Lawyers campaigners peers and academics have spok

first_imgLawyers campaigners, peers and academics have spoken of how disabled people can find it almost impossible to enforce their rights to equality, six years after the introduction of the Equality Act.They were speaking at a seminar in London – organised by the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, the legal firm Unity Law, and the Cloisters set of barristers – that discussed the findings of a landmark report by a Lords committee on the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people.The committee, which reported in March, concluded that government was failing to protect disabled people from discrimination, while laws designed to address disability discrimination were “not working in practice”, and spending cuts were having “a hugely adverse effect on disabled people”.Several of those who contributed to yesterday’s (27 April) seminar spoke of how disabled people’s access to justice had been damaged over the last 20 years, since the first Disability Discrimination Act.Catherine Casserley, who has practised discrimination law since 1996 in law centres, for the former Disability Rights Commission, and now as a barrister with Cloisters, said disabled people had “very significant problems” enforcing their rights under the Equality Act, with advice centres and law centres closing, while, when considering some of the decisions, it seemed that even some of the judiciary appeared to have difficulty understanding disability discrimination law.Professor Anna Lawson, director of the Centre for Disability Studies, said the committee’s report was a “fantastic” piece of research which “gathers together people’s lived experience”, exposes the gap between that experience and what the law says, and helps keep up the momentum for change.She said it was clear that the Equality Act “has made a difference” and was “the envy of many other countries”, but she added: “Things are different now than they were in 1995 but it is slow progress.”And she said the Equality Act had to be supplemented by other legislation on social care, social welfare, education and mental capacity.The disabled peer Lord Low (pictured), who spoke of lessons learned from the work of the Disability Rights Taskforce, of which he was a member between 1997 and 1999, called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to push the government to set out an action plan to implement the committee’s recommendations.He said: “We must get away from the perception that disability rights are something that we in society out of the goodness of our hearts give ‘them over there, those poor disabled people…’“The advancement of disability rights is a shared task for all of us… for the rest of society no less than disabled people and their organisations.”There were also concerns at how vital campaigns to fight cuts to social care and benefits had meant equality had been “left behind” as a campaigning issue for disabled people.Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said disabled people had shown they could put disability “high up the agenda” with the battle over the government’s plans to tighten eligibility to personal independence payment (PIP), which were later abandoned.But she said there had not been enough discussion about equality, with the focus instead on issues such as cuts to social care, which saw disabled people positioned as a “vulnerable group of people” which was “getting smaller and smaller” because of government rhetoric on “targeting resources on those who need the most”.She said: “It’s really important that we keep talking about equality. This report does give us an opportunity.“We should all push it to the top of our agendas to make sure it doesn’t get forgotten.”Faryal Velmi, director of the user-led, accessible transport charity Transport for All (TfA), said the pace of change had been “really infuriating”, and any equality gains made had not come from politicians and transport commissioners but had been “won by the tireless and vociferous activism of disabled people and their allies”.She said TfA’s helpline received calls every day from scooter-users who had been left “in the cold and the rain” because drivers would not let them on buses.Velmi said it was a “mark of shame” in the fifth richest country in the world that disabled people were having to “limit their lives or at worst are trapped in their homes because public transport is not good enough”.Several delegates spoke of the difficulty of enforcing the act.Douglas Johnson, a discrimination law expert with Unity Law, said the real difficulty with the Equality Act was that while it gave rights “it makes you responsible for enforcing that yourself”, and added: “It is just not fair to expect victims of discrimination to sort out society’s problems themselves”.Barbara Cohen, a member of the Discrimination Law Association, said EHRC had not done enough to enforce the act.She said it had “really extensive enforcement powers which they have not been particularly keen to use in recent years”.Kumar Moorthy, from Disability Watford, said service-providers tended to ignore regulations on access because of the lack of enforcement.He said: “It is time that we took the stick out of the pocket and waved it around; maybe not necessarily to start hitting people, but let’s show it.“It’s time to show the stick and make sure the regulations are implemented before we devote too much effort to modifying the expectations of tomorrow.”Some of those at the seminar suggested there was a need for direct action to enforce disabled people’s rights under the act.Kim Marshall, a lecturer on disability, said the Equality Act needed “teeth”.She said: “We have had cut after cut after cut after cut in terms of legal aid and access to resources.“Is it not now time that we went to direct action? We have been waiting 20 years and we still do not have an equal society.”Tracey Proudlock, who chained herself to buses in the 1980s in protest at inaccessible public transport and is now a leading access consultant, said that for an “inclusive campaign you need to do more than just direct action”.She said: “Part of me says we have a piece of legislation today, and what we should be doing is knuckling under and making it work.“I want an inclusive campaign that really challenges the people that are doing wicked things.”Sayce agreed that inclusive campaigning was important, but so was an inclusive approach to deciding what to campaign on.She said disabled people were “being banged up in various institutions”, with the number of people sectioned under the Mental Health Act “going up and up relentlessly” and “people being subject to some pretty horrendous things”.Bob Williams-Findlay, a former chair of the British Council of Disabled People, said the law’s approach to disability was outdated, because of the continuing confusion between impairment and disability – the barriers created by society.He said that if the legislation did not understand the difference between the two, “how will employers and service-providers?”Audrey Ludwig, from Ipswich-based Tackling Discrimination in the East, which is run by Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, said discrimination law “becomes an irrelevance” in practice because of how few disability discrimination cases – just four in one year – are granted legal aid to be taken through county courts.Baroness Deech, who chaired the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee that produced the report, promised that she and her committee would “do everything that we can to make sure the government listens to and carries out our recommendations”.Lord [Chris] Holmes, the EHRC’s disability commissioner, said the commission would deliver its formal response to the report after it had been considered by its disability committee next month.But he said: “There is no question we would all agree that government needs to do more to fight disability discrimination and enable disabled people to fully participate in society. Full stop.”last_img read more

