I’ve known Simon Minty for many years in fact for a number of those years we were business partners, so I feel I know him pretty well. In this conversation, Simon talks about the things he finds invaluable in helping to maintain his level of independence and I must admit there were one or two surprises.
Simon has delivered training and consultancy in the field of equalities since 1997. He has personal experience of disability, being of short stature and of limited mobility.
Based in London, Simon works throughout the UK and internationally. Simon’s passion for equality, his innate and learned knowledge of disability, his ability to listen and address the issue in hand combined with an infectious sense of humour has enabled him to successfully work with clients from a small NGO to a multi-national investment bank.
He’s produced numerous videos and co-produced and performed in the sell-out Edinburgh Fringe comedy show Abnormally Funny People in 2005, returning again in 2015. He is a host of BBC Ouch podcast and the Phil & Simon Show
A keen traveller, he won the Travel X Travel Writer of the Year 1999 – Best Television Feature for his Channel 4 travel programme in China.
Go Go Elite Traveller Plus http://bit.ly/2W08fxS
Folding Step Stool Folding Step Stool
Uber App https://apple.co/2VWNwen
City Maps https://apple.co/2VXExtg
Google Maps Step Free Access article http://bit.ly/2VVRe87
Hello everyone and welcome to this the inaugural edition of the Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos podcast.
We’re delighted to welcome as our first guest Geoff Adams-Spink one of the trustees of Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC).
Geoff was born with multiple impairments as a result of thalidomide. He has shortened upper limbs, a missing right eye and extremely restricted vision in his left eye.
He left the BBC in 2011 to set up his own disability equality consultancy and to Chair an international federation of organisations for those affected by congenital limb difference (EDRIC).
As a trainer and public speaker, he has worked extensively in the UK, many EU countries, Ukraine, China and Thailand.
He has an outward-looking world view and seeks to help international business, public and third sector organisations to learn from each other by spreading best practice in the field of disability equality.
In my conversation with Geoff he talks about the things that he uses to overcome the difficulties that his impairments put in his way. Some are simple devices others more complex but all provide a solution.
I’ve posted below links to the products and services that Geoff mentioned.
Don’t forget to take a look at the RateIt website hosted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers where you will find a whole host of products and gadgets which might be useful to you. https://rateit.ridc.org.uk/
Finally, if you are a disabled person and would like to join the RIDC Consumer Panel please email Chris Lofthouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7427 2467
Clamp for tablet Bestek https://amzn.to/2VBrDBa £22 approx
Amazon Echo Smart Speaker https://amzn.to/2VDfGLj
Aquarius Portabidet http://bit.ly/2VBY5Dn
Disabled Facilities Grant from Local Authority http://bit.ly/2VDj48Z
We kick off this show with a discussion about the future of work and the increasing use of artificial intelligence in recruitment. Liz Sayce and Jane Hatton discussed some of the possible repercussions for disabled people at a joint presentation they gave to the Royal Society of Arts. http://bit.ly/2VHxiWq
Simon reflects on the highs and lows of a recent trip to the US. Being stared at was a positive experience for once. A couple of disabled New Yorkers suggested the social model is to limited and claimed that disability is its own culture and the arts scene in Britain needs to recognise it as such.
Sadly two more campaigners died recently. We take a moment to remember the contributions made by Mike Oliver a grandee of the disability movement and Jane Nokes less well known but who made a significant difference.
Click here for the Itunes link https://apple.co/2AvKoe8or here http://bit.ly/2WcMElTfor the Audioboom version If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please email us at email@example.com. We hope you enjoy it.
You can visit the Phil and Simon Show Facebook page http://bit.ly/1t8tS0d or follow us on Twitter @PhilSimonShowUpdate Description
The Generation Game
How often do you hear, ‘what do the young people want?’ Perhaps not often enough. Certainly not as often as ‘how things have changed since my day!’
We wanted to hear from the next generation so we invited the multi-talented Abbi Brown on to our show. She works for the ad agency behind the now famous Malteser adverts on Channel 4.
With Abbi we explore whether you can make more of a difference from the inside or outside, who her (disabled) role models were when she was growing up and does she think there’s a disability movement these days. Indeed, what is activism these days, what are the next generation ‘fighting for’ if anything and does social media help or hinder? We also talk about using the bus and not thinking twice about it.
Abbi has personal experience of disability with OI (brittle bones) deafness and mental health problems.
You can follow Abbi on
Hello everyone just a quick note to let you know that I’m planning to develop a new podcast in which I interview disabled people about the things they use to overcome the barriers they face because of their disability. I’ll keep you posted as to when this will become available. In the meantime you might want to take a listen to this as it tells you a little more than I have here.
We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!
Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
Where is that damned elusive Pimpernel!
Many of you will recall these famous lines from the play and novel “The Scarlet Pimpernel”. You may remember the Scarlet Pimpernel worked in the dark; his identity was only known to a few loyal supporters under a cloak of secrecy. I’m struck by the similarities between the Pimpernel’s behaviour and the response of today’s senior business leaders towards disability. Business leaders who are themselves disabled keep quiet and this often leads to a feeling that it’s a taboo subject. Disability lurks in the shadows and those employees who have non-visible impairments only tell trusted colleagues or friends. Very Pimpernelesque!
