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Mods a thread please? And a Scope input. Literally a matter of life and death for disabled people

newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
edited March 15 in Disabled people
The Grenfell type cladding means a lot of people have exceptional risk.. Today's You and Yours, Radio 4, mentioned special disability and cladding groups forming to try to get parliament to consider this.   I didn't get any names or details, but in any case they were speaking as leaseholders.   A lot of disabled people, of course, have to live as tenants, so are even more likely to be ignored, forgotten, voiceless, without rights to be considered (or, it seems, even to stay alive)

The suggestion is, that they should 'make themselves known to management'.   (That would be the 'management' who constructed a fire trap in the first place, or the replacement company or series of companies who then took over pocketing 'management fees' for the  death trap dumps.)    The 'management' then either will or won't take the next step. (Maybe won't, as apparently the post Grenfell good intentions have been watered down, starting with the 'crips' rules.)   The original theory was that each disabled occupant would have 'management' and the fire brigade jointly  supposed to work out an individual plan to deal with each of them.   If that  plan can be obtained at all, it probably  means money, or at least  means an extra fuss, or 'being a nuisance' to the landlord.   Few people are not terrified of 'being a nuisance, to  a private landlord.   

The disabled individual may, with  good reasons, be forced to choose between two possible risks:  Is it better to risk death in a Grenfell-copy  fire, or is it better to  risk  being a cost or a nuisance to a PRIVATE landlord, who can turn out a tenant with 8 weeks notice,  and finishing up sleeping on the street with little or no chance of shelter?   (N.B. No, 'The Council' will NOT rehouse them. Just as they didn't re-house the 90 year old couple, he a wheelchair user, no-fault evicted by private landlords, who were trying to live in the Bournemouth bus shelter because no new  private landlord would accept them at their age,  and the council perfectly (technically) correctly,  turned them away because there was no legal obligation to help.)

Replies

  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,514 Disability Gamechanger
    Housing is a difficult subject in the UK too many people and not enough housing stock, however I'm not sure where the grenfell problem falls into this argument, whilst they have been slow to act the government now seems to be pumping £billions into removing the said cladding.
    As for the 90 year old couple it would be a councils legal duty to help as they hadn't become "intentionally " homeless
    Don't get me wrong I have great sympathy with people who become homeless, but there is often 2 sides to many of the problems.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    Wrong. A council has no obligation under various 'get out' rules.  No proof of continuous residence is one. Still  having private savings, far too little to outright purchase a place to live, and with no private pension, is another beartrap.  But this is not a general housing thread. 

    Scope would be the organisation speaking for our interests. 

     And Scope must know how to contact bbc and the disabled flat dwellers.

    Woodbine thank you for responding but the effect I'm sure you would not want is to hijack and divert a very specific matter. 
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,514 Disability Gamechanger
    @newborn whilst your final sentence has some truth to it, this is an open forum and as such anyone can freely comment.
    If you want to make it a private conversation between yourself and scope I would suggest that you e mail them.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    Kinda falls down when you understand there are no “get out” rules as such. Also falls down given that there is a stay on repossession and eviction at present so those two choices don’t actually exist. 

    I agree with @woodbine though. If you don’t want comment and want to talk to Scope then do that rather than post publicly. 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,044

    Scope community team

    Hi @newborn

    This is definitely a matter gaining traction and I thank you for bringing it to our attention.  I'm going to forward your post on to our Campaigns team to highlight the points raised and I'll feedback their response when I receive it. 

    In the interim, I'd also recommend you visit the work of @Claddag on twitter who are currently campaigning about this very issue and it's impact on disabled leaseholders.  
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  • SarahRenSarahRen Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you Cher for sharing information about Claddag and to @newborn for raising this issue. It's true we did set up the group for disabled leaseholders affected by the cladding scandal, post-Grenfell. It was me on the Radio 4 interview, by the way :smile: However, the more we dig around and campaign the more our story is not about 'the cladding scandal' but about the lack of personal emergency evacuation plans for disabled people in general blocks of flats - in private or social housing. Almost all disabled people in our group do not have a plan or are really fighting to get their landlord/managing agent to discuss one. We're really keen to hear other people's experiences. Sarah

