STAND Lottery Grant Report Feb 2014
1. Funding for-Development, printing and distribution of guidance material aimed at educating service providers about disability awareness.
What we did; We used some of the funding to get leaflets printed for businesses and service providers to educate in disability access issues and to make suggestions as to what they can do to make things easier for disabled people. Members then took them out to various locations around the City where they knew they would be helpful. The leaflets were also given out at various meetings we held around the City to promote the work of STAND. The leaflet, Low Cost No Cost is enclosed.
What happened: We had many successes and comments about our leaflets from smaller shops in particular. The awareness raising of disability issues has resulted in ramps being installed, better lighting over a post office counter, renovations to include a handrail by a ramp, improved access in a large store that had previously had narrow aisles preventing wheelchair access and better signage. At the local hospital UHNS we are now consulted about new developments, car parking and other access issues. The camera purchased with the Lottery Grant has enabled us to do photographic reports to support our case for improved access. Enclosed is a photo report to UHNS. The local council consult us on new development such as the new Central Business District, changing blue badge bay locations and bus routes. The Aids and Adaptations Officers concerned with adaptations and grants to disabled peoples’ homes consulted us on their new policy document. We have recently had success working with our local council and they have reversed a decision to relocate Shopmobility and they have given an assurance that no public toilets will close unless a viable alternative can be found that is accessible to disabled people. We have achieved a new disabled car park for Hanley Museum to replace the disabled parking when the bus lane was introduced. These are just a few of the results that members know about. We are sure that there are many more out there. Members felt a real pride in being able to make positive changes which have improved their lives and those of others. We also learnt that having hundreds of leaflets printed can cause problems of distribution and storage, a problem that was resolved when we decided to print our own leaflets using the printer we bought with the lottery money and using the rest of the lottery money to buy extra ink and paper. We now print all our leaflets as and when they are needed.
2. Capacity Building and technical training
What we did; We set up a schedule of training for members who were interested in several areas. We used VAST to cover some of the traning in areas where members felt they needed help eg. Development and realisation of aims for STAND, Committee member responsibilities, Computer literacy, funding bids, website design and maintenance etc. Working with VAST we are in the process of building a website. stand-stoke.org.uk which will help us to reach a wider audience. The Chief Access Officer at Stoke-on-Trent City council did a set of sessions on the more technical side of our work. eg. Legislation regarding equality and disability, Reading building plans, what to look for when assessing accessibility, where to go for help if we are unsure of something.
What happened; The website is going live at the end of February 14 and beside the obvious knowledge imparted in all of these training sessions, members have also been given the confidence to value their own experiences and ability and to use this to inform and challenge authority and make considered suggestions for change. The successes mentioned previously have also encouraged further action. We have also learnt to value each others‘ strengths and support each other where needed.
3. Promotional materials
What we did; At first we had STAND leaflets printed in A5 booklet s,A4 easy read and A4 large print and members distributed them as before. We held meetings to promote STAND and members spoke at many other voluntary group meetings eg Community Health Voice, WCC, PPGs, Age Concern, Disability Solutions etc. to help raise awareness of the work we do and to increase membership. We started to network with other voluntary and charitable groups to help each other and to join forces on common issues eg. Museum parking. We are now training to start our own website to further raise awareness of disability access issues. STAND also has superb links with our local press who cover our meetings and publicise the general work we do and the specific issues presently raising concerns. The Sentinel journalists often ring members for comment on any news items with a disability component. We have involved our three local MPs and they receive agendas and minutes of all our meetings with specific areas where they can help highlighted . We have been able to add our support to Joan Whalley’s campaign to get a disabled friendly footbridge at Kidsgrove station. STAND has recently involved all local councillors in meetings to discuss disability issues because as the spending cutbacks continue to cause concern we are aware that we need to raise their awareness of the problems that disabled people face as a result of their decisions.
What happened; We have increased our membership and certainly raised awareness of the issues around disabled access. We also realise the power of networking with other groups to provide expertise and support.
4. Alternative Formats
What we did; We bought a voice recorder to help a member with hearing difficulties so she could play back the meeting at a volume and time to suit and we bought a voice recorder with voice recognition so that members with severe hearing problems can have the meetings transcribed into print. We had large print leaflets printed for partially sighted people and we bought memory sticks for members to receive recorded meetings for those more severely affected.
What happened; The alternative formats were a great help to several of our members. Our secretary, who has a hearing loss is able to use the voice recorder to record meetings which can then be written up at home.
Conclusion The Lottery Grant has enabled this project to, not only get off the ground but to fly. Members have learnt a great deal. Most important we know that if the first answer is “No” then it can be challenged/ negotiated into a maybe or yes. There is a great satisfaction in knowing that their expertise in their own disability has been used to improve the lives of disabled people, people with complex health needs and carers. Publicity from our work has raised the general publics’ awareness of disability issues. We have received a donation, given out of the respect for the work we do and we are confident that more will follow as we continue to work to improve disabled access and raise awareness of disabled issues.