A recent report Disability Confidence: The Business Leadership Imperative’ supported by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) has found that business leaders with disabilities are twice as likely to be underrepresented in companies globally: though 1 in 7 of the world’s population live with a disability, fewer than half this figure (1 in 14 or 7%) of board-level executives consider themselves to have a disability. Of these, 1 in 5 does not feel comfortable revealing their disability to colleagues – highlighting that disability continues to be a taboo subject for many of the world’s leading businesses.
Another report this time published by the Thomas Pocklington Trust found that disabled people are being marginalised, 26% of British people admitted that they avoided conversations with disabled people, just over half felt that they did not have much in common with disabled people and 30% were concerned about causing offence and 17% didn’t know what to talk about. Evidence perhaps that reinforces the notion that it is better to keep quiet about having a disability.
A worldwide call to action for business to recognise the value of disabled people found disability is still woefully absent from the majority of board-level discussions globally – with the majority (56%) of global senior executives rarely or never discussing disability on their leadership agendas.
Despite all this gloom and despond, the question of disability employment was for the first time part of the agenda for business leaders attending the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Thought leaders from the world of disability were rightly excited. An enthusiastic panel of disability experts appeared on the platform and shared their thoughts and ideas about how global businesses could take advantage of the disabled talent that is just waiting to be unleashed. Sadly very few business leaders attended so the panel’s pearls of wisdom fell on empty seats. If we are to take any comfort from this sorry state of affairs it is that at least the subject was on the agenda.
There are other signs that some things might be changing.
A CEO of a large corporate experienced a severe mental illness and as a result, had to take time away from work to receive treatment. In my experience what usually happens next in these situations is a generous severance package is put together and the search begins for a replacement. Not in this case. The individual concerned made a full recovery and was supported back into their role. What makes this story even more unusual was that the CEO then talked openly and publicly about what had happened.
By so doing they offered reassurance to those in a similar position that it is possible to continue working in the most demanding roles after experiencing a serious mental health challenge. In this particular company, at least, mental illness is now openly discussed. Programmes are being developed to assist and there appears to be a steady change in the corporate culture which now encourages people with non-visible impairments to share their stories.
At last the Pimpernel has been brought into the light.
The other day as I was shaving I remembered my mother, this often happens. I’m not sure why the act of shaving invokes these memories, but it usually does. My mother died back in 2001; it was a good death. She was lying in bed and asked her devoted carer, Chrissie, for a cup of tea, and when Chrissie returned with it, she had departed this life.
I recall that whenever I visited my mother particularly towards the end of her life, the first half-an-hour of our conversation was spent in cataloguing and discussing her ailments, aches, pains, and other trials and tribulations. She would sit in her velour covered armchair in her flannelette nightie with her nasal cannula in place and hold court. It was impossible to move her off health topics until she had exhausted every possible nook and cranny.
These memories were in part awakened because of a recent weekend I spent in rural Yorkshire with some good friends all of whom are now in their 60s and 70s. We all arrived at our host’s lovely old house and after the usual hugs and cuddles and comments like “you’re looking well” and “you look just the same” “you haven’t aged a bit” we all settled around the large kitchen table with cups of Yorkshire tea and a variety of other infusions.
It wasn’t long before the conversation turned to the various health conditions that several of us are currently managing. Five out of the eight of us were wearing hearing aids, three had had a hip replacement or were waiting for one, and we discovered that just about all of us now take handfuls of pills to keep body and soul ticking over. It didn’t matter how hard we tried over the rest of the weekend we kept returning to the subject and if we weren’t talking about the health issues we were talking about the gadgets and appliances we are using to fight off the ageing process. Automatic bottle and tin openers, Amazon’s Alexa, grab rails in showers and subtitling on television programmes all got a mention.
How does this happen? I don’t recall banging on endlessly about my health when I was in my forties. Is there some kind of switch that gets activated when we retire or reach our sixth/seventh decade?
I think in my mother’s case the process was gradual, but I think she became preoccupied with her health because her world gradually contracted as she aged. She rarely got dressed, hardly ever went out except to the hospital or the local doctor. She had few visitors, and the TV was her only window on the world. I recall that on one occasion my brother took her shopping in Croydon. They strapped her oxygen cylinders to her wheelchair and spent the afternoon travelling on the trams and visiting the shops in the shopping mall. When we next visited her general description of her latest health challenges took second place to the magic of Croydon. She had something else of interest to talk about!
So what of my friends and me in Yorkshire? We are all busy, we all travel and have a wide variety of interests. We all routinely access the internet, we all have grown up children plus grandchildren our worlds could hardly be described as contracting.
Maybe the problem is that if you have a peer group who are all in their sixties and seventies you have a shared history and you are all anxious about the same things like the gradual loss of your physical and mental faculties.
Perhaps part of the answer is to hang out with forty-year-olds? When I see my grown-up children, our conversations are all about what’s going on for them. I listen to their hopes, fears and dreams which are often wrapped up in things like mortgages, buying a bigger house, work, holidays, their children’s education and so on. These are all things that I have been through so can contribute my ideas and suggestions. Fortunately or unfortunately they aren’t going through what I’m now going through so they have no particular interest or suggestions to make. They care, but the topics are alien to them. The terrifying realisation is that I’m slowly but surely becoming my mother and my children are indulging me. How very depressing! Now, where did I leave my reading glasses and what should I be doing next?