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Welcome to the Independent Living newsletter.
09.08.17 Contents:
Accessible toilets – time for action
Benefit appeals timed out unlawfully
Cat of the Year!
Hoists in hotels
Derek’s View – Pressalit Care & CleverCogs
Latest – Scottish agency delays; NHS wheelchairs
1. Accessible toilets – time for action

Do you, or someone you care for, need help to go to the loo? Do you find current accessible toilets inaccessible? If you do, take action, now: you have just a few days to have your voice heard!

The British Standard for Design of an Accessible & Inclusive Built Environment – BS8300 – is currently being updated, with submissions invited by August 13. Anyone can comment, whether you’re an individual or an organisation. You have to register, but it costs nothing to have your voice heard, to potentially change what is deemed ‘Best Practice’ and open doors previously closed to you.

Closomat’s Robin Tuffley has written about it for us.

You can read more here

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2. Benefit appeals timed out unlawfully

An important judgement from the Upper Tribunal last week should see an end to benefit claimants losing their right to appeal because of delays in following the Department for Work and Pensions’ procedure.

You have one month after receiving a decision you disagree with in which to ask for a “mandatory reconsideration”, which is the first step in appealing. The DWP has been preventing cases going to appeal if the claimant is slow with asking for that initial internal review.

But now, three senior judges have said that there are many reasons why people with a good claim could miss the deadline, and therefore it isn’t lawful for them to lose the right to appeal.

Read more here

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3. Cat of the Year!

There are cat people and dog people – even some of us who are fans of both sorts of four-legged friends.

I have written several times about canine companions, and the invaluable roles they can play, from assistance dogs to PAT (Pets As Therapy) volunteers, visiting care homes and hospitals.

Their feline counterparts haven’t had a mention – until now!

Providing the “aah” factor here is Genie – Cats’ Protection’s Cat of the Year, who has helped 11 year old Evie to cope with bone cancer.

You can read more about Genie and the other moggies who have won category awards, here

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4. Hoists in hotels

I know – because it is something we are asked about often here at Independent Living – that wheelchair users who are planning holidays tend to run up against issues with hoists.

It isn’t all that easy to find hotel rooms equipped with transfer equipment – according to Tourism is for Everybody, there is a grand total of 20 establishments in the UK with a ceiling hoist, and eight of those are in London…

Short-term rental may also not be straightforward, or make the holiday unaffordable.

Together with Trailblazers, part of Muscular Dystrophy UK, Tourism Is for Everybody has launched an investigation into the situation – if you use a hoist to transfer, they would love to hear from you.

More information here

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5. Derek’s View – Pressalit Care & CleverCogs

This very elegant kitchen has units from Pressalit Care’s Indivo range. The work surfaces are rise and fall, so that their height can be adjusted to suit the user, and the wall mounted cupboards move down and forwards for easy access.

Adjustments can be made in seconds, thanks to the digital CleverCogs technology which has been designed by assisted-living developers Blackwood, to enable residents to maintain control of their home at the touch of a button.

You can read more here

If you provide high quality products and services, and you would like to reach our site visitors and newsletter readers, please email

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6. Latest – Scottish agency delays; NHS wheelchairs

Depressing news for disabled people north of the border, who have been looking forward to escaping the tender mercies of DWP contractors for their benefit assessments.

Delays in setting up the new social security agency, which promised a “fairer, more humane system” mean that 130,000 people will have to wait three years for that fairness to be applied…

Read more here

Last week’s article about NHS Wheelchair Services brought plenty of feedback.

Notably, I was taken to task for being negative, though to be honest, I find it hard to come up with a positive way to talk about the postcode lottery operating in provision of NHS-commissioned wheelchairs.

Nevertheless, I do realise that some local services are extremely good, and many wheelchair users are happy with their experience. People tend not to get in touch for help when things are going smoothly, of course, so my view is inevitably a bit distorted. The statistics, though, speak for themselves I think.

And that’s it for this week! Don’t forget that you can apply to join the Independent Living Facebook group, if you would like to spend more time discussing these themes with other interested people.

There are various ways you can get in touch with us: email me; visit our Facebook page and leave a message there; or if it’s short and sweet, Tweet!

Previous newsletters are archived here.

If you are reading a copy of the Independent Living newsletter that has been passed on to you by a colleague or friend, why not sign up for your own free subscription – it’s quick and easy, and won’t lead to your inbox being bombarded with other stuff!

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Until next time, all good wishes,


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Frances Leckie

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