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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Survey on UC for Disabled people and people with long term health conditions

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has launched a Universal Credit survey so that they can find out more about the experiences of Disabled people and people with long term health conditions

If you have applied for Universal Credit or tried to apply – the DBC want to hear from you.

You can take the online survey here.

The survey should take up to 20 minutes to complete and the results will be completely anonymous. This means your name will not appear in any reports produced by the DBC.

Please share your experiences with Universal Credit and add your voice thousands of other disabled people and people with long-term health conditions so the DBC can lobby the government and campaign for a fairer benefits system.

If you would like the survey in an alternative format or would like to complete it over the phone please contact the DBC here.

The survey closes end of February 2019.

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Want to Start a Career in Broadcast Journalism?

Breaking into News is an initiative run by Media Trust, in partnership with ITV News to discover diverse new talent and identify top broadcast journalists of the future.

The competition, now in its eighth year, offers aspiring journalists with limited journalism experience from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland the opportunity to create a local news report with support and advice from experienced journalists working in ten of ITV’s regional newsroom

Disabled people are the most under-represented minority group in broadcasting, according to a provisional report by Diamond, a project set up by the major broadcasters to monitor diversity in the industry. This is why, as members of the ITV West Country Diversity Panel, we would like to strongly encourage our members and any other Disabled people who are interested in a career in broadcast journalism to enter ITV’s Breaking into News competition.

Representation matters; we need Disabled people in the media to tell our stories and highlight the issues that we face. The video below is from one of last year’s winners, Steven Portman, reporting on the barriers Disabled people face when looking for employment.

If you have been dreaming of a career in broadcast journalism and you would like to report on the issues that matter to you, apply here by Friday 5 April 2019.

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Bristol City Council Consultations – Libraries, Getting Your Voice Heard and A4018 Improvement Proposals

Libraries:

Have you got ideas or suggestions for your library and its building? Can you help make these ideas happen?

BCC want you to tell them about your ideas or suggestions for your library and its building. They are looking for opportunities for community-led activities and partnerships to create a library service for the future.

Ideas could include extending the service and use of buildings while also looking at the wider needs of the local community. These can be small ideas that could be started quickly, as well as bigger ideas which will make a significant difference to how a library service is provided in the future.

You can submit ideas up until the end of April 2019 at bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas

Getting Your Voice Heard:

Are you interested in becoming part of the Bristol’s Citizen Panel?

The panel has been running for over 20 years but BCC need to add new members! It’s an online Panel where residents of Bristol are asked about their views and opinions on a wide range of issues. You will be asked to complete surveys up to 4 times a year and can leave the Panel at any time you choose.

You can take part at bristol.citizenspace.com/business-change/bristols-citizens-panel

Do you live in Westbury or use the A4018 on a regular basis?

A4018 improvement proposals.

Take part in BCC’s consultation on proposed changes to the A4108 (Also known as Wyck Beck Road, Passage Road, Falcondale Road, and Westbury Road).

The A4018 is one of the most important routes into central Bristol; therefore it can be very congested throughout the day. Proposed developments to the Filton Airfield site will also increase the number of people travelling via the A4018 over the next few years. BCC have proposed several changes to improve current levels of congestion and meet the growing demand on the A4018.

You can give your feedback on these changes by filling in the survey below. If you want to talk to us about the A4018, you can attend a drop-in session on 23 and 27 February or 4 March. Times and revised venues for the drop-in sessions and more information on the proposed changes is available by clicking the link below. 


You can take part at bristol.citizenspace.com/growth-regeneration/a4018-improvements-proposals/


This consultation will close on 17 March 2019

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Disability News Service News 14th Feb

Parents who home educate disabled children ‘scapegoated’ by commissioner

Families forced into home educating their disabled children because of the lack of support from mainstream schools are among parents who are being “scapegoated” by the children’s commissioner, according to a disabled mum and campaigner.

Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, published a report last week that calls for action to address the lack of knowledge about the standard of education and safety of the tens of thousands of children currently being home educated.

Research by Channel 4’s Dispatches, for a documentary presented by Longfield (pictured) last week, found that 22 per cent of children withdrawn from school to be home educated in 2017-18 had special educational needs (SEN).

Read the full article here.

‘Delight’ over breakthrough on Welsh independent living scheme closure

Disabled campaigners have welcomed measures that aim to address concerns over the imminent closure of the Welsh government’s independent living grant scheme.

Julie Morgan, the deputy minister for health and social services, has written to council leaders to ask for an immediate “pause” in the closure programme and its replacement with a system of council-funded support.

There will now be new independent assessments for any former recipients of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) scheme who are unhappy with the new support packages allocated by their local authority.

Read the full article here.

