lanyon Bowdler

An Eye Opening Experience-Wheelchair Access Day

Courtesy of Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors we are able to share this blog with you. Emma Bloomfield, Associate Solicitor-Clinical Negligence and her colleague Dawn Humphries had an eye opening experience at a Wheelchair Awareness Day in Birmingham hosted by No 5 Barristers Chambers,

SDN says: “This blog is a must read, Are we really living in the 21st Century?  There is so much that needs to be done to enable people with a disability to have the same opportunities, choices and responsibilities as non-disabled people, to be respected and treated as equal members of society. We hope through Shropshire Disability Network, we can continue to try and make a difference. Read on by clicking on the link below.

Emma’s blog

Thank you to Sophie Davies, Business Development-Clinical Negligence & Personal Injury Team at Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors for sharing this with us.

lanyon Bowdler

PIP – No leg. No car. No problem!

Holly Edwards Solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors shares this blog with us. It has been written by her trainee Kelly.

Until 2013, individuals who required financial assistance with the extra costs of suffering long-term ill health, or a disability, could apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). However, in 2013, the government launched a new scheme, called Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to replace DLA for those aged between 16 and 64. Payments can be made, subject to certain circumstances, to assist with every day living, or mobility, or both.

There are two categories, under both schemes, which successful applicants will fall into – either the standard or enhanced rate, under PIP, or the lower or higher rate under DLA. Despite the name change, the rates between DLA and PIP have remained the same, though there have been significant changes to the eligibility criteria.

One dramatic result of this is that over 50,000 people have lost their specially adapted vehicles, taking away their independence and ability to work. Lower-limb amputees have been particularly affected by the change in criteria.

 The Motability Scheme

Those who receive payments for assistance with mobility may spend their allowance however they please, to best suit their needs. This may be on taxis, for those who generally go short distances, or on a specially-adapted vehicle through the Motability Scheme, for those who tend to travel further.

By exchanging their mobility allowance, disabled people are able to lease a powered wheelchair, scooter or car for three years. The scheme is essential to many, however it is only available to those in receipt of the higher, or enhanced rate, mobility payments of the respective schemes. If you do not qualify for these, you are not eligible for Motability.

Criteria Changes

Individuals are assessed for mobility payments based on their ability to stand and move. The PIP Assessment Guide advises that ‘standing’ means:

  • To stand upright;
  • With at least one biological foot on the ground;
  • With or without suitable aids and appliances.

It is worth noting that crutches, walking sticks and even prosthesis are considered aids and appliances.

Under DLA, anyone who was unable to move further than 50m was awarded the higher rate. However, under PIP, only individuals who can stand and move less than 20m will be able to claim the enhanced rate.

This means that someone who requires a wheelchair when they are out, but can just about manage to get around their home (and to the car) with aids, is unlikely to qualify for the higher rate. No enhanced rate, means no Motability Scheme. Previously, however, an individual in this situation would have been eligible for the higher rate and would therefore have qualified for the Motability Scheme.

What’s more, the criteria has been further tightened under PIP with the additional requirement that an applicant’s health condition, or impairment, must be expected to last for a minimum of nine months from the date of assessment, and have been present for at least three months prior to it.

The Effect on Lower Limb Amputees

No leg.

Imagine the situation whereby your life is perfectly ordinary and you are lucky enough not to suffer any disabilities or serious health issues. Unfortunately, one day, you are in a car accident and your left foot is amputated.

How will you get around? You probably won’t be allowed to use crutches, in the early days, and it’ll take time before your leg has healed enough to have a prosthetic limb fitted. You will, undoubtedly, require a wheelchair. But then, how do you get to work, do the shopping or the school run, visit family and friends, or even just leave the house?

Initially, you will be unable to move further than 50m. Under the old system, you would therefore have been eligible for the higher rate mobility payments and subsequently qualified for the Motability Scheme. You would have been able to lease a vehicle, specially-adapted for your needs, which would have assisted significantly in offering you independence whilst you recovered.

No car.

Under PIP, however, it is unlikely that you will qualify for any assistance. Firstly, you may find yourself just about able to move 20m but, even if you can’t, what about those time restrictions? Rewind to three months prior to the accident… You had no disability. Fast-forward nine months from now… Hopefully you’ll be getting to grips with your prosthetic limb, or at least moving further than 20m on crutches. You therefore don’t qualify, under PIP, for either rate, and you can not be part of the Motability Scheme.

No Motability Scheme means no specially-adapted transport. No specially-adapted transport means you are unable to go out and you lose your independence.

