Independent Living – Welcome to this week’s Independent Living news.

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Welcome to this week’s Independent Living news.
02.05.18 Contents:
Tech boost for Access to Work
Independent living hampered
Stoke cabbie prosecuted
Festival Spirit
Bariatric bath from Gainsborough
Latest – Scottish Social Security; Elected Office fund
1. Tech boost for Access to Work

The Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton, used her speech at Naidex last Thursday to announce a new Tech Fund as part of the Access to Work scheme, offering employers significant savings on the cost of assistive technology.

Access to Work is sometimes described as the government’s best kept secret – it is a great way of covering the additional costs associated with employing someone with a disability, but too few employers know about it…

Read more here.

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2. Independent living hampered

Over the years, I have written many times about the shortage of suitable homes for people with disabilities.

Plans, aspirations, targets – all seem to come and go without making any real difference.

The latest survey from the Papworth Trust shows that fewer than 17% of local councils that have a housing plan include strategies to build accessible homes.

The charity describes the lack of suitable housing as a “major barrier to independent living“.

Find out more here

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3. Stoke cabbie prosecuted

For the first time, Stoke-on-Trent has prosecuted one of their licensed taxi drivers for refusing to pick up a disabled passenger.

Mohammed Butt turned away the 25 year old woman when she approached his wheelchair accessible vehicle at a taxi rank in the city.

Since April 2017, taxi drivers have been subject to a £1000 fine for refusing to carry a passenger in a wheelchair, or charging them more for a journey.

Read the full story here

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4. Festival Spirit

From Glastonbury to Womad, going to one of the summer music festivals is a rite of passage for most young people.

Festival Spirit is a charity established to enable those with life-limiting illnesses and serious disabilities to join in and enjoy the festival experience like their able-bodied peers.

You can find out more about the organisation and this year’s programme of festivals, here.

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5. Bariatric bath from Gainsborough

We always get a lot of traffic to the bariatric area of Independent Living.

Options in bathing have been rather more limited than in beds, hoists and chairs.

Now assisted bathing specialists, Gainsborough, are launching Coriel, their highly cost-effective care bath for users weighing up to 273 kg (43 stone).

Find out more here

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6. Latest – Scottish Social Security; Elected Office fund

The Scottish Government will be making the first social security payments later this year, following a unanimous vote by MSPs to pass the Social Security (Scotland) Bill, which establishes Scotland’s first social security system.

Social Security Scotland, the new agency, will deliver 11 devolved benefits to 1.4 million people a year, worth around £3.3 billion. More details here

I wrote last time about the Access to Elected Office Fund, which has been suspended since May 2015. I am pleased to be able to report that the government has now promised to publish its review and decision about re-establishing the fund by the end of next week…

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Previous newsletters are archived here.

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Until next time, all good wishes,


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Frances Leckie

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