Jack Ashley

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Jack Ashley the former MP for Stoke South. He was a doughty fighter for the rights of the disabled and a very good constituency MP. I knew him best during the 1970s and 80s when I was active in the Labour Party in Stoke, for a short period between 1985-6 I was Vice Chairman of Stoke South Constituency Labour Party. His campaign on behalf of people effected by the thalidomide drug in the 70s which would be a fine record in its own right but added to that was his work around domestic violence and the need for a refuge for victims of violence later in the decade.

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Aiming High brings funding opportunities

Organisations working with disabled children and their families in Staffordshire have three funding opportunities, thanks to Staffordshire’s Aiming High Programme.

The Small Grant Revenue Fund, Disabled Children’s Access to Childcare (DCATCH) Grant Fund and the Capital Grant Fund can be applied for by organisations involved with disabled children and their families, who want to improve and expand their services.

The Small Grant Revenue Fund is for increasing short breaks and activities for disabled children in Staffordshire under 18 years. Grants of up to £5,000 will be awarded under this scheme. The DCATCH Grant Fund is specifically for improving the range and quality of childcare for families with a disabled child or children. Again, grants of up to £5,000 will be awarded. The Capital Grant Fund is about supporting greater access for disabled children and young people to short breaks or activities by making funding available to purchase assets such as equipment, adaptations. Grants from £2,500 with a maximum limit of £20,000 will be awarded under the Capital funding.

Aiming High for Disabled Children aims to transform the lives of disabled children and their families, to enable families with disabled children to receive the support they need to live ordinary family lives. Terms and conditions of the grants, and application forms can be downloaded from the Aiming High website.

Deputy Leader and Lead Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Ian Parry said: “These grants are all helping to transform the lives of disabled children and young people in Staffordshire. By applying, organisations will be showing their commitment to improving services and creating greater access. I would urge any organisations working with or wished to work with disabled children and their families to look at applying for this funding, and really make a difference to disabled children and young people in this county.”

Applications may be made for all 3 separate Grant funds. There is a maximum limit of two applications within each of the separate grant funds per organisation. The closing date for applications is 29 July.

Council Consult Over Disabled Bus Passes

Stoke-on-Trent City Council began a consultation process to look at the ways the city council allows disabled residents to apply for a bus pass this week.

The consultation started on Monday 14 June and run for 11 weeks, ending Tuesday 31 August. Consultation is being conducted with six disabled charities and over 200 disabled pass holders off the city council database. The reason for the consultation is to improve the current system to make sure that only residents who qualify for a bus pass receive one and would allow all disabled pass holders to have a pass for three years rather than one.

The new process would not affect those people who automatically qualify, but those who would apply for a pass using a medical recommendation form. It would not allow people to give their doctor a medical recommendation form to sign if they do not automatically qualify for a bus pass.

Residents who automatically qualify for a disabled bus pass are those who can provide one or more of the following documents:

  • BD8 or CVI form
  • Registration with sensory loss team
  • Registration with social services as having a learning disability
  • Higher rate DLA for help with getting around
  • War pensioners mobility supplement
  • Letter from DVLA

The new process would allow people to bring in other documents as proof of their disability that they cannot use at present. The process would still allow those people who do not have other documentation to apply for a pass by giving the city council permission to contact their doctor about their disability.

Councillor Brian Ward, cabinet member for housing, planning and transportation, said: ‘The consultation process is a vital part in making sure that the plans the city council have put together meet the needs of the public. By getting views from people who will actually feel the affects, we can make sure that the changes will serve the community in the best possible way.’

Residents who want further information or a copy of the consultation and feedback form can contact the:

Concessionary Fares Scheme Officer,
Passenger Transport,
Civic Centre,
Glebe Street,

telephone 01782 235995
email transportation@stoke.gov.uk

or go to the city council’s website.


Well the trials have finally arrived. It seems that Meir Park and Bentilee have been chosen to trial the new fortnightly bin collections/enhanced recycling scheme being introduced by the City Council. See the Sentinel article by clicking here.

There are lots of comments on the Sentinel website, many are extremely positive, but many make the point that this appears to mean more work/burden for residents, and there is no detail about what will actually happen to the recyclable materials (although I only skimmed the Sentinel article quickly, so perhaps I missed something).

Now I am all for recycling, and can see the benefits. However, it does mean more work and for many people it will be a big change to their normal routine. I wonder how the City Council are going to engage people in the embedding process and get everyone on board with this initiative.

There are certainly downsides to fortnightly bin collections. I remember an article on GMTV in the summer (what summer?), where the residents of Oxford were complaining about the dreadful smell from their rubbish, towards the end of the fortnight, a few days before the collection date. There were problems with vermin etc, and this to me is harking back to Victorian times – something I am sure no one, particularly our Councillors, will want for this city.

How will the council ensure the system runs smoothly? A 6 week trial in Meir Park and Bentilee will hardly have had time to get started, let alone be long enough to iron out all the problems – half of the problems will probably not have even materialised in that time! Yet the plan is to roll out fortnightly bin collections and the enhanced recycling by summer, to all Stoke on Trent residents.

There is also a good point made on the Sentinel article, about how disabled residents are catered for – they will surely have even further difficulties getting the various bins out on the correct days. And as a busy person myself, I never know which day my bottle/paper collection is, and rely on seeing other people’s boxes out, before I put mine out, otherwise I miss it!

I really hope the people of Stoke on Trent take this initiative to heart and efficient recycling becomes a major success across the city. However, I think fortnightly bin collections could bring more problems than solutions, and hope the council have plans in place to address issues, as they arise. I am sure they will say the trial is intended just for that purpose.
I look forward to celebrating a successful recycling project, after all, we are way behind in this particular issue. What do you all think?