Summer is almost upon us and thoughts will be turning to short breaks, holidays and outdoor activities.  In this May edition of our newsletter we look at a range of activities, resources to find holiday funding and a quick guide to help you plan your applications.  We have included two useful apps you might find interesting as you venture out, including a Birdwatching app, helping you plan your sightings, and an app for Beach Wheelchairs helping you enjoy the beaches around Edinburgh, North Berwick and Fife.

A special mention in this edition goes to our volunteers Lee and Lizzie for their support in researching content and helping to put this newsletter together :-)

If you have any questions about anything in this newsletter or would like to see something included in future editions get in touch.

For all other enquires we're here to help.  Our helpline is available Mon-Fri 10am-3.30pm. 0300 323 9961

Need some gentle exercise to get moving now that summer is here?  Want to try rambling? Click here.  

Hear from Highland Ramblers in this special feature, click here

Fancy a day by the sea?  Beach wheelchair services benefit from a new Accessibility Destination app which lists attractions with accessible facilities in Scotland. More here.

Avid Bird watchers can now use a new free app Where to Watch Birds to help plan their trips. All details on the app are in the official press release here
Shared Care Scotland recently launched a map to help carers plan and source funding for a Short Breaks.  Click here
Illustration of a customer calling a helpline
Do you live in the Highlands and struggle with the cost of heating your home? For more information click here
Are you a disabled young person or do you have a disabled child? The Scottish Government has recently launched a new website to support Disabled Young People and their families. Click here
Public Consultations  If you would like to contribute to the Scottish Government public consultations on changing places and carers support find out more here.
Key Events and Dates  Find out where to meet us and what events we will be promoting over the next 6 weeks.
Follow us on Social Media  Find out what we are sharing on social media.  Like, follow, comment and share


If you like a ramble why not get in touch with the various groups across Scotland that are promoting and exploring routes that are accessible to ramblers with limited mobility.  Get out and enjoy the fresh air and company of a group activity. https://disabledramblers.co.uk/links/

You can find resources about walking with a disability through the ramblers association on the link below.
 Special introduction to the Highland Ramblers
"Highland Disabled Ramblers is a small charity based around Inverness. We organise monthly rambles from April to November, within a radius of 40 or so miles of Inverness. We have 10 sturdy mobility scooters for use by our members on rambles. We transport the scooters to the start of each ramble in 2 hired vans, however our disabled members, their family & friends and our volunteers have to make their own way to the start. Car sharing can sometimes be arranged informally. Members must book scooters in advance.

Our rambles cover 3-4 miles on mostly hard tracks, often with some undulations and a few rougher sections with tree roots and bumps. All our routes are audited in advance for safety. Our volunteer walking companions help ensure safety and sociability.
This season our rambles take us to Glenmore, Fort Augustus, Loch Fleet, Abriachan and Culbin. Details of rambles and booking procedures are provided in our regular member newsletters.

For more information, visit our website www.highland-disabled-ramblers.org and Facebook to read about previous rambles and how to contact us for membership."
And if rambling is not for you but you would like to try something else, why not try golf or curling! 

Scottish Disabled Golf and Curling www.scottishdgc.org.uk

Accessible Beaches
A recent picture of a young boy dipping his toes in the water on a warm day made our top happiest things that week.  All because of wonderful people who provide accessible beach access.  We all know that cooling feeling on a hot day and now we know of three beaches, Portobello, North Berwick and St Andrews where accessible beach wheelchairs can be booked. 

We have listed details below for each area so whether you want to explore Edinburgh by the sea, North Berwick or Fife you can find the contact details you need.

In addition, Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App was launched for St Andrews. The App allows booking beach wheelchairs and shows local businesses that list their accessibility so you can plan your day at the beach in full.

Although the App only covers St Andrew’s currently, it is hoped that this will grow.

Portobello (Edinburgh by the sea)
Portobello Beach Chair is a charity that provides beach wheel chairs for hire. The chairs can be used on Portobello beach. Currently the charity has two wheelchairs. A Hippocampe wheelchair is suitable for children and small adults, and a Nomad beach chair is suitable for adults. A hoist can be provided.

The chairs can be booked by phone on 0300 666 0990, or by email at info@beachwheelchairs.org. The chairs can be collected from the storage area, located beside the Tumbles car park, Westbank Street EH15 1DR. 

