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SEDF Newsletter
News : 09-12-2016

Scottish Disability Equality Forum

November 2016

SDEF Voice 38

Dear Member

Welcome to the latest issue of SDEF Voice, Scottish Disability Equality Forum members’ e-newsletter.

In the last edition, we spoke about our plans for a new Area Champions Scheme and continuing the theme of local Champions, we also have an update on the See Me Scotland campaign – the Power of Okay and a petition from a See Me Scotland Community Champion to raise awareness of issues relating to “invisible” illnesses.

UK Disability History Month runs from 22 November to 22 December 2016 and is about recognising the history of disabled people and the positive impact they have made and continue to make in society.  The theme this year is language, looking at language and the power that it can have to label people.  Make sure to get in touch with us if you are planning to do something for Disability History Month and you might just feature in next months’ SDEF voice!

Some of the articles in this month’s issue:

Don’t forget to share this newsletter with family, friends and colleagues!
Best Wishes

A Message from Ian

First of all, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who attended our recent Annual General Meeting and to all the Access Panels that came along to the Access Panel Conference.  It was a fantastic day with some brilliant guest speakers.

To the people who attended you’ll no doubt remember me talking about Partnership, Positivity and Promotion and I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about how important they are, to SDEF and the wider Access Panel Network.

  • Partnership – whether it’s working with your local authority on a planning application or with several of your fellow Access Panels – none of us can do what we do in isolation. Working in partnership is so vitally important to ensure that we can achieve our outcomes and objectives.
  • Positivity – I’ve spent the last few months visiting as many Access Panels as possible and the overwhelming mood has been upbeat. It’s been great to see how positive everyone is about the future and it’s important that we keep this momentum going.  I think it’s easy at times to forget what an amazing thing we have – a network of over 250 dedicated volunteers, each giving their time to help their local community and disabled people across Scotland.  I think that’s something to be immensely proud about.
  • Promotion – getting your name out there! You’re more likely to succeed and gain influence in your local communities if you have a brand that people can recognise and associate with. It’s important that the public are aware of Access Panels so that might mean contacting local schools and colleges for volunteers or holding disability awareness days. Whatever you choose to do working in Partnership, make it Positive and Promote yourselves.

So, following on from Partnership, Positivity and Promotion I’d like to ask for some volunteers to work with me on designing a new Area Champions scheme.  We will need one Access Panel from the following areas to become their Area Champion:

  • Highlands and Islands
  • Western Isles and Argyll
  • North East
  • Forth Valley and Tayside
  • Lothian and Borders
  • Glasgow and Clyde Valley
  • South West

If your Access Panel wants to find out more about the Area Champions scheme, then contact me on 01259 272066 or



In September, when Scotland’s first Accessible Travel Framework was unveiled, we launched our Accessible Travel Hub.  The Accessible Travel Hub works in partnership with the Accessible Travel Framework and joins our other Hubs:

Inclusive Communication and Inclusive Design.

Our aim is for our members and the wider public to be as informed as much as possible about the issues that affect disabled people in Scotland and we believe that our network of Hubs does just that.

Our Online Access Worker, James Davidson, is responsible for the all our online content and he had this to say about what our Hubs mean for you:

“Our network of Hubs means that you can instantly look up a piece of information about inclusive communication, inclusive design or a topic relating to the Scottish Government’s Accessible Travel Framework and know it to be accurate.  Better yet, they provide Access Panels a place to gather and share their knowledge about these topics, enabling so many to grow and learn from their lived experience.”

If you want to find out more about Inclusive Communication, Inclusive Design or the Accessible Travel Framework then next time you’re surfing the web why don’t you pay our Hubs a visit.  The addresses are below and don’t forget to leave some feedback. It’s the only way we can make them even better. Inclusive Design Hub: Accessible Travel Hub: Inclusive Communication Hub:

Have Your Say…

Gathering the views of disabled people in Scotland

Have Your Say on Disability website is a place for you to tell us your views on disability issues in Scotland.  This website provides the opportunity for disabled people to help shape Scotland’s future in accessibility and equality.

As someone with lived experience of – or representing someone with – a disability, we would like you to tell us what you feel is working and what needs to change in Scotland by completing our surveys.  Our surveys are on current policy consultations and available in alternative formats.

What Happens to my comments?

Your comments will be passed on in full to those who have requested the survey, making sure that your views really are counted.  Your responses are anonymous unless you wish to provide your details. The Scottish Government and other bodies want to know what is working, what is not, and what needs to happen to improve life for Scottish disabled people, so your comments can really make a difference!

