Category Archives: Blog

SDN’s is seeking members to contribute to the blog. If you have a burning issue or you want to share something with other members please contact us.

Wheel’s Wonderings contributor is written Ian Pugh a disabled teenager living In Shrewsbury.

The Hub

The HUB, by Paul Coope, Manager Signal Hub

Shropshire’s first “Hub” devoted to hearing- and communication-related services 

Week One:

Everyone here at Signal is anticipating the shop-fitters coming in and starting on our new HUB this week and I am looking forward to watching its progress from chrysalis to butterfly.

The space is large, open and rather empty at the moment.

Full of promise, a bit like a blank page just waiting to be drawn on, what will the finished image be?

Wednesday 30th September:

We have lift off.  The shop-fitters have arrived today and began moving in the first elements of our fit-out.  As I stand in the open space there is a hive of activity all around me as all the timbers for the stud walls and a large stack of plasterboard arrive. For my first week with Signal as Hub Manager this is all very exciting, equipment, tools, and materials are all here, just sit waiting for the action to start.

Friday 2nd October:

As I arrive at the HUB the today I can see the HUB starting to take shape. Stud walls stand like an open labyrinth along the back of the HUB inviting me to step through the spaces where walls will eventually form a solid barrier. I can feel the elements of the shop-fit starting to come together and now see the paper plans growing into a solid structure. 

There is a lot of interest from people passing the front of the shop, with many stopping to see what is going on. The whole mall is coming to life with different users. 

Week Two:

Each day seems to bring on a new perspective to the Hub, today I can see the builders are fixing plaster to the framework, the whole space is in organised chaos. I can start to visualise where desks and furniture will be placed and can give some thought to how we will decorate the space.

A big note of thanks at this point goes to the generous support from Shropshire County Council, who are donating surplus furniture to Signal for the project. Rob Jones, Property Operations Manager for the Council has been able to source desks and other items for The Hub.

Our other partners are also starting to get excited by the changes. Heather and Cheryl who will have the ‘Links Café’ in the HUB have started to think about their space and we are working together to ensure we have a pleasant spot to drop in for a cup of tea and coffee.

Thursday 9th October:

The Electricians and IT crew are in today and the whole place is abuzz with workers. It’s a bit like watching an intricate choreographed piece as everyone moves around the HUB completing their allotted tasks.

By the end of the day we have wires sitting in quiet anticipation waiting for the final fit-out when all the walls, skirting and decorating are completed. The ceiling lights have been moved to suit the room configuration and I can start to appreciate what has been achieved in such a short space of time.

We had a visit from Ruby Hartshorn (pictured below) from Shropshire Disability Network this afternoon and we were able to talk about what we hoped to achieve with the HUB and give her a brief overview of the work so far. We have made sure that access within the HUB is user friendly for all and a comfortable area to move around. 

Friday 10th October:

It’s a day to take stock of the past week and a half’s frenetic work in the HUB. I can see the main form of the place now, though one room is still to be plaster boarded.

I have a meeting here today with Andy Bleach from Shropshire Sensory Impairment Team to show him the venue and discuss working together in the Hub.

I stand in what will be our reception area and can see we are moving ever closer to completion. What we need now are volunteers who will help us prepare for opening in November! If there is anyone out there who is interested in volunteering at the HUB or would like some more information about the opportunities we will have there please contact me and we can meet to talk about our new venture. We will be holding an information day there to let potential volunteers know more about what we hope to do at the HUB, answer questions and have a chance to chat informally to everyone. 

Week Three:

Monday 13th October:

More deliveries today, plasterboard for the second skin of the walls and huge bags of soundproofing insulation to go inside the walls.

There is ebb and flow of materials filling the space, rather like a tide, one moment the whole HUB is full of building materials and they decrease as they are used, only to be replaced by the next batch.

All the rooms will be insulated to help to reduce sound so that the Audiologists and others who use them will have a specially designed quieter space to do their assessments in.

We will also be installing a specialist audiology booth provide by the NHS Audiology Department so that hearing tests are undertaken in a controlled environment.

Things are moving more steadily now as we complete the work on and in the rooms. While off site we source equipment and furniture to complete the HUB. 

