Useful Information

Non-emergency Patient Transport

Ambulance used for the Non-emergency Patient Transport Service-

You or your loved one could be eligible for non-emergency, accessible transport to NHS Hospital appointments or other health clinics in the Bedfordshire/Luton/Hertfordshire footprint area, and within contracted geographical areas, such as Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and London.
be accommodated but cannot be guaranteed. Bookings are made for patients whose medical need or mobility means they cannot travel by other means.

To check eligibility and book, call 0208 045 4254, with your NHS number handy. Calls will be answered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Advice and assistance will be offered to patients who are not eligible or require transport out of area on other transport options available to them.

Cinema Assistance Card for Carers

Logo for CEA Card
The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed by the UK Cinema Association for UK cinemas. The scheme is one of the ways for participating cinemas to ensure they provide a consistent voluntary approach to making reasonable adjustments for disabled guests when they go to the cinema.

The card allows the person with the disability to obtain 1 free ticket for the person who accompanies them to enable them to visit the cinema by providing the assistance required as a result of the disability. However an applicable full price ticket for the same performance of the same film in the same auditorium needs to be purchased.
The free ticket is provided on the assumption that the accompanying person provides with appropriate assistance to the person with the disability.

There is a £6 fee for the card and proof of eligibility will need to be provided when applying for the CEA card.

 

Assistance with getting your message across

Image of BlueAssist

BlueAssist is a simple system designed to make communicating easy for those people who have difficulty getting their (verbal) message across by using an app on a smart phone or writing on cards designed for the purpose.

There are a number of reasons why a visual message of help may be required in certain circumstances – from physical problems like a broken jaw to a stroke or hearing impairement to a long term disability.

If someone has trouble speaking or being heard, a written message, on card or via a phone may be the answer.

A written message asking for help BlueAssist have created the app to run on an iPhone or Android phone. The principle is simple – write a message in the app that you want to show to someone that can help you when you are out and about. The distinctive logo helps give authority to your message and allows you to ask for help, to ask for something in a shop, to tell someone what you need. The basic version is free with a more detailed program available to purchase.

There is also a card version – you can download the BlueAssist cards, print them and write your message on them.

Of course, a notepad and pen will also do the job however the BlueAssist imagery does lend a certain status to the message.

Luton Access Guide Takes Shape


Logo for Disabled-Go website

Luton Borough Council have been working with DisabledGo to produce an access guide featuring detailed access information to 500 venues across Luton.
The aim of the guide is to provide much needed information about the accessibility of public venues so that anybody with an access requirement can decide whether a venue is suitable before visiting.
DisabledGo covers a wide range of venues that are accessible to the public, including tourist attractions, leisure centres, shops, pubs, cafes, restaurants and many more. The venues are divided into the following categories:

  • Accessible public toilets and changing places
  • Community places
  • Entertainment, culture and leisure
  • Public and professional services
  • Retail and shopping
  • Travel and accomodation

Visit the DisabledGo website’s list of Luton’s venues to find out more information.

Each venue has a list of access icons listed from level access to hearing systems.

icons of facilities available at venues

The guide also covers many other areas in the UK including Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

 

Carers Rights Guide


CarersUK Logo

Carers UK have created a guide of carers rights that gives a full picture of the practical and financial support available to carers.

The guide includes:

  • Benefits: an overview of which benefits you or the person you can for may be entitled to and information about how to get a benefits check.
  • Other financial help: including help with council tax, fuel costs, pensions and health costs.
  • Practical help: including community care assessment, carer’s assessment and direct payments.
  • Technology: information about health and care technology that could make life easier for you and the person you care for.
  • Your workplace: your rights at work, from flexible working and parental leave to protection from discrimination
  • Other help: how to find other help nationally and in your local community.

Incontinence Advice and Information

Three rolled towels

 

 

 

 

The subject of managing bladder and bowel leakage is not the nicest of things to deal with or necessarily the simplest or most straightforward either. After all, incontinence is an intimate problem with a certain amount of stigma, yet really needs a personal approach to find the best way to manage it.

There are a number of websites that provide information aimed at incontinence products, however the Continence Products Advisor website, a not for profit venture, provides information for users of products as well as experts in the field (of continence). There is a particularly good section, Incontinence Advice – About You, with different things to consider depending on the circumstances of the user, i.e. mobility, travel etc. There are also tips from users of various incontinence products too.

The Disability Resource Centre have trained staff to assist with finding the correct product – give them a call (01582 470 900) to find out more.

Two further websites that have information on how to choose the right incontinence product and about the different types of incontinence products (pads) can be be viewed online.

3D Printing Brings Hope

3D Printed Prosthetic Arm
We previously wrote about Remap, a national charity that helps people with disabilities by engineering solutions to help them in their day-to-day lives.

There are a number of technical revelations that are using tech to literally provide a helping hand – using 3D printers to print prosthetics. Open Bionics is a UK start-up company that has invented a low cost advanced bionic hand which can be 3D printed. Fully featured prosthetic arms could cost in the region of tens of thousands of pounds, however Open Bionics’ aim is to produce theirs for under £1,000. They featured in a BBC article – 3D printing boost for prosthetics.

