“Then Barbara Met Alan” – New BBC Drama on Disability History Airing Tonight on BBC 2!

Then Barbara Met Alan” is a one-off television drama that is to be shown on Monday 21st March at 9pm on BBC 2

The programme will tell the true life story of Barbara Lisicki (the UK’s first Disabled female comic) and Alan Holdsworth (also known as musician Johnny Crescendo), two rebellious, punk-inspired performers on the 1980s cabaret scene who met, fell in love and changed the course of civil rights history.

The couple were the force behind the Disabled people’s Direct Action Network (DAN), which successfully got the Conservative government to pass the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995, the abolition of the ITV Telethon, and greater accessibility on public transport.

Written by Jack Thorne (Help, National Treasure) and actress and writer Genevieve Barr, the drama stars Ruth Madeley and newcomer Arthur Hughes as Barbara and Alan, whose brave and well-orchestrated protests pushed Disabled rights into the spotlight. The show will also feature Alan and Barbara themselves,

You can find out more and watch the programme, live or catch up on-demand, on the BBC 2 website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015p4q

You can also read an article on the show from The Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/mar/11/then-barbara-met-alan-lets-storm-parliament-the-punks-who-risked-their-lives-to-fix-ableist-britain.

ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH? Accessible Live Comedy at North St Standard, Bedminster

Graphic: Brown square shaped graphic with white text and four photographs of each of teh comedians - one photo in each corner of square.

We’ve been asked by Dani Johns, a Bristol comedienne, to promote her new comedy night, which she believes is one of the only fully wheelchair accessible comedy gigs in Bristol.

ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH?” is taking place Sunday 10th April from 7.30pm at North St Standard, Bedminster,  The gig will feature comedy from Dani, Louise Leigh, McClaine Beirne and Andrew White

Here is some information on each of the acts:

Dani Johns

The show’s resident MC is born and bred Bristolian Dani.  Described as a “smart, clever pocket rocket of a comedian” whose “sassy delivery captivates every audience member”. Dani is an instantly likeable act with an impressive and increasing list of accolades (BBC New Comedy Award, Funny Women Stage Award, Bath Comedy Festival New Act Competition, Komedia Bath New Act of the Year Award).

Louise Leigh

Award-nominated comedian, Louise brings daftness, deftness and a lot of laughs to stories of midlife, motherhood and middle-class habits.  Russell Kane thinks she’s “hilarious” and you will too. “****A sparky performer, able to energise a room” (The Wee Review).

McClaine Beirne

McClaine has been described as one of the most exciting new comics on the circuit, with a “unique voice and surprising comedic twist”.  On stage, he likes to share his weird thoughts and embarrassing stories, as well as sharing the odd joke or two.

Andrew White (Headliner)

Andrew is a comedian that is not to be missed.  From charity shop rants to stories about growing up gay in rural Salisbury, Andrew has made a reputation for himself with his sharp writing and “rampantly engaging” (The List) performances at some of the country’s top comedy clubs, festivals, and corporate events.

“One of the most talked-about rising star comedians.” Essex Magazine.

“Absolutely brilliant…took the stage by storm,” Wiltshire Live.

“Andrew White’s comedy act is not to be missed!” Daily Record.

Tickets are £7 and doors open at 6pm on the nightYou can book your ticket here: https://www.headfirstbristol.co.uk/#date=2022-04-10&event_id=72628.

North St Standard is an inclusive venue and have excellent wheelchair access.  The main entrance, bar area, performance area (for both acts and audience) and toilets are all wheelchair accessible.

If you have any specific accessibility requirements or questions, please feel free to contact them by telephone: 01179 639223 or email: info@northststandard.co.uk.

Mental Health Support for Deaf People

Logos for SignHealth and the NHS side by side. SignHealth logo is pink and blue text that reads 'The Deaf Health Chariy SignHealth'. NHS logo is white text on a blue rectangle with the text reading 'NHS' which stands for National Health Service. Both logos on a white background.

NHS England has awarded SignHealth a ground-breaking national contract to provide therapy in BSL!

This NHS contract removes a major barrier to vital mental health support for Deaf people.

Previously, therapy in sign language was often difficult to access through the NHS in England.  Each time a Deaf person was referred for therapy in BSL, it had to be approved for funding first.  Unlike hearing people, who can get an immediate referral for therapy from their GP.  This was unequal treatment and made it more difficult for Deaf people to access vital mental health support.

This new NHS contract automatically funds NHS referrals for Deaf people in England to access therapy in British Sign Language (BSL).

SignHealth has provided a therapy service in British Sign Language (BSL) for over ten years.  They are incredibly proud to have been awarded a national NHS contract to deliver their services.  They will now be able to reach many more Deaf people and support them with managing their mental health.

This is the first time NHS England has awarded a national contract to a Deaf specialist service.  It is a huge step forward for the Deaf community.

