Middleport Pottery

Ann, one of our members highlighted the problem of disabled access at Middleport Pottery. We contacted Middleport and Teresa Fox Wells said the problem was caused by the cobbles. The contractor had put some substance between the cobbles to try to even them out but this had broken up with the big vehicles passing over them. STAND members discussed the problem and invited Teresa to one of our meetings to discuss possible solutions. We then met Teresa on site at Middleport to see the extent of the problem for ourselves.

We identified these issues which would be a barrier to disabled people visiting the site:

DISABLED CAR PARK had 3 wide disabled bays 2 of which were taken up by people who were not displaying a blue badge. Suggested solutions SIGN to say blue badge holders only and the fine for abusing the bays. NOTICES to be put on the cars of offenders saying that their number had been taken and if they were found to be abusing the space again they would be fined.STAFF to monitor the bays throughout the day.

ENTRANCE had no disabled access until you had passed over the uneven cobbles, which many disabled people would not be able to do. Suggested solutions BELL to press to get someone to help. COBBLES taken up, set in bitumen with bitumen poured down the cracks to level up the cobbles and level out the surface.

ROUTE to the café and to the workshops to be given this treatment.

CAFE has doors opening outward which means that someone in a wheelchair would not be able to open them. Suggested solution BELL on the door to summon staff to open the door.

October 16

Teresa Fox Wells has informed us that the work has been done apart from the cobbles. Apparently the contractor has gone into receivership and they are trying to see what can be done, meanwhile STAND members will be invited to see the work done so far at a visit to be arranged at our next meeting, for the end of November.

March 17

STAND members visited Middleport again to see the improvements.

The contractor who did the cobbles originally and had promised to redo them had gone bankrupt which left the pottery with a huge problem, which they are still trying to resolve.




On arrival we found the disabled car park to be much improved. All disabled bays were available for disabled people. ie NO ABUSE OF THE BAYS. Signs had been put up to make it very clear that these bays were just for blue badge holders. 

The spaces are wide enough for wheelchair transfers and the surface is firm.





There is now a sign showing the route for people with disabilities at the front of the building but you need to remember it may not be suitable for people who cannot travel over the cobbles, at the moment.

 There is a sign showing the location of the call button once you are under the archway. This will call staff to lower or raise the lift.





The Upper floors are serviced by a good sized lift which is easy to use. There are ramps to other areas and so is easy to get around.


Some areas are impossible to make fully accessible. The bottle oven has a ramp so you can see inside it but the heavy metal frame around the door means that a wheelchair cannot get inside. Some of the workshops have a step up to them but Middleport are looking to get some ramps fitted in the future.

Once you have been around the pottery you will want to sample the delights of the Tea Room. Again there are signs to show the route for wheelchairs.

Take care down the slight slope because the Tea Room faces the canal. A lovely spot to take tea when the weather is kind, however there is a call button to get into the Tea Room. It is located outside the big picture windows.




A lovely cup of tea and wonderful helpful staff.

Middleport Pottery is to be commended for taking up the suggestions that STAND made to make the pottery more accessible. It is a delightful place to visit.

Middleport take disabled access very seriously and is constantly trying to improve the experience so everyone can enjoy their visit. There are plans to make another entrance into the shop and that will be on the level and much easier for people with disabilities to use. I will let you know of any future developments.



Update Aug 2018

I have to congratulate everyone involved with the organisation of the Weeping Window event at Middleport Pottery.  I was absolutely thrilled to see how easy it was to today when I visited with my husband who has a disability.

    Designated parking was great, spaces to spare, good signage, lovely staff on hand to help, travelling over the cobbles was easy, due to the interlocking rubber mats placed over the cobbles. The site was not crammed full of people so there were seats to spare, easy access to refreshments, and space to see the poppies without fear of getting crushed or pushed. This is a free event and is a fantastic example of how people with disabilities can be welcomed on to a historic site given thought, work and consideration.

North Staffs Justice Centre

STAND  wrote to the Justice Centre as members has experienced difficulties in accessing the building and then had more problems once inside the building when they went to PIP appeals.

We received a warm welcome when we visited the Centre and discussed all the problems that members had experienced. We were taken on a tour of the building and suggested ways to make the building more accessible. The staff we met were very receptive to these suggestions and are looking into what can be done inside the building.

The sad fact remains that the building itself is too far away from a car park and even the taxi drop off point is a far walk away from the door. The staff did suggest that in the future they are looking at the possibility of video links so people appealing might not have to leave home.

We will keep you posted as to progress.

STAND Visit To Parliament

Members of STAND visited Parliament to talk to our MPs about access issues. Access to the North Staffs Justice Centre which is being used for PIP appeals has been the topic of many complaints. Gareth Snell MP and Ruth Smeeth MP and Paul Farrelly’s secretary are going to see what can be done to help. The problem of pavement parking was raised as this issue has caused members to be housebound, when people parked over their drive, members had been intimidated and abused when they asked for the offending vehicle to be moved and also vehicles had damaged fences as they had been driven onto the pavement. Members driving disabled buggies had been forced into the road when vehicles had been inconsiderately parked on the pavement. The last issue we raised was the fantastic progress of the Blue Iris project to combat loneliness. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of this project.




Hi Folks, we have won a lottery grant for the BLUE IRIS project, this will get people chatting to one another and is designed to combat loneliness. A simple but great idea. You sign a pledge to be open to chat to people when you wear your blue iris badge. The badge is a sign that you will be willing to chat. No pressure, no home visits, you just wear the badge when you feel you have the time to chat. The chats can be anywhere in a public place, shops, bus stops, doctors etc.

If you are a warm, kind, friendly, person who would like to be involved in this project, you can get further information and your BLUE IRIS badge from Jo Coulson or Rob Lamonby via the Blue Iris Facebook page here. The badges are free but we hope people will make a donation so we can buy more badges.

To read the story about the launch in the Sentinel Click this link  http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/north-staffordshire-charity-stand-hope-that-blue-iris-badges-can-help-tackle-loneliness/story-30374546-detail/story.html

Our sincere thanks go to all the people who are now wearing the Blue Iris badges and our wonderful ambassadors who are spreading the message about the Blue Iris Project and giving out Blue Iris Badges.

We have the support of some wonderful people including our MPs.

On Friday 14th July 2017 we met with Ruth and she signed the pledge to wear her Blue Iris badge.

The campaign is going really well with 1500 badges already given out.

If you spot someone wearing the badge, please go and say hello.



On Monday 18th Sept 2017 we were invited to meet Gareth Snell MP for him to receive his Blue Iris badge. He is really supportive of the project and has promised to publicise it where he can. It is great to have the backing of our hard working MPs.




In April 2017 STAND members had a talk from Michaela who works for Revival in Stoke. They offer all kinds of help. Click link to see their literature Help016 or visit their website www.revivalhia.org.uk or phone 0333 014 3389.

Unity Walk Hanley

STAND exec. have a meeting with Realis on Fri 31st March to discuss the development of the old bus station in Hanley. Members are concerned about how this work will affect their ability to access shops, banks and places of work both during the work and afterwards.

Missing Medical Aids

Often people are loaned medical aids in hospital and when they no longer need them they do not know where to return them.

If you have any medical aids, crutches, walking sticks, hoists etc. that you no longer need you can ring Mediquip 01785 273950 and either arrange for them to be collected or take them to Mediquip in Tollgate Road, Stafford. They will ensure that they are made ready for someone else to use. Returning medical aids could save our local NHS thousands of pounds.