Swindon demonstrates against government use of ATOS

There was a small demo outside of the Swindon Job Centre on the morning of the 19th Feb, against the government’s use of ATOS, the company commissioned to vet benefits applications of sick and disabled people signed off by their DR’s It was part of a nationwide protest.

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Simon Weston and Mike Penning at Swindon Disability Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Simon Weston Falklands War Veteran and disability campaigner. Along with Mike Penning Minister of State for Disabled People at the Swindon SEQOL Disability Confident Conference held at the Steam Museum. Both really nice guys to talk to, in fact everybody there was a pleasure to work with and talk to.

Bristol Save the NHS and Anti Austerity Protest March

Today I spent a few hours in Bristol at the Save The NHS and Anti Austerity Measures protest march and rally. There were a good few hundred protestors from various groups including The Radical Bloc, Save The NHS, many of the Trades Unions and other supporters. It was quite a loud march but peaceful and good natured and included The Radical Bloc Group stopping outside of Primark to protest and show their solidarity with the Bangladesh workers who ae suffering quite a lot at the moment, well probably all the time to be honest!!

This is just a small selection of all of my images which if anybody is interested more can be found at http://www.DEMOTIX.com or
please feel free to contact me directly.

Parkinson’s Awareness Week Flash Mob in Swindon

Despite heavy showers interspersed with bright sunshine a hardy bunch of supporters of The Parkinson’s Awareness Week were out in the centre of Swindon this lunch time performing a flash mob. The performers and collectors stood perfectly still for several minutes in both Wharf Green and Regent Street. All in aid of raising the awareness of Parkinson’s disease, something that could possibly affect any one of us.

Swindon Disability Access Day a huge success

Swindon Borough Council’s Access Day hailed a great success.
Over 20 local Swindon schools, with 160 children, attended the Swindon Borough Council’s Leisure Services Access Day last week, which was run in conjunction with the Borough’s Advisory Teachers.
Taking place at the Link Centre in West Swindon, Children with a wide range of disabilities were encouraged to have a go at a number of activities which were run by SBC’s Leisure staff and local clubs.
Croquet (Swindon Croquet Club), Fencing (Swindon Fencing Club), Wheelchair Basketball (Swindon Shock), Wheelchair Rugby (Swindon St George), Football (STFC Football in the Community), Dance (Swindon Dance), Martial Arts (Success Martial Arts), Swimming (Swindon Dolphins & ASA), Climbing, Boccia, Trampolining and Ice Skating were just a few activities on offer to the children throughout the day.
Louise Hunt, London 2012 Paralympian Tennis player was also in attendance to support the day and speak to the children, “It’s wonderful to see so many children trying different sporting activities from across the Borough. Sport is one activity that can bring a group of individuals together whatever their ability, age or gender.”
Mike Swann Climbing Wall Manager at the Ridge mentioned “it was really hard work but the best day of the year!”
John Airey from Swindon Croquet Club commented “the event was well organised with plenty of help for the children at each activity from the students from New College. It was felt by one school that the sport of croquet could be of benefit to their SRP group and inquired if Swindon Croquet Club could help with the special equipment that they had developed”.
Tony Ellis, Coach of the Swindon St George Wheelchair Tag Rugby League Club commented “we got the day off to a really good start, the youngsters were queuing up for chairs; to have a go at Wheelchair Rugby. We played at 100 Smiles per hour, great fun, for the coaches and the participants”.
The day was organised by Doug Imrie, Coaching Coordinator for the Leisure Services Team with support from Emma Waters and Sheila Hanson from the Schools Advisory Team to engage children from across Swindon in activities which they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to try.
The day was funded by Aiming High along with funding from Project Ability and the Amateur Swimming Association. It’s only with this funding support that opportunities like this can be offered to the children of Swindon.
Over 35 New College student volunteers were coordinated by Sue Harrison to help the students gain experience of working with children with Special Needs and although there were a few nervous faces at the start, each enjoyed the day.
Coaching Coordinator Doug Imrie said ,“after the huge success of the London 2012 Paralympics this was perfect timing to offer the children of Swindon the opportunity to work with local clubs and try activities they may not have even seen or tried before. It was great to have Louise Hunt here supporting the day and meeting the children as well to add to the excitement of the day.”
For more information please follow: Twitter: AbilitySportSN or Facebook: Disability Sport Swindon

The NHS the GWH and Me

Another small post from me again without a photo but hey thats ok.

I just wanted to say something about the NHS and the GWH (Great Western Hospital). I am sat here in my study thinking about what was on the news this morning all about how there is not enough front line staff (ie nurses) and that it is causing massive problems. Well I guess it must be true as they would not put it on the news, would they!!!!! but I would just like to say it wasnt my experience.

Firstly forget the fact that I was 6 months late in having my operation as that was an administrative problem of which I have still yet to get to the bottom of. Last thursday I went into the Great Western Hospital in Swindon to have my Gallbladder removed. I couldnt have got better service if I had have gone private. Right from the moment I walked in to the moment I left I found that what ever I needed was provided, there were the right amount of nurses, Dr’s,Consultants, anesthetist, cleaners, porters, and so on. I cannot fault the staff at all. I cant say it was a pleasant experience as I felt quite ill for a while after but it was a pleasant experience if you know what I mean. It wsnt exactly a one to one ratio but all I ever had to do was raise a hand or groan and there was somebody there to attend to my needs. And everything was done with a good heart, I only saw one grumpy nurse who refused to smile, all others were happy and friendly and seemed to enjoy their job. Now I have been on enough protests (photographing) to know that they are treated badly, poorly paid and so on but certainly my experience of last week was they did not let it affect their work.
However I do understand all the underlying issues that the NHS faces and that is for another time, I just wanted to say that I had a good experience with the NHS and the GWH. And if there are any Dr’s, nurses etc reading this, a big thank you from me.