Michael McEwan    

Freelance Journalist 
                                Public Speaker   
                                                            Presenter  

Podcasts

INTERVIEWS

view:  full / summary

Coronavirus and people with learning disabilities

Posted by Michael Mcewan on August 17, 2021 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/coronavirus-and-people-with-learning-disabilities

The research project – Coronavirus and people with learning disabilities – is a UK wide study which has been exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with learning disabilities. In Scotland, the study is led by the University of Glasgow, with the support of the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD).

 

I spoke to Research Associate, Roseann Maguire at the University of Glasgow and research participant, Sandy Stark, about the findings of the study.

Care Opinion

Posted by Michael Mcewan on August 17, 2021 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/care-opinion

Care Opinion is a social enterprise which gives citizens a platform to air their views and opinions on health and care services. It aims to make care services better for everyone.

 

Fraser Gilmore, Head of Scotland at Care Opinion tells me more about its aims and how it works.

Stay Up Late

Posted by Michael Mcewan on August 17, 2021 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/stay-up-late

Going out to see bands, clubbing, or seeing friends is part of everyday life for lots of people. However, if you have a learning disability you may need support to do this.

 

Stay Up Late is a charity that supports people to make this happen. Keith Etherington and William Rae told me about the work of Stay Up Late and their plans for this year's Learning Disability Week.

Mecoco - meaningful community contribution

Posted by Michael Mcewan on April 15, 2021 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/mecoco-meaningful-contribution-in-your-community

Mecoco (Meaningful Contribution in your Community) is a social enterprise based in North Ayrshire that supports people into employment.

 

The founder, Jenny Trott, believes that regardless of their level of ability, people can make a meaningful contribution and have the right to experience the workplace in their own community should they wish to.

 

​Mecoco specialises in making candles and soaps and adapts equipment, processes and even products to make the job as accessible as possible.

 

Here I chat with Jenny about the origins and work of the social enterprise.


Sport in Communities

Posted by Michael Mcewan on April 15, 2021 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/the-role-of-sport-in-communities-in-scotland

 

With a wide network of partners and academic researchers from across Scotland and Europe, the Observatory for Sport in Scotland supports those delivering community sport and activity with independent research, knowledge sharing, and policy and practice guidance, as well as international benchmarking that brings confidence to widening sport participation to all ages and abilities.

 

Here I chat with David Ferguson, Executive Director of the Observatory about the work it does to support participation in sport across Scotland.


Sight Scotland Veterans

Posted by Michael Mcewan on April 15, 2021 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/sight-scotland-veterans

Sight Scotland Veterans has been around since 1915, and offers support across Scotland to veterans of the Armed Forces who need support to adapt to sight loss.

 Here I chatted with Alison Cairns, Practice Lead fo the outreach team, about the work of the organisation.


Covid Vaccination Passport

Posted by Michael Mcewan on March 9, 2021 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

As the world is perhaps starting to see the light at the end of a very long tunnel , many governments are considering the implementation of vaccination passports as a way to reopen normal life while controlling the pandemic.

 

Everyone will be coming at this from different sides, I don't think this is a good idea, without a perception of removing human rights and freedoms.

 

Many people aren't able to take the vaccine due to medical reasons

, they would miss out if passports are introduced, how would this be managed?

 

Though the world may be slowly opening back up confusion over passports may stop people from going out, I have always advocated for not giving people labels, this may take progress back decades.

 

If vaccination passports are introduced in some form, there are many factors to be considered, particularly for people with a disability who have stigma of being different. There are still major accessibility issues in U.K on whole, stopping the spread of Covid is Factor X.

 

In the longer horizon, as venues start to reopen friends will start to socialise, ultimately not everyone could have vaccine passport, this would create impossible and cruel divisions in society.

 

How would such segregation work in every day life? Going to work, to school, shopping, public transport? Already the pandemic has divided society and isolated many, surely there has to be a solution which is universally fair, compassionate and manageable.

 

In Scotland we have overcome many battles against Covid 19 , I would like to believe that as the R number continues to shrink, we won't fall at the last hurdle.


