Category Archives: News


Did you take part in Learning Disabilities week?

One of Mencap’s biggest ambitions is to change public attitudes towards learning disability. Mencap know they cannot do that without first understanding what people really know and do not know about learning disability. Learning Disability (LD) Week (14th-21st June) represented a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of what people know about learning disability.
They have devised a survey tool to explore people’s current level of awareness or knowledge of learning disability.
The survey should be filled in by people without a learning disability who took part in activities during the LD Week, and who are 16 years of age or older. 
The survey can  be completed electronically, the link being
Click here for a  paper version of the survey which can be printed off and completed by hand. 
The guidelines within the survey attached gives you more information.  The survey itself is from pages 3-6. 
Please send completed surveys to:
C/O Rachel West
Suite 2,
Bromwich Road,
Worcester WR2 4BN 
frame 250-253

SDN’s strides towards there next disability challenge

Remember the Geoff Forgie Memorial Disability Challenge of 2012, teams carrying someone who uses a wheelchair or would find it difficult to access the Long Mynd due to a disability or long term condition.
Our pioneers had a wonderful time, putting their trust in teams to carry them, accessing a beautiful area of Shropshire-feeling the breeze on their face- As one person said “it was so peaceful to be up there, sun shining, I loved every minute, what an experience”

Did you experience the blistered hands a result of being a carrier? One of our pioneers-Alan saw the issues with the borrowed frames & gave himself a challenge to design a bespoke wheelchair frame that can be fitted to different types of wheelchairs & a lighter but still robust frame. Having designed it & a long search to get the design drawings signed off by qualified drawings engineers the next search was on to find a company willing to make the frame. It took months of appeals on radio, local press, social media and other sources to find a company who was willing to help. 

Local firm Price Fallows of Shrewsbury who do engineering work around agricultural products (trailers, combines etc) as well as work relating to barges were only too willing to help Alan & us. SDN Management Committee agreed to commission one frame. 

Yesterday a big milestone was reached when the frame which has been put through rigorous strength tests by Price Fallows, was handed over to SDN. Radio Shropshire were so helpful in reporting live at the handover.

So another step taken, what happens next? SDN will be putting it through more tests & then we will be looking for companies to sponsor our frame at a cost of £400 each. We hope to hold our next challenge is 2016 & already we have signed up our first team as Price Fallows have offered to put a team in.


Mayor 350-253

Shropshire Disability Network walks away with gold!

Each year designed as part of the annual civic calendar of the Shrewsbury Town Council, the Mayor of Shrewsbury has an Award Scheme which recognises not only the major players in shaping Shrewsbury, but also those unsung heroes who go about their lives, helping others and don’t seek any form of recompense or acknowledgement. 

mayor 2

Awards are presented to organisations and groups, businesses and individuals whose achievements have contributed to making Shrewsbury the place that we all enjoy living in, working in, shopping in and visiting. 

There are various categories with outright winners in each together with Bronze, Silver & Gold awards. SDN were delighted to receive a gold award from Cllr Beverley Baker who was Mayor of Shrewsbury 2014/15 It was awarded to SDN in recognition of our achievements towards enhancing the social wellbeing of the area. 

Click here to read a full report

Council  and RH 250-252

Transport & Parking Issues in Shrewsbury

Many members attending our meeting last Thursday will agree it was a good one, well attended Not only were we honoured to have The Mayor Of Shrewsbury Councillor Miles Kenny join us, we also had Michael McCarthy an inspirational author share his story with us (more coming soon)

council two and RH

Our other topic was transport and parking issues, which is very important to many of us. We had Matt Johnson Area Transport Planning Commissioner (North) join us together with Matt Davies talking about parking issues. Matt agreed to send us more details regarding the trial taxi rank in Mardol, Shrewsbury. 