There are other slightly lower tech versions, such as enablingthefuture who are a global network of 3D printing volunteers, who still use 3D printing, but without the sensors etc. Their mission is to facilitate the creation of a 3D printed helping hand for children and adults with upper limb differences. Read a report on an e-NABLE volunteer creating and delivering a helper hand to a child in Bristol after being put in contact via Reach – the Association for Children with Upper Arm Deficiency.

Of course, it would be remiss not to provide a link to some 3D printing information.

Luton Dementia Guide 2015


Jeff Solomons is a carer and was involved with the co-production of this project.
He said:
“…what was needed in the town was a single booklet which people would be given when they are diagnosed, containing all the info they need.
I think you have ticked all the boxes so to speak. I think there are too many leaflets and booklets around which carers like me don’t have time to read! I am therefore very pleased that one is being produced.”

You can view the Luton Dementia Guide here.

Carer's Credit - fill in National Insurance gaps


Money-pounds_cropped

You have probably heard about Carer’s Allowance – paid to people giving full-time care to a partner or family member who is severely disabled.
But have you heard about Carer’s Credit?
This is a National Insurance credit which is available to people providing at least 20 hours of care a week. It can help with gaps in your record of National Insurance contributions, on which your future state pension will be calculated.
If you get Carer’s Allowance, you are already automatically getting Carer’s Credit. Otherwise, you should apply for it.
More information is here.

Engineering to help overcome disabilities

Remap logo

Remap gives people with disabilities the joy of independence. Remap is a national charity working through local groups of skilled volunteers to help disabled people achieve independence and a better quality of life.

All equipment is tailor-made for individual needs with the intention that it helps the disabled person carry out essential daily tasks without having to ask for assistance, or take part in leisure occupations or sports that would otherwise be impossible for them. And even better than that – everything is given free to the person Remap helps.

Remap has engineers, carpenters, technicians and occupational therapists amongst the volunteers that carry out and check their work. They have helped people to:

  • eat, drink and manage their personal care independently
  • move around more easily both in their homes and outside
  • continue to work and earn money for longer than would otherwise have been possible
  • go to the shops, bring their shopping home and prepare and cook meals
  • continue to enjoy much-loved hobbies

Take a look at the Remap case studies and also the list of other projects to support the above aims that they have worked on:

Adapted Bike Hire At Stockwood Park

No Limits Multi Activity Sports Club

Adapted bikes

Luton’s fleet of adapted bikes will be arriving at Stockwood Park Athletics Centre on the 22nd July for hire. There will also be bikes for carers/friends to hire and ride alongside the adapted bikes.

Initially the bikes will be available on Wednesday afternoons and Friday evenings with the scheme scheduled to be fully setup in September for hire throughout the week.
Training on how to use/adapt the bikes will be provided – being able to independently hire the bikes will be dependent on hirers being able to demonstrate that they have had the required training.

For more information including availability, hiring and training, please contact:

Venue: Stockwood Park Athletics Centre (SPAC), Farley Hill, Luton, LU1 4BH

Telephone: Alison Wright – 07983 781 435

Email: info@activeluton.co.uk

Website: www.activeluton.co.uk/stockwood-park-athletics-centre

No Limits - Adapted Bike hire sponsors

Caring can be isolating


Caring can be isolating
Whether you are a full-time carer or part-time carer there can be contradicting thoughts:

  • it’s a task that you lovingly do – but your loved one is not always appreciative, which can grind you down
  • Happily dedicate the time to care – but losing contact with friends that have drifted away
  • Words of encouragement are misguided and can cause frustration because you know that they mean well

And that’s one of the greatest ironies about being a carer for a loved one – you don’t want to say, can’t say (because it’s wrong isn’t it?), but “who cares about me?”.

There is light at the end of the tunnel – there is help for your hope. Quite often it is in the form of contact with people in similar positions – they are carers too and they can share the burden of “who cares about me?”. Other carers can be met in person (“offline”) and online – on internet forums. The Confident Carer Service has its own internet forum as does CarersUK.

The cartoon (above) comes from CarersUK’s members’ magazine – take a look at the poignant article.

Join a forum and attend meetings – talking to and listening to people can help you realise that you are not alone. Extra resources are here:

 

Finding Benefits & Grants


Turn2Us Logo

There are so many reasons why anyone could find themselves struggling financially.

The sentence above is the impactful description of how Turn2Us can help those in need. They are a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services.

Their website enables visitors to search for applicable welfare benefits and grants and they also have a telephone helpline (0808 802 2000) for those people who either do not have internet access or who would prefer to speak to someone rather than work on the computer.

A list of results were presented when we used the grant search and those results can then be filtered by occupation or health issue or by several other categories. There is also a search field to find specific keywords within the list of results.

Turn2Us website filter 

Take a look at their YouTube videos to see some of the people that they have been able to help.

TV LICENCING Concessions


TV Set

Did you know that over 75’s and the sight impaired do not have to pay the full cost of a TV license?

