WNDiS

West Norfolk Disability information Service

 

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History

A brief history of WNDiS

 

WNDiS came about as a result of a project that began in 1994, prompted by a meeting of the Norfolk Disability Information Federation and was led by disabled people. The group, which was initially called WNDIP (West Norfolk Disability Information Project) was supported by North West Anglia Community Health Council and funded by joint finance.

 

A large amount of research in the community led to the publication in July 1997 of the report Closing The Net - a users’ view of disability information in West Norfolk. The report was presented at a conference called Working Together, held at Lynnsport, organised by the Borough Council.

 

A workshop session held at the Ffolkes’ Arms, Hillington on 23 September 1997 in turn led to a focused assessment of how a local disability information service might run.

 

In April 1999, funding for a three year project was provided by North West Anglia Health Authority.

 

In October 1999, a part-time co-ordinator of the service began the job, sharing an office with West Norfolk Deaf Association in Railway Road, King’s Lynn.

 

By mid-2000, the co-ordinator was working full-time, as a result of further funding from the Borough Council of West Norfolk, West Norfolk Primary Care Trust and Norfolk Social Services for other project work. In early 2004 the decision was taken to move to a four day working week, to enable a financial reserve to build up.

 

A part-time Admin Assistant was taken on in September 2002. Funding for the post was not available beyond October 2003. Volunteers have always played an important role in the service. Through liaison with the Jobcentre and other agencies, temporary work placements began in 2004.

 

The Hunstanton Access Guide finally appeared in 2004 and the Downham Market Guide in 2005.

 

 

 

Other Older News Stories

 

Where we are 

Rainbow Warrior

Arts Centre demo

Siberia 

EDP articles

Children's Art

 

 

 

 

East of England

March and Rally,

Norwich, 22 October 2011

 

In May, 1000s of disabled people marched in London, to speak up about planned cuts to benefits and services.

The Government are deciding on more cuts this Autumn.

We are marching in Norwich, to tell the Coalition Government that cutting services will make life very difficult for disabled people and people with long term conditions. Disabled people and their families and carers will be the Hardest Hit by cuts to benefits and services.

Disabled people, disability groups and allies from across the eastern region will be marching. Join us!

11.30am Meet in

Chapelfield Gardens,NR2 1RS

 

12.00pm March Starts

 

1.00pm Listen to the speakers

At Chapelfield Gardens

Email: eastofengland@hardesthit.org.uk

Telephone: 01508 491210

Website: http://thehardesthit.wordpress.com/

 

 

Norfolk County Council is conducting a survey on the need for good info/advocacy services.

Please consider filling in the enclosed form by clicking on the link below and telling them about WNDiS.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/iaa-survey

 

 

 

Where we are

 

Office Address :WNDiS

                       

14 Tuesday Market Place
King's Lynn
Norfolk
PE30 1JN

The office is open from 9.30am until  5.00pm, Monday to Thursday 

This is an interesting old building on the corner of the market place near the Jobcentre. There is plenty of (paying) parking. If you have a Blue Badge try parking for free on the road around the market place

For a map of our location please click here

Tel  01553 782558

E.Mail : jt@wndis.org.uk

 

 

These articles began on a weekly basis in the local paper - the Lynn News - in January 2010.

 

 

The Rainbow Warrior  

 

Jonathan wrote a weekly column from 2010 - 2013 in the Lynn News on issues affecting disabled people and their families

Click on link below for final column in PDF format

24th Jan 2013 

Running a local disability rights service means that you bump into all sorts. When you talk to people they have a clear picture in their heads of what it means to be a disabled person. There are lots of variations. The brave person. The one you feel sorry for. The scrounger. The whinger. These stereotypes apply of course to everyone, disabled or not.

 

The message that I attempt to put across is based on what is known as the Social Model of Disability which has nothing to do with any of the above. It involves seeing the person rather than dwelling on their impairments. The principle behind the Social Model is that it is the barriers that are put in our way that disable us. Take these away and life is a lot easier.

 

Some barriers are easier to demolish than others. High kerbs can be lowered. Heavy doors made easy to open. Hearing loops in noisy bars. Loos in those bars that anyone can get into.

