Information is available on a wide range of disability related topics including:
- Leisure pursuits
- Concessionary travel: for help with all your Blue Badge, Freedom Pass & Taxicard enquiries and assistance with the forms
Or even, where to start the search for the most appropriate services. In addition to our own leaflets and fact sheets, the Service maintains its own library of reference materials with details of other relevant Charitable organisations and suppliers of specialist services.
Information service - Nigel Long, Victoria Shortland and Umesh Raichada
Frequently Asked Questions
Access to Shops, Cafés and Everyday Services?
The Equality Act gives disabled people the right of access to everyday services and requires service providers not to treat disabled people any less favourably than others because of a disability. The act also requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments to their premises to facilitate access and use by all. However, it may not be possible to adapt older buildings and an enquiry in advance is advisable.
If you feel that a service provider has not made (or is unwilling to make) reasonable adjustments, they should be referred to the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR). Please refer to HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 15) for the relevant contact details.
Are there any companies who provide holidays for disabled people or specialise in arranging them?
Holiday Care Service
Not a travel agent but best provider of holiday information and advice
Telephone: 0845 124 9971
Fax: 0845 124 9972
Minicom: 0845 124 9976
Local Travel Agent
11 Woodcock Hill, Harrow, Middlesex, HA3 0XP
Telephone: 020 8907 2400
Fax: 020 8909 1854
A national charity providing holidays for disabled and visually impaired people and breaks for carers.
Shap Road, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 6NZ.
Telephone: 0845 345 1970
The Assistance Travel Service Ltd
Specialising in holidays for travellers with special needs.
1 Tank Lane, Purfleet, Essex, RM19 1TA, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01708 863198
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 6) contains a number of other useful links.
How do I find out more about accessing Leisure from Home?
In addition to the wide array of information now available via the Internet, books, newspapers and magazines can be supplied in several accessible formats including Braille, large print and audio. More information about talking books can be at:
Talking Newspapers and Magazines (TNAUK) can provide a choice of formats including CDs, emails and audio cassettes and their Web-site is worth a visit: www.tnauk.org.uk
Subtitles on television programmes are now commonplace and progress is being made to increase the numbers of programmes available with British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters. Please refer to: www.bbc.co.uk/seehear
Further information is available in HAD’s own Fact Sheet (no. 16).
How do I find out more about opportunities for sporting activities for disabled people in the London area?
Please contact the HAD Information Officer for more information. HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 13) contains a number of other useful links.
If you live in the London area and wish to find out more about assisted performances and venue access, please refer to The Society of London Theatre’s Web-site: www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/access . Their Web-site also contains a number of very useful links to other Web-sites including the RNIB and RNID.
If you would like to consider participating in the performing arts, there are a number of theatre / drama groups for people with disabilities and a good place to start your search is: www.ableize.com/disabled-arts/theatre/
Further information can be found in HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No.17).
What public transport is accessible?
All London buses are now accessible. If travelling outside London, please check with the operating company. There are very few Underground stations with accessibility. When travelling by train, assistance can be provided but usually needs to be pre-booked with a minimum of 24 hours notice.
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 4) contains a number of other useful links.
What should I do if I cannot use public transport?
The choice of whether to use public or private transport is often not a viable option for people with a mobility or sensory impairment and waiting at a bus stop for a bus that never seems to turn up or paying high charges for a taxi journey is not feasible. For these groups of people (along with elderly people, pregnant mothers etc) having a car is the only reasonable means of transportation.
If you have a disability that restricts your driving a “standard” car, there are many adaptations and modifications that can be fitted that will allow you to drive, whatever your special needs are.
Information on the Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride schemes is available in this Fact Sheet.
What should I do to prepare for visiting places of interest?
It is always a good idea to contact the place of interest in advance of any visit. Most places of interest have their own Web-sites with information about access considerations, available equipment on site, facilities for carers and admission charges. If you have any queries, always telephone before setting off from home. Other useful information can be found in the disabled people section of the direct.gov web-site:
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 14) also contains a number of useful suggestions.
