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The Way We Roll

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A seriously funny take on life from the disability driven duo... Simon Minty and Phil Friend.


United Kingdom


A seriously funny take on life from the disability driven duo... Simon Minty and Phil Friend.





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Suzanne Bull: Live Music, Breast Cancer and me.

If we’re lucky in life, we might find a role that makes sense to us and makes a difference to others. Our guest this month has achieved that and more. A huge music fan, especially of live music, and a disabled person who’d experienced barriers accessing gigs, Suzanne Bull MBE founded Attitude it Everything in 2000. It a charitable organisation which connects disabled people with music and live events industries, to improve access together. Suzanne tells us how it started, who helped and some of the many fantastic achievements to date. Then, as the pandemic took hold in the UK, Suzanne was diagnosed with breast cancer. She tells us of the triple whammy of having such a diagnosis, of being a disabled woman with access needs, and it being the start of a global pandemic. Suzanne has found another passion, which she regularly blogs about. She kindly spent some time with us talking about the topic. Links Attitude Is Everything Attitude is Everything story Creative United Someone's Survival Guide Blog The Musings of Spu Banco de Gaia Whirl-y-gig LinkedIn Twitter X RIDC research Accessible Events


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U.N.ited We Fail and PIP PIP away

We’ve had a show like this before, where we ask what the UK government are doing when it comes to disability and why now. We’re not sure they know what they are doing. PM Rishi Sunak has ‘started a conversation’ on reviewing Personal Independence Payment, the main disability benefit in the UK. He decided to start this just before the local elections and also knowing it cannot be finished before the next general election. The Guardian calls it a ‘full-on assault on disabled people’ and The Telegraph, ‘a benefits crackdown’. It appears to be aimed at people with mental health and neurological conditions, who now make up 49% of all PIP claim assessments, compared to 26% of those with muscular-skeletal conditions. The United Nations doesn’t cut the UK government much slack either, reporting that ‘it has made' no significant progress in more than seven years since it was found guilty of grave and systematic violations of the UN disability convention.’ Join us as we delve into the issues and talk about the perception and impact now and in the future. (At the time of recording, the Prime Minister hadn’t announced the general election, which is happening on 4th July 2024) Links BBC Ros Atkins video on PIP review BBC Proposed changes to PIP The Telegraph PIP Review The Guardian PIP Review Disability News Service ‘Seven years on and no progress on disability rights by UK government, says UN’ Disability Rights UK UN Rapporteurs Question UK Government Over Benefits Deaths and Austerity Human Rights Watch UN Body Calls on UK to End Detention of People with Disabilities


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Disability and Shame

Admitting shame is a tough thing to do. Perhaps as complex as the shameful experience itself? Clearly, it is not unique to disabled people. Is there something more with us? An additional new perceived weakness, or from internalised ableism, it is hard to ignore but easier to deny. Stigma and societal attitudes can mean we have it thrust upon us if a person, on finding out we are disabled, says, ‘What a shame.’ Two people inspired the topic of shame in our latest show. Natalie Illsey, a disabled creative in the US, emailed us to ask how we feel about people saying, ‘What a shame’. Damon Rose, a BBC journalist, said to Simon that we should discuss how we feel about shame. We hope you enjoy our thoughts, which were influenced by Natalie and Damon. We’d love to get your feedback on this most difficult topic, so email us at or find us on social media, The Way We Roll. Links Counselling for Disabled People SpokzPeople Natalie Illsey LinkedIn Damon Rose


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Being Noisy: Effective campaigning and Assisted Dying / Suicide latest

Bristol City Council recently reversed their planned cost-cutting strategy, which would have impacted independent living for disabled people. The UK government recently reversed the proposed closure of ticket offices at railway stations, which would have had an impact on disabled people. Sophie Morgan, the Rights on Flights campaigner, appears to be close to getting legal rights for disabled people on flights. Is campaigning stronger than ever? We talk through the possible renaissance and ask, is it all it seems? At the end of February this year, the UK Government’s Health Select Committee published findings on Assisted Dying / Suicide. Phil picks through its findings and gives an update on the Not Dead Yet campaign. We finish with good news from Europe, with Mar Galcerán making history as Spain’s first parliamentarian with Down’s syndrome. Another barrier knocked down. Links: Bristol City care plans Transport for All - Ticket offices Rights on Flights Health Select Committee report on Assisted Dying / Suicide Mar Galcerán in Spanish parliament


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Not once but twice: losing independent living.

