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September, 2017

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How to Find Disabled Accessible Gyms and Sports Clubs in your Area

accessible gyms

For those who live with a disability, it may seem as though there are some aspects of life that pass them by. Despite this, there is still a lot that they can become a part of and of course, getting involved in sports, accessible gyms or a sports club is one of the best ways of pushing your disability to one side and being a part of something.

In years gone by, living with a disability meant that you had to miss out on so much that life had to offer. However, the world is now coming to terms with the fact that this is not an acceptable way to think. Therefore, disabled people now have the ability to become a member of a gym, join a sport club or even take part in a wide and varied range of sports.

If you are new to this kind of thing, then you may be wondering how you go about finding accessible gyms and sports clubs located in your area but there are ways to find this out.

Social Media

Social media is a hugely important way of finding out information about a wide range of things. There are online social media support groups for disabled people located around the country. This means you can firstly meet new people who live with a disability but they can also put you in touch with sports clubs and accessible gyms. In fact, you could even go as far as to say that you can even contact these gyms directly through social media to arrange your visit and to get to know more about what they offer.

Online Directories

There are no specific directories that are available online that make it easy for disabled people to find accessible gyms and sports clubs. These directories are available for all to see while it makes it possible for you to research and find out which club is right for you. These directories are constantly updated as more and more gyms and clubs become accessible for people with a disability.

Government and Local Initiatives

The government runs a number of initiatives in order to make gyms and sports clubs accessible for all. There are the likes of English Federation of Disability Sport as well as the same government bodies in Wales and England. They are all set up to make it possible for people with a disability to be a part of something that they once had very little access to. There is also the option to speak with the local council to find out just how they support this kind of thing as well as finding council run gyms that have access for people who live with a disability.

Times are changing and there is no denying that fact. More and more gyms and sports clubs are not putting the correct initiatives in place so disabled people have a way of staying active, keeping and more importantly, integrating themselves into society. There are a number of ways of finding out more about these gyms and sports clubs, such as Wheelpower.org, but there are many, many options so it seems as though the difficult part is deciding on what sport or gym to be a part of!

Please email me at info@disability.blog to share any experiences to discuss or suggest any topic you would like to see on my website disabilitychat.blog

Thank you & kind regards

 

Making The Right Decision When Choosing a Wheelchair

The aim of this guide is to help you find the right wheelchair for you. There are many different types to choose from and some are more complex than others. So what do you need to consider?

Will you propel yourself or be assisted? – You might decide to propel yourself using the pushrims on the rear wheels or have someone push you. The self propel wheelchairs have larger wheels which makes them perfect for getting up kerbs and such however, if you are going to be pushed by someone else then you will need an attendant propelled or transit wheelchair. These are easier to manoeuvre and they can be put in the boot of a car easily.

The weight – The lighter the wheelchair, the easier it will to transport it, self propel it or be pushed. However, if you do opt for a lighter wheelchair, it is important to understand that the price will be higher due to the materials used.

Storing your Wheelchair – The majority of wheelchairs can fold and most fold by pulling the seat upwards. However, depending on the type of wheelchair, it may fold in a different way. This will include things such as footrests, arms and the wheels. However, if you need to store it away in a specific space then you need to make sure it fits.

The type of wheels – Wheelchairs that have large wheels are called self-proplled as it makes it possible for the wheelchair user to propel themselves. The ones with smaller wheels are known as attendant propelled. The wheel can come with either solid rubber which provide a harder ride or with pneumatic tyres which offers a more comfortable ride.

Brakes – The brakes are often manual brakes that are located on the rear tyres. If the wheelchair is a attendant propelled chair then there could be brakes positioned by the handles which means more control when it comes to controlling the chair on hills and ramps.

Weight of the User – Wheelchairs will have a maximum weight and if you are heavier than the specified weight then you could be in danger. The usual maximum weight is 18 stone therefore, if you weigh more than this, you will need a heavy duty wheelchair.

The width of the Seat – Your wheelchair has to be comfortable and so, you need a size that is right for you. This will provide a comfortable seating position that works with the arms and footrests to give you a seating position that ensures comfort. If the seat is too narrow it could lead to pressure stores so when measuring up, make sure you wear the thickest clothes that you would wear such as a winter jacket. The most common seat widths are 16”, 18” and 20”. You need to also consider the seat depth because your thighs will require the right support.

It is important that you consider all of these things as they will help you to make an informed decision on a piece of equipment that is crucial to your life in so many ways.

Living, Studying and Working with a Disability

It is no hidden secret that those who live with a disability have to lead a life that is different to others. The daily life of an individual with a disability will have to involve an element of forward thinking so that they can plan their day around how they deal with their disability. This stands for the way in which they live, study and work.

Every day it takes someone who lives with a disability longer to get dressed and ready for the day which then they have to deal with getting to where they want to go. They face problems on the underground, buses and trains as they are often overcrowded which can impact not only their personal or social life but also their working life. There are still many people who are not considerate of those with a disability and they will often choose to ignore people with a disability and this in itself can cause stress and anxiety.

