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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

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Shropshire Disability Network Meeting-Thursday 13th December 2018

We hope many of you will join us this Thursday for our last meeting of 2018. It takes place at The Movement Centre, Building 106, Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt District Orthopedic Hospital, Gobowen, Oswestry SY10 7AG. Networking 10.30 am to 11 am. The meeting starts at 11 am and will finish by 1 pm.

Not only will we have 2 informative speakers to welcome, we also look forward to having Janine Loxton, Community Banker with Nat West Bank joining us. She will have an information stall with a wealth of information about Scam Awareness.

We have two special guest speakers. They are:

Richard Dunhill, who will talk about the work of the Samaritans and
Liz Downes from The Sequal Trust. Special Equipment and Aids for Living. The Sequal Trust, a national fundraising Charity founded in 1969 which is committed to bridging the communication gap for disabled people. By providing suitable assistive technology to people who need it most, we aim to increase the quality of life for those who are non-verbal, have incoherent speech, or who have learning and communication difficulties.

Raffle: We will hold our regular quarterly raffle and have SDN wrist bands for sale. 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.

Please make this a festive meeting so if you wish to wear a Christmas jumper, please do.

We will also have our Christmas cards available at a specially discounted price!!! We will also have some items suitable for gifts that you can buy.

Email: [email protected] (Secretary) or call or text 07398 350 255 (SDN Secretary Mobile Number) for more information.
We have Sign Language Interpreters (BSL) at all our meetings. We now have a t-loop system to use at our meetings.

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Local Giving Day-Grow Your Tenner, Tuesday 11th December 2018

Today Local Giving campaign, kicks off at 10am, 11th December 2018, (we) Shropshire Disability Network will have the opportunity to benefit from doubled monthly donations for a full 6 months. 

Anyone wishing to support our charity can set up a direct debit of up to £10 during Grow Your Tenner 2018 will have their donations matched for 6 months (after an initial 6 months of unmatched donations. The campaign will run until the match funding is fully allocated or 12am on Thursday the 10th January – whichever comes first. 

To donate to us click here:

Local Giving Rules:

  • Supporter limits: Each supporter may set up one Direct Debit donation to a Localgiving member they wish to support through the campaign. No more than one Direct Debit may be set up per individual to each Localgiving member, but a supporter may donate to as many charities as they wish.
  • Charity limits: Each charity may receive up to £5,000 match funding. Donations to the charity will be matched until their limits are hit or match funding has run out, or the campaign ends.  
  • Match fund size: We have a match fund pot of £100,000.

To find out more about Local Giving click here:

To donate to us click here:

Shropshire Disability Network wishes to thank all who support our charity by donating financially or by giving their time to us.



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Your Voice October-November 2018

This edition of Your Voice brings you information about help with heating, accessible training in historical research, photography for wellbeing, a TV cookery competition, warding off flu, children’s mental health services, and an inclusive carol service.

It also updates you on Shropshire Disability Network and Safe Places Shropshire’s activities, including, a “high-flying” fundraising challenge.

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] . Happy reading!

Your Voice October-November 2018

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Charity Titan Zip Wire Challenge, October 2018 by Ann Shaw, Secretary SDN

Titan Zip Wire Blog

Part One

My friend Jess is a very brave person.  She continually pushes the boundaries of what people believe a person living with disabilities can achieve.  She has published 3 books with her mum, Jo.  She has won a gold medal for playing Boccia in the Special Olympics, despite only taking up the sport recently.

Each year she raises money for charity by challenging her mum to take part in something that takes Jo out of her comfort zone.  Last year it was abseiling down the MK Dons’ stadium in Milton Keynes.

I had no idea that I would be so closely involved with this year’s challenge – the Titan Zip Wire Challenge in North Wales.  Jess wanted to raise £1500 to be shared equally between Guide Dogs (for whom she volunteers), Macintyre (they provide care for Jess) and Shropshire Disability Network (SDN).

Jess was bitterly disappointed to learn that she would not be able to take part on the day.  The organisers have strict medical guidelines, and, because of Jess’s eye problem, she found out she would be excluded.  This was where I came in.

Back in February, I think I must have been feeling particularly rash.  When Jo mentioned a zip wire event in October, I signed up straight away.  I also signed my husband Allan up.  If I was doing it, so could he.  At least that was what I thought.

Jess and I both have a ‘thing’ about teddy bears.  Cuddles is her constant companion and my house bears are Murphy and Alf.  They became our mascots – the Three Muskebears.  The idea was that they would take part in the zip wire, tucked down our overalls.

If any of you have seen the video on the Titan Zip Wire website, you will know that participants take part in groups of four.  The search was on for a fourth brave bear.  Maude was found lurking in a charity shop.  She had the sort of face that said, ‘pick me’.  So, I did.

 We decided quite early on that the mascots would wear the colours of each charity – purple for Macintyre, Blue for Guide Dogs, Pink for SDN and orange for Safe Places (part of SDN).  Luckily, I can turn my hand to most things.  I made the t-shirts that the bears would wear on the day.  They all looked very smart.

The following seven months came and went, and, to be honest, I didn’t really think too much about what we were doing in October.  Suddenly, I realised the day was nearly here and I had done nothing to raise any sponsorship money for the three charities.  I soon put that right and was amazed at the generosity of my friends and colleagues.  I’m sure many of them just wanted to see me throw myself down Snowdon.

Two weeks before the big day, Allan backed out.  His fear of heights was too much for him.  He thought that I, too, would chicken out when I was presented with the zip wire.  What would happen next?

 Look out for part 2 of this blog to find out whether I made it.