One of the country’s best-known disabled actors is hoping that her own TV production company will create more roles for disabled performers, and nurture talent from the north-east of England.Kim Tserkezie, from Newcastle, is best-known for her former role as Penny Pocket, who helped run the village shop and cafe in the hugely-successful CBeebies series Balamory.She has also appeared in ITV drama Blind Ambition and in theatre productions, as well as presenting programmes such as From the Edge and Disability Today on BBC2.But for the last four years, she has concentrated on developing her production company, Scattered Pictures, and is now writing and producing her own projects.She said: “As a disabled actress it has been difficult to find exciting character roles removed from the stereotypical portrayals of disabled people.“I decided that if the roles weren’t there then it was up to me to create them.”She said the north-east had become a difficult place in which to find television work, despite the “wealth of talent both behind the scenes and in front of the camera”.She said: “My aim is to nurture that talent, promote the area and bring quality, prime-time productions to the region.“Every aspect of the production would be locally sourced wherever possible, including premieres of our work at iconic places like the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.“This will be great for the economy of the north-east and will bring work not only for us, but also for others such as actors, make-up artists, camera operators, directors, catering staff and location teams too.”She told Disability News Service that she believed the “tide is changing” in terms of opportunities in television for disabled people, on and off screen.She said: “Broadcasters are more open to including us but we still have a long way to go.“When there is no longer a need for quotas and schemes to include us and it becomes part of the everyday to see disabled people on screen then we’ll know real progress has been made.”Tserkezie has already won interest from broadcasters in some of her company’s comedy projects, which have secured investment from Northern Film and Media.And several award-winning production companies are in discussion with Scattered Pictures about co-developing projects.One of these co-productions is Yamas, a prime-time, six-part drama, set in a Greek restaurant in Newcastle, and based on an original idea by Tserkezie, who is set to star in the series if it is commissioned by a broadcaster.Rebecca Hodgson, head of drama at Liverpool-based Lime Pictures, said her company was enjoying working with Scattered Pictures, and described Tserkezie as “a creative producer who brings a warmth and charm to the development process”.
Only one in four blind and partially-sighted people who voted in June’s general election was able to do so independently and in secret, according to a new report.The disability charity RNIB said its Turned Out 2017 report showed that blind and partially-sighted voters “continue to face the same barriers to exercising their democratic right to vote as with previous elections”.It called for the tactile voting device that is currently used in polling stations to be replaced with a new, more accessible system.Eight in 10 of those who used the tactile template to vote at a polling station said they had done so with a companion or member of staff present.RNIB also wants the government to introduce online and telephone options in time for the 2022 general election.And it wants a guarantee that all blind and partially-sighted voters can secure their legal right to vote without any assistance and in secret, so empowering them “to vote on the same terms as everyone else”.One voter, Mohammed, told RNIB: “I was given the tactile overlay and taken by the presiding officer to the booth.“She then went through the numbers associated with the candidates and read them out to me.“When I chose who I wanted to vote for, I could clearly tell that she was looking at where I was putting my mark because as I lifted the flap she said, ‘okay put an X there,’ and I could also gauge by her direction of breathing that she was looking over my shoulder.”Another voter, Adrian, said: “Although the tactile guide was available the staff did not know how to use it and attached it wrongly to my ballot paper. I had to inform them how it should be attached and used.“They were friendly and keen to help but their positive attitude did not assist me to vote.“The tactile guide itself is not ideal in many ways. It doesn’t tell you where the boundaries of the box are, [and there is] no way to know if your pen worked or your mark is within the box etc.”A third voter, Dave, told RNIB: “The current voting arrangements for blind people are unacceptable. My vote is not verifiable.“As a blind voter, I cannot be entirely confident that my cross is inside the preferred box.“I have to ask for help reading the list of candidates and positioning the template correctly; this is extremely disempowering.”Claire, another voter who took part in the survey, said: “I love the experience of voting.“However, I was so disappointed that in 2017 I cannot cast my vote secretly and independently.“I don’t know if the member of staff placed the cross in the correct box or even if she placed my vote in the ballot box.“I didn’t like having to tell a stranger who I was voting for. It was one of those times when my blindness overwhelmed me and left me feeling sad and frustrated.”Fazilet Hadi, deputy chief executive of RNIB, said: “RNIB called on the government to ensure general election 2017 was the most accessible ever for blind and partially-sighted people. Turned Out 2017 shows it wasn’t.“Blind and partially-sighted voters continue to face the same barriers to exercising their democratic right to vote as with previous elections.“We urge the government to make changes to enable blind and partially-sighted people to vote in the way other people take for granted, independently and in secret.”A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “We welcome this report from the RNIB. “The government is working with the RNIB and other organisations to ensure that there are no barriers to people registering to vote and being able to cast their vote.”
