicures. For those interested in gaining a flavour of the industry, there will also be opportunities to work towards a professional qualification.

New Sta-Rite Multifunction Forehead Stabiliser Launched

Sta-Rite Multifunction Forehead Stabiliser Launched

Gel Ovations Europe has launched its new Multifunction Forehead Stabiliser for clients with Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Spinal Injury and other conditions requiring cranial stabilisation.

Part of the company’s growing Sta-Rite range of rehab solutions, the new unit combines a headrest and multi-adjustable Forehead Stabiliser. It has been designed to provide users with ‘head drop,’ a higher level of comfort and skin protection compared to traditional forehead straps.

Developed in consultation with Occupational Therapists, Rehabilitation specialists and end-users, the new unit has been designed for use in a variety of applications including wheelchairs, shower chairs, and children’s functional seating.

Countryfile to Salute RDA in its 50th Anniversary Year

Countryfile interview with RDA for 50th Anniversary Year

BBC Countryfile is to honour RDA in its 50th anniversary year with a programme dedicated to the charity and its work. The episode, which airs on Sunday 28 July, includes an interview by with RDA’s President, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, conducted by broadcasting legend and long-time Countryfile presenter John Craven.

The interview was filmed on the opening day of the RDA National Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, where presenters John Craven and Anita Rani spent an enjoyable day with some of the events 500 competitors, as well as volunteers and family members. 

Historic Northumberland port receives green makeover thanks to local mental health charity

local mental health charity making environmental improvements

A local mental health charity has been helping to make environmental improvements to the landscape around Northumberland’s biggest port. 

Service users from Blyth Star Enterprises’ Stakeford Nurseries have been planting trees and shrubs at the Port of Blyth’s South Harbour as part of a new landscaping maintenance contract. 
The commercial contract forms part of the work carried out by the mental health charity under the remit of its ‘Next Steps’ project, which aims to provide its service users who have participated in the horticultural training programme taught at Stakeford Nurseries with volunteering experience in community-based environments. 

£20m fund marks one year on from the Inclusive Transport Strategy

Disabled person on train station using the transport strategy

Industry invited to nominate stations across Britain that would benefit from improvements to accessibility. Department marks one-year since the publication of the Inclusive Transport Strategy, the move follows wider developments to make the transport network more inclusive, such as the extension of the Blue Badge scheme. Disabled rail passengers across the UK are set to benefit from a raft of accessibility improvements with the opening of a £20m government fund (Monday, 8 July 2019).

Disabled people must have better access to public transport before London car-free day

Disabled person trying to get access to public transport

A leading not-for-profit business and disability organisation is calling on  the London Mayor disabled people to have better access to public transport, following the announcement that there will be a car-free day across London on 22 September to raise awareness of the air pollution crisis.

Angela Matthews, Head of Policy and Research, at Business Disability Forum, said:

Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity receives backing

Children at Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity

Robert Walters Group UK has named the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity as its official UK charity for 2019.

The charity supports under 5s with cerebral palsy and other motor learning impairments – focusing on helping children to realise their full potential.

The bulk of fundraising for the charity will take place on the Group’s annual Charity Day, taking place on Friday 11 October 2019.

All 400 of Robert Walters Group UK employees - across London, the South East, Midlands and the North West - will be taking a break from work for the day and will be tasked with raising as much money as possible for the charity. 

Government To Introduce Natasha's Law

Food allergy form for Natasha's Law

A new law will require food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged foods, Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced today in a drive to protect the country’s two million food allergy sufferers.

Following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, the Environment Secretary confirmed legislation will be brought forward by the end of summer to strengthen allergen labelling rules.

PM launches disability policy overhaul

disability policy overhaul – inequality lettering

Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed plans to enhance the lives of those living with a disability in the UK, announcing the launch of an Equalities Hub in Parliament.

With around a fifth of the working-age population living with a disability, the Prime Minister also announced a new cross-government disability team which will sit alongside the Government Equalities Office and Race Disparity Unit in a new Equalities Hub.

This team will work closely with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities to develop a new approach to disability, with their views and experiences at the forefront of any new policy. Further measures will be set out later this year.

Norovirus Outbreak Closes Hospital Wards In Cornwall

Woman feeling sick because of the norovirus

An outbreak of the Norovirus has forced medics to close hospital wards in Cornwall this morning. 

People are being urged to avoid the Royal Cornwall Hospital after three wards have been contaminated with the vomiting bug. 

Senior staff at the hospital have issued a "Black Alert", known as an "OPEL 4" which the NHS classifies as a "serious incident".

Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.  You are likely to have caught Norovirus if you experience a sudden sick feeling, projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

Other symptoms can include a slight fever, headaches, painful cramps and aching limbs. Symptoms generally only last for about two to three days.