‘Disability Confident’ Arts Council England’s job stats shame

The Arts Council has admitted that only two per cent of its directors – and just three per cent of its managers – are disabled people, despite having achieved “Disability Confident Employer” status under the government’s discredited disability employment scheme.

Arts Council England (ACE) has now become the latest employer to achieve the top two levels of the Disability Confident scheme – including government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions – despite their own troubling records on disability employment.

The figures came in ACE’s fourth annual diversity report , which showed figures for 2017-18.

Read the full article here.

MP speaks of pride at being dyspraxic at launch of Neurodivergent Labour

A disabled MP has spoken of her pride at being able to speak openly about being dyspraxic, after having to hide her diagnosis from employers for years before she entered parliament.

Emma Lewell-Buck (pictured) was previously a social worker but was “acutely aware that if there were any job cuts that would come around, it would be used against me and I would be the first one in the dole queue”.

She said she used to take work home with her at weekends, work late into the evening and start early in the morning because, like many other disabled people, she felt she had to “go the extra mile” and “work that little bit harder to prove yourself or keep up”.

Read full article here.

Launch of Neurodivergent Labour ‘could be milestone in fight for rights and equality’

The launch of a new user-led political organisation is set to be a “landmark event” for neurodivergent people in the Labour party.

After three years of lobbying, discussions and consultation, disabled party members launched Neurodivergent Labour in central London on Saturday.

Janine Booth, co-chair of the TUC disabled workers’ committee, who played a key role in its formation, told the launch event it would be “a milestone in the fight for acceptance, rights and equality for autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and otherwise neurodivergent people through the Labour party”.

Read the full article here.

User-led sector ‘faces threat of extinction’

User-led organisations across the country are continuing to close, with the sector even facing a “real threat of extinction”, leading networks have warned this week.

Those user-led organisations that have found a way to survive are increasingly being side-lined from government consultations and government-funded projects, they said.

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) estimates that about 50 more user-led organisations that were previously NSUN members have been forced to close in the last year.

Read the full article here.

MPs hear of ways to save benefit claimants from harm… or even death

Disabled activists and shadow ministers at a parliamentary meeting have been told of ways they could help to reduce the appalling damage caused by the government’s hated “fitness for work” assessment and other social security cuts and reforms.

Academics, researchers, politicians and campaigners spoke at yesterday’s (Thursday’s) meeting (pictured), which was hosted and organised by Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell as part of a lobby of parliament.

The First Do No Harm lobby focused on the continuing refusal of ministers to ensure that sufficient medical evidence is gathered before decisions are made on claims for out-of-work disability benefits, particularly for people with mental distress.

Read the full article here.

Ministers block release of ‘no deal Brexit’ social care recruitment plans

Ministers are refusing to release information that would show what extra plans – if any – the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has put in place to deal with an adult social care recruitment crisis in the event of a “no deal Brexit”.

With just 43 days until Britain faces the possibility of leaving the European Union without a deal in place, DHSC claimed that “premature” release of the information could put at risk “effective policy formulation and development regarding our exit from the EU”.

Instead of releasing its records, it has pointed to “high level” plans published just before Christmas, but they suggest that ministers have no plans in place to deal with an adult social care recruitment crisis.

Read the full article here.

Tory conference police force admits sharing information on protesters with DWP

Disabled activists have demanded an inquiry after a police force that has patrolled four Conservative party conferences since 2010 admitted sharing information about protesters with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has now become the second police force to admit sharing information about people taking part in protests with DWP, following a similar admission by Lancashire police.

But GMP has also admitted having a “sharing agreement” with DWP, even though the department explicitly stated two months ago that it had no such arrangements with any police force.

Read the full article here.

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Introducing the Bristol Sight Loss Council

Sight Loss Council Logo
Sight Loss Council Logo

Are You Interested in Improving the Lives of Blind and Partially Sighted People in Bristol?

The Thomas Pocklington Trust are launching the brand-new Bristol Sight Loss Council following the success of other Sight Loss Councils across the country.  

What is a Sight Loss Council?


Sight Loss Councils are made up of volunteers who themselves are blind or partially sighted. Members work to tackle local issues, working with public, private and voluntary organisations to improve and support their services and make them more accessible.


The Trust believe blind and partially sighted people are best suited to work with organisations to enable them to better understand the needs and improve the lives of people with sight loss.

Bristol Sight Loss Council Launch Event

The Trust are holding an event to launch the Sight Loss Council in Bristol on Thursday 28th March 2019 from 11.00 am till 2.00 pm (lunch is included). The venue is The Southville Centre, Beauley Road, Bristol, BS3 1QG

Are you the kind of person the Bristol Sight Loss Council is looking for?

The BSLC need people who have:

• An interest in the issues that affect people with sight loss
• A desire to advocate about issues of common concern
• Excellent communication skills
• A track record of being reliable, punctual and committed
• The ability to work independently and as part of a team
• Over 18 years old 

Find out More!

