Aspire Charity announces aspirations for its biggest Channel Swim to date

Aspire Channel Swim

Spinal cord injury charity, Aspire are once again calling for all challenge-seekers to take part in the annual Aspire Channel Swim, which last year saw over 6,000 swimmers jump into pools across the country to complete the 22 mile challenge over 12 weeks.

Aspire, who provide practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, hope to increase the number of swimmers this year to 7,000; made up of Aspire beneficiaries with spinal cord injury, those with an affiliation to the charity and the general public. For its 17th anniversary, the Aspire Channel Swim this year is estimated to be the biggest so far.

The William Merritt Centre announce new addition to their AccessAbility Exhibition

The William Merritt Centre announce new addition to their AccessAbility Exhibition

Following the success of The William Merritt Centre’s AccessAbility Exhibition in 2017, it is excited to announce its plans to make 2018 bigger and better by the addition of Get Going Live covering all your vehicle mobility needs.

It will take place on 18th October 2018 at the Centenary Pavilion, Leeds United Football Club between 10.00am and 3.00pm, showcasing new and innovative assistive technology and equipment, providing information and advice to enable greater independence for disabled children and adults or those with additional needs.

Essex All Together ambassador inspires others with new song ‘Don’t Tell Me’

All Together

Having been involved with the inclusive Active Essex ambassador scheme ‘All Together’ since 2017, Justine has used her passion to help break down some of the misconceptions around disability sport. 

Justine Harrington, 28, from Basildon, who was born with a visual impairment, is hoping to encourage more disabled people to get involved with physical activity and sport  through the launch of her new song and music video; ‘Don’t Tell Me’.

Justine strongly believes that everyone, whatever their level of ability or learning, should have the same opportunities to access sport and physical activity.

New Books Help People With Learning Disabilities Who Want To Work

New Books Help People With Learning Disabilities Who Want To Work

Only 6% of people with learning disabilities has a job whereas around 60% actually want to go out and work.  

The Grange Charity in Bookham has been working with the specialist learning disability publisher, Beyond Words Books, to highlight the serious issue of disability and work.

Grange resident, Katie Coen, and Work Experience Co ordinator, Mel Sheehan, were present at the launch of the books at the House of Lords last week. 

Beyond Words Books was created by Baroness Sheila Hollins of Wimbledon (a Bookham resident), who had the idea of using wordless illustrated books to help people with learning disabilities tackle everyday issues of life.

Learning disability group pays visit to Number 10 for awareness campaign

Walk in Our Shoes

Becky and Henry receive support from Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, they travelled to 10 Downing Street today (Thursday 7th June) to present the gift as part of their Walk in Our Shoes campaign. 

The initiative has been led by the charity’s speak-out group, Voices to be Heard, who feel that their hopes and concerns are not given the same attention by political leaders as those of people without disabilities.

The custom-made footwear has been designed using pictures of Voices to be Heard members and Hft’s signature purple and gold colours. 

FestABLE speaker Sally Phillips: 'The SEN world is a treasure chest'

Festable a girl enjoys the day

Having a child with special needs enables parents to understand and appreciate the important things in life, says actress and writer Sally Phillips. The well-known British comic was speaking at FestABLE, a festival celebrating specialist learning staged at National Star College in Cheltenham. 

It is the first time a festival dedicated to specialist learning has been staged in the UK.

“We are sitting on a treasure chest in the SEN (Special Educational Needs) world. Not only do we have freedom from some of the standards that the world operates with which are completely bogus but there’s a lot of living in the moment,” said Sally, who has a son with Down’s Syndrome. 

A Comedian Without Speech Becomes A Loud Voice For The Disabled Community

A Comedian Without Speech Becomes A Loud Voice For The Disabled Community

THE WINNER of Britain’s Got Talent 2018 has spoken of his pride in representing the disabled community in front of the whole nation.  Lee Ridley, also known as ‘The Lost Voice Guy’ was recently crowned the winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, saying that the major source of his satisfaction following his TV appearance was the response he has received from disabled people he’s inspired.

In an exclusive interview with Blackwood, a leading housing and care provider in Scotland, Ridley described his passion for performing and the inspiration behind his act. 

The 37-year-old whose cerebral palsy affects his ability to speak is the first comedian to ever win the show, making his phenomenal achievement even more worthy of recognition. 

Employing your own care and support

Employing your own care and support

If you get a personal budget you could employ your own personal assistants (PAs) to support your health and social care needs. 

This can help you live independently and in a way that you choose – your PAs work for you so you decide what you want them to do and when you want them to work. 

This also means that you become an employer, which can be daunting at first as there are lots of things to think about. However there is lots of advice and guidance out there to help and you can do training to help you become a better employer. 

Christina Candey employs a team of PAs and says: 

New free guide puts Fife on the map for disabled visitors

Euans Guide

Euans Guide, a charity website used by disabled people to review, share and discover accessible places to visit, has launched an accessibility guide to Fife.

The guide to one of Scotland's most popular regions features a range of accessible locations, from the home of golf, St Andrews, to Fife's famous sandy beaches and its picturesque fishing villages.

