Two new roles at Bristol Disability Equality Forum

The Forum is an exciting period of development that is seeing it develop a range of community development projects to support Disabled people, to ensure their needs are met, and to extend the scope of their voice and influence. 

As part of these developments, we are delighted and excited to offer two new paid roles at the Forum, totalling 1.5 FTE.  These are permanent posts, subject to continued funding being available. 

They are:

  1. Deputy Manager – 0.5FTE.
  2. Citywide Community Development Worker, working with those Disabled people who identify as CEV – 1 FTE.

Deadline for applications: midday, Friday 8th July.

[Please note, all applications must be submitted using our Application Form; no CVs will be accepted.]

Interviews: Week beginning Monday 18th July.

Criteria and flexibility notes:

a. It is an occupational requirement under the Equality Act 2010 that the successful applicant for each post identifies as a Disabled person.  This means any applicant who doesn’t identify as a Disabled person will not be considered for the roles.

b. If a suitably experienced Disabled person meets the criteria for the half-time Deputy role and the full-time Community Development worker role, we are happy to consider a partial combination of the two.  We are also open to applications for the Community Development role on a job share basis. 

However, be aware that we cannot promise that an applicant will get the combination of roles, or the Community Development worker job share they would prefer, as it will depend on the applications received and the best interests of the work to be undertaking.

c. As those who are Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) are underrepresented within the Forum, we particularly welcome applications from Disabled people within these communities.

Please indicate whether you would consider a job share [You don’t have to be willing to consider it].

Completed applications should be returned to: bristoldef@gmail.com

If you would like to discuss the post before applying, email laura.bristoldef@gmail.com well before the deadline as her post is only half-time.

For information on and how to apply for the Deputy Manager job, visit: https://bristoldef.org.uk/deputy-manager-job-opportunity-at-bristol-disability-equality-forum/

For information on and how to apply for the Community Development Worker job, visit: https://bristoldef.org.uk/community-development-worker-job-opportunity-at-bristol-disability-equality-forum/

Help Pippa with her Dementia Carers Research Project!

Graphic: poster showing purple and white text on top of a yellow and purple background surrounded by various images - one of purple and blue flowers, one of swans in a lake, one of a laptop with the zoom logo on it and one of the University of Bristol's logo.
Text: Wanted! Are you a a partner of someone living with dementia at home? I'm a postgraduate student at Bristol university, with some expereince of dementia caring. Your experieiences and wellbeing as a partner of a person living with dementia are extremely important and valuable and your assistance and time is much appreciated. I'm searching for partners to take part in my research project. You need to have been living at home with a partner diagnosed with dementia for more than a year. The research will be based online, and you will need access to a computer, the Zoom application and your own email to take part. Research will include an introductory session, a short survey and an informal interview. It will lonly take around an hour of your time. The project will give you a chance to share the highlights and challenges of being a partner but also provides an opportunity to share your thoughts on your well-being, support and the future. For further information, queries or details, or to participate please contact Pip Collier via email at pc17644@bristol.ac.uk Phone: 0770 6200 116.

We’ve been asked by Pippa, a postgraduate student at the University of Bristol, to promote and recruit participants for her dissertation research project on the mental well-being of partners who are caring for their partner living with dementia at home.

The research will provide opportunities for partner carers to share their stories, their experiences, and any support they find helpful. The impetus for this research has stemmed from the prevalence of social experiences of dementia and Pippa’s own family. 

The research will involve an introductory session, a short survey lasting 5/10 minutes via email and an online interview via Zoom lasting around 45 minutes. This will be done sensitively at a convenient time and date. All information and results will be confidential, and results will be reported in a paper and pamphlet available to all participants.  

For further details and to take part, contact Pippa by email pc17644@bristol.ac.uk or phone 0770 520 0116.

Reminder About This Week’s Rail Strikes

This is a reminder that there will be no rail services at all on some of GWR’s routes on the strike days this week – Tuesday 21 June, Thursday 23 June and Saturday 25 June.   Where services can run they will be extremely limited with much later start and much earlier finish times.  

There will also be a restricted service on Wednesday 22 June, Friday 24 June and Sunday 26 June, with services starting late and finishing very early. 

Full timetables are now in online journey planners for Tuesday 21 June and Thursday 23 June, and timetables for days between the strikes will be available from Saturday 18th June.  Where services are running rail travel should only be considered if absolutely necessary. 

There will be no alternative road replacement services available, and there is still the possibility of further changes – even on the day.  

As well as checking timetables, there are maps ww.gwr.com/strike showing which routes are open.  This will be kept updated with the latest information. 

Disabled drivers facing long delays in licences

Disabled drivers are facing long delays in their driving licence applications being approved by the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).  The waiting time for motorists with medical conditions has risen by 65% in 12 months.

Drivers must tell the DVLA about certain health conditions.  These include diabetes, sleep apnoea, epilepsy or a heart condition.