Mike, in his email to SDN Secretary said “You will note from the schedule the bay outside Blacks is 16m long, and the new disabled bay by Timspons is 12m long – it is appreciated that there is a 4 m reduction in provision on Claremont Street, but, as you are no doubt aware, those with a blue badge are able to park in pay and display bays at no cost for as long as they wish, and park on the double yellow lines for a period of up to 3 hours as long as there is not a loading ban in force or the parking is causing an obstruction”

He has also forwarded three documents to us:

Those attending the meeting also agreed that we-Shropshire Disability Network being the “collective voice for people with a disability” would put in a response to the consultation that is open to 12th August 2015 but we would also encourage you to make your own individual responses.  Click here for details


me (2)

Tracy writes -How & when I began my International duty & where my journey takes me……

I began my International duty at a stadium in Warrington in 1998, without much sleep the night before. I was a bag of nerves. Competitions took place in a big cage. Once you enter the cage you would then be tied to the ground with some very strong straps for safety reasons. Around the cage there would always be three or four officials. The rules were very strict. Your coach wasn’t allowed anywhere near you. You weren’t allowed to use your own equipment. You were allowed five attempts in total. Two practice throws followed by three competition throws.

The officials would always sound a horn to let you know when to throw, and to warn the spectators. To be honest the horn sounded like a sick duck, and it often put me off.That day I threw the club just over six metres. I just about qualified. I was thrilled. I left the field with a tear in my eye. I stayed in a five star hotel with the rest of the squad that night. We had a meal together. I travelled home to Anglesey the next morning. I felt washed out. When I got home I fell asleep on the sofa.

 My next stop was Brecon in South Wales. It was cold and windy. I was feeling sick with nerves. The wind is the club thrower’s worst nightmare. It was my turn. I gave it all that I had, but the wind threw my club down at five metres. That was just not good enough. That was below standard, and way below my own standards. I put my head in my hands and began sobbing. I was glad to see the back of Brecon. Well, until next time anyway. I left without a medal that day.

 The most bitter sweet moment of my career occurred at the CP World Championships in 2001. The Chinese coach Quang Jaung tried to get me disqualified for lifting my bum off the seat whilst throwing the club. It was a false allegation and they didn’t succeed to strip of my bronze medal. I left Nottingham with a mile long smile on my face that day.

I had some success that year. I only took home bronze medals, so I was left feeling disappointed. Well at least I had something to work on for the next season. I was highly thought of in the squad. I was a good hard working athlete, but I often let my nerves get the better of me. It was only because I cared so much.

By 1999 things were really looking up. Wales was sponsored by British Telecom. I was awarded the Mark Lynes Cup for Achievement in Athletics. I was deeply touched that my effort had been recognised by the coaching staff and my team mates. It was a much needed confidence boost. My medal count was growing. I picked up two silver medals. One in the Welsh Games in Wrexham, the other at the Colwyn Bay Games in Colwyn Bay. It was simply an amazing feeling. All of my hard work was beginning to pay off. I had a sense of belonging by this point. I also felt as if I’d discovered my purpose in life.

In March that year I was selected to go warm weather training in Portugal. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. Not only was I going to fly for the first time. I was representing my country, and I was going to spend my twenty first birthday in Portugal too.

The day we flew is a day I will never forget. There was a dress code. Black trousers, white shirt or blouse, black shoes, and our black white and yellow Wales Centre of Excellence jackets. Before we took off from Manchester. The captain welcomed us on board. All of the passengers clapped and cheered. We joined in too. Well we were on our way to Portugal after all. The plane took off at five hundred miles an hour down the runway. I felt excited and scared at the same time.

The highlight of my career happened in the summer of 2000. It was the moment I’d been dreaming of for the whole of my athletic career. One minute I was just an average person, the next I was twice Welsh National Champion. My senses were overwhelmed. There were people clapping and cheering as I proudly took the podium. The medals were placed around my neck. I threw my fist up in the air in celebration. It was simply the best day of my life, and of all the places I could have been that day I was in Cardiff.

Being in Cardiff that day meant everything to me, being presented with the gold medal, and gaining the title Welsh National Champion was simply the icing on the cake.

I knew I was in real trouble now. But only in a good way. It was when the BBC and S4C came knocking on my door that I truly realised what I’d done. There were people congratulating me and wishing me luck everywhere I turned. It was very humbling. It was very difficult to even find the time to do normal things. And then surviving that Grand Prix in London…



Another week to Celebrate-Carers Week

Last week we celebrated “Volunteers Week” which is all about acknowledging the wonderful work carried out by many dedicated people. As you all know we at Shropshire Disability Network are so grateful to all our volunteers & like many other charities we would not be able to function without them. Thanks to all who give their time.

