All new reporters for the Camden Disabled People’s Voices site are invited to write a piece about how they came to develop their ‘super powers’ or strengths. In this piece, Michael ‘Camden’ explains how a youth spent roaming forests, living off the land and hitchhiking round the globe ignited within him the desire to do good both for the environment and local communities.
Anna shares her thoughts on how Camden's wheelchair-unfriendly roads, pavements, buildings and transport make her anxious about going out, causing her to sometimes cancel appointments and stay in, leading to a deterioration in her mental health.
In this piece, new reporter Mick Farrant reflects on how attitudes towards him as person with newly acquired impairments have deepened his pain. How much worse must things be, he ponders, for those who lack the means to make 'their own reasonable adjustments'.
In this autobiographical piece, new reporter Mick Farrant explains how the onset of health conditions and a council bin policy woke him up to disability discrimination and aroused in him a determination to fight for disabled people's equality.
For Oliver, sitting in silence while in a public place like a tube or train can fray his nerves. In this short piece, Oliver talks about the ways he calms himself down on public transport and his fears of how people may judge him for the methods he uses.
As a blind person I am regularly faced with obstructions when making simple trips in the community. Just a walk down my own road can be fraught with hazards, making it more difficult for me to get out and about on my own.
Croftdown Road, London
In this short audio piece, Mik explains how private health clinics outsourced by the NHS are often not accessible, meaning wheelchair users like him are discriminated against and unable to get the same health care as people without impairments.
In this piece, Thomas explains what his usual job-hunting experience is like and what his ideal experience would be. With a few modest adjustments here and there, Thomas would be able to get a job, perform really well and enjoy the respect of his colleagues.
In this short piece, Fatima explains that she was bullied at her primary and secondary schools by girls who sought to isolate her. Despite the trauma of her formative years, Fatima has been able to move on with her life, she says.
In this mini-report, Mary says street obstructions make it difficult for her to go shopping and she asks for greater enforcement of rules on street clutter and easier ways of reporting the problems to the Council.
In this in-depth piece, Tom explains how the sudden and seemingly inexplicable onset of pain in his right shoulder in 2003 kick-started a near two-decade long battle with chronic pain. For 17 years medical professionals of all stripes failed to identify either the solution or the cause of the problem. In the end, peace came when Tom learned to live with and adapt to his pain instead of trying to destroy it.
As a blind person Mary can sometimes feel excluded from leisure facilities as well as from local amenities like shops due to poor access provisions. However in this piece, Mary explains how the Barbican's audio-described showing of the movie Belfast enabled her to thoroughly enjoy a trip to the cinema.
In this in depth piece, Quillias describes the horrendous bullying and discrimination he faced at school from both pupils and staff. His formal education was an ordeal that damaged him and left him with few qualifications and no credible plan for the future. But Quillias didn't let the bullies win. He has bounced back, re-educating himself at college and forging a path towards becoming a scientist.
I developed complex regional pain syndrome because medical staff didn’t listen to me or take action at the right time. I hope my story will encourage people to speak out against doctors who fail to respect what Disabled patients tell them.
Mik was born with cancer and has lived with pain for much of his life. In this audio Mik says his spinal problems have become worse, in part, because medical professionals have too often assumed his pain is simply due to him being Disabled.
In this moving piece, Robert explains how a 'relaxed' performance of the Nutcracker allowed his Disabled daughter, Ellie, and her family members and support workers to thoroughly enjoy a theatre show without having to worry about access problems or negative reactions from other audience members.
In this short video, Fatima explains how she will deliver her Zoom training course to Disabled people. Lessons will now be delivered online because COVID restrictions mean people can't have meetings in person at the Greenwood Centre.
In this report, Mik rails against NICE's (the National Institute for Health Care Excellence) recommendations that people manage chronic (long term) pain through exercise, mindfulness, acupuncture and psychological therapies instead of medications like opioids. Mik says the severe pain he's lived with for 40 years is often so bad he can't even get out of bed, let alone do yoga or eat 'mung beans'.
When I was 15 years old, my skin started turning white. I’m of Bangladeshi heritage and had always been brown so I was shocked when pale, itchy patches appeared on my face. I went to the doctor and they told me I had condition called Vitiligo, which makes your skin lose its pigmentation. Sure enough, after a while, my body began turning white too.
In this short piece, Mik argues that Camden Council is muscling through its planned streetscape changes for Arlington road without heeding calls for the changes to be adapted so they are more inclusive of Disabled people.
I want to tackle loneliness and ageism by encouraging people to talk to each other in public spaces. I think this will improve people’s physical and mental health. Since the winter started, I have been feeling very lonely myself and so I’ve come up with the idea of using themed conversation starter posters to make it easier for people to chat to me and others at my ‘happy-to-talk’ benches.
The ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) expanded from central London to the boundaries of the North and South Circular roads on Monday 25th October, meaning Disabled people in Camden will now be fined for driving older, highly polluting vehicles in the borough unless their vehicle is registered in the disabled tax class.
In this short video, Sarah walks around the areas affected by HS2 building work in the Euston area. Sarah found many access problems as well as high levels of dust and noise pollution and a lack of greenery.
My last Engages All Ages event was the best attended so far. It took place on Sunday 3rd October in Chalcot Square in Primrose Hill and some of the participants played music, sang songs and read poetry about the generational divides.
When I joined the Leadership Programme, I decided my project would be about making Camden venues more accessible for me and others. This is important to me because I am a wheelchair user and I like socialising with friends just like anybody else.
When I heard reports saying the new pop-up cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) were delaying ambulances and putting people's lives at risk, I thought I should dig around and find out if the accusations were true.