No problem?

Independence is absolutely vital for anyone who has suffered a lower limb amputation. Their disability will mean they already have to learn and adapt to new ways of living. Removing their entitlement to a vehicle, during their recovery, and preventing them from getting around (be it to see their friends and family, or to go to work) adds, both physically and mentally, to their struggle.

You may have seen the media calling for reforms to disability benefits, to prevent individuals taking advantage of the system and claiming money they aren’t entitled to, or do not need. The 2013 reforms have only served to cause significant and unnecessary problems for those who are already dealing with life-changing injuries, such as the loss of a lower limb. Are these people not deserving of assistance to aid their recovery and allow them to lead as independent a life as possible?

SDN thanks Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors for sending us this blog. To find out more about the work of Lanyon Bowdler click here:



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A Mother Talks About the Challenges Faced Due to Cerebral Palsy Following a Birth Injury

A Mother Talks About the Challenges Faced Due to Cerebral Palsy Following a Birth Injury.

At SDN we try to bring you articles in various formats in order to reach as many people as possible with news, stories, and information that will be of  interest to you.

Courtesy of Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, we share this spoken blog with you.

inclusively fit project

My message to people that are struggling with motivation…..

“My message to people that are struggling with motivation”…..sharing a good local story.

All of us whether we have a disability, a long term condition or none can admire those able to aspire to the dizzy heights of being an Olympian/Paralympian and even if we don’t achieve that dream to stand on that podium & receive a medal; to be chosen to go forward, that in itself is a massive achievement.

SDN chairperson writes: “Shropshire Disability Network are one of the founder partners in the Inclusively Fit project that started in December 2014 but what is this project really all about? It may be that someone will become a world champion, a county champion or similar & gain some accolade in a particular activity. She asks “What about those who want to have a go at an activity but have not had that opportunity or don’t know where to find accessible, affordable activities?

Those who read our newsletter or have seen the project leaflets will have read that the aims of the project are:

  • To enable sport and physical activity to be a part of everybody’s everyday life across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.
  • To ensure disabled people and their families can make informed choices on physical activity provision across the County.
  • To reduce social isolation for disabled people and their families by being more active.

2 years into the project, we hope this will be the first of many good news stories we can bring you. As a result of support from the Inclusively Fit project to provide a small amount of funding, Arleston Community Centre now have a weekly table tennis session. Well done Arleston.

This is what one of the organisers said:

“It’s great to see Arleston Community Centre being used in conjunction with the Shropshire Disability Network a partner in the Inclusively Fit Project  to provide a table tennis session suitable for all abilities. Jess Lightwood, Inclusion Officer has been instrumental in getting this session off the ground from it’s start in January this year.

We dusted off the table tennis tables and there are now a few regular members, who are Arleston residents that love playing table tennis! It’s great to see them having so much fun, getting out into their community and being active in a safe and fun environment. We hope the group will continue to grow in numbers and stay a regular feature of the centre”.

Arleston-Table Tennis

Nathan who now plays weekly said:

I stayed in at home most of the week, hardly going out. I found it hard to get out and motivate myself…so I stayed in at home every day. My message to people that are struggling with motivation, is to get help from people (Inclusively Fit) to give you mental and emotional support. I really enjoy the Table Tennis, it’s an activity I really like doing and I get to see my friends.”

Table tennis is suitable for all abilities, including those with a sensory or physical impairment as the activity can be played from a seated position.

To find out more about these sessions click here: Table Tennis at Arleston CC

Click on this Be Active and see what is available for you:


lanyon Bowdler

Beth Harrison, Solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler blogs on our meeting.

Beth writes-

Beth HarrisonYesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Shropshire Disability Network Members’ Meeting and hearing about the great work they do in the community.

Safe Places

This initiative is ever expanding, with a fantastic number of businesses in Shropshire signig up to the project, where vulnerable people can go if they feel threatened or need help.

The Shropshire Disability Network is also trying to raise awareness and battle the nationwide problem of people parking and blocking pavements. Actions such as these put lives at risk, as people are forced to step into the road.

See and Hear Exhibition

Shropshire Disability Network is proud to announce its involvement with the See and Hear Exhibition in Shropshire on 10 May 2017. Shropshire Disability Network will be hosting the Boccia tournament as they did last year and I will be popping down between 10am-4pm to try my hand.