Katie Price - Harvey and Me

Posted by Michael Mcewan on January 26, 2021 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

  

It's so important no matter what your disability,or age, that we all have the right to an independent life. 

This was well highlighted in recent BBC documentary called Katie Price- Harvey and me.

 Katie's son Harvey was born in 2002, soon after he was diagnosed with Septo - Optic Dysplasia , a rare genetic disorder affecting his eyesight, he also has Autism and Prader Willi syndrome , causing a hormonal imbalance which causes weight gain, learning disabilities and behavioural problems.

 On the documentary Harvey celebrates his 18th birthday, he requires 24 hour care ,unable to control of his weight ,his needs are complex, with limited social skills this is often very stressful for him.

 His birthday marks another milestone, it's time for him to leave school and find a college best matched to his needs, anyone with a disability ,parent or carer would say this transition is not easy, that's no difference for Harvey and his mum.

 The documentary was a good insight into their relationship , and shows Katie's strength and abilities as a single parent.

During a visit to the Orpheus Centre, a college in Surrey who provide therapy to disabled young adults through performance arts , unfortunately loud and unexpected noise, banging of a door, distressed Harvey and he threw his head repeatedly against a door. Harvey asked for no sudden noise , a rare clear request to prospective college guides, but as they couldn't do this both Harvey and Katie realised not the right fit.

 When they went to visit National Star college in Cheltenham Harvey was distressed , worried he would have to stay overnight ,he refused to get out of the car and whimpered.

Their guide, a teacher called Alice ,showed him a social story with pictures of what he could expect from the hours ahead. Alice used a blend of clear questions and Makaton to Harvey, took them a full tour of the college,including sensory area, involved Harvey in some art and interactive work that was going on. Katie and Harvey found the right match, have applied to National Star and they'll find out in March if they have,hopefully, been successful.

 The chief education officer tells Katie they will put in a funding application to the local authority, detail everything that would be provided for Harvey.

 For example, in this college a part time day student may be £15,000 to £20,000 a year to meet their support needs,but a student in full time, all year round residence, with greater support could be up to £300,000 to £350,000 a year.

 Local authority approval depends on Harvey needs, and where they feel is the best match for him. Katie must ensure his education health and care plan (EHCP) ,a legally binding document in England detailing the support he must receive, is up to date.

 She must deal with Harvey education attainments , health problems and also the medication he requires , tasks he can work to complete whether he can cook for himself and clear up, dress , make the bed and personal hygiene. His social awareness is currently limited and Katie admits she has done everything for him. As with many disabled young people transitioning into adulthood, this is a daunting time for both them and their parents,while being overseen by local authority and can often not be a smooth transition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neatebox

Posted by Michael Mcewan on November 22, 2020 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)


https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/neatebox

Neatebox provides smart solutions based on the challenges disabled people face every day.

 An example is an award-winning free app which allows people to use their mobile phone to push buttons at doors and pedestrian crossings safely and with more confidence.

 I spoke to Gavin Neate, the founder of the company about the products they provide.

Your Options Understood

Posted by Michael Mcewan on November 22, 2020 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)



https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/your-options-understood-danielle-farrel

Your Options Understood (Y.O.U) is an organisation that offers independent advice to those living with a disability, as well as parents and carers. It was set-up by Dr Danielle Farrel to share her own experiences of life with a disability and to show that having a disability does not necessarily mean that individuals cannot live an independent life.

 

I had a conversation with Danielle to find out more about the organisation.

Passion4Social

Posted by Michael Mcewan on November 22, 2020 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)


https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/passion4social

Passion4Social is a web and graphic design agency which creates sustainable employment opportunities for people with disabilities, or long-term health conditions, which contribute to their feelings of inclusion, health, wellbeing, and quality of life.

 

I spoke to Thiago Carmo, Marketing Manager and Senior Designer, about the work of the agency.

Disability Discrimination Act 25 years

Posted by Michael Mcewan on November 8, 2020 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 


 

I can't believe it's 25 year anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act , which was passed on 8th November 1995.

 

The definition of discrimination is being treated unfairly or put at disadvantage for a reason that relates to your disability.

