• Covid19 Bill - Disabled and vulnerable adults and children
    Dear Prime Minister I believe that the #CoronaVirusBill presents a real and present danger to the lives of disabled people. The government’s plans for disabled children and adults during the crisis are effectively rolling back 30 years of progress for disabled people. The government’s plans are to: remove disabled people’s rights to social care change the duties to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty attack the civil liberties of disabled people and erode their rights to support I am asking the government to work closely with disabled people’s organisations and families of disabled people to protect their human rights in a time of crisis. I implore you to fight for the hard fought rights of disabled children, young people and adults and their families and to amend the schedules in the Bill that remove social care and SEND duties and threaten the civil liberties of disabled people. To explain my reasons for writing to you, please see my understanding of negative social implications of the #CoronaVirusBill on the lives of disabled people and their families: Yours sincerely Maxine Pieri What does it mean for disabled adults? The Bill suspends every duty in the Care Act, 2014, including the duty to meet the eligible needs of disabled people (Section 18) and their carers (Section 20). Under the #CoronaVirus Bill, Local Authorities will only have to provide care ‘if they consider it necessary’ for the purposes of avoiding a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). There is no human right to social care or positive obligation under the ECHR to meet care needs. Other changes set to be introduced through the #CoronaVirusBill will allow health bodies to delay carrying out an assessment for eligibility for NHS continuing care What does it mean for disabled children and young people? Duties for young people transitioning to adult social care have also been suspended. The Secretary of State for Education will have power to disapply the duty on schools and other institutions to admit a child to a school where they are named on an EHCP. The Secretary of State will be able to vary provisions of the act, such as the core duty to procure provision set out in an EHCP, so instead of being an absolute duty it becomes a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty, creating a lesser entitlement for up to two years. What about the Mental Health Act? The power to recommend individuals be detained under the Mental Health Act will be implemented using one doctor’s opinion instead of two, making it easier for people to be detained. The proposed bill will temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation which means individuals might be released into the community early, or find themselves detained for longer. Under section 5, emergency detention for people already in hospital would extend from 72 hours to 120 hours, and nurses’ holding powers would extend from 6 to 12 hours. Under sections 135 and 136, police powers to detain a person found in need of immediate care at a “place of safety” will extend from 24 hours to 36 hours. Under section 35/36, the cap on how long someone can be held in hospital while awaiting a report (currently 12 weeks) will be lifted. What about the rights of disabled people? Local authorities will have a duty to uphold disabled people’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, BUT the threshold for a breach, in terms of not providing care and support is high, which means that disabled people will be left without care and support. Lack of care and support will have a significant impact on disabled people’s well-being, but may not be considered to reach the threshold for their human rights to have been breached – they will NOT have a right to care and support. Sources of information Watch @stevebroach, Public Law Barrister talk about the impact of the Bill here: https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/steve-broach-public-law-barrister-on-the-coronavirus-bills-implications-for-disabled-children/ Read this Twitter thread for more information: https://twitter.com/JamieBurton29/status/1240781535340568577 Statement from National User Survivor Network: https://www.nsun.org.uk/News/covid-19-and-human-rights Current hashtags: #CoronaVirusBill #CoronavirusBillUK
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    Created by Maxine Pieri
  • Stop SLDC in Kendal from Discriminating against the Disabled
    The council are completely failing to uphold their obligations to those with disabilities and protected characteristics by infringing their right to practice their religion and faith, access to and use of goods, facilities and services, including access to public buildings, shops and leisure facilities and to healthcare, housing and transport, membership of private clubs and use of their facilities. The council has a duty as well as the general rules against subjecting people with disabilities to disability discrimination, most public authorities are under two other duties to promote equality of opportunity for people with disabilities, amongst others. They are also legally required to have due regard to: * promote equality of opportunity between people with a disability and people without (Section 75) * promote positive attitudes towards people with a disability (Section 49A) * encourage the participation of people with a disability in public life (Section 49A) The