Big Christmas Lunch


Following the success of our summer Big Lunch event, may I take this opportunity to invite you along to the Big Christmas Lunch which is being hosted by Mearnskirk Helping Hands and will take place on Friday 7th December. This should be a fun day out with free food, lots of information and advice, entertainment and a chance to mingle with your peers.

Should you wish to book a place please contact 0141 638 2525 or email [email protected]


Barrhead News 27/08/18 Talented Lee is breaking down barriers faced by disabled people

Every year, we tune into Britain’s Got Talent, wondering who will make it to the final few.

And this year’s competition was groundbreaking, as the winner was Lee Ridley (pictured above), who is also known as The Lost Voice Guy.

This 37-year-old stand-up comedian from Newcastle has been disabled since early life and unable to speak.

He is the first stand-up in Britain to use a communication aid in his routines.

At the age of six months, he was diagnosed with a neurological form of cerebral palsy, brought about by a brain infection that left him in a coma for two months.

This affected his movement and rendered him unable to speak but what he lacks in speech he makes up for in humour.

Lee is also the first comedian to win the show.

I was invited on to BBC Radio Scotland to talk about the show and also featured on the Scotland Tonight current affairs show on STV.

It was an honour for me to be able to discuss the success of both comedians in breaking down barriers.

I’d also like to highlight the Down Syndrome Congress that will take place at the SEC, in Glasgow, from July 25-27.

This will be the first time in 32 years that the event has been held in the UK.

It will feature speakers who have Down’s Syndrome, as well as professionals who work in this field.

If you would like more information about the congress, visit the website at

The congress only comes around every two years and is a chance to celebrate everything that is positive about people with Down’s Syndrome.

Just a reminder that East Renfrewshire Disability Action is here to offer support and advice to anyone who has an issue concerning disability.

ERDA 2018/19 New Committee

2018/19 committee was elected at ERDA AGM on 25th June, 2018

Chairperson                                Michael McEwan 

Vice Chair                                    Colette Walker 

Treasurer                                     Mark Chisholm 

Social Media Organiser                Chris McCusker 



The Big Lunch

East Renfrewshire Disability Action , in collaboration with other organisations , are holding a free event called The Big Lunch – We hope to see you there 

Campaign for accessible taxis in East Renfrewshire

Following our successful campaign for accessible taxis in East Renfrewshire , we are pleased to announce that East Renfrewshire Council has published a list of those currently available on their website. Here is link :

Access to Work


If you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you can:

Talk to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace

Apply for Access to Work if you need extra help

Your employer must make certain changes (known as ‘reasonable adjustments’) to make sure you’re not substantially disadvantaged when doing your job. These could include changing your working hours or providing equipment to help you do your job.

You should talk to your employer about reasonable adjustments before you apply for Access to Work.

Get help from Access to Work

If the help you need at work isn’t covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work.

You need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one.

You’ll be offered support based on your needs, which may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace.

An Access to Work grant can pay for:

Special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings

Help getting to and from work

You might not get a grant if you already get certain benefits.

The money doesn’t have to be paid back and won’t affect your other benefits.


What you’ll get

How it works


Keep Safe Scotland

I Am Me Scotland work in partnership with Police Scotland to raise awareness of and tackle disability hate crime. Keep Safe is a national initiative that works with a network of businesses and community buildings to create ‘Keep Safe’ places for people who may be feeling lost, scared or vulnerable while out in the community. Keep Safe places are identified by the I Am Me logo sticker in the window, although a full list of Keep Safe places can be found on I Am Me Scotland’s Keep Safe Scotland app can be used to:

Provide a full list of Keep Safe places across Scotland, with contact information and opening times for each business.

Plan routes, highlighting Keep Safe places along the way, promoting independent travel.

Find out information about local news and events.

Submit a hate crime report to Police Scotland, through a confidential online form.

Contact Police Scotland on 101 (non-emergency) and 999 (emergency), while giving the app user their approximate location

Support for Mortgage Interest is changing

Support for Mortgage Interest is changing


Does the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) help with your mortgage interest payments?