Tuesday 14th October:

I managed to source some free carpets today for our back of house area in the HUB and have earnt the nickname ‘Womble’ for my resourcefulness. I’m sure that is a term of endearment from my colleagues! 

The second skin of plaster-boarding is going onto the walls today to help control sound in all the rooms in the HUB. You now get a real feel for the shape of our new centre, with the reception and café area looking very bright and airy.

Wednesday 15th October:

The insulation is being cut and packed into the wall spaces, and two rooms have been completed today, another step closer in the build.

I have now got to start thinking about how we will decorate, furnish and lay out the main foyer area. Will it be big colourful fabric prints on the walls, or paintings and pictures of our projects. As I mentioned at the start of this blog, it’s a blank page, or should I say, palate.

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Sweden Calling

My body hurts!

It’s been a great week training, but we’ve been pushed hard and my body knows it!!

I’m feeling strong though and there’s been some huge gains made with my paddling. We’ve changed my technique this week, and although it feels hard at the minute, I know it’s going to enable me to go faster in the long run.

We had a nutritional workshop this week and I’ve been put on a high protein diet too, 185g a day, that’s the equivalent of around 10 chicken breasts a day….I’ll be looking like a chicken by the time I’ve finished!! We were told on Thursday that the squad has got to go out to Sweden next weekend to take part in some trials – never a dull moment!! 

Jessica Lightwood

Autumn – Energize Blog

Rereading my last blog I notice that I started with a negative statement about the challenge of my job.  So this time I thought I’d start with the positives, and I’m excited to say there have been plenty of them in the last few months. 


Firstly we are eJessica 3xcited to have appointed Jessica Lightwood into the newly created Shropshire Inclusion Officer post.  This post came about from a successful joint bid to the Big Lottery which was featured in the last edition of Your Voice.  Jess is due to start work on the 4th Nov and we hope to featured here future plans in a future edition of “YourVoice”.  Secondly, one of the SDN Gold Challenge teams has successful reached the 2014 milestone and SDN Vic’s Victors  have just over 100kms to go. Please continue to support the teams through support and donations. 



I’ve previously talked about the DART which is an initiative started by the Young Health champions.  They have now widened the age bracket out to all ages, so everyone from SDN is welcome to join the timed walk around the Dingle starting at 9am every Saturday. It would be excellent if we could get a group of SDN members taking part regularly.  After all, taking part in activities like this can lead to improved mental and physical well-being and the evidence consistently identified 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week as providing substantial benefits for the prevention of numerous chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia and loss of physical function. Engaging in the right type of physical activity carries very low health and safety risks for older adults. In contrast, the risks of poor health as a result of inactivity are very high. 

Older adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.

However, the evidence suggests that it is the overall volume of activity that is key to the beneficial effects of physical activity rather than specific types of activity or combinations of intensity or frequency. Accordingly, adults should aim to achieve the recommended amount of activity in a manner that is most convenient and comfortable for them. [1]  Remembering that what each of us defines as physical activity can be very different.

Another great event that takes places in Shropshire are the Energize Awards taking place in November and celebrating sport and physical activity in the county.  I’m excited to share with SDN that a number of people and projects from within the disability community been shortlisted.  Fiona Smith from Swimming after surgery ( has been short-listed for Volunteer of the year for the work she does in widening access to sport and encouraging more women to start swimming following breast surgery.  Climbing Out and the Shropshire Young Health Champions have been short-listed for project of the year alongside ‘Tackle your health’ launched in January 2011, aims to raise awareness of health issues, improve the well-being of males aged 30-74 and get ‘hard to reach,’ inactive men, living or working in Telford, back into sport and physical activity.  Additionally our very own Nick Beighton has been short-listed for Sports Person of the Year. More details of the event taking place at Shrewsbury Town Football on the 6th November can be found at


[1]                      Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers

Kelda at Battleback

12th October: It’s all down to me.

Another good week. I was involved in performance testing at the centre on Monday, which gives the coaches a baseline to work from with all the athletes. This means they can the measure the improvements made over the winter training. It highlighted some strengths and weaknesses for me….I definitely need to work on my pull ups – I couldn’t even do one properly!!

I was working at Battleback the rest of the week, so training has been a bit restricted. But I’ve managed to get some good sessions done in the gym – the guns are getting bigger!