The Fife guide, the third in an Accessible Highlights series, is free and downloadable from It is being promoted with a series of digital postcards showing just how accessible the region is for disabled visitors.

Ashford's helping to create a ‘Forest of Thoughts'

One You shop

The ‘memory tree' initiative to promote awareness of dementia, organised by Ashford and Canterbury Dementia Action Alliance (ACDAA), Ashford Borough Council and the One You shop continues into June.

The hand crafted memory tree can be found within the One You shop in Ashford town centre, which is near to the tank memorial and visitors are invited to write special memories onto printed leaves before attaching them to the tree.

In one of her first engagements as the newly-elected Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Mrs Jessamy Blanford visited the One You shop on Wednesday 23 May to include her special memory.

The Mayor said: 

Roller coaster joy for worthing’s Sam

Alton Towers

A young autistic man from West Sussex who has never been on holiday before because he experiences severe anxiety is celebrating making an overnight trip to Alton Towers.

Sam Motton, aged 25, made the 230-mile to journey alongside two members of staff from Coneyhurst Lodge residential service in Worthing where he lives.

‘It worked out really well,” said Coneyhurst service manager, Elvira Panxha.

“He was amazing. He was really calm and cheerful and took everything in his stride. We helped prepare him for the visit by taking him out on regular short trips to different places and then staying a while to slowly build up his confidence.”

Long Lane Equestrian Centre Gains Accessibility Mark

Accessibility Mark

Long Lane Equestrian Centre, based in Derby has signed up to a national scheme, Accessibility Mark, to encourage more disabled riders to take up horse riding.

Following an appeal by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for more centres to apply for the Accessibility Mark accreditation to help meet demand in the North Midlands area, the centre decided to jump on board. A study by the RDA found that this region has the highest level of unmet demand amongst disabled riders than anywhere else in the UK.

The RDA, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Aergo - Designed to Empower


Aergo is a smarter postural support system for wheelchair users, empowering people to be more independent in their daily lives. The system has a network of air cells that detects pressure changes and adjusts automatically to provide continuous support as the user moves. It is the first device of its kind to give users more control over their own posture with a remote-control and expandable frame that can be tailored to fit a range of body shapes.

Aergo is the brainchild of CEO, Sheana Yu, a London-based design engineer. Having suffered with scoliosis throughout her life, Sheana is on a mission to create inclusive products that empower people with postural needs to be more independent.

Scotland’s First Dementia Friendly Park Opens

Scotland’s First Dementia Friendly Park Opens

Scotland’s first ever Dementia Friendly park is being launched today (5th) in one of Stirling’s best used recreational areas by walking charity, Paths for All.

In a bid to make Stirling’s Kings Park more accessible to everyone, the city space has been transformed to allow those living with dementia to be able to enjoy, and feel safe in, outdoor spaces.

Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, will be there to officially open the park.

A celebration event between 1pm - 3pm was held at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum on Dumbarton Road, to discuss the changes made to the park. 

A tour of the park provided opportunities to learn how better design of outdoor spaces can help improve the quality of life for anyone living with dementia. 

App Launch Aims to Improve Washroom Standards

Cleen App

An innovative new app has been launched which aims to raise washroom standards in businesses and public places across the UK. The Cleen App is free to download and enables customers and visitors to rate the washrooms in any type of venue from restaurants and shopping centres to sports stadia and airports.

With the Cleen App, users can either compliment accessible and clean washrooms or post complaints and issues they have faced such as dirty basins, no soap or toilet paper, access problems for people with disabilities and lack of baby changing facilities.

The reviews are fun and easy to post by clicking different icons and users can even upload photographs to support their review.

WDBS Coaching Zone to be Sponsored by Go Green Energy


World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today announced an innovative new sponsorship deal with independent renewable energy company Go Green Energy for the 2018/19 season.

Beginning with the WDBS Welsh Open in June, each Friday open day staged by WDBS will now incorporate a new ‘Coaching Zone’ at which people with disabilities can receive advice and guidance from a WPBSA World Snooker coach. To be sponsored by Go Green Energy, the designated area will be open not only to regular WDBS players, but also newcomers and local community groups to participate in snooker.

Revolutionary Glove Shortlisted for Award

RAPAEL Smart Glove

The RAPAEL Smart Glove is revolutionising patient rehabilitation thanks to its interactive gaming element, which encourages and motivates its users to keep repeating measured movements.

With its range of games that, using algorithms, adapt to the progression of its users, the RAPAEL Smart Glove brings feeling and movement back to inactive parts of the hand, wrist and forearm.

Not only does the outstanding piece of equipment increase the difficulty of the movements and games with the patient’s progression, it also tracks and records their development.

Chelsea Foundation’s Disability Showcase

Chelsea Foundation

The Chelsea Foundation’s inaugural Disability Showcase proved a huge success with more than 850 young people and adults with varying disabilities visiting Cobham and Stamford Bridge for a weekend of football fun.

The two-day event, which was the largest football disability showcase event in the UK, began at our Cobham Training Ground on Saturday before switching to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

In total, more than 850 participants were involved over the weekend, incorporating eight disability football tournaments with 80 teams from 30 different clubs taking part.