From 6 April 2018 help from the DWP with your mortgage is changing to a loan. The DWP will write to you about this change and offer you a loan to help pay your mortgage interests.

The questions and answers below provide a brief explanation of the change taking place, but If you require any further details or advice on this please call the Money Advice and Rights Team(MART) on 0141 577 8420.

  • What is Support for Mortgage Interest benefit?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) currentlyoffers a benefit called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), also known as Help with Housing Costs.

SMI pays towards the interest on a mortgage and othereligible home improvement loans.

On 5 April 2018, the SMI benefit will end.

  • What is replacing Support for Mortgage Interest benefit?

Replacing SMI benefit will be SMI loans, which will be introduced on 6 April 2018. SMI loans will be offered to both new and existing claimants.

Claimants receiving Income Support, income-relatedJobseeker’s Allowance, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit or Universal Credit will be offered SMI loan payments.

  • How will SMI loans be calculated?

SMI loan payments will be calculated in the same way as the current SMI benefit, using the standard interest rate and outstanding mortgage capital limits in place:

• For most working age claimants the limit is currently £200,000 outstanding mortgage and some home improvement loans

• For pension credit claimants the limit is currently £100,000 outstanding mortgage and some home improvement loans.

The interest rate can be revised twice a year, with anychanges (up or down) taking effect on 1 January and 1 July.

  • How and when will an SMI loan be repaid?

A claimant will have to repay the total of the SMI loan payments made plus interest from any remaining equity once their property is sold or ownership is transferred. If there is not enough equity available to repay the SMI loan in full, the amount of SMI loan that cannot be repaid
will be written off. Alternatively, the claimant can make voluntary repayments at any time (e.g. on the return to work of a working age claimant). The minimum amount that can be voluntarily repaid at any one time will be £100. The full amount can be repaid if the SMI loan amount is less than £100. Once the SMI loan has been repaid in full, anycharge that was placed on the property will be removed. There will be no early repayment fees.

  • How can I find out more about SMI loans?

The DWP will contact existing claimants before April to provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to accept the offer of an SMI loan.
Current claimants will receive a letter and an information leaflet on SMI loans. These are being sent out by a company called Serco on behalf of the DWP; however the loan itself is from the government, not from Serco. The letter and leaflet will explain the “offer” of a loan. It is an offer because the claimant does not have to accept it, but if they do not, their SMI payment will end in April 2018.

  • What do I do if I want to accept the SMI loan offer?

To accept the SMI loan offer, claimants are required to have a telephone conversation that will outline their other options.  The claimant (and partner if the house is jointly owned) will then need to sign the loan agreement and a charge form. This documentation is over 60 pages long and it is essential that it is read fully. The charge will be registered at the Land Registry. This means that if your home goes up for sale you will not be able to release the proceeds  of the sale until any money owed to the DWP is repaid.

If there is anything within the documentation that you are unsure of, or if you have any further questions on the documentation, the Money Advice and Rights Team(MART) can help. Call the team on 0141 577 8420.

Source :

3rd Party Reporting Centre

ERDA are happy to announce that we are now a 3rd Party Reporting Centre. 

Many people, for a variety of reasons, do not want to get in touch with the police in person. Third party reporting allows you to tell the police about an incident without contacting them directly.

Glasgow has over 60 organisations that can take a report from you and forward it to the police.

These are community organisations, housing associations, voluntary organisations and some council services, where you can talk to someone in confidence about hate crime.

If you want to make a report to the police, we can do it for you

Contact us at : 

East Renfrewshire Disability Action

56 Kelburn Street, Barrhead, G78 1LR

Tel : 0772 107 4384

Email : [email protected]



Self-Directed Support Forum ER Monthly Coffee Morning

Self-Directed Support Forum East Renfrewshire members would like to invite you to join them for an informal chat over coffee at the Redhurst Hotel, Eastwoodmains Road, Giffnock

1st Tuesday of the month between 10.30am – 12.00pm

If you require any further information please get in touch with the office on 0141 638 2525 or [email protected]