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.

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Kelda writes To be honest…I’ve been proper grumpy!


Do you want me to be honest….I’ve been proper grumpy this week! I’m fed up of half killing myself on the bike and hours of tedious rehab, when I can’t even get out on the water and start to feel the benefit of it all! Grrrrrrr! I’ve struggled to keep motivated, and I’ve felt really frustrated watching the other guys training on the lake!

OK, so I know it’s all heading in the right direction and I’m sure I’m getting huge benefits from it all…..but still – I WANT TO PADDLE!!!!! There, rant over…..I’m allowed to be grumpy once in a while!!

It hasn’t helped that it was the first race of the season this Saturday….and, while the rest of the squad were racing, where was I…in the gym giving myself wobbly legs syndrome after another lactic session on the bike!

Is it time to stop moaning yet!!

On a positive note, I really can feel the benefits of all the rehab – I just sooo want to get back to lifting a bit of weight! I can go for a light 2k paddle on Monday….which is VERY exciting. Fingers crossed, if nothing flares up, I can start getting back into a bit of light training the following week. I sooooo hope so!

I chatted with Matt, my coach, on Friday….there may be a chance of me racing at the next regatta if everything goes well with my recovery. We’ve said we’ll make a decision after Easter weekend, and from there we can start to consider whether there’s any chance of me being back in time for the World Cup later in May. I’m keeping everything crossed. If I can get to the World Cup then I’ll know for sure that I’ve got my international classification, something I’d rather not wait until the Worlds in August to find out!

I’m still looking at this whole process, it is all part of the learning curve, and it’ll make me a stronger athlete in the long run….but hey, everyone’s allowed a grumpy week!:-)

What doesn’t break us makes us stronger!


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Kelda writes “Feeling Strong…and an inspiring evening!”

 For some crazy reason I feel ridiculously confident at the minute! Despite the stress fracture I’m working hard, I know where I’m at and where I’m aiming….and truly believe I can do it!

The rehab programme that’s been put in place is really working on my weaknesses, and I feel when I get back on the water I’m going to be so much stronger. I’m also smashing the cv side of things on the bike and cross trainer and I am really starting to notice a difference.  I am doing a lot of imagery work, which is proving to be really helpful, and I am spending time on my mental approach to racing that I’d never been able to do if the injury hadn’t happened. I’m excited about being able to put all these developments together when I get back on the water. All in all, I think the injury has turned out to be a real positive, and put me in a stronger position in the long term. Good times!

For me, the real highlight of the week was the Climbing Out Charity Evening on Saturday night. It was a fantastic night, and the support from young people, their friends and family and our funders and partner organisations was incredible. It makes me so proud to see how much the young people who have been involved in our programmes are achieving, and it was wonderful to hear the words of the young people that stood up and spoke. We also presented the Climbing Out awards for the first time, and it was a very special moment to recognise the outstanding achievements of some inspiring young people.

It’s been a busy week, and I’m aware I need to make sure I schedule in some recovery time….I’m just not sure when- it’s another hectic, but exciting week coming up!

SDN would like to say “Thank you to Climbing Out, we had a fantastic evening with you. Your work is inspirational & we would like to congratulate all the winners but also all who are achieving through your programmes. Wishing you all another great year ahead.”


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Kelda writes “It’s Rehab Rehab Rehab”

Kelda writes “It’s Rehab Rehab Rehab”

It’s been a challenging week for most of the squad. 2 weeks ago, we were notified about changes in the classification system for the sport and the new system means some athletes will no longer be eligible to compete, and some will move into a new class. This has hit the squad hard and created some real challenges for a number of athletes. I guess this is the cut throat side of the sport, but a lot of dreams have been put on the line this week, which isn’t nice to see.

For me, it looks pretty certain I will still get classification. I’m a borderline athlete as I have only a minimal disability, but I should still classify the under the new system. My biggest challenge currently is managing the stress fracture I picked up 2 weeks ago. We’ve now put a rehab programme together….it’s important we deal with the reasons why the injury happened, not just getting it to heal as quickly as possible, so a tedious and pretty boring rehab regime is now in place! I understand why I have to do it….but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you want to push on with full training.

On the positive side of things though, I do believe this will leave me in a stronger position when I get back into full training. The Europeans and probably the World Cup are out for me now, but this means we’ve got time to work on my weaknesses, get me strong and robust so I can aim to get out and give it my all at the Worlds in August. The aim is to be back into full training by May, which then gives me just over 3 months to get back strong and fully fit for the Worlds….and in the meantime, it’s rehab, rehab, rehab! What fun!!!! Lol.

Last week I also went along to the Winter School Games held at Shrewsbury Sports Village and organised by Energize in conjunction with Sainsbury’s and Shropshire Homes. There were over 750 young people there and it was fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm from them all. There was a great atmosphere and some competitive sports being played. Well done to all those involved.

It was an honour to speak to the VIP’s attending the day, and there may now be the opportunity for me to work with young people in some of our local schools supporting and raising awareness about the benefits of sport, something that I’m excited and very passionate about.

It’s still a busy time with everything else. It’s the Climbing Out Charity Evening next Saturday so there’s lots to get organised for that, and on Friday I‘m off to the National SHE Awards having been nominated for an award along with 3 other Shropshire woman….time to get the glad rags on for the evening – I better go and dust the cobwebs off them!



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Feeling Gutted says Kelda but SDN are rooting for her & wish her well…!

 Well, this week has shown… can make all the plans in the world, but you never quite know what’s round the corner. On Friday night I got the results back from my MRI scan – it wasn’t the news I was hoping for. I’ve got a stress fracture to a rib on my left side and they reckon it’ll be 8 weeks until I can get back into full training. This will have a major impact on the plans for this year as I’ll miss our first regatta and it rules out the Europeans.

This was quite a kick in the belly as I’ve been working so hard towards these 2 goals and was completely focused on getting to the Europeans. I wallowed in self pity on Friday night and rebelled by eating cake (sorry coaches if you happen to read this!), but woke up Saturday, had another quick cry, then gave myself a kick up the bum, re-evaluated my plans for this summer and started focusing on what I could do over the next 8 weeks to keep moving me forwards and make sure I turned these 8 weeks into an opportunity rather than a setback.

It’s not easy to stay positive, but having just spent the most incredible week at Battle Back working with some amazing guys that are dealing with much bigger challenges than 8 weeks restricted training, it’s been time to practice a bit of what I preach! I’ve been telling the guys all week that life is a journey, and sometimes you can’t always go in the direction you want to go, but every stage of the journey will teach you something and will, if you let it, make you stronger in the future.

So that’s what I’m going to do! I’m meeting with the coaches tomorrow (Monday 2nd March) to put a plan of action together, and lets make sure that I come out of the next 8 weeks stronger, fitter….and even more focused and determined to get where I aiming to go! I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it will be interesting to see what I’ve learnt at the end of it.

I heard a quote on the radio the other days that says it all: “Fruits grow in the valleys not on the mountain tops”

The challenge for me will be to stay sensible and not push things too hard and cause things to take even longer to heal!

I want to thank the guys I’ve worked with this week, it was inspiring to see the change in them over their 5 days at Battle Back. I know they got a huge amount out of the programme, but they also taught me so much and enabled me to put this set back very much into perspective.

Life will always be full of ups and downs – it’s how you deal with them that really matters.


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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