    PS We're on Facebook in a closed group if anyone wants to talk more https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498687113655474%C2%A0  
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    Thank you for these replies.  Fire evacuation is something a group I was with did a lot of work on. You would laugh if it wasn't so serious.   e.g. upstairs in a local authority gym "Is there an evac chair" produced, eventually, a suggestion that maybe Irene who once used to work there had done a course or something, but that if there still was an evac chair, nobody knew where. They guessed if anything, it would be in the cleaners' cupboard.  "Can we look?"  "Oh no, they have gone home and it will be locked up"

    Another example, this time upstairs in a newly 'adapted to latest standards' university.  "What happens if there is a fire?"   "Oh, people can run down the stairs"  "What happens about disabled people, who can't?  Are there fire refuges, because there is nothing sign posted"  "Well, that sort of person, you know, cripples and that, they all have lots of people with them to look after them don't they, like minders.   The council gives them.  And the cripple people, they get trained what to do so they know themselves" 

    It's a grim form of amusement to notice how meticulously lifts in commercial and public buildings including hospitals are labelled with instructions not to use during fire, yet  in not one single case yet discovered is there any suggestion what to do instead.
    We "'cripples, and that," probably get given flying wheelchairs so we can sail out of the windows. Don't we? Imagine the skies filled with flying crips-in-chairs, all parachuting gracefully to the ground.


  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,514 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm almost certain staff at a university would not refer to any disabled person as a "cripple", to even suggest so to my mind is offensive.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    It was said to me!  Admittedly it was not academic staff, more some kind of caretaker, who had been sent to answer pesky questions about disability access.

    While doing the access research, some of the responses were astounding.  A notorious shocking one was when we went, as crutches users, to a council swimming pool and fitness centre. The young woman in charge looked  horrified when asked what exercise could be found and said "There's nothing here for people like you, you are not supposed to come in   here.  Can't you read?  The sign over the door says Fitness Centre.  It's  for fit people"  She wouldn't be shaken from her certainty by mere Discrimination Law and Public Sector Equality Duty being quoted and shown to her.  As she asserted, she had recently passed her  finals, and she was never told  was never told anything like that by her training college.   (She mentioned the name of a nearby one, run by the same council, and doubling as a training centre for physical trainers and school teachers)  



    Woodbine you seem to be making a practice of attacking my  posts.  If there is something I have done to offend you, perhaps you could send some private explanation, so I can apologise?  I would never intentionally upset anyone.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,044

    Scope community team

    edited March 13
    Hi @SarahRen - it's great to see you on our community and thanks for spreading the word about your campaign.  If anyone has experienced the lack of emergency evacuation plans mentioned, please do get in touch and let us know your story.

    @newborn Just a friendly reminder to keep things on topic and not personal.  The use of outdated prejudicial terms to describe disabled people might surprise the majority and @woodbine however, with disability hate crime ever-increasing, such discourse is sadly definitely still out there :(  I'm sorry you were named in that way, it's never acceptable.
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  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    I'm having a problem that I am being picked on, for meticulously correctly reporting direct speech of someone using an out of date term, while speaking about fire safety.   The term in any case was not derogatory, or used with ill-intent, it was just something said by a rather non-woke caretaker using a rather out of date term.

    What matters? A) Trolling me off the boards, including calling me a liar, (in, again, reporting direct speech about a council gym)   Incidentally, all these were meetings with a group of activists, so everything was witnessed, recorded, and brought later to discussion by our own committee.

    B) Having mods support the bullying carried out by  anyone following my posts round the boards, seeking  to sneer and pick upon some pretext to derail important discussions? 

    C)  Making a hysterical fuss about direct speech using a non-offensive but out dated term? 

    Or, is it important for Scope and those using the boards to be permitted to keep on the topic of

    D)  Disabled people dying because there is no means of escape from fire.? 
    ( Duh.)

    I reported direct speech from a rather fuddled caretaker.  The use of the word 'cripple' was the one for mobility impairment for hundreds indeed thousands of years, from  the Bible to Dickens, and on into the lifetime of people today. Obviously  I don't use the term myself except in irony, with people who will comprehend that it is ironic,
    e.g. When we got an agreement to be co opted  onto council committees, our fully deaf member, who was also black, joked that she was worth double for box ticking, or one of us would reassure another not to hesitate to speak up, because the policy was set and the committees were supposed to have their 'token crip' or 'token black'  and they had to put up with being told things they hadn't thought of before, in the seclusion of their echo-chamber.

        Of course I know, and you know, and anyone within the disability campaigning movement knows, that different terms have been considered acceptable, then replaced and embraced, until they too are replaced. In living memory, there were papier mache begging kiddies with callipers, and a hole in the head to put pennies in.  They did the job of bringing in sympathetic cash for the charities.   The patronising attitude they engendered was a hidden harm, and activists such as our small group, and no doubt the campaigners of Scope, all did our best to change.  When I worked in a special needs school, the caretaker's  family might very well have told people he worked in a school for 'crippled kiddies', or 'backwards children' or a host of terms we dislike.   But the intention would not have been unkind, and there are enough real problems for disabled people to deal with, from unkind people, or unthinking people, so we need all the goodwill we can get, before gently steering and re educating.  

    But after all these decades of hard effort for disability equality and respect, I'm afraid I dislike being attacked on these boards.   I don't need to be 'educated' by attack, and I strongly suggest that attacking the general public is not the best way, either.    Would anyone here have enjoyed hearing that those of us who inspected that university had used our  time  to  berate the caretaker?    Or going to university management to try to get him sacked for  using the biblical term for mobility impaired people?

    Or, do you think we were right to concentrate on how to get the university authorities to arrange a way to get disabled people out of the building during fire?

    By the way, if you live long enough, or study history,  you find the latest words do change with fashion.  The 'n' word was merely used to describe black Africans, originally, (from the region of the river Niger, and the country Nigeria)    However,  because it was in a context where to be a black African was to be automatically unequal, it became associated with inequality and regarded as a derogatory  word.   Later still, there was a considerable movement, mainly in America, to re-claim the word between themselves, just as disability activists may re-claim the word 'crip' as a semi-joke showing solidarity with their own in-crowd.  In the same way other types of disability and impairment have their own words which they come to dislike because it signals a wrong attitude.  e.g. The term 'Deaf and Hearing Impaired' or 'Blind and Partially Sighted'  are improvements on the over-simplistic 'Deaf' or 'Blind' which were in the bible, and 'Mobility Impaired' beats 'Crippled'....But you won't convert the entire general public overnight.   And time spent fussing around claiming to be insulted, offended, and distressed is time distracted from slightly more important things like staying alive.   A fire alarm depending on good sight or good hearing or good mobility matters a lot.    
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,044

    Scope community team

    edited March 13
    @newborn Moderators would never condone the bullying of members and I urge you to use the report function (the flag in the bottom left hand corner of posts) to allow us to deal with any instances where you feel this, or the breaching of other community guidelines, is happening.  I understand how having your lived experience questioned may have felt unfair, and I'd ask everyone to politely respect other's experiences and not call them into question without having evidence to do so.

    Returning to the topic of this thread, the important issue to discuss here is:
    D)  Disabled people dying because there is no means of escape from fire.? 
    and I'd welcome anyone with opinions on this subject, or experience of being a disabled tenant without fire evacuation plans in-situ to share their story.
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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    There is an ongoing moderation issue here and you’re not alone in raising that. You can read all about that elsewhere in here. 

    However, you will also doubtless be aware that direct reporting of speech itself is in an issue. See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/12/soas-students-call-for-director-to-resign-over-use-of-n-word?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other for an example. You are by no means in straightforward territory just because you reported something verbatim. 

    Yes, it is a distraction but, as has already been pointed out, if you want a conversation with Scope then do that. There will be limited interest amongst members here for many reasons.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,514 Disability Gamechanger
    @newborn
    "Woodbine you seem to be making a practice of attacking my  posts.  If there is something I have done to offend you, perhaps you could send some private explanation, so I can apologise?  I would never intentionally upset anyone."

    I wasn't aware that I was making a practice of attacking your post, there wasn't anything you have done to offend me, I will however always defend my own right to post comments within the rules on any subject of my choosing.
    On this subject I have said all I needed to say and won't for that reason comment further.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    Thanks Cher.  My experience started by knowing the family of the formidable Rachel Hurst, a famous disability campaigner who would unhesitatingly chain herself to buses or Parliament, but also, and effectively, got herself inside Parliament, Downing Street, television studios, international meetings and anywhere else she needed to go. Nobody ignored Rachel!
      