Find out more about this news and SignHealth on their website: https://signhealth.org.uk/.

Bristol’s new Disability Equality Commission is now up and running!

All the Commission members have been appointed, met each other and had their first official meeting.

The Bristol Disability Equality Commission is independent of the Mayor but supported by him.  It is there to complement the work of the Disabled people-led organisations in the city.

It has been set up to bring Disabled people and their organisations together to:

a. offer a more co-ordinated approach to delivering disability equality across the city,

b. ensure that Disabled people have equality of opportunity and treatment, whatever their impairment and background, and

c. work to ensure the barriers preventing them achieving this are removed.

It has 11 commissioners and a chairperson.  The commissioners are representatives from organisations run by Disabled people and Disabled individuals.  All representatives of organisations must identify as a Disabled person.

One of these commissioners is Laura, the Forum Manager.  When asked how she felt about this new role, Laura said:

“I’m very pleased that the Forum and other organisations run by Disabled people are on the Commission. 

It’s also good to see that there are both individual commissioners who are involved in a number of Disabled people’s organisations and others who have not been involved in the Disabled people’s movement before.

It will take time for us to find out how best to work together and explore how effective it is able to be, but all the Commissioners have a friendly, positive attitude which is a very good start. 

Disability discrimination and injustice touches every aspect of a Disabled person’s life and we must work together if we are change this.”

So, it is now a matter of seeing how well statutory and private sector leaders listen. 

The commissioners

Organisations of Disabled people:

Bristol Disability Equality Forum (BDEF),

Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL),

Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, and

West of England Centre for Inclusive Living (WECIL).

Individual members:

Beth Richards,

Gordon Richardson (Co-Chair of Trustees at BDEF),

Leah Martindale,

Lynn Parfitt, 

Marie Mighty,

Megan Belcher, and

Phil Gingell.

Virtual BSL Interpreted Tour from The M Shed of Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Logo of The M Shed - black text on a white background that reads 'M shed'. The 'm' is made up of a quotation that tells the story of the museum.

The M Shed in Bristol is hosting an online tour of their annual wildlife photo exhibition on 31 March from 7pm to 8pm.

The tour will be given by Roz Kidman Cox, Chair of the Jury who judged the photographic competition, is a free event and will be BSL interpreted.

For more information on the event and to book tickets to attend the free virtual tour (to be broadcasted via Zoom), go to: https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-a-virtual-tour-with-the-chair-of-the-jury-bsl-interpreted/

Help ResPoNCE by Filling Out Their Survey for Their Project on Disabled People’s Experiences During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the UK

Logo for The ResPoNCE Project: black text and a black graphic of a face covered by a yellow face mask all on a yellow background. The text reads 'ResPoNCE. Respecting Persons with disabilities’ Needs and rights in Crisis and Emergency..'

ResPoNCE stands for Respecting Persons with disabilities’ Needs and rights in Crisis and Emergency.

The ResPoNCE Project are a research team at the National University of Ireland, Galway. They are investigating the impact of Covid 19 on persons with Disabilities in Ireland, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Sweden.

The ResPoNCE Project team are looking for more responses from Disabled people in the UK, concerning their experiences during the pandemic.

The questionnaire is here: http://responce.ie/questionnaire/

Equipment Services and Monthly Coffee Mornings from the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Logo for the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People: a purple circle with white text on it which reads 'CfD' which is short for their name.

Equipment Service

The Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (CfD) provide an equipment service for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people living in Bristol.

They have a range of listening equipment, which can help keep Bristol residents independent and improve their quality-of-life through better communication with friends and family. This equipment is provided on long-term loan, funded by Bristol City Council.

To be eligible for free equipment people need to be living within the Bristol City Council boundaries, be Deaf or diagnosed with a Hearing Loss, and be aged 18 or over.

CfD have trained Equipment Officers who can visit people in their homes to assess needs, demonstrate, and install equipment for them. They also provide support for the equipment after it is installed, including repairs, reinstallation after a house move, and training.

The types of equipment they provide include:

a) amplified or flashing doorbells,

b) amplified telephones,

c) TV listening devices,

d) personal listeners,

e) alarm clocks and,

f) baby monitors.


The easiest way to refer someone to the equipment service is via a secure online form, which you can find here: cfd.org.uk/equipment-service-referral-form/

You can also contact CfD by phone or email: https://cfd.org.uk/contact/

Monthly Coffee Mornings

CfD run regular coffee mornings every Tuesday on Zoom, as well as face-to-face coffee mornings once a month. Information about this is posted to their Facebook page.

Join Bristol Sight Loss Council for their VI Forum: Have your say on Health And Social Care Services in Bristol

Logo for Sight Loss Council - graphic of a circle made up of small blue circles next to black text that reads 'Sight Loss Councils A vision for change'

The Bristol Sight Loss Council is organising one of their bi-annual forums on 31st March. The topic is health and social care. As well as senior speakers from health trusts, we have Steven Beat coming.

