Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA) : E-newsletter Issue 3
View this email in your browser
Forward to Friend
Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA)
Welcome to WAAFA's E-newsletter!

Winchester Area Access For All (WAAFA) is a forum dedicated to improving access and conditions for vulnerable people and those with disability in and around Winchester, Hampshire, UK.

This is our E-newsletter highlighting what the forum has been covering over recent months and advertising any relevant events or information. If you would like to add anything to this E-newsletter, please email:

Winchester Good Accessibility Awards - Phase II
Going for gold in Winchester

This summer Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA) is aiming for gold – the accessibility gold standard across local shops and businesses for people with disabilities.

The forum for identifying issues so they can be resolved or avoided, WAAFA's work includes highlighting problems with access, as well as recognising, appreciating and promoting good practice.

The organisation is running an Access Awards scheme to ensure that premises are easy to visit and do business in. Shops and businesses found to demonstrate excellent practice are awarded a gold, silver or bronze badge in the form of a sticker which can be displayed in a window or entrance. This not only recognises good customer care, but gives those with potential access problems confidence in those shops and businesses.

Towards the end of 2013 61 businesses in Winchester's high street were assessed - one was awarded gold, 17 achieved silver and 11 bronze.

This summer the assessments are continuing for the remaining streets in the city centre. WAAFA is asking for people to help with the surveys, by visiting some of the shops in Jewry Street, City Road, The Broadway and Bridge Street and completing the simple questionnaire on which the assessments are based. It does not matter whether volunteers have disabilities themselves.

Keith Hatter from WAAFA said: "We believe this project will benefit not only those who live and work in Winchester, but also the many tourists who are attracted by the high quality chain stores and interesting independent shops in the city.

"Ultimately, our aim is to be able to give gold awards to all businesses, so that the Winchester as a whole has gold standard accessibility.
One of the local charities taking an active part in the surveys is Winchester Go LD, formerly Winchester Mencap.

If you are interested in taking part in these surveys please contact Winchester Go LD on 01962 873608  or email
A day in the life of an Access Officer at Hampshire County Council...

Our workload is incredibly varied and we get involved in all sorts of things. One minute we might be discussing how to make a World War I minesweeper ship accessible and the next, we are discussing how to improve access to a Country Park, or within a school.

We progress the accessibility agenda by providing advice to in-house architects and surveyors on building projects that the Council undertakes. This involves meetings, assessment of plans, and site visits.
In addition to this, we undertake accessibility audits and improvement projects on various buildings around the County. Accessibility improvement projects are typically undertaken following public feedback, or to accommodate a disabled student in a school.

Our remit also includes producing guidance for use by in-house staff, and delivering training to officers.
The Access Team is based in Winchester, and works within the Council’s Property Services Department. The Access Team provides advice to projects located beyond Hampshire, including projects on the Isle of Wight and in Surrey and Reading.

Author: Rhodri Dean, HCC Access Officer, 8th July 2014
Reading Matters: Hampshire VIP Reading Groups Article
Reading Groups for Visually Impaired People (VIPs) in Hampshire
How it all began
Hampshire Libraries set up its first reading group for blind and partially sighted people back in 1998 as a National Year of Reading initiative. We believe (and no-one has challenged us as yet!) that it was the first one of its kind in the UK. Its key feature then was that it would be run along the same lines as mainstream reading groups but using multiple copies of audio books. At last VIPs had the opportunity to enjoy the true reading group experience of coming together to discuss the same book.

How we run it
As Hampshire is a large authority with 53 libraries, it was fairly easy to get hold of  sufficient audio copies of the same title to support the group. However, as the concept took off and new groups were set up, a different approach was necessary. We now have an annual budget allocation to buy VIP reading group sets which circulate round the groups along with book reviews. And with 15 groups to keep happy, the support infrastructure needs to be very efficient. We use a spreadsheet which lists all the sets and who has what and when. So everything is in one place for booking and passing on sets. We also have a working arrangement with the RNIB Daisy Disk postal library service to supply additional copies of reading group titles where needed. At the meetings, views are shared over tea and coffee and the group coordinators ensure that everyone has a chance to have their say and give the book a score out of 10.

The bigger picture
As more groups began to form, we wanted to build on this and create a sense of a wider VIP reading community and fellowship. To this end, we developed a shared scoring system so each group can see how others have scored the book and develop an  awareness of each other. And in 2008, to mark the second National Year of Reading and a decade of VIP reading groups in Hampshire, our Reading Relay initiative invited the wider public to join in the lively 10 year debate via a full colour brochure of 25 titles, promotional collections of the selected books and score cards.
We have had 5 get-togethers of all our groups in prestigious cultural sites in Hampshire including Chawton House (home of Jane Austen’s brother) with talks from authors, readers and actors.

Radio 4 recorded the Basingstoke discussion of The Kite Runner for its In Touch programme and one group member even became a National Reading Hero interviewed by Peter White on Radio 4 and presented with a medal by the author Deborah Moggach.

The reading groups have also helped us establish excellent relations with Social Services Sensory Teams and Hampshire based voluntary organisations who not only help promote the groups but also work with us on joint initiatives.

The books!
From the outset, the intention was to use only unabridged versions of professionally read and produced audio books and with no censorship based on assumptions around age or disability. We have stuck to our guns on this one and though occasionally we do get comments such as “can’t we have a nice book for a change”, these are outweighed by others such as “I enjoy reading a variety of books, some of which take you out of your comfort zone and broaden your outlook” and “it’s stimulating - reading  books you wouldn't normally read. Keeps the mind active.”
Nick Coe, who set up the very first Winchester group, says “the aim is not to enjoy every book but always to enjoy each discussion of every book." And sometimes people even manage to do both! To date, the book with the highest consistent score across the groups is Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks while David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is not having such a good run!
One thing most people agree on though is the need for audio publishers to provide more information about the book and the author. Kate from Alton says “why can’t they simply add the blurb that you get on a paperback to the audio text.” Publishers take note!

