Making Change Happen on the Babbers Show

Mike Steel and Suaad Walker from the Bristol Disability Equality Forum appeared on the Babbers Show earlier this month to talk about our peer support project, Making Change Happen.

Mike and Suaad sat in the Ujima radio studio

For the past few months, The Forum have been going out into different areas of Bristol to get  Disabled and older residents together to talk about some of the issues going on in their area. The idea is to create a friendly and relaxed environment in which people who feel isolated and left out can talk about the barriers they face, share information and work together to make change happen in their area of Bristol.

You can find out more about the project by listening to the show here: https://bit.ly/2C2Ruu8 (Suaad and Mike are on from around 58:15).

We have some meetups coming up this month in Central and North Bristol:

Central and West Bristol

Wednesday 27th March

10.30 am till 12. 30pm

The Watershed Café, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5TX

North Bristol

Thursday 28th March

11.30 am till 1.30pm

Henbury & Brentry Community Centre, Machin Road, Bristol BS10 7HG

All groups are free to attend. Just drop by, or for more information please get in touch:

E-mail:            mike.bristoldef@gmail.com

Tel:           0117 914 0528        

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Adult social care “at breaking point” say charities and organisations

Stacks of pound coins

Age UK, Care England and Alzheimer’s Society are among the 15 organisations urging the Government to invest in adult social care services.

The joint letter warns that “adult social care is at breaking point” and that increases in costs and decreases in funding has meant that it has become more and more difficult to offer people the high quality care they need to be independent and live the lives they want to lead.

The letter points out that adult social care services face a funding gap of £3.6 billion by 2025 and it has now been two years since the Government recognised the need to find a long term, sustainable solution for adult social care. The organisations that have signed the letter are uniting to ask the Goverment to consider this funding crisis in its upcoming adult social care green paper and Spending Review and to “urgently invest in these essential services”.

The letter was signed by the following organisations:

Local Government Association
Age UK
Alzheimer’s Society
Association of Directors of Adult Social Care
Association of Directors of Public Health
Care and Support Alliance
Care England
Care Provider Alliance
Carers UK
Independent Age
NHS Confederation
NHS Providers
Sense
Solace
Voluntary Organisations Disability Group

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Disability News Service news 21 March 2019

Disabled people ‘must keep fighting for their right to travel on public transport’

Disabled people must keep fighting for their right to travel on public transport, and should “challenge the status quo”, an accessible transport campaigner has told a conference.

Alan Benson, chair of the user-led, pan-London organisation Transport for All, told Transport for London’s Access All Areas conference that the pace of access improvements to the capital’s public transport system had slowed since the “watershed” of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Benson (pictured, centre), a wheelchair-user, said that in the last week he had missed a train because of slow assistance from rail staff, missed buses because the wheelchair spaces were full, and had been stuck at Bank tube station because the lift broke.

Read the full article here.

Disabled young people have been cheated by support reforms, MPs hear

Disabled young people have told MPs how they have been “cheated” by the government’s new system for supporting pupils and students through school and college.

MPs on the Commons education committee heard how disabled pupils were being denied a voice in drawing up their education, health and care plans (EHCPs), and how they were not receiving what had been promised in those plans.

The committee also heard that EHCPs were too focused on education, rather than being “life focused”.

Read the full article here.

Domestic violence services even worse 10 years on, says report

Regressive government policies have disproportionately affected the ability of disabled women who have experienced violence and abuse to access the services they need, according to a new report.

Shaping Our Lives (SOL), which has written the report, says some services have been discriminating against disabled women under the Equality Act because of a lack of knowledge and training, and a “pitiful” lack of accessible buildings.

It says that these failures are a clear breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Read the full article here.

Still no replacement for Newton, seven days after resignation

The government has given no indication of when – or even if – it intends to appoint a replacement for the minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, who resigned last week over Brexit.

Nearly a week after Newton’s resignation, no replacement has been announced.

A spokesperson for Number 10 said yesterday (Wednesday): “As soon as there is one, we would announce it in the usual way.

“I haven’t got any guidance on when that appointment will be.”

Read the full article here.

Autistic campaigners to protest outside charity over regime of care home abuse

Autistic campaigners are to protest outside the headquarters of a national autism charity next week to highlight what they say is its abhorrent failure to act on a regime of abuse that took place at one of its care homes.

