Penny’s Blog: Local Groups with a lot to Offer

This week it’s the build up to our AGM on Saturday and I would like to give you the run down on the groups that are attending with their stands.

Some of these you have met before in the blog but some you haven’t so here goes:

 Norwich Access Group

Norwich Access Group

For over 20 years Norwich Access group have been working to improve accessibility in the Norwich Area and beyond for all disabled people.

Past and present activities include –

Independent Living Groups  

Norwich, Dereham and Watton, North Norfolk ILG and Access group, Skype

The groups provide Peer Support on Personal Budgets and Direct Payments but have also widened their remit to include a varied range of speakers and involvement in local issues related to enabling those facing disabling barriers to live Independent Lives.

The group in North Norfolk has joined with the local Access group to incorporate working closely with the local Community on all issues in regards to Access.

 Dereham and District Access group Dereham & District Access Group Logo

(Written to celebrate over 25 years of achievement)

Disabled people thought it wrong

To wait out on the street too long

And grapple with the heavy doors

And kerbs and steps to higher floors


But now they think it’s quite fantastic

To find some doors are automatic

Ramps and lifts are often there

For those who travel by wheelchair.


And in the streets things still improve

To help to keep us on the move

Dropped kerbs, and humps – a parking space

Things really have come on a-pace!


And tactile paving you will note

Another aid that gets our vote

And pushchair Mums and old folk too

Are just as pleased as me and you.


Police and Highways are those who

We need to be so grateful to,

Along with Councillors and more

Who found us knocking on their door?

There’s lots who’ve helped us with Access

Not least of all, the Local Press


Those impaired in sound and sight

Want to rise above their plight

Along with all the wheelchair users

Who do not want to be the losers?

So help us on our upward fight

To do what’s only just and right.


Sing Your Heart Out        Sing Your Heart Out Logo

Norwich, Kings Lynn, Attleborough, Sheringham, Great Yarmouth

Sing your heart Out says on their website that “it’s all about having fun” and I would certainly agree, and chocolate biscuits of course!

Sing Your Heart Out is somewhere anyone can come, where they will meet friendly people, and where everyone is welcome and everyone is valued.

Their singing sessions are to help people feel better about themselves in all sorts of ways. They can help reduce stress, they can increase your confidence and they give you a chance to be with other people who will understand how you feel.


The Black Dog Music Project   Black Dog Logo

The Black dog Music Project is a Norwich Based Charity that provides help and support for people with mental health problems.

They provide music sessions throughout the week at Earth studios Norwich for their members to attend weekly sessions to either learn to play from scratch or regain forgotten skills with a goal to raising their confidence and self-esteem, join existing or form new bands within the project.

They are now in their 10th year and have helped so many people become less socially isolated and confident to deal with other barriers in their lives.

Mind the Gap    Mind The Gap Logo

Mind the Gap is an inclusive music group for people with mental and physical health issues in Norwich. They provide a friendly, safe environment to socialise with fellow musicians, play music, form bands and improve skills on guitar, bass, drums, songwriting, vocals and performance.

They support new ideas and positively promote improved wellbeing through participation in music and creative processes.


Shopmobility can be found at the Chapelfield shopping mall, however their scooters and wheelchairs can be used throughout Norwich city centre.

They offer the loan of small and large scooters, powered or manual wheelchairs for up to 4 hours at a time to people who are either temporarily or permanently disabled.

The scheme is a registered charity run by a board of trustees, all of whom are disabled people, and who employ a manager and a team of staff.

The Shopmobility base can be found adjacent to the disabled parking bays on level 1 of the Chapelfield car park.

To register with the scheme and take out one of their vehicles two proofs of identity are required, which can be either your passport, driving licence or a utility bill.

Annual membership is £6 with a charge of £4 per loan, in addition all hirers are entitled to 4 hours of free parking at Chaplelfield. Telephone 01603 753350, for more information.

Different Strokes    Different Strokes Logo

Different Strokes is run by younger stroke survivors for younger stroke survivors. They have personal experience of the realities of life after stroke.

They recognise that the Different Strokes community of younger stroke survivors and family members are the experts in stroke recovery and rehabilitation with first-hand knowledge of the issues and challenges facing families after stroke.

Disabled Racing Drivers Car Club   Disabled Racing Drivers Car Club Racing Car

For more information about the Disabled Racing Drivers Car Club (DRDCC) please visit:

Also to see footage of the DRDCC at a recent track day at Snetterton circuit. There is an interview with DRDCC Founder/Director Patrick Ward please visit:

West Norfolk Disability Information Service  Jonathon Toye (founder of WNDis standing outise the WNDiS building)

The purpose of WNDiS is to provide impartial information, advice and support in order to enhance the quality of life of disabled people in West Norfolk.

They base our views on the Social Model of disability.

WNDiS’ services are also available to carers, public services and local businesses to ensure that the services they provide are accessible to all.

To find out more about WNDiS Please visit:

Plus there will be other representatives from the Norwich City Disabled Supporters group, Police Disability Forum and Opening Doors.

NCDSA logo   Opening Doors Logo


So there is plenty to find out about. Features include Vince Laws poetry, Professor Tom Shakespeare’s talk on Disability in Africa, and the opportunity for Members to ask questions. Members can have their say about the things they would like to see Equal Lives do in the future. This includes Campaigning, Involvement, Projects and Training. Whatever people want to throw in the mix, this is the chance to put it forward.

The election and re-election of new and existing Trustees will strengthen the skills we have on our Board and this can be taken forward in new directions. There is tea, biscuits and cake, and it all starts with the acoustic music of The Black Dog Music Project.

But before then it’s a big checklist of making sure we have everything we need. We need the correct documents, room is suitably laid out, and all technology everything accessible. We need Sign Interpreters and communication cards, and a nice drinking bowl for any visiting dogs. All of this has to come under our consideration.

I’m sure it will all be alright on the day as they say – well someone did!

Yesterday, I went to talk to Social Work Students at the University of East Anglia. Before I set off, I had to make sure I had everything firmly fixed in my memory. Although a slight diversion from this I am sure will be not missed, as no one else will know what is in my memory.

Anyway, it’s all about Sensory Impairments and having met and engaged with the Social Work students for a few years now. It’s a fun, relaxed and informative session which is usually very well received so I will tell you how it goes. I’ll also let you know who wins the Panto tickets at the AGM. 5 lucky people who will each win a pair of Panto tickets to a local Panto of their choice.

Oh no they won’t I hear you say, but oh yes they will!

On that note I think the curtain should fall on this week’s blog…..

Phew so a lot to get in in a few hours..


Nigel the pantomime dame


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