Family Fund

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. Established in 1973 by the UK government, they became an independent charitable trust in 1996. Over the 40 plus years of existence, they have helped with over a million grants for families. Last year, they provided 89,423 grants or services worth over £36 million to families across the UK. Family Fund know that it can be a struggle financially, emotionally and physically for families raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person, and these grants help break down many of the barriers families face and ease the additional daily pressures.

Harrison is seven and has autism. His mum, Ashley, applied for a grant for a bed and sensory equipment to transform Harrison’s bedroom into a calming sensory space. Ashley told us that “the sensory equipment has made such a huge difference. Before, Harrison used to be so scared of being alone in his room which made night times really difficult. At one point, he would wake up about an hour after I put him to bed, and then he’d be up all night. Since we introduced the sensory toys and lights into his room, the lights are now part of his bedtime routine. After his bedtime story I leave the main light off so he can watch all the sensory lights. They help him to relax and feel safe, and often he’s asleep after ten minutes!”

“Without the grant we would still be at square one and not sleeping. We are immensely grateful to Family Fund for the grant. The lady that came to visit us was so lovely, even though Harrison can be afraid of strange visitors. The difference it’s made has just been incredible.”

Find out more Visit and join us on Facebook ( Twitter (@familyfund) Instagram (


Why is this focus group being carried out?

Social Security Experience Panels will involve at least 2,000 people, who have recent experience of receiving benefits, to help to design and test the new system to ensure it works for them.

Recruitment for the panels will be launched in early 2017. People will be recruited to the panels in two ways – by direct invitation mailed to a representative sample of current benefit recipients and by an open invitation, publicly asking for volunteers.

We have developed some draft recruitment materials that will be posted to a sample of recent benefit recipients in early 2017.  It is very important to us that everyone is given an opportunity to take part in the Experience Panels. Therefore, we would like your help to make sure that these recruitment letters are as clear and accessible as possible.

Who is carrying out the research?

The focus group is being set up by social researchers from the Social Security Research Team at the Scottish Government. The same researchers will conduct the focus group.

When and where is the focus group taking place?

The focus group is being held on Wednesday 14th December at 10:00-13:00 (arrival from 10:00 onwards, for a 10:30 start), tea/coffee and lunch will be provided from 12.30. The focus group will take place at:

Norton Park Centre

57 Albion Road



The group will be held in the centre’s training suite which is fully accessible.

More details can be found on the centre’s website – or by calling them on 0131 475 2400.

Do I have to take part?

No, the focus group is completely voluntary and if you do decide to come along you can withdraw from the group at any time without giving a reason. If you decide not to take part, or if you withdraw from the group, this will not affect you in any way.

What will taking part involve?

If you agree to take part, you will be joined by around eight other people. The group will be fairly relaxed and will take the form of a discussion as opposed to an interview or survey. We have developed some draft letters and forms to send to

people to ask them to take part in the Experience Panels. We are interested in your views on the information letter and your ideas for how we can make sure that the recruitment to the Experience Panels is as accessible as possible. The focus group will last a maximum of two hours.

You will not have to do any preparation ahead of taking part and there are no right or wrong answers.

Do I need to provide any information prior to attending the focus group?

If you agree to take part, one of the Scottish Government researchers will be in touch to find out a little bit more about you, including any specific details that they need to know for the day including access and support needs. You can also ask them any questions you may have.

Will the information I give be confidential?

All personal details and information collected during the research will be handled with the strictest confidence and professionalism. Researchers will use the focus group discussion to develop the recruitment materials, making sure they are as accessible as possible. The information obtained from the focus group will be only be used for the purposes of this research and will not be passed onto any third parties.

Can I claim expenses?

Yes, you can claim travel, subsistence and any additionally incurred receipted expenses (including childcare). Lunch and refreshments will also be provided.

Contact Details

If you would like to take part or would like further information please contact either of the Scottish Government researchers:

Trish Brady-Campbell

Email: Telephone: 0131 244 0287

Imelda Giarchi

Email:  Telephone: 0131 244 0056

Podcasts and Voxpops

What are they and how can they help you raise awareness of disability issues and the work of Access Panels

Podcasts and Voxpops are surveys carried out in the form of short video interviews, and mean

  • You can take part and talk about yourself, and
  • The work you are doing with the Panel and then
  • We can post the videos to YouTube and our Access Panel Network website
  • And audio versions will be available in MP3 format on SoundCloud which is an audio platform!