When it comes to study and work, both are supposed to be as accessible to those with a disability as it for those who do not have a disability. However, there is still a low number of people who have a disability who are in a job. This could be down to discrimination by employers as they may opt to employ an able bodied person before someone with a disability. Employers are supposed to adopt an equality line of thinking and so, they should see everyone as equal but that is not often the case. Education is accessible for those who have a disability as there does seem to be a lower level of discrimination in this sector but there are still challenges in terms of accessing universities and colleges for those who want to study.

Of course, the Government claims it is doing all it can to help support those who live with a disability but is it really enough? They are making progress and there is no doubt about that as they help to improve living standards by providing any assistance that may be required around the home such as ramps or installing systems that help make life easier. There is more that can be done especially where work is concerned because there are many disabled people out there who feel like they can contribute to the economy. Just because someone is living with a disability it does not mean that they are unable to work. Therefore, perhaps the government should monitor the way in which people are discriminated against when applying for jobs. It is this way of thinking that can often work against the progress that has been made up to this point.

There is no doubt that living standards have improved and disabled people do have access to education but things could be better and that is where the problem lies. Those who have a disability just want to be treated in the same way as everyone else and so, the sooner the government realise this the better.

Travelling with a Disability- How to Prepare

disability travel

If you have a disability it does not mean that you cannot travel the world. It just means that you need to prepare yourself in the right way to make disability travel a possible and enjoyable experience.

Planning is important

Many people believe that certain cities or locations are inaccessible for those with a disability but this is not always the truth. This is because the more research and planning you do, the easier it will be to make your trip even more accessible. There are actually many locations around the world that are now wheelchair friendly and this includes historical places and even Paris and Venice. The right planning will mean that you can plan routes and ways of getting around, making it easy to avoid struggling.

Book Ahead

You will require an accessible hotel and so, carrying out your research will make it possible to find the right hotel for you. If you book in advance you can also make some decent savings while also ensuring that you get their accessible room because the majority of hotels only have a few accessible rooms which get booked quickly.

Think about your route

Where are you heading? If you consider the routes you want to travel before you get there, you will have a smoother and more enjoyable experience. You will find that there are more than likely several ways of getting to the places you want to see while some routes will have ramps, smooth paths but you want to avoid those routes that have hills and even walkways. Consider bus routes, train stations and subways and even getting in and out of buildings. There is plenty of information available online about disability travel that will provide you with the info you need in advance.

Choose places that are accessible

You will need to stay in areas that are easily accessible and this can be the tricky bit when planning. While you may have found an accessible hotel what is around that hotel is equally as important. You don’t want hills or high kerbs and lots of steps wherever you turn. You might also want to consider restaurants in the vicinity to make sure that they are accessible. Google Maps and street view can help you to find out how things look in a specific area and once you have the information you need, you can then ask the hotel any specific questions you may have.

Always have a backup plan

Despite the planning and time you spend arranging your trip, you need to have a backup plan if things go wrong because it can happen. Therefore, if you consider the potential issues and prepare a way to deal with them your trip will not become a nightmare. The problems could be with travel issues or even a problem with your wheelchair. Prepare now and you won’t have to spend time dealing with it when you are away.

Most of all, have fun!

With all that planning, you are now more than ready for your trip. You have done your research, followed the advice of others who have a disability and prepared for any potential problems. Now is the time to have fun and make the most of an exciting trip where you can relax, take in the sights and experience something new.

Please email me at info@disability.blog to share your disability travel experiences (good/bad) or to discuss or suggest any topic you would like to see on my website disabilitychat.blog

Thank you & kind regards

 

Disabled People need to know what benefits, allowances and free entitlements are available to them!

If you live with a disability then it is important to understand what support and help is out there for you. There is no shame in claiming what is rightfully yours which means you need to know what you can claim for. There is help from the government in the shape of benefits and allowances while there are other things that you entitled to for free.
So what is available to you?
Disability Living Allowance for children and adults is there to help cover the costs of living and caring for yourself. For children under the age of 16, the rate can range from £22 to £143 while adults can claim between £22 and £83. However, the Disability Living Allowance is slowly being replaced with the Personal Independence Payment.
An Attendance Allowance can be claimed by those people who are over the age of 65 and require assistance and help. If you are unable to work there is also an Employment and Support Allowance which sits at £57.90 per week for those under 25 years of age and £73.10 for those over 25. This is known as assessment rate which is paid for 13 weeks. After this period has ended the amount increases depending on the group you are placed in which could be either the work related activity group where you get £73.10 per week or the support group where you get £109.65 per week.
In terms of travel, you are entitled to the blue badge scheme which provides you with the ability to park in disabled parking spaces and many other areas whether you are the driver or not. Depending on what you received for the Disability Living Allowance, you may be exempt from paying vehicle tax while it could be possible for you to lease a vehicle using the Motability Scheme.
There are many Local Council grants that can help towards the costs involved with having your home adapted so that you can continue to live there. This could also mean that you have a reduction in your council tax bill depending on how your home has been adapted. If you are disabled and in work with a low income you could be entitled to Income support which can be further enhanced by disability premiums which are also applicable if you are receiving Jobseekers Allowance. Depending on the disability you have, you may also be able to receive a 50% discount on your TV Licence.
It is also possible to claim for things such as a third of rail fares by purchasing a Disabled Persons Railcard at a cost of £20 per year. It is also possible to get free computers or computers at a reduced rate while some theme parks will provide tickets at a reduced price. The same can be said for theatres and cinemas.
As you can see, there is plenty of support available in the form of benefits and savings that can be made on a wide range of things. It is just a case of ensuring that you know exactly what you are entitled to