 

There are six main types : direct discrimination , indirect discrimination , failure to make reasonable adjustments , discrimination arising from disability , harassment and victimisation.

 

The legislation which was introduced in to prohibition discrimination on the grounds of disability.

 

It was significantly extended in 2006 to include areas such as employment and education.

 

The hope of having this act is to remove the barriers to employment, as in today's society it is still a big barrier .When it come to employment in Scotland today ,approx 9 in 10 of the general population has jobs , that is not the case for people with a disability and individuals on the autistic spectrum ,where only 4.1 people in 100 are in employment, with just 1.6 in 100 people are in jobs or 16 hours or more.

 

This is clearly defined discrimination, as i know a lot of talent individuals that would love to work ,but not giving a chance, I think employers should do more, they should see what people can bring to the job ,not look at their disability.

 

In 2020 we should not see discrimination in any walk of life, sadly it is still out there. This doesn't just happen in employment, but also access when out and about, like going to different venues, restaurants, clubs etc.

 

Many people advise they can't get into a venue , as no proper access , again discrimination , as we all have the right to a night out and everyone else from a party can get in.

 

Transport is a barrier as well and i know that some train stations are not accessible to get in to and that is before you get on a train i dont know this is still an issues.

 

I do hope we're not talking about these same issues in another 2 or 5 years,even another 25, that the social landscape for disability equality levels out and barriers we struggle are removed,leaving an open playing field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disability on TV

Posted by Michael Mcewan on September 27, 2020 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I campaign on a lot of different issues, I'm passionate about these, as a freelance journalist I'm frustrated at the low level of disability representation in TV and media.

 

When I turn on news or factual programmes, there are very few presenters with a disability, or on panel shows whether topical or general news items.

 

When it comes to acting Hollywood is falling behind British TV, more recently producers have created a number of disabled characters with multi layered storylines ,and hired disabled actors in the roles.

 

The only time when growing up I saw disabled representation on TV was a storyline where a disabled child was born to able bodied parents. In 2006 Eastenders' character Honey give birth to a daughter with Down's Syndrome, played by Grace, viewers have followed her on screen journey, Janet is now 13.

 

From 2014 to 2018 Eastenders introduced a character called Donna Yates, she was in a wheelchair. The role was play by Lisa Hammond who has Pseudoachondroplasia and joint hypermobility.She revealed in an interview October 2015 that she received abuse from strangers in the street because of her disability. She spoke about how her wheelchair use received backlash from the public. "The main image of wheelchair users is that of paralysis. So when I get out of my chair to do a scene on my feet, people don't like it. If I'm feeling good and want to walk in that scene, I will. But if I can't or pain levels are bad then I'll use my chair. I've been shouted at. I've had people say, 'Oi, why are you in a chair when you were walking on EastEnders last night?'"

 

On the opposite channel Coronation Street in October 2015 introduced adult character with down syndrome Alex Warner, played by Liam Barstow. He started acting in primary school,then joined Mind The Gap, a leading disabled theatre company in England.

 

Emmerdale actor James Moore who plays character Ryan Stocks, lives with cerebral palsy. He won the best newcomer at the National Television Awards in 2019.

 

It is not just on soaps we are trying to break down the barriers in 2018 Britain's Got Talent crowned Lost Voice Guy , the first ever stand up comedian to win the show, aka Lee Ridley , who has cerebral palsy. Lee performs using an electronic voice box. Runner Up that same year was Robert White, also a comedian, who has Aspergers.

 

 

 


Experiences of working on the frontline with a disability

Posted by Michael Mcewan on September 13, 2020 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/experiences-of-working-on-the-frontline-with-a-disability

What are the experiences of those with disabilities working on the frontline during Covid-19?

 

I interviewed Scott Kennedy, Lynn Murdoch and David Ross, who spoke about how they've continued to provide care and support, despite the challenging circumstances.



The impact of Covid-19 on disability sports

Posted by Michael Mcewan on September 13, 2020 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-disability-sports

The 2020 Paralympic Games were due to be held in Tokyo this year over August and September, but have been rescheduled for 2021.