 

The harder barriers are in our heads. Attitudes and assumptions that lead to prejudice. These are really hard to shift. Education is the answer. If you get in early enough the prejudice never occurs because kids are used to having someone around who is a little different. Then all sorts of wonderful things happen. Like a whole class learning to use British Sign Language. Or a whole school which takes it as a matter of course that they have a student who is blind or who has Cerebral Palsy. Everyone gains from the experience.

 

Thinking this way affects the whole design of our built environment. Some businesses of course have known this for ages. It’s no surprise that the supermarkets have long since grasped the notion that if you make your premises easily accessible more people will come in and spend their money. This isn’t altruism on their part – just sound commercial sense.

 

The rest of the shops and pubs and hotels have taken a bit of time to catch up. Left to their own devices, lots don’t bother. It’s down to a nudge from a disabled person who experienced some difficulty using their business. The “nudge” can range from a quiet word or letter at one end of the scale, to the final action of using the Disability Discrimination Act in the County Court. I’ve supported individuals in several of these cases. More on the subject next week.

Negotiation, persuasion, arbitration - or direct action. These are the choices you face when attempting to make the world a more accessible place. I have been involved in half a dozen DDA* cases (Disability Discrimination Act). All have been won though some seemed hollow victories.

 

All Part 3 DDA cases, to do with access to goods and services, have to be taken on by the disabled person who has been on the receiving end of the discrimination. There is no “enforcing officer” and the majority will not be pursued by a solicitor because there is no money in it for taking a Small Claims case to the County Court. This means in effect that you are on your own unless you can find someone to help you as a “litigation friend”.

 

An exception to this was in the very first case in which I played a supporting role, when the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) decided to enter the fray. The case involved Thetford Railway Station, which has a fifty step footbridge connecting one platform with the other. Keith, a wheelchair user, told Central Trains that he thought it was unfair that he should have to continue on his journey from Norwich as far as Ely, get off the train and onto another going back to Thetford, merely to cross the railway line.

 

The case went to court in Norwich and was lost. The judge (who clearly lived on another planet) deemed this roundabout journey perfectly reasonable. The DRC took the case to the Royal Courts of Appeal in London where it was heard by three Law Lords.

 

The opening comment by one of the Lords to the railway company’s barrister brought a warm inner glow to one’s heart. “Well, Mr Smith, you’ve been handed a bit of a poisoned chalice, haven’t you?”

 

Central Trains lost the case and the judge ruled that the company should provide an accessible taxi for passengers unable to use the footbridge.

 

Why a hollow victory? Well firstly, had the case been heard a year later, with a change in the law we could have pushed for use of the former barrow crossing which had been closed off.

 

And secondly, recent headlines showed a Health and Safety ruling from Network Rail that Downham railway station should have – guess what - a footbridge, because of idiots who ignore the red lights on the barrow crossing. If they have their way they will succeed in making an accessible station quite inaccessible. Oh well….here we go again.

 

 

Equal Access at the Arts Centre!

 

· King’s Lynn Arts Centre is a brilliant building

· It’s a mediaeval guildhall and has been running as a theatre for hundreds of years

· We have been campaigning for a lift which will give equal access to all for (it seems like…) most of that time

· The Borough Council finally agreed to install a lift earlier in 2007

· Then they changed their mind!

 

 

As part of Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People’s week of Action for Access, we held a demo outside the Arts Centre, King’s St, King’s Lynn (just off the Tuesday Market Place, past The Globe) on Tuesday 18 September at midday.

 

This was for everyone who values the Arts Centre.

 


WNDiS in Siberia

 

In June 2006, WNDiS (West Norfolk Disability information Service) from King’s Lynn hosted some visitors from a fellow disability rights organisation, FINIST, from Novosibirsk, Siberia, showing them how voluntary and statutory organisations work in Norfolk and introducing them to the important things in life like Abbot Ale.

 

In October there was a return visit. Peter Weston, manager of West Norfolk Deaf Association, Jonathan Toye, Co-ordinator of WNDiS, Andrew Smith, Chair of WNDiS and his PA, Paul set off to sample the delights of Siberia. Jonathan sent this electronic diary to the EDP and BBC detailing the group’s adventures…
 

 

 

Gatwick - Paul, Andrew, 

Peter & Jonathan ready to go.

