Wonder Boy on Demand from Bristol Old Vic!

An exclusive sneak preview of Wonder Boy On Demand

With less than a week to go until the On Demand stream of the “unmissable” (UK Theatre Web) Wonder Boy, written by Ross Willis and directed by Sally Cookson, Bristol Old Vic wanted to share with you a sneak peek of the show, where you can see the incredible cast and creative captioning in action!

In this exclusive clip, Sonny (Raphel Famotibe) is sent to the Deputy Head’s office. There he meets the fiery and fast-talking Roshi (Juliet Agnes), who immediately decides they’re going to be best friends. Whether Sonny’s quite ready for this friendship is another question…

Get your Limited Early Bird tickets from £15 until midnight (GMT) Sunday 22 May, with BSL and Audio Described versions available.

You can book to stream the show here: https://bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/wonder-boy-on-demand?utm_campaign=13211250_Wonder%20Boy%20%20On%20Demand%20%20solus%202%20%20Sneak%20preview&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Bristol.Old.Vic&dm_i=1KNW,7V5V6,18JHSL,W439Y,1

Stream Wonder Boy On Demand | Unlimited viewing from 23 – 29 May

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Quality of Live 2022 survey

Logo for the Royal National Institute of Blind People - black text with a pink line underneath it on a white background. The text reads "RNIB".

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) wants to know more about the experiences of:

a) blind people,

b) deaf-blind people, and

c) those living with a vision impairment in the UK today,

and how those experiences affect their quality of life.

They want to understand what’s most important to people – what’s difficult, easy, what’s missing from everyday life and what brings people joy.

To do this, RNIB have created a survey that explores different areas of life.  RNIB will be able to use the information gathered to plan work out where they can have the greatest impact on people’s lives, ensuring people have the kind of support they need and helping people to achieve their goals.

If you would like to help them do this, by taking part in a 30-minute telephone survey, you can directly contribute to RNIB’s understanding of people’s experiences with vision impairment and what is most important to them.

To let them know you would like to take part, or if you’d like more information before deciding, contact: rosa.grossman@revealingreality.co.uk and/or, eliza.bacon@revealingreality.co.uk and/or, sofina.suhaimi@revealingreality.co.uk.

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 https://www.bristol.gov.uk/streets-travel/traffic-regulation-orders-tros 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 julia.modern@inclusionlondon.org.uk

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: https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/ Citizens Advice also have a helpful page on support for energy costs here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/grants-and-benefits-to-help-you-pay-your-energy-bills/

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: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/

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: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

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 https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/problems-with-your-energy-supply/problems-getting-to-or-topping-up-your-prepayment-meter/

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 https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/check-prepayment-meter-rules

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: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/complain-about-an-energy-company/complain-to-your-energy-supplier/

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: https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/government-payments-discounts-heating-bills/

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: https://97f2d5a9-ec44-4459-bc22-4c8c4ff0fdb2.filesusr.com/ugd/4e74de_25c50ed35dd24765ab2d4bb05e8dd8f7.docx?dn=Requesting-a-review-of-financial-assessment.docx

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. http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/268/hdr_2007200 

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

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Graphic: Black text on a white background surrounded by black line clouds, a bright green ribbon and the logo of the Mental Health Foundation.
Text: Mental Health Foundation. Mental Health Awareness Week 9-15 May 2022. Together we can tackle lonliness. #IveBeenThere

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 9-15 May 2022.

The theme this year is Lonliness.

“One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others. ” (Quote taken from Mental Health Foundation.)

More information on the week long event and helpful mental health resources can be found on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

Long Covid

(First paragraph comes from The Bristol Cable‘s email newsletter 6th May 2022.)

” 😷 The number of Bristolians thought to have long covid is “frightening”, local health bosses have said. 
An estimated 12,500 residents in the city have the condition, recently described by a support group founder as the “biggest mass disabling event in history”. Jen Tomkinson, head of specialist services at healthcare provider Sirona, which is running Bristol’s long covid services in partnership with a wide range of NHS partners, said:
“The numbers are frightening – 12,000 people in our area certainly gives me palpitations”.

Forum Manager, Laura J Welti said:”We have been warning that this would happen.  I wish we had been wrong but, with little government or Public Health England public information about the chances of catching long Covid,  and its effect on your life, this is not surprising news. 

“They especially have not made clear that you can get long COVID, whether you’ve had a bad or mild dose of COVID.  So, it was inevitable that a relaxation in mask wearing, social distancing and staying at hope if you have COVID, would lead to this.
“Perhaps if the messaging had been stronger, more would have considered vaccination, too.”

May Guided Rides and Accessible Rental Bikes for Wheelchair Users from Strawberry Line Cycles

Logo for Strawberry Line Cycles - a gold outlined red train station sign on a pink background with a red train and gold text which reads "Strawberry Line + Cycles".

