opportunitiesforall.org a directory website for disabled people in Southern Trust Area - Disability Action

Skip Navigation

Browse Aloud

Disability Action

10 October 2012

Minutes of the Meeting of the Disability Users Forum Held on Wednesday 10 October in Loughbrickland P.S.

Disability Action



Disability User Forum members:

Damian Mc Sorley (Chair), Gerry Murray, Andrew Martin, Martin Mallon, Gerard Mc Evoy

Coppersfield Day Centre service users: Geraldine Fegan, Danny Curran Robert Clarke Stanley Fisher William Gibson Brendan Maguire Jim Corbett (Jim is also a Disability User Forum member)

In attendance: Heather Logan, Centre for Human Rights Disability Action, Noreen McDowell Action on Hearing Loss


Maria Hughes, Bernadette McCabe, Pat Hurley, John Stewart, Mark Bennett, Kenny Clydesdale. Rodney Hamilton, Pat Hurley



Welcome and apologies



Damian welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave apologies for Rodney Hamilton, Maria Hughes Bernadette Mc Cabe, Pat Hurley, John Stewart, Mark Bennett, and Kenny Clydesdale. He also welcomed Heather Logan from Disability Action to the meeting.

Damian highlighted an apology from Pat Hurley who had travelled to Loughbrickland that day but unfortunately had gone to another Primary School in Loughbrickland. Damian contacted Pat following the meeting that day and was informed of this.

 Damian and group

Directions to meetings to be included in new venues



Outline of format of the meeting

Damian outlined the format of today’s meeting by referring to the agenda.

2Minutes of previous meeting 

The previous minutes of the 12 September

2012 were then discussed and progress on various action points was identified.



Matters arising Part A



Installation of loop in Millview

Thanks were expressed to Eils Hill for organizing the loop system for today’s meeting.

Damian to send minutes of meeting to Eilis

Positivity of group highlighted

Damian read out an extract from the minutes that highlighted the positivity of group members at the last meeting. He highlighted this to show the strengths that group members have in dealing with disability issues on a daily basis.

Examples of positivity to continue to be highlighted in minutes  


Feedback on Information Event in Dungannon on `Changes to DLA`

Damian gave feedback on the `Information Event on PIPS` in Dungannon on 2 October 2012.

60 service users from voluntary and statutory organisations as well as 10 Disability Action staff attended. 5 service users from the Disability User Forum and Manor Day Centre attended and said they learnt a lot from the session. 2 apologies were received from service users who were sick on the day of the meeting.

Damian to feedback to SHSCT and Disability Action



The Question and Answer Session

This served to clear up any concerns. One to one advice from Disability Action staff on the day was also utilized and it was viewed as very beneficial.

Damian to feedback to Disability Action

Gerard Mc Evoy feedback on visual test for welfare benefit reassessment

Gerard confirmed that he had found out that if a person with a visual disability is reassessed under PIP, they need to achieve at least 3 over 60 in the medical evidence required in the eye sight test to receive the high payment.

PIP is a new benefit that will be replacing DLA and everyone currently on DLA will be invited to claim PIP once it comes in from October 2013. Reassessment will occur between October 2013 and March 2016.

Damian to highlight this to SHSCT and Disability Action 


Feedback from Gerard.Mc Evoy on Vision Forum

Gerard informed everyone that the Vision Forum meets twice yearly. Led by Senior Social Worker, Liz Tanner SHSCT, everyday life issues of the visually impaired and blind are discussed.

Some of the main points Gerard highlighted were:-

       Meeting appointments: If you get a letter, you depend on wife or family to let you know. A phone call may avoid appointments being missed because letters can’t be read about appointments.

        `If I go in to a health centre and walk to reception, I cannot see a face and this is tricky. This issue is helped by my doctor calling my name when I arrive. 

       Adele Orr runs a Liaison scheme at Craigavon Hospital. Adele or her team will meet you at hospital door when you arrive and guide you to wherever you need to go to. Gerard mentioned that people should be aware of this service.

       A Flashing appointments notice board is also an issue. You have to wait until your name appears but I tell the receptionist when I go in that I can't see it.  At the moment, my doctor is aware of this.




Gerard Mc Evoy thanked by Damian for input.






Damian to feedback this to SHSCT and Disability Action


        Gerard gave feedback on what takes place in the Disability User Forum to the group. 

PPI: Feedback on Transforming Your Care Event

Damian gave feedback on a Transforming Your Care Patient and Client Council Roadshow event and indicated that it would be useful for the Disability User Forum to get involved in future debate around this issue. Andrew Martin also attended this event.

PPI to be contacted re speaker on Transforming Your Care

Stages for Digital Switchover

A few questions arose on Digital Switchover.

Damian referred to part 4 of the minutes which explained the whole process

Group photo

Damian reminded everyone of our agreement that verbal consent was given for publicity purposes. New members agreed to this.

Verbal consent given by new members



Presentation by Heather Logan Disability Action on Human Rights


   Heather Logan

Introduction to Human Rights

Heather began her presentation by   stating that the United Nations Convention on the Rights Of Persons with Disabilities serves to protect disabled people. There are 50 articles that protect disabled people. Cases on discrimination involve issues such as being people being abused or not treated right. It can even involve hate crime.


Our own identities and uniqueness

Heather used a poem, activity games, DVD and a PowerPoint presentation to convey the fact that although we are all human beings, we have our own distinctive personalities and unique identities.

For example:- We cannot assume that two young people with learning difficulties are the same as they need to learn differently.


Examination of needs, wants and rights

We discussed the differences between needs, wants and rights. The group were able to see the importance of human needs such as clothes to keep us warm, food, shelter and clean water. We may want the most fashionable clothes or the latest computer or more money but we could do without these things.

