Disability History Month runs from 22 November to 22 December and this year the focus is Disability and Music.
To celebrate, The Forum invites you to join us at the M Shed on 24 November.
12.15 Welcome and Introduction to the day
12.30 Raquel Messenguer
12.35 Beth Richards
13.05 Electric Storm Ensemble
13.35 Break for people to buy a drink or food in the café. There will also be a playlist of Disabled people’s music throughout the break.
14.05 Welcome back
14.10 Interview with Barrington Chambers about his experiences as a Disabled musician
15.05 Speaker and performance by Mind Your Music
15.45 Final words
16.00 Event Ends
Information about the performers and speakers.
Raquel Messenguer – Raquel is a local arts activist who will be talking about her work to encourage venues to be accessible to people who can’t sit or stand in the same position for long periods of time by enabling them to lie down.
Beth Richards – Beth is a researcher at the University of Bristol and active member of The Misfits, a local theatre and spoken word group of and for people with Learning Difficulties.
Electric Storm Ensemble – The Electric Storm Ensemble is a group of Disabled musicians supported by Drake Music. They are an inclusive band of musicians based in Bristol who play and write music together and perform live at venues around the city.
Barrington Chambers – Barrington is a local musician who plays in the Bristol Reggae Orchestra and has been involved in a number of other groups over the years.
Symbiosis – Symbiosis is an emerging local band of Disabled singers, song-writers and instrumentalists who will be performing acoustic music.
Mind Your Music – Mind Your Music is an inclusive music project aimed at enhancing the mental health of survivors of mental health difficulties and those in recovery from alcohol/drug addiction.
Please note: BSL interpreters will be available. For more information, or if you would like to discuss your access needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 914 0528
It’s that time of year again when we are planning our Annual General Meeting (AGM). Before our AGM we need members to stand as an Advisor in our next elections. Advisors are the people members elect to our management committee (now called a trustee board). Sadly, we have lots of spare places as a number of Advisors experienced poor health and/or worsened impairments over the past year.
This year we have the following vacancies:
East Bristol: 1 Advisor post
Central and West Bristol: 1 Advisor post
City Wide: 2 Advisor posts
Organisations FOR Disabled People: 2 posts
Organisation OF Disabled People: 4 posts
This is an exciting time to become an Advisor as we are moving into a new phase with lots of opportunity to re-think what we do and develop new work. While we welcome applications from all, we are particularly keen to recruit people with experience in:
- Business Development
So, if you identify as a Disabled person and are interested in becoming a Forum Advisor, please take the time to read through the nomination paperwork below and send us your nominations via post or email. We look forward to receiving them by 1pm on 27 October.
If you have any questions about becoming an Advisor or require any of the paperwork in a different format, please contact the office on 0117 914 0528 or email email@example.com
Advisor Role descriptions:
We are looking for nominations for the Rowen Jade Award 2018.
This award is given annually to a Disabled person who lives in or near Bristol who has campaigned for the rights of Disabled people, or who has, by example, shown how Disabled people can play an active role in society.
Rowen Jade died in September 2010. She was a Disabled woman who worked tirelessly with and for Disabled people nationally and here in Bristol. Rowen was also a Forum Advisor, so we created this annual award in her memory.
The memorial bowl, engraved with the name of each year’s winner, will be presented at our AGM later this year.
Could it be you or someone you know this year?
To nominate someone for this award, please contact the Forum with the name of your nominee, a seconder and some information on what the person being nominated has done.
tel: 0117 914 0528
address: Bristol Disability Equality Forum, St Pauls Learning and Family Centre, 94 Grosvenor Road, Bristol BS2 8XJ
Nominations must reach the Forum by: Thursday 8 November
There are criteria for the award which we can send, on request.
We look forward to receiving your nominations!
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.
Tanyalee is a fiesty performer, catch her if you can! https:/tanyaleedavis.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org,
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.
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
Last week I heard Tanni Grey-Thompson talking about access for Disabled people at airports. Those airport stairs are steep and hard work for lots of people never mind those who can’t walk. She commented that ‘lots of people seemed to be using the special assistance service’ now who ‘didn’t really need it’, to effectively queue jump. I waited for a twitter outrage – there was none. Does everyone think that people are pretending to be Disabled to queue jump? I wondered does she just mean that lots of people with hidden impairments, who are failing to wear a placard around their necks, are daring to identify as Disabled people and benefit from the services put there to support them? I imagined her being refused access to special assistance on the basis that she is an Olympic athlete. She looks like she has got strong arms and could shimmy up those handrails no problem.
The first time I flew after becoming a Disabled person it never occurred to me to use special assistance as I could actually walk, although I did still use a wheelchair sometimes I knew that once I got to where I was going I could pace myself, rest plenty and not get too tired. I learnt within about 5 minutes of the departure gate being announced that the airport was too big. I couldn’t walk that fast, the effort to do so made me cry with exhaustion and to make matters worse when I got to the gate there was a long queue. I sat on the floor and waited for it to go down.
A year later in Rome, having got to Italy without any problem, the special assistance people looked at me, checked my ticket and refused to help. They went back to playing pushing each other round in the airport wheelchairs that I wasn’t allowed to sit in, taking pictures of each other and having a laugh. I tried to insist that I was a Disabled person (they were certainly making me feel it) but they carried on messing about.
Whenever I have been in the special assistance area of an airport the passengers are a mixed bunch, mainly older people with a few like me looking fine, but waiting for help none the less. I am relieved that I don’t have to describe what is wrong with me to get their help. It means that I can still go places and pollute the atmosphere with a trip to Poland every year like anyone else!
I think that Mrs Grey-Thompson should think about what she is saying. She went on in the interview to talk about the needs of wheelchair users as if ‘Disabled people’ and ‘wheelchair users’ are one and the same. I always had a big question mark about Disabled Olympians as role models for the rest of us. The way impairments are characterized in the different ability classes is highly offensive to me. I think she would grade anyone like me in the ‘not Disabled’ class. Bah. I just won’t ask a fit looking wheelchair user for help either and I am not going back to Rome airport ever again.
Bristol Disability Equality Forum comment:
The author of this article raises an important issue regarding the difficulties some people with hidden impairments can experience – and her own experience, described here, is clear evidence of that.
We also know she is far from alone – many of the members of our Hidden Impairments’ Group have experienced discrimination, by both Disabled and not-yet Disabled people, because their impairment[s] is not visible.
As she says, she doesn’t know whether Tanni Grey-Thompson’s views were based on who “looked disabled” or upon more reliable data. However, there is no doubt that Disabled people who have ‘invisible’ impairments are the majority – yet most of the population still doesn’t appreciate this fact.
So, if you are due to fly, will need assistance and don’t want to have a similar experience to the one described here, make sure you book the assistance you need in advance.