The protest in London on 29 March by two autistic-led organisations – Autistic Inclusive Meets and Autistic UK – will highlight the lack of justice for those abused at Mendip House, in Highbridge, Somerset.

Official reports show the National Autistic Society (NAS) failed to share the results of internal investigations into Mendip House with Somerset County Council or the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Read the full article here.

CQC admits one in five social care services have not been inspected in two years

Nearly 5,000 adult social care services – nearly one in five – have not had an inspection by the care regulator in the last two years, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) have revealed.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) figures have raised fresh doubts as to whether the regulator is fit for purpose, while Labour’s shadow social care minister has said they are “highly concerning”.

The figures were released to Disability News Service days after the latest revelations concerning a care home run by the National Autistic Society, where autistic people were taunted, abused and ill-treated by staff.

Mendip House, in Somerset, had itself not been inspected by CQC for more than two years when whistleblowers came forward and exposed the abusive regime in 2016.

Read the full article here.

Jodey Whiting petition: DWP ‘has blood on its hands’, says Green party

Labour and the Green party have backed a petition that calls for an independent inquiry into deaths linked to the failings of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and an investigation into potential criminal misconduct by ministers and civil servants.

The Green party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, himself the father of a disabled son, said this week that DWP had “blood on its hands”.

Less than a week after the launch of the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition* last Friday (15 March), more than 6,000 people have already signed it.

Read the full article here.

Jodey Whiting petition: Seventh family demands justice over DWP benefit deaths

The disabled daughter of a woman who took her own life after losing her disability benefits has explained why she believes ministers and senior civil servants should face prosecution for the deaths they have caused.

Hayley Storrow-Servranckx spoke out this week to back a new parliamentary petition that calls for an inquiry into deaths linked to the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and for that inquiry to pass any evidence of criminal misconduct by ministers and civil servants to the police.

The petition – Justice for Jodey Whiting. Independent inquiry into deaths linked to the DWP* – brands DWP “institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose” and demands urgent action to make the safety of all benefit claimants a priority.

Read the full article here.

DWP’s latest confession on safety: ‘We keep no record of complaints linked to deaths’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is facing fresh allegations of negligence – potentially criminal – after admitting that it keeps no records of how many of the complaints it receives involve the death of a claimant of disability benefits.

The admission came in response to a freedom of information request from Disability News Service (DNS), which arrived just 24 hours before the launch of a new parliamentary petition* calling for an independent inquiry into deaths linked to DWP failings.

It adds to mounting evidence that DWP is institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose and will fuel calls for urgent changes to its policies and administration of benefits to ensure it makes the safety of all claimants a priority, as demanded by the petition.

Read the full article here.

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Justice for Jody Whiting petition

Jody Whiting took her own life in 2017 when her disability benefit payments were stopped because she missed a capability assessments. An independent inquiry into her death found that the DWP failed 5 times to follow their own safeguarding rules in the weeks leading up to her suicide.

A petition has been launched which calls for:

1. An independent inquiry to investigate DWP failings in relation to these deaths, including whether there has been misconduct by civil servants or Ministers. 

2. Any evidence of misconduct contributing to serious harm or deaths to be turned over to the police. 

3. Recognition that DWP is institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose. 

4. DWP to urgently change its policies and administration of social security benefits to make the safety of all claimants a priority.

So far, the petition has been signed by nearly 18,000 people. At 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in parliament. You can sign the petition here.

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70% of benefit appeals find in favour of claimants, figures show

More than two-thirds of people who faced being denied social security benefits were found to be entitled to that support, prompting calls by the SNP for a fresh review of the DWP assessment and appeals process.

Official government figures show that 70% of people who faced the possibility of losing their entitlement, and took this decision to hearing, had their cases overturned.

Social Security and Child Support appeal disposals totaled 51,256 in the quarter up to December 2018 and 41,171 (80 per cent) were cleared at hearing. Of those cases cleared at hearing, 70 per cent were found in favour of the claimant (up from 65 per cent on the same period in 2017).

Read the full article here.

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Do you want to have more say in health research?

