SDN and Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Shropshire Disability Network has always tried to give its members timely up to date information via its website. As you all know we are living in unprecedented times due to Coronavirus (-Covid-19). Many people are frightened by what is happening globally. Across our country and locally there are many people self isolating because they are in the “at risk” groups or have been in the company of someone showing signs that may or not be this nasty virus. Many of our members have long term conditions, disabilities and/or are carers so are more vulnerable to this illness.

As you are all aware, SDN is, as charity run in its entirety by volunteers. We only have two volunteers updating our website and they are doing their best to ensure you get information that is current and correct. Our “Events” pages receives many visitors seeking events to go to. Over the last few days, we have been informed that many events are being postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19. We are trying to update all the events that have been cancelled. If there is an event on our list, that is not highlighted as cancelled/postponed that is because we have no information on whether it is going ahead. We suggest if the list is not listed as cancelled, you call or email the organisation holding the event you wish to go to, to establish it is still taking place.

SDN is aware that events at the following places have been cancelled/postponed until further notice:

  • The Hive, Shrewsbury
  • Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
  • Old Market Hall, Shrewsbury
  • Kinokulture-Oswestry Community Cinema
  • Ludlow Assembly Rooms
  • Wem Town Hall
  • Albrighton Moat
  • Birminham Hippodrome
  • The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
  • Taking Charge of Your Life Courses (Landau)
  • Sight Loss Opportunity Groups SLOGs (Ludlow, Oswestry, Shrewsbury)
  • SaTH Community Engagement, Working Together (Shrewsbury and Telford)
  • Newport Village Hall, Table Top Sales (first Saturday of the month)
  • Carers Trust All Groups (Oswestry, Shrewsbury)
  • Armed Forces Covenant Events
  • Autism West Midlands -note some events will be offered by telephone communications

Shropshire Rural Communities Charities: the following support services have been cancelled until further notice:

Hearing Loss Support

  • Home visits
  • Drop-in clinics
  • Effective Hearing Programmes

Sight Loss Support

  • Sight Loss Opportunity Groups (SLOG), including cycling
Social groups
  • Musketeers and Maidens
  • Care and Share groups – all locations

If you have any queries or questions regarding this information, please contact us on 01743 360641 or email

Autism West Midlands Advice sessions where possible have been replaced by a telephone service.

Shropshire Disability Network: A lot of our work goes on behind the scenes, we are desperately short of volunteers. If you feel you can spare one or two hours a week (or more) please use this form telling us what you can offer.


Safe Places Shropshire goes it alone

When the Safe Places Shropshire initiative was created in 2013 the scheme was completely new to the area.  The project team consisted of various local service user groups, Mencap, Shropshire Council and West Mercia Police.

It quickly became clear that the scheme would need one umbrella organisation to lead and to increase awareness of the assistance that could be made available to anyone who might be vulnerable, for whatever reason.  Ruby Hartshorn, who was then Chair of Shropshire Disability Network (SDN), was approached with a view to their trustees agreeing to lead this scheme. 

SDN accepted the challenge and has helped Safe Place Shropshire move from strength to strength. We now have over 500 premises signed up as Safe Places. Thousands of ‘Help’ cards have been distributed.  We wish to thank SDN and its members for believing in the scheme.

Now that Safe Places has become an established part of the community, the time is right for Safe Places to seek charity status in its own right.  As from June 2020, Safe Places Shropshire will no longer be a part of SDN.  Work will continue as before. 

We are looking forward to signing up our 600th Safe Place as well as organising our 8th birthday celebrations in July 2021.  Everyone who is part of the initiative, whether it is as one of our premises or as a volunteer, will be invited to this birthday party.  We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to join us.

Contact details are:

Chair: Ruby Hartshorn

Secretary: Ann Shaw

Are you a Volunteer?

Do you volunteer for to help us with events, service on the Management Committee of Shropshire Disability Network or a team member of Safe Place Shropshire? May be you volunteer for another charitable organisation or lother organisation ie Local Hospital, Police etc.