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PLAY Off fever is building at Saints as they prepa

first_imgPLAY Off fever is building at Saints as they prepare to take on Warrington Wolves this Saturday for a place in the Semi Finals.They will travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium this Saturday (September 15) with the game kicking off at 6pm.Saints have a remarkable Super League record over the Wolves, having won 36 of the 42 contests to date.And Mike Rush’s men are still the only side to beat Warrington in their own barn this season.They were at their imperious best in a 28-16 win back in March.Confidence is high in the camp too after Saints registered their first win over Wigan last Friday.To be a part of Saints Play Off push you can buy tickets for Saturday’s match now.Tickets are now on sale from www.saintssuperstore.com, via 01744 455 052 and from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park.Prices are:West Stand Terrace: Adult £18.50 Concessions and Students £12.50 Juniors £5North Stand (seating): Adult £26.50 Concession and Student £18 and Juniors £5And to get you in the mood – here’s the highlights of that great win in March!last_img read more

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THE cream of northern hemisphere Rugby League tale

first_imgTHE cream of northern hemisphere Rugby League talent will take centre stage in October and November when England, France and Wales compete in the 2012 Autumn International Series.The tournament provides an opportunity for all three competing countries to hone their preparations ahead of the Rugby League World Cup 2013.The 2012 Autumn International Series tournament schedule in full is as follows:Saturday October 20 – France v Wales (Lens, ko tbc)Saturday October 27 – Wales v England (Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, 2.30)Saturday November 3 – England v France (MS3 Craven Park, Hull, 2.30)Sunday November 11 – Final (Salford City Stadium, 5.00).Tickets for the 2012 Autumn International Series matches cost just £12 (adults) and £6 concessions.Saints Season Ticket Holders can take advantage of a 2 for 1 offer on adult tickets for the Final if purchased before October 31.All you have to do is quote sth241 either online at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or over the phone from the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 8561113.last_img read more

