“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.

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.

A Message from Bristol Disability Equality Forum on the War in Ukraine

Image of the flag of Ukraine - two rectangles sitting side by side, one blue and the other yellow.

You may have heard a lot in the news recently about the attacks on Ukraine by the Russian government.  

This new war between the largest and second-largest countries in Europe is the biggest attack since World War 2.  It has seen one million of the Ukrainian population flee their country.  Those that have left are mainly women and children as men between the ages of 18 and 60 are being forced to stay to fight.

Ukraine’s population of 44.13 million includes nearly three million Disabled people, but this is likely to be much higher.  They may not be able to access transport as easily as other refugees and many will likely still be stuck in the country.

Disabled people are especially disadvantaged in times of conflict, for a variety of reasons, including:

a) not being able to leave their home in time when there is a bomb attack,

b) finding it difficult to find accessible places to stay when their home is bombed or blown up,

c) finding it difficult to access essential medicines or equipment, and

d) can lose their PA or carer support.

We must also not forget that war creates Disabled people, meaning that they will find themselves experiencing the same barriers and challenges as people with existing impairments or health conditions but without any previous lived experiences that can equip them for dealing with the situation they find themselves in and isolated from Disabled people-led organisations to provide the intensive peer support they’ll need.

The United Nations say that, in war and conflict, Disabled people should be protected, helped, asked for their ideas on how to make things better and, thought about and counted in reports. 

You can read the UN’s full report on the rights of people with Disabilities here: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N21/196/98/PDF/N2119698.pdf?OpenElement. There is an Easy Read version available here: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Disability/ISL146-21-ER-UN-Conflict_Final_web-acc.pdf.

We would like to encourage you to lobby all the local Bristol MPs and the national UK government accept Disabled Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and support them to return (if it’s safe to do so) once the violence stops.  Information on how to do this can be found at the links below.

There is also information on how we as Disabled people can support Disabled Ukrainians from Inclusion Europe, European Disability Forum and Fight For Right Ukraine – the websites and hotlines can be found below.

Contacting MPs: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-an-mp-or-lord/contact-your-mp/

Lobbying Parliament: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-an-mp-or-lord/lobbying-parliament/

Inclusion Europe: http://www.inclusion-europe.eu/

European Disability Forum: https://www.edf-feph.org/

Fight For Right Ukraine: https://ffr.org.ua/

Fight For Right Ukraine Hotline: +380978831508

Bristol Disability Equality Forum to Attend Bristol Women’s Voice International Women’s Day Event

Graphic: a woman playing a wind instrument on top of pink and orange background surrounded by pink, orange and white text.
Text: Celebrate International Women's Day 2022 with Bristol Women's Voice. Come and be heard. Join our movement. Every voice matters. Together, we can #BreaktheBiasBristol. Saturday 5 March 2022, 10.30am-4pm. Bristol City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 51R.

On Saturday 5 March, Bristol Disability Equality Forum will have a stall at the Bristol Women’s Voice International Women’s Day event.

This year’s theme for the event is ‘Break the Bias’.

The event will be taking place at City Hall from 10.30am to 4pm.  It is open to everyone and is free to attend.

During the day, there will be lots of workshops and activities that celebrate International Women’s Day.  You can read and download the full programme of sessions taking place below.


This is an unticketed free for all event, but please let Bristol Women’s Voice know you are coming to the event by registering to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/international-womens-day-bristol-tickets-269653740597.

You can share your story and tell your friends, followers and/or connections that you are at the event by sing the hashtag #BreakTheBiasBristol.

Find out more about Bristol Women’s Voice here: https://www.bristolwomensvoice.org.uk/.