A userled campaign is celebrating a £200 000 bi

first_imgA user-led campaign is celebrating a £200, 000 “birthday gift”, after the Scottish government announced funding that will pay for some of the extra costs faced by disabled people who want to stand in next year’s local government elections.One in Five a cross-party Scottish campaign which was launched a year ago, said the announcement of the new Democratic Participation Fund for Disabled People – which will be run by Inclusion Scotland on a pilot basis until May 2017 – was “magnificent news”.The fund will run alongside the Access to Politics for Disabled People project, which is offering non-financial support to disabled candidates standing in May’s election to the Scottish parliament and prospective candidates for the 2017 elections.The £200,000 funding could embarrass the UK government, as its own Access to Elected Office fund has been lying dormant since the 2015 general election while its effectiveness is reviewed.Jamie Szymkowiak, founder of One in Five, said the announcement provided disabled people with “plenty of time to consider standing for selection in the 2017 local government elections”.Marco Biagi, Scotland’s minister for local government and community empowerment, said: “We know disabled people often find it difficult to access elected offices due to the many barriers that exist, and the additional cost of being disabled is one of them.“I am delighted to announce this funding, which comes as a direct response to one of the key demands from disabled people’s campaign organisations, who all highlight that funding is a major barrier for disabled people to even consider accessing politics.”Pam Duncan-Glancy, Labour’s One in Five ambassador, said the announcement was “a great birthday present” for One in Five.She said: “Paying for the extra costs associated with being disabled – like covering the costs of personal assistants or accessible travel – is a huge barrier.“This fund will make immeasurable difference to disabled people seeking to be involved in politics.  We are proud to have been key to making it happen.”Inclusion Scotland research has found that less than five per cent of MSPs are disabled people.Sally Witcher, chief executive of Inclusion Scotland, said: “This new fund has the potential to make a real difference, not just to individual disabled people, but ultimately to the strengthening of Scottish democracy.“Participation in public and political life is everyone’s human right and there is much work to do to ensure that this right can be fully exercised by disabled people.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “The Scottish government are leading the way in helping disabled people become elected politicians.“The UK government needs to move faster and introduce a larger fund in England and Wales.”She added: “We also want Scottish politicians to press the UK government to change electoral law to enable job-sharing in elected political office, so that more disabled people and carers can stand for election.“This is needed in local, regional and national government.”Members of One in Five and other disabled people’s organisations celebrated the campaign’s first anniversary outside the Scottish parliament this week (pictured).They called for political parties to make this May’s elections as accessible and inclusive as possible, by taking measures such as producing manifestos in accessible formats, subtitling campaign films, hosting hustings in accessible venues, providing more British Sign Language interpreters, and extending the use of livestreaming of campaign events.Since its launch, One in Five has signed up more than 40 political organisations and local party branches to its five-point charter.It has also persuaded the Scottish government to change the rules governing elections to the Scottish parliament so that spending on a parliamentary candidate’s disability-related costs will no longer count towards the legal limit on their election expenses.Duncan-Glancy said: “The challenges facing disabled people in politics are numerous and we have been quite overwhelmed by the engagement of all political parties in Scotland who have embraced the challenge with open arms, honesty and a thirst to do better.”last_img read more

