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Your Voice March-April 2019

Welcome to a springtime edition of Your Voice!

Inside we celebrate 50 years of a national charity based in Ellesmere, two new patrons for Shropshire Disability Network (SDN), inclusive “parkruns” in Shropshire and the services of an SDN member based in Whitchurch.

We bring you updates on Shrewsbury Big Town Plan, See and Hear Shropshire Exhibition, Citizens Advice Shropshire’s opening hours, pension credit and taxi licensing. We also bring you the first in a series of SDN articles related to safeguarding.

Log in to the Members’ Area at the top right-hand side of this page, and then download your copy of Your Voice by clicking on the link below. If you have suggestions for future editions, please email [email protected] . We will be happy to receive your comments.

Your Voice March-April 2019

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Safe Place Shropshire at Barclay’s Bank Bridgnorth

Each year, courtesy of Barclay’s Bank Bridgnorth, a raffle is held to raise funds for the work of Safe Place Shropshire.

Again this year there are some lovely prizes to be won, including a Hamper, Teddy Bear, set of Jess the Goth Fairy books and a few others.
If you call in anytime this week (Monday 18th and Friday 22nd March 2019) between 0930 (1000 on Wednesday 20th) and 1630 not only can you buy a raffle ticket giving you the chance to win a lovely prize, you can also pick up one of our “I need Help” cards. Tickets cost £1 per strip.

We thank Jo and the staff at this branch of Barclay’s Bank for this opportunity to raise funds for us. Barclay’s Bank will match fund the amount raised.

We thank Jo Allmond for organising this event and the volunteers from Shropshire Disability Network and the staff of Barclays Bank for staffing this event. Thank you to all who have donated prizes.

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Breaking News-Shropshire Disability Network (SDN) welcomes Two new Patrons

SDN is pleased to be celebrating ten years since our launch. We have grown from being a group of people who meet and plan, to having a website with a wealth of information. We are recognised as the “go-to” place for relevant, timely and up to date information for anyone with a disability as well as carers. Our membership continues to grow. We have a regular newsletter and lead on the Safe Places community initiative. At our quarterly meetings, we try to bring you guest speakers who will inform and inspire. We engage with many groups and our signposting enquiries are rising.

At this morning’s meeting, Ruby Hartshorn, Chair of SDN said “We are recognised as a leading local charity by other organisations in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.  In 2014 we lost our patron, Emma, who passed away due to her condition.  Until now, the time was not right to appoint someone to replace her.  However, to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are proud to announce a new appointment”.

SDN has asked two local people, who are already well known to its members to take on the important role of SDN Patron.  They are respected in the area of disability and already have several credits to their name.  We anticipate that both will raise our public profile in their work with SDN.

Jess Noal Hiles

Jess Noel-Hiles, is an active campaigner in the People’s Parliament and is a published author.  She is also a gold medallist in the Special Olympics, having won the Boccia Bowls competition.

Paul Bryce

Paul Bryce is a freelance broadcast journalist.  His condition is known as premature retinopathy.  He can see nothing at all. He studied broadcasting at Staffordshire University.  On graduation he began working for the BBC as a freelance producer, broadcaster and presenter.  He is a regular presenter on RNIB Connect Radio.

Ruby continued “At our December meeting, members encouraged SDN Management Committee to seek and appoint the right people. At this morning’s meeting I was delighted to inform our members that Jess and Paul have agreed to be our Patrons and to welcome them in their new roles”.

Look out for our press release coming soon.

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Two Great Speakers and a Special Annoucement

The final preparations have been made for our meeting on Thursday 14th March 2019.

As well as welcoming welcoming two special guest speakers at the University Centre, The Guildhall, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ, we will be making a very special announcement, Why not join us from 10.30 am for networking and refreshments before the start of our meeting at 11 am. 

Mike Layward from DASH (Disability Arts Shropshire) will tell us about their work.  Phil Ramsbotham will talk to us about his journey with Christianity.

We will hold our regular quarterly raffle and there will be other items to buy, some made by our members.  We will have SDN wrist bands for sale.  This is a good way to raise awareness of SDN. You will also have opportunity to purchase our 10th Anniversary Badges at £1 each as well as a Safe Place Shropshire Badge at £1 each. By wearing a badge not only will you be promoting what we do, but you will be helping to fund our work.

So come along, hear from two of SDN’s own members and at the same time find out about what we have been doing recently to help our members.

For further details please contact Ann, our secretary by email  [email protected] or text/phone 07970 816030

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SDN Meeting-Thursday 14th March, a date not to miss.

