Second Wilderness Experience Success

The second disabled wilderness experience has taken place following the innovative outdoor project on Arran last year. The ‘Wilderness Weekend’ introduces disabled people to woodlands and green space.

The Disabled Wilderness experience took place in Kintail (19th – 22nd June 2012). Kintail encompasses 17,422 acres of beautiful West Highland scenery and includes the dramatic Falls of Glomach and the Five Sisters of Kintail. At 113 m (370 ft), the Falls of Glomach is one of the highest waterfalls in Britain, and is set in a steep narrow cleft in remote country. The Five Sisters of Kintail is a magnificent range of high hills. Four of the peaks are over 915m (3000 ft) high.

The brainchild of this project was Julie McElroy who has Cerebral Palsy has resulted in walking difficulties, speech and hearing impairment along with manual dexterity problems. Despite this, she has led an active life. Julie was inspired to initiate this project to encourage more people with disabilities to access woodlands and green space.
Group at Kintail

Delivered in partnership by The National Trust for Scotland they worked with Scottish adventuress Julie McElroy to develop the second Wilderness Experience, which saw the group taking part in a range of outdoor activities including sea-kayaking, conservation work of tree planting and environmental arts.

Robert May, Community Partnerships Coordinator and Julie were joined by the supported staff of the National Trust for Scotland: Willie Fraser and Rule Anderson and volunteers’ staff, John Kellas and Jeanette Gray.

The Community Partnerships delivers environmental projects within the communities to all strands of equality, diversity & inclusion.

This wilderness project is designed to enhance the confidence of the participants and also increase their personal development, by allowing them the chance to take part in a series of tasks and adventures that they haven’t before. Also by helping raise awareness of the importance wild places and wild land for peoples health and well-being, the need to inspire more people to enjoy them (able bodied or disabled)”

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Julie’s Olympic Flame

What a crazy 24 hours it has been which has been filled with fun, excitement, laughter from filming with Gavin from Glasgow2014 (Thursday 7 June). It was so enjoyable and the missionary task was made easier by the fact we were able to ‘click’ straightaway and gets on with filming my Olympic Torch story – a short trailer for Glasgow2014.

The Moment to Shine – Friday 8 June 2012
Julie & Jack

The atmosphere was incredible and Glasgow City Centre was absolutely mobbed. Friends and families turned out to support. Even faces from the past and presents were shouting my name ‘JULIE’! I was completely awestruck by the sheer scale of excitement that has enlightened the city. One of my friends put it ‘Seeing you was one of the most memorable events we have ever seen!   You looked fantastic!’ .

My slot couldn’t have been better, one of the very few torchbearers to take a stance alongside James McAvoy (Scottish Actor) and Des Clarke (Scottish Comedian) who handed the flame over to me.

I must commend Gavin Sturgeon for his strenuous efforts on Friday too. We’ve have an epic 24 hours beforehand filming my pre-Olympic Torch story which has been comprised with anticipation, fun and laughter. It can’t be easy when running along to keep up with pace of the torch, even my friends and families spotted this guy in a blue t-shirt and I said that Gavin, my film crew! I am sure the credits to Gavin will be rewarded after editing my pre Olympic Torch trailer to be release very soon.

This has been another busy year and we are only half way through and still much more to come – all will be announces in due course.

Moreover, I must thanks David Stocks of Disability Rights UK for nominating me and giving me the rein to carry such a prestigious honor and to leave a legacy for Disability Rights UK with London Olympics 2012.

Julie Carry the Olympic Torch

Julie, has been selected to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay on Friday 8 June 2012. She will carry the torch 300 metres through Glasgow city centre to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics.

Julie was nominated to be a torch bearer by Disability Rights UK, an organisation led by disabled people to help those with a disability or health conditions to participate equally as citizens.

