Category Archives: News

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Barge safari- is wonderful and FREE day out

 ‘Barge safari’ is wonderful and free day out ! 

Shropshire Wildlife Trust is offering people with disabilities the chance to cruise the meres and mosses of North Shropshire on Saturday 16 May, absolutely free.

 A ‘barge safari’ will set off from Lyneal, near Ellesmere, at 10.00 am and head to Morris Bridge on Whixall Moss, with binoculars supplied for everyone on board. Return will be by 1.00 pm.

The Wildlife Trust has hired the Shropshire Lad barge from the Lyneal Trust. It has a ramp and hydraulic lift – and wheelchair users are able to access all parts of the Lad.

The Lad has been designed to take wheelchairs up to a maximum width of 26” – the standard size for wheelchairs. More information is available at the Lyneal Trust website:

 A bird expert may be on hand to point out and help identify birds spotted along the way, but in any event Luke Neal, the Meres and Mosses Community Officer, will be on board to explain about this internationally important landscape, the work being done to protect it and the special species that can be found there.

 Participants on the trip will also be shown the Meres and Mosses all-ability trail at Whixall with disabled parking which allows visitors of all abilities to return to enjoy the mosses.

Places are free for this wonderful trip, but booking is essential. Telephone Luke Neal at 01743 284275 or email






Jessica Lightwood

Jessica Lightwood-Sports Inclusion Officer for Shropshire writes

Welcome to Spring,

The sun has come out to say “hello”, encouraging more people to go outside and enjoy the rays of Vitamin D. Spring is a time of new beginnings with blossom on trees, daffodils blooming and the smell of freshly cut grass.

Now is a great time to start thinking about the small steps we can make to become more active, and start a new beginning ourselves. Here are a few ideas that we can try but remember the aim is not to create additional pain (and if that happens-stop)  The aim is to get our hearts beating faster, help our circulation etc

  • Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil –If you can stand- hold onto the work surface & slowly bend your knees- keeping your back straight then stand up straight again, see how many times you can do this until your cuppa is ready.

  • Whilst adverts are on the telly – try lifting your knees & moving your ankles in a circular motion as if you are drawing circles in the air, or if you are safe to use stairs-go for a walk up and down them.

  • Go outside if you can, walking to the corner of the road or further, invite friends to walk with you as they will not only be company for you but may welcome the opportunity.

Remember with any exercise to start off gently & if you are concerned,  do not be afraid to seek medical advice before you do any of the above.

We can measure our improvement with any of these activities by counting the distance or repetitions and trying to beat your last score.

Throughout March I have been out visiting some more inclusive activities around Shropshire; Rowing, Tennis and Dance to name a few. I saw a visually impaired man take part in rowing for the first time at Pengwern Boat Club. This began on an indoor rowing machine being coached the correct technique, then progressed on to rowing on the water in a Double Skull (two-man boat). I was amazed at the knowledge of the coaches and how they were able to adapt and support this man to take part in, and not only experience but enjoy a new activity.

All the activities I have been visiting will contribute to the Active Lifestyle directory which will be hosted on SDN website later this year. If in the mean time you would like to know more about local opportunities for you to be more active email where your individual enquiries will be responded to.

A closing note from me which I think some of you will have heard before & know to be true

It’s the small changes that last a lifetime

Jessica Lightwood

Shropshire Sports Inclusion Officer


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Our own, picked for Europeans & World Cup!!!

We are so pleased to share with you both Nick Beighton & Kelda Wood have been picked in their respective sports for the Europeans & World Cup as the road to Rio 2016 picks up pace.

Many of you will remember Nick Beighton talking at our members meeting back in 2013. Kelda is our avid blogger writing her diary to Rio. You can read all Kelda’s blogs under her own tab “Kelda writes” A fascinating journey sharing how it really is!

It is great that we can share the achievements of people who have been able to overcome some of the obstacles they have faced after life changing injuries. We know our members are inspired & encouraged by us sharing this type of news/stories.

SDN sends congratulations to all who have been chosen but especially to Kelda & Nick & look forward to following their progress. Click here to read more

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Sam updates us on her personal journey to have an Assistance Dog

Hi everyone,

This is the second instalment of my blog about my journey towards getting an assistance dog. I have not got any further in doing fund-raising, as I have been busy with a course with the prince’s trust and volunteering.

However, I have thought further on some of the things an assistance dog could do to support me. I find it hard to wake up in the mornings as I’m often tired, and tend to fall back asleep unless I am being prompted. An assistance dog would be able to wake me up if I set an alarm by pawing at me. Having an assistance dog would also mean I will sleep better, as the weight of the dog on the bed, research has been shown helps the sleep pattern of people with autism, similar to the effects of a weighted blanket.

The dog would generally help with anxiety whilst out and about, and help with transitions to get to and from places by centring me and reducing my anxiety while I’m travelling by train and bus.

He would also be trained to provide a barrier between me and other people, so that I don’t get too overwhelmed in crowds. Generally I feel an assistance dog would improve my mood and give me a sense of purpose.

By the time I do my third blog, I hope to have got further in the logistics of how to fund my dog.

Thanks for reading,



Disability Rights UK

Election Manifesto 2015/Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK list have produced a selected list of proposals, which affect disabled people, taken from the relevant manifesto. If you click on this link you can read what each of the 5 main parties say.  Note the page also contains a link to the 2015 election party manifestos as they are published.

