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.

Despite Injury, Kelda takes a positive view!


After having such a great week last week, I was so determined to build on the progress I’d made, but hey, things never go quite according to plan do they!

I picked up a bit of an injury, hopefully nothing serious, but I have to go for an MRI scan next week to check things out. It’s been frustrating as, yet again, I’ve had to back off training. At least I can still do CV and lower limb work… I’m going to have the strongest legs EVER!:-)

I’ve had to move my focus to other gains I can make, so I’ve spent time doing a bit of visualisation, watching lots of technical clips on You Tube and planning my pre race routine and warm up. Not exactly what I’d choose to be doing, but I guess the way to look at it is that it’ll all help me to get to where I want to go.

I often say I think of life as a Sat Nav….you put in your end goal, but sometimes things happen along the way that means you have to take a slightly different route to get there.

I see it all as part of the learning process and fingers crossed in 7-10 days I’ll be back ready to work hard.

On a more positive note, this week I also got my GB kit!!!!:-) This was such a special moment for me. From a very young age I always dreamed of representing my country, although I always believed it would be on a horse. To finally have that jacket with Great Britain written across the back was quite a surreal moment. It’s still hanging in my hall so I can keep reminding myself that this is actually happening! It just shows, you never know what great things are round the corner….you’ve just got to keep going round those corners and through those doors to give it a chance to happen!


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Accessing Funding for Care – Glyn Banks Tells of His Frustration.

Glyn Banks has e-mailed SDN with his well publicised story of frustrated attempts to access adequate funding for care services. His story may be of interest to some of SDN’s membership.

Glyn writes:

After three years of trying to avoid the issue, Philip Dunne MP has finally decided not to call a full public inquiry into Shropshire Council’s adult social care funding policy and as a result has thrown away an election photo opportunity.

Shropshire Council has set a standard rate of payment to care homes so low that NO care homes in Shropshire can provide adequate care at this rate thus making the demand for top-ups from relatives both inevitable and unlawful. 

However, Shropshire Council’s Head of Adult Services Mr. Stephen Chandler has informed Mr. Dunne that ALL care homes in Shropshire can provide care at Council rates. In response to this I have repeatedly requested a list of care homes in Shropshire which are currently providing care at the Council’s standard rate. However, Philip Dunne MP has failed to follow up this request due I believe to his unwillingness to confront the issue of systematic financial abuse of the elderly and their relatives by the Council.

Clearly he wants to take what the Council says at face value and to believe that having carried out a review of its own policy as requested by the Ombudsman, the Council is now acting lawfully despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Following the launch of the Toxic Top-ups website Solicitors for the Elderly has updated its own website:

“A Shropshire legal expert is urging elderly people and their families to fight against care charges being wrongfully imposed by the local authority. Nicola Hawes says that HUNDREDS OF CARE HOME RESIDENTS MAY BE AFFECTED BY SHROPSHIRE COUNCIL’S UNLAWFUL ACTIONS.”

This confirms the statement by Heather Osborne Chief Executive of Age Concern Shropshire Telford and Wrekin who has said: 

“…. unfortunately the price that the Council is prepared to pay does not reflect the cost of the vast majority of care homes in Shropshire. This means …..  once their own funding runs out a top-up is almost inevitable ….” 

Families Foot Bills for Care Home Top-up Fees.  Shropshire Star 24 November 2012

On the same day that Philip Dunne notified me of his decision I had a surprise meeting with a number of Councillors, one very senior, who confirmed all my worst fears as detailed on the Toxic Top-ups website and also, despite the reviews carried out, that the Council is still continuing with its unlawful policy.

Also discussed was the severity of the cuts particularly within social services etc.; the current leadership of the Council and the undemocratic way decisions are being taken and cuts applied with irreparable damage; the upcoming crisis in adult social care as a result of the Council’s multi-million pound overspend; etc. ….. clearly there are the beginnings of dissent and dissatisfaction now appearing within the Council.

As a result of Philip Dunne’s decision not to give Shropshire Council the chance to publicly clear its name, the way is now clear for someone else to seize the opportunity and call for a public enquiry ….. watch this space.



Glyn Banks 01746 767966

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Volunteer! What’s in it for Us? What’s in it for You!

