A disabled comedian and activist signed up by Network Rail to launch its new access campaign has criticised its chair after discovering that he called on the government to slash funding to make stations more accessible.Francesca Martinez, who has campaigned against government cuts to support for disabled people, was “shocked” when told by Disability News Service (DNS) of the actions taken by Sir Peter Hendy.Martinez had spent much of the day fronting the launch of Network Rail’s Spaces and Places for Everyone campaign, including giving media interviews backing the campaign.But DNS then told her that Sir Peter had recommended in a spending review for the government that nearly £50 million allocated to the Access for All programme should be delayed until 2019 at the earliest.She said: “This is really important to know because if these cuts are carried out then the impact would no doubt outweigh the positives of the Network Rail campaign.“I’m going to write to Network Rail and put this to them. I campaign actively against cuts all the time. This seems to be going contrary to their campaign.”In an email she sent to Sir Peter after learning of the cuts, she said: “As a prominent disability campaigner, I must raise these concerns with you because I believe that the flurry of cuts to welfare, and the austerity measures, are greatly impacting on disabled people and reducing their ability to lead happy, fulfilled lives.“So I am worried that this delayed spending proposal will be part of the trend of eliminating vital services and funds dedicated to improving access and equality.”She told DNS later that she was “deeply concerned” about the recommended cuts, which would mean that “urgently needed accessibility upgrades to our very old rail system will be delayed for years”.She stressed that she had no idea about these cuts when she agreed to front the campaign, and added: “At a time when many disabled people are still unable to use their local stations, this delay will mean further discrimination and negative impact on their lives.“As someone who is passionately committed to fighting austerity and welfare cuts, I know that disabled people are already the hardest hit group in society, and I fully support charities such as Transport for All in their calls for the government to reject this spending delay.”Martinez is best-known among many disabled campaigners for fronting the WOW campaign, which calls on the government to assess the overall impact of its cuts to disabled people’s support.She said she previously had no idea that Sir Peter had recommended that Access for All funding for 2014-19 should be cut from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to the next spending period, 2019-24.Seven organisations – Transport for All, Inclusion London, Disabled People Against Cuts, Disability Rights UK, RNIB, Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Campaign for Better Transport – wrote to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in May, calling on him to ignore Sir Peter’s recommendation.Martinez said the Network Rail campaign was about the need to “cater for everyone’s needs from the beginning” and not as “an afterthought”, as has happened in the past.She said the campaign was targeted at the entire rail industry, including the train operating companies which run most stations, and aimed to “help the rest of the industry to follow suit”.She also praised the campaign’s efforts to consult with disabled people around the country to ask them what needed to change.She said: “If we want an equal society, we have got to have a rail network where everyone can access it without fear or worry.“For a lot of [disabled] people there is that kind of rising panic and stress when they approach a journey and that kind of question of, ‘What will happen, will I be met, will something go wrong?’”She added: “It’s all very well having an inclusive environment, but staff training is equally important.“You have got to have staff that are aware and compassionate and patient across the whole industry because I think a lot of issues that some of my disabled friends felt, and myself, is that some of the staff can make you feel like a burden or an annoyance and be reluctant to help you, so in tandem with physical environment you also need to make sure the attitude is there.”A survey for Network Rail found that two-thirds of disabled people use the railway, and of those, a quarter (24 per cent) do not feel that their journey will be easy, and a third (33 per cent) would use it more if it was more accessible.In the Network Rail press release, Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “We know [access for disabled people] hasn’t been good enough in the past, and we need to make it easier for disabled people to plan journeys and travel by rail.“We are committed to changing this, and doing what is necessary to make sure that inclusivity is deeply embedded in our culture.”Picture: Francesca Martinez interviewing Mark Carne for the Network Rail campaign
ANTHONY Laffranchi said Monday night’s clash with Wigan was as intense as anything he’s tasted in the NRL.The forward was immense as Saints beat their fierce rivals 22-16 at Langtree Park.“Saints v Wigan matches are always big fixtures and you get up for them,” he said. “It was a big one for our season and a big one to repay the fans too. It was a real boost as we look for a strong end to the season“We started well, treated the ball with respect and completed our sets too. Now we have to build on that. It was as intense as anything in the NRL – it was right down to the wire and a great contest.“You have to give us credit for hanging on in there and showing character. Now we have to prepare for a massive game in Perpignan against the Dragons.”
NATHAN Brown says the League Leaders Shield is a great reward and could signal the start of a successful era for the club.Saints topped the table after the 27 regular rounds and will be formally presented with the trophy this coming Friday.“It’s great reward for this group of the players, the club and the fans,” he said. “Hopefully, this is the start of a lot of trophies for the club over the next five or so years – and one for a young squad that has been put together over the last 12 months.”Saints will be missing Alex Walmsley on Friday as he serves a match ban for a careless high tackle at Huddersfield.That could see a return for Luke Thompson or Greg Richards who have both been in the 19-man squad recently.“We are confident we can do well,” he continued. “We rejigged things five or so weeks ago and are improving now. We are learning what works for us and what doesn’t. We need a lot of commitment and effort from the players – and to be united – to give ourselves the best shot.“Home advantage is a big high for us in the playoffs. Our home form has been good this year but to beat Castleford we will have to be on the top of our game.”Tickets for Friday’s game are now on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.