 How has this affected the organisations and athletes involved?

I got different perspectives from Gavin Macleod, Chief Executive of Scottish Disability Sport; and Stephen McGuire, an athlete for Boccia UK ,who was due to participate in this year's games.


Bill Scott: The impact of Covid-19 on disabled people

Posted by Michael Mcewan on September 13, 2020 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/bill-scott-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-disabled-people

Bill Scott is Director of Policy at Inclusion Scotland, an organisation that works to achieve positive changes to policy and practice, so that disabled people are fully included throughout all Scottish society as equal citizens.

 I spoke to Bill about the results of their Covid-19 evidence survey, which reveals the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people.

Please note that this was recorded on 20 April 2020.



YSGT 2020 - Online

Posted by Michael Mcewan on August 4, 2020 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 



There has been some progression in modern times of representation and equality for people with a disability, but one major hurdle remains- getting into employment. 

There are a number of good employment support organisations who tirelessly campaign for disability equality in education, and employment.

 Values Into Action Scotland , Scottish Commission for people with Learning Disabilities and many partner organisations currently run an annual event called Young Scotland's Got Talent (YGST)

 Since it's inception in 2010 the event has brought together all the relevant agencies who give advice on employment , hold fun workshop , showcasing the talent of young people with a learning disability or autism with interesting jobs , and also invite keynote speakers from different industry sectors.

 The event centres on a catwalk with a difference, as people with learning disabilities strut their stuff in work uniform, finishing with an interview by the compere about their job, to inspire the audience.

 In past years YGST has been a national roadshow into different towns and cities, to highlight issues and try to break down some barriers into employment.

 Scheduled events this year were quickly postponed with the rapid onset of Covid 19 lockdown restrictions.

 With new technology such as Zoom coming to the forefront of 2020 life, some of the event was moved to a fully online platform, and topically focussed on young people with a disability currently working on the front line.

 During the event a total of 36 visitors attended the virtual showcase, which was presented and coordinated by a cross teams from the different organisations who make these events a yearly success.

 Apart from creating a fun space, information and atmosphere for young people , and their families to help them to get jobs, the main focus is to look at the talent, not the disability,this is an avoidable label which should never be a consideration over ability for a role.

 These events are necessary to promote employability, but in a more equal society , we wouldn't need to have this platform. We still need to have this for now , to keep this issue to the forefront, and highlight that disability equality in employment still has a long way to go.

 In Scotland in 2020, approx. 9 in 10 of the general population have jobs, not so for people with learning disabilities and individuals on the autistic spectrum , where approx. only 4.1 people in 100 people are in employment, with just 1.6 in 100 people in jobs of 16 hours or more.

Mind Matters Ep 2

Posted by Michael Mcewan on June 22, 2020 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)


https://www.mhfestival.com/news/22-talking-heads/641-mind-matters-episode-2

In Episode 2 of Mind Matters, host Michael McEwan leads a conversation on how people on Scotland are experiencing lockdown.

He is joined by Stuart James, who hosts a show at East End Community Radio in Glasgow, and William Rae, who is currently shielding in

Aberdeen.

Mind Matters Ep 1

Posted by Michael Mcewan on June 22, 2020 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)


https://www.mhfestival.com/news/22-talking-heads/633-mind-matters-episode-1

In this first episode of Mind Matters, my guests are Nick Jedrzejewski, Communications Manager with See Me Scotland, and Michael Byrne, Managing Director of Lived Experience Trauma Support (LETS).

Nick discusses See Me Scotland's recent campaigns such as Pass the Badge and the ramifications of lockdown on mental health.

Michael Byrne shares insights into his personal mental health journey, how receiving a diagnosis was key to his recovery, and the work done by LETS.

Experiences of unpaid carers during Covid-19

Posted by Michael Mcewan on June 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 

https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/experiences-of-unpaid-carers-during-covid-19

I spoke with three carers: Alex Davis, a full-time carer for her son; Frank McGowan who cares for his older brother; and Liz Carson, who cares for her son.

 

Each person tells us about their experiences of caring in lockdown.



Rss_feed