Disabled campaigners and politicians have raised s

first_imgDisabled campaigners and politicians have raised serious concerns about the social care inspection regime, after last week’s revelations that the number of cancellations and postponements rose by more than 360 per cent in just one year.The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has so far refused to say why the number of inspections of adult social care services that were cancelled or rescheduled rose so sharply from April 2015 to April 2016.The figures – revealed by CQC after a freedom of information request by Disability News Service (DNS) – show 25 inspections were cancelled in April 2015, rising to 103 in April 2016, while the number of inspections rescheduled increased from 25 in April 2015 to 130 in April 2016.Despite CQC’s refusal to explain the rise, the Department of Health (DH) was in disarray this week, suggesting at one point that “ultimately the cancellations are a result of funding and fee issues, of which we would not comment”.But when DNS tried to clarify how the fees CQC charges care services to be regulated was connected with a rise in the number of cancelled inspections, a DH spokeswoman said she was “not attempting to make a direct link between funding and cancellations”, and then that it “would be both incorrect and wrong to quote me as suggesting that fees and funding are linked”.Despite the continuing refusal of both DH and CQC to explain why cancellations and rescheduled inspections have risen so sharply, disabled campaigners and politicians have suggested that the figures pose serious questions about the way CQC is being run.Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the service-user network Shaping Our Lives, said there had been concerns ever since CQC replaced its predecessor organisations about whether it was well-funded enough to “make possible the sensitive and thoroughgoing regulation that the human services for which it has responsibility demand”.Beresford said CQC had continued to make news “for all the wrong reasons” since its launch.He said this may reflect “the worrying state of social care more generally” but that the cancellation figures provided “no reassurance” that CQC was able to take on the “increasingly difficult and important role it has to play across social care and health”.He said: “Perhaps a root and branch review is now needed and one that puts service-users and carers more strongly at the centre of its operation – rather than apparently weakened, as its poor handling of the Experts by Experience issue has suggested.”Jonathan Bartley (pictured), the Green party’s work and pensions spokesman, who is standing alongside Caroline Lucas in a job share to lead the party, said CQC’s regime of adult social care inspection “appears to be disintegrating”.He said: “The potential impact that so many cancelled inspections will have on rooting out abuse and other poor practice in places where so many people are potentially vulnerable is alarming.”Labour’s shadow minister for social care, Barbara Keeley, also raised concerns after being shown the figures by DNS.She said: “It is worrying to see such a significant increase in the number of CQC inspections being cancelled and rescheduled.“These cancellations, especially if they are last-minute, can be disruptive to staff and to service-users.“We need an effective body to root out abuse and raise quality standards in social care.“Ministers need to reconsider the cuts they are making to the CQC’s budget and whether this is impacting on the organisation’s ability to do its job properly.”The freedom of information request was originally submitted by DNS in an attempt to discover the impact of changes to CQC’s troubled Experts by Experience (EbE) programme.Earlier this year, three of four new contracts to run the EbE programme – in which people with experience of using services accompany CQC inspectors on their visits – were handed by CQC to Remploy, the disability employment business formerly owned by the government but now mostly owned by the scandal-hit US company Maximus.In February, DNS reported that these contract awards had led to confusion, chaos and a stream of resignations by Experts, particularly over Remploy’s decision to slash their hourly rates of pay.The CQC figures show that inspections that were cancelled or rescheduled as a result of “insufficient non-CQC resources” (which includes those where there were problems finding Experts to take part) rose from six in July 2015 to 26 in April 2016, an increase of more than 330 per cent.Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said she believed the Experts by Experience programme had been “corrupted to fit in with austerity budgets”, while the “spirit and purpose of the programme has been lost”.  Bott led the National Centre for Independent Living when it developed the programme with CQC’s predecessor, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, working with local disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), which she said was “still the best way of running a programme like this”.  She said: “A number of DPOs including ourselves and Spectrum sent a letter of concern about the last tendering process to CQC, but our concerns were not addressed.“Experts have to be locally recruited and supported in the community. This work is not suitable for large national contractors.”She added: “I’m not surprised people feel let down and no longer want to have anything to do with it.“It’s not just a question of recruiting experts but also providing support during and after the inspection.  “If this doesn’t happen then many people are excluded from being able to take part.  “The hourly rate is a crucial principle to get right as it reflects respect for the expert. Lowering the fee undermines this principle.”Last week, journalist and former Expert by Experience Claire Bolderson wrote in her blog that the Remploy part of the EbE programme was “in chaos”, with Experts “leaving in despair”, emails going unanswered, and some Experts being asked to travel “absurd distances” to inspections, while senior Remploy staff had apparently been told by CQC in April that “the company was ‘non-compliant’ in almost a dozen areas”. Meanwhile, the Commons public accounts committee has warned that the Department of Health (DH) is not doing enough to safeguard the interests of disabled adults and other service-users receiving personal budgets for social care.Its report was published against a background of increasing demand for adult social care, but a real terms fall in spending by English local authorities.The committee concluded that it was “not assured that local authorities can fully personalise care while seeking to save money, and are concerned that users’ outcomes will be adversely affected”.It criticised DH for its “complacent” response to concerns about social care funding, as it had told the committee that this had been addressed through the spending review process, which introduced new powers for local authorities to raise council tax by an extra two per cent to increase social care funding, and provided extra money through the Better Care Fund.The committee also warned that adults who receive council-funded social care “are not yet getting the support they need consistently in order to get the most out of personalising their care”.And it pointed out that DH does not believe that “everyone counted by local authorities as having a personal budget does actually have genuine choice and control over the services they receive”.The report calls for more research to show how local authorities can implement personal budgets “to maximise benefits to users”.The previous day, the Commons communities and local government committee launched an inquiry – and an appeal for written evidence – into “the financial sustainability of local authority adult social care and the quality of care provided”.Clive Betts, the committee’s chair, said that adult social care was “coming under increasing pressure as a result of growing demand and declining local authority budgets”.He said: “Our inquiry will look at the financial sustainability of this care and support to see what can be done to allow councils to continue to meet their legal obligations for future generations.”last_img read more