How would you feel if your local authority suggested you move from your home of 30 years to a residential care home because they need to save money? It's something Bristol City Council were proposing for disabled people as they try to reduce their deficit. Although this proposal has been shelved, it might not be the last time we see it. We explore the reasoning, impact and resistance. Becoming disabled can bring a complete change of outlook, and you might reflect on who you once were. The author, Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Launderette, The Buddha of Suburbia), lost the use of his arms and legs in late 2022. He makes headlines with his newfound frustrations and doesn't hold back, but is he, a year later, finally adjusting? We discuss how people adapt, how long it takes and how non-disabled people might ignore disability until it impacts them. Phil and Simon are passionate about these subjects. You will hear us disagree agreeably, with added swearing and raised voices. Links: Hanif Kureishi: I've become a reluctant dictator Hanif Kureishi on the 'hell' of life after his accident The Kureishi Chronicles - Hanif's blog Francis Ryan in the Guardian Think of this: a plan to 'warehouse' disabled people. What kind of nation is Britain becoming? "


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Talking Loud and Clear: Accessible and Inclusive Communications

‘Know your audience and communicate to as many people as you can, including disabled people’, says Sarah Brown Fraser on effective, accessible communication. That Sarah can whittle information down to valuable nuggets might be a consequence of her role as Head of Communications and Policy at the Activity Alliance. As our guest, Sarah is timely, with accessible and inclusive communications being a hot topic. How do we communicate effectively with a diverse audience via various methods: print, website, social media, video, web links, in-person and even emojis? Is there such a thing as a fully accessible comms? Sarah helps us with what we need to think about initially and how to adjust as we go along. From Liverpool with aspirations to be a TV Presenter, Sarah has found her niche in communication. Before starting work, Sarah moved from Merseyside to London to study for a BA in Media Studies at the University of East London. It was the mid-90s, but she was the first student with a disability to do her course. She is also an Everton supporter. Links Activity Alliance Sarah Brown Fraser LinkedIn Business Disability Forum Inclusive Communications toolkit Activity Alliance Effective Engagement Factsheets UK Government Accessible Formats


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Under the Hood with Andrew Miller CEO: Navigating Motability's Road Ahead

Our guest is Andrew Miller, the Chief Executive Officer of Motability Operations (MO). Many of you will know of this unique organisation. Indeed, some of you will be customers. The Motability Scheme leases cars, powered wheelchairs and scooters to more than 700,000 disabled people in the UK. It is the largest car fleet in the UK. Andrew heads up the scheme's delivery, ensuring customers have a range of affordable options to stay mobile and ensuring the company stays on the right financial road. It’s not an easy job with many challenges. The switch to electric vehicles is well underway, and it disproportionately impacts disabled people in terms of access, charging accessibility and price. As MO buys and sells 200,000 cars a year, small price fluctuations can significantly impact the financial model. Still, they must also maintain a consistent offering to their customers. Stakeholders aren’t just scheme customers; there’s the oversight from the Motability Foundation, successive governments, and the press, which often take an interest. In an open conversation, we explore with Andrew the biggest challenges in the recent past and what the future looks like. Although he may be highly experienced in finance and business, he’s new to disability, and we check in with him to see how he is getting on. Links: Andrew Miller background Motability Scheme website How the scheme works Motability Operations corporate website Motability Foundation


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Losing Autonomy + It Takes More Than Adjustments + Purple Pound

