News

Welcome to our round-up of news for the UK Jewish learning disabilities community. If you know of something you'd like to share let us know here.

Click on the titles below for the full story....

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Disability World: Write on!

It’s never easy to write a formal, official letter – particularly when it comes to making a complaint or fighting for something we’re entitled to. But help is at hand…
Disability Grants, which pools together useful information about grants and how to apply for them, has brought together a comprehensive and useful selection of templates that range from requesting an assessment of needs to complaining about cuts to a care package. The templates are a helpful starting point for communicating with statutory authorities. You can just copy and paste the letter you require and personalise it with your own details and information.

The templates follow a recommended format and are drawn together from different organisations including Cerebra, Citizens Advice, the National Autistic Society and many others. It’s well worth a look. You can access these templates under ‘Resources’ on the Disability Grants website, or directly at: http://www.disability-grants.org/template-letters.html

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Help Shape Transport

The Department or Transport is seeking the views of people with disabilities to make improvements to travel by air, rail, bus and taxi. You can download the full draft transport accessibility plan here , including the plan in easy read and an answer booklet. To respond by email contact: AAPconsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk. The deadline is 15 November 2017.

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Autism Hour

For autistic people, the world can seem full of too much information - and too little understanding. That's why the National Autistic Society launched the Too Much Information campaign to challenge the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that contribute to 79% of autistic people feeling socially isolated and 64% of autistic people avoiding going to the shops.

More than 1 in 100 of the population have been diagnosed with autism. Along with their families, that's over 3 million customers waiting to be welcomed into your business. Over 99% of people have heard of autism, but only 16% of autistic people feel the public understand them.

So, as part of the Too Much Information campaign and with the support of shopping centre owner intu, in the week of 2 October NAS is asking shops and businesses to organise a National Autistic Society Autism Hour and take simple steps for 60 minutes that lead to a more autism-friendly world:

What's involved in a National Autistic Society Autism Hour?

Turning down music and other noise: Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise should be reduced.

Dimming the lights: ​​Lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting, can be overwhelming for autistic people. Wherever possible, whilst maintaining a safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.

Sign up your business

Read more in The Times.

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Duke of Edinburgh Silver award for Kisharon School students

A three-day expedition in the Peak District was the final triumphant step of the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award for five students from Kisharon School.

The boys, aged between 15-18, hiked 15 miles, following maps, pitched their own tents and cooked for themselves. They spent six weeks learning how to be self-sufficient before the expedition. They needed to master map reading, first aid and menu planning and they went food shopping for provisions for the trip. In addition, the boys, who have already achieved their DofE bronze awards, had to learn about the Peak District and how to work as a team.

Coordinated through the JLGB, the expedition followed the volunteering, physical and skills sections of the DofE award, which the students completed over the course of the year. Although accompanied by Jes Waldman, Kisharon’s Extra-Curricular Co-ordinator, they navigated their own way throughout the expedition and looked after themselves.

Jes said: “The boys took on their DofE challenge with full gusto and have been absolutely brilliant. They have gained independence, the ability to work in a team and key life skills. Each one of them has worked extremely hard, gaining confidence along the way, challenging themselves on the routes and at the campsites. The boys have been amazing to work with and I feel honoured to have watched them grow and achieve their bronze and silver awards.”

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Applications open for Maccabi GB Challenge Tour 2018.

Plans are in place and applications are now open. This unique trip will take a group of up to 14 young adults (16- early 20’s years old) with mild to moderate learning difficulties around Israel for 10 days.

Please also find a link of a video from our most recent trip in 2016 which shows you more about this fantastic trip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlKSmoE4neQ

This was feedback from a mum after speaking to her daughter on the phone a week into the trip:

Thank you so much - so lovely to hear from my daughter today who by the sounds of things is having just the best time. She actually sounded like a completely different child. Thank you, thank you, thank you - amazing what Israel, friends, independence, sun and a wonderful caring group does for them. Xxx

It is a truly unique and special trip. Please do be in touch to talk it through further either by email to jessica@maccabigb.org or call Jessica Overlander-Kaye on 0208 457 2333.