Three unions are boycotting a scheme that aims to

first_imgThree unions are boycotting a scheme that aims to monitor the number of disabled people and other minorities working in the broadcasting industry, because of its failure to release a detailed breakdown showing figures for individual programmes.Delegates at the TUC disabled workers’ conference in Bournemouth heard that the flaws in Project Diamond meant disabled people were “still likely to be denied access to work” and the ability to “change public perception in a positive way”.They heard that the refusal of workers in the industry to fill in Project Diamond monitoring forms was heaping pressure on the broadcasting industry over its refusal to release programme-by-programme data.The monitoring system was created by broadcasters BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky through the Creative Diversity Network, and aims to capture the equality data of all those working on programmes they commission.But the conference also heard that if a disabled character is played on television by a non-disabled actor, that is still counted in Project Diamond statistics showing how many roles are perceived by audiences to be disabled characters.Natasha Hirst, from NUJ, the journalists’ union, said it was “absolutely disgraceful that that is considered acceptable across the industry”.Proposing a motion that called on the TUC to demand transparent data and for potential penalties for offending broadcasters from the regulator Ofcom – which was passed unanimously – Hirst said the industry’s failure to release detailed figures meant “we cannot drive through the change and the transformation we need to see in broadcasting”.The Project Diamond monitoring scheme is currently being boycotted by NUJ, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the media and entertainment union BECTU, although not by the actors’ union Equity.Hirst said the boycott has been effective because workers had been refusing to fill in the monitoring forms.She said: “It is a great example of the power of action the trade union movements can have in creating and influencing change.”She added: “Disabled people are being denied the opportunity to work by the casting of disabled people in roles we should be filling.“We need complete transparency from the media companies if Project Diamond is going to have the impact we need it to have. The way it is being done is wrong.”Phoebe Kemp* (pictured, right, with Hirst), an Equity delegate, who seconded the motion, said: “We have to have access to the full statistics. We know they have the information, they won’t give it to us.”She also raised concerns about non-disabled people playing the roles of disabled characters.She added: “Nothing About Us Without Us. It is time for the broadcasting and entertainment industries to take note of that.”The conference also unanimously passed an Equity motion which criticised the continuing use of non-disabled actors to play disabled characters.Simon Balcon said that most delegates would consider such practices to be “akin to blacking up”.He said: “Great progress has been made in the area of representation in terms of race and sexuality but much more is needed to provide realistic portrayals of disabled people.”Mik Scarlet, an NUJ delegate, said: “When you go for a casting and you are disabled, it is most likely that you will not get the role.“They will see you because they can tick a box to say they have seen some disabled actors and then they will give it to a non-disabled actor.“What it means is the portrayal is not real.”Iain Scott-Burdon, from Unison, said he was “absolutely fed up” with seeing producers “hiring fakes” for films and television dramas.He said: “Non-disabled people playing our parts; they are as fake as you can get.“We need real, authentic Deaf and disabled people, professionals and experts at what they do.“We need to stop hiring fakes.”He also highlighted a positive example in which producers hired a Deaf child actor, Maisie Sly, for the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child, which Scott-Burdon said was “really well received by the Deaf community”.*During the conference, Kemp performed an extract from her new one-woman play, May, based on the life of the disabled suffragette Rosa May Billinghurstlast_img read more

Whiteville plans to rebuild city hall

first_img The proposal is to demolish this building and build a new one in the same location.“Moving forward, trying to get a better office for the staff. And then obviously for the city and have pride in the city as well. Community and the citizens will have pride in the community with a new building,” Darren Currie, Whiteville city manager, said.Council hopes construction will start by mid fall and the project could cost up to $3,000,000. WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — City council members discussed the construction of a new city hall. The current building is around 80 years old and has a major problem with mold.Moisture seeped into the building throughout the years.- Advertisement – last_img

Trial begins for Hampstead man accused of 2015 murder

first_imgDennis Westberg (Photo: Pender Co. Sheriff’s Office) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A jury selection is underway in the trial of a Hampstead man charged with murder.Dennis Westberg is accused of shooting and killing Larry Joshua Goodson.- Advertisement – The shooting happened in June 2015 in the 400 block of Moores Landing Road.Westberg called 911 and told the operator Goodson was threatening him. Investigators say it appears the two had been drinking together in the home the night before.last_img

