Monkeypox is a rare infection that’s mainly found in parts of west or central Africa. There have been some recent cases in the UK, but the risk of catching it is low.

It is usually caught rom infected rodents (such as rats, mice and squirrels). But, it can spread from person to person through:

a) touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash,

b) touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs (including during sex), or

c) the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash.

Monkeypox usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. The main symptom is a rash but there are others. But, it is usually mild and most people recover within a few weeks without treatment.

Though anyone can get monkeypox, you’re unlikely to have it if:

1) you have not been in close contact (such as touching their skin or sharing bedding) with someone who has monkeypox or has monkeypox symptoms, or

2) you have not recently travelled to west or central Africa.

For more information about monkeypox, visit the NHS website:

Coronavirus News 30th May 2022

Current Data

The latest available data from Bristol City Council is that 1 in 47 Bristol residents are estimated to have had COVID-19 in the last week, this is 2.1% of people in the city.  26 patients are in hospital with COVID-19 and 9 people have died from it.

In terms of getting vaccinated, 80% of people aged sixteen and over in Bristol have had their first dose, 76% have had a second dose and 61% have had a booster or third dose.

Vaccines still available for 5-11 year old’s

The COVID-19 vaccine is still available for 5–11-year-old’s in Bristol.

Parents of all children aged 5 to 11 years can have their child vaccinated, and it is particularly important for children who have health conditions that put them at high risk from COVID-19.  This includes children who are clinically extremely vulnerable, severely immunosuppressed or a household contact of someone who is severely immunosuppressed.

[Note: immunosuppressed = can’t fight off infections and illnesses as well as other people.  This is usually either because of a health condition, or because of the medicines they are taking]

Children are given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for both doses and children aged 5 to 11 will be given smaller doses than older children and adults (a third of the normal dose).

The vaccine should give your child long lasting protection against serious complications of infection, including any future waves of COVID-19, due to new variants.

If your child has not yet received their vaccine, please book an appointment at a local clinic, or find your nearest walk-in clinic.

Further information about vaccinations and all local walk-in clinics are available on

Long Covid

For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness, after having COVID-19, you may be suffering from “Long COVID”.

If you are worried about symptoms four or more weeks after having COVID-19, contact your GP for advice.

More information about Long COVID can be found at

New Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic from NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestshire CCG Starting Next Week

Square photograph of The Coniston Community Centre with a blue rectangular line overlapping the image at the bottom with white text on it that reads "Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic".

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestshire CCG have a new Covid-19 vaccination walk-in clinic location starting next week.

The Coniston Community Centre is hosting Covid-19 vaccination clinics for everyone aged 5 and over.

People can come along to have any of the Covid-19 vaccinations they are entitled to, or even to speak with someone if they have questions about being vaccinated. They’ll be using the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine.

Monday 30 May: 12pm – 6pm

Monday 13 June: 12pm – 6pm

Monday 27 June: 12pm – 6pm

For more information about what vaccinations people are entitled to and all the vaccination options in our area, visit

Upcoming rail improvement works from Great Western Railway (GWR)

Logo for Great Western Railway - black text on a white background that reads "GWR".

Great Western Railway (GWR) have informed us of upcoming rail improvement works to Bristol Parkway and the Severn Tunnel which will affect train travel.

On Sundays 12th, 19th and 26th June no trains can call at Bristol Parkway. Services between London and South Wales will run on a diverted route and journey times will be extended. Trains will call at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway. Buses will also replace trains between Gloucester and Bristol Temple Meads

Between Friday 1st July and Saturday 10th July, and also on Sunday 17th July and until midday on Sunday 14th August, no trains can run through the Severn Tunnel. Trains between London and South Wales will run on a diversion and journey times will be longer, and they won’t be stopping at Bristol Parkway.

On the weekdays affected, some services will run between London and Bristol Parkway at peak hours. Services between Cardiff and Taunton/Portsmouth Harbour will terminate at Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway respectively. Buses will replace trains between Bristol Parkway and Newport, and on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th July also between Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads.

More information on the above can be found at    

Journey planners are being updated and GWR will make customers aware through traditional and social media, as well as announcements both on board trains and at stations, and station posters too. 

Disability employment gap persists despite new statistics

(News first reported by Disability News Service on 19th May and Disability Rights UK‘s E-Newsletter 19th May.)

The government has announced that over one million more Disabled people are in employment compared to five years ago.

The minister for Disabled people, Chloe Smith, had described the figure as an “important milestone” which showed the government’s “commitment to supporting Disabled people to lead independent lives and reach their full potential”.