Reminder: If you have recently moved or are not registered or this is the first time you are eligible to vote in an election then you must register by 20th April to vote in the General Election on 7th May then visit to apply to register on line.


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General Election 2015 Hustings-Your Opportunities

Several people have asked us for information on General Election Hustings. Please click here Hustings Shropshire 2015 for details of places we have discovered hustings are being held.

Click here on this link for full details of a husting being held in Shrewsbury

We have tried to give a telephone number & an email address in order that you can check if facilities are available ie Parking for the disabled, Is the venue accessible etc 

If you have recently moved or are not registered then you must register by 20th April to vote in the General Election on 7th May then visit to apply to register on-line.

Scuba Diving including IAHD courses for people with a disability!

Did you know you can do scuba diving in Shropshire?

Yes that’s right based in Telford is the Immerse School of Diving. It is a professional full time scuba diving training school serving the Midlands.  They focus on making scuba diving comfortable, safe, and most importantly lots of fun!  To find out more click on this link The team teach PADI recreational diving courses & IADH courses for disabled divers & have much more to offer.

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Half way to Athens….I was 7 years old when I beat Tanni GreyThompson….

Welcome to Tracy Jones-SDN member, former Welsh Athlete, raised in Anglesey now living in Shropshire who shares her personal story with us. Thank you Tracy.

Just imagine, me taking part in the Paralympics in Athens. I’d worked hard for this, my family had been truly supportive. One last hurdle to get over.

I spent a lot of time in the Algarve in Portugal warm weather training in preparation for the Paralympics in Athens 2004. My last trip to the Algarve was partly funded by the National Lottery. A few months later I tore a ligament in my left knee and I was forced to quit. I was simply mortified. I would never wear a Great Britain tracksuit. It was the end of the world for me. It was the night before the Grand Prix qualifying stage in London in preparation for the Paralympics 2004 in Athens. I felt a sharp pain in my left knee when I was throwing the discus. I thought nothing much and just carried on. Of course I didn’t tell anyone and travelled to London the next day.

The day didn’t go too well for me. I felt sick, I was in agony, and that was before my events. My club throwing left a lot to be desired. My discus wasn’t too bad. I would have got silver if they were presenting medals. 

I arrived back home in Oswestry. Still in agony, I went to bed. Mum called the doctor.He suspected that I had torn a ligament in my left knee. Knowing only too well what this could mean I took some pain killers and cried myself to sleep. Weeks later I went to see a specialist in Shrewsbury Hospital. I was sent for an X – ray. My worst fear was confirmed. I had torn a ligament in my left knee and my sporting career was now over.

The doctor told me that key hole surgery was an option, but as I also had arthritis and my knee hadn’t formed properly anyway there was a chance that I’d never be able to stand up again and I could have lost what little mobility I had. The doctor also added, if I was going to go ahead with the surgery I’d need to go for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. I declined and left the hospital as quickly as I could.

From that moment on I felt useless and I struggled to see the point in doing anything. My days so long and it was one sleepless night after another. I was no longer part of a team. I began to feel isolated. It was almost like I was grieving. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I felt really low. Eventually I went to the doctors. I was diagnosed with depression.

One day I suddenly remembered what Anthony (my coach) had said to me one Thursday evening in training. “Tracy you’ve got the mouth for this.” He meant sports coaching. So just out of interest, and to see if he was right, in September 2007 I enrolled myself on an introductory diploma in sport at Walford and North Shropshire College. I passed with merit and I just kept going back for more.

Four years later with three diplomas, two Student of the Year trophies, and the option to go to university, I was definitely happy again.

I have always been keen on sport. When I was just seven years old I beat Tanni Grey Thompson in a wheelchair race in a school sports day at Ysgol Gogarth in Llandudno. I was buzzing with excitement. When I became a student at Derwen College in Gobowen in 1997, I had no idea that I was going to be transformed from an average nineteen year old to a world class athlete.

 Next time: What happened that made Tracy write “All I did for weeks and weeks and weeks was throw these dreadful blue sandbags at a net & what happens to make me happy!”








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Walking Basketball (tackle your health)

Tackle Your Health is running a new activity for adults in Telford: Walking Basketball!

Download the poster by clicking here: Walking Basketball poster – 2015 -1

You can see a YouTube video about it here: 

 Contact details for further information:

Sid Harris

Health Trainer

Leisure Services and Culture

1st floor lower Tier

Wellington Civic Offices

Larkin Way

Off Tan Bank





Tel: 01952 382620

Mobile: 07896420362






Kelda writes I’ve only done 2 light paddles….


I’ve just really got one thing to say this week (for once!) and that’s just that it is sooooo good to be back on the water!!

I’ve only done 2 light paddles but hey, it’s a start! And the good news is that nothing flared up from my injury, so I get to do 4 paddles next week! One step at a time ‘n’ all that!:-)

It’s been a tough week for some of the other guys on the squad though. The classifier has been going through all the new classification system, and it’s going to have a big impact on some people….. good for some, and not so good for others.

I often say life is very like a sat nav….you put in your destination and plan your route, but things happen along the way that mean you get held up, sometimes you have to take an alternative route, and sometimes you have to change direction all together.

I guess the skill is taking control of what you can and making sure the place you end up is still a place you want to be.