The minister for disabled people has invited ridicule after giving his first major interview since his appointment to a senior civil servant in his own department.Justin Tomlinson was appointed as minister in mid-May, but in three months he does not appear to have submitted himself to a single serious interview with a journalist about disability issues.Disability News Service first submitted a request to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) press office in May to interview Tomlinson about issues such as the much-mocked Disability Confident campaign, personal independence payment reforms and cuts, and the troubled Access to Work scheme.Another interview request was submitted on 26 June, through the department’s ministerial correspondence email address, but so far there has been no response from Tomlinson’s office.An internet search suggests that Tomlinson has not yet carried out a single interview about his role as minister for disabled people, other than with his local paper and a representative of the charity United Response.But now his department has posted an interview in which Tomlinson answers questions put to him by Pat Russell, head of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI), which is part of DWP and his own ministerial portfolio.Russell asks a series of questions which include inviting Tomlinson to comment on his ministerial role, his appreciation of the ODI, and his priorities as minister for disabled people.The interview was posted on 6 August on the website of DWP’s own Disability Action Alliance – a network of mainly, but not solely, non-user-led organisations with an interest in disability issues – but does not appear to have been publicised via social media, or by the minister’s public relations team.In the interview, Tomlinson says one of his priorities is to halve the disability employment gap, partly by raising the profile of the Disability Confident campaign, particularly with small businesses.He says: “It’s getting to those smaller businesses, like when I used to have my own business, giving them the confidence to take somebody on.“I know for those employers actually the opportunity it’s for them because there is a shortage of willing and skilled staff out there and actually there are lots and lots of disabled people who have the skills, who want to work, who want to contribute.“All the evidence shows you give them that chance, you overcome what often are very, very small barriers, they will be very loyal, very good members of staff, and it’s a real opportunity for employers.”He said much of his role as minister would be “looking at how I can influence other departments to make a real difference”.And he said he could make the greatest difference to disabled people by “directly engaging with them, and with stakeholder groups, so that they can shape what my priorities are, what the government’s priorities are, and how we can change attitudes in society”.He adds: “I am going to be as accessible as I can be, I am going to engage as often as I can.”Other than brief comments about access and the built environment, the only other major area of concern he is asked about by his civil servant is disability hate crime, which he says is an “incredibly important and incredibly serious issue”, requires cross-government working with Robert Buckland, the solicitor general, and will be “a real key priority”.
Month: July 2019
The public body responsible for 18 of Britain’s biggest rail stations is following the lead of the Olympic Delivery Authority and putting disabled people at the heart of its design process, according to its access and inclusion manager.Margaret Hickish – who was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours, and is herself a wheelchair-user – said Network Rail hoped to “lead the way” for the railway industry on improving access and inclusion.One of the ways it hopes to do that, she has told Disability News Service, is by following the lead of the much-praised Olympic Delivery Authority, for which she was accessibility manager.Among the steps she has taken since starting to work with Network Rail three years ago is to set up a built environment accessibility panel (BEAP), mostly made up of disabled people, to advise on access issues.Network Rail has also launched an inclusive design strategy and is about to implement new standards that reflect inclusive design principles, not just for improvement work on the big stations, but also for its huge estate of depots, offices and training centres across the UK.She said: “We have changed a lot about the way Network Rail looks at inclusive design.“More than anything else, what we are talking about is putting people at the heart of the design process.“That is basically the human condition: throughout everyone’s life from birth through to death, and everything that might happen in between.”Network Rail is already reaping the benefits of setting up BEAP, she said.Towards the end of last year, it opened a new southern entrance at Leeds station, which was “designed from the outset to be as accessible as possible” and was one of the first projects to involve BEAP.She said: “The team there found the support of our external stakeholders really useful, because they were actually pointing out things, elements that could be done perhaps that bit better… using people’s experiences and sharing those with the project team as early as possible to allow them to see where we can take those opportunities and do something different.”The experience demonstrates, she said, that projects affecting disabled people work better if you involve them right from the start.Hickish said: “That is something we have been emphasising over and over again.”Many Network Rail designers previously only came across input from disabled people at public meetings, when designs were at a late stage and materials had already been ordered.Hickish (pictured) said: “This means that the ability to make change is quite limited and they are met with people who can be quite angry, whereas what they actually get when they are consulting [BEAP] is a group of people who want to achieve something better, who are looking for a way of being really collaborative, and who are willing to explore what might be possible.”She said the changes made by Network Rail since she started three years ago had been “quite inspirational”.In the past, the rail industry has been driven by regulation because of safety issues but, she said, “people now are starting to realise they can do that bit more, they can do things that don’t just meet regulations, but actually deliver something that makes the railway fit for the future”.She pointed to examples such as the newly-refurbished Birmingham New Street station, which now has the first dog spending area in a British station, which means assistance dogs “now have a loo and a place to get a drink on what is a major interchange”.“There’s never been a requirement [to have a dog spending area]. It’s not in the building regulations, it’s not in any regulations. We have done something different and we have them planned elsewhere.”Network Rail has also installed Changing Places toilets – accessible toilets with extra features and more space – in some stations, as well as introducing larger and more accessible lifts, and refurbished accessible toilets.The benefits of inclusive design are often far-reaching, particularly to an industry that needs to be obsessed with safety, she said.If you make places accessible, people will behave more safely, said Hickish. “People will hold a handrail if it’s provided, they will use a lift if they have luggage, rather than going up an escalator, which is an area where accidents [often] happen as people let go of their luggage.“If you have good quality lighting which works for disabled people, people also feel safer, but you can actually use that lighting to see if someone is thinking about doing something that you wouldn’t want them to do on a station.“There are lots of things that you do for disabled people that have this wonderful by-product of making places safer.”But Hickish is reluctant to say whether the 18 stations Network Rail is responsible for will ever become “fully accessible”, partly because many of the buildings were designed in the Victorian era.“There will always be challenges in trying to do something that will be absolutely as we would wish it to be,” she said, “which is particularly true when we are dealing with historic fabric. But that doesn’t mean we should give up.”She points to Edinburgh Waverley station as a particularly awkward example, “not least because it is down in a dip in the centre of a city and we are never going to be able to rebuild it because it is listed, and really, really heavily listed. Almost everything in the station is listed.”She added: “If a station has been built at the top of a hill, we are not going to be able to knock down the hill.“When you’re having to break into something that is historic fabric, inevitably it takes longer, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible.“First of all, the important thing is to have the will, and then it’s about capturing people’s imaginations, because once people get engaged in this they start to realise there are more possibilities.”Funding, she said, is always an issue, and Network Rail is currently planning access improvements for what it calls control period six, the five years from April 2019 to March 2024.She said: “Some things, if we had additional funding, we might be able to do quicker, but the great thing about what we are doing now is we are just looking for those opportunities where we can make things better, and we have got real enthusiasm for that in Network Rail.”Inevitably, she said, the 18 large stations run by Network Rail – such as Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Bristol Temple Meads and 10 London stations including London Bridge, Paddington and Euston – will be more accessible than the smaller stations run by the 20 train operating companies (TOCs), and many of the trains themselves.The improvements made by the TOCs often depend on the long-term franchise agreements they sign with the Department for Transport (DfT) – and what access measures DfT includes in those agreements – with many of the agreements drawn up before Network Rail’s new inclusive design strategy was introduced.Hickish said: “Prior to us publishing our inclusive design strategy, we did meet with all the TOCs, and we explained to them our direction of travel.“They are all extremely supportive of that but quite clearly some of the franchises haven’t been written that would meet our inclusive design strategy, purely because one was done before the other.”She said it was clear which TOCs were most enthusiastic about inclusive design, as they were the ones whose representatives always turned up to BEAP meetings, “because they want to know what is going on, but they also want to see where the best practice is”.She added: “It was Network Rail’s intention when we were doing this to lead the way in the railways, so inevitably that is our goal, to be leading the way, to become an exemplar.“Inevitably, if you want to be an exemplar you expect other people to follow, rather than be leading you.”Trains themselves have a long life, she said, and so will not all become accessible overnight, although there is a deadline of 2020 by which all passenger rail vehicles must meet certain access standards, and new rolling stock is being introduced all the time.As for her MBE, Hickish said she hoped it would mean the topic of inclusive design – which is still “pretty new” – might now come with a bit more “gravitas” attached to it.“If it helps, if it means that someone listens a little bit earlier in the conversation,” she said, “then that would be fabulous.”