 

Sunday 1 October

Moscow airport, 20:30, sitting in a twelve foot square blue and white
tiled room in what appears to be the Medical Centre. We came here in an ambulance, bundled in and packed into the back. There was a ramp stretching away from the 'plane but we were sent down the vertiginous steps to the left, onto the tarmac. Off in the ambulance, through the "behind the scenes" part of the airport to the baggage hall with various conveyor belts disappearing into the distance. As Andrew was being transferred from one chair to the other, Paul and I were nearly sliced in two by the concertina metal door - rather like a giant garage door - descending automatically on us. We scuttled out of the way just in time.

Meanwhile here I sit on a green paper towel on a padded sick room bed feeling distinctly un 21st century, more 1950s.

Five minutes later...Paul and Peter have gone off to find our luggage
which was supposed to have been automatically transferred through to
Novosibirsk but according to the chaps here, wasn't. Andrew and I have escaped to the cafe for a beer. The look on the official's face when I suggested that we should do this was something to behold.

It's very noticeable that all the disabled people in the airport are in
or near the Medical Centre. Out of the way? Or is it that there's no
other way? I think it's a question of attitude. Some serious changes needed, I think.



Monday 2 October

We visited members of the Opora organisation this morning at a local gym - fully accessible, run by Sergei, a member of the Finist group that
came over to see us. Opora have a huge membership of about 27,000
disabled people but still have problems with people with specific
impairments sticking together and not linking up with others. Their main problem though lies in the law which states that it might be a good idea to have an accessible environment but doesn't do anything to enforce it.

A long exchange of views on this thorny subject, comparing experience, followed by tea and a selection of interesting nibbles including a surprisingly bright orange caviare on bread and butter. Sergei has an astonishingly beautiful assistant, Anya, who gives us a tour of the gym. We try to pay attention.

We had a lovely meal in the evening in the Tinkoff brewery just around
the corner from the hotel. Several pints of some very tasty beer
("seasoned beer" ) which was the closest we've come to real ale. Hope my head's OK in the morning....


Tuesday 3 October

We have driven out to Novosibirsk State University, about an hour's
journey.
A somewhat dodgy road surface. I feel as if my organs have been
re-arranged.
The university is in a lovely setting in the woods. Surrounded by silver
birch in an autumnal shower of gold. We have been talking to Elena, who is a Chemistry professor here, and a group of disabled students. About six years ago the university and Finist started working together to give more disabled students the opportunity to come here. It's been a struggle but a real success story.

 

At the University with Elena

 


Talking later with the Rector (Principal) of the university, he explains
that they are a difficult establishment for anyone to get into, with
very high standards,  but that the whole process has had a positive
knock on effect on other educational institutions and that their
students - non-disabled and disabled - will all have gained from the
experience. He has a very eye-catching lion with a Turkish hat sitting
in his room. Why? I ask  - A gift from the staff.

On our bumpy way to the Ortos clinic on the shores of the Ob Sea - an
enormous artificial lake. Another lovely spot. The clinic is privately
owned but open to the public, using their private or social insurance.
We are offered some herbal tea which works wonders on my head. They specialise in treatment of spinal injuries but also have a complete
floor given over to the design and production of artificial limbs. They
are producing more and more of the component parts themselves. Their workshops are a revelation and the fitters at Norwich would love to have the sort of space and facilities that are available here.

The whole place is run by Ivan Sahnuk - a dynamic person who seems to give off energy and ideas in all directions. He lost a leg in a car
accident some years ago and found the system lacking.

To the magnificent Opera House tonight to see a modern version of
The Marriage of Figaro. A wonderful spectacle but a bit confusing as the director did some gender swapping in lead roles and my Italian wasn't up to scratch. (Russian subtitles no help either). Comrade Lenin looks on from the square outside.


 opera house with Olga

 

The Opera House, Novosibirsk with Olga

 


Weds 4 October

We've been improvising quite a bit to improve access in the Sibir hotel, in true Russian style.


Paul and Andrew have dismantled the side of Andrew's bed so that his
hoist (provided by our Russian friends) will fit underneath and they
have converted the bathroom into a shower room by strategic positioning of rolled up towels. There's a drain in the floor so it seems OK.


Andrew's wheelchair was sliding about a bit in the minibus so we have
braced him in position by tying seatbelts fore and aft to the chair.

