Penny’s Blog: Question Time

Question Time

This week its lots of questions: What do people want? How can we raise funds? What projects can we do? How do we make things more accessible?

Why are there always so many questions, and if there is a Question Time is there also an Answer Time, as surely someone must have the answers to all these questions floating around?

Very often questions just lead to more questions, so if anyone knows where all the answers are hiding then step this way!


I arrived at the Dereham and Watton Independent Living group (DWILG – isn’t that a great acronym) the other day. DWILG meets bi-monthly and primarily discusses issues related to Personal Budgets and Direct Payments. They also discuss any other topics related to Independent Living. The group also works to raise awareness.  They improve things locally for disabled people, their families and carers and also invites in speakers from a range of local Organisations and Services.

They were deep in discussion about Personal Budgets – (for more info on personal budgets click here). This was followed up by a cuppa, and then a discussion about fundraising, projects and events. For next time, group members have gone away to think of any fundraising ideas or projects that they would like the group. They have been asked to consider how to make improvements in the local area, but also to raise much needed funds to keep the group running.


On a small note this time, they handed me my cuppa and told me that they had used some info I had sent over to obtain free refreshments for the group for the next few months from The East of England Co Op .

That’s great it all saves a bit of money and reassures me that people do read what I send out!

Scope Community Engagement Project

Today I met with Chloe who is the Scope Community Engagement Project Coordinator for West Norfolk. Downham Market, Kings Lynn and the surrounding areas have been selected along with two other areas of the Country for a new project.

Scope will be inviting local disabled people (disabled people includes those with Physical and Sensory Impairments, Learning difficulties/disabilities, Mental Health, Long term health conditions ) to two events in the area. These events will be to discuss what local people feel is missing in the area, and what they would like to see set up in the future.

I will bring further information of the dates and venues for these discussions as I receive them.

Following the two discussion events Scope intends to follow up with regular meetings to take forward some of the ideas and suggestions.

As Chloe has not been in her post very long she is trying to meet and talk to as many local groups, organisations or individuals as possible. If you would like to discuss any of the above, or introduce yourself then you can contact Chloe at (

NB: I met Chloe in a super little café that makes delicious homemade cakes.  I only had a toasted teacake….. It was a real battle of wills but, I’m trying to be a bit better and healthier!

UEA Roadworks

So now a bit of feedback on the Disability in Roadworks day that I mentioned in a previous blog.

Theevent at the UEA gave disabled people the opportunity to put forward their views and experiences of negotiating roadworks. It alsolet them have a say on a how things could be made more accessible for all.

George Saunders from Norwich Access Group said:

“We were happy to go over, along with a number of other disabled people all with different impairments, to try out some of the roadworks furniture being innovated by the firm and taking part in any number of conversations about how these products could be improved to make the transit past roadworks as safe and comfortable as possible for all pedestrians. We welcome the opportunity to feedback our experiences in order to make the on street environment better for disabled people.”

Charlotte Whitely on behalf of Oxofrd Plastics:“With over 40 attendees representing disability charities & organisations, the Norwich and Norfolk Councils, contractors and utility companies, we were able to have well-rounded conversations about roadworks from every perspective. This event has been pivotal for all of us at Oxford Plastics, and it will make a difference not just in the products we make, but in our understanding of accessibility.

It is clear that there are many necessary changes to make roadworks easier and safer for the public. We hope that events like this can facilitate these conversations.

For more updates, gallery and films of the day visit:

The day was well received by those attending. If anyone else would like to get involved in Disability in Roadworks then they can contact Charlotte

Dr Katherine Deane BSc PhD
Senior Lecturer in Research at the UEA also thanked people for attending and sharing their wealth of expertise.

Catherine is working on a Best Practice Guidance and Training Programme for Roadworks Contractors.

“We are aiming to improve the design and set up of roadworks in order to ensure they are really accessible.”

When the documents are further developed Catherine will be sending them round for consultation. I would again appreciate disabled people using their expertise in looking at these.

Become a member

I will of course circulate any information or consultations I receive via our Social Media and Members e-bulletin. Become a Member of Equal Lives at: (

Well I think that is that for this week. I hope it’s not too long and you haven’t all gone off to make a cup of tea. If you have then you won’t have got this far anyway! Just off to let Winnie out to stretch her legs!

Penny x

One Response to “Penny’s Blog: Question Time”

  1. Shaun McGarry

    Well Done Penny, only one Tea Cake this time!!

    I am very keen to encourage our highway engineers and roadwork crews to keep in mind the people who uses the footpath, and have no choice but to use the footpath. I mean, many disabled person cannot drive a car or ride a bicycle and have to make their journeys using the public byways and public transport. Well done for the University for holding this event.

    We need a bible of answers for all those questions out there! Are we creating a database or if you like, wikipedia style book to build up a grand big pile of sticky notes with all those little answers, yes they are quite often little answers for those questions we all hit everyday. It is the little things in life that adds up to one big “stress” for many of us that faces a daily battle with our disabilities! So Dont forget to write down those little answers and send them in too and we can build up a massive library to help everyone else!!

    I wonder where Penny is off to next week???
    and what cake is she NOT going to have?

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