Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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My journey with the Coalition

Here is an ode written by one of our Board Directors and long standing members, Jonathan.

After being asked for my thoughts,
I’m putting down words,
It’s up to the readers, if they think they are the best.

Now, what or which words should I use?
I thought of some, a few were discarded,
Here are the rest.

While training my plants to tie them to canes, 
It occurred to me how like a plant or any living creature;
They can grow to a tree,
What follows now is what happened to me, one day at the ATM, I knew I couldn’t see.
What to do, although it was bright, the screen reflected the light,
It blocked out the screen, getting some cash was going to be a fight!

Out of the passing pedestrians came a voice,
“Young man you seem to have a plight,”!
Indeed, I do have one, I sighed,
“Well, I can’t see but I know someone who can”!
A genial voice joined the first, 
It sounded familiar but who could it be?

With his help the right buttons were pressed, I got my lucre, no more to be addressed.
Well, actually it was really the beginning of how I came to be ultimately meeting Maya and the others via Zoom, today at three!

After thanking this kindly duo,
They informed me that they were just two of a group.
Not musicians or militants, more just kind hearted just out to survey,
Egham my home for Accessibility.

After a few minutes, conversation and explanation, came the invitation.
Come to our meeting on Monday, with some listening and observation,
I went to that meeting and was impressed,

All of this was about seventeen years ago.
What happened next, I would like you to know.
I went to more of their meetings and wanted to help,
We visited all manner of places far and near,
Some issues we solved, but not that many,
Some were not, it needed money, but there wasn’t any!

I was invited to another group with a title long and grand.
I travelled to Addlestone, with a very affable chap,
He had two metal legs, but then what of that?
A metaphorical seed had been planted linking some similar groups.
The Runnymede Access were forming a troupe,
To make life better for people like me,
For others also.
For plants to grow they need Sun.
In this case, much work would need to be done.
Me, I’m disabled but a user of services.
I was and still am,
A Service User in a network of people with needs,
Here’s where it leads, 
To The Coalition  
A couple of years passed, and we helped each other to 
Develop a group first of a few dozen but growing, not out of hand, slowly but surely the Coalition expanded, 
From all over Surrey, together we banded,
In meetings large and small.  “Come to or AGM”
So I did, my physical vision departed, but still I could see, the Coalition was for me. My life did not stop, 
I didn’t want to mope and complain, after all, being blind doesn’t cause pain,
It’s when you walk into a lamp post or the door of a train.
Around me were people in long term pain, did they complain?
No! so why should I, to me it was plain.
A few years later, I was elected to become a Director.
To sit on the Board, not in a posh City office but in a room at Astolat.
The Knights sat at a big table, not round but still stable.
The first two kind folk who encouraged me to join them, have since left this Earth but Pat’s voice still echoes in my head,
It was some items on the Talking Newspaper he read.

Move on to twenty and twenty,
Both the Coalition and technology had moved on Suddenly a rumour was on.
No, not a rumour but fact, by a virus, the world was being attacked. Lockdown was keeping folk prisoner and could they couldn’t get out.
How can we help the mobility and sensory disabled, well with Zoom they could be enabled.
They can learn that there is a world out there.
My McGonigle rhyme is nearing its end.
The Coalitions Zoom have much encouragement to lend.
I have mentioned Pat and Edna, but there are others to mention, Carol, Yasmin and Clare, so many others, Nick, Anna and Pete, Cliff and others now gone, but thanks to Maya, this ballad could be turned into a song.
It’s not classical in nature, just a simple narrator. It’s not a real word, but for tonight my task is done.
We Zoom groups meet and have fun, smiles and carry each other along. I hear the smiles and frustrations, but being enabled to communicate helps the days go along.

Disability Cricket Days

Check Physical Activity News page for details about Disability Cricket Days.

30 days wild

30 days wild

June is 30 Days Wild month so this week I’d like to follow on from volunteering opportunities in the great outdoors and look at some other ways you can Get More Active whilst enjoying the wonderful countryside in Surrey.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy the countryside is by walking if you are able. You can find information about accessible walks (including those suitable for wheelchair users) in the area here:

Access for All | Disabled Walks | Canal & River Trust (canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Surrey (accessiblecountryside.org.uk)

Why not combine your trip out with capturing some of the views on camera or stopping to listen to the birdsong – you could even set your alarm for an early start and catch the dawn chorus!

If you are an art lover, you could combine some fresh air with a wide variety of sculptures at Farnham’s sculpture park. There are steps on one of the guided routes but there is also a step free accessible route. https://www.thesculpturepark.com/

Cycling is a wonderful way to appreciate nature and the nationally recognised initiative Wheels for All embraces children and adults with disabilities and differing needs, to engage in a quality cycling activity providing fun and stimulating cycling. Their centres have specially adapted cycles and trained leaders so that all can enjoy the benefits of cycling in a social environment. Our closest centres are Leatherhead, Woking, Epsom, Slough, Croydon and Crawley and you can find out more here:

Wheels for All | Cycling Projects — The UK inclusive cycling charity

And if you really want to get up close and personal with nature why not challenge yourself to get up in the trees and Go Ape?! Go Ape courses are high rope adventures with tree to tree crossings rope climbs and zip wires. They are certainly challenging but Go Ape would like to make their adventures as accessible as possible. You can read more about their accessibility here:

Accessibility of Go Ape Adventures | Go Ape

And find locations here:

Adventures at locations and forests across the UK | Go Ape

This is just a brief snapshot of ideas to get you thinking about being active outdoors. If you would like to discuss any of these activities (and more), in depth, then please get in touch with the Get More Active project:

Email: getmoreactive@surreycoalition.org.uk

Phone or SMS text: 07434 865062

If you’d like to join in with the free 30 Days Wild initiative you can get more ideas and sign up here:

30 Days Wild 2021 – Sign up for your pack | The Wildlife Trusts

28.05.2021 weekly update

Happy Friday! Here is the update for this week. Enjoy your long weekend!

Big THANK YOU to our wonderful Volunteers

It’s volunteers’ week, and all of us here, in Coalition, would like to say a big THANK YOU to all our wonderful volunteers.

We recorded a short video with all our thanks, watch it here!