We visited the Social Rehabilitation Institute today, which sounds grim
but is a brilliant place. A Tech College for about 300 mainly
hearing-impaired students, 18 plus. We watched them designing and making wonderful ceramics, furniture (and restoration) and fashion clothes. A friendly atmosphere everywhere. Had a lovely meal with lots of toasts in vodka.


There was a very moving moment when Peter started signing to one of the students in the corridor. Within seconds a group was gathered around him busily signing and responding. A universal language.

As we were talking in a classroom, white flakes began fluttering down.
The first fall of winter. Now we know we're in Siberia.




Thursday 5 October

We've been visiting our Siberian friends at work today. Alex is a doctor
in a medical assessment centre. We drove - or rather bounced - down a road then a series of tracks resembling a bombsite to a rather grim
looking Soviet era building. Into a large empty Reception with long
queues of people stretching down the corridors waiting patiently for
their appointment. Very Kafkaesque.

Up to Alex's office for a chat. Warm greetings and hugs exchanged. I
gave him a bottle of Abbot Ale as a present from all of us, as the chaps
had been particularly partial to it on their visit to us. He gave a big
smile, nipped over to the door and locked it, then opened a cupboard,
unlocked a safe and brought out a bottle of Armenian brandy and six
glasses....and I thought I was going to have a less alcoholic day.

 

 

with Alex

 

 

With Alex at the Medical Assessment Centre



To Sergei later in the day. He is Deputy Director of a state prosthetic
enterprise. He showed us around his huge, warehouse of a building with workshops producing artificial limbs, shoes, corsets, everything
imaginable.


The environment contrasted strongly with the new, privately run Ortos
clinic that we had visited earlier in the week. He has been there two
years and has set lots of changes in motion. The whole place is being
refitted and redecorated. A clear dividing line along one corridor with
the lino in a delightful 70s brown turns into modern non-slip flooring.
Following their visit to King's Lynn in June, they have borrowed the
idea of a mobility shop and have just opened up for business - not bad
for three months work. More food and toasts in vodka…

Alex our interpreter took Peter and me to his friend Igor's flat this
evening. As we arrived outside the block of flats, a number of things happened at once. Alex’s mobile rang and Peter discovered, as the car was driving off, that his wallet had fallen out of his pocket. Peter yelled “He’s got my wallet!” Alex stopped his call and hared off yelling obscenities at the car, dropping his bag and the contents in the road.  He reappeared some time later having caught up with the driver – not a taxi but someone he had stopped and haggled with for a ride – and then got it in the neck from his wife Irina for having subjected their visitors to such a thing. All part of the deal, I thought.

 

Igor’s flat is amazing. He is an artist and antique collector and restorer of furniture and icons. Everywhere you look, antique bits and pieces,
dramatic works of art and a warm Siberian glow from all the lacquered
wood. His 20 year old daughter, Lara, has mixed feelings. "It's like
living in a museum!"

 

 

Igors flat

 

Igor's flat

 


Off to another region tomorrow - the mountains of the Gorny Altai. More adventures.




WNDiS in Gorny Altai

Monday 8 October

We’ve travelled to a more remote region - Gorny Altai - 500 km south of Novosibirsk so finding internet access is a bit harder. I’m using the computer in our friend Svetlana’s office.

Some highlights of the past few days…..

sieminski pass

 

Sieminski Pass on the way to Altay Republic

 

·        Cedar nuts and a snowball fight on the Sieminski Pass, on the way to the mountains.

·        Visiting a sacred valley near Ongudai where our excellent local guide, Sacha, explained the spiritual importance of the three distant snow-capped peaks, that people are forbidden to climb, and the smaller mountain in the centre of the valley, surrounded by cumun, ancient burial mounds. The people here believe in the gods of earth, air, fire and water.

 

wooden houses

Wooden houses in the Sacred Valley, Altay Republic

 

·        Climbing up to a sheer rock face which was covered with prehistoric drawings of animals. They reminded me of similar pictograms that my brother had shown me in Botswana.

 

Rock drawings

 

 

·        The bagna! We were introduced to the Russian sauna near our log cabin by the river Cantun by Sergei. Searing heat, slapping with birch twigs followed by immersion in freezing cold water. Sergei seemed increasingly enthusiastic with the birch twig slapping. Approached with some trepidation but felt brilliant afterwards.