Involvement opportunity – CAPC Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPI&E) members needed in Bristol

Primary Care is healthcare in the community – everything from GPs to Pharmacists, Optometrists to Dentists. The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) aim to gather evidence to help decide what will make primary care better for everyone.

Since their goal is improving care for everyone, it’s best that everyone is involved.


How to get involved

You can get involved in the research in a number of ways:

  • help select research that is important and relevant
  • help researchers design their projects
  • help develop understandable information sheets for people taking part in research
  • join a research management or advisory group
  • help interpret the results of the research
  • help make sure the research is reported in understandable ways
  • help make sure good research is heard about.

Who: 

People with an interest in healthcare research, public involvement in research. CAPC are looking for people who are passionate about involving patients, carers and the public in primary care research (the first port of call in the healthcare system – for most people a GP).

Experience of a similar role is not needed and any necessary training will be given.

Where: 

Meetings are held either at CAPC (local travel is reimbursed) or somewhere which is convenient for you.

Payment:

CAPC PPI&E contributors are paid £15-20 per hour depending on the tasks required, plus £15 for pre-meeting preparation or paperwork between meetings.

More info: 

Please contact the CAPC PPI&E coordinators, Victoria Wilson and Julie Clayton capc-ppi@bristol.ac.uk 0117 331 4555 University of Bristol, Centre for Academic Primary Care, Canynge Hall, Whatley Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2PS

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Making Change Happen March 2019 drop-in dates

Making Change Happen logo with coffee cups

Making Change Happen is our new peer support project run by and for Disabled and older residents in Bristol. The project will set up four new groups across Bristol and each group will meet once a month. The aim is to spread the four monthly meet-ups so that, in one area or another, there is a meet up almost every week. 

The groups are open to Disabled people, older people and people living with mental distress or physical health difficulties. People who are isolated or feel left out are especially welcome . We hope the groups will give people a chance to meet and talk about the issues that affect them and how they can work together to make change happen in their area of Bristol.

Please join us at one of our meet ups this March:

South Bristol

Friday 22nd March

10.30 am till 12. 30pm

The Café, Gatehouse Centre, Hareclive Road, Bristol BS13 9JN

Central and West Bristol

Wednesday 27th March

10.30 am till 12. 30pm

The Watershed Café, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5TX

North Bristol

Thursday 28th March

11.30 am till 1.30pm

Henbury & Brentry Community Centre, Machin Road, Bristol BS10 7HG

The project is funded by The People’s Health Trust Active Communities Programme and all groups are free to attend. Just drop by, or for more information please contact us:

E-mail:            mike.bristoldef@gmail.com

Tel:           0117 914 0528        

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New Rough Guide to Accessible Britain

Packed with over 180 reviews of accessible and inspiring days out, there’s something for everyone in theRough Guide to Accessible Britain. The Guide aims to inspire and support people with diverse needs in enjoying the best of Britain’s attractions – whatever their disability.

The perfect tool for Motability Scheme customers wanting to explore the UK, the revamped Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is free to download or view online.

Now in its 10th year, the Guide is an ideal planning tool for anyone with access needs and now also includes information for visitors with more hidden conditions such as autism or mental illness. Every venue in the Guide is reviewed by Rough Guides’ team of writers, who either have a disability themselves or visited the venue with disabled friend or family member.

The Guide provides clear and helpful advice to highlight the very best inclusive and accessible days out for people of all abilities, from museums and art galleries, to wildlife parks and gardens.

View the Guide online.

Download your free Guide.

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The EnAble Fund for Elected Office

Following a campaign by the cross-party group More United , the EnAble Fund for Elected Office was launched on 3rd December 2018, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The Fund is provided by the Government Equalities Office and is administered by Disability Rights UK. It is intended to cover the additional financial costs associated with a disability, that would otherwise prevent someone from seeking elected office.

To apply for the Fund you must have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

You must also have a genuine intention to seek elected office, for an election that takes place during the timescale of the fund. These will include Local Government Elections in May 2109 and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in May 2020.

You can find out more about the Fund here.

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Disability News Service News 21st Feb

Long-awaited Newton meeting confirms confusion over DPO engagement

Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) have raised ongoing concerns about the government’s failure to comply with basic principles of the UN disability convention at a long-awaited meeting with the minister for disabled people.

