Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting Held at
AFC Newbury, Faraday Road, Newbury
Monday 17 October 2005


Mick Hutchins, George Athorn, Peter Dolphin, Janet Parker, Ann Darby, Jill Bosley, John Holt, John Carr and John Head


The Chairman welcomed the Executive members to Meeting.


The Treasurer circulated his report, explaining the content to the members of the meeting. He told the Executive members that the current account realised a small amount of interest, whilst the deposit account obviously, produced a sum than was at a more reasonable rate.

He asked the meeting, whether they were able to identify any likely future expenditure, other than routine administrative costs. It was identified that there were not many WBDA information leaflets left in stock. The leaflet was due an update, it was agreed when this was completed, a print run should be costed.

The Chairman asked whether the WBDA should subscribe to the Royal Association of Disability and Rehabilitation - RADAR. Membership would allow the Alliance access to information and matters that may prove useful, if not essential. The meeting agreed that it was worth trialing membership for twelve months, the forty pounds subscription should be paid.

The provision of a portable hearing loop was necessary (see item 9g. below).

The Chairman told the meeting he had been looking at raising funding, to cover the costs of the WBDA for the next two years by way of grants. On his recommendation, it was agreed that an application should be made to the Greenham Common Trust. Applications for small grants had to made by December 2005.

Jill Bosley informed the meeting of a scheme 'Awards For All' programme, whereby grants of five hundred to five thousand pounds in Lottery money are available. Applications are being encouraged for the two and a half million pounds remaining to be allocated in the South East of England this year. She said she would provide the Chairman with information on the scheme.

The Chairman reminded the meeting that he had copied an email to them from Jonathan Cole, West Berkshire Transport Partnership Manager, regarding the West Berkshire Delegated Fund. The email detailed information and the procedure for application to the Small Grants for Transport Projects. The scheme will grant up to 3,000 pounds for small transport projects in rural areas, from a fund delegated to the Community Council for Berkshire. Applications must be received by 10 March, June, September or December. Approval or refusal is issued at the end of the month of application. The Executive discussed whether it could identify a project and make a case. It was agreed that an application should be made to see if we could obtain a grant, which the WBDA Executive could control centrally. This would be used as allocation to assist with transport for disabled people. In particular, those who live unsupported or similarly disadvantaged or have limited benefits, who find difficulties in providing their own funding for transport arrangements. The following headings were suggested:

* Voluntary work
* Attendance at support groups
* Personal crisis
* Leisure and fitness
* Education/courses

If a grant were awarded for this purpose, an administrative and monitoring procedure would need to be designed and put in place at a later time.

John Holt suggested that we make more then one application, as the WBDA has a number of areas that may well qualify for a grant. The transport of our own disabled members to WBDA meetings and forums. Also the WBDA Transport Policy should be reviewed, to see what matters couldn't go ahead without funding.


The minutes of the meeting of the West Berkshire Disability Alliance Executive held on Monday 22 August 2005, were accepted as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

Item 2(7) - The Active Therapies Partnership

John Holt told the meeting that an email had been circulated, canvassing a way forward in respect to the constitutional/Lotto funding issue that had recently arisen, which means a rethink on funding matters. John went onto say that the Partnership could merge with West Berkshire Neurological Alliance (WBNA), becoming a sub-committee that would manage the project including fundraising. The WBNA is a charity in its own right; the Partnership would find it easier to obtain grants etc., to achieve a programme of therapies. He confirmed that as far as moving forward for a Lotto grant, this would probably not now happen until at least Spring 2006. It is hoped that the partners will accept this proposition, so it can be quickly put in place. It was agreed the Executive of the WBDA had no objection to this happening. Jill Bosley said that it would be good opportunity to have independent member/s of the Partnership, when it is reconfigured into a sub-committee of the WBNA. This arrangement would give a broader view and ideas, leading to a more representative and effective body. John Holt asked if a member of the WBDA was therefore prepared to become a member of the new sub committee, Janet Parker proposed Jill Bosley and the Executive members supported this. There will be a meeting of the sub-committee on 8 November 2005 and Jill will be provided with more details in due course.