She said this delivered on a Conservative manifesto commitment to see one million more disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027.

The Office for National Statistics figures, released on Tuesday 17 May, do show there were about 4.8 million Disabled people in employment in the UK in the first quarter of 2022, compared with about 3.5 million in the first quarter of 2017.

But analysis of the new figures by Professor Vicki Wass, from Cardiff Business School, a member of the Disability@Work group of researchers, has shown that the disadvantage faced by Disabled people in the jobs market has not reduced since 2017.

Kim Hoque from Disability@Work said: “While Ministers may consider reaching their goal of getting an additional one million Disabled people into work as worthy of celebration, this needs to be kept in perspective, given the DWP’s own analysis shows that while the number of Disabled people in work has increased, so has the number of non-disabled people. As such, Disabled people’s employment prospects, in relative terms, have not improved. Reflecting this, the disability employment gap, which indicates the difference in the percentage of Disabled and non-disabled working of age people who are in work, is no smaller now than it was in mid-2019.”

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

Graphic: Cream rectangle shaped graphic with white text and five small square photographs in a line of each of the comedians. Some of the white text is on brown square shapes in the graphic above and below the photos.

ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH?” is a fully wheelchair accessible comedy gig taking place Sunday 12th June from 7.30pm at North St Standard, Bedminster,  The gig will feature comedy from Dani JohnsFiona Ridgewell, Priya Hall, Becky Walker and Ollie Horn.

Here is some information on each of the acts:

Dani Johns

Our resident MC is born and bred Bristolian Dani Johns.  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).

Fiona Ridgewell

Fiona Ridgewell is an upbeat conversational comedian. In February 2020 her show “Contender” was nominated for best debut show at Leicester Comedy Festival, in the same year she she was a Funny Women Finalist. Fiona is known for her “direct, cheeky sense of humour” and “easy warm on stage.”

Priya Hall

Priya Hall is a Welsh-Indian stand-up comedian and comedy writer who is quickly ascending the UK comedy scene. She’s featured on a number of TV and radio shows, as well as having written and starred in a “Beena & Amrit” a new comedy pilot for BBC2 Wales.

Her comedy has been described as “hilariously oversharing” which is all fun and games but frequently gets her into trouble with her mum.

Becky Walker

Described as “hilairously dark” and “totally unpredictable”, Becky is a queer & disabled performer does not shy away from tough subject matter. She finds the funnies in the darkest of places and wins over the audience with ease.

Ollie Horn

From theatres in San Francisco, to military bases in South Korea, hostels in Barcelona, and even former colonial post offices in Myanmar, Ollie’s effortless stage presence and wide-eyed curiosity resonates with stand-up audiences the world over.

Having performed stand-up comedy in over 20 countries and counting, Ollie is not short of stories to tell and unique perspectives to share from his travels—not least the four years he spent living in Japan working as a minor television and radio personality.

Ollie is at his best when in conversation with his audience, blending his considered, intelligent and personal stand up with responsive, curious and charming crowd interactions.

Tickets are £7 and doors open at 6pm on the night.  You can book your ticket from the Headfirst website here:

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:

Bristol Disability Equality Forum nominated for the Community Organisation Award for Disability at the National Diversity Awards!

Graphic announcing our nomination. White and orange text on a black background surrounded by an explosion of purple, red and yellow dust, the National Diversity Awards logo and various sponsor organisations' logos.
Text reads "Congratulations Bristol Disability Equality Forum. You have been nominated for the 2022 Community Organisation for Disability; Soponsor - Avast Foundation."

We are delighted to announce that we have been nominated for the Community Organisation Award for Disability at the National Diversity Awards!

The awards celebrate the “excellent achievements of grass-root communities”. We at the Forum are very proud that our work with and for Disabied people in Bristol has been recognised, even more so as an Disability charity that is made up of Disabled staff and trustees.

We hope to attend the National Diversity Awards 2022 to see who wins this award and many other awards on 16th September at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

Important News for all Disabled people with a car

The Council has announced that, with the exception of Easton & St Philips RPS, the Council will be increasing Pay and Display charges and Permit tariffs in all other Residents’ Parking Scheme areas.  

Notices of these changes (called a Notice of Variation), providing detailed information about the new charges, will appear in the Bristol Post on 10 May.   The increased charges will start on 6 June 2022.

Parking for Blue badge holders’ stays unchanged.  Blue Badge holders don’t need a permit to park in any Residents’ Parking Scheme area and can park for free without a time limit in:

a) permit holders only bays,

b) shared use bays,

c) pay and display bays.

