Monthly Archives: August 2013

Healthwatch Shropshire



Telephone: 01743 237884 Fax: 01743 342179 (Office Hours Monday-Thursday 8.45 am-5 pm)

Contact Form for General Enquiries:

Address: 4 The Creative Quarter, Shrewsbury Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6LG


Healthwatch Shropshire has been set up to act as the county’s independent consumer champion for health and social care.  Our remit covers hospitals, GPs, pharmacists, opticians, community health services, residential care, mental health and children’s services.

Healthwatch Shropshire gathers information and opinions from patients, carers, service users and the wider public about health and social care services across Shropshire, then makes sure those views are used to improve services for all.

We also provide information and signposting services to support the people of Shropshire in making choices about health and social care services and how to access them.

Healthwatch Shropshire has a statutory authority to visit locations where health and social care services are being delivered for the people of Shropshire, observe what is happening, and report on its findings.  We are keen to hear from anybody who is interested in volunteering with us to be trained as a visitor but we also have other volunteering opportunities in the form of community champions and specialist leads.

Individuals and organisations can become associate members of Healthwatch Shropshire.  Benefits include receiving the Healthwatch Shropshire newsletter, being kept up to date on local health and care issues, participating in events, and nominating individuals to sit on the Board.

Find us on Face Book @HealthwatchShropshire and Twitter @HWShropshire

Shropshire Based Adaptive Toy Company Celebrates 7th Birthday!

Bosses of a Shropshire-based adapted toy company are celebrating their seven-year anniversary with the launch of a new website as part of a company rebrand.

Dr Mike Taylor runs the specialist toy company Excitim with his wife Gloria in Market Drayton, producing switch adapted special needs toys for children with disabilities and special learning needs.

He said: “We wanted to make our easy to use for children too as they like to help choose their toys.

“It’s bright, clean and fun to use. We’re already seeing an uptake in business thanks to the new website.

“We’ve also started using social media and this in turn has seen a rise in business interest and our brand identity. It really made us realise the old website did not reflect what we do.”

Dr Taylor, who has won awards for his specialist work, said the new website also has a much wider range of products online for people to buy.

“We’re already getting repeat orders from customers, who are telling us how much they love the website,” he said.

Excitim was founded in 2007 as Dr Taylor realised there were not many toys on the market for children with disabilities.

“It’s vital that children with disabilities have the same access to toys and educational products as able-bodied youngsters,” he said.

“Small buttons can be the biggest obstacle for people with disabilities, especially people with conditions such as cerebral palsy.

“Gloria and I take a mainstream toy or product and adapt it by fitting a large switch which allows the user to overcome the hurdle experienced,” he said.

Dr Taylor also enjoys finding solutions to individual requests, which he receives from parents and children all over the world.

“Every year we add new toys to the range and it gets more and more exciting,” he said.

Dr Taylor’s expertise has seen him adapt a mainstream Canon camera with a larger external switch so someone with mobility problems can take a photograph.

“Teenagers especially want to take pictures and post them to their Facebook page or share with friends.

“Likewise, listening to music is a big deal for teenagers. So, whether it’s CDs, MP3s, films or YouTube we can help folks join.

“We’d encourage anyone with an accessibility question to get in touch through the website link. We may already have a solution ready to go,” he said.

Excitim’s products are now distributed in Sweden, France, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the UK.

To find out more about the range of switch adapted toys and to see the new website in action, visit or call 0845 900 3860.

Ability Sport & Active Lifestyle 2013 October Conference, Holywell Park, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Thursday October 10th;

Is a major conference that sets out to enhance and enrich all aspects of disability sport & activity delivery, with the aim of increasing participation levels, whilst maximising the enjoyment given to many across all ages, through sport and activity.

If you are involved in any aspect of sport / activity delivery in your community, area, county, region or further afield, then this event is an important resource opportunity for you and not to be missed.

This is an invitation only event and we have identified you as having an involvement within this field, therefore, you can use reference code: ASAU30 if applying for a placement.

I’m afraid we can’t provide this resource free of charge, however we have subsidised it to a non commercial rate of just £95 + vat per delegate, so that as many people as possible can take advantage to be fully resourced, equipped and share best practice in this important area.

We invite you to take a look at the conference web-site: and we sincerely hope that you will be able to attend.

SDN Introduces a New Honorary Secretary and Membership Secretary

11th September Shropshire Disability Network Members meeting will give you your opportunity to meet your New Honorary Secretary and Membership Secretary thanks to Press Releases we sent o the Shropshire Star. So please book your place now for our Members Meeting and make the new “boys” welcome. (Details of our meeting can be found in the first article on this website as well as under the “About Us and Events tabs)


As you are all aware SDN has been searching for a new Secretary since the later part of last year and we were really getting quite desperate to appoint someone to this key role. After our initial Press Release two prospective candidates came forward, completed a simple recruitment process including meeting committee members. They have the skills and experience we were looking for so we were very pleased to be able to say “yes” to both. We have appointed a Russell Price as Honorary Secretary and Philip Kent as Membership Secretary. The picture shows Russell (first on left) with Philip (holding the edition of the Shropshire Star) being welcomed by Committee Members. The story does not end here!