An investigation by an online car dealership (Heycar), found a 65% rise in the time it took to get their application approved, with more than 300,000 Disabled drivers affected by delays.

The report said one of the causes of the backlog include DVLA staff working from home not having access to a vital database.

The DVLA expects to get back to their ‘normal’ turnaround times later this year, with 90 per cent of medical applications being dealt with within 90 days, by the end of September.  However, the current delays are seriously affecting the lives and mobility of Disabled people.

As well as the long delays in dealing with licence applications, Disabled people are finding it extremely difficult to contact DVLA, which means they don’t know what is happening to their application.

DVLA seems to not be aware, or not care, that these delays mean many Disabled people are having to make monthly payments for vehicles that they cannot use. 

While the Forum understands that the pandemic has caused a backlog and delays within many services, it is not acceptable that Disabled drivers receive a worse service from the DVLA than not-yet Disabled people -leaving some drivers waiting up to six months for a new or renewed licence.

Laura Welti, the Forum Manager, said:

“The DVLA must cut the amount of time it takes to deal with licence applications from Disabled drivers and improve its communications.”

For more information, including medical driving licence FAQs, please visit the Heycar medical licence guide.

Airlines told to improve support for Disabled flyers

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ordered airports to set out by next week how they will improve services and support for Disabled people following recent, high-profile failures.

Disabled passengers have been left on aircraft for long periods after landing as the airports and airplanes industry struggles to recruit enough staff following the pandemic.  This has been made worse by a lot of flight cancellations and long delays.  

As well as needing assistance with wheelchairs and to get off their airplane, Disabled people are more likely to need support from airport liaison staff when flights are delayed.

In its letter to airports and airlines, the CAA says the recent “significant service failings” (experienced by some Disabled passengers) are “simply unacceptable”.

The CAA’s letter warns: 

“We will continue to closely monitor the quality of service provided and if these significant service failures continue, we will consider whether further action is needed, including using enforcement powers.”

The authority notes a recent increase in the percentage of passengers requesting the assistance service.

The letter said: 

“It is not clear what is causing this increase in demand for the assistance service, but through working with airlines, airports should ensure that support offered meets the particular need of each passenger, both to ensure that the assistance is appropriate but also to make the general operation more effective.”

Disabled people can let airlines and airports know in advance that they will need support and the CAA said that it will work with stakeholders to spread that message.

New Level Playing Field survey shows discrimination and abuse experienced by Disabled fans at Football matches

Findings show that Disabled football fans are discriminated against   when they go to away games. The survey was by the charity Level Playing Field (LPF).

Of more than 600 Disabled football fans:

43% had some form of abuse or negativity at them at an away match in the last 5 years.

26% had verbal abuse.

16% had experienced disability-related offensive songs, chants or gestures.

13% said that “fear of disability abuse” was a barrier for them when attending away matches.

There is also conern about how staff at grounds have poor levels of Disability awareness.  Public transport to the matches is inaccessible and stadiums have general access problems.

Mikey Erhardt, Communications Officer at Get Yourself Active, said:

“These new findings from our friends at Level Playing Field paint a stark picture of the reality of being a sports fan as a Disabled person.

In a month that has seen the governing bodies that run the “beautiful game” fail Disabled fans, it is clear that individual clubs also need to do more to support Disabled people’s right to enjoy the world’s favourite sport.

We want to see changes made quickly, with stadium staff empowered to root out those who chant at or intimidate Disabled fans. We wish to see more training given to staff to understand the needs of Disabled fans, and more thought given to accessibility in the design of spaces and services.”

You can find out more about the survey results in this article from LPF on their website: https://www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/news-item/level-playing-field-away-fan-survey-results/

Local elections accessibility survey

The Government’s Department for Levelling Up is inviting feedback on the accessibility of the recent local elections. They are calling for “as much feedback on Disabled people’s experiences as possible”.

The survey is completely anonymous and will be open until Friday 17 June.

The survey can be found here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=63460&qid=10870626

Accessible and Welsh verisons of the survey can be found here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=63461&qid=10870626

There is a link in the survey’s introduction to a Word version for anyone wishing to complete it offline or who would like to see the questions before starting.

Diabetes Awareness Week 13 to 19 June

This week is Diabetes Awareness Week (13 to 19 June).

Diabetes is a serious and complicated condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. Approximately one in 14 people in the UK live with diabetes. 

Raising awareness of the condition is one of the most important ways of providing support to people who have diabetes as well as being able to detect early symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.

For more information about diabetes and the support available, visit Diabetes UK.

COVID-19: get help with food

How to get help with getting food if you’re self-isolating or if you can’t afford food.

Help with food if you’re self-isolating

Call 0800 694 0184 if you need help to get food because you’re self-isolating.

They will try to find a volunteer to help you.