New £1 coins

As many of you may be aware that at the end of this month, the new £1 coin comes into circulation. The new 12 sided coin looks pretty special, but the question is what should you do with your old £1 coins which are only valid for use until October? Shropshire Disability Network has the answer… ….they have launched a ‘Give your last £1’ project to collect old £1 coins in order to raise funds for the charity. I picked up a pot today to fill and I am sure my colleagues at Lanyon Bowdler will be digging deep.

Bed sore app

I was lucky enough to hear from some excellent speakers at the meeting. The first was David Sandbach who spoke in relation to healthcare and digital technology. He showed us various different apps which can be used to monitor your health, but I think my favourite was a bed sore app. Bed sores make people’s lives a misery and cost the NHS an arm and a leg to deal with. This app measures the size of the sore and the percentage of necrosis. It has been recommended for use by Community Nurses as it is an accurate record of assessing how the bed sore is progressing.

Jess the Goth Fairy

The second speakers were Jo Almond and Jess Hiles, an inspirational mother and daughter team. Jess suffers with disability and her Mum, Jo, has been her carer. Jo is keen to raise awareness and fight for the carers and the loved ones who are often forgotten. Jo and Jess are releasing their third book of the ‘Jess the Goth Fairy’ series later this year with a launch planned in Shrewsbury on the Sabrina Boat for September or October 2017. This is definitely one to look out for.”

SDN says It was so pleasing to welcome back members & to meet with many new members at our meeting on 9th March. We thank all who enabled this meeting to be so successful. We hope to see many of you again on Thursday 8th June, when we meet at Casey’s Cordingley Hall, Donnington, TelfordTF2 8JS 

(More details )

We thank Beth for her support in attending our meeting and writing this blog for us.





Kelda writes-2017 Here We Come!

Kelda writes-2017 Here We Come!!

So, that’s 2016 put to bed and all eyes are now looking towards what 2017 will bring!

I know a lot of people have considered 2016 to be a bit of a stinker of a year….for me, I wouldn’t say it’s been a stinker, but it’s definitely been one hell of a journey and had it’s fair share of challenges!

This time last year I was just about to head out to Rio for a 3 week training camp in preparation for the Paralympic Games. From there followed the appeal against my non selection for the World Championships, the World Championships themselves, the final selections for Rio, coping with not making the team…..which then all lead to me joining the Adaptive Grand Slam Team and heading out to Chamonix in September. And now, I’m sitting here 12 months later, just 5 days away from getting back on a plane, but this time to take on a very different challenge!

I could never have imagined what these last 12 months were going to bring, and looking back, I’ve learnt 2 important things. Firstly, to enjoy the journey.

One thing has led onto another in a slightly crazy kind of way, but I could never have planned or expected the journey I’ve been on….so who knows what’s going to happen in 2017! But I’m determined to embrace and enjoy every bit of it, because the one thing I do know is that it will take me somewhere….it’s then up to me to make the best of wherever I end up.

The second thing I’ve come to realise, it’s that I’ve got a choice. 2016 had it’s testing times….but I made a conscious decision to choose to value all the amazing experiences I’ve had, good and bad, and to look at everything I’ve learnt, and use those learnings to keep moving forwards in a direction I want to go. And I’ve learnt so much….about the core values I want to live my life by, about the person I want to be, and about what is truly important to me. And with that in mind, I’m stepping into 2017 with a smile on my face and a determination that I may never have found if I hadn’t had the challenges of 2016…..and I’m making the choice to approach these next 12 months with a sense of belief in who I am and the person I want to be.


So, the first challenge of the New Year is Aconcagua! I’ll be setting off with the rest of the AGS team to climb the 7,000 metre peak in Argentina on the 6th January.


I know this is going to be one hell of a challenge! With the injury I have to my leg, it’s going to painful, there’s no escaping that….but I’m making a choice, and that choice is that I’m going to do everything in my power to climb this bloomin’ mountain!!!! I’m aware there are outside influences that we’ll have no control of, such as weather conditions and altitude, that may prevent us from submitting, but I’m choosing to approach this with a determination and positivity, that if this alone could get us to the top, then I’d have not a single doubt that we’d get there!

I know my leg is going to be painful, but when it starts to get tough, I decided to ask myself this question “Do you want to stop, more than you want to summit?”

I think we all know the answer I’m going to choose!



The Ramblings of a (technically) Failed Paralympian

Kelda Writes: The Ramblings of a (technically) Failed Paralympian

So Rio feels like it’s almost a distant memory…..and in what seems like a quick click of the fingers, everyone’s attention is turning to Tokyo.

