Michael McEwan    

Freelance Journalist 
                                Public Speaker   



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This is me- Valuing the lives of people with disabilities

Posted by Michael Mcewan on December 22, 2022 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)


This is Me is a campaign that aims to increase public awareness of the experiences of people with learning disabilities.


It is a partnership of the Scottish Learning Disability Observatory (SLDO), the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD), Down's Syndrome Scotland and Promoting a More Inclusive Society (PAMIS).


I spoke to Dr Deborah Kinnear at SLDO about the campaign.



UN international day of persons with disabillties.

Posted by Michael Mcewan on December 1, 2022 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)
3rd of December is the UN international day of persons with disabillties. Article one of the UN CRPD layout's purpose is the present convention to promote and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights, fundamental freedom by all person with a disabilities , and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. The theme for the day is transformative solutions for inclusive development , the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world. For me the aim of the day is to promote and rise awareness of batter understand of disability issues. Today the world population is over 8 billion people, and more than one billion people or approximately 15 per cent of the world's population , live with some form of disability , 80 per cent live in developing countries. Building on many decades of UN's work in this field of disability , the convention on the rights of persons with a disability adopted in 2006. Children with a disability are almost four times more likely to experience violence than non disabled children. Adults with disabilities are 1.5 times as more likely to be a victim of violence than without a disability. Adults with a mental health conditions are at nearly four time of experience violence. Apart from having this day we are in the middle of Disability History Month (16th November -16th December) It's important to reflect on developments , but still look to more changes. I would like to see more people in employment, I'm very passionate about this issue. From a recent report by the Office of U.K. Statistics in April to June 2022 53.1% (down) by 0.6 ) of disabled people in the uk were in employment , compared to 81.9% (up by 0.6) of non disabled people. People should choose whether they should stay up late, it's not up to a social worker or anyone else, as we all know years ago we had institutions and in my opinion they were a waste of money and not nice places. That's why self directed support is in place, a budget to use to support care needs, however in some parts of Scotland, many experience it's a postcode lottery. We need work to continue to raise awareness of disability issues, at the same time break down barriers.

Hospital Broadcasting Service 1970-2022

Posted by Michael Mcewan on October 19, 2022 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

It's quite the achievement to be recognised for 50 years service, in 2020 this milestone was reached by Hospital Broadcasting Service (HBS)

I joined HBS age 18 , part of the Friday night team as a request collector. I was lucky to be invited to attend a civic reception at Glasgow City Chambers to mark this, which as most events, had been pushed back 2 years during the pandemic. I was reunited with old colleagues, to celebrate this occasion, reminisce and hear about their current work. HBS is one of a few hundred radio stations in UK providing a radio service to hospital patients. The main hospital sites they serve are Queen Elizabeth University, Gartnavel General, Royal Alexandria(RAH) and The Beatson.

During my time at the station HBS weren't broadcasting over the internet at any hospital site, programmes are now broadcast 24 hours a day, though some of this is by automated system. We were different teams on various rotas , my job was request collection in the RAH in Paisley , then I took the request back to the station in Glasgow, looked out the songs and gave it to the presenter to be play. Going about the ward, meeting with patients. they were happy to have a chat, some don't get a lot of visitors so I'd make time to chat. 

 After a few years I suggested an idea for sports news to be added to Friday show,I moved onto producing the sports content. HBS is privately funded, so to raise money we ran a number fundraising events. I was part of a team still just halfway through their development, now they broadcast online, they've come a long way. 

 The work at HBS helped shape my career, for someone looking to get in to radio, I would recommend hospital radio as a good place to start. HBS is still going strong after 50 years, I look forward to their next milestone and to follow their developments, perhaps a visit to the studios soon.

Ralph & Katie

Posted by Michael Mcewan on October 11, 2022 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

There's a new TV series called Ralph and Katie, a spin off to the A Word, based around a family adjusting to an Autism diagnosis of their son called Joe. 

 The drama looked beyond the development of a child, also parents, uncles , aunts, grandparents and friends,the impact of Joe's diagnosis, lives not defined by autism. By the end of series 3 that extended family was well established ,the wedding of his grandfather's stepson , Ralph,who has Downs Syndrome, was a significant event. Ralph and Katie will follow the continuing the story of the couple, each episode featuring a different storyline, focusing on the domestic challenges they face. 

 Similar issues face by all newlyweds, but with an added ingredient in the mix as both have Downs Syndrome. This ground breaking series is created by Peter Bowker, the lead writer on the A Word. 