The right to education and protection from abuse and neglect was discussed. In addition, people have the right to express their opinion and be listened to.




Being careful when care is provided for you

In relation to care given, people may decide to do things on your behalf but this may not be what you want. The right care or support may not be given and the person may not be listened to.


Example of Human Rights Case

The Human Rights Centre helped a young man with cancer that had a learning disability and was not receiving the right medical treatment. The case was won and he is now receiving the right care.

Heather gave the example of an elderly person in a care home having their food set down and carers not aware the person cannot reach it. This can constitute neglect as the person cannot help themselves.



Summary of Human Rights session

Human rights enables people to be happy healthy and treated fairly and involved in society. Human rights talk about how people should treat each other  As a person, one needs to know your rights and be protected at home, in day centres or wherever you may be. It’s about expressing your own opinion, and being given the choice and right to do so.


Matters arising Part B: Accessibility issues



Follow up information on Martin Mallon issue

Damian informed Martin that if a private bus company such as Ulsterbus runs a private bus tour, they have a public duty to ensure it is  wheelchair accessible.

Martin mentioned that the problem had arisen when he wanted to go to the South of Ireland and couldn’t access the buses.  Added to that was the problem of getting hotels that are wheelchair accessible.





Damian gave Martin a draft letter he obtained from Paddy Conway of the Equality Commission if Martin wishes to follow this up


Other discussion on accessibility

       Jim mentioned that a bus sometimes arrives and they say they won't take you.

       Gerard who is visually impaired mentioned that he has problems getting into his seat as entries into seats can be very high raised. A seat may be accessible to wheelchair but present difficulty for a visually impaired person.

        Jim recounted that when in London he flagged down a Black taxi for himself and another wheelchair user. He was informed that only one wheelchair could be accommodated. Jim stated that he `got out of the wheelchair and sat in the taxi`

       Martin informed members that taxi companies may feel that they are losing three fares for seats if they take a wheelchair user.

       Jim mentioned that taxi drivers may start the meter and include their assistance in wheeling the person to or from the venue.

       Some people had informed the group that if they were in a hurry they would travel without the wheel clamps if they were in a hurry to get somewhere.

Damian to feedback to Disability Action and SHSCT



 Door to Door transport

       There was not enough door to door transport to meet demand.

       It was discussed that Door to Door transport stops at 5pm on weekdays and is usually not available at weekends. `People should be able to socialise or obtain transport to Church`

       Gerard also informed everyone that rural transport is the same as 48 hour notice needs to be given and this presents difficulties for disabled people who may be living on a day to day basis.

Damian to feedback to Disability Action and SHSCT

Query on dog training from Freda Power

Damian informed everyone that the above query has been followed up  with Eamon Donaghy, Training Officer, at Disability Action.

Martin, who is also from Millview Day Centre, informed everyone that he has spoken to Freda and she is happy that plans are being made to get her dog trained. The dog when  trained will be able

to lift letters, get the phone, open doors etc and assist Freda as she is still very ill after her recent hospitalization.




Damian to feedback to Disability Action and SHSCT      










Jim Corbett accessibility issue


Jim has to use a side entrance as there is a step at the main entrance. He mentioned that although the cashier sees him and he expects to be served, others join the queue inside. Jim mentioned that he has to wait for someone to come out.

Jim was given a draft letter and asked to contact the Equality Commission NI if he wishes to pursue this



Brendan Maguire: Safety issue Loughbrickland

Brendan brought up the fact that he lives in Loughbrickland and nearly got knocked down twice with speeding vehicles.

There are no pedestrian crossings or speed ramps. Brendan has started a petition and has got 60 signatures. In addition, there is not  a pedestrian crossing for children to go to the park and this is an added danger. Brendan has given his petition to the local Council.  Heather mentioned that the Council have right to protect each and every one of us and offered assistance on this matter.

Brendan to contact Heather or Damian if he wishes to pursue this

Feedback on Information session in Station Road Resource Centre

Gerry Murray attended an information session in Station Road on Welfare Reform and Karen Graham assisted five people on that day with one to one benefit advice. Positive feedback was received from everyone who attended this session.

Feedback on this session was collated on evaluation forms


Newsletter feedback from Station Road Resource Centre

A service user from Station Road wanted us to convey his appreciation of the newsletter article on the achievements of two service users, Martin and Gabriel who were part of a team that won the Claude Stevens wheelchair bowls trip in Dublin.




Damian to give feedback at next meeting of SHSCT editorial group



Feedback on Information session in Manor Day Centre.

There was good feedback from Andrew Martin on the meeting in Manor Day Centre. Information on pending Welfare Reform and the Disability User Forum was welcomed. Coupled with this was the opportunity to raise an accessibility issue on the Hub in Craigavon. This is currently being followed up by the Accessibility Forum in Craigavon Council following a call from Damian.





Damian to inform Orla Mc Cann on developments with Accessibility Forum in Craigavon


Evaluation of today’s session




Despite low numbers today, the feedback was very positive from today’s session. Members felt that we were able to discuss issues in greater depth.

Updates on accessibility issues, action on dog training and information on human rights gave members greater clarity on their rights as disabled people.

Damian to feedback to SHSCT and Disability Action

7Any other business 
7.1No other business to discuss. 

Date of next meeting



Provisional date for next meeting

A provisional date of the next meeting was agreed.  Members were informed that Damian is moving to another post but as yet has no official start date. Martina Mc Elhone is returning from Maternity Leave on 3 December 2012


Provisional Date and Time:

Thursday 29 November 2012

11.00am- 2.00 pm


Venue: Station Road Resource Centre


Damian will inform Disability User Forum members if this meeting will take place

« Go Back