To see the Notice of Variation documents, please visit from 10 May to 6 June 2022.

Please note, the Council says this is not a consultation exercise, it is just to let you know about the parking increase.  This is because it was agreed as part of the Mayor’s Budget for 2022/23.

The Forum’s view of this change is that it seems to completely ignore the cost of living crisis many people in Bristol are experiencing – especially Disabled people and families that include one or more Disabled children or young people.  An increase that is a lot higher than was talked about when the Mayor drew up his draft budget. We welcome the continued protection for Blue Badge holders but worry what will happen to all those people in the city who live on benefits. Where are they supposed to get the money for their parking permit?

Before the current crisis, 50% of all Bristol homes living in poverty included one or more Disabled person.  How much that will increase will depend on what local and national government does to exempt people on a low income from price increases – including this one.

The Forum has also always thought that the Residents’ Parking Zones have got it wrong.  Surely, if we are to charge people for using their car it should be when that car is away from their home – because it is in use (except when it is an access need)?

Instead, Bristol is charging people to leave their car at home when they go to work, rather than charging people who take their car with them!

Cost of living crisis: get help with energy and care costs

The information below is provided by Inclusion London on their website.  We repeat it here, so you don’t keep having to click on links from our website, to others, just to access public information.  However, their website is excellent and worth visiting.

The information is not legal advice. It comes from public sources. Please seek legal advice if you have an individual case.

The last few months have seen large increases in the cost of living – particularly for necessities like food and fuel. This is expected to get worse in April because of an increase in the Energy Price Cap. Disabled people are already more likely to be living in food and fuel poverty than non-disabled people, and the situation we face is getting worse.

Many individuals and organisations have asked us for advice on where to get help, so Inclusion London have pulled together a list of suggestions and resources, which is below.  

Unfortunately, the help that is currently available is not enough. Disabled people, on average, have much higher energy costs than non-disabled people. This is because many medical and mobility devices require charging or constant electricity to function. Many of us also have to run our heating at higher levels or for longer than most people to stay warm (reduced mobility makes this much harder), reduce pain, or avoid becoming dangerously ill. All this means that the energy price cap increase will affect us more than many other sectors of society.

Despite this, the Chancellors’ Spring Statement, issued by the Government this week, did not announce any specific help for Disabled people. We think this is unacceptable. Inclusion London are starting a new Disability Poverty Campaign Group, which is led by Disabled People’s Organisations and works with many other kinds of campaign groups, with the aim of ending poverty among Disabled people in the UK. They will be pushing the government to change the policies that make us poor. If you would like more information, or to join the group, please contact

What should I do to cope with the increasing cost of energy?

1. Make sure you are receiving any benefits you’re entitled to.

2. Ask a local food bank if they issue fuel vouchers.

3. Contact your local council to ask for fuel vouchers or a grant from the Household Support Fund.

4. Ask your energy supplier for emergency credit and/or a discretionary discount.

5. If you have a pre-payment meter and your impairment means your health would be negatively affected by your heat or electricity going off, ask your energy supplier to replace the meter with a conventional type.

6. If you use an oxygen concentrator at home, claim the rebate from your supplier.

7. If you pay care charges and your disability-related expenses were not taken into account during your means test, ask for a financial reassessment

8. Join campaigns!

Detailed advice

1. Make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. You can check what you should be getting by using the Turn2Us benefits calculator to check this: Citizens Advice also have a helpful page on support for energy costs here:

2. Some foodbanks offer fuel vouchers as well as food, though not all of them do this. If you use a foodbank, ask them if they can give you a fuel voucher too. You can find a local food bank here:

3. Some councils offer support with fuel costs. Unfortunately, this varies from place to place.

3a. Some councils provide fuel vouchers on application or have other schemes to help with emergency needs.

3b. The Household Support Fund is a central government fund delivered through local councils, who decide how to use it. Some councils allow households to apply for a grant from it. Others claim to have identified those most at risk of fuel poverty and contacted them directly to give them a grant. The government announced this week that the Household Support Fund will receive another £500 million in April, so it is worth asking your council if you can get a grant from their portion of the fund.

3c. Check your council’s website or contact them directly to see if anything is available. You can find your local council’s website by entering your post code here:

4. Some energy providers give emergency credit. If you have received emergency credit and it’s still not enough, or you can’t pay it back, some providers also give discretionary discounts. It’s a good idea to contact them and ask if there is any help available.