 Peter revealed early last year that the team working alongside him were all new and emergency disabled writers, chosen in partnership with the BBC writers room, bringing personal perspectives to the script. What I'd like the viewer to take away from the show , is to look beyond the disability labels, to watch it as a relationship drama,this will hope encourage more people with a disability who would like to move in to acting. Also this is more representation for people with a disability on TV and break further down the employment and social barriers, by creating more role models.

World Cerebral Palsy Day

Posted by Michael Mcewan on October 4, 2022 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Every 6th October is World Cerebral Palsy day , there are over 17 million people across the world living with cerebral palsy, another 350 million people are closely connected to a child or adult with cerebral palsy.


Cerebral Palsy is defined as a group of disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, balance, and posture.


I have cerebral palsy, often known as CP , I'm proud of who I am, as like all disability, it doesn't define me , it's not a label. If people would like to know more about my disability, I'm open and honest about it.


When I was growing up I had to learn to to walk without a zimmer, and attend a speech therapist, I went to a disability school , also known as a special needs school but I don't like that name.


My fellow pupils were children with similar disabilities , we did the same type of school work. The school I went to was in Glasgow, I lived outside of Glasgow, they provided transport by bus to and from school.


I would say they were small differences from my school to a mainstream school, pupils got one to one support in and out of class, also speech therapy and physiotherapy.


Looking back now I had a lot of good support, however the only thing I was lacking was my confidence. I think my first paid job helped me there, as I worked for The Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, I was part of a team.


We travelled up and down the country doing public speaking, I shared my journey in my life, that helped my confidence, to realise how far I'd come.


I met friends through work and still great friends today. Fast forward to today , I'm disability campaigner and freelance journalist , I've also been lucky to be commissioned to do news stories and features on important disability issues.


On this World CP Day, like every disability ,we just need to keep on raising awareness, knocking down the barriers in our way ,and be proud of who we are.


Support carers through cost of living crisis

Posted by Michael Mcewan on July 24, 2022 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)


I report for healthandcare.scot on unpaid carers struggle to stay afloat both before but especially during a cost of living crisis,which he says is not right in the year 2022 as he calls for more targeted support.

Disability and Project Artworks

Posted by Michael Mcewan on July 24, 2022 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)


This is the first episode in partnership with Mind the Gaps. 

I chatted with Kate Adams and Esther Springett, about the innovative visual arts organisation and Turner Prize nominees, Project Artworks.

New Routes Home

Posted by Michael Mcewan on July 24, 2022 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)



New Routes Home is a partnership of interested individuals and organisations across Scotland who campaign for the right of all people with disabilities to have their own home and to have meaningful choices around where they live, and who (if anyone) lives with them. This includes having choices around how support is organised and directed.


Michael McEwan speaks to Alastair Minty from In Control Scotland about the campaign.

We all have human rights

Posted by Michael Mcewan on July 24, 2022 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)


Scottish Learning Disability Week 2022 takes place from 2 until 8 May, and the theme for this year was ‘We all have human rights’.


I spoke to Libby Clement and Oonagh Brown from the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD) about the theme, its importance and what's happening over the week.

Whats the learning from Covid 19

Posted by Michael Mcewan on March 7, 2022 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)


For disabled people, what has been the learning from the Covid-19 pandemic? And what now needs to happen to ensure better lives?


I spoke to Health Journalist and Broadcaster, Pennie Taylor about the history of care and support for people with disabilities, the impact of Covid-19 and how support and services can be improved.


I also spoke to Tracey Campbell, a parent whose daughter has Angelman syndrome, and Sanjeev Man, a Freelance Journalist and Disability Campaigner, to understand their experiences and get their views on what needs to change.

COP26 Climate Change and Disabled People

Posted by Michael Mcewan on March 7, 2022 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Cop 26, the global United Nations climate change conference took place this month in Glasgow.


What is the impact of the climate emergency on disabled people and how do they have their voices heard?


I spoke with Susie Fitton, Policy Officer at Inclusion Scotland about their involvement at Cop 26, the impacts of climate change on disabled people, the challenges, and what needs to happen to make sure disabled people are included as decision makers.

Human Rights Town

Posted by Michael Mcewan on March 7, 2022 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)



The  Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD) has launched an app, Human Rights Town, to help people with learning disabilities understand their human rights.  


The development of the app has been led by a group of people with learning disabilities who have been working with SCLD. It invites users to travel around a virtual ‘Human Rights Town’ where they encounter different scenarios at each location, such as using public transport or working at the supermarket. 


Michael McEwan speaks to Oonagh Brown, Human Rights Adviser at SCLD and Fiona Dawson, a member of the app development team.

Coronavirus and people with learning disabilities

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


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)


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)


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)


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)



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)


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.