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THE Saints U16s Academy side got their campaign of

first_imgTHE Saints U16s Academy side got their campaign off to a winning start with a comprehensive 50-6 win over the Vikings at a drizzly Stobart Stadium on Thursday, writes Graham Henthorne.Ten tries to one tells the story as the Saints led by a hat-trick to Aaron Smith, thoroughly dominated their hosts.Jake Spedding got the first try outpacing the defence in the right corner after a big hit had dislodged the ball on the Vikings first possession.From the kick off new boy Rickie Bailey at full back marked his debut with a great 70 metre try. Lewis Hatton poked his nose through the defensive line and put a great pass out to the supporting Bailey. He showed the full back the outside and then proceeded to go around him beating the cover to the line.The Saints kept themselves ahead of the clock as Bobbie Williams started a bit of “anything you can do I can do better” streaking in from 90 metres. The Vikings put a cross kick up on the last which Williams attacked, caught on the full and then strolled around his opposite number into open space on his way to the posts.The Saints weren’t only on fire in attack but were showing well in defence. A great kick from Josh Houghton was made even better by the chase from Jake Spedding and Kieron Herbert who tackled the winger in goal.From the repeat set Smith dummied right taking three over for the first of his tries.The Vikings were finding it increasingly difficult to get out of their half giving the Saints wonderful field position with which to mount their attacks. Yet another dart close to the line from Smith this time put influential standoff Morgan Knowles over.A great pass out to the left saw Bobbie Williams just pushed into touch in the act of scoring but a minute later Knowles made up for it with a pass to Danny Richardson who stepped inside the defence to score.Saints coaching staff Ian Lomax and Eric Frodsham were more than happy with their charges at the break just urging the Saints to keep up the effort for the second period.The Vikings made a much better fist of it in the second period showing more enthusiasm in defence which posed some different problems for the Saints. It took 10 minutes but eventually they got to grips with them and normal service was resumed with Smith diving over unopposed at the line.From a penalty on the 30 metre line David Eccleston dummied his way over for a good individual effort.From the kick off the Saints blotted their copybook as indecision led to the Vikings gaining possession on the Saints line and charging over for their consolation score.The last quarter belonged to the Saints. Bailey stepped his way in for his second and Smith scored yet another try from one metre out to end the scoring.Whilst there will be much stiffer tests to come this was an impressive first outing for the Saints. Joe McLoughlin, Jake Campbell, James Nicholl and Lewis Hatton set the base for Smith Knowles and debutant Richardson to move the team about expertly. There is abundant pace in the back line with the starting back three of Bailey, Herbert and Williams ably supported by yet another debutant Joey Brady off the bench.Match Summary:Widnes U16s:Tries: Curtis Berry.Goals: Joe Lyons.St Helens U16s:Tries: Rickie Bailey 2, Bobbie Williams, Dave Eccleston, Jake Spedding, Morgan Knowles, Aaron Smith 3, Danny Richardson.Goals: Morgan Knowles 5.Half Time: 32-0Full Time: 50-6Teams:Widnes:1. Theo Holt; 2. Jack May, 3. Callum Edwards, 4. Ryan Ince, 5. Eddie Connor; 6. Joe Lyons, 7. Konagh Hill; 8. Caylum Williams, 9. Jack Bond, 10. Ste Fenney, 11. Jack Houghton, 12. Shaun Mannion, 13. Sam Brady.Subs: 14. Adam Kirby, 15. Louis Glover, 16. Connor Cutts, 17. Curtis Berry, 18. Josh Johnson, 19. Alex Smith, 20. James Bamford.Saints:1. Rickie Bailey; 5. Kieron Herbert, 4. Jake Spedding, 3. Dave Eccleston, 2. Bobbie Williams; 6. Morgan Knowles, 7. Josh Houghton; 8. Joe McLaughlin, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Jake Campbell, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Lewis Hatton, 14. Jonah Cunningham.Subs: 13. Chris Worrall, 15. Danny Richardson, 16. Ben Morris, 17. Josh Jenkins, 18. James Nicholl, 19. Kieron Atherton, 21. Joey Brady.last_img read more