plans to change the use of area are enforcing completely unfair restrictions and alternatives that are indirectly and directly discriminating against those with Disabilities as they will allow Hirsts and Market Trader traffic to use it but no longer allow access to those who need dropping off outside the door. Some have incredibly heavy and large electric wheelchairs, some that have failed to work in recent months and have required pushing. The councils 'reasonable adjustments' of enforcing that the disabled people must be dropped off at the bottom of the hill and make their way up there is a disgrace. It is a steep and challenging hill for the more able-bodied, let alone those in wheelchairs or their carers. They have already been unfairly restricted by having a very narrow time limit enforced for blue badge parking in the town only between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm which automatically impacts their ability to attend groups and appointments. The council is causing so much disruption with their plans for changing Kendal's town center which is already negatively affecting shops, shoppers and services and now religious freedom and Disability rights, completely disregarding their legal obligations. The Unitarian Chapel has already spent the last few years heavily investing in a new sensory garden and environmental space which is in the process of being rolled out. A large part of this has been to make the Garden space relaxing tranquility for all and have made the plans wheelchair friendly. The council's decisions are not only affecting those who currently attend the Chapel but those new visitors or residents who will be welcomed to spend time in and use the sensory garden in the future. Please sign this petition in support of our Disabled brothers and sisters and stop the infringement of laws and rights that are designed to uphold everyone's rights and ability to access services, groups, and places of worship.
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    Created by Danielle Willsher
  • OPEN LETTER: Please don't vote for cuts to special educational needs funding
    On 19th March you and your fellow councillors will be voting on whether to make potentially devastating cuts to the special educational needs budget, which will impact children across the borough. We are calling on you to vote against it. We believe these cuts will prevent schools from properly supporting children with special needs, such as autism, Down’s Syndrome and learning difficulties, and in doing so negatively impact the education of all children in the borough. If these cuts are made, you risk failing in your legal duty under the Children and Families Act 2014 to provide access to education for all children – making the proposals both unethical and likely unlawful. What's more, we believe these cuts are a false economy. Reducing support for children with special educational needs means many will struggle to cope in mainstream education, resulting them falling out of the system completely either through exclusion or school refusal. Parents will then be forced to seek alternative specialist provision, which will cost the council far more in the long run. The proposal is to make a 10% cut to vital top-up funding for children with special educational needs in mainstream schools, as well as cutting the annual budgets of special schools by 1.5%, the maximum allowed by law. Waltham Forest Council will also introduce an unsustainable two-tier system in which new children requiring support face an, as yet, undefined new process. Previous attempts to cut the budget were abandoned after families and schools voiced concerns about how cuts would harm children’s education. Many schools remain uneasy about the cuts, choosing either not to vote or to abstain from voting for them. You should also take note of the high level of community support against cutting the special needs education budget. This is exemplified by the fact that £3,000 for the purposes of taking legal action against the Council was raised through crowdfunding in a matter of days. Furthermore, Waltham Forest SEND Crisis, a grassroots campaign group formed by families, carers and professionals, now has over 300 members. A young person has special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision to be made for them. This can include children with sight or hearing problems, Down's syndrome, learning difficulties, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, anxiety, depression, as well as children with a physical need requiring additional equipment and support. The extra support children with SEND require is vital to them being able to access an education. You and the other Waltham Forest Councillors must vote against these cuts on 19 March, as they will hurt the children you have a legal duty to support. We implore you to follow the lead of other UK Councils and push back to central government.
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    Created by Waltham Forest SEND Crisis Action Picture
  • Change the Social work degree to include mental health and SEND and childcare
    To ensure children and young people with complex needs and challenging behaviours, Autism and other hidden disabilities are not wrongly put in a over filled care system. Parents are blamed more often or not for poor parenting, when their children have complex needs and dealing with crisis's daily with no support. Parents are judged wrongly.