If you would you like to know more about this exciting and innovative way of engaging and involving the public in a two-way conversation around disability and the amazing work of the Access Panels, please get in touch and we will arrange a visit. T: 01259 272066

Podcast: Podcasting means making digital audio or video files available on the internet in such a way that others can set their computers to automatically download new episodes in a series as you post them. There are as many types of podcasts as there are topics. Voxpop: The term “vox pop” comes from the Latin phrase vox populi, meaning “voice of the people”. The vox pop is a tool used in many forms of media to provide a snapshot of public opinion

Design for the Mind Research is currently underway that will enable the development of the first British Standards Institute (BSI) guidelines for designing for people who can be classed as neurodivergent: a term that encompasses a range of conditions, such as dementia, autism, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The guidelines are likely to cover four distinct areas: spatial characteristics, including lighting and distractions; way finding; safeguarding, such as avoiding the potential for feelings of entrapment; and design features.

Under an initiative dubbed ‘Design for the Mind’, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art has been commissioned to carry out the research for BSI. The centre has launched an online survey in order to gather evidence on what makes an environment comfortable and/or challenging, and ideas on how the built environment can be improved for people who are neurodivergent.

Project leader Rob Turpin, Healthcare Market Development Manager at BSI, explains there are no design guidelines to date addressing conditions of the mind beyond the knowledge possessed by some highly specialised care providers.

The researchers are seeking responses from those with experience of neurodivergent conditions, particularly professionals who have worked in this area, as well as carers and family members.

BSI’s 2009 BS8300 on building access, cited in the Building Regulations, is well used, and offers clear recommendations, but it deals only with physical impairment and wheelchair access.

If you would like to stay in touch and be involved in any future research related to this project, please contact:

Faith Wray or Katie Gaudion

WordPress Training is ideal for PanelTown!

Is your Access Panel using a free WordPress template yet?  Are you worried that in order to use WordPress you would need a degree in web design?  Well you needn’t worry any longer because Insight training are offering all Access Panels WordPress training for just £550 plus expenses for 6 people. You can also use your Access Panel Grant funds to cover the cost of any training provided to the Panel.
The Insight training team come to you and they bring all their own equipment. The course takes place over one day and covers everything you will need to know to keep your Panel Town website user friendly and up to date.  To get a copy of the course document which explains what would be covered in a training session please contact Ian –

Do you want to improve access in your community?

Volunteer with your local Access Panel today!

Access Panels are groups of volunteers who work together to improve physical access and wider social inclusion in their local communities.  Panels are made up of disabled people, those affected by disability as well as non disabled people.  You can contribute to the great work already being done to make changes to how we all access buildings and services where you live.

Find out more about Access Panels by clicking the social media tabs below.  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, visit the Access Panel Network website or drop the Access team an email.

Your Membership Matters

Below is a reminder of what we offer our members.

Please contact us if you would like to find out more.

Support and Signposting

We answer many member enquiries and signpost them to the appropriate organisation, individual or information source.

Networking Opportunities

We make introductions to key decision makers and contacts and make sure members have frequent opportunities to meet and network with relevant audiences. We help members make the right connections.

Your views, experiences and expertise

All our policy is formulated directly from our member’s views, experiences and expertise. We believe that our members are the experts.

We respond to all relevant Scottish Government, parliamentary, think tank and other consultations.

We regularly ask our members for their views on many diverse policy issues – which then directly feeds in to our policy work and government consultation responses.

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM is an opportunity for members to participate in the governance and representation of SDEF.  Members will be offered the opportunity to attend members meetings, and where eligible, vote in elections and to stand as candidates themselves. Support will be offered to members to enable them to fulfill their democratic responsibilities

Currently only Full and Associate members have voting rights.

An AGM will cover:

  • A report to members on the activities of SDEF over the past year
  • Provide an opportunity to discuss issues arising from the report
  • Endorsement of the annual report and accounts
  • Reporting to members the results of the election of the board
  • The appointment of the auditors for the following year
  • Approval of the previous year’s minutes of the AGM
  • Suggested areas of SDEF work from members

We also use the AGM as an opportunity to inform members about the work that SDEF is doing from key staff members.

Information Leaflets

We provide information leaflets on the projects we are working on.  You will receive a copy of our leaflets in your Members Welcome Pack.  If you require any additional copies, please call the office to request this or alternatively they can be downloaded from our website.  See 


Our Sponsors

Scottish Disability Equality Forum would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors. We’re very grateful of their support.

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