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Welcome to the Independent Living newsletter.
04.10.17 Contents:
Backcare Awareness Week
Feedback on assessments for PIP, ESA
Change100 internships
Bespoke Access Awards
Derek’s View – mini GPS tracker
Latest – Independent Living Scotland; CareFlex
1. Backcare Awareness Week

It’s backcare awareness week, though given the prevalence of back problems, it would probably be sensible for us all to be a bit more aware, every week.

19 out of 20 people will have back pain at some point in their life – it accounts for 7 million GP visits and 50 million days off work in a year. It isn’t only heavy lifting that causes problems. Repetitive movements can be equally damaging, as can remaining static for too long.

Read about the Smart Guide to Back Care here

Joerns Healthcare focuses on the five key principles of moving and handling – which is a high risk activity for carers.

Theraposture has contributed an interesting article on the importance of safe working height, and how to tell whether or not an adjustable height bed is fully compliant with the British safety standard.

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2. Feedback on assessments for PIP, ESA

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched a new Inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments. It follows concerns that grew during an earlier investigation, which produced accounts of a serious mismatch between applicants’ recollection of the assessment and the report that was finally produced by the assessor to enable the Department for Work and Pensions to make a decision.

People were also concerned that assessors did not appear to understand their conditions, and were unable to properly assess the impact they had. The dignity of the assessment process was called into question.

About two thirds of cases which are appealed are overturned; what Committee Chairman Frank Field describes as “wasteful, inefficient, and a huge cost to taxpayers”, quite apart from the dreadful human cost.

Anyone who has been assessed or who is waiting for an assessment is welcome to submit written evidence to the committee.

Read more here

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3. Change100 internships

As recent research by Scope shows that disabled jobseekers have to apply for 60% more jobs than nondisabled applicants, before finding employment, a scheme that offers valuable experience in the form of paid internships is more important than ever.

Leonard Cheshire Disability has now opened applications for next summer’s Change100 placements.

You could be eligible to apply if you are a student or recent graduate with a disability or long-term health condition — including physical, visual or hearing impairment, mental health condition, or learning disability like dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Successful applicants will get mentoring and guidance throughout their three month placement, supporting them to excel and thrive within the workplace.

You can find out more here 

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4. Bespoke Access Awards

The second annual Bespoke Access Awards are now open. This is an international competition to design fully accessible hotel rooms, improving access to properties worldwide for disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, as well as all other guests.

The Awards aim to challenge the perception of hotel facilities set aside for disabled people, which can often be viewed as joyless, poorly-designed and over-medicalised.

Last year, teams of designers from countries including Hong Kong, Russia and Canada submitted entries across a range of categories.

The overall winners, awarded the Celia Thomas Prize worth £20,000, were Motionspot & Ryder Architecture, who devised ‘AllGo’ (pictured here), a unique approach to hotel room design which ensures that all hotel rooms are functional, flexible and accessible.

Find out more here

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5. Derek’s View – Mini GPS tracker

Easylink UK has launched a tiny (38mm x 38mm x 12mm) GPS tracker with fall detection and many other features.

This high tech miniaturised tracker provides quick location of the device using a mapping service such as Google maps. GPS location is accurate to 15 metres, and can also be used in the house, via Wi-Fi.

As an alarm for falls or wandering, it is a useful support for the independence of someone with dementia or another form of cognitive impairment. You can set a geo-fence, and receive an alert if the person goes outside that area.

With real-time tracking and historical route records, it can be used to monitor normal behaviour, so that anything out of the ordinary can also be noted. This could pick up early indications of deteriorating health or cognitive function.

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 – Independent Living Scotland; CareFlex

One for anyone within reach of Glasgow! Today sees the opening of Independent Living Scotland in Hall 3 at the SEC.

During the two-day event, more than 100 companies will be showing their products and services, to demonstrate how they can assist and improve daily living and mobility. From wheelchairs and scooters to daily living aids, home adaptations and telecare, energy providers and communications, the free show provides an opportunity to try out and compare a range of different solutions.

Find out more on the website

Pressure and postural management seating specialists, CareFlex, have just introduced a Lifetime Warranty on the steel frames of their chairs. You can find out about their range on their showcase page.

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

e: editor @
t: +44 (0) 208 133 0628
Skype: francesleckie

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