My week in London: volunteering for Trailblazers

Published Date
22/01/2013

I have been volunteering this week for Trailblazers, which has given me the opportunity to see first hand what is happening in the office.
It has also meant that I have had the opportunity to see London in the post Olympic and Paralympic game period.

It is interesting to see how everything has pretty much gone back to normal. There are no helpful games makers at every turn, or signs for Olympic traffic. Above all there are no hoards of people all going in one direction. .  However there are  still some signs that the Olympic and Paralympic games were here. For example pink wheelchair stickers showing routes to accessible Olympic venues. In my view there have been some  long lasting affects from the games, a big one for me is that more tube stations are now accessible, which has certainly made my journey to and from the MDC office much easier.

Other areas continue to provide challenges with regard to physical  access into facilities such ad restaurants and pubs, as I found when meeting with a friend in central London this week, it took us an hour to find somewhere in the end we ended up having to go to Stratford!
This week I have been working on organising the East of England Trailblazers meeting. This has involved finding a wheelchair accessible venue and organising speakers,  It was lovely to have such positive responses, people are showing genuine support for the young campaigning side of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. I also contacted the  East of England Trailblazers. 
On Wednesday I  involved in a meeting which Tanvi had organised with Monarch airline to organise an ongoing steering group. This was really positive as Monarch made some really valid   suggestions and are clearly very committed to making air travel a more positive experience for disabled people. They showed great interest in listening to and learning from real experiences, and are wanting to work with us to provide ongoing solutions.  
While in the office I attended an information session regarding  the new PIP (personal independence payment) which is going to replace Disability Living Allowance over the next couple of years.  This was very informative as it gave a clearer understanding of how Pip will work and particularly how those with muscular dystrophy and related conditions will be affected.

If you would like more information about pip, Dave the MDC  campaigns and advocacy officer will be holding an information session about pip on the 30th of January on Facebook between 2-4 so log on then if you want to be involved. 
This week in the office has been really busy but has been great to hear how many more young people are joining the network and what a difference we can make. It has been amazing to me how many organisations and companies are actively wanting to become involved with trailblazers or wanting our advice on how  become  more aware of access issues! I would definitely recommend volunteering  for Trailblazers!

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