We hope many of you will join us for our first meeting of 2019. The date to put in your diary is Thursday 14th March! Join us at the University Centre, The Guildhall, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ. from 10.30 am for networking and refreshments before the start of our meeting at 11am.

We will be welcoming two special guest speakers. They are Mike  Layward from DASH (Disability Arts Shropshire) and Phil Ramsbotham talking about Access to Public Places.

We will hold our regular quarterly raffle and there will be other items to buy.  We will have SDN wrist bands for sale.  This is a good way to raise awareness of SDN. You will also have opportunity to purchase our 10th Anniversary Badges at £1 each as well as a Safe Place Shropshire Badge at £1 each. By buying these you help us to fund our work. We will also have a table where you can buy items made by our members as well as other items. They are all very reasonably priced and will help towards paying for our meeting.

Members will be receiving email invitations together with the minutes of our December meeting plus the agenda.

For further details please contact Ann, our secretary by email  [email protected] or text/phone 07970 816030

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Your Voice January-February 2019

Welcome to the first edition of Your Voice for 2019!

This is a bumper edition with 12 pages of Shropshire Disability Network’s news, offers for SDN Members and helpful information. Look out for the Members who have been celebrated with awards. Find out how you could get more involved with SDN’s activities too.

Log in to the Members’ Area at the top right-hand side of this page, and then download your copy of Your Voice by clicking on the link below. If you have suggestions for future editions, please email [email protected] . We will be happy to receive your comments.

Your Voice January-February 2019

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An Afternoon at Shrewsbury Archives, please book your place now

The Beautiful Burial Ground Project is offering Shropshire Disability Members the chance to learn more about the stories told by our burial grounds. Our burial grounds tell us a lot about changing fashions, traditions, immigration and of lives long lived or tragically cut short.

The session taking place on Monday 25th February 2019 from 2pm-4 pm at Shrewsbury Archives, Castlegate, Shrewsbury SY1 2AQ will cover an introduction to the archive as well as how to use the archive to investigate the lives and stories of your local burial ground. Places are free of charge, but must be booked by contacting Ann Shaw at [email protected] or by calling/texting 07970 816030

Click here for poster: SDN archive poster

Click here to download a PDF with details: SDN archive poster

“Access for people with disabilities at the Archives”

There are two parking spaces for people with disabilities at the Castle Gates entrance. Please let us know when you book your place if you require a space in advance using the form below.

BSL Language Interpreter will be at SDN session.

Inside, all public areas, including the toilets, are accessible to wheelchairs users. A hearing loop is installed.

They have a ‘clear star viewer’ which uses CCTV technology to enlarge pages from printed books for you. They also have a hand-held video magnifier, which you can use with documents and maps in our Search Room.

Free guides to sources can all be printed in large text – please ask staff for details on the day.”




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Creating Smiles by Going on a Boat Trip.

“We don’t want to see our boats empty.” Words spoken by Peter Edwards from Heulwen Trust at Shropshire Disability Network on 13th December 2018. 

Heulwen Trust charity started in 1985 but it all began in 1975 when the Prince of Wales’ Committee in partnership with The Variety Club of Great Britain, arranged for the apprentices of Cammell Laird to build a 70ft canal boat specially designed to carry disabled children. It is thought to be a world first! It was named HEULWEN, which is Welsh for ‘Sunshine’ and was launched by HRH the Prince of Wales. The scheme was set up to last ten years, after which local people would assume responsibility to continue the good work. Today, it continues to be enthusiastically run by a team of volunteers.

In 1993 Heulwen Trust took delivery of a second 70ft. narrow boat which was launched and named Heulwen II by Prince Charles in May of that year.

In 2008 Heulwen I was more than thirty years old and becoming more and more difficult to maintain. They decided to commission a new boat and took delivery of Heulwen III “Silver Lady” in June 2009 (and said goodbye to Heulwen I having given us 34 years of service). I wonder if any of the Cammell Laird apprentices ever realised how much pleasure their efforts had given to so many.

As Peter told us “We don’t want to see our boats empty.” 

So how much does it cost? 

Heulwen offers free trips to those who are less abled than others. If you think you fall into any such category, try us to see if we agree with you.  We do try to take a broad view of how we can assist. For instance we do think that if a child is less abled, they should be entitled to celebrate a special occasion by asking their friends to join them in a party on one of our boats without charge for the use of the boat. If you want to decorate the boat please leave yourself enough time before the children arrive.  We do expect you to provide suitable refreshments , sufficient carers and of course the cake.

When can we go?

During the Summer boats are booked well in advance so the boats are well used. However, from December to Easter the boats lie empty for periods of time.