Four senior Labour peers have written to Jeremy Corbyn with their concerns about the party’s handling of antisemitism today – and have offered to help resolve the “toxic and endemic problem”.Noting that three other members of the upper house recently resigned the whip, Labour Lords leader Angela Smith, deputy Dianne Hayter, peers’ group chair Toby Harris and chief whip Tommy McAvoy have described the party’s response to the BBC Panorama investigation as “heartbreaking”.To “rebuild confidence” in Labour’s processes, their letter recommends that the party takes the five following steps:1. A completely independent complaints process that is not open to any manipulation or interference by the leadership or any grouping or faction within the party.2. In the same way as we automatically exclude those who campaign against Labour, we should have a similar procedure in place for antisemitism.3. Whatever criticisms there are of the Panorama programme, we must demonstrate that we take seriously the allegations contained rather than criticise the individuals who made them.4. The governance arrangements of the party must be overhauled. It is not acceptable that the NEC and the shadow cabinet have not seen the formal response submitted to the EHRC. In addition, it raises potentially very serious issues about corporate governance that these two bodies do not see, as a matter of course, regular reports on the Party’s finances and membership.5. The use of NDAs by the party should be ended. Contracts of employment should be adequate to ensure that legal requirements regarding data protection are observed.The peers have offered to “establish a small panel” to review the claims made in the Panorama programme, advise on how to set up an independent complaints process, and propose improvements to Labour’s “governance arrangements”.It has been pointed out, however, that reports into Labour and antisemitism have been conducted before – by Baroness Chakrabarti and Baroness Royall – and yet the resulting recommendations have not been implemented in full, casting doubt on the merit of further such inquiries.Over the weekend, the Tribune group of 28 Labour MPs released a statement that made three similar demands of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC): an independent investigation into alleged interference, an independent complaints procedure with “representation from Jewish community” and automatic suspension in “prima facie” antisemitism cases.Current and former party staffers have also written a letter to the Labour leader about antisemitism today. “The way the party has denigrated and threatened these whistleblowers is is appalling,” the signatories have told Corbyn, referring to the BBC Panorama contributors.The letter poses five questions: “Did you know your most senior aides were interfering in antisemitism cases and overruling the staff assigned to investigate them? Why has Labour HQ become such a toxic workplace? Why do you think your own words and actions have caused so much offence to Jewish people? Why are so many antisemites drawn to support you? And why has this crisis developed only after you became leader?”The letter has gained over 200 signatories, though the list does not only consist of people who have worked for the party as claimed by The Guardian and the BBC but also ordinary members and former members who have not been staffers.The names include former MEP candidate Amy Fowler, commentator Ayesha Hazarika who advised Ed Miliband as leader, former Progress director Richard Angell, as well as ex-staffers Tom Hamilton and Ali Craft.A Labour spokesperson said the party “did not in any way criticise Jewish members who have suffered anti-semitism”, adding: “A number of claims made in the Panorama programme by former staff members are inaccurate and some of the individuals have a clear record of political opposition or hostility to the Labour leadership. The party was not informed by Panorama of the mental health issues experienced by former staff members.”Labour’s regular parliamentary party meeting will be held tonight, but Corbyn is not planning to attend. Instead, Keir Starmer will be present to discuss Brexit. However, backbench MPs have said they intend to raise antisemitism issues regardless.Tags:Labour /Jeremy Corbyn /Antisemitism /Tribune /BBC Panorama /
