Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 at the Forum

Graphic of the BDEF logo, an earth and a trio of mountains on a green background. The text in white reads "Step into Nature and Take a Breath" folowed by "Mental Health Awareness Week 2021".

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (10 – 16 May) and the theme is nature, highlighting the important positive connection between the natural world and mental health.

Many people have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic and for some, the easing of lockdown restrictions has created its own challenges too.

We at the Forum have various projects & ways of getting involved that link to the benefits of good mental health.

Making Change Happen

Our peer support project where Disabled people meet vurrently daily over Zoom to support one another, give each other helpful advice and have a good old natter! They will continue to meet on Zoom but will soon be meeting in person again. 

The project also offers a phone service to those who are not online and can now help those who are digitally excluded to access the internet and provide them with tablet PCs so that they can join the online discussions and be kept informed of Forum activities and information.

The MCH group are a happy band and can be a great listening ear for those who are Disabled and want to talk about anything that is troubling them. If you’re interested or you know someone who may be, contact Dan by emailing mch.bristoldef@gmail.com

Community Climate Action

As nature is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we have a project all about preserving our natural habitat in Community Climate Action. In partnership with Bristol Green Capital, the project shows that we play a leading role in shaping Bristol’s transition to a low carbon and climate resilient city.  

For this project we will work with Disabled people to:

  1. Create a climate action plan for the Disabled community in Bristol. This plan will help Disabled people in Bristol lower their use of dirty energy.
  2. Make sure that the city’s climate plans are fair and good for Disabled people.

The project will focus on making lives better at the same time as lowering our use of dirty energy.

The role of the Forum is to guide the project. We need you to bring it to life! To find out more, visit our CCA webpage on our site or contact Emma by emailing cca.bristoldef@gmail.com

Accessible Walking Group

Research shows that going for walks outside is one of our top coping strategies and 45 percent reported that being in green spaces had been vital for their mental health (according to Bristol City Council).

We at the Forum are in the process of doing the leadership training so we can begin our new walking group. This will be where we can go for walks as a group of Disabled people – the walks will be accessible.

To find out more about the group and our first walk, contact Dan by emailing mch.bristoldef@gmail.com

Volunteering Opportunities

Getting involved by doing volunteering is another great way of improving people’s mental health. We at the Forum have a range of opportunities which Disabled people can apply for.

To find out more, go to our Voulunteering page on our website.

Join Access Sport at their North and South Bristol Multi-Sport Hubs for Mencap’s Round the World Challenge

Access Sport are running new 16+ sessions as part of the Mencap Round The World Challenge.

As part of a collaborative effort, lots of fantastic deliverers have teamed up to offer multi-sport sessions in North and South Bristol. The 8 week block will then repeat in the alternate venue later in the year after a cycling and wheelchair sports block too so everyone has the opportunity to try all activities. Along the way, participants earn rewards for the hours of activity they complete.

·       South Bristol Hub (The Park Centre, Daventry Road, BS4 1DQ) –  Mondays 11am – 12pm starting 10th May

·       North Bristol Hub (Badminton School, Westbury Road, BS9 3BA) – Thursdays 12.15 – 1.15pm starting 13th May

Participants are required to fill in the below word document to register and return to Joe.Hawkins@accesssport.co.uk.

Call Out for Archival Material for Forging Our Future Research Group

Image of the inside of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

The Forging Our Future Research Group has gathered a wide range of oral history interviews from people who were active in the Disabled People’s Movement in Bristol.  We are now working in partnership with Bristol Museum Service to create an exhibition at MShed based on these interviews.  The exhibition, which will be at MShed in 2022, will tell the as-yet untold story of the Disabled people’s movement in Bristol.  It will be supported by a website that tells these stories in more detail.   

Disabled young people in the Research Group have some great material from our oral history interviews with activists, and we want to add to this with photos, archives, or objects that may once have been connected to the story of Disabled activism in Bristol. 

the Research Group want more material from Disabled people. All material can be copied and returned, or deposited with the Museum Service or Bristol Archives.   

If you would like to send any archival material, please send it to Lori through the following SurveyMonkey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5SMTL5G

Call on the Government to Reply to Petition Calling to Reverse ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders for Covid-19 Patients with Learning Difficulties.

