Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Did you read this report in the weekend’s papers? According to the Telegraph (6/6/09), a fellow teacher said, “This one person would go round and bully a different teacher until they left …”
The italics and bold print are mine, not the Telegraph’s, because I think those two words are crucially important. A teacher who is being bullied has at least the option of leaving, difficult and disruptive to his/her life though that may be.
A pupil at a special school who’s being bullied by a member of staff rarely has that option. Why?
1. It’s unlikely there’s another suitable school nearby. In fact, I’ve been told by parents of special school pupils that they’re frightened to complain about the school or individual members of staff in case life is made so difficult for their son/daughter as a result, that they end up being moved to a mainstream school that is not suitable.
2. Pupils with disabilities can find it difficult to even communicate that they’re being bullied or abused. Think of those children whose speech is very difficult to understand or those who don’t have any speech at all. If no physical evidence of abuse exists, how would you know it was happening?
3. It can be easy for a school or headteacher, who wants to keep the bullying/abuse quiet for fear of repercussions, to discredit a pupil whose speech is good, but who has learning difficulties.
When I was new to special school teaching, a pupil with moderate learning difficulties told me during registration that there’d been a fire at his house the night before. “Has _____ told you about the fire at his house last night?” I asked more experienced colleagues in the staffroom at break. “Er, are you sure he’s just not got mixed up? There was a fire in Eastenders last night.” Sure enough, a quick call to parents established that no, they hadn’t had a fire, but yes, the pupil had watched Eastenders!
It’s important to note here that the pupil wasn’t lying or trying to deceive. He’d simply confused fact and fiction, having got so involved with the storyline of that episode. Such confusion happened with other pupils as well, which was why the teachers with more wool on their backs guessed the truth. But, most of the time, this lad could recall and recount an event accurately.
Think how easy it is, though, for someone to dismiss such a pupil’s complaints about bullying/abuse with a line such as, “Your John’s a lovely lad, Mrs Smith, but he does get things a bit mixed up, doesn’t he? I can assure you, there’s no bulling/abuse going on at this school.” (Names are fictional) Outcome: one reassured parent, one helpless child who’s still being bullied/abused, one bullying/abusing teacher and one manager who should have investigated properly who have both got away with it.
4. Special school pupils usually can’t play truant. If pupils at a mainstream school are being bullied/abused, they might play truant to escape. Most special school pupils are taken to school by bus or taxi, door to door. Even if they have the physical ability to get away (and many with physical disabilities don’t) there’s no opportunity between leaving home and arriving at school to do so. In such cases, school is like a prison for several hours each day or even for weeks at a time, if pupils board.
5. At the school where I blew the whistle, a pupil who I’d reported as being bullied by a teacher couldn’t escape even when he was ill. The Head, who’d already had several complaints from different members of staff about the bullying by that teacher, told the lad’s mother that she must send him to school even if she thought he was ill, and the Head would decide if he was too ill to be in school! The thought of that boy, forced to come to school with discharge from one of his ears so profuse that it had dried on his face, desperately trying to make himself sick so that he would be judged ill enough to go home, still brings tears to my eyes.
6. What about getting the Governing Body to do something about the bullying/abuse, so the pupils doesn’t need to leave the school? Well, I can’t speak for the Governing Bodies of other school, but I do have it in black and white in front of me, that the Governing Body of the school where I blew the whistle offered me a Compromise Agreement of £4060, provided I signed that I would not (and I quote here from the document itself) “make any written statement or oral comments in relation to “the investigation” to the parents ….”. The “investigation”, mentioned here, revealed long-term bullying of pupils by certain staff and failings at school and LEA level in stopping that bullying.
In fact, none of the existing staff criticised in that report was moved from the school.
The bullying re-occurred and had to be re-investigated. None of the existing staff who was criticised was moved from the school.
No, I haven’t repeated myself accidentally. But more of that another time.
By Mrs A Teacher, June 2009
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Local MP Andrew Stunell has joined forces with Mencap and 11 times Paralympic gold medallist Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson to celebrate Learning Disability Week and call for an increase in the number of Changing Places toilets available in the UK.
Changing Places toilets are toilets which have enough space for the person with a disability and their carers, and the right equipment including an adult sized height-adjustable changing bench and a hoist. Standard disabled toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability. There are over 230,000 people who need to use a Changing Places toilet in the UK and yet only 85 Changing Places toilets are available.
A British Standard published earlier this year, recommended that Changing Places toilets should be installed in larger buildings and public buildings, however, this standard is not compulsory. Now Andrew Stunell has teamed up with Mencap to call on the Department for Communities and Local Government to amend the Building Regulations to make the provision of these toilets a legal requirement.
Commenting, Andrew Stunell said:
"We all take being able to go out to the shops or to our local leisure centre for granted and yet there are nearly a quarter of a million people whose lives are severely restricted by not having the right toilet facilities.
"It is certainly dangerous, unhygienic and undignified for anyone to have to be changed on toilet floors and this is why I am supporting Mencap's calls for a change to the Building Regulations so we can ensure the building of more Changing Places toilets.
"Introducing Changing Places toilets in key public places would make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people, and I am calling on the government to do much more to support this worthy cause."
Leroy Binns, spokesman for Mencap, said:
"Without Changing Places toilets people with profound and multiple learning disabilities can't take part in the community like everyone else, which is unfair. We are delighted to have Mr Stunell's backing, and hope we can persuade more of his colleagues to support this important cause."
Politics.co.uk, 29th June 2009
The games, which are for people with learning disabilities, will see athletes from across the UK gather in Leicester to compete in 23 sports. But before the Lothians team can pack their kitbags and head south, they have to complete their mammoth fund-raising drive to build up a £60,000 fund for travel, accommodation and kit.
Hundreds of elderly and disabled people who use seven council-run day centres in Northumberland face a three-month wait to find out whether they can be saved from closure.
A series of public meetings on the future of the threatened centres in Amble, Bedlington, Blyth, Hexham, Haltwhistle, Ponteland and Prudhoe - which are used by 370 people a week - has now been completed, and final decisions will be taken in September.
Further private meetings will be held with individual centre users and their families, and feedback from the public consultation analysed, before reports setting out the various options are presented to county councillors.
Yesterday executive member for adult care, Simon Reed, said it had not yet been decided whether the full 67-member county council or the Liberal Democrat executive committee would make the final decision. He favoured a decision by the full council.
The Lib Dem administration at County Hall is proposing to close the seven day centres, where elderly people meet regularly to chat to friends and take part in social activities. Instead, users would be given 'personal budgets' to spend on getting out of the house and doing activities of their own choosing.
The seven public meetings, which ended in Blyth last Friday, have seen centre users, their relatives, staff unions and local residents and councillors condemn the closures.
Yesterday Coun Reed said: "The day care users who attended the meetings feel they get a good deal and excellent service at the centres, but they also understand the pressures on the council."