FIELDING yet another young side with three more debutants, the Saints overwhelmed the full strength black and whites at Langtree 62-20 on Saturday.Although the second half wasn’t as dominant as the first the Saints were in control from the first whistle.And that was literally from the first whistle as Olly Davies scored the first of his brace after only 9½ seconds! The visitor’s full back was under Lewis Charnock’s high kick off but spilled it when he heard the thunderous charge of Luke Thompson and Co charging at him. It fell straight into Davies’ hands and he stepped his way over for probably the quickest try Langtree has seen.Fresh from his first taste of Super League action André Savelio extended Saints lead imperiously pushing off would be tacklers to score in the corner. This after the visitors had knocked on Charnock’s high bomb on the last to give the Saints an attacking scrum.The fragility of the Hull back three was shown again as they failed to deal with another high bomb, this time letting it bounce. The loose ball was stabbed clear by Jake Spedding and then grubbered on three time by Lewis Galbraith before he picked up to score in the corner.The Saints scored their fourth in this blistering 15 minute spell as first Thompson and then Savelio drove the ball in, the latter again scattering defenders to score.Still scoring at over a point a minute the Saints made the game safe with their fifth try. Galbraith tapped a high kick back into the hands of Spedding and the big centre showed a clean pair of heels to the cover as he rounded the kick chase then went 80 metres down the wing for the try.The visitors finally managed to capitalise on some Saints errors opening their account with an overlap try in the right corner but not before Dave Eccleston had produced a fine try saving tackle to hold the centre up over the line.Luke Thompson scored a well deserved try charging onto a pass 20 metres out before the visitors completed the scoring in the first period again scoring out wide but again only after more try saving heroics this time from Olly Davies.The second half turned into a bit of a you score/we score situation with both sides trading tries but in the Saints favour three to two.Davies scored his second sprinting up in support of Dave Hewitt and outpacing the cover from 30 metres. Hewitt had earlier been put through by a great offload from Savelio.Jonah Cunningham scored on his debut diving over from a play the ball close to the line after great drives from Thompson and Davies and Hewitt secured his first jinking his way over untouched after Savelio and Phil Atherton had been stopped short.The Saints handling dropped off dramatically in the final 20 minutes as they managed to only complete three sets, scoring from two of them.Another impressive display off the bench from Ross McAuley saw the big prop offload to Hewitt who put Tom Calland away for another debut try as the prop outpaced the cover.The 11th and last try of the afternoon saw Hewitt again benefit from doing what every good half back should do, namely support his forwards. This time the offload came from Joe Ryan to Lewis Charnock who took it to the full back before feeding Hewitt to go the last 50.Although this was a comprehensive victory over a good Hull side there is still a lot of improvement before the big one next Wednesday.Thompson and Savelio led the way but they had good support from the ever improving Atherton and McCauley off the bench. The half backs worked well with Hewitt finally looking as if he’s finding his feet at this level.Match Summary:Saints U19s:Tries: Jake Spedding, Lewis Galbraith, Dave Hewitt 2, Tom Calland, Luke Thompson, Olly Davies 2, André Savelio 2, Jonah Cunningham.Goals: Lewis Charnock 9.Hull FC U19s:Tries: Ash Leaming, Callum Lancaster, Zach Braham, Jack Downs.Goals: Reece Dean 2.Half Time: 32-10Full Time: 62-20Teams:Saints:1. Lewis Charnock; 2. David Eccleston, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Lewis Galbraith; 6. Lewis Fairhurst, 7. Dave Hewitt; 13. Tom Calland, 9. Matty Fozard, 15. Luke Thompson, 11. Olly Davies, 12. André Savelio, 8. Joe Ryan. Subs: 10. Phil Atherton, 14. Jonah Cunningham, 16. Lewis Hatton, 17. Ross McCauley.Hull FC:1. Josh Nicklin; 2. Ash Leaming, 3. Connor Bower, 4. Callum Smith, 5. Callum Lancaster; 6. Harry Tyson-Wilson, 7. Reece Dean;8. Charlie Johnson, 9. Alex Sheperdson, 10. Zach Braham, 11. Jansin Turgut, 12. Jack Downs, 13. Brad Fash. Subs: 14. Josh Wood, 15. Ryan Smith, 16. Jordan Abdull, 17. Ross Osbourne.