This week we celebrate “Carers Week”. It is good & important that we wave the flag of family carers & the work family & friends do because they care for loved ones, many of whom work 24/7, don’t get a holiday & respite is not that easy to get.  Debbie Humphries, Associate Solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler has written this blog which we are so pleased to share. Read it here by clicking on this link

Thank you to Debbie & Sophie Davies from Lanyon Bowdler for sending this to us.

Training 250-253

Kelda writes- Each of our troubles is a steppingstone.

At the start of the week, I would have written a very different blog from today…..

I didn’t feel like me! I was negative, I was doubting myself and I was getting more and more frustrated in every session. What was getting to me most, was that I knew feeling like this wasn’t helping me at all, but I didn’t seem to be able to give myself the kick up the bum that I needed – something that I’m normally very good at!

So my coach did it for me!!:-) We had a “chat” on Wednesday and it made me stop and take stock of things. We recognised that I’d got massively over tired during the previous 2 weeks and that it really isn’t possible to give training my all when I was trying to juggle so many balls. I got sent home and told to take a day off the next day…something that doesn’t come easy to me, but do you know what, it was the best thing I could’ve done! It’s so easy to try and blame everything on what’s going on around you…other people, the boat, your situation, the fact the sun didn’t shine when the weatherman said it would!! Sometimes we just have to take a look at ourselves….

So what have I learn’t from this week….I think the most important thing is that it’s ok to have a tough patch, after all, we’re only human! It’s getting you’re head down, working through it and trying to keep smiling that really shows how strong you are.

The other thing I learnt is how important the people around you are. Through the paddling I’ve met some incredible people, and I’ve got more support than I’ve ever had in my life before – and I truly, truly value that.

On Friday, I called in at Battle Back. I really wanted to see the coaches, I miss not being there, but more importantly I wanted to catch up with an amazing friend called Phillipa Arding, otherwise known as Pa. Pa was involved in a skiing accident several months ago and was left with a serious brain injury. Pa is the kindest, most inspirational woman you could ever meet and it was a complete tragedy when this happened….she’s been on a very long journey with her rehab, and there’s still a long way to go, but to see her so positive, still smiling with not even the slightest grumble, moan or hint of bitterness made me really stop and think about my behaviour at the start of the week…. talk about putting things in perspective!!

Pa, despite her situation, even had the consideration to have a card for me wishing me good luck with my paddling….the last thing she said in it was “Go for it”….so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

And that helped so much when it came to racing Saturday morning when the wind was blowing like it’s life depending on it!! It really doesn’t make for an easy time on the water, but do you what, I thought of Pa and asked myself “What would she do”….I know she’d laugh, get her head down and take on the challenge!!

And I had 2 good races! There’s still lots of room for improvement, but my aim was to maintain my power, maintain my technique and stick to my processes….and in general that’s what I did. Despite the wind! I laid down 2 races that proved to me, that if I keep working hard, I can do this!

 It has been a tough week, but I’ve come out of it in a much better place.

Yet again I’ve been blown away by the amazing people around me, the support from people this week has been incredible. From the guys on the squad, the coaches at Battle Back, some old friends and some new friends. I want to thank each and every one of you.

I know this is a long blog, but I wanted to share a little story that I think says it all….

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off! MORAL : Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.











SDN 250 by 253

One not to miss! Thursday 11th June 2015

All of us at Shropshire Disability Network, hope you have Thursday 11th June in your diary as we look forward to welcoming you to a meeting that we know will inspire many of you.

Courtesy of John SImcox at Mears, Shropshire Home Services Unit 3, Hartley Business Centre Monkmoor Road Shrewsbury SY2 5ST we look forward serving refreshments from 10.30 am to 11 am the time our meeting starts. 

Not only will you hear about what we have been up to the last few months but we look forward to welcoming Matt Matt Johnson-Area Transport Planning Commissioner (North) who is an expert on concessionary travel etc plus one of his colleagues will join us who is an expert on parking issues.

Michael McCarthy our second guest speaker will be talking about his life and the books he has written. Michael from north Shropshire suffered life changing injuries as a child which left him not only blind but with other long term conditions.

Click here for more details June Meeting Flyer

Let Russell our Secretary know of your intentions of joining us by emailing or calling 07794 497 704