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Your Voice May-June 2019

Catch up with Shropshire Disability Network’s (SDN) activities in this latest edition of Your Voice.

Read news and views from fellow disability-oriented organisations and public bodies too. From “Awkward Bastards”, the new Victim Advice Line in the West Mercia Police area, and inclusive cycling, to information and open days for people living with multiple sclerosis or a stoma, there is much variety.

For puzzle fans, we also have a wordsearch on the back page, courtesy of SDN member Gill.

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 would love to receive your comments.

Your Voice May-June 2019

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Disabled facilities in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Disability Network has received a letter from one of its members. We have been given permission to share it with you. SDN decided not to disclose the writers name.

Our member wrote:

“I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes politically in Shrewsbury, but I get the distinct impression that Shrewsbury Council want to drive out disabled people.  The latest traffic restrictions in Pride Hill and Butcher Row illustrate.  

I was just wondering whether SDN had any “voice” when the council pulled the funding for Shopmobility in Shrewsbury.  This service is needed for Shrewsbury, not only for residents, but what does it say about us as a town to visitors and tourists that we have no Shopmobility, it does not encourage the less mobile to visit our lovely town and spend money, therefore boosting the local economy.  Just look around at the empty shops.

I have travelled around quite a bit, and I must say, some areas/towns of the country very much impress me with their attitude to the disabled.  Stratford Upon Avon, has free parking including free on street parking.  I’m not for free parking myself just because I’m less mobile, and think that I should pay like anyone else, but it is refreshing when you see things like this and makes you feel welcome. Scotland as well, seemed very “switched on” to the needs of the disabled in many aspects, I was well impressed when I spent a holiday up there and the facilities that were available and accessibility was not a problem, even in the most remote of places.  Sorry to rant on, but I think it’s about time we had better parking and facilities to give a more welcoming feel to our disabled visitors”.

Shropshire Disability Network appreciates the time our member has taken to contact us. We have communicated with the author regarding what SDN has done so far ie twitter poll and email communications.

Disabled facilities in Shrewsbury:

Shrewsbury Big Town Plan- We put information on our website and told members at our meetings about the exhibition in Shrewsbury in 2017. In response to repeated requests for updates on Shrewsbury Big Town plan, we received information on 21st February 2019. This was published in our March/April 2019 Newsletter. We are aware there are further plans to engage with our members.

Large Print Copies of Shrewsbury Big Town Plan-In February 2019, we received 10 large print copies of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan. We have a couple of copies left, if anyone would like one, please call/text 07780 852229

How can you help us be the “Voice” for disabled people in Shropshire?

If you are concerned about the pending closure of Shrewsbury Shopmobility (closed 31st May 2019) or Shrewsbury Big Town plan, we would like to hear from you. Please contact using one of the following ways, by doing so you are helping to give disabled people and carers in Shropshire a voice.

Note this article was published on May 29th. At the time Shropshire Disability Network believed Shrewsbury Shopmobility was closing on June 30th. Today (Wednesday 6th June) we have been informed by Shropshire Council that the date of closure had been brought forward to 31st May 2019. If you used this facility, please let us know how it will impact on you. Thank you.



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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)