What special arrangements are available for gas, electricity and telephone etc?
Contact your supplier to see if they offer any special services for disabled people. For example, a telephone with large buttons or flashing indications. HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 2) contains a number of other useful links.
What voluntary transport options are available within Harrow?
Harrow Community Transport offer a team of volunteer car drivers who are able to provide a reliable and competitively priced “Door-to-door” transport service.
Tel: 020 8427 6619
If you are a wheelchair user and find it impossible to travel by public transport and find transferring to a car or taxi difficult, the Barbara Bus Fund (Stanmore) may be able to help with its fleet of six specially adapted vehicles which enable wheelchair users to travel without transferring.
Friends, relatives or carers may be nominated to drive the vehicles, providing they are aged between 25 and 75 years of age and have a current & clean full driving license. You may use the vehicles to travel whenever and wherever you wish up to a maximum continuous period of two weeks.
Tel: 020 8416 0733
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 5) contains a number of other useful links.
Where can I get free equipment?
Voluntary Organisations (such as HAD) Harrow Association of Disabled people, whilst not actually being able to provide loan equipment, can advise on local retailers and have access to a national database of aids and equipment manufacturers and suppliers. For more information contact the Information Service Manager at HAD on 020 8861 9920.
The British Red Cross offer an equipment loan scheme for people with a permanent or temporary impairment. This includes bath seats, commodes, bedpans and urinals, and bed/chair backrests. A nominal charge may be made for loaned equipment. Telephone: 020 8427 8788. Uxbridge are now the most local Red Cross place who offers wheelchairs, telephone: 0845 054 7030.
Age Concern (now Age UK) can provide details of suitable aids and suppliers if you are aged over 60. Telephone 020 8861 7980
More information about Aids and Adaptions is available in this Fact Sheet.
Where can I get information and advice?
Harrow Association of Disabled People
There is lots of information around which will tell you about helpful gadgets. Top of the list are: Disabled Living Centres, there are 40+ centres up and down the country where you can see and try out mainstream equipment and special aids. Expert staff are on hand to give free information and advice. To find your nearest centre contact:
4 St Chad’s Street
Manchester M8 8QA
Tel: 0870 770 2866
Textphone: 0870 770 5813
Fax: 0870 770 2867
The Disabled Living Foundation helpline answers questions on aids and equipment, and has lists of manufacturers and suppliers. The DLF also have useful publications on equipment:
Disabled Living Foundation
380-384 Harrow Road
London W9 2HU
Helpline: 0845 130 9177
Text: 020 7432 8009
Do I qualify for a Blue Badge?
You are automatically eligible to apply for a badge if you are over two years old and either:
- receive the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance
- are registered blind
- receive a War Pensioner's Mobility Supplement
You may also be eligible for a badge if you are over two years old and either:
- have a permanent and sustainable disability which means you cannot walk, or which makes walking very difficult
- drive a motor vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms, and are unable to operate all or some types of parking meter (or would find it very difficult to operate them)
If you are a parent of a child who is less than two years old, you may apply for a badge for your child if they have a specific medical condition which means that they either:
- must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around without great difficulty
- need to be kept near a vehicle at all times, so that they can, if necessary, be treated in the vehicle, or quickly driven to a place where they can be treated, such as a hospital.
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 1) contains a number of other useful links.
Where NOT to park with a blue badge
- Red Routes prohibit parking for Blue Badge holders within the controlling hours, except for setting down or picking up the Blue Badge holder.
- Do not park where there is a loading ban in force. You are permitted to set down or pick up a passenger.
- Please note in pedestrian areas, waiting and loading restrictions may be in force, even when there are no yellow lines.
- On clearways stopping is not permitted and there is no concessions for Blue Badge Holders.
- Solid or broken double white lines in the centre of the road indicate that you are not permitted to park on that street.
- Bus lanes and Bus stops during the hours of operation.
- Cycle lanes or pavements.
- On any pedestrian crossing.
- On zig-zag markings.