To find out more about the Disabled Boat Trips click the link below:

To read more about Heulwen Trust click on this link:

Note: Members, at our December meeting expressed an interest in having a trip on the Heulwen lll. If you were unable to be at that meeting, but would like to join us on a trip, please email Ann our Honorary Secretary, email: [email protected] or call/text 07970 816030 (SDN Secretary)

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Charity Titan Zip Wire Challenge – Part Three

Part Three

In the last edition of my blog, we had reached the point where we were waiting with mounting excitement to be called forward for our team’s turn.

Suddenly it was time to kit up and venture upwards.  We were given red overalls.  Mine seemed to have been made for someone twelve inches taller than myself, so I found I was wiping out my footprints as I walked.  We had hard hats and goggles.  Trying to fit the goggles over my glasses was a feat itself.  They pressed so hard, I had indentations around my eyes for hours afterwards.  But I was determined to see where I was going.

We left our supporters at the base of the third and final zip wire.  They would know we were coming from the reverberations of the wires.

Onto the bus to be taken way up to the first of the three wires.  It was freezing by now, but at least it had stopped raining.  We were told that this was the longest but slowest of the three.  We were strapped into our seats and connected to the wires.  All four bears were tucked snugly away.  Maude was with Steve, Cuddles with Jo, Murphy with me and Alf with Jess’s Auntie Sue.  All the staff wanted to know what the bears signified.

There we were poised behind the metal gate which would spring back to release us into the void.  The wait seemed interminable, but suddenly we heard ‘Three, two, one’ and we were off.  My immediate thought was ‘whoaaaaaaaa’, and I think I probably screamed it too.

Titan 7         DCIM110_VIRB

The wind was trying to turn me round, so I manipulated the straps as we had been told and soon I could see where I was going.  I could see the others.  Steve and Sue were already well ahead, with Jo and I bringing up the rear. It really did not seem to be that fast.  But thirty seconds later we hit the block at the end of the run and were hauled in to clear the wires.

All the others followed us down.  The bears welcoming everyone as they arrived.

We were all shouting to one another. ‘That was great’. ‘I want to do it again’. ‘What a great view’.  Not one of us wanted to stop there without doing the next two wires.  From here we had to walk to the next zip wire station.  I brought up the rear, wiping out everyone’s footprints with my overalls.

Wire number two was steeper and faster and was over the quarry.  Because you were so far from the ground it seemed much faster.  Just before we were strapped in, the sun came out.  The wet grey slate beneath now shone up at us.

Finally, we were at number three wire.  We were told this was the fastest.  We could see our supporters at the bottom.  They knew we were next down.  And away we went, the fearless Muskebears and their transporters.

This time we all had the confidence to let go of the straps and to wave as we went over the spectators.  Going faster, we hit the block with such force that I felt I was going to somersault over the wire.  We were all laughing like fools and wanting to go back up and do it again.

Jess and Ruby had been waiting for us and were both nearly frozen.  We all had so much adrenaline, we were not feeling the cold.  We handed back out kit and went for a hearty bowl of soup in the café.  While we were all thawing out, I went around with my recorder asking what people had thought of the experience.  With no exceptions, everyone had thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were thrilled they were raising money for good causes.

These were some of the comments:

 Meg and Tom thought it has been really cool and wanted to do it again.

 The views were breath-taking.

 The second wire was the most exhilarating.

 We need coffee to warm up now

 Fantastic.  I want to do Velocity now.

Titan 6

 Totally awesome

 It was amazing.  I wanted to do it again straight away.

 Fantastic experience.

On the journey home, Steve and I discussed what we could do next.  We both want to do the Velocity Zip Wire, which is faster and longer than Titan.  We will even consider a tandem parachute jump, but only if they partner us with someone professional.  Be warned, we may be after you for sponsorship money again next year.

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Your Voice Christmas 2018

This edition of Your Voice has a festive feel – download your copy below!

You will find out how to get your hands on SDN’s Christmas Cards – with designs by Members – and how people with and without disabilities can enjoy a creative Christmas carol service. There is an invitation to the final SDN Members’ Meeting of the year – come along in festive dress if you wish!

We thank our brilliant volunteers, fundraisers and supporters, and we look forward to making a difference together again in the year ahead. We also touch on serious topics of safeguarding and hate crime, as well as, different opportunities to learn more about your NHS or about your local gravestones.

There are features, too, on a successful scheme to put unsold food from supermarkets to good use and on new funding for services for people with deafness and hearing loss in Shropshire.

Log in to the Members’ Area at the top right-hand side of this page, and then download your copy of Your Voice by clicking on the link below. If you have suggestions for future editions, please email [email protected] . All comments welcome!

Your Voice Christmas 2018