In a recent email to members, we asked you for some examples of working in partnership that you would like to share with other Alliance members.
Older People’s Advocacy Alliance
Disability Action Alliance member, the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL) has announced their new national project ‘Advocacy Cancer and Older People’, funded by the Big Lottery Silver Dreams Fund and Macmillan Cancer Support. Older patients and carers will be trained as independent peer advocates, to support those affected by cancer to access the treatment they need.
Over the last nine months in the build up to the launch, OPAAL led a partnership of six advocacy provider organisations to develop the framework. Kay Steven, Chair of OPAAL, said “We hope to develop similar partnerships with other charities working with older people with other long-term conditions.”
For more information on Cancer, Older People and Advocacy follow http://advocacyonthewards.wordpress.com
Alliance member Kidz Aware are a West Yorkshire-based charity dedicated to providing services to young disabled people and their families. They have built up partnerships with schools and have received funding to deliver programmes which they have delivered to over 17,000 young people in 270 schools. They deliver programmes on understanding disability, discrimination and racism.
One of the programmes called “Count Me In” focuses on helping young children understand more about disability with the use of puppets. Each of the puppets has a different impairment and the children are encouraged to interact with the puppets and ask them questions. They also get to try out various aides that disabled people use in their daily lives.
Sabrina is one of the puppeteers, and is the daughter of Gillian, the founder of Kidz Aware.
“I was born with cerebral palsy so I know first-hand the difficulties that young people deemed as being ‘different’ go through. I was fortunate enough to have recently won the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Award 2012. This award recognises and celebrates the achievements of some of Yorkshire’s amazing women. The reason I won the award is because of the diversity work I have been doing with children in schools. In the 6 years I have worked for Kidz Aware, I am is proud to say I have had the opportunities to have helped the organisation become a one-stop-shop for information, support & advice and a training organisation that educates people of all ages to create a ‘count me in’ society”.
Blackpool Transport and Highfurlong School
Alliance members ‘Blackpool Transport’ were approached by
Highfurlong School in association with MENCAP, to come to the school and talk to students about accessibility on buses. This has developed into a mutually successful partnership.
Training managers and trainee drivers from Blackpool Transport have spent time with the students, learning of their concerns, experiences and aspirations about travelling on public transport. On one occasion the students pushed the drivers around in wheelchairs so that they could experience things from a wheelchair user’s perspective, for e.g., boarding and alighting the designated mini bus by way of the wheelchair lift. A video of this is available to view on the Highfurlong School page on YouTube. (Link below).
The trainers and trainee drivers also visited the school with a double deck and a single deck wheelchair accessible bus to give the students some practical instruction and the opportunity to try it out for themselves. This not only gave the students confidence that they could use the buses, it also enabled the trainee drivers to see first-hand the difference that they, as drivers can make to enhance people’s lives.
A member of Blackpool Transport said “for me, the day was made perfect when one young man in a wheelchair that I spoke to, having just attempted the boarding procedure said, “I could do this! I can travel by myself. This will give me the chance to get out and go to places.” For me personally, that simple statement sums up better than I ever could, what this is all about”.
A group of students visited Blackpool Transport’s new tram depot at Starr Gate, South Shore Blackpool on the 16th May. They learned about and experienced the new fully accessible trams and tramway.
Blackpool Transport has said of the partnership with students from Highfurlong School “What was particularly interesting for us is that their expectations of what they expect from us entirely reflected our own aspirations in providing a user friendly service for our whole community”.
The ongoing partnership continues to provide understanding and awareness about the experience of travel for disabled people – for both the students and staff at Blackpool Transport.