The minister for disabled people has been heavily

first_imgThe minister for disabled people has been heavily criticised for failing to ensure that his constituency office is accessible to disabled people, after Disability News Service (DNS) confirmed that a ramp used by his staff is potentially unsafe.One leading disabled access consultant described Mark Harper’s failure to provide proper access to the office in Cinderford Gloucestershire, as “totally unacceptable”.And the president of the Liberal Democrats, Baroness [Sal] Brinton, also a wheelchair-user, called on Harper, Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean, to review the accessibility of his office.This week, DNS confirmed that the doorway to Harper’s constituency office in Cinderford high street is just 32 inches wide, and has a large step in front of the door.The entrance to the office is situated on a hill, which means that a standard temporary ramp would be unstable and potentially dangerous. The pavement outside the office is too narrow for any wheelchair-user or scooter-user to enter the office safely.Despite this, Harper’s staff use a standard ramp to provide access to the office for wheelchair-users and others who cannot manage the step.There are also no parking spaces available outside the office.Phil Friend, a leading disability consultant and former chair of Disability Rights UK, said: “For someone in Mark Harper’s position to be working out of offices which are not accessible is totally unacceptable. The minister should be a role model for others.”He said it was clear from pictures shown to him by DNS that it would be “difficult” for a wheelchair-user to gain access to the building, because of the width of the pavement, the slope of the hill and the design of the ramp used by his staff.Baroness Brinton said: “In the light of this information, I hope that Mark Harper will review accessibility to his office, not just for visitors but for prospective staff and volunteers as well.”She added: “I want to see all MPs’ offices… accessible to all disabled people, whether they are working there or just visiting.” Baroness Brinton has pledged to write to all of her own party’s MPs asking them about their access arrangements and what steps they were taking to improve them, particularly when leases on their offices were due to expire.She also plans to recommend to all newly-elected Liberal Democrat MPs that they should rent accessible constituency offices.Only last week, Harper announced the winners of his Accessible Britain Challenge at the House of Commons, and said afterwards: “I hope this will encourage more organisations to think about the needs of disabled people and help drive the UK forward to become a truly Disability Confident nation.”One of the aims of the Accessible Britain Challenge is to “motivate local communities to do more to be inclusive and accessible for disabled people”.Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said that Harper’s entrance was “not suitable for any MP”.She said: “The message Mark Harper’s office entrance sends out to other business and companies is that disabled people are not important, that we are not valued and that we are second-class citizens.“He needs to move to premises which will make is easy for disabled constituents, volunteers and paid staff to access his constituency office.“The public purse, through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, enables MPs to get accessible offices. There must be alternative premises available.“We need a real sea change in commitment to disabled people from MPs.“This is a one-off change which will show MPs are committed to enabling disabled people to get access to politics.”Linda Burnip, a member of the steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “The feeble access measures made to try to make Mark Harper’s office accessible fail totally to provide a safe way for disabled constituents to gain entry to his office.“As minster for disabled people, he should be ashamed at continuing to exclude them in this way from not only being able to consult him but to volunteer or even work in the office.“Mark Harper’s Accessible Britain Challenge really was a sham exercise when all that he provides is an inadequate and unsafe ramp into his own office.“The message this sends out to other businesses in the town is that disabled people don’t really matter, especially if making safe, adequate access provision might cost you money.”Harper has refused to answer any questions about the access at his office, although he issued a brief statement late last year, in which he stated: “Any constituent who wants to contact me can use either the phone or e-mail to reach my office.“If any wish to meet me to discuss an issue in person at a surgery, then I hold these on a regular basis in accessible venues around the constituency.“A small proportion of constituents call at the office in Cinderford in person. If a wheelchair user was to do so, then we do have a ramp available.”Both Harper and the Department for Work and Pensions have so far failed to comment on the latest evidence.Harper is one of four coalition ministers – including the prime minister, David Cameron – who have been exposed for running inaccessible constituency offices.last_img read more