    I think the organisation @ Claddag  is collating the problems of disabled potential fire-evacuees, but it is good that Scope is, too.  I have been waiting because you have to be invited to a Facebook page, and I don't use Twitter.  Were any disability organisations ever involved in national policy on fire evacuation, cladding or no cladding? 

    One of the groups I worked with did a lot of research on it,  so I more or less notice it wherever I go. (Even in hospitals, there are no signs, and no knowledge by the staff of what in theory should happen)   

     It defies logic or sense that the 'Do not use' on lifts, and all the complex regulation about illuminated signing to stairs,  is not automatically considered non-compliant, unless it has the extra information about 'Do this instead, if you cannot use stairs'.   

    We asked most of the country's senior Fire Officers about it.  Of those who replied, all declared, in effect, that getting people out of buildings is NOT their job.   (This goes against the popular myth that it is their main job)  Wrong.  Their job is extinguishing fire.     Times vary, but in all areas, the target time to get an appliance to a fire is far, far longer than the target time to clear a building, which must be done by civilians, who should know exactly how, as should all the occupants of the building.   The time it takes to die of toxic fumes and smoke inhalation is not long.    So no, the assorted bunch of disabled people can not 'just wait there for the fire-crew'.  

    In theory, the construction of 'fire-proof' flats permits the Grenfell instruction to Stay Put.  We saw how well that worked.   We know that new construction is shoddy and faulty.  We know that even builders of  modern low rise  houses demand a non disclosure   contract before they will correct major faults,  to stop people telling others how rotten the product is.   (Radio 4 Money Box today)    Those in newly built high rise know that, just like Grenfell, it is not only the cladding at fault, but the entire construction. 

    One example where you need to laugh to stop you crying is when a cold draught of air meets your hand if you go to plug something into an electrical socket in a 'sealed, fire-proof box flat',  The light in the corridor, forming a wide band of light round three sides of the front door, might make you doubt it is smoke-and-fume proof.   So does the cooking smells entering your flat and the hallways, from the neighbours.  The flickering electrics are not re-assuring.  Nor the fact there are two layers of  petrol-filled cars in the car parks in the basement, along with sewage pipes constantly coming adrift, and the main boiler for the building, which has had to be replaced three years after new-build. There is no way to drive a fire appliance to most of the building, because of the design.  We are told the balconies didn't comply to fire regulations when built, the construction has no fire breaks, and of course the cladding is liable to burn.   The lifts have been constantly breaking down from the first day, sometimes trapping people.    Still, what can you expect for your eye-watering private rent?

    As a post script, there is the dreaded door-closer settings issue, which in the vague imagination of both builders and the general public, is meant to be something between hard and impossible to open, for the less than 100% fit and strong.   Fire-chiefs are willing to indulge black humour,  but we couldn't get one to actually put in writing that no, the aim of the fire brigade is NOT  to  encourage a' kiddie-and-cripple-and- codger cull', by insisting on the doors being too stiff for weak people  to open!   The construction industry and buildings managers have it fixed in their tiny minds that the fire-brigades demand non-openable doors.   They cannot grasp there is a difference between self - closing, which IS required, and impossible- for- weaklings- to- escape doors, which are NOT


  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 713 Pioneering
    Mikehughes you must be perfectly aware that for a life-long disability activist to mention someone's use of the word 'cripple', as seen in the Bible and thereafter,  is absolutely in no way the equivalent of using the 'n' word?   Your attempt at drawing equivalence is, I'm afraid, giving the appearance of determined bullying, and I would prefer a) you don't hijack such serious threads, on life and death, and b) you address any animosity you feel directly to me, using the private message system
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 15
    I won’t be addressing you at all thanks. I don’t think any of us need a disability activist ******* contest. Your cheap use of the word “bullying” to anyone who has a different take to yourself wholly undermines the credibility of your posts. If you want to stay on topic please don’t attack others.

    @Cher_Scope kindly get a grip of this. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,001

    Scope community team

    After review this thread will remain closed. If you wish to discuss this, or any other moderation decision, you are welcome to email [email protected]

    In the meantime, the issue of cladding has been raised with our campaigns team and we will update with developments as soon as we have them.
    Community Manager
    Scope
This discussion has been closed.