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PAUL Wellens is confident his charges will be more

first_imgPAUL Wellens is confident his charges will be more than up to the task when Saints take on Wigan in Saturday’s Grand Final.Playing in a record equalling tenth final, the 34-year-old knows the challenge the Warriors will present.“It is a fantastic occasion and one as a team and a group we are excited about, he said. “Wigan have a formidable team, they have shown that and it will be a tough challenge but it is one we are really looking forward to.“Saints v Wigan are usually competitive games. There is an intense rivalry between the two clubs and it is great to be part of that. There is a respect there too and it all makes for a great game on a stage that can be no bigger.“I don’t think any of the games this season will have any bearing on this one. You will have two committed teams going at each other.”He continued: “Are Saints due one? Let’s hope so but you can’t take that for granted. We will prepare the best we can, be determined and give it everything. We have been written off as a group but we have kept bouncing back, kept on going and we will do that again this Saturday.“There are a number of players leaving and Nathan too. It would be good to send them off with a win.“But it’s not just for them; it’s for the future . If we take home the trophy then it could be a catalyst for many more to come for this group.”last_img read more

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Day Six – Saturday October 14Today saw the first g

first_imgDay Six – Saturday October 14Today saw the first game of our tour with a fixture against Canterbury Bulldogs. The opening exchanges saw both teams start really strong, with the Bulldogs capitalising on an early Saints error with a smarty executed kick from the lively standoff, kicking cross field for his winger to collect and score first. Shortly after the restart and following a penalty, the Bulldogs scored again after some good hands once again the left winger finishing well for his brace.This time the conversion was successful and the Saints were under pressure trailing 10-0. Saints fought their way back into the game by completing some good sets with Captain Evan Bullen and Sam Royle leading the charge. Great play by Jack Welsby sent Ben Sims through a gap and he drew the fullback to put hard working prop forward Christian Kellet charging under the sticks. Josh Simm adding the extras.Saints soon found themselves in front as following a Josh Simm break, Sam Royle hit a good line to score under the posts, again Simm converts to make the score 12-10.Both team’s defence remained strong and unbroken for the remainder of the half with Saints taking a slender lead into the sheds.Saints totally dominated the second half scoring 26 unanswered points against a much changed Bulldogs outfit.Jamie Little was first over the whitewash following good interplay between Welsby, Horne and Foster; Welsby converting for 18-10. From the restart following big carries from Hutchings and Taylor, Welsby cross the line and then converted his own try.Next to score, after a piece of individual brilliance, was pivot Ryan Horne. This time the conversion was unsuccessful and left Saints 28-10 to the good.Saints continued to play with flair in attack and tenacity in defence and next to score, with a Tommy Makinson like one handed finish in the corner, was John Hutchings.The scoring was completed with another fine Welsby pass sending Matty Foster to score a well deserved try.Final score Saints 36 Canterbury Bulldogs 10.Saints: Jamie Little; John Hutchings, Sean Croston, Josh Simm, Tom Nisbet; Jack Welsby, Jake Wingfield, Evan Bullen, Paul Nash, Christian Kellet, Ben Sims, Joe Sherratt, Sam Royle. Subs: Brandon ONeill, Luke Maloney-Ward, Ryan Horne, Kian Horridge, Kye Siyani, Reece Jackson, Matthew Foster, Kelvin Taylor, Brandon Scully.Warren McDonnell, Bulldogs recruitment Manager presented some awards after the match. He selected: Jack Welsby as Best BackEvan Bullen as Best ForwardSam Royle as Best and Fairest Keep an eye on @saints1890 on Twitter for live coverage from the games – and in match pics too!last_img read more

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Big Buddy Program celebrates with annual Christmas Party

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – While it’s not really cold enough to skate around the ice ,Wilmington volunteers and kids took to the skating rink to celebrate the Christmas season.The Wilmington based Big Buddy Program of the Cape Fear held its annual Christmas party.- Advertisement – The non profit is a part of the Cape Fear Volunteer Center. Mentors volunteer to spend time as well as positively impact the lives of kids between the ages of 5 to 17.Tonight’s Christmas party was made possible by local restaurants.All of it focused on spreading some smiles this holiday season.Related Article: Cape Fear Volunteer Center needs help moving Florence survivors into new homes“She’s nice to me and she takes me places and I can talk to her when I need to and stuff like that,” said Tamara Fanklin who takes part in the program.“It gives children the opportunity to get out there and do things that they normally would not get to do,” said volunteer Melissa Almodovar. “If Mom works a lot and she’s not home it also makes her feel better because she’s got somebody with the children or able to take the children and do things with them that’s new for them sometimes.”last_img read more