Over 75’s Licence

  • Anyone aged 75 or over is entitled to apply for a free TV Licence. It doesn’t need to be re-newed for three years
  • Those aged 74 can apply for a short-term licence covering them until their 75th birthday or claim a refund on an existing licence for the months since they reached 75

How does the blind concession work?

  • If someone is blind or severely sight impaired, they will receive a 50% concession on the cost of your TV Licence.

If you live with someone who is over 75, or who is registered blind or severely sight impaired, you can also benefit from these concessions by transferring your licence to the name of this person.

For general TV Licensing enquiries call 0300 790 6115 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk

You can find information about TV Licensing online in 16 different languages here: www.tvlicensing.co.uk/languages

TV Licensing also offers a telephone translation service in over 180 languages, to use this service please call 0300 790 6044

 

technology provides a helping hand to carers

buddi clip and wristband

When you care for someone, you can’t always be around 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Technology can help – Telecare technology being at the forefront.
Telecare refers to devices that continuously, automatically and remotely monitor real-time scenarios where someone lives alone, or may be on their own for long periods. Sensors around the home can be linked via a telephone line to a nominated person or call centre.

Buddi has teamed up with Carers UK to offer a huge discount on their 24-hour personal emergency monitoring service that enables people to live more independently for longer.

Buddi is a ‘go anywhere, anytime’ personal emergency response device which can be worn by someone at risk of falls when they are at home or out and about. The Buddi setup consists of a wrist band and clip – the cared-for must wear the wrist band which communicates with the clip. Buddi detects when the person wearing it falls or presses an alert button for help. Its 24-hour emergency response service can then talk to them through the device to establish the kind of assistance they need, find their location through a built-in GPS tracker and call the person looking after them.

There is an 80% reduction in the cost of Buddi when bought through Carers UK – this may be a product that worth looking at.

 

Disabled Access Reviews


wheel chair users at an airport

A large number of carers will make some sort of journey with the person(s) they care for and some of those trips may be further afield.

We were asked to review an airport website for what they say about special assistance. It wasn’t actually our most local airport, however a good number of passengers use it and no doubt some of our locals will go on to use it too. Not wanting to reinvent (or re-write) the wheel, we found a great resource called Euan’s Guide that reviews disabled access at various venues.

Euan’s Guide is a listings and review website that helps disabled people and their families know which venues are truly accessible. “A generic disabled access badge doesn’t always tell the whole story” says Euan. “Our website can give you confidence that someone in your situation has been there and can make a recommendation. The website makes it easier to enjoy experiences that many people might take for granted. It could be as simple as meeting a friend for a cup of coffee but you need to know which places are suitable.”

A further useful resource when travelling is Changing Places – a consortium that campaigns to improve accessible toilet facilities.

Unfortunately there are currently no disabled access reviews for Luton – how about writing a review and submitting it to Euan’s Guide?

By the way – we will be reviewing airports and other transport hub facilities for accessibility in the future.

Disability Driving Centre Provides A Driving Force

Hertfordshire Action on Disability's Driving Force

Hertfordshire Action on Disability is a resource centre that provides a transport system and driving centre for disabled people amongst other services.

The driving centre is one of 17 throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland and provides a number of services under the driving heading:

  • Driving Assessment:
    • learning to drive for the first time, returning to driving following a break or if you’re currently driving but experiencing difficulty
    • receive a written report containing our recommendations and advice, which will be recognised by other mobility organisations such as Motability and the DVLA
    • Assessments can be carried out at Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
  • Tuition: provide tuition if you require adaptions to your vehicle (including  ‘push-pull’ hand controls, left foot accelerator etc.)
  • Transfer Assessment: advice and assessment on products that can make it easier for you to get in and out of your car.
  • Scooter Assessment: advice and assessment on choosing the correct and most suitable mobility scooter

Call HAD for more information on 01707 324581 or visit the HAD website. You can also read HAD newsletters which have various articles centred on their driving services including case studies.

 

Simple Mobile Phone Without The Complications


Ownfone Logo

Ownfone have created a mobile phone that is an ideal phone to just make and receive calls. It’s ready to use straight out of the box, with no need for charging and no complicated set-up.

Unusually for a mobile phone there is no screen and the keypad is customised – when you buy it, you specify how many phone numbers can be used (dialled out) and specify what you want printed on the buttons – the person’s picture or name.

Independent Living has a useful article on the product, as do AgeUK have information about Ownfone or visit the Ownfone website for more information.

Ownfone mobile phone - images on buttons

 

South Beds Dial-A-Ride Service

South Beds Dial-a-ride mini-bus

South Beds Dial-A-Ride provides a door-to-door transport service for individuals or groups unable to use public transport in Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and villages.
The service can be used for all types of journeys, shopping, visiting friends or relatives, all kinds of appointments.

It is a reliable, friendly and personal service which helps maintain your freedom and independence if you have a mobility issue.
All buses are easy to access including wheelchair users.
The service is available Monday to Friday – 0845 to 1615 and you may travel with a companion or assistance animal.
Membership is £10. Fares on application.