4a. Tell them about your circumstances, including any impairments you have, and if you use medical equipment that relies on constant power, or your condition can be made worse by being cold. Both these things should mean you can get special consideration (for example, you might be eligible for the Priority Services Register).

4b. You will have to find out which company supplies your power, and then look up their contact details. These should be given on your bill.

4c. Pre-payment meters are often problematic for Disabled people (though they can help you keep track of how much you are spending). They are problematic because there are safeguards through Ofcom (the energy company regulator) against disconnecting ‘vulnerable people’ (for example, a vulnerable person must not be disconnected in winter), but for people on pre-payment meters, the safeguards do not apply: there no safeguards against ‘self-disconnecting’ (which means not topping up because when don’t have money, so your power goes off). Normal meters are also usually cheaper than pre-payment meters.

4d. If you have a pre-payment meter and you live with an impairment that means your health would be damaged by your power going off, your energy company must replace it with a normal meter if you ask them to. See

4e. Your energy supplier cannot move you onto a pre-payment meter if you are in a ‘very vulnerable situation,’ even if you are in debt. This includes if you need to use medical equipment that requires a constant power source. See

4f. If you fall within these groups and your energy supplier is refusing to change your pre-payment meter or is trying to force you onto a pre-payment meter, there is advice on making a complaint here:

5. If you use an oxygen concentrator at home, you can get a rebate for the electricity it uses. The company that supplies your concentrator will provide these payments on behalf of the government, but you have to apply for them. Details about how to claim are here:

6. If you pay charges for care in your own home, you will have had a means test from your council to check that you will be left with a ‘minimum income’ to live on. The means test should take into account any expenses you incur because of your impairment, but it often does not. If you think your disability-related expenses were not taken into account during your means test, you can ask for a financial reassessment.

6a. Use Inclusion London’s template letter to request this, listing your disability-related expenses. You should include additional energy you use for charging medical or mobility devices or for your heating, giving as much information as you can about each item’s energy consumption, and a copy of your energy bill. The template letter is here:

5 things green space deprivation means for Disabled people

Last year Friends of the Earth supported us with a workshop on nature access for Disabled people. Mary Stevens wrote this blog after that we are now sharing.

“I’m surprised the gap’s not much bigger. I only live a few metres from the park and I’ve not been there this year”.  – Workshop participant 

Recently I presented our findings from work we commissioned to explore the ‘green space gap’ for Disabled people in Bristol.  This builds on work we did last year to look at the links between green space and deprivation , with particular focus on access to nature for people of colour.  The report’s findings were stark – but it didn’t use a disability lens.  At the same time we know that disabled people have been very hard hit by the pandemic – and that spending time in green space has been a huge part of personal wellbeing strategies for many people.  So with the help of mapping specialist Brittany Pugh we decided to explore the problem at a local level.  We asked whether Disabled people are disproportionately nature-deprived, even when other deprivation factors are taken into account? 

How to make sure that climate plans work for disabled people

We saw another opportunity too.  Bristol Disability Equality Forum  is part of a Community Climate Action Project  for Bristol, funded by the National Lottery.  Six communities are developing plans to put local people at the heart of the climate transition.  But the data they had all been provided about their footprints, and where they could have the most impact, didn’t include nature.

At Friends of the Earth we are interested in how we can bring the nature and climate narratives more closely together, and how people can incorporate information about green space and biodiversity into their plans.  By supporting BDEF with information about green space, maybe we could learn what works and help them achieve their goal of “making sure that the city’s climate plans are fair and good for Disabled people.”  

This isn’t just about enabling disabled people to spend time in nature, although that’s very important.  The extreme heat and floods that we have seen across Europe in recent weeks are a reminder that climate change is a life-and-death matter – and not just in the distant future.  Disabled people are additionally vulnerable to both overheating and flood risks.  Strategies that use urban greening to address these risks are key to enabling the community to adapt to more volatile future weather patterns and save lives.  So how did community members respond? 

5 things we learned about accessing nature 

Our report could only really look at proximity to public green space.  It didn’t look at other access barriers such as wheelchair accessibility, appropriate parking or issues like overcrowding.  The participants all agreed the problem is much worse than the data can show.  

During the pandemic disabled people have spent even less time in nature than before.  But this isn’t just about vulnerability to Covid (as I had assumed).  It’s also about the cognitive load.  We all understand this on some level: social arrangements during Covid have just got more complicated (How many people can we meet?  Who’s hugging and who isn’t?  Will I have to wear a mask?  What if other people don’t?  What if it rains?) but for disabled people this adds to an already high burden of questions about access.  It’s just too much.  And this is a vicious circle: confidence and comfort zones shrink together.  One participant told us the only place she’d been in 18 months was the supermarket, because at least she knew she could park and get her wheelchair out of her vehicle there. 

