Have you got the Changing Places Toilet Finder app?

Changing Places Tom

Tom Gordon, who has a background as a master locksmith, produces RADAR keys for accessible loos and has developed an app to find your nearest Changing Places. Here, he speaks to UCan2 editor Victoria Galligan about why the UK falls short when it comes to Changing Places…

What are the different types of accessible toilets and what is the difference between them? (Changing Places, disabled access, Space2Change etc)

Meryem spreads her wings

Park Road

A young woman from Sittingbourne who is living proof that having learning difficulties need not stand in the way of being independent, has written her own account of the progress Park Road has enabled her to make over the past year.

Meryem Kizigol, 34, said:

“When I came to Park Road at the start of March last year I was unable to do a lot of the basic stuff. I kept myself to myself - a very lonely life. I can now do all my own laundry myself, cook, go for daily walks, do house chores and even do my own food shopping.  After a lot of support and encouragement I have been able to do this with no support from staff.”

Over 1,000 people with MS help create new charity website

MS Society

Over a thousand people living with MS have helped develop a new MS Society website, to be launched this week.

The MS Society recruited a panel of 150 people from the MS community to share views on the new site, which goes live today. The panel provided feedback on everything from design and content, to ease-of-use. A further 1,000 people fed back online, and over 800 on the beta homepage.

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said:

Parking advice for Blue Badge holders

Blue Badge

One-in-five Blue Badge holders cant use disabled bay spaces because they are used by drivers with no disability, says research from the Baywatch Campaign of Disabled Motoring UK, but Ryan Jackson, MD of Gemini Parking Solutions, suspects the numbers could be even higher. Knowing your rights when it comes to parking can help you face the issues that might come up with confidence. Here, Ryan clears up any grey areas and explains the rules:

The Blue Badge Scheme in England: Your Rights

Research shows that children with autism are able to create imaginary friends

Imaginary companions

PLAYING with imaginary companions (IC) helps children learn essential social skills such as empathy with other people.  It is often believed that autistic youngsters are incapable of creating pretend play pals – a further hindrance to their development of emotional understanding.

But now a project headed by a University of Huddersfield researcher confirms that children diagnosed with autism are able to create and play with ICs.  Further research is to be conducted and could eventually help to develop new therapies.

Saddle Up for Summer with Accessibility Mark

Accessibility Mark

It has never been easier for disabled people to have a go at horse riding with 48 Accessibility Mark accredited centres up and down the country, providing riding opportunities for people with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

The RDA, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Why Naidex was well worth a visit for all things mobility

Sensara awards at Naidex

Naidex 2018 – Europe’s largest and most established event for the disability sector – took place at Birmingham’s NEC last week. It welcomed guests including actor Warwick Davies and beauty vlogger Kat (see video), not to mention a whole host of expert speakers on everything from social media to spinal cord injuries.

Our editor Victoria Galligan went along to meet exhibitors, are here are some of her highlights:

Ealing domiciliary care service rated Outstanding by CQC

Living Domiciliary

Ealing based, Support for Living Domiciliary Care Agency, has been rated Outstanding overall by the Care Quality Commission.

It was rated Outstanding for being well-led and effective. It was rated Good for being safe, caring and responsive, following the inspection in December 2017.

Support for Living Domiciliary Care Agency provides care and support to people living in 'supported living' settings, so that they can live in their own home as independently as possible.

The provider, Certitude, is a national provider of services for people with a learning disability, physical disability or with mental health needs.Living Domiciliary

Dementia Help charity cycle challenge

Dementia Help

A man from Suffolk, who was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s at the age of 50, is taking his passion for cycling to a new level in June, by leading a team to pedal 330 miles across the country in 6 days for Dementia Help to raise funds for YoungDementia UK.

Peter Berry is a co-director of Dementia Help, a free online resource designed to support the growing number of dementia carers across the country, and he will be cycling alongside the founder and Managing Director of Dementia Help, Christina Neal, and its Website Editor, Dave Collison.

The challenge starts on Monday 25 June 2018 in Wales and ends on Saturday 30 June 2018 in Suffolk.

Greenbank Sports Academy develops UK’s first dual-sports wheelchair

Sports wheelchair

Greenbank Sports Academy (GSA), part of Liverpool-based charity, Greenbank, has developed a first-of-its-kind dual-use sports wheelchair that allows users to play both power hockey and football.

With support from the LCR 4.0 programme, the academy, which is both owned and run by people with disabilities, collaborated with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to improve its “heavy and bulky” prototype named “The Thunderbolt” and create an easy to use, lightweight and transportable wheelchair.

Cat Parmenter - Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy

I have been using Driving Miss Daisy since February 2018, after my highly specialised drive-from-wheelchair car provided by Motability was declared a write off. I’ve had Cerebral Palsy from birth & after several years of deterioration, I use an electric wheelchair for the majority of the day, and travel with a working assistance dog provided by Canine Partners, named Etta.

Driving Miss Daisy has been a lifeline, after my highly specialised drive-from-wheelchair car provided by Motability was declared a write off. That car was my key to independence; without it, isolation and depression set in.

Matthew Reeve on father Christopher's paralysis at Neurokinex Kids launch

Neurokinex Kids facility

UCan2 catches up with Matthew Reeve, Christopher Reeve’s elder son and Vice Chairman of International Development for the Reeve Foundation, as he helps to launch Neurokinex Kids – a facility in Gatwick designed to treat children affected by paralysis.

How does a spinal cord injury affect the wider family?

“When a family member sustains a spinal cord injury everyone is automatically involved and everyone’s lives change – not just the person who sustained the injury. Suddenly, instantly there are things you used to do together that you can no longer do, places you used to go you can no longer go to and the future you thought you once had is completely different.” 

How did your family cope with your father Christopher’s injury?

History-making Autism with Attitude

 Autism Dance Day

Autism with Attitude a street dance group from Hillingdon Manor School, are making a step this Autism Dance Day and made history last July when they qualified as the first special needs dance team to make it through to the finals of the United Dance Organisations (UDO) Championships - are preparing to head off to compete in the next stage of the competition, the European Championships in Kalkar, Germany, Friday 11 May 2018 to Sunday 13 May 2018.

Mobility study: ‘half of wheelchair users could not find accessible toilets’

My Mobility Unlimited supporters

As UCan2 gets behind the Changing Places campaign, an international mobility study has found that almost half of UK wheelchair users have been unable to find an accessible toilet when they needed one.

The poll by ComRes on behalf of the Toyota Mobility Foundation also found that nine out of ten wheelchair users in the UK say that they experience pain as a result of their mobility device, while 23% say they have been declined entry to public transport because of their mobility device.

And more than a quarter reported feeling frustrated because the design of their mobility device felt outdated.

World Snooker Disability Day 2018

World Snooker Disability Day

World Snooker Disability Day will once again be staged during the Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield on Wednesday 25th April 2018.

With activities to run throughout the day at the ‘Cue Zone’ situated at the Winter Garden, close to the Crucible Theatre, the event aims to raise awareness of disability snooker and encourage people with disabilities to participate in snooker as either players, fans or officials.