May 2000 Newsletter

We are now starting to pull together our plans for the year 2000 meeting and there is more inside. A number if you have probably spent the last week trying to memorize new phone numbers following the change that BT said would never happen! In the enclosed membership/ACM form, to be cut out and returned, we have sought details of any changes so that our records can be updated as appropriate.

In an effort to add a little more focus to our younger members, you will see that we have also asked for further information about them. Having access to this data will, should you concur, enable us to put people of similar ages directly in touch.

You will see that I have included an article on Adrian Smith in this edition. If any other group member has interesting stones for publication I will be happy to receive them.

Giving Blood

Through a process of plasmapherisis, Adrian Smith has donated blood over 1,000 times!

Adrian, above, gives blood at the Edgware clinic where his A rhesus negative blood, and its components, are very much in demand. He insists that it doesn't really hurt and is happy to help people less fortunate than himself.

Adrian has been called to give blood in emergency situations; for example to help a child undergoing heart surgery who needed platelets in his blood group.

Overseas Meetings

A European meeting was recently held in France. If we find that any of the results are of interest to the UK group, they will be published in a future newsletter.

An international FSP meeting will be held in America towards the end of May. I hope to be able to attend and will provide feedback as soon as I can.

Shopmobility

If you have difficulty getting round the shops, do you know if your local shopping complex runs a shopmobility scheme? If so, the use of a wheelchair or scooter could significantly improve the quality of your shopping experience.

Whilst there will always be changes in the number of shopmobility outlets, the Spring 1999 directory listed over 200 offices in the UK.

The above picture was taken outside the office of the shopmobility in the St George's Centre in Harrow and shows a sample of the vehicles available for use by its registered users.

Shopmobility is for anyone, young or old, and no matter whether their disability is temporary or permanent. Shopmobility is about freedom to get around, and you do not need to be registered as disabled to use it. If you have difficulty in getting around town, then shopmobility is for you.

How much does it cost? All schemes operate slightly differently, but most provide the service free of charge although donations are always welcome. If there is a charge, this will clearly be shown.

How do you use it? Again, schemes vary and you should contact your local scheme for all the relevant information. You will be probably asked to register with appropriate ID and the local staff will help determine which sort of vehicle will suit your individual circumstances and will give you the necessary training.

Disabled Drivers Motor Club

If you drive a car and are interested in a range of related discounts and services, you might consider joining the above club.

The annual membership fee is currently £10 (with other options for associate, joint or life membership) and their services (see footnote) include:

  • Ferries; discounts with the major ferry operators
  • Tolls; discounts at toll-paying bridges and tunnels, including Eurotunnels Le Shuttle
  • Airport Car Parking; discounts at the major UK airports on pre-booked parking
  • RAC; special membership terms
  • Insurance; access to specially brokered policies
  • Garages and Autocentres; discounts from a network of outlets

I have personally taken advantage of the ferry discounts on a visit to Ireland last year and, whilst there were some restrictions on travelling times, the service was efficient and the discount was substantial.

They publish a regular magazine including readers' correspondence, items on legal issues affecting disabled drivers, car adaptations and holidays.

The phone number for the Disabled Drivers Motor Club is 01832 734724. An alternative group, who understand offer similar services, is the Disabled Drivers Association who can be contacted on 01508 489449

This is necessarily a summary and details of the Disabled Drivers Motor Club services are available directly from the Club.

Living with Spasticity

A copy of this booklet is available, free of charge, from Packer Forbes Communications Ltd who can be contacted on 020 7978 6278.

It contains a range of questions and answers on spasticity which group members might find useful.

2000 Meeting

We have now confirmed our attendance at the Birmingham Centre for our meeting on the 9th September.

There is limited availability at the venue and, as in recent years, we will need to operate on a first come first served basis using the reverse of the form below. We are keen to encourage family members to attend but would generally like to restrict numbers to two per family where possible.

We are currently pulling the itinerary together but hope to have presentations from a consultant at the National Hospital in London, an experienced physiotherapist and a visitor from the benefits agency to talk about some of the state benefits that are applicable to group members.

Details of the day will be despatched to attendees with the next newsletter.

Annual Membership

It is now time to renew your membership and the necessary form is set out below for completion and return to Mike Fawcett whose address is shown on the reverse.

You will see that we have sought further information on our younger members and have asked for the relevant confirmation that this data can be distributed amongst the younger members themselves. The initial goal here would be to give them the opportunity to contact members of their peer group.

If you have not yet completed a family record form and have mislaid the form itself, we will send you a new copy if you tick the relevant box.

On a more mundane issue, we need to update our records to include the new BT exchange numbers and have asked for the new numbers if they have changed.