Shropshire and Telford STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) has received some money to work up a bid to NHS England to develop an integrated volunteering programme (this was discussed at a VSHSCF meeting but things have moved on quite a bit since then). This will be an agenda item for the next VSHSCF meeting if you are interested in finding out more.
The STP has put the VCS at the heart of this and Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership has been working with the steering group to progress things on behalf of the sector. Karen Higgins (known to many of you I’m sure) has been appointed to do the bulk of the development work and as part of this, she has constructed a survey to gather evidence of the current activity of volunteers in Shropshire and Telford.
If you volunteer, please would you take a few minutes to complete this important survey. The average length of time taken so far by respondents is 6 minutes so it’s not onerous and its completely confidential but will provide an interesting picture of what volunteering in Shropshire looks like, regardless of the outcome of the bid. Only by taking part will we get responses we hope for (hundreds) and you can help do that..
Click this link to take part in this survey:

Native Small Mammals-An Interactive Session

Once again Shropshire Disability Network have been given an opportunity by Caring for God’s Acre to have an afternoon session, this time looking at Native Small Mammals.  Join fellow members in the Beautiful Burial Ground Project to find out about our native small mammals that make their homes in churchyards and cemeteries.
Last year Caring for God’s Acre gave SDN members two opportunities to take part in events -Archives at Shrewsbury Library and another one looking at wildlife in Bridgnorth cemetery. Now they are putting this event on for you.

Local expert Sam Devine Turner will lead this interactive INDOOR session at the Shrewsbury University Centre in Frankwell, Shrewsbury on Thursday 5th March 2-4 pm.

This session is free to take part in but places must be booked. To book your place please contact George on 01588 673041 or
At the time of booking, please let George know if you need help to get to the venue or BSL or any other reasonable adjustments that will enable you to share in this exciting afternoon.

Members who have taken part in previous events have commented on what a good afternoon we have had, so reserve the date now and book your place.

GP Practice and Pharmacy Christmas and New Year Opening Times (Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin)

Where to get this help this Christmas and New Year when your GP Practice is closed.  Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reminding people that although GP practices will be closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, there are other services available.

For anyone who needs urgent medical help or advice they can call NHS 111 for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or they can access the service online at

A number of pharmacies will be open for limited hours, on a rota on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Your pharmacist will be able to give you free advice on minor conditions and over the counter treatments. Click on the links below for pharmacy opening times.

Shropshire- Pharmacy Opening Times Christmas and New Year Bank Holiday 2019 – 2020, click on this link:

Telford & Wrekin-Pharmacy Opening Times Christmas and New Year Bank Holiday 2019 – 2020, click on this link:

If you have a regular prescription make sure you have enough to cover the festive period and you collect it in advance.

You can also download the NHS App to check symptoms, book GP appointments during normal opening hours and request repeat prescriptions. The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.

The symptoms of coughs, colds and sore throats, and other minor ailments, can be eased using self care. Make sure your medicine cabinet is full fully stocked over the colder months to help ease symptoms straightaway and to aid a faster recovery.

Visit the NHS website to find out what should be in your medicine cabinet at all times.

Christmas Cards to support your Charity.

Shrewsbury Charity Christmas Card shop at St. Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury is now closed for 2019 but we still have a supply of cards available to buy. SDN thanks our volunteers who took a slot to staff the shop while it was open and to all who purchased our cards. All profits from sales will be divided equally between Shropshire Disability Network and Safe Place Shropshire. May be you already have your cards for this year, but you can always buy for 2020.

This year we have this lovely photograph taken by SDN member Ellie Forrester. Many of you will know Ellie from reading her blogs on wildlife and her work with Caring for God’s Acre and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Each pack of cards cost 3.99 for 10 cards and envelopes.

The verse inside this card reads “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”

SDN Christmas Card

We also have last years design still available, ask us about our reduced packs of cards. For further information, please email or call/text 07780 852229

Christmas Card 2018 a

Shropshire Disability Network Meeting

SDN Management Committee look forward to welcoming you to our meeting on Thursday 12th December, 10.30 am -11 am at The Telford Whitehouse Hotel, Watling Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 2NJ networking and refreshments before the meeting starts at 11 am.

We look forward to welcoming guest speakers: They are:

  • Nikki Barden-Shropshire Dystonia Group
  • Paul Bryce-Advocate for disabilities

Raffle: We will hold our regular quarterly raffle to help meet costs.

Some of us like to get into the festive season by wearing Christmas Jumpers so if that is you, we would love to see them.

Other items to buy: We will have SDN wrist bands for sale, this i s a good way to raise awareness of SDN. You will also have opportunity to purchase our 10th Anniversary Badges at £1 each as well as a Safe Place Shropshire Badge at £1 each. By buying these you help us to fund our work. We will also have a table where you can buy items made by our members as well as other items. They are all very reasonably priced and will help towards paying for our meeting.