Julie, who is one of Disability Rights UK’s 700 leadership and empowerment graduates, said: “It is an honour to carry the torch in my home city. When I was nominated, I didn’t give it much thought. I am extremely honored to have the privileged to carry the torch during the Olympics, this is a rare and prestigious opportunity. I can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere on the day.”

David Stocks, Leadership and Development Manager of Disability Rights UK, said: “I nominated Julie as an Olympic Torchbearer for her outstanding achievements since graduating from Disability Rights UK leadership programme

“Julie has campaigned for her local school and taken on numerous challenges, including crossing the Andes, championing what can be achieved with a disability. She has also delivered an inspirational speech at a Disability Rights UK leadership event, that was one of the best received speeches I have ever heard. Julie is a role model for other disabled people and a very deserving Olympic torchbearer.”

Disability Rights UK in partnership with Visa, Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsor have launched of ‘Doing Sport Differently’ in Scotland.

Disability Rights UK has been formed through a unification of Disability Alliance, Radar and National Centre for Independent Living on 1 January 2012. The aim is to be the largest national pan-disability organisation led by disabled people.

Disability Rights UK have paired up with RADAR’s Leadership graduate, Julie McElroy to promote this latest publication in the series of ‘Doing Life Differently’ – ‘Doing Sport Differently’ in Scotland.

Julie is a young Scottish woman living with hearing, speech and mobility impairment as a result of cerebral palsy but refuses to let her disability led an active life and last year supported the ‘Doing Sports Differently’ by contributing her story.

Julie has a long standing association with Disability Rights UK formerly RADAR, David Stocks, Head of Leadership and Empowerment at Radar, said ‘Julie is one of Radar’s first leadership graduates and one of the most outstanding.  She is a role model to other disabled people, constantly challenging herself to achieve even greater success and through her challenges break boundaries and misconceptions surrounding disabled people.

We really are aiming the publication at disabled people who do not engage with exercise or sport in any way and hope to use the guide as a way of encouraging them back into fitness and exercise related activity.

Disability Rights UK in partnership with Visa, Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsor have launched of ‘Doing Sport Differently’ – a guide to exercise and fitness for people living with disability or health conditions and the first-ever guide to sport written by disabled people, for disabled people. http://www.radar.org.uk/people-living-with-health-conditions-disability/doing-life-differently/doing-sport-differently/

Here is a link to the Doing Life Differently guide online.  http://www.radar.org.uk/people-living-with-health-conditions-disability/doing-life-differently/doing-sport-differently/

ENDS

Notes

  1. Disability Rights UK has been formed through a unification of Disability Alliance, Radar and National Centre for Independent Living http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/
  2. Royal Association for Disability Rights – We are a pan-disability organisation led by people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. We work in broad partnerships to have the widest impact. http://www.radar.org.uk/

NATIONAL TRUST FOR SCOTLAND TO DELIVER THE SECOND WILDERNESS WEEKEND

Scottish adventuress Julie McElroy is back with another Wilderness Project. This follows on from the resounding success of the inaugural event in an innovative new  programme, which aims to encourage more people with disabilities to access woodlands and green space and develop a meaningful connection to the beautiful natural landscapes Scotland has to offer.  Having whisked six participants off to the beautiful Isle of Arran first time round, to experience the lush surroundings of the National Trust for Scotland’s Brodick property,  Julie has once again teamed up with the NTS to serve up another helping of outdoors adventure, this time in the magnificent, breathtaking landscape of its Kintail property in the northwest Highlands.  The estate truly is a gem in the Scottish natural environment, taking in the Falls of Glomach (Britain’s highest waterfall) and the Five Sisters of Kintail

The  project, due to take place in June, from the 19th to the 22nd 2012 will see disabled participants take part in a range of outdoor activities including a little taste of the kind of conservation work that is such an important aspect of the Trust’s work.

Julie is on the lookout for people to get involved in this exciting opportunity.  Participants must be aged 18 and upwards and be able to commit to all four days of the project.