The Journal, 30th June 2009
New approach 'somewhere between merger and takeover'
Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the RNIB, has encouraged voluntary organisations to adopt a new model of working in which small charities become associate members of large national charities.
The RNIB has already teamed up with two charities in the sight-loss sector and has now entered preliminary discussions with a third - National Talking Newspapers and Magazines.
The governance model, approved by the Charity Commission, allows the RNIB to become the sole shareholder of associate members, which continue operating under their own names.
Alexander described the model as "somewhere between collaboration and merger or takeover" and said it paved the way for a coordinated national approach to delivering services.
"I hope we are setting a trend," said Alexander, who is also chair of chief executives body Acevo. "When I came to the RNIB I was astounded to find there are more than 700 sight-loss charities. That's lunacy."
Charities owed it to their beneficiaries to make the sector "more logical", she said: "If I had my way, we would have one national sight-loss charity that was responsible for campaigning, infrastructure, strategic marketing and quality initiatives, and a whole carpet of local sight-loss charities delivering services within a framework."
Action for Blind People and the Cardiff Institute for the Blind have already joined the RNIB group. An Action for Blind People spokeswoman said the charity had effectively become an RNIB subsidiary.
The RNIB now markets the activities of Action for Blind People and has withdrawn from services that duplicated its work.
John Kerby, chief executive of National Talking Newspapers and Magazines, confirmed it was in preliminary talks about becoming the next associate. Financial security and the RNIB's national structure were appealing factors, said Kerby. "It would cut out duplication and seems to make sense," he said.
Guide Dogs, the second-largest sight-loss charity, has also been asked to get involved. "It's fair to say they are not keen," said Alexander. "Guide Dogs is obviously the missing component of the association, but we have had positive discussions with other national charities."
Third Sector Online, 30th June 2009
The Accessible Somerset Awards 2009 competition is now open and entries for categories such as A Place To Eat, Accommodation, Recreation and Service, among others, can be made until September 30. Winners will be announced on International Day of Disabled People on December 3.
Visit www.accesssomerset.org.uk or call Compass Disability Services on 0330 333 0089 for a nomination form or send a SAE to Compass Disability Services, Unit 11-12 Belvedere Trading Estate, Taunton, TA1 1BH.
this is somerset. 29th June 2009
From the Daily News comes this story of a Stockton-on-Tees couple who drove their car to Asda, only to have their car break down in the car park.
The husband told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car. The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection, she saw a pair of hairy legs protruding from under the chassis. Unfortunately, although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned his private parts into glaringly public ones.
Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand UP his shorts, and tucked everything back into place. On regaining her feet, she looked across the bonnet and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by.
The RAC mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his forehead.
While at 35 I do not wish to face the interrogation regime of special forces, in my more youthful days I was up for anything. In 1994 I went to Nigeria in the middle of a civil war to teach at a summer camp which involved facing real hardships without the safety nets that are in place during the making of a "reality" TV programme. I left after two weeks, having suffered a bout of food poisoning and a week in a Lagos hospital. This is just one of many adventures I had which makes Big Brother look tame.
Younger disabled people are more included than I ever was and therefore a selection of them would have the motivation and skills for this tougher version of Big Brother.
So will there ever be a significantly impaired wheelchair user with cerebral palsy on Big Brother? Well, it has already happened. In 2006 I was a housemate in the version of Big Brother on Secondlife, an online virtual world imagined and created by its "residents". This version required 12 housemates from around the world to spend eight hours a day online in the house made of glass walls so we were watched by other users, just like being in a zoo. I walked out after a week but that's another story.
So it's not too late for Channel 4 to redeem itself by putting a disabled person in the Big Brother house but are we too diverse for them?
Simon Stevens is an independent disability trainer and consultant
Read Simon Stevens's personal blog
Professor Stephen Hawking has urged Gordon Brown to fight the European Union over "disgraceful" plans to put mobility scooters for the disabled in the same tax bracket as Formula 1 cars.
The EU, which has the power to set import duties for all member states, intends to impose a 10 per cent import tax on the scooters, despite the fact that equipment for disabled people is exempt from tax.
Charities for the disabled say that the extra cost of buying the scooters will have an immediate impact on the number they can afford, meaning thousands of people each year could be denied a vital means of independence.Professor Hawking, who suffers from motor neurone disease, said: "For many of us with disabilities, a mobility scooter is literally a life line – without it we are locked out further from the world around us. To tax the most disadvantaged in society in this way is simply disgraceful."
Ever since the scooters were first invented 30 years ago they have been classed as equipment for the disabled, making them exempt from tax.
But a little-known body called the World Customs Organisation, which advises governments on import duties, recently issued a document recommending that they should be taxed, as it said they could be used by people without disabilities.
Although many countries, including the US, rejected the advice out of hand, the EU decided to accept it, and has put the scooters in the same tax classification as Formula 1 cars.
The EU's customs code committee intends to enshrine the change in law when it meets later this week.
In the meantime, the tax is already being imposed on charities which buy 25,000 of the scooters for disabled people each year, amounting to a total annual tax bill of £6 million.
Jim Dooley, chairman of the Mobility Bureau, the UK's largest supplier of the scooters through charitable organisations, said: "To say these scooters are not just for disabled people is ridiculous. They have more than 20 features which are specifically designed for disabled people. Does the EU really think fit and healthy people go out and buy these as a lifestyle choice?
"When the EU committee was given a demonstration of this equipment, not one person on the committee had a medical qualification and none of them asked for a formal medical opinion.
"This is a real slap in the face for the disabled. We have tried to get the UK government to fight our corner, but so far they've done nothing."
Peter Gower, 57, a Falklands War veteran who broke his back in an accident while he was posted in Germany with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, said his mobility scooter – bought for him by a charity earlier this year – transformed his life after he had become virtually housebound.
"Before I had this scooter, I couldn't really get out of the house and had to rely on my wife all the time," he said.
"It was a very difficult, depressing and isolating time. Why anyone would want to put a tax on mobility scooters is beyond me – I mean, no-one chooses to have these things. They're a necessity, certainly not a luxury."
Bryan Clover, a director at the grant-giving charity Elizabeth Finn Care, said: "With the average scooter costing £2,500, and many disabled people already living in poverty, a 10 per cent tax might not seem much for the MEPs but, for many, every penny counts."
Many of the scooters are used by military veterans, and Sue Freeth, director of welfare at the Royal British Legion, described the import duty as "inexplicable".
She said: "This is a tax on the disabled and on the charities who try to make improvements to their lives.
"We are stretched already in meeting the needs of our beneficiaries and this EU tax only makes our job more difficult."
Godfrey Bloom, the Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has written the the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, urging him to vote against the tax change and seek support from other member states.
He said: "Quite why HM Revenue and Customs feels the need to discriminate against disabled people and the charities who support them is beyond me."
The Telegraph, 29th June 2009
Disabled people are barred from using parts of the rail network because of poor facilities, Ministers have been warned.