I’ve always said that life is very much like a sat nav, you put in your destination and set off on your journey, but so often you come across hold ups or diversions that sends you on a different route….and sometimes you change your destination altogether.

Over the last 2 years I’ve been on the most incredible journey, some of it good, some of it not so good….and some of it bloomin’ amazing!! You never know quite where each turn is going to take you, and that’s never been more true than over the last 8 weeks.

Having failed to be selected for Rio, I was feeling pretty lost…..What was my goal? What was my motivation?…….

And then I was given the amazing opportunity to join the AGS Team.


The Adaptive Grand Slam Team are attempting the mountaineering Grand Slam, that’s the 7 highest peaks in the 7 continents, plus the North and South Pole. This is no mean feat….especially when you consider that they’re attempting to do it with an adaptive team, something that has never been done before. So everyone on the team is either registered disabled, or has been medically discharged from the military as a result of injury.

So just after watching my team mates smash it up in Rio, I headed off to Chamonix for a training week preparing for a summit attempt of Aconcagua, a 7,000m peak in Argentina.

It was the most incredible week with an awesome bunch of guys, and a week full of challenges, support, teamwork….and lots of laughs!

I could easily write this whole blog telling you about the week, the training we did, the highs, the lows, and how stunningly inspiring the mountains were….but there’s actually a different message I want to say. Because for me, the week reminded me of the person I want to be, and the values I want to live my life by. It wasn’t about being ‘the strongest’ or ‘the fastest’ or ‘the best’….it was about working as a team, supporting each other, and the challenge was between yourself and the mountains.

It made me stop and think….was paddling 200m faster than anyone else really so important!! Don’t get me wrong, every athlete wants to win, that’s the whole point in beating yourself every single day in training. But what really matters, what really counts, is about giving it your best. And if every day you strive to be the best version of yourself, you look out for other people, and you live your life by the values that are important to you, that, if you ask me, is what’s really important.

And so I’m smiling on so many levels, because since the end of the racing season, I’ve also been able to put some real time and effort into Climbing Out, something that’s so close to my heart, and something that I feel I’ve neglected while I’ve been focusing on Rio.

To see the growth and development of Climbing Out and the young people involved is something that makes me so, so proud….and there’s some amazing journeys going to happen over the coming months and years with the charity, and these will be journeys that I know will take so many young people to new and exciting places too.

Last weekend we ran a taster weekend involving several organisations that are looking to send young people on our programmes in the future. The passion, energy and enthusiasm from anyone was evidence of the great work the charity is doing, and with everyone working together, we will undoubtedly be able to reach more and more young people in need of support in the future.

So for me, what an amazing journey it’s been, and I’m excited about where it will take me next, and the people we can help along the way.

I didn’t end up going to the place I thought I was going to, but where I ended up, well that’s a pretty awesome place to be!




Doctors Advised to think -Could this be Sepsis?

Over recent months, Sepsis has hit the news headlines several times so we thought we would share with you this blog written by Lucy Small, Partner in Clinical Negligence at Lanyon Bowdler, Solicitors. 

Have a read here, symptoms can be vague  making diagnosis difficult. So what is Sepsis & can it be treated?

As the blog says “As a parent, partner, friend or family member the message is, ‘do not to be afraid to speak out if you think it might be sepsis’.”

Thank you to Lanyon Bowdler, Solicitors for allowing us to share your blog.

Jess 250-253

Jo shares her experience of being a Mother, Carer -part 2

“Hitting 25, does it get easier or harder”

Hitting 25 everything gets harder and if you don’t have a label (which I hate) you have to fight for everything and Jess is unable to do this on her own! Recently Jess became partially sighted through eye surgery. Very little sight in her right and not perfect in the left, but we cannot register as her partially sighted because her left eye is too good! So we have gone through yet another assessment as the 12 hours care she receives to live on her own is not enough to cover her needs though better than the 2 she was originally awarded, but took legal action to get the 12 hours. But that assessment took place in May and still no news. We have been told she won’t lose any as can happen when a re-assessment takes place! Then there is the match funding out of Jess’s benefits for her direct payments, the yearly reviews, the change over from DLA to PIPS. I could go on.

Guilt! It is always there and no matter how hard you try to push it to the back of your brain it somehow worms its way back to the front. Was it my fault Jess is disabled, did I do something wrong during pregnancy? I doing the right thing in sending my child to a special school or should they remain in mainstream schooling? People say things that make you think you are a bad parent such as “should you really allow your daughter to do things other children do?” “Should you not live with your daughter?” But the hardest thing is trying to explain why you will go to the end of the earth to protect them and see they are safe, because they are unable to do this for themselves. Both my children are my world and I love them so much but with a child who is so vulnerable you go that extra mile!