Robert May from National Trust for Scotland said:
“The National Trust for Scotland is proud to be working with Julie on this project and supporting the campaign to improve access to the outdoors for those living with disabilities.  The last project we ran together was a great success and we can only get better, especially by going somewhere as stunning as Kintail.

We really see the Trust and its properties as being open to absolutely everyone and we relish the opportunity to continue to open our doors to an ever wider representation of Scotland’s community.”

A keen adventurer, Julie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was a child and is eager to help more people with disabilities experience the advantages of the outdoors.

She added:
“I have always had a love of the outdoors and I was really delighted about getting this project off the ground for the second time. Kintail will be more stimulating and interesting for the disabled participants.

“This course is designed to enhance the confidence of the participants and also increase their personal development, by allowing them the chance to take part in a series of tasks and adventures that they haven’t before.”

Notes to news editors

The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy. The Trust cares for a range of sites on Arran, including Brodick Castle and Country Park and Goatfell.

New Disability Sports – RaceRunning

It my pleasure to share with you all of a brand new disability sports that seems to be taken Scotland by storm!

The new disability sports called RaceRunning and I have been appointed as their patron to head up RaceRunning Scotland. (I hope it won’t be too long until we can roll-out the involvement of adults with disabilities can take part.)

What is RaceRunning?

A Running Bike is a three wheeled bike with no pedals which supports you as you walk or run. Running Bikes are used by people of all ages for recreation and sport at a variety of levels. A Running Bike is a very effective way of improving overall fitness, strength and well-being. Despite considerable physical challenges, most users are able to use the Running Bike to propel themselves considerably faster than they can unassisted.

The bike can be used by children from 3-4 years through to adulthood. It is predominantly suitable for those with Cerebral Palsy, although it is also suitable for those with Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinsons Disease and other disabilities that affect mobility and balance. The low centre of gravity and frame design offers good stability and poise whilst running or walking. The saddle unit counter-acts lateral sway and also can be used as a seat when resting.

The Running Bike rolls so freely that even children and adults who have been restricted to power wheelchairs have now found a way propelling themselves by their own efforts.

RaceRunning International
RaceRunning is an international disability sport in which children and adults compete with running bikes on an athletics track. Events range from 40m to 3000m. Competitors are classified based on their disability and race against other competitors in their class.

I look forward to taking on a patronage role for RaceRunning Scotland. This is a unique sports one which I believed can greatly enhance the mobility of person’s disability.  I believe passionately that fellow disabled peers must have the same quality and opportunities to lead a fulfilled life as everyone else and RaceRunning will hopefully deliver mutual recreational and competitive benefits for disabled participants.

Here are a few interesting links:

RaceRunning Scotland – live soon
http://rrscotland.org/

ACE RaceRunning
http://acerr.org/

Scottish Disability Sports
http://scottishdisabilitysport.com/sds/

SWOTY: Meet our fabulous five!

CONTENDERS Introducing the women who made their mark on the lives of others last year Today we can reveal the five contenders for the Evening Times’ 49th Scotswoman Of The Year title. Our e-mail inbox and postbag were inundated with stories of inspirational Scottish women dedicated to changing the lives of others. And these have been whittled down to this shortlist of five remarkable women, all of whom will be guests of honour at the glittering event next Thursday evening. More than 250 women from all walks of life will be at Glasgow City Chambers to honour the many achievements of these remarkable five finalists. Evening Times’ editor Tony Carlin said: “All our finalists are exceptional individuals who have in their unique way made the world a better place. “Sometimes they did it by showing leadership, sometimes by inspiration, sometimes by friendship, sometimes by determination and sometimes by all of those things, plus a few more. “Each is a remarkable person and, while even producing a shortlist of five has been incredibly difficult this year, it has also been a privilege to learn more about these magnificent women.” Susan Nicol, general manager of St Enoch Centre, which is again sponsoring the award, said: “As always, the calibre of entries was extremely high and choosing a shortlist of nominees was a real challenge for the judging panel. “Each and every woman entered should be proud of their efforts – they are all a true inspiration for people throughout Scotland.”