Trains which are unsuitable for wheelchairs, a lack of Braille timetables and antiquated platform designs are excluding people with disabilities, said MP Martin Linton (Lab Battersea).
He urged the Government to ensure railways were "accessible for all".
Speaking in the House of Commons, he praised a Government scheme to install lifts at more than 100 stations.
But the design of many platforms made it hard for disabled passengers to get on to trains, said Mr Linton.
For example, in some London stations there is a large gap between the platform and the carriage, or one is higher than the other.
The MP said: "It is extraordinary . . . that we still have this problem, which is a huge obstacle for many disabled people."
He added: "There are various problems with the trains themselves, particularly for the partially sighted.
"There may be priority seating, but locating it can be a problem for them.
"Also, the aisles are often too narrow to give access for wheelchairs."
And even buying a ticket could be a struggle, because blind people could not use computerised touch-screen systems, he warned.
"If there is no audible facility on a touch-screen they cannot be used by visually impaired people - such screens could easily be adapted in that way.
"The text size is often not sufficiently large for partially sighted people to read, so the screens need to be adapted to increase the text size in places where that has not already been done."
Transport Minister Chris Mole said the Government planned to strengthen rail regulations to ensure access for people with disabilities was improved.
He also highlighted work to make the London Underground more accessible.
"Much of the underground system is difficult for disabled people to access because of the era in which it was constructed.
"The constraints caused by the original design of stations can make the installation of facilities such as lifts very difficult.
"London Underground is committed to a core network of step-free stations and although there are currently some 43 step-free stations, with plans for 25 per cent of the network to be step-free by 2010.
"I am sure that he will be pleased to hear that further provision is expected with the introduction of new facilities to support the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012."
The London Echo, 27th June 2009
Despite a neurological condition leaving 24 year old Graham Hunt paralysed from the waist down, new technology has allowed him to start an unexpected hobby - golf.
The Essex resident said, “I used to do martial arts, boxing and play tennis. After I became paralysed I tried wheelchair basketball but I didn’t really get on with it.
“I had bought myself a Nintendo Wii console and the game that came with it was Tiger Woods 2008 so I started playing on the Wii. I thought, ‘If I an swing a Wii around, why can’t I swing a golf club too?”
Though experiments in a wheelchair proved unsuccessful, the £10,000 “Paragolfer” allows him to be held upright to take his swing.
The German machine levels the playing field, supporting users and leaving them free to swing, tee and putt
Now Mr Hunt and his coach Tom Hide of Coastal Golf Academy are working to set up a community organisation to bring golf to more disabled people of all ages in their home area of Great Holland.
Graham has been promoting the game throughout special needs schools in his area and hopes to compete in disabled competitions internationally. Mr. Hidesaid: ‘He could give some of our members a run for their money.’
Sourced from The Daily Mail. See the original sour for more great pictures
Editor, 25th June 2009
The case of Riam Dean, an attractive 22 year old who claims that top fashion store Abercrombie & Fitch relegated her to the stock room due to her prosthetic arm, has received much news coverage. The Guardian reports that:
Dean claims that when she told A&F about her disability after getting the job, the firm agreed she could wear a white cardigan to cover the link between her prosthesis and her upper arm. But shortly afterwards, she was told she could not work on the shop floor unless she took off the cardigan as she was breaking the firm’s “look policy”. She told the tribunal that someone in the A&F head office suggested she stay in the stockroom “until the winter uniform arrives”.
Needless to say if her allegations are proved factually then putting a disabled person out of sight simply due to their disability constitutes clear disability discrimination - both direct discrimination, as she is excluded from some (and probably the best) aspects of her role because of her disability, and under the harassment provisions if a humiliating environment is created.
It’s important to note that A&F deny the allegations, and claim that Dean rejected their efforts to resolve the situation before she resigned. Nonetheless, enjoy as blogger Charon QC pokes some fun at the A&F vision of good looks as taken from their website. As is so often the case with fashion photos, no-one seems to be wearing any clothes. MSNBC reports from America that the brand is “losing its cool” in these straitened times.
This incident shows how uncomfortable some people can become when confronted with disability. You’ll remember the complaints the BBC received from a minority of TV viewers over CBBC presenter Cerrie Burnell, with some concerned that their children were distressed when they saw that she missed an arm, or that they felt unable to explain it to them. Disability only repulses or distresses the ignorant, and of course ignorance is within everyone’s power to overcome, and within everyone else’s duty to dispel in others.
Please take five minutes to watch the excellent piece below that Cerrie Burnell did for the One Show - watching her talk to children sensibly about her disability who are, of course, showing intense curiosity about it, acts as an example to us all.http://www.bbc.co.uk/theoneshow/backstage/interviews.shtml
Usefully Employed, 25th June 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
COVENTRY people with learning disabilities have been busy catching their lives on camera to teach people about the challenges they face.
They teamed up with Coventry charity Grapevine and internet television station CentralVision to make the series of "eye-opening" videos.
The short films are being streamed on CentralVision as part of National Learning Disabilities Awareness Week.
Nearly a dozen people with learning disabilities spoke about their problems linked to finding paid work; trying to live a normal teenage life; a lack of support which stops them staying out late at night; parents who are not allowed to look after their children.
Rishard Beckett, aged 15, was interviewed about his life as an teenager with learning disabilities for the short film, Rishard's Story.
His mother Mel said: "For a long time, Rishard wasn't happy with who he was - he saw other teenagers who were able to do all sorts of things he couldn't do.
"It led to behavioural problems, stress and anxiety and he took it out on the people he knew best.
"But since he has been involved in the different projects and groups, it has changed his life; he has been much happier.
"I hope this video will let people see that Rishard is a very happy young person with learning disabilities and will break down the barriers because a lot of people don't know how to speak to people with learning disabilities."
The four videos were filmed on location and at CentralVision's studio in Courtaulds Way, Hillfields, over a period of five weeks.
Nicola Roper, senior journalist at CentralVision, said: "I had never worked with people with learning disabilities so I did think it was going to be really difficult but it was a real eye-opener; everyone was so positive and so happy to be involved in the project.
"I really enjoyed it. Now I want to show other people what I have seen and open other people's eyes."
To see the videos, log on to www.centralvision.tv this week. National Learning Disability Week runs until Sunday June 28
Coventry Telegraph, 25th June 2009
Well done to RNIB for bringing up this important issue. Getting sight loss diagnosed can be life-changing for people with learning disabilities.Learning Disability Bulletin, 24th June 2009
Cricketing charity fundraisers are turning mountains into mole hills with their ambitious globe-trotting plans.
Richard Kirtley, cousin of former England bowler James Kirtley, successfully organised and played in the highest cricket fixture ever played, when he led an expedition to the Gorak Shep plateau 5,165m up Everest to play a Twenty20 match.
Kirtley now has his eyes set on another record: the world's lowest cricket match.