Representatives of six of the UK’s leading DPOs met with minister for disabled people Sarah Newton and senior civil servants last week to discuss the government’s track record on engaging with disabled people and their user-led organisations.

It was the first time that Newton (pictured) had met with the group of DPOs – members of the UK CRPD Monitoring Coalition of Disabled People’s Organisations – since she took up her post in late 2017.

Read the full article here.

Council told to improve disability equality training after councillor’s ‘ignorant’ attacknull

A disabled politician has described the equality training given to fellow councillors as “a joke” after a Liberal Democrat rival was forced to apologise for posting a message on social media that accused him of using his impairment for political purposes.

The comments by Lib Dem Joe Naitta were targeted last June at fellow Derby city councillor Amo Raju, who is a Labour party member and also chief executive of the user-led organisation Disability Direct.

Naitta said in a Facebook post to his supporters: “This one uses his disability, get rid of labour in Blagreaves ward.”

Read the full article here.

Disabled residents play ground-breaking co-production role in major development

Disabled people have played a “ground-breaking” role in co-producing a major new redevelopment scheme.

The role played by disabled people in the planning application to redevelop Hammersmith town hall and the surrounding area in London is the first major product of a pioneering agreement to embed a genuine culture of co-production within Hammersmith and Fulham council.

A report last year by the Hammersmith and Fulham Disabled People’s Commission (pictured, the report’s launch) was accepted in full by the council and hailed as a blueprint for disabled people’s organisations across the country to push for change from their own local authorities.

Read the full article here.

Watchdogs’ comments boost hopes for rail access improvements

Powerful warnings from two watchdogs about the barriers faced by disabled passengers have been welcomed as a “wonderful step in re-instating access to rail for all” by a leading accessible transport expert.

One of the two watchdogs, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), warned the government and train operating companies that two major elements of the rail system could be discriminating against disabled passengers.

In a letter to MPs on the Commons transport select committee, EHRC chair David Isaac says the commission is concerned about the impact of “ongoing transport policies”, particularly the move towards running more trains without a member of customer services staff on board – driver-only operated (DOO) trains – and an increase in unstaffed stations.

Read the full article here.

Call for urgent probe into police passing DWP information about protesters

There are growing concerns and calls for an urgent investigation into admissions by two police forces that they have shared information about protesters with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Both Lancashire and Greater Manchester police forces have now admitted passing on information to DWP about people taking part in protests.

The admissions originally came following claims reported by Disability News Service (DNS) that police forces had been targeting disabled people taking part in peaceful anti-fracking protests across England.

Read the full article here.

DWP ‘refused reasonable adjustments for community recruits’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) repeatedly failed to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people who were recruited to build bridges between jobcentres and the local community, it has been claimed.

But the department also appears to be set to discard all the disabled people they recruited from outside the Civil Service when their fixed-term contracts end.

It is feared that none of the scores of Community Partners taken on by DWP to build relationships between jobcentres and local organisations will secure permanent roles when their contracts end at the end of next month.

Read the full article here.

Jodey Whiting: DWP continued to phone woman who took her own life, inquiry finds

he Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) continued to phone and write to a disabled woman who had taken her own life after having her benefits stopped, an independent investigation has found.

The report by the Independent Case Examiner (ICE), Joanna Wallace, concluded that the DWP has no system that immediately alerts all the relevant staff that a claimant of employment and support allowance (ESA) has died.

Because of that failure, DWP continued to phone mum-of-nine Jodey Whiting, and leave voice messages for her, and also wrote to her, after she had taken her own life in February 2017.

Read the full article here.

Jodey Whiting: DWP ignored five ‘safeguarding’ chances before WCA suicide

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed five times to follow its own safeguarding rules in the weeks leading up to the suicide of a disabled woman with a long history of mental distress, an independent investigation has found.

The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) concluded that DWP was guilty of “multiple” and “significant” failings in handling the case of mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting (pictured), who had her out-of-work disability benefits stopped for missing a work capability assessment (WCA), and took her own life just 15 days later.

The report is the latest evidence of the institutional failure of DWP to guarantee the safety of disabled people – and particularly those with a history of mental distress – within the “fitness for work” system.

Read the full article here.

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