Imagine the amazement when after a surprise second publication by the Shropshire Star, another 5 people came forward. Well it really seemed like “pennies from heaven” as SDN had struggled in attracting volunteers to come forward for quite a while. We were getting rather desperate as Committee Members “filled in” while carrying on with there own roles.


So what about these other 5 applicants are they surplus to requirements? No! In addition we have decided to not only appoint a Minute Secretary but also increase the number of Outreach Officers. As SDN expands its work so we need to ensure all areas of Shropshire are covered by Outreach Officers. So, is that it? No some new applicants will become Members of the Fundraising Sub Group or take up other positions as opposed to the SDN Management Committee. We are meeting with some applicants very soon and once appointed we will inform you.


The need for Volunteers is still not over as we look to expanding in other ways, so if you think you may be able to offer something to SDN, please get in contact. We need people who will read articles onto “You Tube”, we want to further the work of doing interviews that we can put on our website. We need people who will assist at meetings and generally help in many ways. There is a list of Volunteer roles towards the foot of the front page of this website. That list is not exhaustive so if you have something to offer please email May be you have thought you could volunteer but fear you won’t be able to as you need experience. Hold back no more, we can train our volunteers.


Just one or two hours a week, half a day a month as an SDN member you can help your organisation help others. Volunteering you know can be very rewarding. So come on “Give it a go!”



The Final Trial for the ‘West Midlands Partially Sighted and Deaf Centre of Excellence’.

We are looking for talented football players with a visual impairment or having hearing loss of more than 55 dcb to join our programme. The aim of the programme is to improve talented players and guide them towards trials for the national sides and representing the country in competitions.

Click here to download more information:

VI & Deaf Info + Form


Will Perkins

National Game Strategy Officer (CSW)

M: 07969 886124

Traineeship Opportunity at Attingham Park

The role we have available is part of the Passport to your Future scheme, which is about offering people with a passion for the work we do to come and train with us. We’re not looking for qualifications or work experience, just plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. In particular, we’d welcome applications from the long-term unemployed, or people with physical disabilities. We want to become better at attracting people from all walks of life into our workforce. That’s why we’re using this project to help us to reach out to people at present under-represented in the National Trust community. We hope to embed the learning we gain from doing this in our long term recruitment processes.

In return, we offer a job for a year, full training, a Heritage Skills Passport and a really impressive portfolio to take away. The successful candidate will be paid minimum wage, but much more than that, we’ll share our knowledge and skills with them so that they can continue to work in beautiful places like Attingham for the rest of their career.

The specific opportunity we have at Attingham is to join as a Visitor Experience trainee. The trainee will learn the skills that

National Trust professionals need to know to look after our visitors, give them an amazing experience and bring the spirit of our places alive for all to enjoy.  They’ll be taught how to really look after our visitors and how to use their enthusiasm to bring our magnificent places alive. They will also learn how to use history and hands-on activities to inspire people.

If you’d like to find out more, then please visit –, which gives you a general introduction to the scheme and what it’s all about, and then – to see the specific opportunity we have available at Attingham.

Click on the Link below to learn more:

Information for Partners Intake 5

Our Park Run. Blog Post by Grace Hough.

Our local Park Run was launched in Telford on 16th February 2013 by a very enthusiastic guy called Chris Richards.  He worked tirelessly to include  as many people as he could in the birth of Shropshire’s very own event and there have been 25 to date.  Last week 10th August I was one of the 211 runners enjoying their Saturday morning outing. Lots of encouragement and no stress.  As a supporter of Shropshire Disability Network I am working with Chris to encourage the less able bodied to join and I wear my SDN T shirt to highlight the work of the charity. The Telford Town Park route is easily negotiated so an ideal venue. We aim to make it accessible to as many people as possible.  If you are unable to run the volunteer rota has vacancies.

The beauty of this sort of run is that it is all things to all runners.  If you are an elite athlete it can be a tough training run, but it is targeted at the less competitive side of life.  The ones who need a little encouragement to get active, to lose a little weight or gain  self confidence.  Those who might need more support than usual.  Or to just get out with the kids and jog, trot, or walk the 5km.  A sweeper runner at the back ensures no one is lost, left behind, or injured along the way.  Plus the social side afterwards, a quick coffee and a chat might be all someone needs to cheer them up.

For those not addicted to running and sport it all may sound a bit odd, but I have been around athletics for 30 years+  and I have seen the positive  effect it can have on both mental and physical health.  Because the Park Runs are just a very simple idea to get people moving they are an overwhelming success.

Just to prove that theory the newest Park Run in Shrewsbury is being launched as we speak and will debut in the next few weeks, so why don’t you have a go! You might enjoy it!

Get Going Live

A Brief Report by Haydn Jenkins DSA ADI, with pictures by Lee Hewis DSA ADI

I attended this year’s GET GOING live event in my capacity as a Driving Instructor working with people with disability.