Kirtley said: "There's a dried-out lake bed in Somalia 300 metres below sea level, so we're thinking we might go down there."
Fellow organiser and Everest Test umpire Alan Curr said: "Actually I think the lowest spot is near the Dead Sea, so for accuracy's sake, we'd rather go there!"
The Everest Test, www.theeveresttest.com, represented three years' dreaming and planning, after Kirtley thought the plateau ideal for a cricket match while trekking there in 2006.
April 21st saw Kirtley realise his ambitions, when Team Hillary beat Team Tenzing (after the first men to set foot on Everest's summit in 1953) in a game where boundary hitting was even more important than your typical Twenty20 game, with oxygen levels just 66% of those found at sea level.
Kirtley said: "We were running quick singles and it was like, holy shit!"
The match raised over £250, 000 for the Lord's Taverners and the Himalayan Trust UK, so the trek has a lasting legacy.
The Lord's Taverners is one of the UK's leading youth sports and disability charities, while Himalayan Trust UK works to protect and preserve the environment and national parks in Nepal and to help alleviate poverty and sickness in the region.
Umpire Curr said: "Since we have got back, everyone has got back to normal life.
"But the lowest cricket match is one of many ideas we have; it is the logical follow-up to Everest."
If half the effort goes into the lowest game, I'm sure these amateur record breakers will prove the sky's the limit for charity fundraising.
The Oval, home of Surrey CCC, is hosting an exhibition of the Everest Test Wednesday July 1st in their Ashes Suite from 7-9pm. Tickets are £10 on the door.
The Daily Dust, 24th June 2009
To mark last week's international Deafblind Awareness Week, Sense has created a new portal called the Sensehub at www.sensehub.org.uk. It will allow people to enter and share a world of sensory experiences online.
Sensehub features lots of interactive elements, including
- Sensori, a live twitter feed that captures every twitter relating to senses like smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing,
- Sensemarks, a live feed of bookmarks capturing everything about the senses, and
- a whole new way of tagging your facebook photos.
From the weird to the wonderful, you'll find it all here. On behalf of the UK's 250,000 deafblind people, we would greatly appreciate if you could help us share this portal link.
If you would like more information visit www.sense.org.uk
Modified from Samedifference, 23rd June 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A new government strategy will guarantee 400 jobs across the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Jobcentre Plus for people with learning disabilities in an attempt to address their poor employment prospects.
As part of the long-awaited initiative, launched tomorrow, to increase the number of people with learning disabilities in paid work and to keep them in employment, staff will be hired to support those who do find work under the scheme, while all government departments are to be issued with guidance to encourage wider recruitment of learning disabled applicants.
The Office for Disability will also announce plans to establish employment pilot schemes based on successful projects in the US. It will call for volunteer employers to set up so-called Project Search pilots that support people with learning difficulties into work by providing internships. A similar scheme pioneered in a Cincinnati children's hospital 13 years ago, often filling posts that had been vacant for a long time with learning-disabled workers, has had an enduring track record at both employing and keeping people in work.
Disability campaigners have been calling for a comprehensive employment strategy in the UK for more than a decade, but while some progress has been made for people with physical conditions, those with learning difficulties have had fewer opportunities. People with learning disabilities are among the most socially excluded groups, with just 17% in work compared to 49% of physically disabled people.
A government spokesperson said more action was needed to help those with a learning disability and that by ring-fencing jobs within the DWP and Jobcentre Plus, it could be a beacon to other public sector employers.
The minister for disabled people, Jonathan Shaw, said: "This strategy will help thousands more people get into work. We want to make sure everyone gets the help and support they need to overcome their barriers to work, fulfil their potential and build a better life for themselves and their families. We have made real improvements over the last decade to the lives of disabled people, but there is still more to do."
The strategy, Valuing Employment Now, has been broadly welcomed by disability campaigners. David Congdon, a former Conservative MP and now head of campaigns and strategy at the charity Mencap, said the strategy sent a "powerful signal" that the government was taking the issue seriously and, if it worked, could act as a catalyst for the public sector to lead the way in employing people with learning disabilities.
"We are cautiously optimistic," Congdon said. "What matters is that the commitment from government is sustained and that we reach the stage where there are realistic targets. It also matters that the right support is made available both at the recruitment stage and once someone is in employment."
Ismail Kaji, who has a learning disability and is also a Mencap spokesman, added: "Everyone should have the opportunity to work. Employment is about having independence, earning your own money and not having to rely on benefits. I hope that this focus on learning disability and employment gives a better chance of finding work."
He cautioned that the government needed to "follow up" on the strategy. "They must check on how many people with a learning disability are actually finding employment, what types of jobs are opening up and what services are being accessed."
The Guardian, 23rd June 2009
Sir Steve Redgrave leads a team in a charity sky diving fundraiser with the Red Devils in aid of Disability Snowsport UK
Together with Crystal staff and instructors from BASI the team will attempt to raise £25,000 for DSUK. They will jump from 13,000 feet as part of a tandem sky dive alongside the Parachute regiment's free fall team 'The Red Devils' at their base in Netheravon, Wiltshire on July 10th.
Disability Snowsport provides access to adaptive skiing for people with disabilities. To take part in a sport such as skiing there are numerous barriers to overcome, including paying for specialist equipment. The charity aims to give people with disabilities access to snow sports at a cost equivalent to that which an able-bodied person would pay.
The event will also be the beginning of a new partnership between Crystal and Disability Snowsport UK. Crystal Ski will use its power as the No1 tour operator to make Disability Snowsport more widely known, offer ski trips at reduced prices and provide practical help and assistance in resort. Crystal's Mathew Prior, said: "We applaud the work the charity does to make snow sports available to disabled people. We will do everything we can, as the leading ski operator, to assist them commercially as well as with practical help in resort and by spreading the word about what they do."
Sir Steve Redgrave is a supporter of the charity and came up with the idea for the jump earlier this year. He said: "I was a bit apprehensive at first and when I broke my leg at a sporting event I thought I would be able to get out of it, but unfortunately the plaster comes off two days before the jump! The money raised is going to a great cause and although I can't say I am looking forward to the jump I am glad we are raising huge amounts of money for the charity."
To sponsor the team, please visit the justgiving page at: www.justgiving.com/sir-steve-red-devils
General information about the charity can be found at www.disabilitysnowsport.org.uk
Older people in Northumberland are threatening a revolt against new charges for day centre care which are being brought in by the county's cash-strapped super council.
Apart from meal and transport costs, attendance at day centres has been free for elderly and disabled people until now. But means-tested fees are being introduced to help County Hall bosses make savings on their adult care budget.
Day centre clients are being assessed and told how much they will have to contribute to their care each week, based on their income and savings.
Now some elderly people and their carers say they will refuse to pay and stop going to the centres.
The move comes in the same month Northumberland County Council announced plans to close day centres it runs in Amble, Bedlington, Blyth, Ponteland, Prudhoe, Hexham and Haltwhistle.
