forum meeting 25th march 2019
Yorkshire Coast and Ryedale Disability Forum (YCRDF)
Minutes of Meeting 25th March 2019
Friends Meeting House
1. Welcome and Introductions
Attendees: Bridget Hardy (Chair), Eleanor Gabriel (Shop Mobility) Amanda James (MS Society), Alan Stewart (Scarborough Over 50s), Derek James, Ian Lawson, Tony Mollica, John Simpson, Danny Boyd (NY Parks), Mark Smith (Scarborough DAG), Jamie Bannister, Paddy Chandler, Karen Atkinson and Ben Mawes (NYCC)
2. Apologies: Paul Hill (Parkinson’s UK), Ruth Stockdale (MS Society), Stacey Annandale. Carl Maw (NYCIL)
3. Minutes of last meeting: accepted. Matters arising already on the agenda
4. Hospitality Disability Training Films.
Jamie led discussion on what people would like to see included in the films based on feedback to initial ideas from the writer. See attachment for discussion notes.
Generally group said they preferred a fourth option, not the three proposed. Agreed that the tone should be light hearted.
Action: Bridget and Eleanor will take this feedback to the writer to progress.
5. Coventry University
As agreed at the last forum a letter was sent to the Vice Chancellor of Coventry University to ask them to install a permanent hearing loop at entrance desk. This was based on Tony’s experience that the location of the portable loop was not easy to find or obvious. They have replied rejecting and saying a portable loop is suitable.
A challenge is that the building is compliant according to regulations. However this does not take into account fixtures and fittings. The critical question is ‘does the portable loop meet access requirements’ and five accessibility experts have all said it is unsuitable and is generally unsuitable for front desks. Ian: access consultant who met with us over benchmark was a hearing impaired. He said that portable loops are cheap and nasty and invariably uncharged or unsuitable in design for purpose. He was adamant that portable hearing is not right.
Tony said he was disgusted by their answer. He does not feel equal and that’s what counts. He went in casually a year ago, and went back recently and nothing has changed. Not signed and also bashed into an invisible border. Should be able to walk in and be able to communicate and not have to ask for it. If you say you are accessible be accessible. They talk loudly or like you’re dumb. They don’t want to do it. Everyone blames someone else. Ian said the regulations were written in 2001 and never updated. Eleanor: we should take it forward. Why do they always try to get away with minimum access?
BH: We need to reply to Coventry University by the 28th as per their complaints process. Ian not interested in their complaints procedure. It’s not a complaint it’s about disability discrimination. Everyone agreed. Tony said if he was a young person then he might not fight for it, so he wants to fight their cause.
Ian proposed that a letter goes back with the following points.
1. Forum will support any member who decides to make a claim of discrimination as portable hearing loop is not appropriate
2. Highlight potential good news story for them and this forum, as in ‘we engaged and something good happened’
Action: Ian will draft a reply letter and provide to Bridget by the end of this week.
6. Accessibility checklist.
John and Bridget discussed further progress with the accessibility checklist (included in papers). This incorporates information provided by Ruth from other areas. They have shrunk it down to a smaller document; one is a general checklist and the others are for specific situations depending on where you are e.g. camping and caravanning – and what kind of business you are. They took on board what people said about tourist information. It won’t work for everyone.
Group recognised the considerable work done by Bridget and John. Generally feedback that it was simpler and clearer and lots of yes/no questions. Eleanor noted that there was nothing about theatres but agreed could use the general one.
John: need some volunteer mystery shoppers… need to use it and then can edit and make it better whilst it’s being used.
Amanda: ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ said they were doing similar work, are they still doing it and what are they doing? Ian: ‘Discover Yorkshire’ and ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ are one and the same. They took our point that very few establishments listed their accessibility on their websites. They are calling establishments and asking them to provide better information. BH: we didn’t think about just ringing people. Should we link up with them? Amanda and Mark said they were happy to volunteer plus they could do some calling. Everyone endorsed that BH and John carry on with the checklist refinements and talk to Yorkshire Coast and Discover Yorkshire. They will share some papers with Amanda and Mark.
Payments for the website were made through Inclusion Zone. Ownership of the domain name was through Wix, but need to know cost. Not sure when the website is paid up until but assumed would have been made for the full year ahead. No reply from Wendy from letter sent over two weeks ago. Eleanor will follow up.
Bridget asked the group is we want to have an open or closed Facebook page. BH is the admin for the Facebook page. Tony feels it needs to be an open Facebook page so people can debate. He works with lots of young people who might use the page. BH is concerned re people posting abuse but Tony said as administrator you can delete it. BH will approve or delete posts. Group concurred.
Ian has been looking at all new planning applications every week on the Scarborough Planning website, and has raised issues about three public buildings. He contacted the architect re future plans for the Futurist which will have a Changing Place. There are also two eateries in Whitby and the architects are willing to listen. We need to keep monitoring. It’s time consuming but useful. Planners in Scarborough are on our side.
Ian: NYDF (supported by members from this forum) should have a conversation with building inspectors re the weaknesses of planning and building control in 2019. No one is going to enforce the law and no one will change the law soon but we can ask building inspectors to intervene. John is interested to be part of this conversation.
If you disobey the theft act you get done, if you disobey the discrimination. Ian has written to the Minister for disability but they don’t reply. Gives the impression that disabled people don’t matter. BH: we need to keep trying.
9. Press release ideas none submitted
10. Emergency meeting
There has been no emergency meeting as planned. Bridget contacted Mark Hopley from Community First Yorkshire about options but is still waiting a date. Bridget also spoke to Phil Dodson from Selby District Disability Forum re their experiences and he is willing to come along and talk at emergency meeting. There is no new bank account yet, as need to discuss what the options are going forward. Tony mentioned a community account which you can run under £5000.
11. Accessible darts
BH met a woman who became disabled and wants to continue to play darts. She wondered if anyone had any contacts re accessible darts as Darlington seems to be the closest. Tony said they could ask his sports group and would be happy to help.
12. North Yorkshire Disability Forum – meeting update
BH talked through a hand-out re issues covered at the most recent NYDF meeting.
· The group discussed the issue of accessible taxis which was raised at the Forum. In particular the idea that local councils are required to keep a list of accessible vehicles under s167 of the Equality. Scarborough told Ian they don’t get many complaints so they haven’t kept a list. Ian doesn’t believe they are interested and their motivation is the money to be made transporting disabled children on school runs. BH said that work had been done previously and they should have a quota. If you want a taxi between 8-10am and 2.30pm and 4.30pm it’s obvious what the issues are but it’s about mapping what’s going on outside those hours. Ian can take it back to the licensing officer who was quite positive. They wanted to help.
· HealthWatch survey: HealthWatch are running a survey asking what your local NHS can do to help you and your community stay well and provide better support. https://healthwatchnorthyorkshire.co.uk/what-would-you-do/
· There will also be a training day in York for chairs and vice chairs.
· Amanda will go the next forum for the group as Bridget is away.
13. Any Other Business
· Paddy Chandler (NYCC) gave an update on North Yorkshire Connect – a resource for individuals or community groups to share information about what they do with others: https://www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk/. Going for 18 months and whilst still not perfect, it has 6500 entries so far. There will be a communications strategy in next 6 months for community groups. Paddy will come along to the meeting on 16 May 1pm and show people the site.
· Amanda said she had been introduced to a woman in Scarborough re management, but that she reneged and so had to advertise again.
· Whitby Lyons have been given a motorised wheelchair, as new and with instructions but it needs a new home. BH has a friend who might be interested.