But there is another side to all this. Despite all Jess’s difficulties I wouldn’t change her and I know her dad wouldn’t.

Jess has achieved so much in her life and we are so very proud of her. Jess now works 2 days a week in a garden nursery, she volunteers at a day centre helping to teach sign language. She is vice chair of People’s Parliament Worcestershire for disabilities. She as joined a signing choir. She does Special Olympics, 3 years ago winning gold and silver medals at the national games.

More recently  our second book was published which we co-wrote. As story about a disabled fairy called Jess. Jess is a fairy who looks different but just like Jess herself all she wants to do is be accepted in her community and help others. Jess tells me how she has felt growing up and we try to put this into words. The first book ‘Jess the Goth Fairy’ is about bullying the second about looking different. The message being ‘it’s ok to be different as we are all the same inside!’ The journey it has taken us has been amazing. We visit schools, colleges and disabled organisations where I read our story and Jess signs it. Then she chats to the young people about what is like to be disabled. To see her stand up in front of 200 pupils on her first visit and answer questions of any kind was so emotional and such pride! Seeing these young people who perhaps have never met someone who looks different, nervous at first, but chatting to Jess is wonderful. Jess also encourages them to go for their dream no matter how small, and more important ‘Never give up!’





We also talk to new police officers and GP’s about the stresses of independently living in the community not only from Jess’s view but mine as well as a parent/carer.

I suppose where I am coming from, is yes, there are moments of sheer desperation and these are never going to go away the 24/7 worry question no one will answer “What happens when I am not here?” But there are the magic moments such as the gold medal or watching Jess at People’s Parliament or just having that voice smiling down the phone saying “I love you mum”

To all parents who have a child that needs that extra bit of help along the way, it’s so hard and there will be days when you just sit down a cry and shout at the phone or just want to give up. Don’t, keep fighting and if we all do this we can make a better, safer life for our vulnerable young people.




Kelda Writes..What a Team! What a Performance!

Kelda writes..What a Team! What a Performance!


Yesterday saw my Paracanoe Team mates secure 3 Gold and 2 Bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio. I was so, so proud to watch each and every one of them deliver the performance of their lives, and I know how much they’ve all given to the sport to make those results possible.

To be honest, I watched the racing with mixed emotions. It was a complete privilege to have been part of the journey and to have trained along side such an incredible team. But yes, of course I wish I’d been there! I have complete admiration for every one of my team mates for delivering such incredible performances out in Rio, and I know how much it meant to them all. Awesome paddling guys!!



The Games have been a huge learning experience for me, watching people achieve their dreams,  and watching some people have their dreams come crashing down. What’s stood out for me, is the fact that we really can’t define people by the medal around their necks. The difference between success and failure can often be the matter of 100th’s of a second….but the same commitment, training, sacrifice and dedication has been part of every athlete’s life, no matter what the result.

For me, it’s taught me that it really is about being the best person you can be….living by your values and treating people with respect. It’s been such an amazing achievement for all of the guys out at the Paralympics, and every medal won is so well deserved, but I’ve come away with as much respect and admiration for every single competitor, not just those that have achieved Gold.


It’s also shown me that life is very much about living for every moment and grabbing every opportunity. I’ll admit, I was gutted when I missed out on selection for Rio, and the following few months were tough as I tried to find my identity again. But it’s amazing what opportunities can come along when we least expect them…..Tomorrow I’m off to Chamonix to take part in a training weekend with the Adaptive Grand Slam Team. The team are aiming to complete the mountaineering Grand Slam, that’s the 7 highest peaks in 7 continents, plus the North Pole and South Pole. They’re aiming to do this with an adaptive team….the first time this has ever been done.


The aims and values of the team fall completely in line with my own values, and this feels like the most amazing opportunity. Although there’s no guarantee I’ll be part of the team for further expeditions, I’m excited about the challenge, I’m so looking forward to working with the incredible team….and I’m left wondering about what adventures lie around the corner.


And none of this would’ve happened if I’d been selected for Rio!!


You see, it’s all just part of the journey….you never know what’s around the corner, you never know where things will lead, but as long as you keep looking forwards and don’t spend all your time looking in the rear view mirror, then good things will come.


Everything really does happen for a reason!


We salute all who have taken part in Paralympics Rio 2016