Make the Bristol and Bath Railway Path Accessible for All

Cyclist riding through Bristol and Bath Railway Path Tunnel

As part of their ‘One Path Initiative‘, Sustrans are working local communities and the Councils of Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Council to explore ways in which behaviour on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path (BBRP) could be improved.  

The One Path initiative engages with path users, listen to their concerns, analyse the issues and then work with them to find a solution. Please follow the link below to take part in an online survey to have your say on how you feel the path could be made accessible for all.

Bristol and Bath Railway Path Questionnaire: https://bit.ly/2HPWI1n

For any extra information:

Link to the ‘One Path’ Facebook page

Information on the project: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/onepath

Sign up to the mailing list: http://eepurl.com/gfAoHP

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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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Help raise money for the Forum

piggy bank surrounded by coins

The People’s Health Lottery (PHL) funding is the only grant we have since the Council stopped funding us, and that PHL money only pays for our new peer support project, Making Change Happen. This means we still need to find funding of around £40,000 if we are to keep working to improve the voice, influence and inclusion of all Deaf and Disabled people in the city.   So, we need your support.

That support could be:

  • Doing a sponsored activity.
  • Volunteering with us if you have fundraising experience.
  • Using our websearch and fundraising when you browse or buy online.
  • Making a regular donation to us.


Just £1 pw week from every member would raise between £10,000 and £13,000 a year!

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Update: Annual General Meeting and Open Forum 11 Dec

We are pleased to invite you to our AGM and Open Forum on Tuesday 11 December, 1pm – 4pm at The Foundation, Triodos Bank, BS1 5AS.
We always combine our AGM with an Open Forum on that year’s theme.  This year it is transport and we are delighted to have secured James White, interim Director of Transport at the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).  James has a very thorough knowledge of the local Joint Strategic Transport Plan.  Given the transport difficulties – whether on foot, bike, by car, bus, train or taxi – Disabled people experience, this is a perfect opportunity to tell him what needs to be done to achieve the accessible transport we need.
On a lighter note, we will then launch our new peer support project ‘- with cake and coffee!
This new project, ‘Making Change Happen’, will set up four groups across the most disadvantaged communities in Bristol so that Disabled people can come together and establish what their needs are and how, as a group, they want to address them.  For some groups, it might be an opportunity to socialise; others may swap information and advice; and others may have particular barriers/issues they want to address within their own community.
The first meet-ups are in January so why not come along and find out where and when they will be, take away a few flyers for other Disabled people and older people with impairments that you know, and sign-up to make sure you get regular updates as the project progresses.
BSL interpreters, PA support and refreshments will all be provided.  Unfortunately we can no longer pay transport costs for every member.  However, if you have need for accessible transport, please contact us with more details and we will do our best to help.
It would be great to see you, so do come along!
If you have any questions or to tell us about your access needs, email bristoldef@gmail.com or call 0117 914 0528
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Inaccessible Rail Travel

Since Tanylee Davis gave her account about an upsetting train journey on social media, there have been a flood of news reports on the inaccessibility of rail travel.

A guard insisted that Tanylee move her mobility scooter when a mother with a pushchair then boarded the train.  He then proceeded to inform all passengers via the tannoy that the train was delayed due to the woman with a mobility scooter refusing to move.

Ms Davis, a comedian reported that the confrontation left her feeling humiliated and tearful for the rest of the journey.

GWR later admitted that they’d made an error and that a wheelchair space is for wheelchairs not for luggage or pushchairs.  However Sara Harvey experienced similar problems:  https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/train-company-faces-calls-to-rip-up-scooter-policy-after-latest-shameful-episode/

Speaking about the incident Tanylee has said she just wanted to highlight problems she had been encountering for the last 15 years.  A statement that many of us would whole-heartedly agree with!

There’s many reasons why train travel can be stressful for Disabled people including inaccessible booking, toilets, platforms, lack of ramps, inconsistent support to get on and off trains and at stations.

I relayed a tale where I booked assistance for a journey which worked well at the outgoing station, was absent at a connecting station whilst the final station was unmanned. Many DEF members nodded in agreement and obviously had their own horror stories to tell.  Such inconsistencies mean people can be stranded at stations or miss vital connections.

Leonard Cheshire research says 1 in 3 Disabled people face rail misery and have called for the government to improve accessibility on train journeys and is encouraging the public to sign their petition: https://www.leonardcheshire.org/about-us/latest-news/press-releases/one-three-disabled-people-face-rail-misery

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is calling for legal action against the government over its failure to ensure an accessible rail service.

