Month: July 2019

A disabled campaigner has described how he was kn

first_imgA disabled campaigner has described how he was “knocked for six” after learning that he had been recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.Shaun Webster becomes one of a select group of people with learning difficulties who have been recognised with such an honour.Among his achievements are his work with the human rights organisations Change, including a project working with children and young people with learning difficulties in eastern Europe as the long-stay institutions they had been living in were closed down.He said: “I was teaching them how to speak up for themselves, to believe in themselves, how to talk to other people, to be confident.“I gave them confidence and belief in themselves to train to be a professional like me. Every time I came over and trained them, they got more confidence.”Webster also co-authored a book, Leaving Institutions. Voices for Change – published by Change, Enable Housing Association and the children’s charity Lumos – which aimed to help social workers involved in the de-institutionalisation process.He said he hoped that his MBE would “open doors” for him, and help other people with learning difficulties secure a “proper paid job, with proper respect, and be treated equal like we do at Change, not tokenistic”.One of his proudest moments, he said, was speaking at a conference in Austria earlier this year, and being told by a Bulgarian woman with learning difficulties: “I want to be a role model like you.”He said: “People tell me I speak from my heart and I do. I am passionate about giving people and children with learning disabilities a real voice.“Giving someone with learning disabilities an award from the government will make a big difference to adults and children with learning disabilities.“They will think, ‘If he can get an MBE and he is making a difference, why can’t I?’”He added: “I just couldn’t believe it, it knocked me for six. I felt really happy. I felt very proud.”He said he believed he was awarded the MBE because he was a “hard worker”.He said: “I am very passionate about what I believe in, because I work nationally and internationally, because I am a role model.“I give people with learning disabilities a real voice and confidence and belief in themselves because they see what I can do.”Helen Dolphin (pictured), director of policy and campaigns for Disabled Motoring UK, was another disabled campaigner to receive an MBE.She has campaigned for more than 10 years to improve the blue badge parking scheme, and on other motoring and mobility issues for disabled people.She said: “Maybe people have realised I have had quite a big impact in how disabled people can park. I hope that’s what it’s for.”She has also been a member of the government’s advisory body, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, and has volunteered for many years for the charity Meningitis Now, speaking to and visiting other people who have lost limbs through meningitis.Dolphin is also studying for a law degree, and is one of the fastest swimmers in the country in her S5 category.She said she was delighted and surprised by the MBE, but she added: “To a degree as well, life is really difficult for me and it would be easy not to work and it would be easy not to get up at five o’clock in the morning.“I can’t get up quickly, I’ve got to have the carers come in. I have to be home at a certain time.“Life is considerably harder and I don’t think people know what I have even gone through before I have got to the office that day sometimes.”She pointed to the more than six per cent of people recognised in this year’s birthday honours who said they were disabled people, which she said was “on the up, and that too is a good thing”.Another disabled person to be recognised was Paralympian Jordanne Whiley, who said she had to read the letter informing her of her MBE five times before it sunk in.The wheelchair-tennis star said: “I didn’t understand at first what it was and then I was like, ‘Surely not me! It’s the wrong person!’ When it sank in, it was an amazing feeling.”Whiley said she hoped to use her MBE to raise her profile, with the long-term aim of setting up her own charity after she retires from sport.She said: “I want to get my status as high as I possibly can so that I can influence other people to play sport, and be a role model to young children, especially [girls and] women.“I have had a lot of fan mail from children with the same disability as me, saying that I am their idol and because of me they are now playing sport. It is such an amazing feeling to have helped just a few people.”Whiley said she liked to take a one-to-one approach with many of the fans who contact her, often calling them or meeting up with them when she is at home.She said: “I just like it when it’s one-to-one. You can make such a difference in one person’s life if you take one hour out of your day to make them see the person you really are.”The tennis star, who has now won five Grand Slam doubles titles, will be competing in the women’s wheelchair doubles at Wimbledon from 10 to 12 July, with her focus also on next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.She said that the MBE had “relit a spark” with her training and confidence, and that she was “feeling really good going into Wimbledon”.Other disabled people recognised in the birthday honours include Lorraine Mercer, for services to the community and to charity in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, who said she was “very honoured and excited” by her MBE.She has been a volunteer at The Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath for 18 years, and visits patients on the rehabilitation wards, who are often “coming to terms with losing their mobility and having to use a wheelchair, so I can understand what that is like”. She said: “I like to think that me going in and chatting and having time to spend with people helps them to stay positive.”A former patient who wrote a reference for her described how he had been lying in bed feeling depressed after a stroke, when Mercer arrived in her electric wheelchair with “a very positive attitude – so positive that it was infectious; so infectious that I caught it, and having caught it from then on I began to fight”.Another disabled campaigner awarded an MBE was Mikey Argy, a member of the Thalidomide Trust’s National Advisory Council, who was recognised for services to thalidomide survivors.About 70 recipients of awards in the Queen’s birthday honours considered themselves to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010, about one in 16 of all successful candidates.last_img read more