The Future
Despite the pressures of the current financial situation, the commitment to support the groups has been unwavering. Yes, there have been changes and many of our groups are now run by volunteers with support from library staff. But the key infrastructure remains in place because this reading group model has proved so successful in opening up access and promoting well being for VIPs. Group members repeatedly tell us how much their group means to them. Joyce from Winchester considers it ‘the most positive facility for our disability” and Genie from Alton says “This group makes such a difference to my life … not only for discovering new books but also for the sheer pleasure of meeting up with other people to talk about books.”

Of course the big area for change is in audio book technology. Our reading group sets include CDs, tapes and large print as standard but the balance has altered over the years and it may well be quite different in the future. In fact, WF Howes and Oakhill publishers have recently abandoned the cassette format. Four of our groups have already participated in a pilot to test an accessible MP3 format with books pre-recorded on an MP3 player. However, the Holy Grail still eludes us … the quality of the audio download format with the simplicity and ease of use of the cassette!

Paula Maguire, Hampshire Libraries
June 2012 

What is Dyslexia...

And how can Dyslexia Action help?
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that typically affects memory, sound processing and
processing speed which impacts on literacy development, mathematics, organisation and
sequencing skills to varying degrees. Dyslexia can occur at any level of intellectual development. It
is neurological in origin and is seen to run in families. It affects approximately 10% of the UK
population to some degree and can affect anyone of any age and background.

What are some of the signs of dyslexia?
- Difficulties with reading, writing and spelling
- Takes a long time to read, write and understand text
- Has difficulties carrying out instructions in sequence
- Put letters or figures the wrong way round e.g. b for d
- Difficulty with mental arithmetic and learning times tables facts
- Difficulty pronouncing longer multi-syllabic words.
Find out more about other signs at or click here for the link.

What is Dyslexia Action?
Dyslexia Action is a national charity with over 40 years’ experience in providing services and support to people with literacy difficulties and specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia. As the UK’s leading provider in support and services, Dyslexia Action operates through a network of Learning Centres, in over 100 locations across Great Britain.

How can Dyslexia Action help?
Dyslexia Action can:
- Assess children and adults for dyslexia
- Provide specialist tuition in literacy and numeracy with suitably qualified teachers in schools or in Dyslexia Action Learning Centres across Britain
- Teach valuable coping strategies around issues such as short-term memory
- Offer specialist knowledge for those affected by dyslexia
- Train teachers and educational specialists to help those with dyslexia, through a range of online courses and on-site training including continued professional development courses in specialist teaching and support
- Present opportunities for discussion, and information sharing through membership of our professional body, The Dyslexia Guild
- Help employers to support their staff who are affected by dyslexia or literacy and numeracy difficulties through specialist workplace coaching and consultancy.
- Supply specialist products for those supporting students with dyslexia and literacy and numeracy difficulties, through the Dyslexia Action online shop.

We can also help those with literacy or numeracy difficulties.

To find out more about how Dyslexia Action can help or for free advice or information please contact the Winchester Centre:
Email: |Tel: 01962 856195
Address: 57 Upper Brook Street, Winchester, SO23 8DG
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Upcoming Events
Action on Hate Crime:
Tackling it together

27th October 2014
10:30 - 15:45

@ The Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, WINCHESTER, SO23 8SB
Spectrum CIL CIC
Hate crime is on the increase against please from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, Gypsy and Traveller and LGBT communities, as well as Disabled People.

It's also under reported.

This workshop-based event has been organised to:
- share common experience
- hear what statutory services are doing
- work together to find solutions

Key speakers include Simon Hayes, Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Julie Fry MBE, Chief Inspector, Hampshire Constabulary.

There will also be speakers from Victim Support and Hampshire County Council and from local Black and Minority Ethnic, Gypsy and Traveller, LGBT and Disability groups.

For further information and booking details, please contact us:

By phone ask for Roger Fenn on 02380 202 937
By email:
On Facebook:

Or write to us at:
SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living
Unity 12
9-19 Rose Road
SO14 6TE
(You will not need a stamp for this.)
Dementia Friendly Communities
Working to become
Dementia Friendly
Thursday, 23rd October 2014
2pm-4pm @ King Charles Hall, Guildhall, Winchester
Celebrate Winchester becoming the first city in Hampshire to launch a Dementia Friendly High Street!

Find out more about the scheme, and how you can get involved in supporting people with Dementia on 23rd October,2-4pm at the Guildhall, Winchester.

Existing members of the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance will be receiving their 'Working towards Dementia Friendly stickers' from the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Eileen Berry.

There will also be a spectacular performance from the Singing for Wellbeing Group.

If you would like to attend the launch, or to find out more about joining Dementia Friendly Hampshire please contact Nicola Lawrence on 01962 848 083 or email:
WAAFA  Meeting Dates
Autumn 2014 & Winter 2015

All meetings are taking place at;
HCC Queen Elizabeth II Court, The Castle, Winchester, Sussex Street
(Nightingale Room)

Thursday, 16 October 2014
11.30 - 13.00

Thursday, 20 November 2014
13.30 - 13.30

Thursday, 15 January 2015
11.30 - 13.30

Thursday, 19 February 2015
11.30 - 13.30

Thursday, 19 March 2015
11.30 - 13.00

For any items for the Agenda or to be circulated the minutes of the meeting to,
please email
Copyright © 2014 Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA), All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp