Come along to our Surveying Workshop!

AccessAble Logo.JPG

Adult Care Services and other partners in Herts commission accessibility guides to venues, hospitals, stations, shops and lots of other places in the county to support people with disabilities to be able to plan their journeys and outings in advance.

 AccessAble run a surveying workshop to teach people basic surveying skills, engage with them on new venues to add to our guide and include them on a surveying job..

Come and hear more about how we create our Detailed Access Guides and the work of our surveyors.

In the morning you can learn about the information we collect and why it is important.

In the afternoon we will all go to The Howard Centre so you can have a go at surveying a venue yourself!

Lunch will be provided. Each attendee will receive a certificate and a voucher for completing the day.

Wednesday 13th November 2019 11:00am - 2:00pm
Large Meeting Room
Welwyn Garden City Library
Campus West
Hertfordshire AL8 6AJ
(Please ask at reception upon arrival)

Click here for full details

Shaping Our Lives - Insight - Including Missing Voices

Shaping our Lives.jpg

This bulletin gives an insight into the work and people of Shaping Our Lives.

We hope you will enjoy finding out a bit more about us.

If you have a story you would like to share about your organisation in our next Insight Bulletin, please email us, using the address below.


Hearing the voices of Disabled people in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

Shaping Our Lives are working in partnership with the University of Worcester to research access to services for disabled people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities from Disabled People's Organisations.
This research is designed to listen to the missing voices of disabled people who live in Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) communities, and to explore whether that voice could be heard in key policy forums, including having a presence in Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

The results of this research may lead to the development of further research into the ways that people from GRT communities could be actively involved in shaping the future in regard to getting the voices of Disabled GRT people heard.
This research is exploratory, the aim being to discover quite what the culture and approaches are from the Disabled Persons’ Groups and the respective Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Communities towards disability and the extent to which there might be mutual benefit in working more closely together in the interests of inclusion. We are keen that this piece of research does just not become another report gathering dust, but rather we are hoping to see changes taking place as a result of this research. There will be an action plan as part of the final outputs drawing from our findings and another study detailing successful policy changing activities by Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations.
This DRILL (Disability Research into Independent Living and Learning) funded project was won by open competition in February 2019 and commenced in March 2019.
The research is predominantly disabled people-led and the steering group involves members from the GRT communities. We are hoping to be able to meet with GRT community members across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England to discuss their experiences of disability with a view to encouraging best practice. Any people interested in taking part in this research, please contact Dr. Peter Unwin at the University of Worcester by email or telephone: 01905 855126.

Click here for the A5 Missing Voices Leaflet

Latest News from Shaping Our Lives

Shaping our Lives.jpg

Welcome to the latest Shaping Our Lives Newsletter.

If you have items you would like shared in a future newsletter or stories for our Insight bulletin, please contact us using the email below.

Supporting people with learning disabilities to have positive sexual relationships

Adults with learning disabilities often describe feeling lonely and aspire to have intimate relationships with others. This pre-recorded webinar by Anna Marriot focuses on the ways in which practitioners can work with people with learning disabilities to enable them to fulfil their wishes to have relationships.

This webinar has open access until 30 June.

Webinar - Supporting people with learning disabilities to have positive sexual relationships

Blog - Supporting people with learning disabilities to have positive sexual relationships

NHS Big Tea – 5th July

(From the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance)

The NHS’ birthday is on 5th July and what better way to celebrate one of the nation’s most loved institutions than with a cup of tea?

On and around 5th July, people up and down the country are getting together to raise a cuppa to our beloved NHS and raise funds for NHS charities.

Find out how you can get involved by finding an NHS Charity to support, plan a tea party, make a donation or 'do more'!

NHS big Tea – further information

Peer Leadership Academy – closing date 19th July 2019

(From the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance)

The Personalised Care Group is inviting applications from people with lived experience of personalised approaches to health and social care to participate in a personal development programme.

It aims to build people’s knowledge, skills and confidence so they can play an active role in the personalised care programmes at a national and regional level.

It is being delivered by Peoplehub CIC in collaboration with the NHS England Personalised Care Group

Further information about the Autumn Peer Leadership Academy

The RNIB and Peoples Views survey

RNIB and Peoples Views are looking for blind and partially sighted people aged 45 years to 75 years who have only been registered blind or partially sighted in the last 3 years; and, additionally, people aged 75 years and over who might have been registered for longer (they can take someone 75 years + who has an age related condition).

The RNIB wish to explore how the organisation can better engage with blind and partially sighted people.

The workshop will include a £100 thank you for taking part.

They are also offering support with travel costs and those of a chaperone if required on an individual needs basis.