One of those affected by the new charges is retired miner and stroke victim Samuel Goodwin, 75, pictured, of Pont Street, Ashington, who attends the town's day centre run by the St John Ambulance service twice a week.
He was assessed by Northumberland Care Trust last week and told he will have to pay £51 a week for the service.
Yesterday his son-in-law and main carer, Derek Hattle, 59, said: "Sammy could probably afford to pay this charge but he says he has worked all his life and paid his dues, so why should he have to start paying for it at 75? We don't mind making a small contribution but I feel charging that amount for a single person is absolutely disgusting.
"I was totally shocked at what he is being asked to pay, and that is before they have even looked at his savings. Sammy is adamant he is not going to pay this, and that is just going to put a bigger burden on me as his carer.
"I believe a lot of elderly people will drop out of going to day centres, not because they can't afford the charges but because of the principle."
Widow Jane Wood, 68, travels from her home in Wooler, where she lives alone, to meet friends once a week at the St John Ambulance day centre in Berwick.
Following assessment, she has now been told she will have to pay £31 per session, instead of the previous £2.50 she paid for her lunch.
She said: "I am seriously considering stopping going because it doesn't seem fair that just because I receive pension credit they are going to start taking some of it off me. I don't believe I will be the only person thinking of not going because of these charges."
Sheila Lambert, the St John Ambulance deputy county executive officer for Northumbria, said: "We are concerned for our day care clients and some have been in tears over this. There is very little we can do about it, however, as these are financial assessments done by the Care Trust.''
The latest in a series of public meetings on the day care centre closues will be held tonight at Haltwhistle Methodist Church.
There will be another one tomorrow at Amble Social Club, Bede Street; Thursday at The Salvation Army, Hartford Road West, Bedlington, and Friday at the Isabella Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth. All will start at 6pm.
THE COUNCIL'S RESPONSE
Ending free day centre care was agreed by the new unitary county council earlier this year to make savings and help balance its first-ever budget
A council spokesman said the decision followed an earlier consultation about the 'unfairness' of home care users paying substantial weekly charges for their support while day care users were only paying for meals and transport.
"The charges will only be paid by people who can afford to pay it, and many people who are also getting home care will not have to pay extra because they will already be paying for that.
"We are also offering people advice to make sure that they are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to, which may leave some better off even after paying the new charges. The day care charges will be introduced in phases over the next few months.
"They are entirely separate from the consultation about day care centres, and will apply to people receiving any kind of daytime support.''
Rothbury Journal, 23rd June 2009
There are about 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability, and I am one of them. And for many, having a learning disability means your human rights are ignored. Employment is a good example.
It's shocking, that in this so-called age of equality more than 80% of people with a learning disability are out of work because of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination. Only 17% of people with a learning disability are in paid work. This compares to 49% of all disabled people, and 74% for the working age population as a whole. But this isn't a new stat. It's a figure that has been around for many years, and not surprisingly has been growing since the recession. The reality of employment discrimination for people with a learning disability means that more than 800,000 people are receiving benefits who could and want to support themselves.
I'm one of the lucky few. Having a job gives me a purpose. It means that I am independent and able to support myself. Through work I have met lots of new people and grown in confidence. Employment is not something that should be denied to people because of social ignorance.
Tomorrow the government is publishing a new employment strategy that sets out some tough, but important, targets on employment for people with a learning disability. Getting these people into employment isn't impossible. Given the opportunity to prove themselves, most people with a learning disability, like me, can be reliable and effective employees. They can perform as well as non-disabled people if they are given the right support. Companies like the Co-operative and Royal Mail have been employing people with learning disabilities for years – working with the charity Mencap to adopt a creative and accessible approach to recruitment. So what's the problem?
Lack of understanding about what a person with a learning disability can and cannot do means that employment opportunities for someone with such a disability are limited. There's a small number of schemes that help people with a disability apply for jobs. But again the lack of understanding about learning disability means that all too often people with a learning disability are left at the bottom of the pile. Hopefully the new strategy will address this.
It could be said that society has only recently recognised that having a disability does not mean you are unable to do a job. The Disability Discrimination Act (2005) was a major step forward. Its aim is to ensure that disabled people get a fair chance at being considered for a job and that 'reasonable adjustments' are made for disabled people in the workplace. 'Reasonable adjustments' can be anything from flexible work times to tailored training programmes and specialist support services.
The equality bill, expected to come into force in 2010, will bring together all discrimination legislation and has been designed to protect people with a disability more against discrimination. But people with a learning disability will only be given a fair chance if the government starts to measure progress by category of disability to make sure that no one is left behind. Although the government has suggested the new bill will put more responsibility on public authorities to measure what types of disability people have that are getting into work, they have not confirmed whether this will be monitored by category of disability. Without this, people with a learning disability will stay at the bottom of the job pile, and will continue to be some of the most discriminated against people in society.
• Ismail Kaji works for Mencap
The Guardian, 23rd June 2009
Suzuki knows that alternative fuels aren't just for cars. So the Japanese company is turning its eco-friendly eye toward a new market: wheelchairs.
Gizmag says a prototype "fuel cell wheelchair" is in the works, using methanol to generate hydrogen and then electricity. It adds that, with a range of up to 25 miles, the wheelchair would help allay fears of getting stranded.
It's good to see that alternative energy research is going toward vehicles other than golf carts.
From Facebook, 23rd June 2009
Mencap Cymru's Partners in Politics project has made the semi finals of this year's National Lottery Awards.
The awards want to find the UK's favourite lottery funded projects and we are very excited that our project has made it to this stage.
They need your help to make sure that the project that helps those with a learning disability enter the political process reach the final. To register your support for the project, please visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards or call 0844 686 2672
(calls cost 5p) before midday on the 10th of July 2009.
You can see the page on Partners in Politics specificially here.
Bethan Jenkins, 23rd June 2009
Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ:TKTM) company, is proud to announce that in the last seven months it has raised £11,000 for the charity Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland from donations from music fans.
Ticketmaster has been a long term supporter of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, who provide and promote the skilled use of music with individuals, groups and communities who are challenged by disability, illness or injustice. Through this latest initiative Ticketmaster has helped fund the charity's important work, already raising GBP11,000 since November. The proceeds were presented on Friday night at a charity Pop Quiz organised by Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Scotland in Glasgow by Colette Grufferty to Donald Macleod, Chairman of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland.
For all Ticketmaster ticketed events in Scotland customers are presented with the option to make a donation to the charity, should they wish, before finalising their purchase of tickets. This initiative has not been launched for a particular artist or event, but is available for all events and is part of an on-going campaign.
Chris Edmonds, Managing Director, Ticketmaster UK, said: "We wanted to extend our support for the Nordoff-Robbins Trust, and offering customers the option of donating to Nordoff-Robbins Music therapy in Scotland during the purchase process for any event in Scotland was a great way of doing it. At a time when everyone is looking at their discretionary spending, it is fantastic that Scottish music fans are continuing to support this amazing charity."
