YOUR VOICESummer 2013Welcome to the summer edition of the Alliancenewsletter. It feels a bit strange writing ‘summer’when many of us still have our heating on, but Iam assured that the longest day of the year stillis in June!As well as news of what we have been up toduring the past few months, we have decidedto introduce you to one of our board members ineach newsletter, so you get to know a bit moreabout us.Our Website goes live!We are delighted to say our website is now upand running so do please check us out onwww.cambridgeshirealliance.org.ukOur website has a great deal of information andlinks that are designed to help people withdisabilities, their carers, and those who work incare. We want everyone to become a memberof the Alliance and register, so we can keep youinformed about events and ask your opinionabout local issues. Joining the Alliance is freeand only takes a few minutes.Along with the usual news and information, ourwebsite has two special areas of interest:Our Support Community has various options.Direct payment employers can register theirvacancies and PAs can list their availability(both services are free). There are bothemployer and PA forums, and lots of otherinformation. We also have a shared careopportunities forum.The Voice Community forum, will give you theopportunity to let us know what issues areoccurring in your area of the county, (moredetails on page two).Direct Payments TrainingOur first round of our new Self DirectingSupport ‘choosing the way you live” traininghas been very successful and we arepreparing for the next course. We have spaceleft on the remaining sessions (listed below). Ifyou would like to join us, please contact ourcourse director, Debbie Drew, by firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 111 2301.The Hub Cambourne, 11:45 - 3pm26thJune, 3rdJuly, 10thJuly.Abbey Meadows Community Room.6:30 – 9pm. 8th,15th,22ndJuly.St Mary’s Community Hall, Sawston.12:30 – 3:30pm. 25thSept, 2nd, 9thOct.In this issue: page numberNews about our website 1Dates for Direct Payments training 1Developing our Partnership Boards 2Our ‘Voice’ Project 2Introducing Ruth Rogers 3Focus on transport 3Motability scheme 4What’s On? 5Did you know? 6New Carer’s Working Group 6
2Partnership BoardsWe are working with the Cambridge CountyCouncil (CCC) helping them to organise theirpartnership boards. The aim is to highlightissues and feed them back to the serviceproviders.Physical Disability and SensoryImpairment Partnership BoardThe Physical Disability and SensoryImpairment Partnership Board (PDSI) wasre-established this year and had its firstmeeting on 16thMay in St Ives. Our ongoingsupport of this board ensures it’sindependence from the County Council.The PDSI board works with people withphysical disabilities, or sensory impairmentswho are between 19 and 64 years old. Theboard is comprised of lead officers forPhysical Disability and Sensory Services,partner agencies such as Healthwatch,service users, and relevant voluntary sectororganisations. Service users will elect theChair and Vice Chair in the near future.The aims of the PDSI board are;1. To enable people with disabilities,sensory impairments and long termhealth conditions, their representativesand the public and voluntary sectors, towork together in order to ensure thehighest quality and best value servicespossible are delivered to the people whoneed them.2. To work closely with the otherCambridgeshire County CouncilPartnership Boards (Learning Disabilities,Carer’s, Mental Health and OlderPeople’s ) to identify and solve commonareas of concern and need.3. To act as a critical friend to CCC, otherpublic authorities, and services that areoperating within the county to ensure thatall people are treated as full and equalcitizens.There are two ways you can contribute towork of this board;1. Full membership – This involvesattending and contributing to the boardmeetings, reading the relevant paperworkand participating in relevant sub-groupsas required.2. Corresponding membership – Thismeans you will be on the email circulationlist for the group and can contribute yourviews by email.The PDSI Partnership Board meets quarterlyat venues around the county. All venues arefully accessible and a loop system will beprovided. All expenses, such as travel costsare reimbursed to members. If you wouldlike more information about the work of thisboard please contact Alena Tayloralena@cambridgeshirealliance.org.ukor call 0300 111 2301.Our Exciting Voice NetworkProjectWe are leading on a project, funded throughthe Big Lottery’s Reaching CommunitiesFund, that will give people with disabilitiesand their carers a stronger voice acrossCambridgeshire.We aim to have five Voice Networks one ineach area. They will be run by volunteers,known as Change Makers.Our Change Makers will talk to local peopleand collect as many of their experiences aspossible. We know most people havewonderful stories to tell about how someone,somewhere has helped them to have abetter quality of life. Some people thoughalso have stories about problems that havenot been resolved. We want to share thosepositive and negative experiences, and,The Physical Disability and SensoryImpairment Partnership Board islooking for new members.Would you like to join us?
