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

Hope everyone enjoyed their Easter break? It's good to be back, sorry about delay, but it really wasn't an April Fool’s prank, we just wanted this month’s blog to coincide with the re-launch of the Hartlepool Now website – doesn’t it looks great, and it is much easier to navigate.

Access seems to be the main theme of our blog this month and believe me, it’s more by accident than design!

Have you had the opportunity to checkout our new website yet?  Our new website is easier to access and has links to our social media pages.  If you get a minute, please take a look and if you have any feedback that would be really helpful. 

As part of our commitment to ‘Building Back Better’, we are offering the opportunity to an individual to become a director over our organisation.  We would like to invite someone who has personal experience of disability to join our board, so if you would like to be considered and you feel you have the attributes to make a real difference, then please express your interest by emailing us on 

Last month saw the end of our amazing Project 65, but don't worry, we are relaunching it under a new name and with a much wider eligibility criteria that will enable more people to engage in the world of digital technology and help reduce social isolation.  We are working hard in the design of the leaflet and creating new partnerships to make sure we deliver a great service to everyone, so please watch this space.  The name of the new service is ‘Blue DICE’ (Digitally Inclusive Community Engagement).

 As you know, we are involved with an organisation called CLIP and are pleased to say it is going from strength to strength.  We will be recruiting a coordinator this month who will take our work forward to meet our aims and objectives and hopefully we will be introducing him/her in next month’s blog.  We would love individuals and organisations to sign up and become involved because we need your direction to help us make a real change in Hartlepool.

Richie would love a Yorkshire accent!  This is a great story about a man who relies on technology to give him a voice, but unfortunately for him he speaks with an American accent and he's making an effort to enable them to speak and his local accent.  Hopefully, Richie will be speaking to family and friends in the near future as a ‘local’.

Pavement licences for pubs, restaurants and cafes for pavement are to be extended, which will be great for the local economy, however, I hope people remember the access issues that this will raise for some people in our community.  So, we hope that local businesses and the people who issue the licences are aware that pavements are for everyone.

‘The Gruffalo’ book is to be made available with ‘scent kits’ for children with visual impairments.  What a great idea to enable children with additional spot support needs to be able to enjoy such a great story in an inclusive way.  Congratulations to the people who came up with the idea, but not only that, to actually carry it out.

This amazing feature has the opportunity to open up a whole new world on the Internet for people from the deaf community.   This is such a simple idea, but it will make such a difference as it will enable people to access information quickly and accurately and hopefully it is at a cost that enables lots of providers to deliver this service. Yet again, congratulations to the people who designed this feature.

My last article around access is this except from the BBC Countryfile programme about ‘Disabled Ramblersand it is available on iPlayer about 19 minutes in to the programme. It really is good to see how inclusion is happening in such different areas of people’s lives.  So, if you have ever fancied a ramble in the countryside as a wheelchair user or with someone with a mobility issue, now is your opportunity!

I will be honest; I have never thought about asking myself this question until the issue became personal for a member of my family.  The question is - have you considered having an ‘End of Life Plan’?  When watching the video, it really does make sense on why you should have one and it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Joke of the Month – I can’t take my dog to the park as all the ducks keep trying to bite him…. my own fault for getting one that’s pure bred!!

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

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