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Proposed bill phases in smaller class sizes removes PreK waiting list

first_imgRALEIGH, NC (WWAY/AP) — School districts across the state will have a little longer to reduce classroom sizes for grades K-3, under a new bill announced this afternoon.Republican state lawmakers unveiled the bill which phases in smaller class sizes and lowers student-to-teacher ratios in kindergarten through third grade classrooms, provides millions of additional state dollars to fund special subject area teachers and eliminates the state’s Pre-K waiting list.- Advertisement – The chairs of the House and Senate education committees held a news conference this afternoon to discuss legislation that would push the mandate back until the 2021-2022 school year. This would allows schools time to take the necessary steps to meet the class size requirements.Lawmakers passed a bill last year that would require smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. Under the law, the average class size in those grades would drop from 21 to 17.This coming year, school districts would receive an additional $60 million in funding for program enhancement teachers, such as art and physical education.Related Article: Democrats turn to blue-collar Milwaukee for 2020 conventionBy the time the mandate goes into effect, schools across the state will have received  nearly $250 million to fund special subject area teachers by the 2021-2022 school year.“From parents to educators to lawmakers to Gov. Cooper, nearly everyone agrees that lowering class sizes is an important priority that will have a real positive impact on academic outcomes for our students,” said Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake.) “After months of work reviewing the data and hearing from stakeholders, I believe we’ve arrived at a data-driven solution that will achieve the smaller classes that we all support and that taxpayers have paid for, with a timeline and framework that our local schools should be able to implement successfully.”This plan also includes a provision to eliminate the state’s PreK waitlist. Lawmakers say they have committed to put enough money aside to allow every eligible child access to the NC PreK program, adding close to 3,000 slots for low-income children to the program.North Carolina Republicans have offered wide-ranging legislation that fixes anticipated class-size challenges next fall in the public schools, but is also loaded with other provisions that give Democrats heartburn.A bill negotiated by House and Senate GOP leaders unveiled Thursday would phase in the lower averages over the next three years. But the measure also addresses an agreement related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the combined elections and ethics board.last_img read more

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Community leaders locked up For what A good cause

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Some people you may know in the community are locked up behind bars. The crime? A good cause.Business and community leaders were locked up as jailbirds at the Hampton Inn near New Hanover Regional Medical Center.- Advertisement – They raised money for bail to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association.Funds raised will go to local support for kids and adults affected with MDA, ALS, and other diseases.“These are diseases that might be rare in nature but are certainly impactful on the folks that have those diseases,” MDA Executive Director Melissa Sinclair. “So while we are again having a great time while we’re out here today, it gives us an opportunity to reset awareness in the local community.”Related Article: Oh baby! Pender mom gives birth in car outside hospitalThe fundraising goal was $35,000 and they expect to surpass it with the donations which came in for the lockup. The funds raised will also make MDA summer camp possible for local kids.last_img read more

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NCDOT starts new traffic pattern near Surf City swing bridge

first_imgSurf City bridge construction (Photo: Jeff Wenzel/Facebook) SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation officially shifted the traffic pattern to get to the Surf City Swing Bridge as contractors work on a round-a-bout for the new bridge.Balfour Beatty and all the subcontractors for the new bridge are back to work in full production mode, after Hurricane Florence.- Advertisement – Barricades sit along Roland Avenue right before the Swing Bridge on the mainland side of Surf City. Drivers must go around Roland Avenue near Atkinson Point Road in the new traffic pattern. Engineers talked to the community about this shift in April. NC DOT Engineer Trevor Carroll said the new traffic pattern is the official planned detour for contractors to construct the mainland side round-a-bout. They expect this round-a-bout construction to take 6-8 weeks for the mainland side.Carroll said contractors also have to construct the round-a-bout on the island side. The location of the island side round-a-bout is on a vacant lot, therefore, the traffic shift on the island side will come immediately prior to opening the new bridge.Related Article: Bike ride for breast cancer raises $91K for local patients, survivorsCarroll said they expect to announce the opening date once NCDOT & Balfour Beatty can project a more accurate target date.last_img read more

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