 Volunteer! What’s in it for Us? What’s in it for You!

Many organisations rely on volunteers to operate & more are looking to having volunteers work along side employees. From 27th May 2008 when SDN started our organisation has been run on volunteers & that is no different today. We are very pleased to be a growing organisation, we are reaching more people, responding to more inquiries & our signposting work is increasing. As we grow so we need new people on “board” to share & help others.

May be you have thought about volunteering but never taken that step to do it. May be you have thought well just an hour a week does not sound much, but that hour would make all the difference to us. So what could that hour be:

  • Completing events forms that can be uploaded by someone else to our website.

  • Checking some details on our A-Z listing of useful organisations.

  • Helping to Organise an event.

  • You may have a gift or skill you want to offer us to see if we can use.

May be an hour a week is too much & you would prefer occasional volunteering so would like to be included on a list of volunteers that we can approach ie

  • Helping to man a stand at one of the days when we raise awareness of SDN

  • Helping at one of our Collections days at Shrewsbury, Oswestry, or Telford

  • Proof reading “YourVoice”- the more we have in the team, the better it is for all who help us as we are not struggling when one of us is unwell or people are on holiday etc

  • You may be very knowledgeable with regard to a type of disability or long term condition or have a story that you would like to share with others but need guidance on how to do it. We can help you write that blog.

  • You may like to read articles on to YouTube enabling us to reach those with visual impairment as well as the non reader.

May be you have more time to offer & would like to get involved in the Management side of SDN, if so we would like to hear from you. All roles need deputies but also we feel that Junior roles are also important so that younger people can engage plans & SDN plans ahead. We need Outreach Officers in Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Church Stretton. There are many opportunities with us for you.

We need our members to become more involved in SDN as we are a “membership” organisation that must have a “board” with a majority of people with disabilities, long term conditions or carers. So if you have a little time why not try volunteering for us as not only would you find it can be very rewarding but by doing so you are helping your fellow members.

So why volunteer?

  • You share your skills & by doing so help others & your organisation.

  • It can be rewarding as you meet other people, may be make new friends, learn more about us, connect with members but also gain a sense of achievement.

  • It can help with loneliness & depression.

  • It can increase your confidence & self esteem.

  • You may learn a new skill or develop those you have.

  • It is good for your health & well being, giving you a sense of achievement.

  • It could enable you to get paid employment and you would have a very reputable organisation to put down as a referee on applications.

We have many volunteering opportunities for you, and may be you have a new idea to offer to us, so if you want to give something back, please tell us. One lady said “Since I have helped at your awareness days it has got me out of the house for a few hours, I felt isolated but I now look forward to it as we always have a laugh & I go home feeling better, that I have helped SDN and others”

As one of our twitter messages says “Value your volunteers, we do”

So why not give give it a go, you may be surprised how rewarding it can be call 07780 852 229 or email or email or use the contact form on this website.

Ruby Hartshorn

Deputy Chairperson




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It’s Been a Good Week……..please could I just have a few more hours in the day!!!!

It’s Been a Good Week

I wish all weeks were like this one!

It’s been a strong week on the water and it’s been so good to be able to work hard after being held back with the chest infection last week. It’s only 8 weeks until we start racing, so it’s time to start stepping up to the mark!

I’ve worked hard, my body’s shouted quite loud in protest…but it’s felt awesome!:-)

Unfortunately, the bench press is still getting the better of me, but I will beat it eventually!!!

I’ve also had news this week that a company called Intelligent Band are going to sponsor me for the coming season. This is fantastic news and will be a massive help to my training. Intelligent Band provide a unique security system for vehicles and it’s going to be exciting working with them over the coming months.

On Wednesday I also had a meeting regarding the Olympic Champions Programme and I’m really excited about getting involved. I’m looking at working with the Olympic Champions and Sporting Champions programmes, which will involve going into schools and organisations, working with young people in the aim to try and motivate and inspire them to get involved with sport. After everything that sport has given me, this is something that I’m incredibly passionate about, so I’m really looking forward to getting started. The Olympic Champions programme is also linking up with This Girl Can, a new scheme to encourage and support women into sport, so I see it as such a fantastic opportunity to be able to encourage and support people to have the confidence and self belief to get started.