Help if you can’t afford to buy food

Call 0800 694 0184 to find out:

1) if you can be referred to a food bank, for short-term support in a financial crisis,

2) if you can be referred FOOD club, for help feeding your family, or

3) information about community or voluntary organisations that can provide you with food.

You can also call the Citizens Advice Foodbank helpline for emergency food support: 0808 208 2138.

If you’re on certain benefits and have a child under 4 or are at least 10 weeks pregnant, you may also be able to get help from Healthy Start.

If your child usually has Free School Meals but is not attending school because of coronavirus (COVID-19), speak to their school to find out how to get free school meal vouchers or other support with food.

Latest national activity survey reveals Disabled people feel forgotten

(Article first reported by Activity Alliance on their website on 7th june 2022.)

Photograph of two Disabled women out on and sitting in a yatch boat smiling. Photo from Activity Alliance.

Activity Alliance has released its latest Annual Disability and Activity Survey results.

The national charity is a leading voice for Disabled people in sport and activity. You can find out more about them here.

It shows that there has been slow progress in engaging more Disabled people after Covid.

They call for Disabled people to be a greater priority as the country recovers from the pandemic.

There is also a need for more effort to tackle inequalities that affect Disabled people. This is so no one feels forgotten.

Last year’s survey highlighted the impact of the pandemic on Disabled people. But this year’s exposes the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as we recover.

Over 1,800 Disabled and not-yet Disabled people aged 16+ took part from October to December 2021.  This was the largest of its kind.

The responses show Disabled people’s fears and disappointment at being forgot about.

20 Disabled people taking part in the survey also took part in a series of online focus groups.

They reacted to the results of the survey and led discussions on this year’s recommendations.

Key findings include:

a) Under 3/10 feel encouraged to return to physical activity after the pandemic.

b) Covid led to the support Disabled people need to be active being less available. This has created an increase in barriers relating to health and finances.

c) Only 4/10 feel they can be as active as they want. This contrasts to not-yet Disabled people who are now more likely to say they can be as active as they want (62% to 69%).

d) Less than half (47%) think that physical activity and exercise is for ‘someone like me’.  This is a decline from 57% in 2020 and when compared to 72% of non-disabled people believing activity is for them.

e) Disabled people are being left out as we return to activity and feeling less encouraged to be active.  This is despite 8 in 10 wanting to be more active (compared to 51% of not-yet Disabled people).

f) Those taking part in activity said they have less positive and inclusive experiences.  They are less likely to feel activity leaders met their needs and included them.  They are less likely to say returning to activity was a positive experience.  This compares to not-yet Disabled people at 52% vs 70%.

g) There is a feeling that the workforce at many levels doesn’t understand Disability.  Spaces still aren’t accessible.

h) 78% say their impairment or condition stops them being active. This is as there is little awareness of suitable activities and fears about safety and risk.

Sam Orde, Chair at Activity Alliance, said about the latest report:

“This year’s survey highlights the true impact of the pandemic on Disabled people and the changes required so nobody feels forgotten.  We appreciate many providers and decision makers faced enormous challenges during the pandemic.  But we are almost a year from restrictions being lifted, and still hearing too many negative experiences from Disabled people.

We must double our efforts and prioritise Disabled people in the recovery.  Whether this is through opportunities, strategy, or investment, we need leaders to play their part and drive change through their work.

This survey provides the evidence that we need a mixture of solutions to get us moving in the right direction.  One in five of us identify as a Disabled person in this country so one size will not fit all.  Our charity can help organisations to improve and embed the necessary inclusive practices.  

Many of the findings show negative changes and stark differences between Disabled and not-Disabled people.  We have listened to Disabled people and urge decision makers to do the same.  Some barriers that have existed for a long time have been exasperated during this crisis. We cannot allow our nation to ignore and exclude a large proportion of society.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England Chief Executive and Government Disability Access Advisor for Sport & Physical Activity, said:

“This report is an important and salutary reminder of the work still to do when it comes to making sport and physical activity genuinely welcoming and inclusive for all Disabled people.  I would urge all organisations in the sector to reflect on the report and its recommendations as part of a collective effort to break down the barriers to inclusion for Disabled people.”

The recommendations describe the necessary changes to achieve greater fairness in sport activity.  There are four key themes:

  1. ‘Involve me as we recover from the pandemic’
  2. ‘Support me to feel like being active is for someone like me’
  3. ‘Your workforce can make it a better experience for me’
  4. ‘Involve the health professionals I trust the most’

The full report is available to view at: www.activityalliance.org.uk/annual-survey.

The report in other formats – you can find the BSL version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMgJuNVEmW0&list=PLA7MMK5Vqkdp4_urHy2KAIABxM_wdbOwP&index=10

Use #ActivityAllianceSurvey to share your thoughts about this report on social media.  You can find Activity Alliance on Twitter @AllForActivity.