·        A warm welcome in all the schools we have visited. Peter has been signing away like mad in schools or colleges for deaf students. A wonderful revelation to the kids that they can communicate with an Englishman.

·        Must have had a good session last night, judging from the deterioration in handwriting in my diary. At some stage I took a dramatic dive in the hallway and made fairly solid contact with a very solid door. I now have an egg on my head. Scant sympathy but much amusement from our Russian friends.

We will visit the Minister of Labour this afternoon then sadly tomorrow back to Novosibirsk for more meals punctuated by copious toasts in vodka no doubt and to fly home on Wednesday. I will be sorry to leave this great country.

 

  

Sowing the seeds of freedom

 

A line of thought

A flight of imagination

today

and tomorrow

and tomorrow

that will carry us far from this time

of fences built around our lives

of the constant struggle for equal access

confronting barriers cast by thoughtless fools

today

and tomorrow

and tomorrow

It all begins with a small seed sown

in the minds of those who care

The silver forest will spread over Siberia

today

and tomorrow

and tomorrow

 

 

 

Jonathan Toye 10 October 2006

(on the flight from Moscow to London)

 

 



Dasvidagna Siberia!

Jonathan Toye

 

 

 

DDA victories !  

 

On 14 July 2006, John Hammond won his case in Ipswich County Court against the owner of Cobweb Antiques, Leona Bracey. Mrs Bracey had refused to allow Mr Hammond's dog to lead him into her shop, saying that the dog might knock something over. Even when she was told that this was Mr Hammond's guide dog she continued to tell him, in increasingly threatening language, that the dog could not come in, adding words to the effect of "you can't f****** well see - why do you want to come in here?"
 
Mr Hammond and his wife Eileen had seen the newspaper article about Susi Rogers-Hartley's case and came in to talk to WNDiS. Jonathan Toye took the case on and represented John in the Small Claims Court. The statements made by Mr Hammond and his witnesses were in direct contradiction to the statement read out verbatim by Mrs Bracey so the Judge had to decide who was telling the truth.
 
In the event, after retiring for twenty minutes, District Judge Bazley-White found in favour of Mr Hammond, awarding him damages of £1500 and costs of £334. Outside the court, a relieved Mr Hammond felt that justice had been done. "What happened to me was outrageous. I am glad I made a stand and stood up for my rights."

 

 

 

 

An important case was won in the County Court at King's Lynn on 16 December 2005.

 

Susi Rogers-Hartley won her case fought under the DDA for discrimination shown to her by Giorgio's restaurant. She was refused admission because of her assistance dog, Lex.

 

Apparently the restaurant owner thought she was bringing a "guard dog" as opposed to a guide dog. District Judge Rutland did not agree and awarded compensation of £750 plus £120 court costs.

 

Susi was represented in the Small Claims Court by Jonathan Toye of WNDiS who said it had been a useful if nerve-wracking experience. He hoped that other disabled people who felt unable to fight a case under the DDA because of the cost involved would take heart from this

 

 

 

These articles appeared on a monthly basis in the Eastern Daily Press, under the headline -ACCESS ALL AREAS

 

Policy v common sense                   [EDP 13 June 2001]

 

 

Discrimination comes in all forms. Sometimes blatant, other times subtle. Sometimes people go out of their way to make one's life more awkward, whether through ignorance or a simple lack of awareness.

 

Take the banks in a small market town in West Norfolk as an example. One has improved its access enormously, removing all barriers and thinking the whole issue of accessibility through, with an easy entrance, automatic doors, counters at different levels, space to move about and a loop system for customers who cannot hear very well.

 

Over the road, their rivals, after joining forces with another bank, have closed down the branch that was accessible and pooled their resources in the one small, totally inaccessible building. So now former customers of two banks are confronted with the same mountainous step and crammed interior. Pretty blatant, don't you think?

 

More subtle discrimination crops up when it's within the system - this is the way we have always done things...sorry.

 

Take the case of a person with a debilitating and deteriorating condition who needs to move to sheltered accommodation, for the peace of mind and security of someone being nearby, just in case. She finds a suitable place but is refused by the powers-that-be as she does not fit their criteria - she is not old enough.

 

Ignore the fact that the housing would be perfect - policy dictates the decision and over-rules common sense. This sort of subtle, hiding-behind-the-system attitude is the more dangerous and hurtful of the two types. It requires a change in the way people operate - have operated for years. They probably don't realise they're prejudiced - but their actions have a devastating effect on other people's lives.