The disabled president of Ecuador has given a stirring speech in praise of the social model of disability, at a summit co-hosted in east London by the UK government.President Lenin Moreno was one of the key-note speakers at the conference on the Olympic Park, which was hosted by the UK government, the International Disability Alliance and the Kenyan government.Although he was described as the world’s only head of state with a disability – which is highly unlikely – Moreno (pictured) is thought to be the only one who uses a wheelchair.The former UN special envoy told the Global Disability Summit in east London that he saw disability as “obstacles created by the environment” and coming from “structures and social conditioning”, and said it was “essential to place disability within the discourse of rights”.Moreno became disabled after being shot in a robbery in 1998 and was elected president of Ecuador last year.He told the summit how, after he became vice-president of Ecuador in 2007, he led on a sweeping series of policies – Ecuador Without Barriers – that aimed to transform life for disabled people in Ecuador.This included the Solidarity Mission Manuela Espejo, an 18-month project to identify every disabled person in Ecuador – they found nearly 300,000 people with significant impairments and high support needs – and assess their needs.They went, he said, “to the fullest reaches of the forest, the highest points of the mountains and the furthest points of the islands of Ecuador” to carry out the survey.The government reportedly increased the country’s spending on disability from about $100,000 a year to $65 million (another report described the increase as $2 million to $150 million) and reserved four per cent of jobs with significant employers for disabled people.There were programmes to provide healthcare, assistive technology such as wheelchairs, canes, prosthetic limbs and hearings aids, and funding for local authorities to improve access to public buildings.He spoke when he was vice-president of how on his visits around the country he had seen disabled people being hidden from view by their families in chicken coops and sheds.He told the summit this week that disabled people had “been waiting for too long and they should not keep waiting, suffering abandonment, mistreatment and being hidden” and that Ecuador had needed a “cultural change” in the way it treated disabled people.Moreno left government in 2013 at the end of his term as vice-president and was appointed as the special envoy on disability and accessibility by the UN’s secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, with the UN describing him then as “a globally acclaimed advocate for persons with disabilities and inclusive society”.He told the summit that he had tried as the special envoy “to be a voice for millions of persons with disabilities” and to persuade every country to ratify – and then implement – the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.When he returned to government last year, he said, he found that much of his previous work on disability as vice-president “had been forgotten” and “all the things we had been fighting for and had built had been dismantled, forgotten or changed”.This meant he had had to start again “nearly from scratch” after he was elected president.Some opponents in Ecuador have accused him of turning his back on his socialist roots since his election.In April, the Financial Times reported how Moreno had “announced a package of economic measures that aims to pare back the country’s bloated state apparatus and promote private enterprise, in a further departure from his socialist roots” and that he had “promised significant cuts to central government”.A small group of protesters were outside the summit in east London to protest at his appearance at the summit.One of the protesters, Mayra Crean, said Moreno had changed his policies since his election and was now applying a “neoliberal agenda”, cutting taxes for the rich and cutting spending.She said: “He is cutting the budget for everybody – health, education, social care.”And she said it was “an embarrassment” and “ironic” that he was appearing at the summit as a representative of disabled people.The right to employment for disabled people is still central, Moreno told the summit, as most disabled people in his country live in poverty, do not have their own homes and do not work.He said: “Our objective now is all persons with disabilities who can and want to work should be able to do it. They have the right to work.”He added: “Our objective is to become a society promoting full inclusion of persons with disabilities, where they can train, study, work, enjoy life, have fun.”But he also pledged his commitment to working with disabled people on policies affecting them, telling the summit: “The historic model of those who drafted the [UN] convention, ‘nothing about us without us’, is at the heart of the principles of my government.”And he reaffirmed his commitment to the social model of disability, telling the summit that his government’s objective was a “human rights-based policy and not medical based”.Picture: DfID A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