The meeting is open to anyone who is blind or partially-sighted in Bristol to come and ask their questions.

Bristol  VI Forum: Have your say on Health And Social Care Services in Bristol

Thursday 31st March, 11 am – 1pm, at Broadmead Baptist Church Union Street Bristol and via Zoom. If Covid regulations mean we cannot meet in public, the meeting will be fully by Zoom.

Do you have concerns about the Health and social care services you receive as a blind or partially-sighted person in Bristol?

Does your hospital or GP meet your needs as a patient with a visual impairment?

Do you get your appointment letters and information in the format you need?

Have you had to wait for rehabilitation and mobility training to help you live independently?

If you have these or any other questions for health and social care services in Bristol, come along and ask them.

How could operators help you more?

Bristol Sight Loss Council are delighted to have a panel of leaders and senior managers from the Health services and local authority able to take your comments and questions.

Introducing the panel

Mark Stevens, assistant general manager Bristol Eye Hospital

Beverley Haworth, senior programme lead Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Stephen Beet, director Adult Social Care Bristol City Council

Gifty Markey, head of patient experience North Bristol NHS Trust

Lunch will be available after the event for those who come in person. You need to book to attend the event. You can join the event by Zoom if you cannot attend in person, but you still need to register.  Places are limited, so please sign up as soon as you can!

Register today

Either book your place above or ring Alun Davies on 07779 169019.

You will be asked if you would like to submit a question to the panel in advance. A selection of questions will be used at the event. Anyone whose question is not dealt with at the event will get an answer in writing from the relevant speaker after the meeting. Booking for the event closes at 5pm on Friday 18th March.

The meeting is being organised by Bristol Sight Loss Council. The Sight Loss Council is led by local blind and partially-sighted people who have volunteered to come together to work for positive change in the lives of people with a visual impairment in the city.

For more information about the Sight Loss Council please use the following link https://www.sightlosscouncils.org.uk/ or ring Alun Davies on 07779 169019. 

WinVisible’s International Women’s Day Podcast, 9 March

Disabled women in silhouette either side of WinVisible’s logo

Listen to WinVisible’s International Women’s Day podcast here.

Refugee and UK-born Disabled women tell moving personal stories about discrimination in social care.

Many thanks to podcast host Don O’Neal and NaCSILS (Campaign for a National Care, Support and Independent Living Service) for inviting WinVisible

Text version coming soon, check here.

Claire, Ebere, Fereshteh, Kate and Tracey, talk about:

1) their Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign challenging the lack of support by Councils and discrimination by the family courts that leads to traumatic separation of mums and kids;

2) how Disabled children are over-represented and mistreated in the children’s social care industry, as are children of colour;

3) a lesbian Disabled single mum;

4) a Disabled refugee woman spelling out her experience of that environment;

5) the impact of care charges and bad conditions of privatised care workers;

6) and being part of a campaign for a living wage/Care Income for all caring work alongside free accountable services.

Help the Centre for Transport & Society from the University of the West of England (UWE) with their Research Project

The team at the Centre for Transport & Society, UWE are investigating how people perceive and behave in different types of side road crossings, so that road crossing design can be improved.

To do this, they are organising online focus groups (i.e. online discussion groups) in March. Each online focus group will involve around 6 participants and last max 75 minutes. Participants will be able to share their experiences of crossing side roads in a friendly and informal setting, with the help of a researcher who will facilitate the discussion. To thank participants for their time, they will give them a shopping voucher.

Who can take part in the research?

They are looking for a mix of ordinary people, aged 18+, from ALL WALKS OF LIFE and from different areas across the UK, who may fall into one or more of the following categories:

a) People with any disabilities and/or reduced mobility

b) People who regularly cycle for transport (including with children)

c) People who regularly walk for transport (including with children, pushchairs etc.)

d) Any other transport users (e.g. drivers, e-scooter users etc.)

What do you need to take part?

You don’t need any special qualifications or knowledge to take part.  To join the focus group, you can use an electronic device connected to the internet – they will use Microsoft Teams, which is the UWE-approved online platform.  Some of the focus groups will involve watching short video clips and images on the screen.  If you cannot access the internet or have any accessibility needs (e.g. BSL interpretation), please let them know in advance so they can support you.

When are the online focus groups taking place?

Wednesday 9th March 12:00-13:15

Friday 11th March 8:45-10:00

Saturday 12th March 10:00-11:15

How to take part

If you wish to take part in one of the focus groups, please send an email to miriam.ricci@uwe.ac.uk providing the following details:

Your full name;
Age & gender;

Place of residence (village, town or city);
Any disabilities and accessibility needs;
Which focus group(s) you wish or are able to join. We will invite you to ONE focus group only.