Simon was at the airport recently. He was on his mobility scooter, and his mum was using an airport wheelchair. Looking at the long line in the disabled passport queue, his walkie-talkie sister and cousin decided to move to the non-disabled line. We explore what happened and how it made Simon feel. The Business Disability Forum has produced a second adjustments in the workplace piece of research. Both managers and individuals who are Deaf, disabled or neurodivergent responded. Phil picks through the key findings. History is littered with new businesses created to serve disabled consumers that weren’t viable. It feels different now. Simon asks, with the growth in service providers, including bespoke clothes makers, the hotel and leisure industry and accessible car and van hire, has the Purple Pound finally landed, and how do you cater to the diversity of disabled people? Oh, and Bake Off want to hear from you. Links Business Disability Forum has produced another piece of research on adjustments in the workplace Blue Badge Awards Leisure Industry Proximo accessible vehicle hire Able2Wear clothing WAVs. Motability and Callum UnHidden clothing Apply for Bake Off UK Pic Credit A wheelchair user in the airport


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Disability Confident but Don’t Assume

They say you shouldn’t kick a person when they’re down. It feels right now the UK Government are down. And unfortunately for them, Phil and Simon have found more reasons why they deserve maybe not a kick but a strong toe poke. Launched in late September 2023, Ask Don’t Assume is the government’s disability awareness-raising campaign. It asks everyone to avoid making assumptions about disabled people as well as asking non-disabled people to become allies. Many disabled-led organisations and influential people dismissed it. We explore why it feels outdated and inappropriate and ask why, if it was created with disabled people, it doesn’t have more validity. Another government initiative is the Disability Confident employer scheme. Quoting from the Disability New Service, Phil suggests the results show it’s not working. Simon flips the statistics around and shows it can be argued that it is doing very well. We know statistics can be manipulated, so leaving that aside, is the campaign any good? Phil gives an update on his recent cancer treatment, and Simon tells of his recent talk at the Royal Television Society on 20 years of disability representation on television. Ask Don’t Assume Disability Confident article Simon’s talk with Steph Lacey at the Royal Television Society


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7 Daily Hurdles, UN Snubs, and Personal Journeys

Forbes Online posted an article which showed the 7 things disabled people have to think about, which non-disabled types don’t have to. Simon thinks it’s informative and helpful, like an access rider. Phil bemoans why we still need to tell people the basics. There are big concerning issues relating to disability right now. Why isn’t the UK Government meeting with the UN about its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities? How do you justify the possible closures of ticket offices at train stations, which will impact disabled travellers more than most? As is our way, it’s personal, too. We make an appointment with Phil’s radiotherapy treatment and head to the athletics stadium where Simon competed at the World Dwarf Games in Cologne. LINKS Forbes 7 Things Disabled People Have To Think About Every Day Andrew Pulrang @AndrewPulrang Unlimited What is an Access Rider World Dwarf Games website World Dwarf Games instagram World Dwarf Games Facebook Dwarf Sports Association UK Prostate Cancer NHS info United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Disability Rights UK Government refuses to attend Ministers skip UN meeting on disability rights BBC Tanni-Grey Thompson says big problems for disabled passengers with ticket office closures Photo of Simon competing copyright Anna Spindelndreier


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Motorbikes, Memoirs, and Making Waves: Sophie Morgan Unplugged