A SAINTLY welcome to our sponsors for Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie with Widnes:MATCH SPONSORS – ViridorViridor are our sponsors for the second time this season and are a business that is all about giving resources new life.Working closely with their customers they can transform waste and use it to produce vital renewable energy, high quality recyclates and raw materials.They operate more than 320 facilities across the UK and you can view more about them here: www.viridor.co.ukMATCH BALL SPONSORS – Merlin PackagingMerlin Packaging are based in Pontefract, Yorkshire and specialise in different types of packaging tailored to your requirements.They are a small family business operating from 23,000 sq ft building within a two-acre site in the heart of West Yorkshire. Their core business is contract packing of confectionery throughout all seasonal terms and they operate with a BRC Global Standard ‘A’ Grade which certifies them to handle food stuffs for high street retailers and multiple grocers. They also pack non food gift packs, cosmetics etc.For further details call Ian on 07990 538 743 or email [email protected] SPONSOR – 2Kleen2Kleen are a supplier of St.Helens R.F.C. and specialise in providing high quality cleaning products for all commercial, industrial and domestic cleaning requirements.John Hodkinson can be contacted on 0845 338 1706, 07805 797 632 or email [email protected] www.2kleen.comCORPORATE SPONSOR – The Parcel CentreThe Parcel Centre are proud to offer a full and comprehensive range of services to their customers.They offer a reliable, cost effective service that is bespoke to your needs. They have more than 30 year’s expertise in all areas of freight handling.They realise that their customers each have their own individual needs to be met, and so they understand how important it is to tailor their services accordingly.To enquire further about The Parcel Centre tel: 0800 783 6465 or email [email protected] WEEK’S FEATURED PLAYER SPONSORS – Project Toolkit AppSponsors of Mark Percival. Project Toolkit App has been developed especially for the IPad to support the budding or experienced Project Manager.All too often Projects start and both Clients and Contractors fail to protect themselves with right controls in place. At Project Toolkit they have looked to provide you with all you need to protect all party’s interests, including:A Multi use in-App contract that can be tailored to your project needs, potentially saving you both £thousands in contracts and even more in claims.Gantt chart allowing you to plan your schedule simply and share with your clients, suppliers and even allocate tasks to your project team.Cost Management capability to help you keep track of your budget.Red Amber Green performance monitoring to highlight areas of concern on your projectAnd much more!For a full list of functionality please visit their website www.projecttoolkitapp.com
MAGIC was anything but for Saints as they went down 48-20 to Huddersfield in Newcastle.The Giants ran in eight tries as Keiron Cunningham’s men failed to build on a positive start.They found themselves 16-0 down before Matty Dawson went in for his seventh of the season.But the second half went away from them – despite some nice tries – to continue their frustratingly inconsistent form.What was to come was surprising considering how the men from Langtree Park started.In fact, they were probably unlucky not be ahead before the Giants took their chances.Lama Tasi went within inches before Jermaine McGillvary opened the scoring.Ukuma Ta’ai then punished an error at the play the ball and Jamie Ellis crossed for 16-0.Saints worked hard to get back into the game and finally took a chance when Adam Swift showed good hands for Matty Dawson to cross.Luke Walsh adding a very important conversion that made it a ten point game at half time.Within seconds of the second half though, that gap was back at 16 points.McGillvary crossed for his second after some intricate play but the officials missed a very forward pass in the build up.Sam Rapira compounded the misery in the 50th minute before Aaron Murphy scored from a loose pass that came off the boot of Jake Connor.Good hands from Saints saw Jack Owens score his first in the red vee on the hour mark – before a high Walsh bomb forced Scott Grix to knock on … and Fages to dive to the left of the posts.Brough checked the comeback with a penalty in the 67th minute but Saints replied with a try out of the top drawer.It went touchline to touchline on the last tackle, Owens coming off one side to feed Kyle Amor who found Theo Fages.The young stand-off then backed himself, rounded his man and put Swift over in the corner.It might have been a mere consolation in the scheme of things, it showed this side possesses a great amount of skill when they back themselves.Saints were always playing catch up though – and Ryan Hinchcliffe and Kyle Wood capped off the Giants’ performance with a tries in the final stages.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Dawson, Owens, Fages, SwiftGoals: Walsh (2 from 4)Giants:Tries: McGillvary (2), Taai, Ellis, Rapira, Murphy, Hinchcliffe, WoodGoals: Brough (8 from 9)Penalties:Saints: 3Giants: 6HT: 6-16FT: 20-48REF: B ThalerATT: TBCTeams:Saints:23. Shannon McDonnell; 22. Jack Owens, 30. Calvin Wellington, 21. Matty Dawson, 5. Adam Swift; 19. Theo Fages, 7. Luke Walsh; 14. Lama Tasi, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 11. Atelea Vea, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Subs: 3. Jordan Turner, 8. Alex Walmsley, 16. Andre Savelio, 28. Morgan Knowles.Giants: 1. Scott Grix; 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Leroy Cudjoe, 18. Jake Connor, 5. Aaron Murphy; 6. Danny Brough, 7. Jamie Ellis; 8. Eorl Crabtree, 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 21. Nathan Mason, 4. Joe Wardle, 17. Ukuma Taai, 12. Michael Lawrence.Subs: 15. Kyle Wood, 16. Sam Rapira, 22. Oliver Roberts, 36. Sebastine Ikahihifo.
Dream of Horses Farm is celebrating the arrival of a very special delivery – a new foal born to one of their horses Blackie… and it’s a girl.The farm, which is situated in Wied Ta’ L-Għejun, Xagħra, Gozo, is a sanctuary and safe haven for unwanted horses and other domestic animals. Rescued horses are rehabilitated with great care and dedication and granted a forever loving home at the farm. These animals, in turn, provide endless opportunities for visitors – including children and adults with physical, social and emotional difficulties – in helping them bring back balance and peace into their lives.Congratulations from all of us at Newsbook.com.mt to mummy-horse Blackie!More information about Dream of Horses Farm may be found on their Facebook page.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2023/IMG3568.jpg” alt=”last_img” />