The governments new universal credit benefit syst

first_imgThe government’s new universal credit benefit system could “wreak havoc” and has created a “digital barrier” that prevents many disabled people and other disadvantaged groups from accessing the support they are entitled to, according to a UN human rights expert.Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the government’s “test and learn” approach to universal credit risked treating such groups “like guinea pigs” and could “wreak havoc in real people’s lives”.And he said that the preparations being made by local authorities and charities for the rollout of universal credit had “resembled the sort of activity one might expect for an impending natural disaster or health epidemic”.He said: “They have expended significant expense and energy to protect people from what is supposed to be a support system.”Alston was speaking to journalists at the end of a 12-day visit to the UK, as he published a preliminary statement on his findings. He will present a full report to the UN Human Rights Council in June.Earlier this month, Disability News Service reported how written evidence submitted to Alston’s inquiry described how a man with learning difficulties had died a month after attempting to take his own life, following a move onto universal credit that left him hundreds of pounds in debt.Alston said in his report that a key feature of universal credit was the imposition of “draconian sanctions”, even for minor infringements. He said: “Endless anecdotal evidence was presented to the special rapporteur to illustrate the harsh and arbitrary nature of some of the sanctions, as well as the devastating effects that resulted from being completely shut out of the benefits system for weeks or months at a time.”Alston also warned of the impact of the government’s decision to make universal credit the first major government service that is “digital by default”, with the expectation that claimants will rely on an online service rather than human interaction with DWP staff.He said: “We are witnessing the gradual disappearance of the postwar British welfare state behind a webpage and an algorithm.“In its place, a digital welfare state is emerging. The impact on the human rights of the most vulnerable in the UK will be immense.”Asked about Alston’s concerns about universal credit, the new work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, told MPs on Monday that she had been “disappointed, to say the least, by the extraordinary political nature of his language” in the report.She said: “We on the Conservative benches will always engage with professionals, experts and non-governmental organisations – we are not so proud that we do not think we can learn as we try to adjust universal credit for the benefit of everybody – but that sort of language was wholly inappropriate and actually discredited a lot of what he was saying.“We look forward to working with experts in the area to make sure that we get the right outcome for the people whom we want to look after.”She later described her new department as “a force for good”, but she admitted that there were “problems with universal credit, despite its good intentions”.She said: “I have seen them for myself. I will be listening and learning from the expert groups in this area who do such good work. I know it can be better.“I will make it my role to ensure that we deliver that through our discussions within the DWP and through discussions with the Treasury.“We will have a fair, compassionate and efficient benefits system.”In response to Rudd’s comments, Alston said on Twitter that the government had “a set of talking points about poverty and employment” that fail to address poverty, use “carefully chosen and misleading statistics to paint a rosy picture” and “ignore the horrible situation in which a large number of Britons live.He added: “That’s not the way to find solutions.”He also told Disability News Service: “I am hoping the secretary of state’s criticism of my report is not a substitute for a more systematic policy response to the many issues I have raised. “My report recounts in some depth the many problems experienced by adversely impacted groups, and especially by people with disabilities, and I would hope that DWP will seek to improve the system so that it does not cause such hardship and make already very difficult situations even worse.” A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Mission Activists Want Action from New Police Chief