It’s been another good week for Climbing Out too. Having received £3,500 from the St. James’s Place Foundation last week, we then received an £8,000 donation from the Geoff and Fiona Squire Foundation, and £3,000 from Three Streams Consulting. This incredible support means we will be able to offer even more programmes to young people over the coming 12 months. Awesome news!

Our Climbing Out Charity Evening is just 4 weeks away now. The event is taking place in Shrewsbury on the 14thMarch and is set to be a fantastic evening with food, presentations and awards. We’re really hoping to raise a great deal of awareness about the work of the charity, so please support the evening if you can. Tickets are just £10. Contact me at for more details.

It’s been such a great week, with exciting times ahead. If I could be really greedy and ask for just one more thing……please could I just have a few more hours in the day!!!!







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“Every Cloud” ‘n’ all that!

It’s been a frustrating week as I picked up a chest infection so I’ve had to really hold back in training. I’ve found this really challenging, but it’s been a good learning for me. Set back’s are going to occur, and I’ve got to learn how to manage myself so that I don’t let them knock me, mentally as well as physically. We’ve had to focus on the technical aspect, which has still had some real benefits, and hopefully I can get stuck in again next week and push hard.

I still have that bench press to get the better of!!!:-)

I also had my first outing in my GB kit on Saturday. It was a proud moment and very special to me…..How many years have I dreamed of wearing that GB kit! I’d been asked to give a talk to around 100 young people who were taking part in a Youth Leadership Programme. I felt incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to talk to them and it was great to see so many young people getting so much out of sport.

It’s been a good week for Climbing Out too. We’ve had confirmation that young people will be coming from 13 different cancer units, and we’ll also be joined by young people in recovery from Kidney disease this year too. It’s fantastic that the word is spreading about the opportunities available with Climbing Out.

We’ve had more good news too this week when we heard that The St James’s Place Foundation have awarded us a grant of £3,500. The Foundation supported us in 2014 and it is such great news that they have chosen to help fund a programme again this year and a big thank you must go out to them.

I also heard this week from one of the guys I climbed Kilimanjaro with back in 2011. He’s been flowing Climbing Out though social media, and he dropped me a line to say that he’ll be climbing Mont Blanc for charity this year and has decided to support Climbing Out. I feel so proud that he wants to support Climbing Out, and it’s things like this that make me realise just how much people believe in the work we do. Thank you Rob J

Our Climbing Out participants have also been busy. Last Sunday Adam Woods and Sam Jones both completed the Tough Guy race, one of the toughest obstacle races in the country. Hats off to you both! Ruth Parsons also continued with her goal of completing a half marathon a month. They were all raising money for Climbing Out, and I think their commitment and motivation to support Climbing Out speaks volumes about the impact the programmes are having on the lives of these young people. I’m very proud of them all.

So many people are supporting Climbing Out this year and it is so inspiring to see all the efforts that people are going to. Thank you to everyone for all the incredible things you’re doing.

Climbing Out is doing their own bit of fund raising too….it’s only 6 week until our charity evening on the 14thMarch. This is set to be a fantastic evening with a Climbing Out presentation, music, food, a short talk from some of the young people involved in our programmes and the first ever Climbing Out Awards. We’re aiming to get as many people as possible their so please come along and support if you can.

Read more about the charity evening. Download the flyer here: Flyer for charity evening

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Already February! Writes “Jess” Sports Inclusion Officer for Shropshire.

Well where did January go? We are already into February and the weather seems to be getting colder.

The last few weeks particularly have been very busy for development, networking and research for inclusive physical activity in Shropshire.

I had the great pleasure of visiting Shropshire Rural Community Councils (RCC) SLOG group (Sight Loss Opportunity Group) run through the hearing and sight loss service. They were a very welcoming bunch and introduced me to the sport Boccia. I have heard many great things about Boccia and the work Shropshire RCC have been doing to develop the sport to local community groups. The sport was easy to learn and could be adapted for all abilities. I was playing alongside blind and partially sighted individuals who were brilliant at the sport, bearing in mind some had only learnt it that day.