How are People with a Disability Treated?

It has been over 20 years since the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced and from that moment, those who live with a disability have had the power to make a change and be treated in the same way as everyone else.

However, in light of the introduction of this Act in 1995 and even to this very day, those with disabilities do not seem to have the same attention when it comes to equal rights as other campaigns such as women’s rights or racial equality. Legislation for both of these was introduced decades before and so, the progress has been slow.

For those who live with a disability there is still a fight to fight and that is exactly what is happening. The act has changed things and it has made those who live with a disability realise that they are not the ones with the problem because the problem lies with society and how they deal with it. The introduction of the Act was just the beginning but there are still things that need to be put in place such as fairness and equality as well as opportunities. Still, there is a pay gap in the work place and not enough people with a disability are appointed to high public positions.

It is all about being represented in an equal way to those who are able bodied and still there is an issue there. This is in public life and in entertainment because those two situations are where perceptions and thoughts are cultivated. Many people who live with a disability feel that often, they are not represented in the correct way often feeling that they get nothing more than a token representation.

Those who live with a disability are not looking for pity, it is far from that because they want power. While things are slowly changing there are many physical barriers that they need to overcome such as access to a whole range of services which includes buses, the workplace and retailers. All of this needs to be removed.

There is still a belief that more needs to be done to enhance respect and dignity because why should disabled people feel any different to an able-bodied individual? In recent years, the Paralympic Games which took place in London showed the world just how ‘normal’ disabled people are. The good feeling that came with the event has filtered into society but some disabled people still experience verbal and physical abuse.

Sometimes, society can go a little too far and make it feel like those who are disabled are being treated too differently, however, it is important to remember that there is a very fine line here. Disabled people want to feel like they are the same as everyone else and that means the same respect, equality and the ability work and live in the same way. While changes have been made throughout the years, there is still some way to go but progress is being made and that is promising.

Is The Government Doing Enough To Protect Disabled Rights?

This is a very prominent question on the lips of many people in the UK but in reality, the UK Government has been found to be failing to support and sustain the rights of disabled people in a number of different areas.

This was found following a UN inquiry and it was concluded that the UK has not done enough to maintain the convention that supports disabled people to live an independent life, work and be protected socially without being discriminated against. Therefore, the UK law and policies do not reflect this.

While the Welsh and Scottish government have received praise it seems as though the UK Government is falling short because of inconsistencies and the way in which they approach disability rights. The government has also been criticised for not acknowledging the impact the austerity policies would have on those who live with disabilities. Alongside this, it looks as though Government has not considered the impact leaving the EU will have and so, they are failing to protect disability rights here.

The findings have brought home a harsh reality for the UK government and it is clear to see that Conservative austerity policies are affecting disabled people and this is where the problem lies.

The government is not doing enough in a wide range of areas. Education is one area where disabled children are being educated in special schools as opposed to being educated in mainstream schools that have the correct facilities to be able to include disabled children. As well as this, welfare reforms and benefit cuts are also resulting in increased levels of poverty for disabled people and this has highlighted the need for a review of benefit sanctions as this is clearly having a negative impact. The lack of protection from the government is also seen in the way in which it is failing to support disabled people to live independently within the community. The correct resources are required to support individuals and this could be seen as one of the biggest failings.

It is not right that disabled people are bearing the brunt of these austerity policies and it is clear to see that things have to change and quickly at that. It is almost unbelievable when you consider just how badly the government are protecting disability rights, particularly as we are moving into a time where disabled people are now starting to see progress in terms of how they are perceived and treated within society.

So, what do the government plan to do?

There is no clear cut answer to this but only time will tell but the findings reveal a lot. However, the government has responded by saying that the report is accurate and that the progress it has made has not been recognised. The government spends £50bn per year to support disabled people which is a considerable amount but perhaps this is not enough. Despite this, how the government react to these findings will be one way of determining just how far they are willing to go to support disabled rights but right now, are they doing enough? The answer is simple, no.