first_img 0% Tags: alex nieto • Amilcar López-Pérez • Luis Gongora • police shooting • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Activists who have been pushing for police reform from the Mission District said Tuesday they are waiting for the newly appointed police chief William Scott to prove himself.Scott, a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, spearheaded reform efforts in the LAPD, according to the Chronicle.  That, however, was not enough to win over local activists just yet – they want to see action. Mayor Ed Lee appointed Scott Tuesday –  surprise for many who expected interim Chief Toney Chaplin to take the seat.“I’m very skeptical,” said Adriana Camarena, a writer and activist who has been pushing for use of force reform in the department and advocating for the families of several men shot by officers, including the homeless Mayan immigrant Luis Gongora Pat. center_img “This is the moment in which he makes political moves. Token moves for me will not be sufficient,” Camarena said. “If he wants to release from duty all of the officers involved in police shootings, that would be an important first step.”Camarena also suggested that the chief could demonstrate his intention to make serious changes by initiating a task force on reform that includes members of the Board of Supervisors, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Office of Citizen Complaints – and activists. Benjamin Bac Sierra, who has been a vocal advocate for the family of Alex Nieto, killed by four police officers in 2014, agreed.  “[His experience] doesn’t mean as much to me as bold action,” said Bac Sierra said he would like to see Scott recommend that Officer Roger Morse be fired. Morse is one of the officers involved in Nieto’s shooting and now embroiled in an Office of Citizen Complaints case that emerged after he made some Facebook comments about Nieto.Father Richard Smith of the Church of St. John on 15th Street, who has been leading weekly silent vigils protesting the killing of 21-year-old Amilcar Perez Lopez by police in February of last year, said he hopes for honesty from the new chief. “I hope that this guy will tell us the truth, because that’s what’s been seriously lacking,” Smith said. “We’re just going to have to see what he does, particularly when there is misconduct, how does he respond?”Smith and other activists advocating for criminal charges to be brought against the officers involved in shootings have already had conflicts with the interim chief over the removal of Perez Lopez’ body from the crime scene before the arrival of District Attorney investigators. Although anxious to see, activists said Scott’s appointment has a few upsides. For one, Scott has committed to live in San Francisco, a requirement that the Board of Supervisors recently adopted a non-binding resolution to require. Chaplin does not live in the city.“He actually will be living in San Francisco and being part of the community,” said Oscar Salinas, who has also been very involved in activism around Nieto’s case. “Chaplin was living in Castro Valley. We feel it’s very important that he lives in San Francisco.”Bac Sierra, on the other hand, was unmoved by that commitment. “Living in San Francisco does not matter,” Bac Sierra said. “It’s a changed place, so living here does not matter that much to me.”More convincing is Scott’s outsider status. “Our first initial reaction was, it was very encouraging that Mayor Ed Lee did go with an external candidate,” said Salinas. “[It] brings somebody in with fresh eyes, that doesn’t have any relationship with any of the officers here in San Francisco, that he brings a lot of his open mindedness and also to be open to meeting with the coalitions.”Bac Sierra, Camarena, and Smith agreed.“For him to come from outside this entrenched corrupt department, I do think that can be a positive step forward, but it is simply not guaranteed,” Bac Sierra said. Camarena, however, pointed out that it might be an obstacle for the new chief.  “I think institutional change happens very slowly. And he will have serious limitations being an outsider and also having to negotiate with the POA,” she said. “But let’s see what he does.” last_img read more