If you can’t use the bus, CALL US!!

Please contact us on: 01525 220044

South Beds Dial-a-Ride is a charitable organisation generously funded by:-

  • CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE COUNCIL
  • HOUGHTON REGIS TOWN COUNCIL
  • DUNSTABLE TOWN COUNCIL

Need Help With Care Jargon?


Care and Support Jargon Buster

The Care and Support Jargon Buster is a plain English guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases and what they mean. The definitions are plain English rather than legal, and were developed and tested by a steering group that included people who use services, carers, representatives from local authorities, information providers and key stakeholders from across the social care sector.

The Care and Support Jargon Buster won a Plain English Campaign Award in 2013 and is provided by Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) who are a national partnership of more than 50 organisations committed to transforming health and care through personalisation and community-based support.

 

Carer Communities Online

Logo of the Carers Trust

The Carers Trust have created several online communities that aims to bring carers together from across the UK. There are 3 online communities: Babble, Matter and Carers Space which aims to support different age ranges for carers.

Babble Logo — the online community for carers 18 years old and younger
Babble is an online community for young carers aged under 18 who are caring for a family member or friend and is the ability to chat, share their experiences and access information and advice. There is an online team available to answer questions and can offer support and advice via e-mail or one-to-one webchats.

Matter logo — the online community for young adult carers
Matter is the online community for young adult carers providing an online space for young adult carers aged 16–25 to connect, share their experiences, and access trusted support. The vision of the site is to bring together young adult carers from across the UK, as well as those who work with young adult carers, via an online space which is safe, fun, and most of all, inspiring. There is an online community team on hand to provide support as and when needed, by messaging or email.

Carers Space Logo — the online community for adult carers
Carers Space provides a chatroom to talk through the daily realities of being a carer or to just have a break and have some light-hearted fun. There are also discussion boards for questions, advice and opinion and also a blog space to read (and write) what others have to say.

Looking For Paid-For Carers

If you are assisting a cared-for person to look for paid carers, there are plenty of resources on the Disability Resource Centre website and also on the Skills for Care website.

The Disability Resource Centre provides a service called Personalisation which facilitates people being in control over the support and services they receive and ensures that they are at the centre of any decisions made. Having a personal budget may enable a cared-for person to pay for some care support. As such, the cared-for person would become an employer of a Personal Assistant.

The Personalisation Case Studies provide some examples of some success stories and help to explain some of the elements involved with employing a Personal Assistant.

Volunteering for Advice Services


Have you recently retired or are you coming up to retirement?
”Do

We are looking for volunteers who want to have a real impact on the lives of a diverse range of people in the local community. If you are interested, please initially contact your local Volunteer Centre at:

Phone or EmailBedford – 01234 213100 / info@yourcvs.org

Phone or EmailLeighton Linslade – 01525 850559 /
volunteer@action-centralbeds.org.uk

Central Bedfordshire Advise Services - Volunteering Campaign

The Voice - Mental Health Carers Support Group


Carers Voice Logo
THE VOICE is the name of the Luton Mental Health Carers Support Group representative group, which was launched on 16 January 2015.

This support is aimed at helping to counter feelings of isolation, of loneliness and of facing challenging issues alone – all problems that may be experienced by carers.

Luton Mental Health Carers Support Group is currently hosted by Mind BLMK and is funded by Luton Borough Council. The group offers support to all mental health carers in the Luton area, with regular informal meetings, local events and varied social activities where information, advice, and personal experiences can be shared.

Key functions of THE VOICE are to give Luton Carers a voice to raise significant concerns about mental health issues in Luton, from a carer’s perspective; liaise with the appropriate authority bodies; attend relevant meetings as a representative of Luton Mental Health Carers Support Group; and recommend solutions for future action. THE VOICE will collaborate with service user groups in other regions, exchanging information and advice, and will report back to the Luton Mental Health Carers Support Group.

During discussions at Support Group meetings, it was felt that a more focussed approach to raising matters of concern about mental health services provision with the health and social care authorities may be beneficial. An initial meeting of carers was held, with support from Mind BLMK, to develop this concept. A concise draft constitution was prepared in line with the view that there should be a minimum of bureaucracy, and a simple structure, with a core group of carers. These suggestions were reported to the Support Group meetings and gained general approval.

An important initial task of THE VOICE is to publicise its formation and availability to all mental health carers in Luton, using various channels. THE VOICE welcomes the support offered by Chris Bradley-Rushe, Deputy Director of Mental Health & Social Care, Luton, who attended the inaugural meeting at Central Baptist Church, Park Street, Luton on 16 January 2015, and also the encouragement and support of Catherine Aganoglu, Carers Worker, Luton Community Mental Health Team, and Janice Scott, Carer Support Worker, Mind BLMK.

For more details and information, please contact Janice Scott by telephone on 07824 317124 / 0300 330 0548 or email carers@mind-blmk.org.uk

 

Carers Allowance Digital Service - Reminder


Carer's Allowance - Can you get it?
The Carer’s Allowance Digital Service has been live since October 2013. It is a simpler, clearer and faster way to make a claim or report a change of circumstances. Over 150,000 carers have now used the Service with excellent feedback.