For more information or to book a place at the event please contact:


Alun Davies
Engagement Manager

Telephone no: 07779 169019

Email: alun.davies@pocklington-trust.org.uk
Website: www.sightlosscouncil.org.uk

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News from Disability News Service 7th Feb

DPO welcomes ‘ground-breaking partnership’ with elected mayor

A ground-breaking new partnership between disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and Greater Manchester’s elected mayor could become a “template” for future work with local authorities across the region, according to one leading DPO.

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) said this week that it believed that Greater Manchester was the first combined authority in the country to establish a formal partnership between DPOs and the elected mayor.

The authority, led by Labour’s Andy Burnham, is now set to approve funding this month which will ensure that the lead of a new disabled people’s panel will be a paid position.

Read the full article here.

New charter aims to put dignity and respect at heart of local services

Disabled campaigners have launched a new charter that aims to persuade organisations – and individuals – in their local area to treat people with dignity and respect.

Ken and Tracy McClymont have spent four years working on the Dudley Dignity Charter, which lists 10 key principles for how people should be treated, focusing on areas such as communication, privacy, choice, control, advocacy and fairness.

The McClymonts, both key figures in Dudley Centre for Inclusive Living (Dudley CIL), have worked on the charter with another local disabled people’s organisation, Disability In Action, with support from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Healthwatch Dudley.

Read the full article here.

‘Ill thought out’ bill needs stronger safeguards, minister told after meeting

The government must introduce “stronger and more effective safeguards” to protect the rights of service-users who face having their freedom restricted by health and care providers, disabled campaigners have told a minister.

Inclusion London wrote to care minister Caroline Dinenage yesterday (Wednesday) about the government’s mental capacity (amendment) bill, which is currently awaiting its Commons report stage.

The letter followed a meeting between Dinenage and representatives of Inclusion London and People First (Self Advocacy) this week, and an open letter to Inclusion London published by the minister last week.

Read the full article here.

Newton forced to apologise after misleading MPs in WOW debate

The minister for disabled people has been forced to apologise to MPs after Disability News Service (DNS) caught her misleading MPs about support for disabled people for the fourth time in less than a year.

The misleading comments by Sarah Newton about disability poverty came in December when she was responding to a House of Commons debate on the impact of eight years of cuts to disability support.

But it was only on Tuesday this week, four days after DNS had drawn the attention of her press officers to her misleading comments, that she sent a letter apologising to MPs.

Read the full article here.

‘Shocking’ PIP death figures ‘show assessment process is unfit for purpose’

About 1,600 working-age disabled people are dying every year after having their claim for disability benefits rejected, the government has been forced to admit.

The Department for Work and Pensions figures (DWP) reveal that 7,990 disabled people who lodged a claim for person independence payment (PIP) in the five years after the new benefit was launched in April 2013 had died within six months of registering their claim, while also having that claim rejected.

These figures mean that more than 130 working-age disabled people a month have been found ineligible for PIP following an initial assessment by government contractors Atos and Capita but were still so unwell that they died soon afterwards*.

Read the full article here.

Inquiry call after ‘fitness for work’ firm ‘admits it has no safeguarding policy’

The government’s “fitness for work” contractor appears to have no written policy on how to protect the safety of people claiming out-of-work disability benefits, despite years of evidence linking the assessment with deaths and serious harm.

Only last week, it emerged that ministers have omitted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) from a new cross-government plan aimed at reducing suicides, despite ever-mounting evidence linking such deaths with the work capability assessment (WCA) and social security reforms.

Now a senior executive from Maximus appears to have admitted to a disabled campaigner that the company does not have a safeguarding policy, nearly four years after taking on the WCA contract, although it claims it is in the process of creating one.

Read the full article here.

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Help DPAC’s Research on Social Care

Following on from the Independent Living Strategy Group (ILSG) report* into charging for social care, DPAC would like to find out more about how these charges are affecting people. These charges are sometimes called a ‘personal contribution.’


If this affects you, there is an online survey at:  
https://dpac.uk.net/2019/01/please-help-our-research-on-social-care/

* You do not need to give your name, or address, unless you want to be contacted. *
If you would like to complete the survey in a different way, or want more information please get in touch.

If you would also be happy to speak to the journalist Frances Ryan, could you also email DPAC at: 
mail@dpac.uk.net 

DPAC are also looking for someone who is willing to be in a video about: 

  • The negative impact charging has on getting the care and support they need,
  • Being left in debt by these charges.

The video would be for a separate campaign. If you are interested in being filmed for a video, please contact DPAC: mail@dpac.uk.net 

* The report about charges for social care can be downloaded at: 
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Chargingsurveyreport-18Nov2018.pdf

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