Donald Macleod, Chairman of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, said: ""On behalf of everyone at Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland and our clients, I'd like to extend a massive "thank you" to Ticketmaster and everyone who chose to donate money to the charity. One pound may not seem like a lot but, as this scheme has shown, every note counts and it means so much to the charity especially in these hard financial times."
PR Hub, 23rd June 2009
A CHARITY boss is facing the sack over a sick joke about Madeleine McCann.
Senior manager Lynn McBain has been suspended after referring in a staff newsletter to "McCann oven chips" disappearing from her oven after she left them there for 20 minutes .
Madeleine, four, disappeared 13 months ago in Portugal.
The 10-page booklet for Enable Scotland also insulted the family of a woman with learning difficulties, who is a client of the charity.
McBain described the woman's sisters, from Ayrshire, as "witches" who had come to blows with staff.
The family complained to charity chiefs when they were shown a copy of the booklet.
McBain, who is in charge of the content of the monthly newsletter, was then suspended pending an investigation.
A source at Enable said: "Lynn McBain is supposed to be a role model on how the staff behave and how they speak to other people.
"The jokes she has allowed in to this news letter are beyond belief. They are totally inappropriate and offensive.
"It was also very clear to Enable's Ayrshire staff which family were being referred to in the story she wrote about 'the witches', which was also bang out of order."
In the newsletter, McBain, of West Kilbride, thanks her "lovely partner" for his "awful jokes" and invites people to send her ideas.
A spokesman for Enable said: "We were shocked and appalled by some of the contents that were inappropriate and offensive.
"Our directors and trustees wish to apologise unreservedly to the families concerned for the offensive and unsuitable material in this newsletter."
Daily Record, 6th June 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Campaigners are fighting to have more public toilets in Devon and Cornwall specially designed for people with severe disabilities.
Mencap says there is currently only one such place - in Devon at Plymouth's Drake Circus shopping centre.
According to the charity, there are 19,000 people in the South West with profound and multiple disabilities.
It is calling on the government to make suitable facilities mandatory in all new public places.
Mencap says there are only 85 fully-accessible toilets in the UK, with adjustable benches and a hoist.
Denise Clarke, who lives in Exeter and has a 13-year-old son with severe disabilities, said using public conveniences, including those designated as disabled toilets, was an ordeal.
"There are disabled toilets around, but not enough with changing places like a bench and a hoist so people can be more independent," she told BBC News.
"Most people just end up doing it on a dirty floor or, like us, because of Liam's weight, we take him back and change him in the car."
Mencap says as more emphasis is put on caring for people in the community, the provision of specially-adapted facilities is even more important.
Mike Trim from Exeter City Council said it was important to raise public awareness, so the need for facilities was known when big projects or refurbishments were planned.
"Every time a carer is forced to change a disabled family member on a dirty toilet floor, it is a stain on the conscience of our country," Mencap Chief Executive Mark Goldring said.
BBC Spotlight Monday, 22 June 2009
Nearly a quarter of a million disabled people in the UK are being denied access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs, forcing their carers to change them on toilet floors, according to research published today.
The research, commissioned by charity Mencap, found that 230,252 people, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, are being denied access to adequate public toilet facilities.
Mencap, which is a member of the Changing Places Consortium, is now calling for fully accessible toilets, known as Changing Places toilets, to be available in all big public places. There are currently only 85 in the UK.
Changing Places toilets are different to standard accessible toilets and include an adjustable changing bench and a hoist to allow people to use the toilet with assistance or have their incontinence pads changed.
The charity is using Learning Disability Week, which starts today, to urge the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to change building regulations to make Changing Places toilets mandatory in all new public places.
Julie Marriott whose 11-year-old son Toby has profound and multiple learning disabilities, said: "I am racked with guilt every time I lie my son Toby down on a dirty toilet floor because I know I am risking his health. But I have no other option. We can't stay at home all the time.
"If there were Changing Places toilets in public places we wouldn't have to cut short our family days out or face changing Toby on a filthy toilet floor. Our lives would be dramatically improved and we would be able to enjoy days out, just like other families."
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap, said: "Every time a carer is forced to change a disabled family member on a dirty toilet floor it is a stain on the conscience of our country.
"The Government must take immediate action and make Changing Places toilets mandatory in all new big public places, otherwise they will continue to let down a quarter of a million of our most vulnerable citizens."
Mencap is calling for people to support the Changing Places campaign for fully accessible toilets by signing an online petition which will be presented to the DCLG in October.
For more information go to www.mencap.org.uk/changelives
Community Newswire, 22nd June 2009
Are you a Deaf BSL User?
We need you!
Help us develop a questionnaire in BSL
to find out more about the way Deaf signers approach life
Who can join?
To join you must be Deaf, aged 18 or over, use BSL as your main language and be in good physical and mental health
What will you do?
You will answer an online signed questionnaire twice.
Will you get something?
Yes! All volunteers will receive £20.
If you are interested visit:
DeafZINE, 22nd June 2009
Charities could be taken to employment tribunals if amendment becomes law
A new clause has been proposed in the Equality Bill that would allow volunteers to take their organisations to employment tribunals over discrimination claims.
Tim Boswell, Conservative MP for Daventry, has put forward an amendment to the legislation proposing that volunteers should be treated in exactly the same way as employees in cases where they claim to have been discriminated against.
The Equality Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, reduces nine existing pieces of legislation into a single act that aims to make the law on discrimination more accessible. Boswell's new clause states that, with the exception of matters related to pay, "all rights of employees under this act are deemed to extend to persons who work as volunteers without remuneration; and all duties of employees and their employers to avoid discrimination are deemed to extend to volunteers working without remuneration".
Boswell told Third Sector that, if adopted, this would be the first time volunteers' rights were guaranteed by law. He said organisations should not attempt to avoid discrimination laws by relying on volunteers to provide services, and he hoped the new clause would attract debate over the coming weeks.
Andrew Harrop, head of public policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: "We often hear from older people who have been unfairly excluded from volunteering opportunities, so we are very pleased that Tim Boswell is suggesting the Equality Bill should address this injustice."
Third Sector Online, 22nd June 2009
by Oscar Morse - Cornish Guardian - 17 June 2009
A member of a local choir is well on his way to completing a 200-mile sponsored walk which he is also doing to celebrate his 70th. birthday.
Gordon Davison's age has not stopped his hiking though three national parks in the north of England.
Mr. Davison is raising money for Tintagel Orpheus Male Voice Choir and www.disabledsouthwest.co.uk , an online magazine run by his friend and choir accompanist Alan Dawe.
Mr. Davison is hoping to raise over £1,000, with the money split between the beneficiaries.
Mr. Dawe said the money would greatly help to continue to run his website.