The Government has been sent a petition calling on them to reverse all ‘do not resuscitate’ orders for Covid-19 patients with learning difficulties.  There are over 160,000 signatures now, yet the Government haven’t replied.  This is unacceptable!

We need to ensure this is no longer ignored so can you please email the Health Minister, Matt Hancock MP? 

He will find 160,000 emails hard to ignore!

It would be great if you could also copy in your local MPs and newspapers, so our voices get heard.  Please also send your email to your local Bristol MP.

If you are not sure what to say, you can find some suggested wording here

Send your email to: matt.hancock.mp@parliament.uk with a heading saying End Do Not Resuscitate notices – petition.

The addresses for the four Bristol MPs are the following:

Kerry McCarthy MP (East) – kerry.mccarthy.mp@parliament.uk

Darren Jones MP (North West) – darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk

Karin Smyth MP (South) – karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk

Thangam Debbonaire (West) – thangam.debbonaire.mp@parliament.uk

If doctors have said you have a learning disability, you might want to say something like this instead.

Dear Mr Hancock MP,

You have been sent a petition signed by about 160,000 people.  It says you should stop doctors putting Do Not Resuscitate orders on the medical records of people like me and some older people.

This should not be allowed.  Only we can know if our life is worth living, even when it has been decided that we are not capable of making decisions.

This is because knowing about medicine is different to knowing what it is like to be me, and whether I would rather be dead than alive. 

You have had the petition for some time now and the issue has been in the news but have not replied – not even to let us know what you think about it. 

I also thought your website says that petitions with 100,000 signatures, or more, should be discussed in parliament, if possible.  But you haven’t told us the government’s decision about this.

We want you to respond to the petition and to let us know if it will be talked about in parliament now.

I will be waiting for your answers.

Yours

[put your full name and address in this space]

Participants Wanted for a Disability Arts Project from MAYK!

MAYK logo - white text on a red background.

We’ve been asked by Riddell Erridge, a producing assistant at MAYK, to promote an opportunity for Disabled people to get involved with an upcoming Disability arts project happening in Bristol in May.

The project is called A Crash Course in Cloudspotting by the artist Raquel Meseguer Zafe. Raquel’s work creates theatrical encounters that explore the lived experience of Hidden Disability. Her work also claims rest + horizontality as sites for story telling and spectatorship. 

Raquel’s project invites people with chronic pain and other Hidden Disabilities, who need to rest throughout, to share a story and use our App to communicate their rest with our audience during shows at the end of May (anonymously). 

When participants press ‘start resting’ on our App, it triggers a unique sound loop. Together, these sound loops create the sonic landscape we invite our audience to rest within. This sonic landscape illuminates our collective rest, and in doing so illuminated the hidden worlds of Neurodiverse communities. 

We’re contacting you as we want to connect with people who live or work in the South West area, who might be interested in participating.

For more information & how to get in touch with Raquel, please visit her website here: 
https://uncharteredcollective.com/cloudspotting-participants

Apply to Be Brigstowe’s New Advice & Support Worker – Part Time Paid Opportunity

Square graphic in plu colour with yellow border and white text. Brigstowe logo. Image of a woman laughing whilst sitting down. Text reads: Come work for us Advice & Support Worker 30 hours/week and a link to the applicaton webpage.

Brigstowe have are hiring for a new Admin & Support Worker. It’s an exciting opportunity for someone who is passionate about delivering person centered care, has an understanding of the welfar benefit system and housing support, and wants to have an impact and make a difference to people living with HIV.

Brigstowe’s Advice and Support Team work with people living with or affected by HIV. It is a dynamic and varied role, which holds clients at the heart of service delivery. Their clients come from diverse cultural backgrounds, which include many minority groups. Brigstowe pride themselves on offering services, which are person centered and they continually endeavor to understand and reflect the needs of all communities affected by HIV.

The Advice and Support Team consists of 3 part time workers and the role will require applicants to be able to  work well under pressure, be self-motivated, work off their own initiative but also be a great team player and deliver a service which is responsive, flexible and inclusive. It is a heavily advice based role, so a solid understanding of the welfare benefit system and housing related support is essential. Brigstowe provide a client centered, trauma informed approach to maintaining and sustaining relationships, whilst offering effective liaison and advocacy skills to support clients to understand and access their rights and entitlements. They work with clients to assist them to be more independent and to achieve their goals.