Pancras Square, N1C 4AG
As I wheel around I'm reminded that Camden is a part of London that is so inhospitable to wheelchair users like me. Shop after shop, cafe after cafe, restaurant after restaurant, bar after bar and club after club isn't accessible to me just because I'm a wheelchair user.
Hi, my name’s Sarah and I am reporting on the issues I have had with the swimming pools in Islington and Camden. I will talk about the different issues I have had and the actions I have had to take to resolve some of the problems.
As a transgender woman with a learning disability and autism, I think it’s really important for me and other transgender people to be free to express our identity in any way we choose. This is my message; it’s what I want to tell people.
In this audio piece, Robert talks about the challenges his daughter Ellie faces when walking along Kentish Town road. Ellie has, epilepsy, a severe learning disability and visual and hearing impairments.
Kentish Town Road, NW5 2TJ
In this video Mary and Robert talk about their experience of walking down Kentish Town road. Mary and Robert were checking how accessible the road is for Disabled people. Their findings will be fed back to Camden Disability Action’s (CDA) Street Access Co-Production Team.
Kentish Town Road
I ask Camden Council and Camden Market to start really making change for the better. Start building a borough that welcomes disabled people and lets the disabled people who live here take part in everything this amazing place has to offer.
Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH
I made a trip to Highgate village at the weekend. I planned a day out and as part of this, booked lunch at a chain restaurant which stated online that it was accessible. As a wheelchair user I find that this is often not the case, so I rang the branch to check and was assured everything was accessible.
Highgate High Street
I started doing Engages All Ages in Belsize Community Library in 2019. I came up with the idea when I got upset because I went to an art show where there were a lot of young people and I got rejected and I felt it was because of ageism. With Engages All Ages we hold outside poetry events and put on demonstrations to raise awareness about ageism.
Dealing with congestion is a challenge which is why it is important to trial new ideas. A solution for the Kentish Town Road pavement widening is to remove the kerb entirely and create a shared space for pedestrians and cars.
I’m just coming out on my scooter down the road with my son to pick up some shopping and we come across this which is an electric car wire across the road. Partially sighted people and some old people who are not very good at seeing could trip over it. I could too.
Hi, my name is Sarah and I am going to report on the difficulties I have had on facing the health care system. One of the problems I have had is that there is a lack of communication.
I made this video for people who kept us going through lockdown. The pictures were made by people with learning disabilities and my family and this is what kept us going from the 19th of March 2020 to now 2021 which we are still doing.
The most important thing that has happened in my life is getting my own flat. I now have my own space and the independence to do the things that I had been waiting to do for a long time. This has made me who I am today.
In this video Mik suggests a solution to the LTN access problems faced by Blue Badge Holders. Mik suggests using Congestion Charging Exemption systems to allow Blue Badge Holders to access to roads closed to other motorists.
There are increasing numbers of electric cars in my area despite their high prices. The problem is some locals are charging their pollution-busting vehicles from their homes, which has resulted in cables being draped across pavements.
I live with in the Arlington Road Lower Traffic Neighbourhood and just took my first trip to the Royal Free Hospital since the project started. Roads total gridlock. A journey that used to take 10 minutes took 34 only by using side roads.
We walk down Kentish Town High Street there are lots people on the pavement but just by Iceland and McDonald’s and the motorbike box that the person uses to put the takeaway McDonald’s food in accidentally caught my arm.
Holmes Road, NW5 3AN
I found out about Happy to Chat benches from the BBC News. The idea behind them is to help tackle loneliness by encouraging strangers to talk to each other in a safe, neutral space, like a park. It’s as simple as ideas get really.
In this piece, two Camden Disability Action community reporters, Jill and Mik, and the project lead Tom talk about how Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) affect Disabled people, how they could be made more inclusive for Disabled people and the importance of cutting pollution.
When it comes to our streets, cyclists and Disabled people can sometimes appear to be natural foes, with each group permanently camped on opposite sides of the active travel debate.
Camden High Street, NW1 7JY
Yesterday I popped to the shops with my wife. A quick pop to Sainsbury's. As I push out onto a crossing I notice two Lycra-clad cyclists deep on conversation sped towards me, despite the lights on the junction being at red.
The last year has changed the way people live their lives and this has affected people’s mental health and wellbeing. At times I have felt lonely because of not being able to go to the shops or meet up with friends and family. Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, the Culpeper Community Garden in Islington was one of the things that helped keep my spirits up.
Cloudesley Road, N1 0EJ
I went to the new Morrison’s in Chalk Farm - the temporary one that’s going to be there for five years. It was very good, easy to walk in to. You had to queue and then a security guard looks at you and then he makes sure you’re okay.
Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH
My superpower is having empathy and understanding for people who are disabled, including people with learning difficulties and having the determination to help change the future for the better in terms of education, housing, transport and equal rights in the workplace.
"I got in my car and looked everywhere for the no right turn sign on Swain's Lane and then I finally found this. You have to actually look up high before you see it. It's too high for anyone in a car seat to see."
After taking this photo of two hire bikes from the company Lime, and posting it to Twitter, Lime contacted me to reassure me they would be moved. I have also heard from a new company that produces accessible bike stores available for all types of cycles, including those used by disabled people.
"This is my response to the pausing of the Haverstock Hill cycle lane. I live in the borough of Camden and I'm disabled. Camden's policy of safer streets is for vulnerable people, people like me.
I am in two minds about the successful legal challenge to the pop-up cycle lanes on Haverstock Hill. I welcome the challenge but I am shocked that Camden Council carried out the changes without any consultation.
Eléonore was born with a very rare genetic disorder. There is no evidence that her condition is hereditary nor was it a condition that could be detected in a foetal examination. In other words she appeared as a complete surprise. And she was born in France during our one year stay there.