DAME ELISH ANGIOLINI QC IN her 28-year rise to the very top of her profession, Dame Elish Angiolini has shattered the glass ceiling of female lawyers operating in Scotland’s justice system. The mother-of-two stepped down last year as Lord Advocate, having become the first woman to hold the post in 500 years and the first person in job to serve under two different governments. In her five years as the most senior law officer, and five years previously as the Solicitor General for Scotland, she was dedicated to putting victims at the heart of the justice system. She became a Dame last May for services to the administration of justice. A legal adviser to the Scottish Government, she is also chairwoman of a commission to examine how female offenders are dealt with in the criminal justice system.

CHRISTINE EMMETT THERE is a positivity that runs through the classrooms and corridors of St Elizabeth’s Primary School, Hamilton. It’s known as “the Mrs Emmett effect” thanks to the tireless enthusiasm, innovation and inspiration of one highly decorated teacher. In November, Christine beat 22,000 teachers to be named the UK’s Best Teacher at an awards ceremony in London, receiving her award from fashion maverick Dame Vivienne Westwood. The judges of the Pearson Teaching Awards praised her influence, which they said ran “like a golden thread” and said she captured children’s interest “like a pied piper”. The national award followed on from winning Scottish Teacher Of The Year a few months before. Modestly, Christine has described the accolades as “more fulfilling than Lottery win”.

JULIE McELROY WHETHER trekking across the Andes or the Himalayas, working with disabled children in Delhi slums or even walking to the summit of Ben Lomond for a third time, adventurous Julie’s persistence and ambition shows no bounds. The 26-year-old, from Jordanhill, Glasgow, is an intrepid ambassador for the outdoors – and refuses to let disability get in her way. She weighed less than 2lb when she was born and after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy her parents worried she might never walk. Yet Julie, who is also deaf, set out to prove through a series of ground-breaking challenges that there is nothing she can’t conquer. In November, she achieved her John Muir Conserver Award, the highest level of the environmental award scheme. And it is her goal to lead by example by improving access and awareness of the great outdoors for those with disabilities. So far, she has trekked across the Andes, abseiled off Murrayfield Stadium, led the first wheelchair challenge on the ascent on Ben Nevis and completed a five-day 20-mile paddle up Loch Shiel in a canoe. She has also hiked up 3118ft Helvellyn in the Lake District, England’s third-highest mountain, in below-freezing conditions, and accompanied the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team.

DR MARY HEPBURN THE consultant obstetrician at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, Glasgow, has worked tirelessly for more than a generation to improve the lives of disadvantaged mothers in the city and beyond. She is also senior lecturer in women’s reproductive health at Glasgow University and is known for ground-breaking work to help deprived and socially-excluded women. In 1990 she set up the Glasgow Women’s Reproductive Health Service for women with social problems and remains in charge of the unit, now known as the Glasgow Special Needs In Pregnancy Service. Dr Hepburn, who was previously a Scotswoman Of The Year finalist in 2003, is a member of several boards, including Scottish Drugs Forum and Art In Hospital.

KARYN McCLUSKEY THE crime fighter earned the nickname ‘Sparky’ from her colleagues due to her relentless pursuit of new ideas. And it was this same innovative get-up-and-go that led Prime Minister David Cameron to highlight in the Commons her methods of combating gang violence following the riots in England last summer. The former nurse and forensic psychologist is co-director of Strathclyde Police’s Violence Reduction Unit, the first unit of its kind in the UK, which she helped establish in 2005. Karyn also helped establish Medics Against Violence, an Evening Times Glasgow Community Champion Award-winning project in which emergency doctors and facial surgeons volunteer to speak at schools across Scotland.

Taken from the Evening Times’s edition on Thursday 2 February 2012.