 

A tale of two restaurants [EDP 28 March 2001].

 There is a small town, not far away, where there are two restaurants. The owners of one restaurant have a very sound approach towards catering for people with a disability. The owners of the other have not.

 For the past year I have been conducting an Access Survey of all the premises in West Norfolk which will be published as an Access Guide. I have encountered all sorts of different reactions in the course of conducting the survey. The two restaurants indicate the opposite ends of what you might call the “receptiveness spectrum”.

 I visited both fairly early on in the survey. When I reached the question “Do you have a loo which a person using a wheelchair could get into?”, the owners of the first were very interested in the possibility. They were keen to see drawings of plans that I had, produced by the Centre for Accessible Environments, and actually borrowed some of the ideas and have now created a loo for their restaurant that anybody can get into.

I was very surprised when I interviewed the owners of the second restaurant to learn that they did not have an accessible loo, as, like the first, they had just opened. It would seem fairly logical to assume, after all, that when someone goes for a meal or a drink they will visit the loo. When I mentioned this they said that they had been told that it was not a necessary part of the planning/building regulations….so they hadn’t bothered.

So there we have it – the future and the past way of thinking encapsulated in these two viewpoints - What can we do? or What’s the least we can do? Take your pick.

 

We don't want to be "back there", thanks    [EDP 7 February 2001]

 It's the little things that make a difference. Sometimes people go to so much time and trouble and expense in an effort to get everything just so - and overlook the obvious.

 Three of us - one of whom uses a wheelchair - had gone to a prestigious conference in a smart Norwich hotel on the theme of everybody from different walks of life - voluntary associations, statutory bodies and business - pulling together and joining up everything that we did.

 The venue was very impressive. Lovely buffet (always a good idea). Comfortable surroundings. And a good sized conference room full of rows of chairs into which we were ushered. To be met by the welcoming greeting of one of the organisers "Ah. Wheelchair. There's a space for you back there."

 We didn't want to go "back there", we informed the organising person. We would decide where we wanted to sit, thank you. Which we did, by simply removing a chair from a row nearer to the front.

                         *                                                    *                                                        *

 

It's hardly surprising that new businesses do their best to conform to the guidelines of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). After all, it's in their best interests to allow as many customers into their shop or restaurant as possible, isn't it? So why does a brand new restaurant in Lynn go to all the trouble of sloped entry and accessible loo and then place a menu board in the way of the door so that no-one pushing a buggy or using a wheelchair can actually get through?

 

When I put this to the manager, she was as puzzled as me and agreed that the offending board should be moved. Nothing highly technical, just a quick job with the screwdriver. "It's common sense really, isn't it?" she said. My view entirely.

  

 A funny thing happened to me on the way to...   [EDP 17 January 2001]

 

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the theatre the other day.  I went to the Corn Exchange in Ipswich to a Disability Awareness show promoted by the Post Office. I'm sure they meant well but..this was a Disability Awareness show with a difference - nobody could get in unless they had brought their crampons and climbing gear.

 

The sign on the locked door said "ring for assistance". I searched for the bell. Finally spotted it above the door frame, approximately seven feet up. Very handy.

 

Everything took place on the first floor. There is no passenger lift at the Corn Exchange but there is a goods lift..in which one must be accompanied by a member of staff..especially if one needs the loo which is back downstairs again. Not very surprisingly, the day was not very well-attended.

 

As I said, I'm sure the Post Office meant well but really the failure of this exercise was down to one thing - a lack of common sense. The advance guard of bright young things who had chosen this particular venue just had not thought about what is and is not accessible. They had presumably selected the building for quite different reasons - its central position (no parking), its glorious history (from the days when all self respecting disabled people did not venture out onto the streets), its proximity to the mainline link to London (not so good for those of us coming in from the rest of East Anglia).

 

All in all, quite a good piece of awareness training for those involved..

 

Some days in the life of....

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the theatre or was it France or was it the estate agent?

Perhaps I had better start at the beginning....

To begin with there was the Disability Awareness Show held in the gloriously inaccessible Corn Exchange in Ipswich...on the first floor. But yes, they protested, it is accessible - use the lift. The smelly-round the back passage-accompanied by a member of staff-service-lift. This wondrous device is approached from outside the building by a separate door emblazoned with the wheelchair symbol, locked, with the suggestion that one might ring the bell for assistance.