Another partnership I have created is the link between Derwen College (Residential college for students with learning difficulties and disabilities) with Shropshire Paddle Sports in Oswestry. This will create opportunities for students to develop confidence on the water in a community setting.

I was also invited to the Shropshire FA 3 Counties Ability Counts Festival – Seeing over 150 adults and over 30 children take part in the PAN disability football leagues and training sessions from Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. There are many ways to get involved through playing in local training sessions, volunteering or supporting the administration. For more information visit:


More recently the results of the Active People Survey were published last week, for those who aren’t aware of the survey it is taken over the course of the year to over 163 thousand people nationally. It measures individual participation in sport down to a local authority area. These sets of results have shown a decrease in the amount of disabled adults taking part in sport on a National level. The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) stated this may have been due to awareness of sporting activities or in combination that new approaches need to be made to attract more disabled people into sport. More information can be found on this report by following this link:


Can I ask you reflect a little on how much physical activity you do each week?

What small changes could you make to lead a more active lifestyle?

Jessica Lightwood

Shropshire Inclusion Officer




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How did things develop for me?

What put me onto something being wrong goes back quite a while now.

I was driving along the M54 from Junction 7 to Junction 5 to go to one of the Telford retail parks when it looked to me as if the lane markings were going diagonally across in front of the car.

I just assumed that my glasses were dirty and so I cleaned them when i got to my destination, but the same thing happened on the return journey.

By coincidence, the next day I was due to go and see my GP about something else, so I mentioned what had happened to him. He advised me to go and see my optician, who said they thought I had Wet AMD in my right eye and referred me to Mr Rao at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.


After that, I was subsequently referred to the Eye Infirmary, which at the time, was at Chapel Ash in Wolverhampton. I had a few appointments there (including florescin angiograms and the photodynamic therapy mentioned before) and then the Eye Infirmary was moved to New Cross Hospital, also in Wolverhampton. Getting to New Cross wasn’t easy from Shropshire! Whilst there, I had more florescin angiograms and, as with all the appointments, eye tests. After several visits, I was referred back to Mr Rao at the RSH, on the basis that I was suitable for Lucentis injections.

There was an initial delay as I didn’t hear anything from the RSH, so I contacted them by e-mail and lo and behold, I got an appointment!

However, at the appointment I was told I was not suitable for Lucentis as there was too much scarring at the back of the retina !

After a few more appointments, I was discharged as there were only very minor changes to the sight in my right eye in between my appointments.

Prince Harry -

24 marines and a royal visit hasn’t exactly made it relaxing!

I’ve had a light week of training as I’ve been working at Battle Back…..but 24 marines and a royal visit hasn’t exactly made it relaxing! They were a great group of guys who were up for everything we’ve done this week so it’s been great fun….. then Prince Harry popped his head in to say hello on Thursday! He’s interested in the rehabilitation within the military so he came along and joined in our archery session….and endured a fair bit of stick from the guys! Fair play to him, he gave back as good as he got!:-)

Prince Harry

I’ve had my usual challenges fitting in training around everything else while I’m at Battle Back, but the good thing is it makes me so hungry to get stuck back into training on Monday. Fingers crossed for a productive week next week!

I’ve also got my first Athlete appearance next Saturday at a Young Leader Training Session at Shrewsbury Sports Village and I’m really looking forward to going along. Reaching young people and hopefully giving them a bit of motivation to get out there and believe in themselves is something that I’m incredibly passionate about, so it’s great to be getting involved with the programme. I am however slightly nervous…I’m just an ordinary kinda girl, and it feels a little bit weird (and somewhat daunting) to be going in this role. I’ve always been the one stood at the back, watching on as someone else talks about their story, dreaming of all the things I would love to get out there and achieve….and suddenly I’m that person out front. I see it as such an opportunity – but blimey, how quickly things change! I guess you never know what’s round the corner and when that one thing might come along that changes everything.

I’ve got a quote that I’ve stuck on my fridge door. It says “Hang in there, it’s astonishing how short a space of time it takes for amazing things to happen”.

Too true!!

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A Week without tears…well nearly!

I got all excited when I came to write this thinking I’d actually managed a week without crying….but I’d forgotten about Monday!