I also had a great coaching session with one of the Battleback coaches, working on how to focus and take responsibility – what happens on the water is down to me!! It really was enlightening, and when it came to training on the water on Friday, I just kept saying to myself “the buck stops with me!”

It’s so easy to make excuses when thing don’t go well, to blame the weather, being tired, not eating enough. But at the end of the day, it’s up to me. If I want to be the fastest, then I’ve got to work hard and be committed. It’s down to me. No one else!

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Welcome to Kelda Wood our latest blogger

Many of you will know of Kelda as she is a familiar name on our website with “Climbing Out” a Charity that Kelda runs. As a child Kelda always dreamed of taking part in the Olympic Games, either as a horse ride or later in life in the netball team saw her play at national level. 

Kelda (now aged 41) had a life changing accident some 12 years ago when She was hit by a falling haylage bale while looking after her horse. Thinking her dreams were shattered due to one of her legs being so badly crushed, it left her unable to walk let alone run! Kelda openly admits she tried to hide from the problems her damaged leg caused her, letting people think She was either unfit or just non-athletic. However her involvement working for “Battle Back” organisation and setting up “Climbing Out”, both aim to give people a new lease of life after injury or illness. They also gave Kelda hope. Now Kelda is back on course to achieve her lifelong ambition to compete in sport at an international level but not the Olympic Games but the Paralympics! Rio 2016 is now a realistic possibility for Kelda who just 4 months ago first sat in a paracanoe! Not only that, it was the first time that Kelda had accepted her leg injuries!  

At SDN we have a lot of contact with Kelda and She has agreed to blog for us about journey & ambition to get to Rio in 2016. She hopes to give us a weekly blog but we must all remember that Kelda has much training to do & a charity to run so we all appreciate that some weeks may  be missed-anyway this is the start!

Shropshire Disability Network wishes Kelda well on her exciting journey which we hope will see her in Rio 2016 

Kelda Wood

 5th October

Well, just finished my first week back training after the 3 week break….and what a week it’s been! I felt completely different in the boat – the break has done me so much good. I’m feeling strong and solid, and the confidence is growing in bucket loads! Where, before the national, I couldn’t keep up with the other GB athletes, I’m now up there with them….I even finished in front one day!

We’re working hard in the gym….the guns are getting bigger!

Unfortunately I’ve got to work this week, so training will be a bit restricted, but feeling very excited about what this winter will bring!

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Psychological Therapies Past and Present

If you read last Baggins Blog re: Children’s Services, then you may understand that after a rather traumatic childhood, something may give, it did, ME. Some don’t like the term ‘Mental Breakdown’ but that is what happen to me. 

I totally broke down. So in my mid-twenties I was sectioned, drugged, in a solitary locked room in a German Psychiatric Hospital.  I came back to U.K. but was still in denial of what was happening to me. So began a ‘revolving door’ of hospital admissions plus disappearing to and fro between U.K. and Europe. 

However; Again I feel I was fortunate, as I met an incredible, unconventional Psychiatrist at Shelton Hospital, and so started 18 months of one-to-one intensive, emotional often tearful Psychotherapy sessions, where I finally allowed myself to embrace all my emotions and feel safe in doing so. Even when I moved to Aberdovey in Wales I was able to continue travelling every week to Chaddeslode House for my one-to-one Talking Therapy Sessions. Since then no more drugs and only one brief voluntary hospital admission. I still have anxiety & depression but now can self-manage it. 

So was I more fortunate in the 1980′s to have that continuity of therapeutic help than folk in 2014?

If you move out of area can you still continue with your one-to-one therapy sessions?

Can you still phone your Therapist/Psychiatrist for a supportive chat?

Can you still have long-term intensive one-to-one therapy sessions? 

Would really appreciate comments/feedback to this latest blog.  Thank You 

SDN says this is the third Baggings Blog and we would like to hear from you, so would our blogger. Does it raise questions that you would like answered? Did you get the help you needed, if so how easy was it to source it?

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Volunteering in Telford

You may well have seen pictures on the SDN website and read about us on Facebook and Twitter when we have been at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford – the most recent occasion was on Friday 22 August and the final time this year will be on Thursday 27 November.