As a 2019 Member you receive a host of exclusive benefits that bring you closer to the Club you love … it’s not just about the matches!No 6 – Exclusive BenefitsAdult:Membership Access CardPriority match tickets for major games including finalsExclusive Membership only merchandise and stadium promotional offers sent directly to you via email, including 10% off 2019 kit during November & DecemberAll your Betfred Super League home games in one ticketYour ticket reserved for additional major home games such as Challenge Cup tiesExclusive Club news straight to your mobile or other device via emailBring a friend for just £5 to a 2019 home match of your choice (excludes Wigan home games)50% off your 2019 Magic Weekend ticketExclusive invites to Member only events in 2019Monthly draw to win money can’t buy prizesMembers choice to select their own Player of the MonthMembers Night , exclusive monthly event in the Red V Café Bar at the stadium (subject to availability)Discounted away travelJunior:Membership Access CardPriority match tickets for major games including finalsExclusive Membership only merchandise and stadium promotional offers sent directly to you via email, including 10% off 2019 kit during November & DecemberAll your Betfred Super League home games in one ticketYour ticket reserved for additional major home games such as World Club ChallengeJunior Members get free access to all Betfred Super League Regular season away games (subject to availability)Entry into a draw to be a matchday mascot and walk out with the first-team before a Betfred Super League matchAnnual Junior Day event held for our Junior MembersYour Membership covers all Saints’ Betfred Super League home games – to discover prices and other information click here.#saintsandproud
Saints Community Development Foundation, the charitable arm of St.Helens RFC, has launched a ‘Community Cashback Game’ against the Dragons on 28th April.Tickets for all community groups and clubs are priced at £10 per ticket, £5 of which will go back to the local group or club themselves.Steve Leonard, Director of Saints Community Development Foundation said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for hundreds of people involved in our community game to come and watch a first team game here at the Totally Wicked Stadium.“We are determined here at the Saints Community Development Foundation to give something back to those in our community and hopefully this initiative will make a positive difference.”For further details please email SCDF@saintsrlfc.com.
The church is everything to Mizerak and after many years of hard work it has finally been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.“It was my life. If it wasn’t for the church, that’s what keeps me going. It’s my faith and I feel like, it’s just the way I grew up. It’s really the only way I know how to worship, ” Mizerak said.Even though the church no longer is a place of worship Ann, her sister and son gather every Sunday to listen to a recording of past services.She worked hard to have this church preserved and make her ancestors proud.“They work so hard and they sacrificed to have a place of worship. We just feel that we would hate for that to be lost and, so it was really in honor of them,” Mizerak said.The church was built in 1932 by Ukrainian speaking immigrants and still maintains a unique architectural style. Many notice the golden dome on top of the building.“This is a great building. I get to work across three counties and this is one of the most unique historic resources in the three county region,” Executive Director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, George Edwards said.Mizerak said she is overwhelmed at the support the community has given her and her family. She hopes this brings the church more exposure.“It’s overwhelming. It’s such an honor for the church, for our parents, our grandparents, and the community, and the county and now the nation” Mizerak said.The church was placed on the National Historic Registry this past April, but was presented with the National Register certificate today. PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — After more than a decade of hard work Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church is officially recognized as a historic site.“I’m full of emotion I can hardly speak, but its just overwhelming and I do hope this will bring more exposure to the church,” Ann Mizerak, who has helped get the church on the list said.- Advertisement –
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Just days after the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office removed 2.4 pounds of fentanyl during a drug bust on McRae Street, they conducted another bust, this time seizing 3.3 pounds of fentanyl.Jonathan O’Brian Sweet, a known dealer who was out on bond, is back in jail under a $20 million bond. Sweet was in court via video Thursday afternoon.- Advertisement – Investigators say Sweet walked by during the drug bust on McRae Street Monday.According to a news release, detectives followed Sweet and saw him and another man, Randall Joye, leave an apartment, walk to the area of Flint Drive and Harbour Drive and make a drug transaction.Detectives arrested Sweet and searched 2527 Flint Drive, which is where they found a gun and 3.3 pounds of fentanyl.Related Article: Manafort sentenced to 3.5 years more, faces new chargesOn Sweet, detectives found 5.79 grams of crack cocaine and 90 bags of heroin packaged for sale inside his pants.Sweet faces the following charges:Possession with intent to sell distribute cocainePossession with intent to sell deliver heroinConspire to sell/deliver heroinMaintain vehicle/dwelling/place (2 counts)Possession of schedule IV controlled substanceFelony possession of marijuanaPossession with intent to sell marijuanaManufacture marijuanaResisting a public officerTrafficking opium/heroin (2 counts)Possession with intent to sell schedule II controlled substanceSweet’s next court date is scheduled for February 22.Sweet was last arrested in March of 2017 and was out on bond for heroin trafficking and possession with intent to sell/deliver heroin. At that time, detectives found 4.26 grams of raw heroin and 302 bags of heroin packaged for sale in a home on Nut Bush Court during a search.Randall Joye is charged with conspire to sell/deliver heroin and was placed under a $20,000 bond.
PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Big news out of Pender County as two businesses could soon be moving into an industrial park there: FedEx Freight and Coastal Beverage Company.Pender Commerce Park is a 450-acre full-service industrial park on Highway 421 near the New Hanover-Pender County line.- Advertisement – It currently has two tenants: Acme Smoked Fish and Empire Distributors. That number may be about to double.“The park is getting a lot of attention. It’s on a great corridor, Highway 421. There’s obviously great proximity to Wilmington. Clearly, that’s an advantage, and I-140 and being on a four-lane highway,” said Wilmington Business Development CEO Scott Satterfield.FedEx Freight has selected a 12.5-acre parcel at the park for a new service center.Related Article: Target recalls USB charging cables due to shock and fire hazardsCommunications advisor Ron Mears tells us the site was chosen because of the ease of access to major highways, proximity to customers, and a strong local workforce.“They’ll be hopefully starting construction on a somewhere around 15-20,000 square foot facility with their office and warehouse space in the next couple months. There’ll be around 25 employees starting out there,” said Satterfield.Coastal Beverage Company may also move to Pender County. It’s put in a bid to buy some land at the park for a new facility.“The park appears to meet Coastal’s criteria for what it needs for its long term headquarters facility as well as distribution for their operation,” said Satterfield.Wilmington Business Development is Pender County’s partner for the park.Satterfield believes these two companies moving in could spark even more development.“When you see the variety of food processing, distribution, corporate headquarters, etc. So it shows that the park can accommodate a myriad of types of companies,” said Satterfield.Pender County commissioners will consider Coastal Beverage’s purchase at Monday’s Commission meeting.FedEx already has facilities in Wilmington and Leland. Coastal Beverage is in Wilmington as well.No word yet on how the Pender County projects might affect those existing locations.
American Alligator (Photo: Postdlf / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0) RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has extended the application period by one month for permitted American alligator hunts for this year’s season.Earlier this year, the ban for alligator hunting was lifted in North Carolina.- Advertisement – The season will run from September 1 to October 1.Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties now have until June 1 to submit an application.The hunting will be by permit only and each permit holder will only be allowed one alligator kill.Related Article: Alligator found under woman’s car in Carolina BeachThose kills will also have to come by specific methods outlined in the approved proposal.DETAILS:The season for taking American alligators would be September 1 to October 1.Limited take would be by permit only issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission.The bag limit would be one per permit, with a season limit of one alligator per permittee.Alligators could only be taken using hand-held ropes or catch poles; hand-held or rod/reel snatch hooks; harpoons or gigs with attached restraining lines; baited, wooden pegs less than 2-inches in length attached to hand-held restraining lines; archery equipment with arrow-attached restraining lines.Alligators taken by any lawful method described above would have to be dispatched immediately upon capture.Alligators could be taken day or night and with the use of artificial lights.Baited hooks would be prohibited.Permittees would be required to complete a harvest survey provided by the Wildlife Resources Commission and to allow staff to collect biological data from harvested alligators.More information on alligators, including safety tips, can be found on the Commission’s Co-exist With Alligators page. Municipalities seeking additional information can refer to Alligator Management Options for Municipalities.