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Don't quack like a duck, soar like an eagle!

Spring is in the air and it feels like there is a new optimism and positivity around the place!  In the bigger picture it is due to there being light at the end of the tunnel, instead of the feeling of a train coming towards us in terms of the impact of COVID-19, but from our perspective, we are heading into Spring by being involved in an exciting new project and our very own, shiny new website will be launching soon!

Before I share in what is a generally positive blog this month, I think it is only right and proper to highlight the massive negative impact that COVID-19 has had on people from the from the disabled community, with some sobering statistics recently released.  Thankfully, the vaccination programme is gathering momentum, with people with less complex learning disabilities, now being deemed as a higher priority.

We have been working hard over the last few months with several local organisations to do something that would make a real difference in the local community.  As a result, we have created an organisation called ‘CLIP’ which stands for Community Led Inclusion Partnership and we were successful with an application for funding to the Hartlepool ‘Community Pot’CLIP launches today and we will provide monthly updates in the blog about its work and successes.

The BBC recently launched a new mental health toolkit called ‘Headroom’.  There are some good links to documentaries, music and stories that inform, relax and provide strategies that may help you get into a better place. It’s not the only one however, with these ‘tips and tricks’, as well as more popular links such as Every Mind Matters’; check them out.

The film Musicproduced by the singer, Sia has been criticised for depicting stereotypical attitudes around people with Autism and scenes of restraint.  Now call me cynical, but there is an old saying ‘there's no such thing as bad publicity!’  Apparently, the film was only showing for one night, in this instance, maybe that is for the best?

This article has potentially opened up a whole new world for me, it's about gaming! Now the one thing I have always struggled with and I am guessing lots of other people who have physical impairments have also struggled with is using the game consoles. Well, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, gaming is suddenly, or at least to me, becoming accessible. Check out this article and you never know; we may be battling it out one day in a galaxy far, far away! 

Whilst on the space theme, have you ever looked up at the stars and thought ‘I would love to be up there’ and then looked down at your wheelchair and thought ‘maybe not’!  Well, all is not lost according to this article.  I have read it and feel I have all the attributes to succeed as an astronaut – physical, mental and psychological strength, emotional stability to name a few.  Now, I am just wondering if I will need my Blue Badge!

I just can’t seem to get away from the space theme this month, but ‘a star is born’! Jennie is 27 and acquired her disability around three years ago.  She took to Instagram under the name ‘wheelie_good_life’ to share her experiences and now has an amazing 26,000 followers.  I ‘met’ Jennie last year via video calls and her willingness to talk about the changes in her life and desire to make positive changes are inspiring.  Jenny is one of many disabled influencers’, who are using the medium of social media to raise awareness.

Here is a video clip that has resulted in a more positive, than negative outcome for a lady during the lockdowns as she talks about her health appointments.  Maybe this is a good opportunity to remind people about our tablet loan service, Project 65 and the benefits of having access to digital technology.

There are two things that I have identified as positives as a result of lockdown and working from home, the first being the increased partnership work, the second is coming across people online who teach me something new.  This webinar is about grant funding, but listening to Ngozi Lyn Cole and how she gets her message across was fascinating.

Just to finish, a quick reminder about the services we are currently involved in:  Hartlepool Advocacy Hub to ensure people who meet the eligibility criteria receive timely and professional advocacy support. Our amazing Project 65 (if you don’t have access to the internet, check this link), a FREE tablet loan service to any Hartlepool resident aged 65, or over and finally, don’t forget we’re promoting ‘Borrow Box’, an App that offers FREE access to eBooks and eAudioBooks.

Joke of the Month:  I bought my daughter a fridge for her birthday and I can’t wait to see her face light up when she opens it!

My wings are aching, the eagle has landed – see you next month!

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