Some benefits of using the Digital service to make a claim

  • Available 24 hours a day 7 days per week
  • Arrives immediately at the Carers Unit once submitted
  • Can be used on a mobile phone or tablet
  • Has significantly less questions than the paper claim
  • Does not require a signature or a password
  • Has mandatory questions to ensure carers provide the information needed to help pay claims quickly
  • Has helpline numbers and help text if carers need to clarify questions
  • Does not need to be printed or saved
  • Is available in Welsh

What happens after the claim is submitted?

The CA Unit will start processing the claim and will write to the Disabled Person to let them know a claim by someone caring for them has been made.

How long will it take to make the claim?

We regularly review the questions to ensure we only ask for the information we need. The time to complete the on line claim has been reducing as we do this and average time to complete is now around 24 minutes

What if the carer needs to take a break whilst making the claim on line?

You will not be timed out for 90 minutes, once you have started to complete the digital claim form, meaning that you should be able to take a break and then return to complete.

What if the applicant needs help?

There are help guides to clarify questions and eligibility questions right up front to help you. Remember tha the claimant must be in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits before a claim for Carers Allowance can be made.

Where can carers access this Service?

Through the GOV.UK website.

Alzheimer’s Society Carers Survey


Alzheimer's Society
The Alzheimer’s Society would like feedback from people with dementia and their carers on service use and advice on improvements needed to provide more dementia-friendly communities. They have created a survey, the results of which will be compiled into a report and used to help campaign Government for more/better provisions to improve the lives of those impacted by dementia.
The survey is comprised of 24 questions in a tick box format and it’s fine to ask someone to help fill in this survey.
The survey is in a PDF format and can be downloaded here.
Please return your responses by Monday 9 March 2015 to the following address:
Martina Kane
Alzheimer’s Society
Devon House,
58 St Katharine’s Way,
London, E1W 1LB
If you would like more information about this survey please contact Martina Kane:
  • Telephone – 020 7423 1058
  • Email – martina.kane@alzheimers.org.uk
Note: Please visit this page for Information on PDF files – what they are, how to open them and how to create them for details about PDF files.

Free Training For Disabled People And Carers


DRC Recruitment

The Way Ahead

Free training available to disabled people and carers in Central Bedfordshire and Luton

Future SignIf you have a physical or sensory disability or caring commitments, Disability Resource Centre have a range of personal development workshops that can help you to improve confidence, manage change and produce an action plan for the way ahead.

Each workshop is 3 hours long and includes the following topics:

  • Assistance Sign - Multiple DirectionsUnderstanding change
  • Managing change
  • Confidence building
  • Stress management
  • Support available
  • Communication skills
  • The circle of influence
  • Identifying barriers
  • removing barriers
  • Action planning

The course can lead on to further training in the Disability Resource Centre’s  expert by experience programme. For more information please call the Disability Resource Centre’s health, learning and work team on 01582 470900.

Funded through the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Learning Trust, Community Learning Fund

Have a voice on your NHS funded healthcare

Have a voice on your NHS funded healthcareBedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group

The BCCG (Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group) is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for people who live in Bedfordshire.

In order to develop and improve healthcare services in Bedfordshire, it is crucial that both patients and public are given a voice and are able to express their views, ideas and opinions on current and future healthcare services.

With this in mind, BCCG would like local people to let them know whether they feel they are given the opportunity to be involved and help influence decisions on local health care provision and what else it can do to encourage more involvement and strengthen patient voice.

For more information and to join as a public member please see the BCCG website, email membership.bedfordshireccg@nhs.net or call 01234 897206.

Multi-Activity Sports - Adults of All Abilities

No Limits Multi Activity Sports ClubNo Limits is Bedfordshire’s new INCLUSIVE multi-activity programme that aims to provide quality sports opportunities for people with a disability.

  • Date: Mondays 1-2pm
  • Cost: £3 – please bring a drink along
  • Venue: Salto Gymnastic Centre, 98 Camford Way, Luton, LU3 3AN (see map below)

Google Map
For more information please contact Alison Wright on 01582 813762

New Changes to Tax

The voluntary organisation Tax Help for Older People have produced a timely reminder with some points of interest to the ordinary taxpayer.

Tax Help for Older PeopleTax Help for Older People is a service from the registered charity
Tax Volunteers and provide free, independent and expert help and advice for older people on lower incomes who cannot afford to pay for professional tax advice.

Below are the salient points of interest regarding new changes to tax that come into effect in the new tax year (April 2015):

  • The Personal Allowance (PA), the amount you can earn before you have to start paying tax, is being increased to £10,600 in April 2015
  • Partners can now effectively inherit any ISAs held by a deceased spouse
  • The basic State Pension will be increased by 2.5% (£2.85 per week) in April 2015 for recipients of the full basic state pension.
  • Pension Credit will rise by the same amount (i.e. £2.85 per week) as the cash increase in basic state pension
  • Anyone with a total income of less than £15,600 will not pay any tax on their savings.
  • As announced at Budget 2014, the government will be able to recover tax and tax credit debts (DRD) directly from the bank and building society accounts (and ISAs) of debtors.
  • Note: The government has strengthened safeguards that apply to DRD

The above is a summary from an article by Tax Help for Older People. Please contact their helpline on 0845 601 3321 or visit their website for more information.