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    Created by Karen O'Reardon
  • Speak for nonverbal Yannis safety
    Yanni has pica, severe learning disability, nonverbal autism, extreme hyperactivity/ADHD. His parents have offered to offset the loss of the tree at a local community park, by replanting three trees. His little sister will no longer need to help monitor her older brother in the garden. https://www.wharfedaleobserver.co.uk/news/18178970.mothers-fight-keep-son-safe-removing-protected-tree/
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    Created by Maddy Chatzakis
  • SEND system in East Riding
    Because of the detrimental impact the dysfunctional Special Needs System is having on families
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    Created by Angela Kingston Picture
  • Consultation on proposed changes to the Cambridgeshire Council's Adult Social Care charging policy
    There was a review last year and cuts were made. This year the cuts look even more menacing. We say that there must be other cuts the Council can make and if we withdraw from the EU we will have more cash to support our elderly and disabled.
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    Created by Derk Fit
  • Save our choice 4u club
    We now have in excess of 80 club members with nowhere to socialise on our prior club days. Breaking friendships and social skills...please sign our petition and help keep us open
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    Created by Michelle Stark
  • Keep Nellie Sailing
    STS Lord Nelson is one of two tall ships owned by the charity Jubilee Sailing Trust, which takes mixed-ability crews to sea, changing people's lives. Following a recent emergency appeal to raise £1 million in a week, they raised about £1.2 million, but then very shortly decided to de-commission Lord Nelson. Many of us consider this to be a huge mistake, and wish the ship to keep sailing, doing what she does best.
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    Created by Alan Fisher
  • Save Birmingham Vision
    Service users says: "This is awful news. Birmingham vision has been providing fantastic services to people with sight loss in Birmingham and is the only remaining centrally based Sight loss organisation." " I have enjoyed all of the social activities and all of the sporting opportunities that were made possible by them and if it wasn’t for him, I would never have had the opportunity to go driving, walk out onto Villa Park twice, take part in activities such as foot golf and cricket and the  The fact that he brought me out of the social isolation I was in before I signed up as a service user back in 2016 My thanks also goes out to the wonderful person who put on wonderful social events during the last three summers and kept the pub night going for everyone to enjoy and this was a great social hub as I had met people there who I’m still communicating with now and I’m sure that they will use their social and independence skills to go out and enjoy life. When I first read this post, the first thing came to my mind was that there will be a lot of empty days in the new decade and this will hit home during the summer months as without the great service that Birmingham vision provides, there will be very little opportunity to enjoy the events that I have mentioned in my post and this is a great shame because Thomas Pocklington have buried the people that it once encouraged to flourish and be confident and independent and I can’t imagine life without the services of Birmingham vision and the company of their excellent staff." "This is truly heartbreaking! I volunteered once with the pub quiz and really saw what great work you do. What is to become of all the social isolation that this might bring? I can't really understand how such an important group is not worthy of funding. Just sad." "I'm GUTTED! This is so sad Birmingham Vision work so hard and have helped me and so many other Visually impaired people to deal with living with sight loss. I have made lots of friends through all the events that have been organised . They have made me not feel so isolated. I feel for all the staff that have worked so hard. I am going to miss this group so much!!" "I am totally shocked to hear this sad news! Without Birmingham Vision I would not have the confidence I have today. The wonderful staff have shown us that being visually impaired doesn't mean we have to feel isolated. I too have made some great friendships through the groups, and days out that the hard working staff have arranged for us. Thank you so much for your hard work. ❤" "I can honestly say I’ve really enjoyed getting to know every single person every single member of staff you are all amazing Birmingham Vision chose my life and helped me so much and made good friends with all the staff and many of the service users I have gained lots of confidence and getting out and about and everyone has as well we will all miss you as you are all lovely people and being in your company is always a great pleasure". "OMFG! Are you freakin' kidding me? WHY is it not worth the funding? This group has given me a social life, provided opportunities to visit places & most importantly make new friends including all the staff. It is OUR little community, don't we have a say?"