The purpose of being there is to raise awareness of SDN, recruit new members and raise some funds by selling items donated and made by our members.

A particular good seller are the baby clothes knitted by Margaret Willets.

Margaret, my wife Paula and myself are the main volunteers when SDN has a stand at the PRH and, between us, we are there from about 10:00 until at least 2:00 pm.

This is really too much for just three of us to manage –  so we desperately need more volunteers to help out at the PRH and at any other events we have in the Telford area.

If you could give an hour at two at any event we have it would be much appreciated and would be a big help to SDN.

If you can help, please contact Ruby Hartshorn our Fundraising Lead by calling 07789 852 229 or emailing our admin address Watch out for the emails she sends out relating to each event & if you can offer even one hour we will be very pleased.



Ian Roberts

SDN Outreach Officer – Telford

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Imagine a bag of powder, Imagine you needing a new hip so how can they be connect?

Find out by joining us for our meeting on 11th September 2014 at Mears Shropshire Home Services Unit 3, Hartley Business Centre Monkmoor Road Shrewsbury SY2 5ST 10.30 am refreshments for 11 am start. 

So lets go back to imagining a bag of powder, may be flour, chalk, milk, no this is plastic that is for a very special purpose! Many of us know the pain of a worn hip, a damaged knee or shoulder & have heard or expect to hear the consultant say “You need a hip/knee replacement” These words may be “music to our ears” but they can also bring all kinds of thoughts & questions but ultimately we have to put our trust in the surgeon to get it right!

So is it a case of “one size fits all?” Most of us will have no idea or thoughts on the process involved in making that special joint that will release us of pain, hopefully making us more mobile and enabling us to do things that we have had to put on the “back burner” for a while. So is it just a case of the surgeon taking out our hip & slotting in a piece of metal that looks rather like a tent peg-NO an amazing amount of work goes into providing our medical profession with suitable products in the hopes of giving us a new lease of life that will last for a good number of years. 

Last year I was given the opportunity to have a tour of Orthoplastics Limited which is based in Bacup Lancashire. This is one of only three companies in the UK that make specialised products for the medical industry. They started out as a company that made industrial plastic products but a few years ago changed to making products exclusively for the medical profession. They are now a key member of “Orthoproducts” specialising in the orthopaedic industry and now making custom bespoke ortho-inplants. They research bespoke products for the customer and are involved in a huge amount of pioneering work enabling orthopaedics to move forward. All their work brings them in contact with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals & people within the medical profession. It is very unusual for Orthoplastics to speak to the “User” so lets making this meeting next week very special. 

I was very surprised by the process that is undertaken to make orthopaedic products. Never did I think a bag of plastic powder, could become a sheet of plastic & finally be made into a joint used in the human body. This is such specialised work that every joint made is traceable back to the bag of powder it originated from. We think of auditing in relation to accountancy but with companies like Orthoplastics, everything has an audit trail as it is highly skilled work of an extremely important nature. I was fortunate to see a knee being made. All of us have different bone structures so how does the surgeon know the joint produced is going to be the right size for the patient? What about health & safety-contamination? During my tour, I saw a lot of expensive equipment used in the process of making joints but much intricate work is carried out by people looking at the “end product”  I saw a room where employees sit and check each joint under a microscope for the slightest splinter of plastic. Sometimes these can be carefully removed with a special knife others have to be deemed as “seconds” meaning it is rejected & unsuitable for use. 

Come along on Thursday 11th September & give Mark Allan (who originally came from Shrewsbury), Technical Director of Orthoplastics a warm welcome back to his home town. We are assured of a very informative talk by Mark. 

Our other guest speaker is Rachel Harding who is Project Co Ordinator of “Me & You”  a lottery funded project at Albrighton Trust for disabled and special needs young people during their transition years. Albrighton Trust is a Charity that provides educational, recreational and leisure facilities for mentally, physically and sensory disabled users. 