Wilmington Planning Commission approves The Avenue development

first_imgDozens attend Wilmington Planning Commission meeting on May 2, 2018 (Photo: Sarah Johnson/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It looks like even more development is coming to Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington.It was a packed house at the Wilmington City Planning Commission’s meeting Wednesday night as residents had the chance to share their thoughts on “The Avenue,” a proposed development off of Military Cutoff Road.- Advertisement – Previously, traffic congestion had city officials wary to approve the project given Military Cutoff’s current issues with traffic.Last year, a city staff review said “the proposal is a major destination-type project in the wrong location with insufficient road system connectivity to distribute the heavy traffic volumes generated by the development.”“But there was one big problem, according to your planning staff: It was the wrong project for that location,” Landfall resident, Terry Reilly, said in part at Wednesday’s Planning Commission Meeting. “And therefore they recommended that it not go forward. I would like to know from the planning staff what’s changed? Nothing significant has changed from last year.”Related Article: City leaders approve new apartments, retail at vacant movie theater siteDevelopers updated the plan to address the traffic issue.Last week, neighbors had a chance to see the updated plans for the project.Most who spoke at Wednesday’s Wilmington Planning Commission meeting were opposed to the project and its special use permit, which would increase building height in the urban mixed use district.The planning board approved “The Avenue” project and voted in favor, 4 to 3, for the developer to have the ability to build 75 foot buildings.The plans now to go to the Wilmington City Council for approval.last_img read more

Topsail High athletic director resigns

first_imgThe Topsail Baseball will have a new head coach in 2019. (Photo: Dustin Dorsey/WWAY) HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Topsail High School Athletic Director Barry West has stepped down from his role with the school.Pirate Baseball Coach Aaron Rimer confirms that West announced his decision last night at an end of the year banquet for the Topsail Lacrosse team.- Advertisement – The announcement comes in the wake of an investigation into the school following the forfeiture of wins due to an ineligible player on the Topsail Baseball team that ultimately left the Pirates out of the NCHSAA playoffs.Parents of the baseball team said West and Topsail Principal Berry Simmons failed the students when they did not recognize the player was ineligible at the beginning of the season. It is the sole responsibility of the athletic director to check if a player is ineligible.The player, Alex Postma, suffers from severe anxiety and was ineligible due to an academic concern from the 2017 Fall semester according to his mother.Related Article: Whiteville baseball chasing third straight state titleAn investigation is still underway from Pender County Schools into the Topsail Administration.last_img read more

Tractortrailer pulls down power lines closes part of 16th Street

first_img As of 2 p.m., the roads were cleared. However, 16 Street and the CSX rail remains closed as Duke Energy works on repairs.The driver of the truck is being checked by EMS.Current traffic map on Waze. Traffic on Waze map on April 23, 2019. (Photo: WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An incident involving a tractor-trailer pulled down power lines and closed South 16th Street near Marstellar Street in Wilmington Tuesday afternoon.Wilmington Fire Department says the truck got entangled with the lines and broke a power pole. It happened just after 1 p.m.- Advertisement – last_img

Malta based businesses meet Japanese businesses in Italy

first_img SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Malta Chamber Business ForumMalta Chamber Business Forum Representatives of Malta based business met senior officials from Japanese companies who have base in Italy, during a Business Forum organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce Enterprise and Industry.The business forum was organised in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan in Italy and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Italy.The delegation was led by the Ambassador of Japan to Malta, Keiichi Katakami, and was welcomed by the Malta Chamber President David Xuereb, who highlighted the Chamber’s role as an influential interlocutor for fostering existing and new business relations between Malta and Japan.Ambassador Katakami lauded the significant improvement in commercial and economic ties since the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and announced the imminent opening of the Maltese Embassy in Japan by the end of the year.WhatsApplast_img read more

PN MEP David Casa made lead rapporteur for EUs social fund

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Nationalist MEP David Casa has been made the lead rapporteur for the EU’s body supporting educational and employment opportunities for Europeans.In addition to his new roles as a member of the European Parliament Bureau and Quaestor, Casa will now be responsible for negotiating the European Social Fund + (ESF+)The ESF+ is understood to provide opportunities for around 10 million Europeans on a yearly basis, helping them to learn new skills and seek better jobs.Read more:David Casa elected EP QuaestorMetsola and Casa reconfirmed EPP coordinators in their EP committeesResponding to his new role, Casa said that, ‘the ESF+ is a tool that has huge implications and can deliver incredible results that can positively impact the lives of European citizens – I am confident that I can contribute to improving the way this fund is used.’The ESF+ is believe to provide greater inclusion and mitigate unemployment which result from economic crises. The fund is also part of the EU’s bigger picture plan for remodeling the European economy.WhatsApplast_img read more