Disabled peoples organisations and grassroots gro

first_imgDisabled people’s organisations and grassroots groups are set to call on disabled people across England to provide the evidence they need to prepare a “hard-hitting” report on the government’s failure to implement the UN disability convention.The Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) has announced that it will put together a “shadow report” to submit to the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD).It emerged this week that the committee is set to hold its delayed public examination of the UK government’s progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) next year, the first time the UK has been examined since the Labour government ratified the convention in 2009.The examination has been delayed partly by a separate, continuing inquiry by the committee into allegations of “systematic and grave” violations of disabled people’s human rights by the UK government, an inquiry triggered by Disabled People Against Cuts, one of ROFA’s members.The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said this week that it understands that a pre-sessional working group – in which CRPD meets to decide on the list of subjects that will be discussed at a country’s public examination – would discuss the UK’s case next spring.In this week’s response to a report by peers on how the Equality Act has affected disabled people, the commission also refers to “next year’s examination of the UK” under the UNCRPD.EHRC is working with the other members of what is known as the UK’s “independent mechanism” on the convention – the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, and the Scottish Human Rights Commission – to produce their own shadow report.It is also spending £100,000 to fund Disability Rights UK and Disability Wales to write a shadow report covering England and Wales, and to fund Inclusion Scotland and other Scottish disabled people’s organisations to produce a shadow report for Scotland.Non-governmental organisations are invited to submit shadow reports – alternatives to a government’s own report on its convention progress – to CRPD for consideration before it carries out a public examination of a country’s record.ROFA’s members wrote their own shadow report 18 months ago, but because of the delay caused by the inquiry into the UK’s alleged violations of the convention, now needs to prepare an updated version.ROFA is hoping that its report will draw on evidence from an informal network of about 40,000 disabled people who are linked to its member organisations – which include Equal Lives, Disabled People Against Cuts, Inclusion London and Sisters of Frida – and is likely to put out a call for evidence later this summer.Tara Flood, chief executive of The Alliance for Inclusive Education, another ROFA member, said the shadow report would be “incredibly important” and would need to be “very hard-hitting” because the committee’s examination would “set the benchmark” for CRPD’s future scrutiny of the UK government.She said: “What we are planning to produce will be equally robust as the one we drafted 18 months ago.“What it will be clear about is the evidence of the disproportionate impact [of the government’s policies] on disabled people of all ages.”Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said the alliance’s “grassroots” shadow report would be important because it would “solely reflect the views and experiences of disabled people and Deaf and disabled people’s organisations (DDPOs) on the ground and minimise the risks of diluting these experiences and views because our report will not need to be agreed with other organisations and non-DDPOs who may have different agendas”.She said the report would “build on the extensive data we collected in autumn 2014 and use the same extensive network of disabled people and DDPOs”.A UN spokeswoman said: “There is as yet no information regarding when the committee will conduct its delayed review of the UK.”Picture: The Palais Wilson in Geneva, home of the CRPD, by Romano1246, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic licenselast_img read more

THE second round of the 2012 Rugby League 9s tourn

first_imgTHE second round of the 2012 Rugby League 9s tournament takes place this evening with Cumbria, Widnes Vikings, Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers all hosting festivals.Undefeated Leeds Rhinos are currently top of the East league table and will be hoping to keep their 100 per cent record intact whilst in the West league both Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves sit atop the table level on maximum points.Cumbria host their 9s festival at Derwent Park in Workington and will face St Helens, Salford City Reds and the undefeated Warrington Wolves. Gates open at 6.00pm with tickets costing £6 for adults and under 16s go free.The Stobart Stadium will play host to Widnes’s festival which will see the Vikings battle it out with London Broncos, Wigan Warriors and The University of Gloucestershire All Golds. Gates open at 6.30pm and tickets cost £6 for adults and Concessions £3Leeds Rhinos’ 9s festival at Headingley Carnegie Stadium opens at 6.00pm and will see the hosts go head to head with Hull FC, Bradford Bulls and Featherstone Rovers. Tickets for the evening cost £5 adult and under 16s are free.The PROBIZ Coliseum welcomes Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Hull KR and Huddersfield Giants to face Castleford Tigers. Gates open at 6.30pm with tickets £6 for adults and £3 concessions.Buy a ticket for the 2012 Rugby League 9s Finals Night at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Tuesday June 26 now and you will receive another absolutely free of charge.This BOGOF offer is for pre-purchased tickets only and will not be available on the day of the game: all complimentary tickets issued will be of equal or lower value to those purchased.Tickets are available for just £10 adults and £5 concessions by calling Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office on 0871 423 1315 (calls charged at 10p per min – calls from mobiles may vary) or the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.last_img read more

