Category Archives: News

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Tai Chi at Coleham Head – Give it a go for free!

Peter Newton had a heart attack in 2001 followed by surgery. After that he found the gym to be too demanding and looked for something else, something he could practice daily at home that required no equipment or special clothing, and he found it. 

This style of Taiji is very simple and easy to learn and can be practised in a very small space either standing or seated, making it ideal for the disabled. 

The first class is free of charge.

Click here to download the details: Class Poster

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SDN Shares in Lottery Award for Inclusively Fit Project – Press Release

Shropshire Providers Consortium (SPC) and partners (Energize (County Sports Partnership), Shropshire Disability Network, Figaro, Headway Shropshire, South Shropshire Furniture Scheme, Shropshire Football Association and Shropshire Public Health). are today announcing their  excitement, reference the award of the Reaching Communities Big Lottery Grant.

Shropshire Inclusively Fit Project

Julie Tustin SPC, Marinda Ashwell Healthy Shropshire, Ruby Hartshorn SDN, Mark Fosbrook EFDS, Helen Freedman Energize and Roy Waterfield Shropshire FA

The grant is for £241,000 and the four year project is called Shropshire Inclusively Fit Project. There is additional funding from Shropshire Public Health and Energize (County Sports Partnership) taking the total project to £282,500.

Social isolation for young disabled people increases substantially after leaving education, young people can become isolated with no peer support to help engage in sports or social activities. Coupled with Shropshire rurality making travel difficult, this can be a real problem.




An Inclusive Officer will be employed to:

  • To reduce social exclusion and health inequalities by raising awareness and opportunities for engagement within sports clubs and societies for disabled people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.
  • Identify current exercise and sport provision for disabled people (mental & physical) of Shropshire
  • Run a travel and equipment bursary for disabled people of Shropshire.
  • Raise awareness & practical solutions for sports and social clubs throughout the county to make adaptations to facilities and become more inclusive as a body with more accessible activities for disabled people.
  • Develop a buddy volunteer scheme to provide support to and at events for disabled people to attend and participate.
  • Run sport taster sessions across the county for disabled people and clubs.

The project aims to make sport & physical activity more accessible to disabled people by providing a web based resource, of what’s available, transport & equipment support and most of all a volunteer buddy to go along with for the first few visits. We all know how difficult it can be walking into a gym or sports club for the first time, imagine how that must feel if your disabled and have no idea what facilities are available to you or how people may react to you?

The partnership will be governed by a steering group made up of the above partners and disabled users.

Ruby from Shropshire Disability Network (SDN) stated that “it is fantastic that disabled people will now have opportunity to engage in sport & physical activity in a way that has been impossible for many, due to transport & rural issues. The Buddy Scheme & Bursaries will enable those that want to, to have a go, it gives them opportunity.”

SPC would like to thank Shropshire Council (Sport & Leisure Team), Shropshire Public Health & Energize for use of their surveys and statistics and Shropshire Disability Network for their consultation with the target group.


Editorial Information:

Shropshire Provider’s Consortium (SPC) is a collective of community and voluntary sector organisations working and bidding together for the benefit of the people of Shropshire.

The consortium pools the experience, skills and knowledge of its members to deliver seamless services for clients and customers, creating a more defined public profile for Shropshire’s VCS sector and enabling organisations to work as one.

Shropshire Disability Network is a member of the Shropshire Providers Consortium for more information about our work please visit For more information about SDN contact: Ruby Hartshorn Phone number 07780 852 229

Further Information about Shropshire Inclusively Fit Project. please contact Julie Tustin, SPC Contracts Manager.

Telephone 01743 367758 E mail:

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The Forum is Open!!!

When we did the last refresh of the SDN website we decided to include a forum page so that the membership could have a say on the topics of the day. The Forum page has sat quietly in the background just waiting but now we have activated members accounts and the Forum is open!

What does this mean? It means that there is a place where members of the network only can have their say.

Is it dangerous? Definitely not! All posts are moderated and contributors have to be members of the network.

Will I get lots of spam? Not from us you wont! The forums, just like the whole of the SDN website, are monitored for spam; we aim to keep this a spam free zone.

So what do I do? It’s easy:

You have to be logged in.

  1. Go to the members area by clicking on the Members Area link next to the search box followed by the Forum button .
  2. Or click the “Read More” button on the top of the front page to go straight to the forum page.
  3. Click on the Forum “Shropshire Disability Network (Over to you)
  4. Either: Pick an existing topic, read what somebody else has put, then click in the box below and have your say.
  5. Or: Create a new topic, Give it a title and say what you think..

We will moderate entries as quickly as we can and we will have you up and commenting.

What if I want a forum for my own group? Easy just drop us an e-mail to and we can set one up for you. We can’t cater for closed groups but you can have an area where you can promote specific interests.

So – log in, go the the members area, click on the forum and get commenting.

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Shropshire Disability Network Gold Challenge 2014


Congratulations to Shropshire Disability Gold Challengers who reached 2014 km on 5th October 2014-they will continue clocking up the kms until the end of the year. Further details, go to the bottom of this page & click on the words “click here”

A new Gold Challenge for SDN, so what is it? It’s exciting & we are looking for team members as well as organisations to put teams in & join us. May be you can not form or join one of our teams but could sponsor one of our teams. Or you know of a business who would sponsor us! 

We have joined in with the Gold Challenge 2014 linked to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because due to technical difficulties the Geoff Forgie Memorial Disability Challenge for 2014 has had to be postponed but we hope it will be back in 2015. 

So what is this all about? The Gold Challenge 2014 builds on the legacy of London 2012. It is a fun free way for everyone across the UK to be a bit more active, fitter, healthier while celebrating the upcoming Commonwealth Games. For us at SDN, it is even more than that as we can raise awareness of SDN and aim to raise £2014 for our funds! 

