Its been a hectic week. But the highlights were that I went to Naidex South to meet up with Duncan Edwards of Trabasacks and Guy Harris of Disabled Gear. I also met Steve Dent of Spokz. It was a very busy stall as Guy was doing a roaring business with his jeans. I got a pair as well to try because these are specifically for wheelchair users. Fun too to meet the guys - what a hoot!
Duncan and Guy have been supplying me with their products and offering me encouragement as a disabled entrepreneur. I now hope to stock some products from Mike too.But we have to chat about it yet.
At the same time Disability Capital Conference 2011 was also happening at the same venue with the Mayor Boris Johnson and Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller making their speeches. Many of my disabled mates were there as a result of that conference and I was able to tell them about my new business. I am not a Londoner but I gather disabled people were none too happy at the conference.
I also bumped into Brian Seaman from Tourism For All - Brian and I had a few discussions before on accessible hotels, including those in Coventry. As an access adviser we have many things in common. I am thinking of setting up a small corner for accessible holidays at the stall - just to try it out! I have been working a service for inclusive travel with Connect Culture, now a loose community group based in Coventry.
Part of what I did with Connect Culture was to help disabled people plan their trips to 3 cities London, Paris and Strasbourg. So I am always happy to go to London, and things do not remain the same. This time I tried out a new route which was to travel to the Excel Centre in East London. Now previously I would have said to take the Jubilee Line from Waterloo Station and then transfer to DLR. It is qute tedious as a wheelchair user because I cannot take the tube - so it would be a bus ride from Euston, an underground from Waterloo and the DLR to Custom House, Excel. BUT this time I took St Pancras International to Stratford International and then changed to DLR (towards Beckton) stop at Custom House.
It was a much shorter journey but if it is to help visitors and tourists-a lot more guidance and information should be made available because I felt really lost and as someone without an Oyster card I had no idea which ticket to buy - I had to decide what zone it was for. Not even the woman at the Information booth could tell me or any of the people working at Stratford International. Interesting thought for our Olympics visitors!
My friends and I had a great time ending up in Westfield Stratford Food Court for dinner before my track back to Coventry!
And to top the week, I was asked to go on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire to talk about the impact of the proposed changes to the Disability Living Allowance DLA which is being changed to the Personal Independence Payment PiP. There is a new report on the hardships which would be felt by disabled people by the disability charity Scope. Well I know what the impact is, trouble is at that time in the morning my brain barely started ticking and I couldnt think of what to say. I did perk up later though. However, they got both my name and the stall name wrong!