August 2019
UK research charity working with disabled and older people
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Our news
Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos podcasts
Phil Friend, RiDC's chair, talks to well-known disabled people about products they use to help them live independent lives in his new series of Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos podcasts.
You can hear the first four, with Geoff Adams-Spink, Simon Minty, Rick Williams and Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds, via the Rate it! website. Phil will add more podcasts in the future. Listen to the podcasts below.
Heating controls survey extended
Over a third of disabled adults say that their condition has a large impact on their energy costs. And over half worry about paying heating bills.
We want to let you know which heating controls are the most effective and easy to use so you can keep energy bills down - but we need your help.
So please take our heating controls survey, below. We've extended the closing date to 31 August. The £100 prize draw stays open, too!
Electric cars survey - please give us your views
We've also extended the closing date for our electric cars survey to 31 August, so no-one will miss it because they're on holiday.
We need your views and experiences of electric vehicles to help us write a new consumer guide for disabled drivers.
The survey is available online; in print and large print; or you can give your answers over the phone. Everyone who completes the survey is eligible a prize draw for one £100 high street shopping voucher and three £50 vouchers. Please take the survey below - the chances of winning are currently quite reasonable indeed.
RiDC disabled rail travel research
RiDC research shows that disabled people still face challenges with train travel, including passenger assist staff not being available, getting help with ticketing, boarding the train, getting to a seat or wheelchair space, and staff phoning the destination.
This research was published in a recent Department for Transport (DfT) report. The DfT has also announced a £20m rail accessibility fund - there's more about that later in this newsletter. Read the DfT report below.
Other news
Gem in orange RiDC colour
Give red cord meddlers the red card
Have you ever found the red alarm cord in a disabled toilet tied up or otherwise put out of reach? This isn't just thoughtless, it could stop someone from getting help.
But did you know that Euan's Guide, the disabled access review website, provides cards to attach to red cords? The cards explain why it's so important to let the cord hang all the way to the floor. Find out more and get your free red cord card below.
Is the UK Government on your wavelength?
Have you had problems trying to use Government services because they're online only? Is it harder to claim your benefits online, for example?
RiDC is working with WaveLength, a charity that works to alleviate loneliness across the UK, as part of the Digital Equality Group (DEG).
DEG wants your evidence to help make sure people still have a choice about how they engage with government services. Take the WaveLength survey, or phone them with your experiences, below.
Trains: new accessible travel policy
Train and station operators must make travel assistance more reliable, cut the amount of time needed to book it ahead, improve staff training, and make it easier to get compensation when things go wrong, the new Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) states.
This guidance, published by the Office of Rail and Road, aims to make train travel easier for disabled and older people. The ATP applies to all train companies and station operators in Britain and replaces the Disabled People’s Protection Policy Guidance. Read the full details below.
£20m rail accessibility fund
A £20 million fund to help improve accessibility at rail stations is open for applications, the DfT has announced.
Stations can apply for money to help them make small-scale enhancements such as tactile paving, handrails, and Harrington Humps, which increase platform heights.
The Government hopes the improvements will help disabled people "to travel easily, confidently and without extra cost". See more below.
Welfare unfair to disabled people
Disabled adults are four times worse off financially than non-disabled adults because of welfare system changes, new research commissioned by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) finds.
The more disabilities you have the more you lose out, the report says, and households with one disabled adult and one disabled child are the worst off.
Many disabled people find the welfare system so complex that it has a devastating impact on their wider health and wellbeing, the DBC adds. Find out more below.
UK airport accessibility
The Civil Aviation Authority's latest report on the accessibility of the UK's 31 largest airports shows that:
  • 14 are 'very good'
  • 16 are 'good'
  • 1 (Manchester) 'needs improvement'
  • None are 'poor' - for the first time ever
Nearly half of disabled passengers surveyed asked for assistance at an airport for the first time, and 23% thought they would fly more often in the next year. Three out of four rated the service as good or very good, and 79% were satisfied with the assistance they received.
But there's room for improvement. Almost a quarter of disabled passengers requested assistance because airports are becoming more difficult to navigate, the report shows, and over half said they find travelling by air difficult. Read the full airport accessibility report below.
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