Transport For All (TfA) campaigns for affordable, reliable and accessible transport as a right:  http://www.transportforall.org.uk/

In Bristol problems can be reported to the Public Transport Group, if you email me I can inform the group.

sarah.howard@brandontrust.org

Tanyalee is a fiesty performer, catch her if you can! https:/tanyaleedavis.com

 

 

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The Right Trousers: developing the tech for robot assisted trousers

BDEF Co-chair, Suaad Walker, recently attended The Right Trousers event at UWE’s Future Space in their Robotics Lab. The event centred on a research project into robotic trousers to help those with impaired mobility.

The location was fully accessible. The event was a showcase/feedback for some of the research that is being collaboratively worked on by several universities: Bristol, UWE, Leeds, Loughborough, Nottingham, Southampton and Strathclyde. Funding is a mix of EU and UK health funding to look at ways of using robotics to improve independent living. This event particularly focused on the use of robotics to overcome restricted mobility in terms of getting out of a chair/walking as well as reducing the problems associated with drop-foot syndrome. Bristol showcased their work with focus groups of elderly and disabled to identify exactly what kind of help is needed in a variety of different scenarios as well as helping the researchers to better understand the experience of impaired mobility. This feedback suggested that assistive trousers would need to be light-weight, cheap, comfortable, and easy to take on and off plus be washable!

Research so far has:

  • Resulted in a specialist 3D printer that combines viscous silicone with a hardener to produce a substance that is textile like and has the potential to act like an artificial muscle when stimulated.
  • Precision motion capture technology that concentrates on joint functionality and has a built in feed-back similar to, but a major improvement, on current ‘health-wristband’ technology.
  • Several different varieties of artificial muscle:
    • A flat plastic, folded like a strip of origami paper that unfolds when electrically stimulated to simulate muscle activity.
    • A flat tube of plastic that fills with air pressure to simulate muscle activity.
    • A sequence of connected plastic beads that fill with air pressure to simulate muscle activity.
    • An ‘activator’ small enough to clip onto a belt that contains enough compressed air for 100 ‘doses’ of ‘muscle activation’.
  • A ‘slim’ sock designed to overcome the problems of foot drop incorporating a further form of artificial muscle.
  • A pair of trousers incorporating many of the above developments.
  • A pair of trousers that can be remotely lowered or raised when activated.
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Tuesday 24th August – Hidden Impairments Access Group

Do you have a long-term health condition but do not ‘look disabled’?  If so, you
are invited to the next meeting of the Hidden Impairments Access Group to discuss our Access Needs and what we are going to do to improve the situation for ourselves and other Disabled people.

Previous topics of conversation have been cycling and Disabled people, how disgusting supermarket floors are to sit on, resting spaces in Bristol and the image of Disabled people.

Tuesday 24th August 2018

3:30pm – 5:30pm

St Pauls Learning Centre, room LT3

You can register your free place by:

Emailing us at bristoldef@gmail.com,

By phoning us on 0117 914 0528

Or book a free place online at https://bit.ly/2vo4aav

Or just turn up on the day!

Please get in touch if you would like to join in via Skype.

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Direct Payments Account – Your Choice

If you get a Direct Payment, Bristol City Council (BCC) is making a change that affects you.

BCC has set up a pre-paid card system – called a Bristol Direct Payments Account.  Until now payment has been to your own bank account which is under your control.  Under the new system BCC will run the account on your behalf using Prepaid Financial Services based in Ireland, and give you a ‘debit card’ to pay for goods and services they agree with.

The main differences are that, if the money is in your own bank account, you have total control and you don’t have to use the internet if you don’t want to.  With your own bank account, BCC have to ask you for the return of any money and you can question their decision if you disagree with it.  However, you do have to keep a record of exactly what you spend your Direct Payment on and all receipts.

With the proposed pre-paid card system you only have to keep your receipts but BCC have direct access and can take money out without your agreement.  Although they are meant to notify you first, this means they can take the money before they respond to any objection you might raise.

It is up to you to decide which system works best for you but we have negotiated with BCC that you do not have to transfer to the new system if you prefer not to and, if you have already been moved, you can request that you go back to the old system.  You have the right to choose which payment method suits you best.

If you are asked to move to a pre-paid card system and don’t want to, make this clear to BCC when they contact you.

If you have already been moved and want to go back to using your own bank account you should call Care Direct on 0117 922 2700 or online at www.bristol.gov.uk/social-care-health/form-contact-adult-care-services

REMEMBER – THE CHOICE IS YOURS

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