Communicating with BT using BSL

BSL Live BT Customer Service Link

BT customers can now converse with BT customer service advisors using BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters and an online video system. Whilst BT does provide the option to have an online chat, this a welcome move for those who would like a little bit of the human touch albeit in a modern technical situation. The service is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

To be able to converse, the customer will need a webcam and an up-to-date version of a web browser. A web browser plugin (or extension) will be downloaded as part of the connection process. Helpfully, there is email and telephone support in setting this up. More details can be found on the BT SignVideo Interpreting Service webpage.

Employability Training – Personalised And Free

Employability - Word Cloud

The Disability Resource Centre has created a new exciting project called Employ~ability for disabled people living in Luton. It is a free personalised programme of one-to-one coaching and group support sessions in a friendly and supportive package that will help prepare you for employment.

The programme will combine development of personal, social and vocational skills. Training will include the following:

  • Calculating how much better off will you be when in work
  • Managing change
  • Confidence building
  • Action planning and setting goals
  • Support to search for jobs and source vacancies
  • CV writing
  • Interview Skills
  • Career directions, helping you to identify areas of work and hours suitable to your needs
  • Short courses including Basic IT skills
  • Accessing job search facilities and one-to-one support applying for jobs

Key facts about the Employ~ability programme:

  • It’s free
  • Dates start now

Fore more information:

Carers Rights Day - Getting the right information at the right time

Sherone Phillips

Friday 28th November 2014 was Carers Right Day – a campaign led by partner organisation Carers UK. Sherone Phillips, a carer with over 30 years experience and a member of TLAP’s National Co-production Advisory Group, blogs about her experiences and what the day means to her.

About Carers Rights Day

Having the right information at the right time can make a huge difference when you are looking after someone.

Each year we hold Carers Rights Day to bring organisations across the UK together to help carers in their local community know their rights and find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to.

This year’s theme is Looking after someone? Know your rights and will focus on:

  • Making carers aware of their rights.
  • Letting carers know where to get help and support.
  • Raising awareness of the needs of carers.

http://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/campaigns/carers-rights-day

Carers UK have taken on the words spoken by many who can often be heard saying post-crisis, “if only I knew then what I know now, things would have been different”. They use this phrase to highlight the need for good information, at the righttime.

Throughout my 34 years of caring, I can definitely echo that point. For instance, if I had understood the impact of mental health acute hospitals on adolescents and adults, I would have handled my son’s crisis differently. If I had known my rights, I would have insisted on staying in control rather than having all power taken from him and me. And that was at a time when I worked as a Local Authority Health and Social Care Manager knowing a lot about how the system works but not enough to help me as an individual carer. Being in crisis, thrown into dark unknown territory is a frightening but common experience for carers.

The Care Act has, for the first time, put carers on an equal footing as those cared for. This means that local authorities have a legal responsibility to care for carers. In reality, they have been doing this for years. Many are doing an excellent job. Those that have been doing it well have nothing to fear, they just need to carry on doing the same. For me, the light bulb went on when I realised that general information on the ‘system’ needs to be out there for ‘new’ carers -particularly those that are just sliding into the role without even realising it. They are the ones that need to be caught and helped at the earliest point, before they hit a crisis – that dark and unfamiliar (but not uncharted territory). We need to help them understand their new role. No, first, help them recognise that they have a new role, because “whether you care for a few hours a week, or all the time, you are a carer” – Carers Uk website.

It’s those people doing the “few hours a week” that don’t get recognised at all, mainly because they don’t see themselves as carers. But they are part of the 6.5 million people who are in a similar position who need to be identified so they can get the support at the right time. After all, carers having the right support at the right time can actually save money. In my case, if I had known then what I know now, my son could have avoided a 10 week stay in acute hospital and saved thousands of NHS pounds.

Today I’m doing my bit to support Carers Right Day. I’m presenting to Luton carers about what the Care Act means for them and explaining the value of coproduction – what it means and why they need to get involved.

Sherone Phillips, National Co-production Advisory Group member, Think Local Act Personal 
28/11/2014

Struggling to get the equipment your disabled child needs?

A new batch of specialist equipment is now ready and waiting to be delivered to children in need, across the UK.

Newlife’s pilot project called ‘Newlifeable’ launched in January 2014, offering a large selection of new and clinically refurbished and certified equipment, all available through a grant for ‘priority delivery’ at no cost. The demand for the equipment was so high that we have sought more, to help even more disabled children.

Equipment includes:

Specialist seating,
Manual wheelchairs
Buggies
Walking frames
And assisted living aids

To view the current range of equipment and download the FAQ’s on the project, please visit www.newlifeable.co.uk. If you cannot access the internet to view the range and know the name or type of equipment you are seeking, please call us.