3where appropriate, raise any problems andconcerns through the appropriate channels tohelp get long term resolutions. The ChangeMakers will be supported by our VoiceNetwork Coordinator, Karen Walker.The first stage of our VoiceNetwork Project is nowunderwayThis massive outreach programme already ismaking contact with people, communitygroups and organisations. We are tellingpeople about the Cambridgeshire Alliance ’and our work on our Voice Project.So How Can you help us?There are many ways in which you might helpus. Perhaps you could put up a poster yourvillage notice board or in the reception area ofyour office (they are on our website for you todownload), you may be interested inbecoming a Change Maker, or know ofsomeone who might like more information; oryou might want our Voice NetworkCoordinator, Karen Walker to visit your group.There are plenty of opportunities to becomeinvolved.One easy way you can help is by passingthis newsletter through your emailnetworks, to make sure that as manypeople as possible know about ourproject.If you belong to an existing organisation thatalready provides local services to localpeople, we would like to meet you so we canexplore ways of working together or simplyget to know about on another.It is undoubtedly an ambitious project, butone that will make so much difference to thelives of people living with a disability.Contact Karen Walker Tel 0300 111 2311email email@example.comMeet ourboard memberRuth RogersI have been a memberof the Alliance boardsince it was formed in2009. Originally I was asked to join becauseof my knowledge of older people’s services atthe time was then working for Age UK,Cambridgeshire. My fellow board memberskindly allowed me to stay on when I movedto become Chief Executive of Red2Green, alocal charity providing a range of services forpeople with disabilities.As well as working in the voluntary sector, Ihave held leadership roles in the public sectorfor 11 years. I was Chair of CambridgeshirePolice Authority for three years until theAuthority was abolished in November 2012.In January I was delighted to be appointed asChair of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire.Healthwatch is a powerful consumer voice forthose who use health and social careservices. I see my links with the Alliance andmy work at Red2Green as being key toensuring that Healthwatch takes account ofthe experiences of people with disabilities.Focus on transportTransport has always been an issue forpeople with disabilities and although someeffort is being made to improve accessibilitythere is still a long way to go.Bus TravelThe Stagecoach guided buses are allaccessible now, allowing people to getfrom Huntingdon to Cambridge and even fromCambridge toPeterborough. This issomewhat good newsBUT they only have onewheelchair spaceavailable on each bus.
4Unfortunately when you wait for the bus, youdon’t know if the wheelchair space is alreadyoccupied.The X5 route between Oxford andCambridge is also advertised a wheelchairfriendly BUT to guarantee your spaceStagecoach ask that telephone them 24hours in advance to you book your space.Like the guided buses, they have only onewheelchair space and if you just turn up atthe bus stop, the space may already betaken. In addition, we have been told ofinstances when people with power chairshave not been allowed on board becausetheir wheelchair can’t be locked down.If you live out of town, busses are generallynot accessible to get to the main towns.TrainJourneysThe Department of Transport’s ‘Access forall National Station Improvements’ project isspending hundreds of millions to upgradestations.Since 2006, 72 stations have been improved,24 were upgraded in 2011/12 and in 2012/13another 32 upgrades are expected. Theyplan to have made 150 more “step free”stations by 2015. If you would likeassistance when making a journey, such ashelp getting on or off a train, or ramps for awheelchair, please contact the TrainCompany that manages the station you aredeparting from. You can contact them viatheir website http://www.nationalrail.co.uk orcalling 08457 48 49 50.This has to be good news and long overdue.Nevertheless with only 60 Londonunderground stations accessible. Travellingto your destination in London may well meanthat you have to leave the undergroundseveral stops before or after your intendeddestination and then travel the last bit of yourjourney by taxi. Be careful, though and insistthat the taxi driver locks you wheelchair inplace otherwise you will have a very bumpyride!If you have access to the internet, you candownload a step free tube map from http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/ or you cancall Transport for London on 0343 222 1234Having talked to members who have recentlytravelled on the underground we are suremost people would not be happy to attempt atrip on their own.Motabilty Scheme-NewsUpdateThis week the DWP announced it would beholding a further consultation on the mobilitycomponent of Personal IndependencePayment (PIP).The department has received significantfeedback from people with disabilities andtheir organisations. who want a furtheropportunity to comment on the finalisedassessment criteria rules around the mobilitycomponent of PIP. That is why they are nowgiving notice of a further consultation to belaunched in late June. Minister for DisabledPeople, Esther McVey said:“Throughout the process ofdeveloping the new benefit we havelistened to the feedback we havereceived and made significantchanges to the assessment as adirect result of this feedback. Thisincludes holding one of the biggestconsultations ever at DWP.We have listened to disabled peopleand their organisations who wanted afurther consultation, so that is what weare doing.”DWP has already announced they will becarrying out an independent review in 2014and will consider its findings before