Monday was actually my birthday, but of course that doesn’t mean we stop training, and I had my usual 4am start to get to Nottingham. However, the traffic obviously didn’t appreciate it was my birthday, and I had the most horrendous journey missing the session with my group. This meant I had to join in with the second group which includes some of the strongest paddlers in the squad. This meant I was left behind after every effort….making me feel like I was just going very slow! Of course, being the perfectionist I am, this really frustrated me, so I came off the water feeling grumpy, frustrated….and a pretty useless paddler. Now normally I would’ve just thought logically about this and realised the guys I was paddling about were all men who were much more experienced than me….but not today!

Because I was late I then ran out of time to catch up on emails, but did quickly flick though to see there was a whole load of forms that needed filling out for my athlete funding….which included details which I’d left at home…the stress continued to rise! Before I knew it we were back on the water for our first “starts” session since before Christmas. My first few starts were pathetic to say the least…the tears nearly came then! Thankfully the session picked up.

After spending the next couple of hours form filling, it was time for food and bed. I decided that it had been a bad enough day, and seeing as it was my birthday, I’d treat myself to a Chinese (not the behaviour of a dedicated athlete I know!)

The Chinese was shut!

So I spent my birthday sat in my camping pod eating a packet of Revels (again not the behaviour of a dedicated athlete!) watching a DVD on my laptop. I reckon I was allowed a few tears!

Apart from that, it’s been a challenging but good week. I’ve struggled to keep all the balls in the air, what with training, the Climbing Out Charity Evening and a lot of the organising for this year’s Climbing Out programmes needing sorting out now….but it’s all part of the learning curve and it’s something I’m going to have to get better at managing.

I’ve had good days and bad days on the water….and I feel like I’ve really pushed things in the gym. I’m still struggling to get my weights up any further, and after hitting a wall while doing what seemed like a hundred reps of bench press, Luke our strength and conditioning coach told me I couldn’t rack the weight and sometimes it was good to get into a hole that you felt like you couldn’t get out of. I eventually managed to get the bar up (after much grimacing and some very unladylike language) but I haven’t been able to feel my arms since then! Again, all part of the learning curve I guess!

I’ve got a light week next week as I’m working at Battle Back. It’ll be a challenge for me to back of training, but hopefully it’ll mean I’ll be back at Nottingham a week on Monday feeling fresh and strong….and ready to smash that bench press!!!

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I’m fascinated by the sports psychology side of things

 I feel like there’s been some pretty massive steps forward this week. We still haven’t managed to get on the water much because of the weather conditions, but when we did, I could feel some huge improvements! The training programme has been pretty punishing…..there wasn’t a muscle in my body that wasn’t hurting by the end of the week! The focus has now moved from strength and power to speed, so we’re doing some pretty harsh lactic sessions….but this is what I love about the sport – you work hard and the gains start to happen!:-)

It’s been such a great week of learning’s. The ergo sessions are really helping me with my technique. Firstly I can sit in front of a mirror and see first hand what I’m doing, secondly Matt, my coach, can really break down each part of the stroke and work on the finer points, and thirdly, I can try things out without having to worry about falling in! We’ve been really working on getting me to relax my shoulders (something that I haven’t done for the last 40 years!), and the impact on my paddling has been exciting. My focus now has got to be on maintaining this technique but applying more power and pace…it sounds so straight forward when I put it like that!

I also had my first proper session with the team psychologist this week too. I’m fascinated by the sports psychology side of things and it will be really interesting to see the impact it has on my performance.

I’m lifting more weight in the gym, the technique is improving on the water…and I can’t wait until we start racing again and I can hopefully see some big improvements in my times. Roll on April!

The challenge this week has been balancing training around Climbing Out. As we start to approach the spring, things start getting pretty hectic. We’ve 5 programmes planned this year, 2 weekends and several fund raising events, the first of which is our “Evening with Climbing Out” on March 14th. Trying to focus on training and still organise everything that needs doing has resulted in a bit of brain fry this week:-( The answer…..well the honest truth is, I don’t know! Both things are so important to me and I don’t want to let myself, or anyone else down, but there are only 24hrs in the day! I think we’ll call this challenge work in progress!

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