The event is organised by Disabled Motoring (UK) and Mobility Choice, the charity behind the annual Mobility Roadshow,

The show is primarily for young and newly disabled people, keen to get behind the wheel, or to research adapted motoring options, Get Going Live! Is now in its 3rd year, this exciting free one-day event designed to help people explore all the options for accessible motoring.  At the event you can;

  • Test drive a range of adapted cars
  • Experience all-terrain mobility vehicles
  • Gain advice and information from mobility experts
  • Enjoy the thrill of 4×4, skid cars and much more!

It’s all about independence

Not everyone knows that young people with disabilities could get their driving licence at 16, a year ahead of those who are not disabled? That’s great news, but where do they start? Get Going Live! Has helped hundreds of people from all over the UK to try adapted driving for the first time, and welcomes young drivers from the age of 14 to come and get in the driving seat! 

John Rogers from Disability Driving Instructors Association (John is also a Driving Assessor Derby DrivAbility) talking to a young lady in one of the static vehicles.

Donington Park – The Heart of British Motorsport

What better place to start the drive of your life? This FREE event takes place at the Launch Pad, a self-contained, fully accessible venue at Donington Park with ample parking.


There is the chance to drive on a circuit that includes the historic Heritage Loop, accompanied by experienced drivers, and a wide range of expert advice and information on hand to help the potential driver make the right choices for their particular needs.

Those interested could find out about the adaptation options and vehicles that are right for them. Before getting behind the wheel there was the chance to test their reactions to different road conditions and potential hazards at the Autoadapt Driver Test Station

There was friendly expert advice. Straight from its national launch at the Mobility Roadshow the new Association of Disability Driving Instructors, which in partnership with the Forum of Mobility Centres, will help gain easy access to specialist driving instructors.

This is where my involvement comes in, as I was one of a number of Specialist Driving Instructors manning, several of our own adapted tuition vehicles in which the potential young drivers could try the controls in a static situation and receive advice on which adaptations were suitable for their ability before moving on to the test track, where they could drive adapted vehicles in a safe and controlled environment.

I can’t name every vehicle available, there were just too many to mention, there were several different makes of controls available to try from;

  • Brig-Ayd Controls,

    Cars in the static display area

    Cars in the static display area

  • Jeff Gosling Hand Controls,
  • Alfred Bekker Controls,
  • they had available; push pull hand controls,  left foot accelerators, steering aids and instructor dual brakes,  also available Sirus Automotive- Drive-From-Wheelchair and Wrightington Mobility Centre- Drive From Wheelchair Vehicles.

Because I was involved in the static section I didn’t have much opportunity to look around as I would have liked. But I gave advice to lots of potential drivers and did manage to make some new contacts with some of the adaptation suppliers.

I would also like to thank my wife Linda for coming with me without her help and support  I’m not sure I would be getting out and about as much. She also has to put up with me needing the Sunday to recover due to pushing myself too far.

To close I’ll leave the last word to some of the visitors;

This is me (in the hat) talking to the young lady watch by one of the other instructors and the young lady's farther.

This is me (in the hat) talking to the young lady watch by one of the other instructors and the young lady’s farther.

This comment from one parent in 2012 reflects the feedback from many:
“My daughter got to drive for the first time and this gave her the confidence to realise she will be able to drive a car.”

A comment made to me from one of the parents of a young paraplegic “Trying to find an instructor with a suitable vehicle for my son was like trying to find rocking horse droppings, this new disability driving instructors association has given my several contacts, and this should make it easier for him to learn to drive.”

And from young learner drivers: “Absolutely fantastic: where else can you get to try so many cars.” “I’ve had a brilliant day; the driving was great – loads of choice and information too.” “It was awesome: I can’t wait to be 16.”


This article is the intellectual property of the author;

HAYDN JENKINS,     Pictures courtesy of LEE HEWIS

Shropshire Carers Service Announce the Latest Series of Workshops

These forthcoming workshops for unpaid family carers living in Shropshire. The workshops are free to attend and light refreshments and lunch will be provided. We have workshops spread across the county, so hopefully as many carers as possible can attend. Please pass the information on to any unpaid family carers you feel will benefit from the workshops,


Future Planning

•         Oswestry Guildhall- Tuesday 8th October 10am till till 3.00pm

•         Shrewsbury, the Lantern- Tuesday 12th November 10am till 3.00pm


All About Dementia- Carers Survival Guide

•         Cleobury Mortimer, St Elizabeths Church Hall- Tuesday 22nd October 10am till 3.30pm (10.15am start 10am coffee on arrival)

•         Wem, Methodist Church- Friday 8th November 10am till 3.30pm (10.15am start, 10am coffee on arrival)


Places must be booked due to catering requirements, the booking number is 01743 237888, and please let me know if you’d like further information or any leaflets/posters to help promote the workshops.

Download Workshop Details:


Future Planning 12th Nov Shrewsbury

Future Planning 8th Oct Oswestry

Dementia 22 Oct Cleobury

Dementia 8th Nov Wem



Julia Wenlock

Administrative Assistant for the Shropshire Carers Service

Shropshire RCC*

T. 01743 237888



Working Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday mornings