If you are interested in taking part then please email back with the following required information:



Are you registered as severely sight impaired/partially sighted or with mild sight loss?:

How long have you been registered with sight loss?:

Which best describes your condition - stable / variable;  deteriorating / unsure?:

How familiar are you with the RNIB?:

What is your ethnic background?:

Do you require a chaperone or any additional help attending and participating?:

We would like to send you some additional information prior to event such as agenda and info - are you happy to be contacted by the RNIB?:

In what format would you like to receive this information:

Your phone number:

Email address to respond to the survey

Online Survey for Solutions for the Future of Social Security Benefits System

If you or anyone you know is on welfare benefits in the UK, the below link is an opportunity to give your views and solutions of how you would want the system to look and feel like in the future. This is a rare opportunity so please share this link and be involved in this process.

Online Survey for Solutions for the Future of Social Security Benefits System

Call to Action from Shaping Our Lives:

We would be grateful if you could complete a short survey of seven questions for us.

The University of Worcester and Shaping Our Lives are doing a research project called 'Missing Voices'. It aims to find out if the needs of Disabled people from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities are represented by the work of Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations or if the issues they experience are different and need highlighting in other ways.

If you are part of a Deaf and Disabled People's Organisation we would be very grateful if you could complete the following survey:

Including Missing Voices Survey -

The link takes you to the project information page and then requests your consent to continue before taking you to the question page. No personal information is requested and questions ask only if your organisation is involved in any way with the Disabled Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The survey closes on 31st July 2019.

If you require the survey in another format please contact us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email and we hope you will participate to inform our research.

Including Missing Voices Survey

Disability News Service

Shaping Our Lives has joined up with Disability News Service to bring you the latest news and our archive.

The latest news and our archive


Shaping Our Lives is a leading national user-led organisation that has expertise in the inclusive involvement of people from diverse, seldom heard and marginalised communities, enabling disabled people service users to meaningfully influence policy creating relevant and effective services. Our work has three core elements:
1. Developing, implementing and facilitating inclusive involvement activities.
2. Conducting user-led, experiential and participatory action research.
3. Representing user-led groups nationally

Check out our Resource Library for an index of titles where you can download a number of free documents of particular interest to the service user movement.
Remember, if you are a member of Shaping Our Lives  you can post onto the notice board and update your information on your personal page as many times as you want.
Sign up to get our latest e bulletins and newsletters.

If you have a resource you would like to share with other user-led organisations and service users please contact us

Follow us on Twitter@solnetwork1
Like us on Facebook: Shaping Our Lives

Free Wellbeing Courses

New Leaf Logo.jpg

We thought you might be interested in these free wellbeing courses held over the next few months at our Centre: 

·    Learning for Wellbeing: Wednesday, 9 May 10.00-13.00

·    Understanding Depression: Tuesday, 10 July 13.30-16.30

·    Caring for Someone with a long term illness or disability: Wednesday, 11 & 18 July 14.00-17.00

·    Daring to Dream: Tuesday, 17 July 13.30-16.30

Free Courses.png

To enrol call 01442 864966 or book online at

Lifegeta Emotional Support Group Monthly Meeting (Hitchin Based)


Lifegeta is a support network for all types’ people with life changing acquired conditions + friends, family & carers.

Addressing the emotional effects of finding yourself in a body that doesn’t do what it used to do because of a life changing condition or disability (like head injury or stroke) or diagnosis (like MS or Fibromyalgia).

2018 Dates

  • Wed 4th April
    Exploring the emotional effects of a Fibromyalgia diagnosis TBC
  • Wed 2nd May
    Fatigue & The Spoon Theory TBC
  • Wed 6th June
    Brain Fog
  • Wed 4th July
    Assuming – Not every disability is visible
  • Wed 1st August
    Listening Skills
  • Wed 5th September
  • Wed 3rd October
  • Wed 7th November
  • Wed 5th December

Times: 7pm till 9pm ~ Cost: £2 (to cover outgoings non-profit)

Held at The Canary Club (@ Hitchin Town Football Club opposite the Swimming Pool)

Fishponds Rd, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1NU

The 1st Wednesday in every month

For more details Contact: Sue Ross -  Tel 07715 707488

Talk to us at our Learning Disability Service Watch Group

Health Watch Herts.png

The Learning Disability Service Watch Group is a chance to speak up about health and social care services

Anyone who is interested in health and social care services can attend

Our meetings run from 12pm to 3pm every other month

There is a free lunch included before the meeting from 12pm to 1pm

For more information call: 01707 275978
Or visit our website:

View the full flyer here 

Changing Services Together

Come along and have your say about the future of day activities and supported living services!

Hertfordshire County Council have asked the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) to talk to disabled and older people, their carers, groups, networks and organisations to find out what helps people live better lives in their communities.

To find out more get the flyer here.