From the Temple of Doom to Community Rooms – the life of Michael Camden
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.
Camden’s inaccessible infrastructure affects my mental health, says Anna
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.
Service providers’ lack of understanding makes living with impairments much harder, says Mick
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'.
Bin policy lifts the lid on rubbish attitude to disabled people, says Mick
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.
Keeping calm on public transport
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.
Mary reports on the thorny problem of Camden’s street clutter
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
Inaccessible health clinic leaves Mik in despair
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.
Thomas’ ideal work scenario
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.
Bullied from Reception to Year 10 – Fatima’s school years
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.
Pavement obstructions make shopping trips a nightmare, says Mary
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.
Meet my friend pain
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.
Mary recommends audio-described cinema shows
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.
They believed I was an abomination – Quillias on his school days
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.
Doctors wouldn’t listen to me, says Sarah
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.
My pain is overlooked because I’m Disabled, says Mik
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.
‘Relaxed’ performances make theatre accessible
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.
Fatima releases video on Zoom course
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.
Not very NICE! Mik rails against guidelines on long term pain
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'.
My condition is more than skin deep, says Fatima
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.
Arlington road consultations a sham, claims Mik
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.
My conversation starter posters will help beat loneliness, says Oliver
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.
Expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone deals blow to Camden’s Disabled drivers
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.
Sarah uncovers maze of access issues around HS2
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.
Bridging the generational divides – Oliver’s work gathers pace
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.
Ramping up the victories – Anna campaign makes local pub accessible
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.
Cycle lanes and LTNs not blocking ambulances, research finds
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
Camden’s inaccessible streets and services make me feel unwanted, says Mik
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.