Item 5 - Review of Questions To West Berkshire Council Meeting Thursday 28 July 2005

Janet Parker informed the meeting that the Members and Principal Officers of the Council had received input from Professor Bright on the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.

Item 11 - Questionnaire and Priority Areas

Continue to hold this matter over until 2006.

Item 12(f) - Oxford Road, Newbury Pedestrian Crossing

Work nearing completion.


John Holt informed the meeting that he had been a member of the interview panel for this post. There had been four applications but only three candidates interviewed. Shelly Hambrecht, who currently works for Community Action West Berkshire (CAWB), had now been appointed to this position. There was no start date as yet for the Support Worker but it was hoped this would be 1 November 2005. The funding for this position is currently only for one year but work had already commenced to fund the position for three years. John told the meeting that one of the best ways to keep up the flow of funding, is by ensuring results, particularly successes, these will be an indicator of performance and we as an Alliance must ensure these are highlighted, to those people that matter at every opportunity. The job will sit in the CAWB office.

Peter Dolphin inquired as to costs to the WBDA in respect to stationery, printing, postage etc. At present this is unknown and has yet to be worked out as to what protocol to be adopted.


The Chairman paid tribute to John Clarke who died on 11 September. He explained how John's expertise would be a great loss to the WBDA as a whole. Particularly to the Executive, of which he had been a very valuable member. His considerable knowledge, both on disability matters, especially sight impairment and local issues, would be greatly missed.

All this had meant an invaluable contribution to the members of the Alliance and to the disability community of West Berkshire, as a whole.

It would now mean the Executive is a member short of its full complement, in accordance with the WBDA's constitution. The Chairman proposed that Alison Clarke be co-opted to the Executive. He confirmed that Allison was in agreement with him proposing this matter. The members of the Executive present unanimously agreed to the proposal. They also agreed that the full Executive vacancy, be left until the 2006 Annual General Meeting.


The Chairman had had a conversation with Joanna Richardson, from West Berkshire Council Policy and Performance Executive, about the agenda and attendees for the meeting on Friday 21 October 2005. They had gone onto discuss whether there was a need for a separate specific meeting with officers from WBC Community Care and the Primary Care Trust. They had discussed this because the number of issues that had arisen or could continue to arise may 'clog up' the current meeting structure. The Executive saw the benefit of such a meeting, as long as the officer representatives of the Council and the PCT were at a level to freely discuss issues and where appropriate to make change. Also there should be a reasonable spread of other voluntary sector representative organisations, to include areas such as children, younger and older people, those with a learning disability etc., in addition to the WBDA and the WBNA. It was further believed that at present, the bi-annual meetings were convened at the invitation of WBC Policy and Performance Executive, this being for specific reasons, and therefore at least, a representative from that group must attend any such other meeting.

The Chairman reminded the meeting that West Berkshire Council had a scheme for the reimbursement of expenses and payment for attendance at this meeting. He went on to ask if the WBDA should avail itself, on a group or an individual basis, of the scheme? The Executive responded that, only if an individual member was in a situation of being disadvantaged by loss of earnings due to attendance and travelling expenses incurred.


The Chairman was conscious that the publicity for the Disability Forum held on Monday 3 October 2005 had been fairly limited. Even the letter to the Newbury Weekly News, that is normally published, had not been on this occasion. He felt this is an item that the WBDA needs to spend time in getting a firm strategy. It is a matter that needs to be discussed with Shelly Hambrecht, when she takes up the appointment of Partnerships Worker.


The Chairman presented the revised WBDA document 'Transport Provision for Disabled People in West Berkshire' for acceptance. The view of the meeting was that in principle the content was satisfactory. However, if this document was to be for external use, it needs to be tidied up and have a consistency of terminology. Furthermore, it must be set out with a series of summaries and recommendations, the Chairman said this would be undertaken. When completed it can be put on the WBDA website.