5reassessing the majority of existing DLAclaimants.Until 2015 PIP is only applicable to newclaimants or those with a change ofcondition. The implications of these changeswill not become totally apparent until late2015/ 16.Claims for PIP will continue to be processedunder the current benefit rules until theoutcome of the consultation are decided.If you own your own car and get exemptionfrom vehicle excise duty (road tax), once youare receiving PIP you will only get thisexemption if you receive the enhancedmobility element of PIP. However if youreceive the standard mobility element youwill be able to get a 50% reduction in yourroad tax.Sunday 30th June 2013: Roll and Stroll,This year the Papworth Trust are organisingthe Roll and Stroll at HinchingbrookeCountry Park.It will be family a fun day. People of all ages,with or without wheels, are welcome to takepart. You can choose between two, threeand six miles rout around lakes, meadows,woodlands and wildlife. The 2 mile route isfully accessible. Well behaved dogs are alsowelcome, making it a suitable outing for theentire family.At the finish line there will be a number ofactivities and entertainment. Children will beable to enjoy the adventure play area whilethe grown-ups relax in the café.A BBQ and arts and crafts shopping stallswill add to the festive atmosphere.Although the price of the registration will goto Papworth Trust. The sponsorship moneyyou raise can be allocated to yourdesignated charity. If you register online, youmust also tell them by email or phonebeforehand you are doing it for your charity.If you register on the day you have to write iton the sponsorship form.Advance registration costs £8 for adults, £3for under 16s and £20 for families of 4.Prices for entry on the day are £10 for adults,£5 for children and £25 for families of 4.Registration will be open from 9am, withstalls and entertainment from 10am. Thesponsored walk will start promptly at 11am.Entertainment, BBQ, stalls and childrensplay area open until 3pm. To find out moreand buy tickets, please visitwww.rollandstroll.eventbrite.com or call thePapworth fundraising team on 01480357206.27-29th June Mobility RoadshowThis year it is being held in TelfordInternational Centre. If want to make aweekend of it you can visiting the nearbyIronbridge (approx. 3 miles away). Entry isfree.Saturday 13th July: Get Going Live !This is an exciting all day driving experienceorganised by Motability, for young and newlydisabled people taking place at DoningtonPark.Did you know that young people withdisabilities could get their driving licence at16 rather that 17? That could mean no morerelying on friends or family for lifts. Drivingcan open up lots of new opportunities forwork, studying – and, of course, a social life!This is a unique event for young people withdisabilities who want to find out more aboutlearning to drive and acquiring their firstvehicle. It is also a great event for people ofany age who are returning to driving afterbecoming disabled.http://getgoinglive.co.uk/What’s onIn response to feedback from our memberswe want to create a regular ‘what’s on’feature. If you have an event you want topromote, please sent us an email firstname.lastname@example.org,Or via our website.
6Sunday 14th July Disability Sports FestivalHuntingdonshire Disability Sports ForumsAnnual Outdoor Sports Festival offers peoplewith disabilities the opportunity to take part in aan number of different sports and other activities.The Festival will be held at One Leisure St IvesOutdoor Complex, from10:30am to 4pm, withfour different activity blocks followed by some funraces and presentations.Spaces on activities are limited, so pleasecomplete a booking form to avoiddisappointment. Booking forms are available atwww.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/disabilitysportor call 01480 388842,Sunday 14thJuly Disability Awareness DayWalton Hall Gardens, Walton Lea Road, HigherWalton, Warrington. WA4 6SN.Disability Awareness Day is the worlds largestnot for profit voluntary-led disability exhibition. Itis held annually in a huge tented village withinthe grounds of Walton Hall Gardens. The themethis year is "Promoting IndependenceThroughout Life & Work". The show opens at10am and finishes at 5pm, Entrance andprogramme are free.Helping hand - Did youknow?Theatre discountsMost theatres around the UK offer people withdisabilities and their carers’ discounts on theirtickets. You often have to book tickets inadvance by phone because many of the internetsites can not discount tickets online; be carefulwith the London theatres - some are notwheelchair accessible so you may be asked totransfer to a seat.Do you have a Cinema Exemption Card?Anyone who receives DLA can apply for one.This allows your carer in for free to the majorityof cinemas in the UK. It costs £5.50 per year.Apply www.ceacard.co.uk. They will need aphoto for the card.Or Disabled persons railcard ?It allows you and a companion to travel with athird off most ‘off peak’ train fares. It costs £20year or £54 for three years. Be alert though! Onsome journeys, if you are travelling with three ormore companions, it may be cheaper not to useyour railcard.Extra Tax AllowancePeople who are registered blind are entitled toan extra personal tax allowance. The personalallowance at present is £9440 and an extra£2160 for those registered blind. If their earningsare not enough to use all the tax allowance theHMRC can transfer some to a spouse or civilpartner.Carers Working GroupThursday 25th July 10am – 12.00pmHorizon Centre, Coldhams Lane, Cambridge, CB1 3HYIf you provide unpaid care to a family member, friend or neighbour, we need your help. The Allianceis working with Cambridge County Council to organise a working group to review the results of theirrecent Carers survey. We want your thoughts on what the survey results mean and how we can usethat information to improve services for Carers.For further information, or to get involved, please contact:Alena Taylor Telephone 0300 111 2301, email: Alena@cambridgeshirealliance.org.ukSend your comments and suggestionsfor the next newsletter to:Cambridgeshire Alliance forIndependent LivingLower Pendrill Court, Ermine Street NorthPapworth Everard, CB23 3UY0300 111 2301www.cambridgeshirealliance.org.uk