ROYCE Simmons has explained why he’s effectively had to select two teams to face Bradford on Sunday.Saints have six players on International Origin duty and their availability for the Super League clash won’t be known until Saturday morning.That means Simmons has had to choose from ‘what’s left’ to prepare for the clash.“I have had to pick a side that basically hasn’t got the six lads involved,” Simmons said. “I have about 14 or 15 fit players and a few kids that are training together if the six don’t come back. But I also have Paul Wellens struggling with a dead leg and James Roby has a slight chance of playing.“We knew Robes had fractured something and although the injury isn’t as bad as we feared – he has cracked the bone from his nose to his eye – it is badly bruised, swollen and numb. Our doctor spoke to England and we agreed he could play as to break it; it would have to take the same sort of impact that would break it anyway.“The England Doctor and Steve McNamara spoke to Robes and he wasn’t feeling that comfortable to go down there and do a good week’s training and then play and give a good account of himself.“So they took the decision not to play him in the game. If the swelling goes down and the numbness leaves his face I will play him on the Sunday. In effect, England ruled him out and could play him if they wanted to so effectively he has been released to the club.“We are not ruling him out and we don’t know if he will play. But I will name him in 19 as I will with Paul Wellens and the six internationals.“But Robes is pretty upset at not playing for his country as it’s a big honour for him.“The six who will be playing on Friday said to me they would back up… and I said yeah, course you will, that’s what you get paid to do.“Those players have a duty to come back, back up and be on the top of their game. The guys they have played alongside have helped them win a lot of games so they have a shout of playing in this rep game. They need to come back and show the young kids why they are playing at that level and why they are internationals and durable as players.”Simmons expects Chris Flannery to return for the match against a team that is on a bit of a roll.“Bradford have a bit of momentum behind them after winning the last two and they nearly rolled Wigan with 12 men. They will also be fresh and have no players backing up. There aren’t many negatives around them at the moment and it will be a tough match.”Meanwhile, Leon Pryce has begun running as he steps up his rehabilitation from a groin injury. The stand-off is taking part in 20 minute sessions and is expected to be back in action in around four weeks.Gary Wheeler will see a specialist on his shoulder injury on Friday and could return in three to four weeks.Paul Clough will also visit the medical professionals this week to see how his shoulder is recovering. The forward sustained nerve damage in the away win over Leeds in March and could be in with a shout of selection in around two weeks.
ONE in a Million – the autobiography of Rugby League legend Steve Prescott MBE – will take centre stage at Langtree Park on Thursday August 28 2014.Former teammates of the inspirational full-back will go through anecdotes of their times spent with Steve.All guests will receive a signed copy of One in a Million along with Hot Pot for an inclusive price of £25.Prescott, the former St Helens, Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Lancashire, England and Ireland full-back, began writing his life story in 2007 while battling cancer and had completed the manuscript a few weeks before he passed away in November after complications from a multi-organ transplant.His wife Linzi has written the final two heart-rending chapters of a book which, for the first time, will tell the whole story of Steve’s brave battle with cancer.In the book Steve describes growing up in St Helens, dealing with early rejection before signing for his home-town team and the highs and lows of top level Rugby League.Although Steve writes colourfully about the ups and the downs of his career in the game, One in a Million is much more than a sports book, with much space devoted to the way he tested himself and inspired others with a series of gruelling challenges.Linzi said: “At first Stephen just wanted to tell his story after being diagnosed with cancer, but in the end it became so personal to him that he decided to tell people what he was really going through behind closed doors, and that it wasn’t all about endurance challenges and smiling.“He is very open and honest about what he went through. He really enjoyed writing it and he put a lot of time and effort into it.“During his last course of chemotherapy at The Christie, he used the treatment time to work on his book, edit it and make sure he was getting it right – and it helped him take his mind off what he was going through at that time.“He worked on the book from 2007 and was extremely passionate about it in the end; he really wanted to tell his own story and wanted to make sure people got it from him.“It is certainly not a normal sporting book, it is the whole picture. As well as his rugby career, it will tell the readers in detail what he has been through from the diagnosis in 2006 through to the pioneering transplant in 2013.“It is a very personal book, told in his words, which people will see as soon as they read it – they will hear Stephen’s voice.“There are funny stories from his rugby days in there too – Stephen was always a positive person so there is a lot of positivity in the book, but it is also sincere and emotional as well.”Written with the assistance of sports journalist Mike Critchley, One in a Million is published by Vertical Editions.To book your place for the forum, you can purchase tickets online www.spfund.co.uk or purchase tickets from St Helens RFC Ticket office.Anybody who has already pre-ordered the book can purchase a ticket for £10 (All proceeds from the book go to the SP Fund which has been set up for the family of the late Steve Prescott MBE).Any tickets bought online will be collected at the door on August 28.