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    Created by Jodie Richards Picture
  • Autistic Adults especially ones diagnosed later in life need access to treatment and support
    Autistic people can be part of society and have a good life , work and family with the right support. Autistic people are being failed by the goverment and society as it is them that arent providing the services so they can thrive.
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    Created by Lorna OKane Picture
  • Stop Disability Tax
    APRIL 2018 SAW THE INTRODUCTION OF THE DISABILITY TAX FOR THOSE WHO OWNED THEIR OWN HOMES AND WHO ARE ON LOW INCOME BENEFITS. We require the government to reverse the immoral removal of the Mortgage Interest Relief Scheme (MIRS) for people with Disabilities, for whom the replacement has become a regressive tax (charging interest on interest) that could potentially lose them every penny that they have paid for their home. Further, institute a form of payments towards essential upkeep of owner occupied homes for those on low income benifits, providing parrity with private landlords of people in receipt of LAHA This is especially important given successive governments encouragement of home ownership. Changes in assistance with housing costs in 2018 have proportionatly adversly affected those with disabilities and thus immorally. In the 2017 general election Theresa May's "Dementia Tax" was severely critised and ultimately dropped. This proposal would have seen much of the persons home value used for care but would have left a substantial sum for them to use or leave in a will. Despite the public uproar at the Dementia Tax an effective wider affecting "Disability Tax" (which would have seen people who have become disabled and reliant on benefits, potentially loose every penny they have paid for their home as well as, possibly rightly, any increase in house value), has gone unchallenged and virtually unreported. Up until 2018 the system by which some help was given to people on low incomes (e.g. Employment Support Allowance or its equivalent in Universal Credit) was by payments towards their mortgage interest payments, Mortgage Interest Relief Scheme (MIRS), this did not pay for all of their mortgage payments nor, as in the governments reasons for its removal, make any assistance with the actual cost of the property. It merely just gave some money towards the mortgage interest rate. Unlike Local Area Housing Allowance (LAHA), which nominally pays the average cost of the full price of rent ( and thus the actual purchase price of a property, mortgage interest payments and upkeep of the property at a profit for somebody who isn't even living in the property, I.e. the landlord), MIRS was already a far cheaper scheme. As can already be seen that those in receipt of MIRS also received no help with most aspects of maintaining their home. The government decided that MIRS needed replacing as erroneously they stated that the welfare system should not be seen as assisting somebody to pay for their home whilst quite willfully not only buying a landlords property and upkeep but also providing them with a profit. In 2018 the new arrangements were introduced these provided a loan on some of the mortgage interest payments (a interest on interest loan scheme that would be considered unacceptable/imorral by the Financial Services Authority). These loans are to be repaid upon sale of the home or death. The only limit to the extent of the Loan repayable is the final sale price of the property. As such, the person could loose all the money they have paid into the property, a scheme worse than the proposed Dementia Tax but which has been allowed to be enacted. Worse is the fact that those who are more likely to be on benefits long term, and thus most affected by this regressive Tax are those with severe disabilities or long term sicknesses (and their families, who often act as cheap carers). This new Disability Tax means that rather than getting help with housing costs, they face additional charges, the mortgage its interest, and then the interest on the interest-in the loan provided by the government. As such under the new Disability Tax, not only does the disabled person probably loose every penny that they pay towards the purchase cost of their home, they effectively get no assistance in the long term with the cost of their home be that mortgage interest or upkeep, items that successive governments are happy to provide to landlords including effectively buying the property for them and providing a profit. Such a regressive and discriminatory reform of the benifits system in comparison to the treatment of those on LAHA and their landlords has to be seen as immoral and reprehensible. If The Dementia Tax was wrong then this Disability Tax is totally Immoral.
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    Created by Stephen Boon Picture