As the bell push is handily positioned above the door at 7 feet this might prove a trifle tricky for those of us without extending arms.

P&O Ferries obviously go out of their way to make life easy. We were off for a week en France. Made it through the queues to Dover and the ferry. After climbing fifty or so stairs to the requisite deck I enquired of the Iron Lady behind the Information Desk whether there might be a lift to avoid a repetition on descent to the car deck. Given the nature of my request, the IL came to the immediate conclusion that as well as being knackered I must also be (a) thick and (b) deaf as she proceeded to give me a VERY LOUD LECTURE, slowly, repeating principal points until I turned away, leaving her in midstream, to seek solace in the bar. On the return journey, the charmant Frenchman at the ticket booth merely placed a tiny sticker on my lane ticket et voila! Next to the lift along with umpteen other people.

The encounter with the estate agent I must confess I still do not fully understand. Somewhere about halfway through the Access Survey form that I have conducted with hundreds of other shopkeepers, publicans, librarians and, yes, estate agents, I must have flicked an invisible switch. "This is rubbish" he said, screwing up the survey form and indicating that I should leave*. So I did. Was it the penetrating question concerning the availability of parking that turned the screw? Was it when I checked the loo (inaccessible)? Who can tell. Seldom have I been left in such a speechless state.

Such delights and challenges to be found in the daily grind...

(*The exact manner, gestures and additional comments associated with this splendidly understated phrase are open to the reader's personal interpretation).

 

Following a most informative talk to the Downham Market Chamber of Trade at their May 2000 meeting, members of that body will be receiving information in their next newsletter helping to make them even more aware of the need to provide better facilities for disabled people, both local and visitors.

 

"Delivering inDependent Access roadshow" visited Ipswich on Tuesday 23rd May 2000. Sponsored by the Post Office this aims to provide an exhibition, information workshops and seminars on improving customer service for everyone. It is hoped that a visit to King's Lynn may be arranged later this year.

 

Jonathan & helpers  Pictured recently on the front page of the Downham Citizen newspaper is Jonathan Toye and his willing band of volunteers who have been helping with a survey of local businesses.

 

 

 

Children’s Art Competition

Budding artists between the ages of 5 – 11 were invited to take part in a competition to design a poster advertising WNDiS, the new information service and helpline for people with disabilities in West Norfolk.

Prizes for the competition were kindly donated by SANFORD UK (formerly BEROL). There were two age groups for entry – 5-7 years old and 8-11 with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category. The overall winner’s poster* is displayed around the Borough in surgeries, libraries, village shops and so on.

(* Katie Martin from Gooderstone, near Swaffham )

Click here for list of prizewinners and their posters.

 

Jonathan Toye and his team of volunteers are conducting the research for the Access Guide for the whole area covered by the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk and the poster will be used to advertise WNDiS’ services and to raise awareness of issues to do with disability.

Freedom of access to facilities, which is taken for granted by others, is of course one of those issues and the process of production of the Guide should have a joint effect – showing how accessible our shops and pubs are - to their owners, as well as their customers.

Jonathan visited a number of primary schools in the area, talking to children and their teachers about disability awareness and giving suggestions for poster design. 

 

Prizewinners in the Art Competition

5 - 7 Years

  1. John Neal, Greyfriars

  2. Jordan Neale, Sprowston

  3. Thomas Smith, Greyfriars

 

8 - 11 Years

  1. Katie Martin, Gooderstone

  2. Lisa South, Whitefriars

  3. Thomas Firrell, Clackclose

 

Special Prize

Hannah Bates, Denver

 

Overall winner

Katie Martin, Gooderstone

 

Some of the prizewinning posters

Katie Martin          

 

 

 

 

 Katie Martin age 10

 

 

 

 

Hannah Bates

 

 

 

                  Hannah Bates age 10

 

 

 

Thomas Firrell   

 

 

Thomas Firrell age 8

 

 

 

 John Neal

 

 

 

                        John Neal age 7

 

 

Thomas Smith      

 

 Thomas Smith age 7

 

 

 

Lisa South

 

            Lisa South age 11

 

 

 

Jordan Neale     

 

 

  Jordan Neale age 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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