Monthly Archives

October 2019

Why spikes aren’t the answer

By | Accessibility, Business, Disability, Emily Yates, Lifestyle, News, Workplace

If you’ve followed us for a while, you will know that, as a charity, we pride ourselves on facilitating communication and connection between disabled people and their non-disabled peers, through our disability awareness training, talks at conferences and helpful resource creation. As disabled people ourselves, we are fully aware that those who have little to no experience around areas of access and inclusion, or any disabled relatives or friends, don’t always get it right (and, sometimes, get it very, very wrong).  We’ve been shamed for using accessible bathrooms because we don’t ‘look’ physically disabled, patronised by people who have spoken to our parents or partners as they just assume that we are unable to contribute to a conversation ourselves, and we’ve even had to leave dates with very hot men on them because, quite frankly, regardless of how beautiful they were, they weren’t up to scratch when it came to empathy and awareness.

But, you know what? These more negative events are genuinely a drop in the ocean compared to the warmth and welcoming attitude of many we experience on a daily basis.  It’s not unusual for members of the public to be helpful and supportive when needed.  Just last week, a stranger got off the tube and waited for the next one to ensure that one of our colleagues was able to get herself and her bags onto the platform with ease.  Those we have trained have gone out of their way to contact us and let us know what a positive difference our training has made to how they are performing in their roles and, as well as hot but uneducated and absolutely-not-right dates, we’ve found partners who absolutely ‘get it’ and put those who don’t to shame. 

As far as we’re concerned, it’s human nature to mess up and make mistakes sometimes, but good intentions are everything when considering what you say and do around others.  That’s why we were saddened to read Spikes – and other ways disabled people combat unwanted touching.on the BBC website recently. It documents the experiences of several disabled people who have been touched without their consent by non-disabled members of the public, from bus drivers to fellow commuters, and gone to some pretty extreme lengths to discourage it, including placing spikes on the handles of their wheelchairs which, although not capable of puncturing the skin, are pretty clear in the vibe that they give off.

There’s been times when we’ve also wanted to use the #JustAskDontGrab hashtag: when taxi drivers have hauled us up dangerously steep ramps without our permission, for example.  We really do understand the frustration and fear that unwanted, and unnecessary, attention can cause. But we also regularly hear the stories of disabled people who are craving understanding and interaction, and of non-disabled people who want to learn and be educated.

Where’s the middle line, or the happy medium? Isn’t it a shame that a wheelchair user needs spikes to feel safe but, at the same time, is shutting off the opportunity to educate people whose behaviour she desperately wants to change? 

People don’t learn and alter their ways if they are never told that what they are doing, however well intentioned, could be done better. To spread kindness and understanding, shouldn’t we be displaying it ourselves? 

Both literally and metaphorically, maybe we should soften our spikes a little too.

Love Lounge Top Tips – Sex that’s out of sync

By | Disability, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge, Undressing Disability

Positioning, pain and having those oh-so-intimate conversations in the bedroom – topics that we regularly get asked questions on at the Love Lounge.  Seductive Hollywood movies and porn films are full of sleek, perfectly angled bodies having sleek, perfectly angled sex. But what happens when what really goes on between the sheets isn’t quite as in sync as we’d planned?

Perhaps you’re struggling to get into those more daring, exotic (and frankly, uncomfortable) positions, or regularly experiencing pain during sex that puts a sharp stop to your partner’s orgasm.  Whatever it may be, out-of-sync sex can be frustrating, difficult to discuss, and often make people feel as if their whole relationship is not quite hitting the mark, either. So, what can be done about it?

  1. Play to your strengths.

Going on top might prove an uncomfortable nightmare for you, but you surely have other skills that will blow your partner away! By doing what we think our other half wants and taking little enjoyment in it ourselves, e often fail to show the best of ourselves and our talents, both in and out of the bedroom.  Most people would be mortified if they knew their partners were putting on a show but having a pretty rubbish time underneath it all. After all, sex is still out of sync if you have to pretend you’re enjoying it.  Play to your strengths (and not just what you’re good at, but what you personally enjoy) and keep the out-of-sync sex at bay!