SAINTS have announced their squad numbers for the

first_imgSAINTS have announced their squad numbers for the 2013 season.Willie Manu (pictured) takes the iconic number 13 jersey whilst new signings Jordan Turner and Alex Walmsley are ‘three’ and ‘25′ respectively.Danny Yates, Mark Percival and Dom Speakman have been promoted to the top squad from the academy.Fans will be able to buy the new home shirt with their player’s name of choice on the back from Tuesday lunchtime.Player profiles for the new season will be updated in due course.Saints begin their Super League 18 campaign when Huddersfield Giants come to Langtree Park on Saturday February 2.The best way to guarantee your spot for that game is to buy a Season Ticket. Details are here.The 2013 Saints Squad:1. Paul Wellens, 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Sia Soliola, 5. Francis Meli, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax, 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Willie Manu, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough, 17. Gary Wheeler, 18. Shaun Magennis, 19. Josh Jones, 20. Lee Gaskell, 21. Thomas Makinson, 22. Carl Forster, 23. Nathan Ashe, 24. Joe Greenwood, 25. Alex Walmsley, 26. Adam Swift, 27. Anthony Walker, 28. Jordan Hand, 29. Danny Yates, 30. Mark Percival, 31. Dom Speakman.last_img read more

ROB Fairclough and Matty Costello have been select

first_imgROB Fairclough and Matty Costello have been selected on England Academy’s Tour of Australia.They will be part of the side that plays in two Tests against Australia High Schools.They will fly out on July 9. Setting up camp at the Sydney Academy of Sports & Recreation during their first week in Australia, England Academy will play a warm-up game against Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs before heading over to Penrith in the second week to face Penrith Panthers in their final warm-up of the tour.England’s two Tests against Australia High Schools will be curtain-raisers with the first being played before Redcliffe Dolphins’ Queensland Cup fixture against Norths Devils at Dolphin Oval. The second will be played ahead of the NRL Telstra Premiership Round 22 fixture between Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders at the Southern Cross Group StadiumEngland Academy – Australia Tour 2016 schedule:Saturday July 16 – England Academy v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Belmore Sports Complex)Saturday July 23 – England Academy v Penrith Panthers (Pepper Stadium)Sunday July 31 – England Academy v Australia High Schools (Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe, QLD)Saturday August 6 (TBC) – England Academy v Australia High Schools (Southern Cross Group Stadium)last_img read more

Watch Rare finds at Salesians bargain book fair Proceeds aid youth project

first_imgThe Salesians of Don Bosco in Malta are organising a bargain book fair at St Patrick’s Salesian School in Sliema. The book fair will come to an end on visited the book fair where we met with Fr Charles Cini SDB who explained more about the book fair which has been organised for the past 25 years. Speaking to this newsroom, Fr Charles explained that for the community this is a cultural moment and in which they follow upon the footsteps of the organisation’s founder, John Don Bosco, an Italian priest who dedicated his life to the service of youth and children, and who would do anything to educate them.The proceeds from the selling of books help the community collect funds to continue their work at the residential care home, a space where the community offers a home away from home to children and youth who need assistance. Like the organisation’s founder, through their project the Salesians guide the youth entrusted in their care.READ: Watch: ‘Creating a unique sense of family’ – the Salesians in MaltaMost of the books on sale have been donated by the general public, and one may find some rare finds especially in the Melitensia section. Fr Charles said that the history section is also very interesting this year. There are also books which were previously available in libraries around Malta on sale. For those who would like to contribute and donate books, they may do so, by dropping the books at St Patrick’s reception. However they do not accept text books. The books will then be stored until the next book fair.The book fair started on 19 March and will come to an end on Sunday 24 March. The opening hours are from 9am – 7pm on Saturday, and 9am-9pm on Sunday. For those planning to visit, parking is also available on the school grounds.Video – Luke ZerafaWhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Watch Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife vote in Burmarrad

first_img Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa WhatsApp Luke Zerafa Prime Minister and Partit Laburista leader Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle Muscat went to vote at their local polling station in Burmarrad at around 10am. They stopped to talk to a number of persons that were outside of the polling station. Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa 1 of 20center_img Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Voting stations have been open around Maltese and Gozitan localities from 7am on Saturday. They will stay open until 10pm. Read: LIVE: European Parliament and Local Councils elections 2019 Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa SharePrint Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more