a. The Chairman said he was to lead on putting together the material for the next Newsletter. John Carr will set out the format, using the information provided to him. Publication and distribution will be in December

b. The Chairman told the meeting, he had been talking with various people about their dissatisfaction with their wheelchair provision. The standard of the wheelchair service as a whole was unsatisfactory. A general debate took place and it was identified that policy, standards and priorities appear to vary between local services. It would appear that in general, where the NHS is involved, the assessment would be to the lowest need. John Holt suggested that the WBDA obtain the written policy from a variety of different health areas, so as to compare the provision. It was also suggested that the local wheelchair clinic, be invited to talk and answer questions at either a Members Open Meeting or a future Disability Forum.

c. John Dalton had sent an email informing that Richard Benyon, the Newbury Member of Parliament was visiting the Ormonde Centre on 31 October 2005 at 1100hours. John was suggesting that a member of the WBDA Executive attend. John Carr agreed he would attend.

d. John Holt distributed publicity details for a Conference for disabled people, their families and those working with them. The Conference is being hosted by 'SCOPE' Southeast and Southern area, being held on Wednesday 19 October 2005, at the HG Wells Conference Centre, Woking, Surrey. The information was late but it was agreed that if anyone wanted to attend, the WBDA would sponsor.

e. The Chairman asked the meeting for suggestions for the agenda of the next WBDA Members Open Meeting, to be held on Monday 7 November 2005. The consensus was that it should be held in a workshop style. It will be an opportunity for a number of topical items to be tabled for members views and discussion as well as taking on new issues.

f. The Chairman said that he thought that the next Disability Forum, to be held in April 2006, should be on the current topical subject of Access to the Countryside. The meeting supported this. Mick went onto say he was intending to attend the next meeting of 'Access to the Countryside - Forum' in an endeavour to tease out their priorities. Apparently, there is a database available; enquiries need to be made to find out how to access this resource.

g. The meeting agreed that the WBDA must own its own portable hearing loop equipment. Janet Parker to do some research on this matter, to find something suitable for our use. Before considering any purchase, the WBDA would require a demonstration. This would be on an occasion when the 'Hard of Hearing' club could assist in making an evaluation of the equipment.

h. It was agreed that the Executive would draw up a WBDA 'Work Plan' for 2006. John Holt said that the work plan needed to have cost and time resource implications posted against each item and must be linked to the funding cycle. Although the Executive will be undertaking to draw up the 2006 work plan, the plan for 2007 needed to be completed at the same time so as to get into a correct sequence for the abovementioned funding cycle, this will allow time for applications to be made, grants to be approved or refused.

i. The meeting was informed that it was the intention of Dave Foster (West Berkshire Access Adviser), to undertake a survey of disabled toilets. The Chairman said that this was a large task, one in which he wished the WBDA to be involved. The meeting believed that the first toilets to be looked at should be those in public areas. It was suggested that the outcome should be to include in or as an appendix to the 'Access Guide'.

Another area that needs to be surveyed is that of car

J. It was recognised that bankers cards issued from February
2006 would be 'Chip and PIN'. However 'Chip and Sign' cards that are in circulation, will still be able to be used until replaced. The Disability Rights Commission had met with those responsible for the Banking Code, it would appear that for people unable to or have difficulties in using the former card, the latter will still be available. This message needs to be clearly made to people, because the banking industry will probably not make information easily available or encourage the 'status quo' for the disadvantaged.

K. The meeting was told that the Cancer Care Trust might well be looking, to take over the Charles Clore Centre in Newbury. Should this be the case, it would not be only be for cancer care but other health activities. One organisation that is showing some interest is that for cystic fibrosis. It is hoped that other terminal illness and voluntary sector organisations will be able to come on board. A meeting to see what each could get out of such an arrangement is to be held. There is deal of concern that if the Centre is closed and the land sold off, the capital raised will go to Central Government, a position that West Berkshire Community Hospital would lobby to overturn. Jill Bosley reminded the meeting of the local 'Compact' that exists in West Berkshire, which includes staff and voluntary organisations. However, the PCT was not abiding by this arrangement. However, it had recently apologised for failing to give recognition, but still seems to be going its own way, without effectively following its declared principles and practice.


The next meeting of the Executive will be held on Monday 5 December 2005 commencing at 1900 hours. The venue will be AFC Newbury, Faraday Road, Newbury.