Accessibility isn’t just about physical space: paths, toilets, parking etc.  For volunteering it’s also about adapted tools, or the availability of personal assistance for these activities.  And for food growing it’s not just about gardening: it’s about support for harvesting, processing and storing the produce too (where would I put the spare jars of jam if I couldn’t reach the top shelf, I wonder?).  

When Disabled people do volunteer, they don’t want their contribution to be all about how to make a space more accessible.  They just want to get stuck in with activities like everyone else.  “Just being able to turn up, and that being OK, that’s the dream.” (Participants didn’t mind giving feedback once they were involved – but they do not want to be unpaid consultants on access).  And they don’t want segregated activities either – or at least not as the only option.  

They don’t always want to have the ‘careful’ experience.  The gentle trail round the flat bit in the National Trust garden, for example.  Spending time in nature is an immersive experience and they want to be allowed sometimes to get hot, or cold, or wet, or tired – to feel fully alive.  This is challenging for venues, who are conscious of their responsibility to manage risk – but what if this was seen as a more collaborative process with disabled people voicing their own limits, rather than venues assuming they need to manage out all the risk.

From access to nature to being in nature

So what are some of the solutions?  There are of course lots of ways in which green spaces can improve their offer, some of them very cheap (for example, does your website or other promotional material provide the information disabled people need?).

Walking apps like Go Jauntly  already allow contributors to indicate step-free routes.  What additional information might be useful and could green space managers collaborate more with these independent services?

In some places one small infrastructure change could unlock much wider areas (when one of the participants talked about the gutter that acts as a wheel trap in the Frome Valley I knew exactly where she meant).  Is Fix My Street  part of the answer?  

Gutter creating a wheel trap outside park entrance: Bristol Disability Equality Forum

And we can all design activities with a much wider range of user needs in mind.  One idea was to increase the visibility of the opportunities that already exist, perhaps through videos.  Southmead Hospital NHS trust has a fully accessible community allotment, with regular volunteering opportunities.  Why not make some films that show Disabled people just doing stuff there?  The same could apply to some of the local Wildlife Trust’s sites. 

But what if instead of supporting Disabled people to ‘access nature’ we all worked to bring nature closer to home?  What support do they need to increase the biodiversity of their window sills, gardens, street corners?  How might we support them to create living environments that provide habitats and address air quality and over-heating risks?  Container fruit trees, vines growing over driveways, wildflowers on the verges.  It’s all possible in a city where the boundaries between ‘green’ and other spaces are more blurred and we’re learning to live with, not seek to dominate, the natural world.  

And what if the supermarket is the only place disabled people are accessing?  Then why not create accessible allotments in raised beds in car parks?  Fruit trees between parking bays.  This approach also has the benefit of raising awareness of the seasonality and the supply chain – for everyone.  

Inclusive futures 

The biggest thing I took away from the sharing session however was a perspective shift.  The idea that disabled people can make brilliant design team members because they are practiced in problem-solving and lateral thinking was not new to me.  But I hadn’t previously considered how much disabled people can teach us about the future we need to design for.  

In 2007 the UNDP wrote “climate change will exacerbate inequalities within countries.  It challenges us to think about what it means to live as part of an ecologically interdependent human community.”[1]  But as academics Sue Porter and David Abbott have highlighted, interconnectedness and interdependence are not new experiences for disabled people.[2]  The pandemic, with the burgeoning of mutual aid groups, opened a window to one aspect of the world we need to build if we are to sustain each other in a future disrupted by climate change.  The instinctive understanding that energy and resources – human and natural – are not limitless is also a valuable perspective that many disabled people bring.   

What next 

BDEF is working up its action plan and will hopefully incorporate some of the ideas we explored together.

We will aim to make sure the findings of the research reach a wider audience and can help with decisions about which areas of the city to prioritise in green space developments.

Finally, if you’d like to help us develop any of the concepts here further – from climate-adapted gardening for disabled people to the edible parking space – please get in touch.    

·  1United Nations Development Programme. 2007. Human Development Report 2007/2008 Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World. Hampshire & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

·  2David Abbott & Sue Porter (2013) Environmental hazard and disabled people: from vulnerable to expert to interconnected, Disability & Society, 28:6, 839-852.