"It is funded from my own personal disability benefits and with the present economic climate it is getting increasingly harder to funs the web space and broadband fees, so go Gordon, I say "
He set off on June 3 from Robin Hoods Bay in North Yorkshire and should finish his walk this week at St Bees in Cumbria.
Mr. Davison has averaged 13 miles a day and regular updates on his progress have been available on the choir's website.
The Cornish Guardian caught up with him just as he was on the border of Cumbria. Mr Davison said the weather had been largely kind so far with only slight periods of rain.
"I walked the Pennine Way four years ago without much problem, but I have to admit these last few years have made a hell of a difference. My feet are standing up pretty well but my knee is playing up a bit" he explained. " But the weather had been pretty good really, although it tends to get cold up here, but the scenery is gorgeous".
Mr Davison said he was happy to help the choir and Mr. Dawe in raising money.
"Alan is our one-legged pianist and is an absolute gem of a man and the work he does with the disability website deserves some support".
www.tintagelmalevoicechoir.org.uk, 22nd June 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
In the previous article (http://editor-disabilityarticles.blogspot.com/2009/05/ass-about-face.html) Chris is right when he suggests there is a fundamental flaw in the whole thinking process behind 'access for the disabled.' Because after all ramps and automatic doors are not there to accommodate my needs but the needs of me in a wheelchair.
Now I'm not suggesting radical surgery, no, though through my own self image I don't actually perceive myself as having a disability. And sure limbs don't work quite right and I experience the sort of pain that makes me scoff at this pill popping generation that reach for the Anadin at the slightest twinge. But actually if you really think about it, its not me that's wrong or my environment.
Take the British Museum ...
An amazing place architecturally, to say nothing of the many floors of exhibits.
Do I hate that? No!
Look at the symmetry of those stairs in the picture on the right, its a thing of beauty and if I ever find a team of people willing to carry me, I would love to see the perspective change as I traverse up and down ... email me if you are strong: email@example.com
As a wheelchair user My life is predominated by looking for wide doorways, lifts, ramps and dropped kerbs for my wheelchair, but isn't have a disability enough of a pain in the ass already?
On the left you will see two wheelchairs. The first dates from about 1900-1910.
The other I grabbed off a shopping website today and would cost you about £800 - £1000.
Fundamentally the design hasn't changed all that much in 100 years, has it?
Now okay, the geeks and wheelchair purists amongst you will be writing the messages of complaint right now to say that you have a power chair, a scooter or whatever. but how would it cope with the British Museum steps?
Editor, 21st June 2009
FRANK Lees might have cerebral palsy... but that won’t stop the 20-year-old reaching for the sky later this year.
Frank, pictured right, from Prescot, enjoyed a three-day selection course at RAF Cranwell and has been given the chance to learn to fly through the charity Flying Scholarships for the Disabled.
Born prematurely, Frank now suffers from both cerebral palsy and hemiplegia, which limits his mobility.
He will be undertaking a residential four-week flight training course at Lasham Airfield, Hampshire, with the British Disabled Flying Association.
The scholarship includes all flight training and associated ground school tuition, as well as his accommodation.
The aim of FSD is to help disabled recipients restore confidence and regain self-esteem through the physical and mental challenge of learning to fly a light aircraft. The thrill and freedom of flying enables them to reach previously undiscovered potential and helps view their lives in terms of their abilities, not their disabilities.
For many past scholars, the new-found confidence that FSD has instilled in them has helped them to resume or start new careers.
The charity is financed through sponsors, charitable trusts, public donations and local fundraising.
Additional information on the FSD charity can be found on the website at toreachforthesky.org.uk Since 1983 nearly 300 disabled people have experience the thrill and freedom of flight through the scheme.
St Hellens Star, 19th June 2009
London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, has decided to support Dixon Jones Exhibition Road scheme in Kensington.
The road scheme has been the center of controversy between the city and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
According to Building Design, there were over 100 opposers who rallied around City Hall to protest "against Johnson’s £13 million contribution to the £25 million Exhibition Road plan."
The reason Guide Dogs for the Blind are worried is because the new scheme would make the streets extremely dangerous for the blind. The new streets would remove kerbs (curbs), barriers and create a single surface street. Guide Dogs for the Blind argue that without their safety precautions, drivers will become more reckless.
Johnson didn't even come outside to speak to them. Instead, he wrote a letter that stated, "I want the streets of London to be accessible to everyone in our community, including those who are blind and partially sighted. I acknowledge shared space is not a traditional design approach in the UK, but I do not consider that this would diminish the safety of road users."
Guide Dogs for the Blind spokesman, David Cowdrey retorted back, saying, "They want a single surface at any cost. The whole point of the design is that you make eye contact [with drivers]. If you have learning difficulties or are visually impaired you’ll have difficulty."
"Boris has refused to talk to the disabled people of London — he hasn’t got the courtesy. It’s sad."
Instead, it's very sad. What do you think about shared streets?
Image courtesy of Building Design and Conservative Home. All rights reserved.
Doggy Blurb, 19th June 2009
WHEELCHAIR user Rosemary Bolinger has been finding out how easy it is for the disabled to enjoy Weymouth’s tourist industry.
Rosemary, a trustee of cerebral palsy charity Scope, has been on a five-day trek along the south coast for the charity to see how accessible different resorts are to the disabled.
The former nurse manager, 52, and her husband Dale have looked at access to train stations, hotels and restaurants in Bognor Regis, Southsea, Bournemouth and Poole and Weymouth.
Rosemary, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 40 and has been using a wheelchair for over ten years, said that Weymouth is ‘doing very well’ overall.
She said: “I used to think as a nurse that I understood about disability issues, but I really didn’t, and you really don’t until you’re in a chair yourself.
“What we often find is that hotel proprietors, for example, know what’s required in terms of disabled access but it might be quite different from one particular person’s needs, which is why I’ve been doing this assessment for Scope.”
Rosemary arrived at the town’s train station and called first at the Tourist Information Centre on Weymouth Esplanade.
She said she found the building ‘very accessible’ and the staff ‘very good and understanding’ of her needs.
Rosemary was also directed to stay at Green Gables guest house in Weymouth’s Park District, which she has also described as ‘very good.’ She said: “So far, Weymouth compares well to the other places we’ve visited. Southsea was really disappointing and Poole had a big problem when it came to finding disabled accommodation.
“Weymouth’s been so good that I’m already saying that I’d like to come back for a few more days.”
Dale, 53, who still works as a senior charge nurse, has accompanied Rosemary on her five-day trip.
He said: “The other side of this project is that it’s a way of saying to disabled people: ‘Here’s what’s out here and available.
“‘If you don’t use it, you could lose it’ because if the good facilities aren’t used they could end up disappearing.”
Responding to Rosemary’s praise of Weymouth’s Tourist Information Centre and staff, accommodation manager Adrian Parry, said: “It’s fantastic news.
“I’m glad our staff have been recognised for their excellent customer service.”