North Berwick
Beach Chairs North Berwick allows beach wheel chairs to be hired from North Berwick Harbour. The charity has five beach chairs of different designs to accommodate different needs. Details of the wheelchairs can be found at North Berwick Beach Wheelchairs.  A hoist can be provided and volunteers are trained in using the hoist. The customer is expected to provide their own sling and ensure it is correctly attached.

Wheelchairs can be booked by calling 0300 111 2112. Sessions can be booked for morning, afternoon or evening, 7 days a week. After you book you can collect the wheelchair from the Beach hut at North Berwick Harbour.

Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App - Available on Google Play and Apple Store
The St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs service has been hugely popular since the launch at the start of the 2018 tourism season, with over one hundred bookings in the first summer of operation and customers travelling from all over Scotland to use the beach-friendly wheelchairs and enjoy the additional St Andrews tourism offering.

With the 2019 beach wheelchairs seasonal service planned for opening on 15th April, visitors with accessibility requirements will also benefit from the ability to download a new Accessibility Destination App which will list businesses, venues and attractions that offer accessible facilities in St Andrews and throughout North East Fife. The “Scotland’s Accessible Beaches” App will be free to download and will provide information on accessible facilities available at the listed locations including their contact and location details.   

Commenting on the launch of Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App, Debbie McCallum, Chair of Tourism St Andrews (the local tourism association) and a founder of local fundraising charity the Hamish McHamish Foundation, said: “Accessible tourism for all is not only about providing access to people with disabilities, it also addresses the creation of environments that can support people that may have temporary disabilities, families with young children and the ever increasing ageing population. 

“We want to create an accessible tourism destination of St Andrews and North East Fife through the Beach Wheelchairs service, but the wheelchairs are just the beginning of the journey in working towards an accessible town and surrounding tourism area. The new App will bring us closer to this, as users will not only be able to book the St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs but also view restaurants, accommodation and other points of interest, all with good information regarding accessible facilities, in and around this beautiful part of Scotland. We are interested to hear from any businesses and organisations in the area who wish to be listed on the App.”

Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC)
Scottish birdwatching secrets revealed as SOC launches first-ever 'where to go birdwatching in Scotland app'

A new free app for nature lovers has revealed some of the best places to enjoy the Scottish countryside and its birds. The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club has developed the guide for Apple and Android devices, to help enthusiasts discover many of Scotland’s top-class birdwatching sites.

Nearly three years in the making, Where to Watch Birds in Scotland offers birdwatchers detailed site guides. For each of almost 400 birdwatching locations, users will find out what birds to look for and when, how to get there and recent sightings at that location as reported on BirdTrack (the online bird recording platform). Other wildlife spectacles such as otters, adders or butterflies, are also listed. 

This unique resource (no digital or even up-to-date printed guide like this currently exists) will help beginners and seasoned birders alike and appeal to general nature and wildlife watchers. New sites will continue to be added and every effort made by volunteers to update existing ones. 

The guide will help birdwatchers visiting Scotland from across the UK and overseas, drawn to these shores by the country’s internationally- important seabird colonies, wader and wildfowl populations as well as its iconic and exciting upland species. The app’s built-in search facility tells users where particular bird species are likely to be seen as well as allowing them to tap into detailed species information from the SOC’s award-winning publication, The Birds of Scotland.  

In line with the charity’s recording objectives, users are encouraged to help bird conservation by submitting their sightings via a direct link to the Local Bird Recorder and/or BirdTrack. 

The development of the app is also a wonderful demonstration of what volunteers working together can achieve. The project is the result of three years of in-depth research and meticulous planning by a small working group comprising Jane Allison, Martin Cook and Alan Knox, assisted by network of local co-ordinators and nearly 140 contributors around the country.

Dr Ian Bainbridge, the Club’s President said “This has been a major project for the Club. We hope the app will help a new generation of wildlife lovers to enjoy exciting birds in often spectacular and beautiful places across the length and breadth of Scotland. For anyone who didn’t know where to start bird watching, this will show them the way. Even experienced birders will discover places and things they didn’t know about. It’s opening a completely new chapter in countryside access, with Scotland leading the way.”

The app’s development was generously financed by the SOC’s Birds of Scotland Fund – supporting ornithological publications and special projects in Scotland – as well as legacies to the Club from members and a donation from Glasgow Natural History Society. 