- Blue Badge rules do NOT often apply at airports.
- On a bend in a road
- Near the brow of a hill
- Humped back bridge
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 1) contains a number of other useful links.
Where should I go to learn to drive?
If you are new to driving and wish to start driving lessons, a number of driving instructors can provide specialist training for disabled drivers, either in the pupils own car or the instructors or driving school’s vehicle. To find the details of a suitable instructor contact the BSM. Tel: 0845 727 6276 or www.bsm.co.uk
Where should I purchase a car?
If you are looking to purchase a car, there are a number of finance options available, including the “Motability Scheme”. You can view a selection of vehicles available on the Motability web site www.motability.co.uk.
To find out more or apply for the scheme contact Motability.
Help line: 0845 456 4566
Fax: 020 7928 1818
All these topics, and more, are discussed in our fact sheet 8. If you do not find the information you require, or need further assistance, please contact the Information Service Manager at the HAD office.
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 8) contains a number of other useful links.
What is Taxicard?
The London Taxicard Scheme is funded by the participating London boroughs and the mayor of London. London Councils Transport and Environment Committee (TEC) manages the London Taxicard Scheme on their behalf.
Taxicard is a method of providing subsidised door-to-door transport for people who have serious mobility impairment and difficulty in using public transport. Taxicard holders make journeys in licensed London taxis and the subsidy applies directly to each trip.
Your Taxicard can be used anytime, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, subject to taxi availability.
How much does Taxicard cost?
The Public Carriage Office sets fares for journeys made by licensed taxis. The metered fare will be shown on the Taximeter at the end of the journey. The Taximeter works on a combination of both distance and time. The Taxicard scheme is subsidised by local boroughs and the Mayor of London, which means you pay considerably reduced fares. For most journeys you will pay a flat fare and your local authority will pay the balance of the limit. For more details please refer to fact sheet 7.
The rates for Harrow are as follows:
LB Harrow Social Services
19 Buckingham Road
Middlesex HA8 6LY
Trips: 108 Per Annum Pro Rata
Maximum run in: £2.40
Minimum Fare: £1.50
Tel: 020 7934 9791
Fax: 020 8863 0236
London Councils Taxicard
59 1⁄2 Southwark Street
Fax: 020 7934 9699
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 7) contains a number of other useful links.
What is Dial-a-ride?
Dial-a-Ride is a door-to-door service for disabled people who can’t use buses, trains or the Tube. It can be used for all sorts of journeys, making it easier to go shopping, visit frineds and attend doctor’s appointments. All Dial-a-Ride journeys must be booked in advance. All services are free of charge. Before you can make a booking, you must first become a member.
How does Dial-a-Ride work?
Dial-a-Ride is a membership service which you pre-book. You will usually be expected to travel with other passengers going in the same direction and may have your journey time extended by picking up or dropping off others on the way to your destination. Dial-a-Ride is generally best for providing local trips, but longer journeys can often be arranged on request.
Progress House, 5 Mandela Way, London, SE1 5SS
Tel: 0845 999 1999
Their booking lines are open between 09:00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday for next day advanced bookings. For on the day issues and bookings (cancellations, enquiries about a late vehicle etc): 06:00 to midnight seven days a week.
Where can I hire a wheelchair?
British Red Cross
68 The Greenway, Uxbridge, UB8 2PL
Telephone: 0845 0547030
London office: 020 8427 8788
Shopmobility (Short-term hire to people with a disability)
Unit 37, St George’s Centre, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 1HS
Telephone: 020 8427 1200
Direct Mobility Hire (Can arrange delivery and collection)
Warren House, 201A Bury St, Edmonton, London, N9 9JE
Telephone: 0800 092 9322
HAD’s own Fact Sheet (No. 3) contains a number of other useful links.
Where can I obtain a wheelchair?
NHS in Harrow
Tel: 020 8966 6409
Mobility World Ltd
Tel: 0870 7407772
FMS Mobility Centre
Tel: 01895 622268
Tel: 020 8201 0810
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