We welcome contact direct from families. We also want to hear from professionals if they know a child in need of an item (that they would probably not be able to get through the local statutory services).

Newlife can deliver anywhere in the UK, including Scotland, Wales and NI.

Newlife is committed to ensuring that children and young adults with disabilities, life limiting conditions and terminal illness are able to get ‘the right equipment at the right time’.

Stephen Morgan, Newlife’s Head of Operations says “In addition to giving our year round grants and loans of vital equipment, through our Nurse led services, this pool of equipment is ready and waiting to be dispatched. There are no long forms, we only need to know some basic information and have the support of a professional (who can agree the specification of items), and we will dispatch straight away”.

“We suspect these items will be very popular, so we would advise families and professionals to contact us as soon as possible to register interest in an item”.

To register your interest in any of these items, just call Nicole Norris, on 01543 431465 Monday to Thursday from 9.30 – 2.30pm. Please note an answer phone service will be in operation on Friday

Report from Carers Consultation Event

On 5 August 2014, the Confident Carer Services hosted a Carers Consultation Workshop at the Luton Law Centre. The workshop,  presented by Sherone Philips, a Carer involved with ‘Think Local Act Personal’, National Coproduction Advisory Group,  gave  Carers within Luton the opportunity to learn about, and comment on, the proposed changes in the health and care system being brought about by the Care Act 2014.
The background was set by going through the Department of Health consultation overview, and the specific Information Advice and Advocacy presentations which were publicly shared by Think Local, Act Personal.

After this, the group were better informed to be able to give their comments and views in response to the consultation questions being asked.
The Carers Trust consultation toolkit was used to facilitate the discussion and focus everyone’s attention on the points specific to Carers’ views.

The workshop was attended by a group of Carers from Luton, and Carers currently receiving ongoing support from the Confident Carers Service. Several professionals were involved including  a member of staff from MIND, Social Care Assessor and Commissioner of Care Services from Luton Borough Council and a Carer Support Officer from the Disability Resource Centre.

The verbal feedback received from the Carers was very positive. Please see the summary of the Carers’ responses in the Carers consultation report 2014.

The workshop also helped to raise awareness of the Confident Carer Services. Following the event a distressed Carer who had attended with no prior knowledge of the services offered, received a home visit on Saturday as an urgent referral.

If you would like to make any comments on this consultation, or if you need help from our Carer Support Officers, please contact us – we are here to help.

 

Grants available for Boccia goups

Boccia England is offering Boccia Development Grants of up to £500.

The purpose of the Boccia Development Grant is to encourage growth in the sport of Boccia. Grants are available to organisations, schools, community groups, councils, and Boccia clubs who will increase the number of new disabled young people and adults regularly playing Boccia once a week or more often.

Grants are for Projects that will...

• Create new opportunities for participation in Boccia.
• Engage new disabled young people and adults in Boccia.
• Build and develop sustainable exit routes for the new participants to maintain lasting participation in Boccia.
• Develop long-term partnerships to ensure involvement in Boccia is retained.
• Encourage volunteering within the sport of Boccia.
• Establish a new community Boccia Club.
• Be completed by the 31st March 2015 including the return of all monitoring and evaluation forms associated with the grant.

To find out more click here

More carers have the right to request flexible working

 Carers UK is delighted that a change in the law means more carers now have the right to request flexible working. 

The recent changes mean that all employees who have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks or more have the right to request flexible working. Until now, the right was available only to certain parents and carers. Some carers, for example, those caring for a non-family member who did not live with them were denied this right. 

Carers UK, along with employers we work with, have wanted the current definition of carers to be made simpler and to encompass more carers.

We estimate that around 100,000 more carers will have the right to ask for flexible working arrangements that will enable them to manage both work and caring responsibilities. Our research has shown that flexibility from an employer makes a big difference in terms of helping the carer, reducing stress and ill-health in the workplace, and increasing productivity gains for employers. 

Requests can cover changing hours, times or places of work. Flexi-time or part-time working are just two examples of working patterns that can constitute flexible working. Employers can only refuse requests for certain specified reasons and should deal with requests in a reasonable manner. 

Read more here

 

PA Academy for Personal Assistants and their employers

 

Two hands holding a balloon with words relating to 'training' written on itIf you enjoy your caring role, and would like to be trained to work as a paid personal assistant, then the PA Academy is the place for you!

Join our FREE relevant and engaging workshops delivered by specialist trainers.  Together, we will develop a personalised plan of training, using our flexible learning package that includes online learning, or attending stand-alone workshops.

 Please see the links below for full details, and for more information call the Health, Learning and Work team at the Disability Resource Centre on 01582 470900

PA-Academy-Flyer

PA Academy 

 

Computer Course

9353062-cartoon-smiling-desktop-computer--vector-illustration

 

If you are having difficulty catching up with the digital age, why not join this free course “I can do IT’. 

Carers and disabled People living in Luton can the skills that they need to use computers to help them with daily tasks such as shopping, paying bills and finding information.