SAINTS have announced their 19-man squad for Monday’s First Utility Super League Round nine clash with Hull FC.Ricky Bailey and Olly Davies have been called up into the ’19’ alongside Lewis Charnock.Paul Wellens (who is pictured here the Steve Prescott Cup) and Joe Greenwood miss out with injuries sustained in the Good Friday derby.Saints 17 will be chosen from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Lance Hohaia, 18. Luke Thompson, 19. Greg Richards, 22. Matty Dawson, 25. Andre Savelio, 26. Lewis Charnock, 28. Jack Ashworth, 29. Olly Davies, 33. Ricky Bailey.Lee Radford will select his Hull FC side from:1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Tom Lineham, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Leon Pryce, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Danny Houghton, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman, 14. Iafeta Palea’aesina, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Dean Hadley, 19. Steve Michaels, 20. Curtis Naughton, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. James Cunningham, 24. Jack Logan, 27. Jordan Abdull, 32. Jordan Rankin, 34. Stuart Howarth.The game kicks off at 3pm and the referee will be Robert Hicks.For ticket details please click here.
SAINTS have named their 19-man squad for Friday’s First Utility Super League Semi Final at Leeds Rhinos.Alex Walmsley returns to the team whilst Luke Thompson misses out.Keiron Cunningham will select his 17 from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Mark Percival, 19. Greg Richards, 21. Joe Greenwood, 22. Matty Dawson, 25. Andre Savelio, 37. Adam Quinlan.Brian McDermott will choose his Leeds side from:1. Zak Hardaker, 2. Tom Briscoe, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Danny McGuire, 7. Rob Burrow, 8. Kylie Leuluai, 10. Jamie Peacock, 12. Carl Ablett, 13. Kevin Sinfield, 15. Brett Delaney, 17. Adam Cuthbertson, 19. Brad Singleton, 20. Jimmy Keinhorst, 21. Josh Walters, 27. Ash Handley, 29. Jordan Lilley, 30. Mitch Garbutt.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be Robert Hicks.Ticket details for the game can be found here.
SAINTS have named their 19-man squad for Thursday’s First Utility Super League Super 8s clash with Castleford Tigers.Luke Walsh and Luke Thompson are recalled to the side following the end of their two-game suspensions.Shannon McDonnell and Oliver Davies drop out.Keiron Cunningham will select his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Greg Richards, 17. Luke Thompson, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Theo Fages 20. Joe Greenwood, 22. Jack Owens, 24. Matty Fleming, 27. Jack Ashworth, 28. Morgan Knowles.Daryl Powell will choose his 19 from:1. Luke Dorn, 3. Jake Webster, 5. Denny Solomona, 7. Luke Gale, 9. Adam Milner, 11. Oliver Holmes, 15. Paul McShane, 16. Matt Cook, 17. Junior Moors, 18. Ryan Hampshire, 19. Ben Crooks, 23. Will Maher, 24. Greg Minikin, 31. Conor Fitzsimmons, 32. Larne Patrick, 34. Paddy Flynn, 35. Rangi Chase, 37. Brandon Douglas, 39. Luke Million.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee is Jack Smith.Ticket details can be found here.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Some girls from Brunswick County Schools got to hear some very empowering words, as they listened to female tech professionals Friday.The girls were part of robotics teams and “Girls Who Code” clubs. The event was organized by the Cape Fear Women in Tech. This was to offer these girls a perspective from women in the tech field. There was a Q&A with some of the professionals and organizers want this to be a learning opportunity for these girls, to see this as possible route to pursue in the future.- Advertisement – “They’ll have an opportunity to see women who are doing this. Part of the exciting piece of this panel is that, these are women from all different areas of technology, not just programmers. I’m a programmer, so of course that’s near to me. But there are a lot of other spaces that we can succeed in technology,” Cape Fear Women in Tech outreach committee member, Tiffany Kuchta, said.They also held breakout sessions, introducing things like block chain and understanding accessibility. This was all made possible by the Brunswick County Stem Council.
During his speech Rouzer said there was no doubt “our nation is in the midst of a humanitarian and national security crisis at our southern border.”The Republican spoke about the dangers of criminals coming across the border, as well as human trafficking and drugs. He said the impacts are felt all the way here in southeastern North Carolina.“A barrier in the right places makes a lot of common sense,” Rouzer said. “The president is asking for a little more than 230-some square miles of steel barrier out of more than 2,000 miles of border. This shouldn’t even be a debate. Gimme a break.”Related Article: Autopsy finds rapper Mac Miller died from drugs and alcoholRouzer said he is proud to stand with the president in securing the border. He also called on Democrats to come to the table to negotiate.You can hear Rouzer’s full comments in the video above. As the government shutdown continues, southeastern North Carolina’s voice in the US House expressed his support of President Trump’s border wall.Earlier this evening Rep. David Rouzer (R-7th District) spoke about the border wall on the floor of the US House.- Advertisement –