To download the app, search for “Where to Watch Birds Scotland” in the app stores or follow the links from www.the-soc.org.uk/app .  
Short Breaks Information Map now LIVE
Shared Care Scotland have launched a Short Breaks Information Map.
Access to information is consistently listed as one of the barriers to carers finding the short break that is right for them.  The new online local short breaks information map aims to change that. Users can search for their area from a drop down menu, or by clicking their area on a map. It will take them through to a suite of tailored information including: their local short breaks services statement, eligibility criteria and carers strategy.  It also included links to how to access support locally, what funding options are available and where to go for further information. 

Unfortunately, not all local authority areas have currently published the full set of information so this will be monitored and updated as it comes online. 
To access the Local Short Breaks Information Map visit  www.sharedcarescotland.org.uk/map-page

Funding Options and Tips to search and apply
There are a variety of charities that offer grants. You can search for them online. A few examples of organisations that help with grants include:
•    Carers Trust for Carers aged 16 and up.
•    Turn2us helps people access financial help such as welfare benefits, and charitable grants.
•    'Grants for individuals' lets subscribers search for grants.
•    'Disability Grants' which lists charities that offer grants to disabled people.

Advice on searching for grants can be found here:
•    charities that support carers 
•     benevolent funds 
•    the Turn2us Grants search

Organisations that offer grants often target specific demographics. This might include people who have had certain occupations or attended certain schools. For example, some organisations may provide aid to those who have worked in trade jobs. When looking for grants it may help to think back on your career history and any other details of your life that may qualify you for a grant. When searching online, remember try different search terms as different results may come up. You can also search for grants that the person you care for may qualify for.
Before applying for a grant make sure you match any criteria needed to qualify. Gather all information you may need before filling in the forms i.e. identification, and evidence that shows you meet the criteria to qualify.

Make sure you read any guidance notes and answer questions on the application form fully. This will help give the organisation a complete picture of your situation and help them evaluate your application.

If you need help you can contact a care service with Carers Trust or use the Turn2us Find an advisor tool  
Live in the Highlands and need help with your heating bills?  
An update on The Rural Affordable Warmth partnership helps rural residents save on their energy bills.  The latest report shows that the project has saved local residents £158,500 at its half way point through its 6 month pilot with an estimated 450 people benefiting by the end of the project.

SSE, ScottishPower, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux: Inverness Badenoch and Strathspey; Ross and Cromarty have been helping residents living in fuel poverty maximise their income, heat their homes affordably and lower carbon emissions.

How does the project work?
Changeworks’ Affordable Warmth Advisors and CAB Income Maximisation Advisors work together to provide a holistic support package to people who would benefit from our joint expertise. 

Anna Scott, Change Works Affordable Warmth Advisor, told us: 
“Working in partnership with the CAB has helped us to connect with people who can benefit from our support so that we can help look at ways to reduce heating costs and make their homes warmer.”

If you live in the areas mentioned and want to find out more, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Supporting Disabled Young People and their Families web resource launched
A new website Supporting Disabled Young People and their Families launched by Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People aims to provide clear, accessible information on national policies, entitlements, rights and the different options for support available.  And of course, we are here if you need any further information or have any questions.  You can contact us Mon-Fri 10-3.30 on 0300 323 9961
Public Consultations

Consultation on Improving Disability Assistance in Scotland
This consultation asks questions on whether the policy intent set out in the Scottish approach to Disability Assistance will meet the needs of the children and adults it is intended to help. We would like to gather views to ensure we have identified the best possible approach to delivering this assistance before we draft the benefit regulations.

The consultation is open until 28 May 2019 and more information can be found here. Events and promotions
Why not come along and meet us at one of our events.

20 May      Health & Social Care Alliance Annual Conference
                  (Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow)
22 May      Head Injury Information Day
                  (Doubletree, Cambridge Street, Glasgow)
29 May      Head Injury Information Day
                  (Sheraton Grand Hotel, Festival Square, Edinburgh)
7 June       CPAG Scottish Welfare Rights Conference
                  (Strathclyde Technology + Innovation Centre, Glasgow
14 June     Tenant Info Services National Conference & Exhibition
                  (Doubletree, Westerwood, Cumbernauld)  Social Media Links
For those who follow us on social media we will do a round up of news on occasions that will be shared on our e-newsletters and social media accounts so why not use the links below and make sure you follow both accounts to maximise your exposure.  Click each of the links (follow our Facebook and Twitter). 
© 2019 Disability Information Scotland. All rights reserved.

Disability Information Scotland
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Helpline: 0300 323 9961 Text: 0778 620 0707

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