Salary: £25,481 to £27,741 (NJC payscale 19 – 23) 
Hours: Part-Time 30 hours. 
Closing Date:
 Thursday 29th April 2021 11:59pm
Interview Date: Friday 7th May 2021 via Zoom

You will join a collaborative, supportive, motivated and dynamic team.

You will receive

Generous annual leave entitlement 

6% contribution to your pension 

Ongoing training and development opportunities 

Regular one-to-one supervision. 

Brigstowe is committed to reducing inequality, valuing diversity and enabling inclusion. We welcome applications from people with the appropriate skills from all parts of the community 

If you would like more information on this role, please get in touch. 

Please submit your CV, with a covering letter outlining your reasons for applying and how your skills and experience fit the person specification.   All applications will be scored using the person specification and therefore applicants who submit a relevant covering letter are more likely to be offered an interview.  

In addition, please complete the Required Information Form and Equal Opportunities Form.  Please send your CV, covering letter and the other forms to info@brigstowe.org .   

Survey from Bristol Sight Loss on Visual Impairment in Work

The Bristol Sight Loss Council (SLC) – a group of blind and partially sighted people working to improve the quality of life of people with a visual impairment in the city –  are undertaking some research on employment.

Can you complete the following survey by the end of April or circulate it to your contacts.  It is  aimed at ANYONE in employment, who has been employed and employers  and will only take 5 minutes. The results will help inform the SLC’s future engagement with employers.

Go to the followig link to fill out the survey – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd80ZZEeuLIYGgCBhZcTAsYXOjN7Y-HpOlxdX2p3o3VcIpExQ/viewform

A message from WECIL – A New Deal for Disabled People: A Labour Party Regional Roadshow

Photograph of (Labour) Shadow Minister for Disabled people, Vicky Foxcroft MP.

WECIL will host a Labour Party South West regional roadshow via Zoom with the (Labour) Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Vicky Foxcroft MP, on Thursday 13th May from 3pm – 4.30pm.

Vicky told WECIL: ‘As a party, we are determined to be led by disabled people, the experts by experience.’

These roadshows will help develop a response to the National Strategy for Disabled People and a Disability Benefits Green Paper, and start Labour’s four-year engagement programme with Disabled People.

‘As Shadow Minister for Disabled People, I am eager to speak to as many disabled people, charities, disabled people’s organisations, unions and other civil society organisations as possible.’

To attend the Roadshow please register using this link by Thursday 6th May to ensure that they are able to meet all attendees access needs.

Come and find out what the future Mayor of Bristol will do for Disabled people – and get your questions answered.

Images of the four main political party candidates for Bristol Mayor. From left to right: Caroline Gooch, Liberal Democrats; Marvin Rees, Labour (and current Mayor of Bristol); Alistair Watson, Conservative and; Sandy Hore-Ruthven, Green.

If you are a Disabled person living in Bristol, or you are an organisation working with or representing Disabled people, this is your chance to come and ask the person who will be Mayor of Bristol your question.  Hear what the four main candidates for Bristol Mayor are going to do for Disabled people, and what their answers to Disabled people’s questions are.

We are working on organising this mayoral hustings with Bristol Sight Loss Council, Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL), Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, the Independent Mental Health service user Network (IMHN) and WECIL.

The hustings will take place on Wednesday 28th April from 7.00-9.00 pm. The meeting will be a Zoom meeting.

The candidates from the four main parties – Conservative, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrats – have been invited to talk about what they will do on issues that particularly affect Disabled people. Then they will answer questions Disabled people and their organisations have sent in.

The candidates will only be asked questions that have been sent in, in advance.

If you would like to attend, to send in a question please contact Alun from Bristol Sight Loss Council by email alun.davies@pocklington-trust.org.uk or ring 07779 169019. The closing date for booking your place and sending in your questions is 12.00 pm on Monday 26th April. You do not have to attend to have your question asked, but priority will be given to those people who attend the evening.

We hope you can join us!