Strawberry Line Cycles is a not-for-profit bicycle rental organisation that  is all about getting people outdoors on the beautiful Strawberry Line in Yatton, North Somerset.

They have a range of bikes that you can hire out, including adaptable bikes for Disabled people. Their newest addition is a bike that enables people who use awheelchair to get out cycling. The bike is available for you to hire by booking on their website.

Photograph of a bike for a person who is a wheelchair user that you can hire from Strawberry Line Cycles.

The organisation also does Guided Rides where you join a group for a cycle along the Strawberry Line, with an experienced ride leader. For this you can bring your own bike or use one of theirs. They are free to join and begin at Strawberry Line Cycle Project, Yatton, BS49 4AJ.

Upcoming Rides:

Wednesday 11th May, 10.30am

Wednesday 18th May, 10.30am

Please do contact them for other ride times, as they can arrange rides on request. You can contact them by emailing strawberrylineprojects@gmail.com or phoning 07983816426.

Family Health Event in St Pauls on Saturday 7th May from NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestshire CCG

Poster for NHS BNSSG CCG St Paul's Community Family Health Day event.
Graphic: white text on a green brackground surrounded by clusters of red and yellow plus sign shapes. 4 photos of female doctors who will be at the event and logos of various organisations taking part.
Text: St Pauls Community Family Health Day. Saturday 7th May 11-3pm. St Paul's Learning Centre, BS2 8XJ.
Come and hear local Health Professional's talk about: Childhood Obesity, How to get the most out of  your Healthcare provider, Covid Vaccine, Heart Health and Stroke Prevention, Cancer Prevention and Screening, Traditional and Modern Medicine Approaches. Ask your health questions. Great vibes and information. Your health is your real wealth! Food and refreshments by Glenn's Kitchen. Children adn families welcome. Come and visit the kidz zone!

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestshire CCG are hosting a Community Family Health Day at St Paul’s Learning Centre on Saturday 7th May 11am to 3pm.

Families and children are welcome and will be supported with entertainment.

Food and refreshment will be available.

And, most importantly, there will be Doctors, Pharmacists and other health professionals for open discussions regarding:

Cardiac health and stroke prevention,

Covid vaccine queries and on-site vaccination,

Cancer Prevention and Screening,

Childhood Obesity and Childhood Wellbeing,

Discussing traditional and complementary medicine, and

Getting the best from your Healthcare provider.

Summer Jobs for 18-25 year olds with Live Music Now

Logo for Live Music Now: three brightly coloured shapes (one purple, one red and one yellow) that look like an L, an M and a N and a red horizontal line with black text next to it all on a white background. The text reads "Live Music Now".

Are you an emerging musician, event producer or digital creative who would like to make a career in the arts?

Do you live in or near Weston-super-Mare?

Are you 18-25 years old?

Then apply to work with Live Music Now on their upcoming ‘Round Here High Street music project with Historic England!

‘Round Here is an album of six compositions, created by communities in six High Streets Heritage Action Zones working with Live Music Now musicians and local emerging musicians. The project aims to strengthen connections with local areas through musical reflections of local heritage. Working together, musicians and communities will draw out thoughts, experiences, and memories of local people to create beautiful and unique musical compositions. These will be performed in a live musical moment across all six sites and produced into a series of music videos in partnership with local young creatives, to be shared in a press and marketing campaign celebrating the secrets of the heritage in our high streets.

Live Music Now are looking to hire six emerging musicians and two event producers, as well as one digital content creator  to help deliver the project.

Here are some more details about each of the roles:

6 x Emerging musicians – to run workshops and create a song, one per area. Essential criteria: Looking to make music their career and are good musicians. You need to be able to play at a high standard as you’ll be using your instrument/voice to deliver this work.

2 x Emerging producers – to work on organising events. Essential criteria: Experienced in producing events, either within a venue or outdoors. You do not have to have produced a large-scale event or led the production of the event, but this role is not suitable for someone who has no or very little experience.

1 x Digital content creator – to make 6 music videos. Essential criteria: Has experience of producing high-quality videos and digital content and has access to and is confident in using editing software and equipment

They are open to all applicants and are particularly interested in working with people who see themselves as underrepresented in the music industry, especially those who think they will enter the profession via a non-formal route and those who identify as Disabled.

Deadline to apply: 9am on Thursday 5th Mat 2022.

Please complete their online application form before the deadline: www.surveymonkey.com/r/roundherejobs


If you would like to submit your application in another format they would be happy to accommodate this. Please contact the office on 020 7759 1803 or email emily.roberts@livemusicnow.org.uk so that suitable alternatives can be discussed.

All Disabled candidates who meet the essential criteria will be interviewed. Short-listed candidates will have the opportunity to discuss their access requirements for the interview.

For more information about the roles and Live Music Now, visit: https://www.livemusicnow.org.uk/seeking-18-25-year-old-emerging-musicians-and-producers/