We always try to bring you inspiring speakers on a range of topics. Shropshire Disability Network are pleased to say that we have very good speakers giving up their time for us. For more information about this meeting look under the “About Us” tab or the events tab (11th September) on this website Guests are always welcome to our meetings. Why not let Russell our Secretary know you are coming to this meeting by calling 07794 497 704 or emailing

Ruby Hartshorn

Deputy Chairperson

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

I often think the biggest challenge in my job is communication.  Almost every day I come across situations when I think ‘how did I not know about that?’ or ‘how come they aren’t aware of this opportunity?’ and as a result I often see excellent initiatives that just aren’t being accessed by the people who would really benefit from knowing they’re taking place.  I have a couple of examples of this.  The first is a workshop that Energize helped organise in July.  It was a 3 hour workshop to give individuals the knowledge, skills and confidence to make activities more inclusive for everyone.  This incredibly insightful workshop was very valuable for the 8 parent/carers who attended, but with 22 potential spaces to fill many more could have benefited from this training.  Fear not, another training course will take place on Tuesday 23 September. Book your place at

Another event that I’ve previously mentioned in my blogs and I know is also featured on the SDN website was the Young Health Champions DART (disability access running team) introduced by their amazing Young Health champion, Ben Sutton-Jones who has worked hard on his initial idea for this Health champion project which would help to get disabled young people more active. DART takes place at the Shrewsbury Quarry 8.45am every Saturday.

I recently met with some colleagues from Shropshire Public Health who have recently launched the Healthy Shropshire website.  This fantastic resource is well worth a look and I’d especially recommend the Active4Health section which includes an online directory providing information to public and patients on suitable exercise opportunities that can be matched to individual’s needs, wants and level of experience.  The Healthy Shropshire website also signposts users to a Green Space section which lists lots of opportunities to get active in your community.  We know that 3 in 4 adults enjoy outdoor pursuits and 55% of adults visit the natural environment at least once a week. A recent ‘Reconomics’ reports brings together research and evidence to demonstrate the huge impact of outdoor recreation. From a gentle walk to a sky dive, exercising outdoors has maximum impact on lowering stress and increasing energy levels compared to exercising inside, plus there are quantifiable economic benefits as outdoor recreation drives local visitor economies. This National report includes a number of case studies and we’re excited that our very own National Trust property; Attingham Park is one of these case studies. Sport Development Officer Lucy Newbury came on board with the National Trust to utilise the 400 acres of green space at Attingham Park as a recognised sports venue. There are now clearly signposted routes for walkers and runners, an orienteering course, archery and Community Games are on offer all year, plus canoeing opportunities and much more – Lucy believes offering the sports has helped engage a new market at Attingham. They are also going to include the guides I included in my last blog which will at least mean that everything is in one place.

And while I’m on the subject of having everything in one place, what more could Shropshire ask for than £241k from the Big Lottery to fund our very own Inclusive Officer. I hope you will all agree that this is a fantastic opportunity and join me in congratulating Shropshire Providers Consortium and their members (including SDN and Energize) for their sterling efforts in securing the funding.

Click here to download the Inclusive Officer Details

Click here to view ‘Reconomics’

Attingham Park Case Study


lynda jones


A teenage mother was detained in a psychiatric hospital during her pregnancy, given high levels of medication plus ECT during this period; So that the developing brain of the baby has 220 volts running through it. That was 1949, that baby was me. Of course in 2014 that doesn’t happen does it? Well, actually in some cases it still does!


I spent 5 months with my birth mother at Chaddeslode House which in those days was a home for unmarried mothers. Then a merry-go-round of various placements until finally at 4 yrs old I was adopted, sadly already with embedded anxiety and emotional issues. My adoption was a bit of a disaster and my childhood and adolescence was a very difficult time. 

However what I did have right from toddler hood through to adolescence was the continual support and care of just one exceptional Welfare Officer/Social Worker. She made every child in her care feel special always there for them, going the extra mile even out-of-hours. She guided me through those turbulent times pointing me in the right direction. She saw my potential and used her skills to keep me from going into care again. 

That was the 1950s/60s So now of course that level of care and continuity within Children’s Services is the norm isn’t it? Sadly it isn’t the norm. So was I more fortunate during the 1950s/60s then our Children with emotional issues are today? 

I would really appreciate your comments about this particular blog and if you think Children’s Services have made progress in the last sixty years or is there more that could be done to help vulnerable children? 

Lynda Jones-Official Blogger Shropshire Disability Network on Mental Health Issues