 Please see the link below for full details, and for more information call the Health, Learning and Work team at the Disability Resource Centre on 01582 470900

 I can do IT Leaflet A5

Moving and Handling Courses

If you are caring for someone who needs help with moving around, these course could be very helpful.

The courses include:

  • Training from our in-house trainer
  • Introductory courses covering the basics and refresher courses
  • Use of hoists – practical sessions
  • All training uses the same equipment as supplied by statutory services
  • Current Legislation explained
  • Location – The The Disability Resource Centre,Dunstable, LU5 4TP
  • Reasonable fees: Courses cost £42 (inc VAT), but could be free if you aspire to becoming a paid Personal Assistant (PA) and join our PA Academy.

For more information…….

Please contact our Disability Advice Services Manager, Esther Stuart on 01582 470970 or e-mail us.

Next Training dates are available here 

 

NEW BT range of user-friendly phones

BT have launched a new and wider range of easy to use phones here.                  

Screenshot 2014-07-03 10.38.34

More carers have the right to request flexible working

 Carers UK is delighted that a change in the law means more carers now have the right to request flexible working. 

The recent changes mean that all employees who have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks or more have the right to request flexible working. Until now, the right was available only to certain parents and carers. Some carers, for example, those caring for a non-family member who did not live with them were denied this right. 

Carers UK, along with employers we work with, have wanted the current definition of carers to be made simpler and to encompass more carers.

We estimate that around 100,000 more carers will have the right to ask for flexible working arrangements that will enable them to manage both work and caring responsibilities. Our research has shown that flexibility from an employer makes a big difference in terms of helping the carer, reducing stress and ill-health in the workplace, and increasing productivity gains for employers. 

Requests can cover changing hours, times or places of work. Flexi-time or part-time working are just two examples of working patterns that can constitute flexible working. Employers can only refuse requests for certain specified reasons and should deal with requests in a reasonable manner. 

Read more here

 

PA Academy for Personal Assistants and their employers

 

Two hands holding a balloon with words relating to 'training' written on itIf you enjoy your caring role, and would like to be trained to work as a paid personal assistant, then the PA Academy is the place for you!

Join our FREE relevant and engaging workshops delivered by specialist trainers.  Together, we will develop a personalised plan of training, using our flexible learning package that includes online learning, or attending stand-alone workshops.

 Please see the links below for full details, and for more information call the Health, Learning and Work team at the Disability Resource Centre on 01582 470900

PA-Academy-Flyer

PA Academy 

 

Computer Course

9353062-cartoon-smiling-desktop-computer--vector-illustration

 

If you are having difficulty catching up with the digital age, why not join this free course “I can do IT’. 

Carers and disabled People living in Luton can the skills that they need to use computers to help them with daily tasks such as shopping, paying bills and finding information.

 Please see the link below for full details, and for more information call the Health, Learning and Work team at the Disability Resource Centre on 01582 470900

 I can do IT Leaflet A5

Moving and Handling Courses

If you are caring for someone who needs help with moving around, these course could be very helpful.

The courses include:

  • Training from our in-house trainer
  • Introductory courses covering the basics and refresher courses
  • Use of hoists – practical sessions
  • All training uses the same equipment as supplied by statutory services
  • Current Legislation explained
  • Location – The The Disability Resource Centre,Dunstable, LU5 4TP
  • Reasonable fees: Courses cost £42 (inc VAT), but could be free if you aspire to becoming a paid Personal Assistant (PA) and join our PA Academy.

For more information…….

Please contact our Disability Advice Services Manager, Esther Stuart on 01582 470970 or e-mail us.

Next Training dates are available here 

 

NEW BT range of user-friendly phones

BT have launched a new and wider range of easy to use phones here.                  

Screenshot 2014-07-03 10.38.34

Chums Young Carers

CHUMS Young Carers Service supports children and young people aged 5-18 who are caring for someone with a disability, chronic or serious illness, mental health condition, learning difficulty and etc. Young carers often experience social isolation because of their responsibilities at home. Support is offered through the year with group work on a variety of topics, social events and a drop in facility. Support is also available for parents at the family sessions. Young carers are able to access our recreational therapeutic programme. All activities will help them develop valuable life skills, improve their wellbeing and give them the opportunity to socialise and have fun. Individual support is also available where appropriate to enable the child/young person build a trusting relationship with another adult. 

“Sharing the journey” best describes CHUMS’s idea of creating a holistic approach which is targeted towards vulnerable young people, young carers and their families in Luton. CHUMS works with children and young people up to the age of 18 and 25 with special needs who face significant and complex problems often due to social, economic, family, health and environmental factors which are prevalent in our communities.

Currently Young Carers groups are held at the Youth Zones across Luton. For more information and dates please find us on Facebook @ Chums Ycms. We are currently also looking into facilitating sessions in schools in the new academic year. If you have identified an young carer they can be referred for support directly to CHUMS on 01525 863 924. Self-referrals are also accepted.

Please see this leaflet for the Young Carers Programme: YC Programme