Green Gables guest house, co-owner Paula Raftery said: “We’ve gone out of our way to make the ground floor room disability friendly and we hope that other establishments in the borough start to do the same.”
Scope is a national disability organisation that focuses on children and adults with cerebral palsy and people living with other severe and complex impairments.
The charity says its aim is to ‘drive the changes that will make our society the first in which disabled people are able to realise their full civil liberties and human rights’.
As part of its Time To Get Equal week, Scope encouraged as many people as possible to sign up to their pledge to help raise awareness about the importance of access for disabled people.
The charity is also urging people to ‘speak up’ if they see a disabled person being treated unfairly.
A spokesman for the charity added: “This could mean, for example, if someone was in a restaurant that was not accessible for wheelchair users they could mention this to the manager.”
A copy of Scope’s equality pledge is available online at timetogetequal. org.uk/pledge and hard copies are available in Scope shops.
To find your nearest shop go to www.scope.org.uk and for more information on Scope’s equality pledge visit www.timetogetequal.org.uk/ pledge
Dorset Echo, 19th June
Blue badge charges may be made for anyone using a number of city car parks including Magdalen Street, Chapelfield East and Rose Lane.
There will be a phased introduction of the new costs which range from 80p to £1.40 an hour and in some car parks could stack up to £15 a day or £5 for five hours.
The current off-street car parks income estimate for 2009/10 is £4.5m and the charges would generate an additional estimated income of £24,000 during the rest of 2009/2010.
Today disabled and access groups said as long as the measures were put in place properly they would support them.
George Saunders, chairman of Norwich Access Group, said: "We were consulted on these moves and we said we did not have a problem with them as long there were bays which were policed adequately and are also the right size.
"We want them to be marked properly and we need to ensure the ticket machines are accessible and the right size. Some times ticket machines can be difficult to reach.
"We think disabled people have the ability to pay just as anyone would. As long as it goes ahead in the right way then we are supportive of this."
In Norwich some car parks already charge fees - disabled people pay £5 for five hours in St Andrews car park, which has 1084 spaces and £15 for the same time at St Giles car park.
Some will see a massive increase with charges proposed to rise from nothing to £2.40 for two hours in Chantry car park and in Chapelfield East where blue badge holders go from paying nothing to £15 for five hours.
The council believes if blue badge charges were not increased there would not be sufficient funds for reinvestment, maintenance and repair of council public car parks.
From April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, 4,886 new blue badges were issued.
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: "Like many councils in the current economic climate, we are having to review our car parking policies for blue badge holders.
"Our income from car parks is likely to fall over the next few years and this will make it much more difficult to support free off-street parking for blue badge holders, while continuing to provide and maintain off-street parking sites in the city centre.
"If income levels from our car parks are insufficient, we face the prospect of losing them early to development, leaving disabled users without the valuable access to the city centre these spaces provide.
"This proposed change will not in any way affect the on-street disabled parking spaces and we have consulted with key disability organisations, the Norwich Access Group and Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, about them. Both groups have given their support, provided suitable and accessible payment machines are provided and other conditions are met."
The plans will be discussed at an Executive meeting of Norwich City Council on June 24 at 5.30pm in City Hall. For more information and to look at the agenda log onto www.norwich.gov.uk
Only Cllr Bibby, the Conservative Leader of Bury Council, could manage to insult so many local people in one meeting.
The local paper is reporting that Cllr Bibby commented that being disabled was a "reality of life" after admitting that disabled children being sent to a school without disabled access would be a "bit of a problem".
As someone who is disabled I am happy to enlighten Cllr Bibby that disability is more than a "bit of a problem" and, whilst it may be a reality of life, such throw-away remarks and obvious complete lack of understanding of disabled people, their concerns and needs in coping with the daily realities of life are almost beyond contempt. In fact when I read the comments I had to read them twice, because I couldn't believe that someone elected to represent local people, including the disabled, could say such a thing.
Equally alarming is that Cllr Bibby is leader of the Council and no doubt responsible for disability stratagies and helping the disabled enjoy equal access to services and facilities. Oh dear.
Incredibly this furore came about because of the proposed closure of Riverside in a couple of years time with Radcliffe children being encouraged to attend the "non-disabled" access The Derby High School while a new Radcliffe school is being built.
Cllr Bibby hit top score in the insult stakes when not only he offended the disabled, but arguably the most vulnerable of disabled groups - the young disabled. It's bad enough going through the inevitable growing pains and other emotional upheavals you ordinarily face at that stage in your life. You just want to fit in and join in - Something Cllr Bibby clearly doesn't understand. I hope he has at least the courage to apologise or failing that perhaps the rest of the Conservative group will publicly distance themselves from his remarks.
Vic Dalbert, 18th June
A disabled man that was traveling the Iarnrod Eireann on the Cort to Thurles line has been repeatedly harassed by the crew on the train. The man was given permission to travel on the train as long as he stayed in the food cars so there was room for everyone to move around. Unfortunately the powered wheelchair was wider than certain areas in the cars and he would become stuck while trying to move. Instead of trying to help this disabled man the crew became nasty and rammed him with food carts to vent the anger they had to deal with a man in a wheelchair. In addition, the crew would gather to talk about the man in public and point to him so that everyone in a particular car would know who they were talking about. To add insult to injury, as the man was disembarking from the train the crew members were throwing raw eggs at him. The train company has offered to give the man a manual chair but that was refused because he does not have the strength to move himself with his arms. (Source: Belfast Telegraph)
Obviously there are serious problems with how disabled people are treated by company employees. It is not this man's fault that he is disabled or that he requires a powered chair to get around. He has the right to be anywhere that an able-bodied person is and should not have to worry about physical torture. Crashing carts into this man because he can't get out of the way fast enough is truly disgusting. One wonders exactly the kind of people are hired by a ghoulish company and how they stay employed. If there was ever a group that needed anger management classes as well as classes on how to deal with people different than themselves, it is this group on the train. There is no excuse for this disabled man to dodge trays and eggs thrown at him as he moves from train car to train car. I seriously doubt that these employees would like to be treated as they treated this man on this trip.
This is also a good time to talk about getting an ADA type law in the UK. Disabled people have been on the bottom rung of society for too many years. Most of us had good paying jobs and paid our taxes until we were injured to the point that we could no longer work. At that point society has a responsibility to take care of their own, now just whoever is strong and beautiful today. That type of thought died out when the Nazis were defeated in 1945. Disabled people are just like anyone else, they just need equipment and help to move around from place to place. Most of us don't want the able bodied help or pity but we do want to be on the same level as everyone else. We should be able to get into buildings and homes without any special equipment. Taxis should be modified so they can take a wheelchair. The disabled as demanded to go back to work regardless of their injury, but society makes no attempt to help make that happen. Helping a disabled person get through a manual doorway not only helps them, it helps you to be a better person.
Spinal Cord Resources Network, 18th June 2009