There are two challenges, both can be done alone or in teams of 10. 

The Mini Challenge. This is to clock up 201.4 km (125.14 miles) by 31st December 2014 or 

2014 Challenge. This is to clock up 2014 km (1251.44 miles) by 31st December 2014 tells us, don’t worry if you miss to complete it by 31/12/2014 as you will still be able to log your details. 

How can you take part? Do you go to the gym? Walk the dog, use a self propelled wheelchair, go swimming, cycling, walking, rowing, use a motorised bike. Any thing you do that is Physical exercise that causes you to breathe harder and your heart to beat faster can be counted so that includes housework, gardening. If you play football, wheelchair tennis/basket ball, bocca, rugby,…it can all count. May be, you should go to the gym/swimming more often but need an incentive. There are many ways we can get active ie walk to the shops instead of using the car, get off the bus at an earlier stop even meet friends for a cuppa but arrange to meet 10 minutes earlier and have a stroll first. Perhaps you have intended doing the Park Run, but not got round to it! How about it now?  If so please consider signing up to our challenges. 

What this is not about? Being better than your other team members (we can encourage each other, that is different) or going overboard, hurting yourself and causing pain or injury. Every km you do helps your team. Remember 0.1 or 0.25 of a km counts as well!

SDN have already signed up three teams: The SDN Gold Challengers and SDN Vic’s Victors. SDN Landau Challenge. Welcome aboard Sandra a lady from our Fundraising Sub Group who has taken on the Mini Challenge alone. Sandra is walking rescue dogs for her challenge, so this is two fold, raising awareness & money for us & helping a local dog kennels! SDN are also pleased to have Sisters 4 SDN who are raising money & awareness of SDN join us.

Both SDN Gold Challengers & SDN Vic’s Victors registered by us are looking for recruits! Km’s are already being clocked up by the people who have already registered. We will have a launch enabling us to raise awareness & funding. All teams will have a sponsorship form but we are looking at additional sponsorship. A member is interested in doing the mini challenge alone! 

To find out more click here

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Your Chance to Own a Copy of “Why are you pretending to be Normal?”

Opportunity to purchase the book “Why are you pretending to be Normal?” and to swell our funds at the same time. 

At our Craven Arms meeting on 12th June, Dave Rees co-author of Why are you pretending to be Normal gave a very informative talk about how He & Dr Phil Friend OBE came to write this book. Several of us took the opportunity to purchase a copy and Dave offered to donate £1 from each copy sold at the meeting towards our funds. This kind gesture has now been extended to anyone who wishes to purchase a copy via us. 

Dr Phil Friend with Lizzie Evans, Fundraising & Publicity Officer from Headway, Shropshire

Dr Phil Friend with Lizzie Evans, Fundraising & Publicity Officer from Headway, Shropshire

Looking around the room while Dave was talking it was very evident that people were intrigued about how it came to be written, why and for whom. After all, the title of the book raises all sorts of ideas! In the book, it asks the questions that anyone with a disability needs to ask themselves. Dave made us think, think about words that we use, questions that we ask, reasons why we react to questions asked & more.  A full report on Dave‘s presentation will be in our Mid July copy of “Your Voice so we don’t want to repeat what you can read in the next few weeks. 

Here is a taster of this book, which has the Foreword written by Tanni Grey-Thomson DBE.

Tanni writes “This book masterfully guides the reader to an understanding of the importance of the social model of disability and will be extremely useful to a wide audience who want to learn and understand about the impact language has on peoples lives” Further on She writes “If other people understood more about my needs and felt able to ask me, instead of making assumptions (which are quite often the wrong ones) then my life would dramatically improve.” 

In the book a comparison is made to acquiring a disability with that of bereavement. “When you become disabled you also have to go through that same cycle of emotions because you have lost something, whether it’s something physical-because you can no longer walk or move other parts of your body-or whether it’s the loss of independence or anything else. It is also the loss of the person you used to be……..Therefore you go through the same emotions of shock, denial, frustration, anger and all the other stages of grief until you come to accept it-if you ever do!” 

As one reviewer of this book wrote “If you or someone you know wants to understand disability better, how it fits in society today, this is a great place to start…” 

As one SDN member said “whether you are a Carer, someone born with an impairment or acquired a disability this is a “must read” for £6 it is well worth it. It is a book I need on my shelf not to stay there but to use as a guide & learning tool from the tips given” 

To order your copy of this book, please email to get details of how to pay & purchase from us. Thank you.

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The Future of Your Voice! Your views are needed.

YourVoice has been providing information for the disabled community and their carers for some years now. YourVoice is produced by volunteers, principally Peter Staples who has been largely responsible for the appearance of the news letter in recent times.

The time has come for a review to see if the newsletter is still achieving its objectives and to that end we need your views. Peter has taken on the task of collating the responses. You can use the questionnaire on the back page of May’s YourVoice or you can click here to print off a web version or download a PDF to complete and send in to Peter.

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Information Day in Shropshire

Start Date:
17th June 2014

End Date:
17th June 2014

We would like to invite you to have a stand at our annual information day for families with children with disabilities or additional needs in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, which is being organised jointly with Shropshire Parent and Carer Council and Parents Opening Doors Telford. 

The event will be held on Tuesday 17th June 2014 at Shrewsbury Town Football Club from 10am-2.30pm. 

We would like to provide a wide range of information at the event from statutory and voluntary organisations that provide support or services to families with children with disabilities or additional needs and also provide an opportunity for families to meet local service providers in person. 

We have attached a booking form for your use. Please note, there is no charge to book a place at this event, however places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Tea and coffee will be available on the day.

Please return your booking form to