  • Wear your heart on your sleeve.

If something isn’t working when it comes to sex, have the confidence to bring it up and discuss it. Let’s say that it’s pain that’s stopping you both from climaxing, leading to a very frustrating ending of the session – that frustration will only get worse if you don’t dare to venture into the realms of the awkward and talk about what might be done to change your experience.  Something as simple as a pillow or cushion underneath you might be the solution, or it might take a trip to the doctors.  Either way, taking action will always feel better than learning to avoid sex or intimacy because it hurts (and you’ll continue to feel close and loved up with your partner if you are searching for a solution together, rather than laying their awkwardly in silence after it happens again).

  • Let it strengthen you.

Funnily enough, what often never gets mentioned in the media, is that issues that make us stop, think and revaluate often lead to positivity in some way.  So, whether discussing your sex life makes it better in the long run, or having heart to hearts with your partner brings the two of you closer, ensure that you allow any out-of-sync issues to strengthen you in the future.

Wishing you luck, and in-sync loving!


Enhance the UK CEO awarded for her work with disabled people

By | Accessibility, Business, Disability, News, Workplace

CEO of charity named in the Shaw Trust Power 100 list

Jennie Williams, founder and CEO of Enhance the UK, a charity which aims to challenge perceptions of disability through its campaigning work and its disability awareness training has been named in the prestigious Shaw Trust Power 100 List. Now in its fifth year the Power 100 List celebrates the achievements of individuals who strive to break down barriers around disability to create a more inclusive world.

Jennie and her team of freelance disabled trainers’ campaign to change public perceptions of what disabled people can do by delivering insightful and confidence boosting disability awareness training for public and private sector organisations.

She said “One in five working people in the UK have a disability which is a fact that surprises many people. I’m a CEO and mum of two and whilst my degenerative hearing loss means I Skype instead of phone, and lip read instead of hear each word, it doesn’t stop me adding value to businesses I work with, the teams I lead or the community I live in. It’s wonderful to be recognised in the Shaw Trust Power 100 List as hopefully it challenges people’s perceptions of disability and highlights the need for more open conversations, training and inclusivity in business, education and communities.”

Working with organisations such as the BBC, Premier League Football Clubs, galleries, schools, Northern Rail and Members of Parliament Jennie believes that open discussion and tackling the issue head on is the key to overcoming unnecessary barriers and outdated thinking around disability.

Jennie set up Enhance The UK after working in the care sector and becoming frustrated with the lack of practical information and support available for people who wanted to know more about communicating with disabled people both professionally and personally.

Jennie explains:

 “People with a disability have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else, from climbing the career ladder, to travelling the world or finding someone special to share their life with. The biggest barrier we face is poor communication and limited understanding but that shouldn’t stand in the way of achieving our ambitions. Let’s work together to share ideas and knowledge, learn from each other and together we can all benefit from living and working in an inclusive society.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. Enhance The UK is a charity run by disabled people. We want to change the way people view disability and for disabled people to be active and equal members of society. We do this by supporting businesses to be more inclusive by providing disability awareness training, as well as offering a number of other services and resources.
  2. For more information visit: www.enhancetheuk.org
  3. Photographs available on request
  4. Press enquiries: sam@enhancetheuk.org

About the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List

The Shaw Trust Power List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. Since its inception four years ago, the publication has gone from strength to strength. Over the years it has allowed Shaw Trust to encourage businesses, employers and other organisations to reflect on opportunities available for disabled people. The list plays a vital role in providing much needed encouragement to the young and talented leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to see that aspiration and ambition can be fulfilled regardless of disability or impairment.

For more information please visit: www.disabilitypower100.com

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