To survive SF Mission bar will transform into pot club

first_imgCoronita’s impending transformation could begin as early as next month, pending approval by the Planning Department. A discretionary hearing on the planned change of use from a bar to a dispensary will be held at the Planning Commission on Thursday.If all goes well, Coronitas will officially close in May and undergo a summer of renovations before reopening sometime in October as La Corona Wellness Center, said Esparza.There, Esparza will work with two partners to man the dispensary. He plans to keep his products accessible to low-income community members by offering discounts to SSI recipients and those who “really need” the medical service.  In an effort to ensure that the operation will benefit his surrounding community, Esparza also plans to hire local.“I’ve talked to the bike shop [on Tiffany Street], we will use them for deliveries once we have that service running,” said Esparza. According to La Corona’s website, its owners also plan to donate some $50,000 annually to local nonprofits or to a disaster-relief fund. Esparza said a drop in sales in recent years has long-prompted him to consider shuttering Coronitas. “Before the dispensary I was looking at what to do, shutting it down and leasing it out,” said Esparza, whose family owns the building that houses the bar. “But then, new people will come into the neighborhood and what are they going to try to do [with the space]?”As Latino-owned businesses are becoming increasingly rare in that area of Mission/Bernal, Esparza said he saw Coronita’s reincarnation as a pot club as his best viable option to stay rooted in the neighborhood.“I”m not going anywhere,” he said.But for the past three years, Esparza has quietly observed one Latino-owned business after another close shop in “La Lengua,” the stretch of Mission Street between Cesar Chavez and Randall streets that bridges the Mission and Bernal Heights. The microhood is now more commonly referred to as “Mission Bernal.”“For a while, there were about 10 Latino businesses around here,” said Esparza, pointing a finger to the adjacent Tiffany Street, where the the Latin club Esperanzas was replaced by the Rock Bar. The latest victim of the neighborhood’s gentrification was La Terraza at 3472 Mission St., which is now the craft beer bar Old Devil Moon Bar. As their customers disappeared, so did the Latino-owned businesses, he said. “A lot of the local neighbors that would frequent us regularly stopped coming in,” said Esparza. “I would ask customers, ‘what’s up, where have you been?’ They told me they moved out of the city, to Richmond, San Pablo, Sacramento and Concord.”Initially, Esparza thought he could weather the changes by adjusting his hours and cutting operation costs. But when a five-alarm fire broke out on Coronita’s block last June, taking out some six businesses and a residential hotel that housed some 60 people, his sales plummeted further.“One of the things that made us special on that block was that my customers would go to Playa Azul, Taco Loco and vice versa. So we kind of gave them a little spot to be at,” said Esparza, referring to two neighboring restaurants that were destroyed in the fire.Esparza said that customers frequenting those establishments would often “stop in for a beer – but when those places burned down, it was over.”The newly minted pot entrepreneur hopes for the same camaraderie among the area’s existing dispensaries.  Two dispensaries – Cookies 415 and Harvest Off Mission – currently operate within a two-block radius of Coronitas. The storefront of the former gun shop High Bridge Arms at 3185 Mission St. is slated to house a third.But Esparza said that while the area lends itself to dispensaries, he does not feel that it is oversaturated with them. “Market Street has like 15 of them in a four-block [radius],” he said, adding that those dispensaries are “doing well.” He hopes that the selection will help drive new customers to the area and create a network in which the dispensaries will complement and supplement each other with their varying products and services.For his part, Esparza said that La Corona Wellness Center will be marketed to target the Latino community, something that is currently lacking in the industry.“All the dispensaries [in the city] are owned by American business people,” said Esparza.  “I want to make [La Corona] more Latino-oriented – no dispensaries that I know of do that.” 0% The Latino-centric bar Coronitas Bar and Grill, located where the Mission meets Bernal Heights, is in the process of trading in its liquor license for a medical marijuana permit in what it says is a bid to stay relevant in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.“At this point, it’s unprofitable for us to continue with [Coronitas],” said owner Jorge Esparza, who ran the bar, located at 3326 Mission St., along with his brother for some 26 years. Esparza said that the area’s high cost of living has displaced many of his long term customers, who were primarily Latino.Unwilling to give up on his family business completely, Esparza is hoping the dispensary will insure his existence in the neighborhood.“It’s a lucrative business, but it’s also a way for me to still be in this community,” said Esparza. “I don’t know any other community. I spend more money two blocks this way or that way than in the whole city.”center_img Tags: bars • food • marijuana • medical marijuana Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

The forward notched up 4256 metres in a stellar c

first_imgThe forward notched up 4,256 metres in a stellar campaign that also saw him score 11 tries too.Elsewhere, Castleford Tigers’ scrum-half Luke Gale was named the 2017 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel whilst Oliver Gildart beat out Morgan Knowles and Regan Grace for Young Player of the Year.The Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel is voted on by all the Betfred Super League players – you can see who voted for whom here.The winners:Hit man – Danny Houghton (Hull FC – 1123 tackles) Top metre maker – Alex Walmsley (St Helens – 4256 metres made) Top try-scorer – Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers – 38 tries) Top gun – Marc Sneyd (Hull FC – 89% conversion rate) Outstanding Contribution – Thomas Bosc, Chris Bridge, Rob Burrow, Eorl Crabtree, Gareth Ellis, Andy Lynch, Iafeta Palea’aesina, Leon Pryce Foundation of the Year – Wigan Warriors Betfred Super League Club of the Year – Castleford Tigers Betfred Super League Young Player of the Year – Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) Betfred Super League Coach of the Year – Daryl Powell (Castleford Tigers) The Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel – Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)last_img read more

A Sunday Funday for Autism

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Spend your Sunday at a local Irish pub and supporting a non-profit at the same time.This weekend, OASIS NC is holding “A Sunday Funday for Autism” at Slainte Irish Pub in downtown Wilmington.- Advertisement – It starts at noon and includes raffles, food and prizes. You can even win a beach cruiser from Two Wheeler Dealer!100% of tips and donations from the event will go back to OASIS NC.According to their website, OASIS NC is an “organization committed to providing Outstanding Autism Support and Instructional Services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families in North Carolina.” The non-profit says they use “evidence-based practices and highly individualized services and supports to target a broad range of educational, behavioral, social, and communication needs.”Related Article: Downtown pub hosts fundraiser for autism awarenessFor more information on OASIS NC, check out their website or their Facebook page.last_img read more

Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk visits Port City shreds Ogden Skatepark

first_imgTony Hawk skateboarding at Ogden Skate Park Jan. 3, 2018. (Photo: Tony Hawk/Facebook) OGDEN, NC (WWAY) — Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk was in the Cape Fear Wednesday to visit his skatepark for the first time since construction.The Ogden Skatepark opened in February 2017 and there was talk Hawk would stop by later in the year but according to Tony Hawk’s Facebook page he finally made the visit yesterday.- Advertisement – Hawk wrote he got a chance to visit the skate park with Keaton Underhill and Olivia Underhill. The skatepark was built in memory of their dad Ray Underhill. He added “this bowl is challenging but the rest of the park is solid, which is a testament to Ray’s legacy.”Ogden Skatepark shared the photo too thanking Hawk for making it all possible.Kids at the park were able to snap photos with the pro skateboarder during his visit.The skate bowl is the largest Tony Hawk design on the east coast.last_img read more

PICTURE PERFECT Pender Co farmer turns land into sunflower field

first_img Farmer Michael Lanier usually plants strawberries, but since the crop wasn’t great last year he decided to plant something different this time, so he planted more than 100 pounds of sunflower seeds!Lanier says the field of sunshine is shortlived though.“This will be the only week that they’re blooming unfortunately,” Farmer Michael Lanier said. “We are going to try another field of sunflowers that will be ready in the fall so that maybe the weather will be a little more comfortable in late September or October.”Related Article: North Carolina farms concerned about impending return to cold weatherOld River Farms is at 8711 Old River Road in Burgaw.There’s no admission to walk through the flowers Friday or Saturday but if you want to take some home they’re a dollar per stem.Next week, professional photographers can rent the field for private photo shoots. Sunflower fields at Old River Farms near Burgaw. (Photo: WWAY) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — There’s a field of sunflowers perfect for photos for you and your family and you can even take a few home.It’s happening this weekend at the Old River Farms near Burgaw.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Case of the missing Fort Caswell historical marker

first_img The marker, which has stood near Southport-Supply Road at N.C. 133 since 1950, was reportedly knocked over sometime after Florence hit the region last September, according to Ansley Wegner, who runs the state’s Highway Historical Marker program.Wegner said the N.C. Department of Transportation told her they moved it out of the way to conduct recovery work, while another source reported seeing it pulled down with chains by contractors.Read more here. A broken fragment and a post is all that remains of the state’s historical marker for Lumina Pavillion in Wrightsville Beach (Photo: Hunter Ingram/ StarNews) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (STARNEWS) — Call in Sherlock Holmes. It’s the case of the missing historical marker — again.Just a few months after it was discovered the Lumina Pavilion historical marker in Wrightsville Beach had disappeared after Hurricane Florence, one of the two markers for Fort Caswell has gone missing.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Kevin Cutajar or Jean Pierre Debono

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> The resignation of PN MP Stellini has left one seat available, and currently the question is, will it be Kevin Cutajar or Jean Pierre Debono?The main argument being used in this debate which is being argued on social media is that the absence of Stellini should be replaced with another Gozitan candidate. However, this argument could raise problems from PN Leader Adrian Delia, who could possibly opt for Jean Pierre Debono, as the former MP had resigned following the 2017 elections to leave space for Delia.In his letter of resignation, Stellini said that he no longer felt that the country’s politics is benefiting the Maltese and Gozitan population, as we are suffering from divided politics.Read: Stellini’s resignation letter; “Politics is no longer benefiting the country”Nationalist Member of Parliament Therese Comodini Cachia, who was elected as an MP on 2 districts and had therefore given up one of her seats which was later taken by David Stellini, insisted that Kevin Cutajar in an intelligent person who is determined to continue showing willingness the same way he did in local politics. She believes that Cutajar should be co-opted in Parliament.MP Karol Aquilina insisted that it is appropriate to keep the same Gozitan representation in Parliament, and therefore instead of David Stellini, the PN should choose Kevin Cutajar. Aquilina concluded saying that Cutajar has not let his disability be an obstacle in his life. He reminisced to 20 years ago, which was the first time he met Cutajar during their legal studies at the University of Malta.While many agreed with Aquilina, some criticised his message and said that he should leave these discussions to be handled internally.Robert Musumeci, architect and Government consultant wrote on Facebook that the natural choice should be Debono, as a payback to what he had done during the General Elections, where he gave up his seat after being elected. Musumeci added that this choice might be resisted. He stated that if Debono does not want this position, the seat should be given according to geographic representations.WhatsApplast_img read more