Email: (Secretary) or call or text 07780 52229 for more information.

Click here for a list of events 2019: SDN-Dates-Events-Oct+ 2019-Master

We have Sign Language Interpreters (BSL) at all our meetings. We now have a t-loop system to use at our meetings


Churchyards for All (an open invitation to everyone)

A message from Revd Dr David Primrose, transforming church and community enabler, to invite everyone to a workshop  about making churchyards/churches accessible to all.

The day (Monday 25th November 2019 10 am- 3 pm at St Giles’s Church, Wenlock Road, Shrewsbury, SY2 6JP) will be led by Rev’d Dr David Primrose, transforming church and community enabler.

The Venue is the Fellowship Room located in the churchyard just to the left of the Church Building, (and not the Church Hall which is on Sutton Way).

Please bring your own lunch – tea and coffee will be provided, along with some soup at lunch. Some of the time we will be in the Fellowship Room, which has an accessible toilet. Some of the time we will be in the churchyard, so bring suitable outdoor clothing.

Participants include:

  • Ellie Forrester, Ruby Hartshorn and Ann Shaw and other members of Shropshire Disability Network
  • Harriet, Andrea, George, & Anna from CfGA
  • Zoe Heming – Diocesan Disability Advisor
  • Andy Knight – vicar of St Giles
  • Giles Standing – Lichfield DAC
  • Matthew Parker – Archdeacon of Stoke
  • (Sue Weller) – Archdeacon of Lichfield
  • Alison Primrose – Lichfield Churchyard Awards Scheme
  • David Primrose – Diocesan Transforming Church and Communities Enabler
  • Mark Betson – Church of England Rural Officer
  • Huw Andrews – Ecclesiastical Insurance, Risk Management Consultant

For further information, please contact David via the office number 01543 622591 


Your Voice Autumn 2019

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Your Voice!

This edition highlights the valuable work of Shropshire Disability Network (SDN) members – Headway Shropshire, Shropshire ME Group, and the local branch of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS).

It also introduces SDN’s new Chair, brings news of activities for you, including an Accessible Churchyards Workshop in Shrewsbury and SDN’s Christmas Members’ Meeting in Wellington, and plenty more!

Log in to the Members’ Area at the top right-hand side of this page, and then download your copy of Your Voice by clicking on the link below. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please email . We would love to receive your comments or ideas.

Your Voice Autumn 2019

Breaking news: Harley Street eye surgeon struck off

Shropshire Disability Network have been asked to share a letter from the CEO of Macular Society and printed below. If any of our members or readers have been affected, please contact Macular Society using the details at the end of the letter. Thank you.

Dear Pauline,

I am writing to let you know that Bobby Qureshi, the Harley Street ophthalmologist who lied to patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) about being able to restore their sight, has been struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Some of you will know that in 2017 the Macular Society submitted a complaint to the GMC, having received more than 50 telephone calls to our Advice & Information Service about Mr Qureshi. He had carried out operations on dozens of patients, implanting his patented lenses at huge expense to those patients, with false claims that their vision would be significantly improved.


The findings of the GMC were that Mr Qureshi repeatedly and deliberately misled patients about the benefits of his lens implants, charging them many thousands of pounds, knowing full well that he could not restore their sight.

It has been deeply distressing and shocking to discover that a doctor could exploit vulnerable people who were desperate to save their sight, compromising their safety and wellbeing for his own profit. Mr Qureshi’s patients were willing to part with their life savings because they – understandably – believed his claims that he could restore their sight.

I urge anyone who is considering undergoing any new treatment which claims to reverse the effects of macular disease to speak to their own macular specialist, or contact our Advice & Information Service to check that it is safe.

We still don’t know how useful lens implants might be – and that is why it is imperative that more research is funded. Thanks to your support, the Macular Society is able to fund a clinical trial starting later this year in Northern Ireland which will test a new type of implanted magnifying lens for people with advanced macular disease.

I want to thank the brave families who came forward and spoke to the Macular Society about Mr Qureshi, those who gave evidence at the hearing – your courage under these heart breaking circumstances is truly admirable, and you have helped to stop Mr Qureshi from causing any further damage to people’s lives.

With my best wishes,

Cathy Yelf
CEO, Macular Society

P.S. If you have been affected and would like support please call our Advice & Information Service on 0300 3030 111 or email