Portway Reference Group End of 2011 Summary

Portway Reference Group end of year meeting

Feedback summary from the Portway Lifestyle Centre Reference Group meeting held on Wednesday 7 December, The Training and Development Centre, Oldbury 11am –1.30pm.
Portway Project Team
TD, Operations Manager, Disability Services, Sandwell Council
JP, Housing and Social Care Partnerships, Sandwell Council
SW, Communications and Engagement, Sandwell Council
Reference Group members
JG, representing physical disabilities
JR, Ideal for All (Enablement and Engagement)
CB, Ideal for All (Enablement and Engagement)
PC, Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children
MB, Team leader, Day Opportunities
S.Gr, Day Opportunities service user
AJ, Agewell and community ambassador
LB, Sandwell Deaf Community Association
SG, Partnerships officer

DP, local resident
SN, Community Interpreter
PW, Sandwell PCT/Agewell
TA, Sandwell Visually Impaired


The meeting began with a general update from JP and SW.
SW gave feedback on the survey activity carried out through September with very positive results, out of 144 local respondents everyone agreed with the inclusive nature of the centre.

SW advised that some additional work has also been carried out to add to the current web pages, to make sure information about Portway is clear, timely and accessible, such as including large print information. Work will be ongoing with the web pages, as part of creating clear induction materials and information in appropriate formats.

LB from SDCA will also browse the pages and give feedback on how to make information accessible and engaging for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Action: LB
We would also like reference group representation at the project Communications and Engagement group. This could be a role people from the reference group take turns with, and we will agree how best to do this early next year. SG will also attend this group as a representative for children and young people.

JP updated the Reference group on what had happened as a result of their feedback at the last meeting’s group discussions.

Disability Manager

A lot of the feedback around tables suggested this role should cover a wide spectrum of responsibilities and actions. The Portway strategic group have now taken the decision to split the role into two jobs.

• The Disability PADO post is progressing with SLT completing the first stage grant forms for submission to Reaching Communities.

• The management of the disability monitoring will be undertaken within Sandwell Council commissioning.

Meeting with Centro

• A Meeting took place in December with Centro, National Express (bus operator), Ring and Ride, a Reference Group representative and Sandwell Council.

• The meeting proved very useful with the operators and Centro keen to support Portway and work jointly to deliver good transport links.

• A second site based meeting will take place in February.  

Roundtable discussion

What can we do over the next 18 months to inform and engage the community about Portway?
Suggestions: Open days, sports events, Paralympics connections, filming work.

What are your networks planning that we can link with?

The next 12-18 months

Ideal For All: Enablement and Engagement Team can pass on information and promote Portway as they go out and about in the community and at their own events. A short postcard or new flier would be useful for this.
Who– SC/CB, IFA.
When– ongoing.

Sandwell Deaf Community Association: A presentation and discussion is welcomed at SDCA to give us an update. Several groups and meetings take place regularly.
Who– LB, TD, and JP to co-ordinate.
When– As soon as possible.

Open Day at Tipton Sports Academy is due to take place in March/April (Learning Disabilities). It will be useful to piggy back on this to publicise Portway in an accessible way for people with LD, their families and carers.
Who– TD, MB and SW to co-ordinate.

Taster sessions at Tipton sports academy could help introduce people with different disabilities to sport and leisure before Portway is open, to encourage them to try new activities there.
Who– MB to co-ordinate, linking with TD, SW, and JP.
When- staggered taster sessions over the next 18 months if possible.

Encouraging people to try a climbing wall- MB suggested including a mobile climbing wall in taster sessions, as Portway will offer this facility.

Who– MB to find out if this is feasible/liaise with Sandwell Leisure Trust for further information and feed back.

Look into organising Visual Impairment football taster sessions to promote getting involved in this sport ahead of Portway opening.

Who– MB to liaise with contacts at The Albion and feed back.

Special schools engagement

Give talks to children and young people, encourage their interest by looking into holding competitions and activities. Holiday groups and meet and greet sessions will be useful to attend.
Who– SG to co-ordinate and liaise with SW/JP to set up dates to attend these.

“Today’s children are tomorrow’s customers”

We must not miss mainstream schools– a lot of children with disabilities attend them, too!

16-19 year olds- is there a piece of work to be done with the Youth Service to engage with young people?

JP/SW to raise with Comms and Engagement group

PC suggested a recent consulation had taken place with young adulst with disabilities, AR from the Scrutiny unit could advise
JP/SW to follow up

We could also link with:

• Community T.V (such as in GP surgeries)
• Libraries and Museums, joining in their events as appropriate
• Sandwell Networkers Group

General suggestions and ‘Ideas Wall’

Social networking/more use of Facebook in future

‘Virtual person’ on the internet as not all deaf people can read. Film would be useful and very welcome, sign langue information.

Use of text information will be useful for people who are Deaf and hoh.

Having an email address is a good way to ask questions and have them answered over the web pages

Questions raised today:

In addition to the loop system in Portway, has an infra red system been looked into to maintain privacy and confidentiality in the Doctor’s surgery?
Has it been decided if there will be a pharmacy on sit?
Action: SW to confirm answers and report back to the group.

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