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Doors open at new library

The Childs Hill Partnership Library, run by Kisharon and Mencap, is set to open its doors on Wednesday 5th April.

You can visit the library, and take out a book, from 2pm. The library will be open until 5pm, and reopen Thursday from 2-8pm, Sunday, 2-5pm and on Monday from 10-1pm.

Book lending services will run initially, but plans are underway for baby and toddler sessions and a conversation cafe when non-English speakers will be able to come to the library to improve their speaking skills. More community activities will be added in the months ahead.

“I am extremely excited about the library opening. We have all worked hard over the last couple of weeks to get trained and ready for this day, and it will be exciting to see how we perform and engage with the community,” said Neha Dhakar, Social Enterprise Manager, Partnership Library.

The training has included health and safety, safeguarding and training to use Barnet libraries’ management software as well as the day-to-day skills required to run a library.

“Our volunteers are very keen to learn,” Neha added.

Volunteers from across Kisharon have been trained as have a number of people living in the Childs Hill neighbourhood.

Childs Hill Library, one of the few public buildings bearing the name ‘Childs Hill’ is uniquely positioned to become a focal point for community activities. The area has no existing community centre and hopes are high that the new volunteer-led library will become a popular meeting place for local residents.

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Can my autistic child have a barmitzvah?

Jewish education often poses problems for children with special needs. Karen Glaser at the Jewish Chronicle met families who found the right teachers for their sons.

https://www.thejc.com/lifestyle/features/barmitzvahs-for-autistic-children

Want to know more? Try our info pack: Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guide

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Jewish Care Interact

Jewish Care Interact is managed by Jewish Care, the largest health and social care organisation serving the Jewish community in London and the South East of England.

Jewish Care Interact was born of the desire to support older and disabled Jewish people—along with their friends, family and carers—to lead meaningful lives wherever they are in the UK and whenever they choose.

As we live in the digital age, we decided to make the most of technology and deliver this service online.

We're a small but nimble team of staff and volunteers supported by the wider community. We work with experts within Jewish Care and other Jewish and non-Jewish third sector organisations, but most importantly we have developed this service alongside its users—from older and disabled people to their friends, families and carers.

You can access Jewish Care Interact's Learning Disabilities pages here.

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Dashing out to the shops…?

Women juggle their lives every day – but routine tasks like shopping become even harder if you have a child with disabilities.

Samantha Buck, mum to two teenagers and Alfie, a severely disabled 10-year-old is a campaigner for Changing Places toilets. Unlike ordinary ‘disabled toilets’ these have far more space and equipment including a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and a hoist, making them suitable for people with profound and multiple disabilities.

Without a Changing Places toilet, Samantha needs to change Alfie on the floor of a public toilet – after cleaning it first – and with the door open to maximise the available space. Then she relies on help from another family member to ease Alfie back into his wheelchair.
The Changing Places campaign which celebrates its 10th anniversary later this month, wants to see Changing Places toilets in city centres, shopping centres, hospitals, train stations, airports, motorway service stations, sports stadiums and other places to ensure all disabled people can attend hospital appointments, enjoy community life, travel and socialise with the same dignity as everyone else.
To read an account of a shopping trip with no accessible Changing Places toilet, and find out how to join the campaign read Samantha’s story here.

The campaign website http://www.changing-places.org  has a national register of Changing Places toilets and location map.

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It's good to talk...

Save this number: 0300 222 5949

After joining forces with learning disabilities charities Langdon and Kisharon, Jweb is set to make news again with the launch of our national telephone helpline. Aimed at families, carers and people with learning disabilities, this new resource offers confidential emotional support, signposting and information on relevant services in the Jewish and wider communities.

www.jweb.org.uk is proving to be a valuable resource for connecting our visitors with services and organisations which can help them. The introduction of the helpline will enhance our existing service and will enable our team to offer personalised support which is great news for our community. Call 0300 222 5949 or email your questions confidentially to helpline@jweb.org.uk.

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