In an exceptional show, our guest is the remarkable human that is Sophie Morgan. Sophie often finds liberation on a motorbike. She pops up frequently on TV, presenting Crufts or the Paralympics as a guest on Loose Women or breakfast TV. This past year she’s been promoting her autobiography Driving Forwards: A Journey of Resilience and Empowerment After Life-Changing Injury. She’s a powerful campaigner for disability and, specifically, better rights on flights for wheelchair users. As can happen when you throw three thoughtful and pragmatic disabled people together, Sophie allowed us to have a far-reaching conversation. What drives her, what does she do when the going gets tough and who supports her? She explains that writing her autobiography allowed her to pause and reflect on her identity and how her passions have formed and re-formed over the year. It turns out that having a ‘chip on your shoulder’ can be a helpful motivator. As we approach the 20th anniversary of her becoming a disabled person, she talks through her immediate and future plans. We know this will include being an artist, something she’s returning to as painting allows her to find a calming place. Links Wiki Sophie Morgan Instagram Sophie on Twitter Driving Forwards: A Journey of Resilience and Empowerment After Life-Changing Injury Can-Am trikes Sophie’s page on Can-Am Rights on Flights Howdens accessible kitchen


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‘Failing upwards’ and ‘Able-anxiety’ with FlawBored Theatre Company

Can you fail upwards? Aarian Mehrabani from FlawBored Theatre says that is what they have done. With his theatre company co-founders Samuel Brewer and Chloe Palmer, they have created a play that pushes the boundaries of disability arts and arts more broadly. How has the audience reacted? Do those with a disability react differently to those who aren’t disabled (the answer is sometimes yes)? After creating a show with disability themes, is there a subtle pressure for the next piece of work to move away from the topic? Is that natural, an enhancement or devaluing the subject? And might the term ‘able-anxiety’ be a throw-away joke turning into an accepted word and concept? Sam and Aarian join us to discuss this and more. FlawBored is performing ‘It’s a Mother F**king Pleasure’ in Edinburgh this August (link below). Our show has a few spoilers but also might add to your enjoyment. Listeners discretion! Links FlawBored Theatre Company Tickets to Edinburgh Fringe performances of It’s a Mother F**king Pleasure.


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When is the word ‘vulnerable’ the right word? Plus celebrating Lenny Rush

A bumper show this month. There’s an underlying theme around the erosion or optionality of including disabled people. What do you do when you’re hotel room isn’t ready…especially when you return to the hotel after a night out at midnight and find out? Move to another room? Not so simple if you’re a wheelchair user. Kat Watkins had this happen to her, and we explore what coulda shoulda happened. Did you know there are new consumer duties which may assist differently disabled people (beyond Phil’s favourite group being learning disabled people who fill in forms). Simon and Phil have noticed the word ‘vulnerable’ is creeping back into the language to describe disabled people. Used without context or explanation, as in, ‘financially vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable to exclusion’, the use of the word feels patronising and retrograde. Is it linked to Covid when lots of people were vulnerable? Is it broader, a moral driver of ‘being kind’? The issue is the word is disempowering, and inclusion isn’t optional nor a favour. There are legal duties underpinning this, as well as a moral imperative. More happily, we enjoy the success Lenny Rush is experiencing. A British actor with dwarfism, only 14 years old, he is absolutely storming it. We ask, was Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones a watershed moment? Links Disabled woman forced to sleep in hotel dining area ‘after the booked room was unavailable’ Disability and Vulnerability paper New Consumer Duty. Speech introducing a new duty Best Bits of Am I Being Unreasonable with Daisy Cooper and Lenny Rush Lenny Rush BAFTA acceptance speech


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If disability is so good, why don’t we all become disabled?

Disability talk and debate: what might be the consequences of how we talked about being disabled, reducing benefit fraud, the impact of the digital divide and street harassment, all discussed by Phil and Simon? What are your thoughts on benefit fraud? How should it be tackled? Are the Tories being absurd or frightening? Simon recently saw a play, ‘It’s a Mother f**king Pleasure’ at the Soho Theatre by FlawBored Theatre. The main thrust was irreverent fun ridiculing short-term ‘ableist’ attitudes and disability in society, including introducing ‘able anxiety’ as a term, But it went deeper: If some disabled people say how great life is, does that potentially encourage people to become disabled? How would you get on if you didn’t have a smartphone, email, or Google? Many worry about wifi dropping or the impact of social media, and we talk about those who don’t even go online. We explore the digital divide, explaining how some people are left behind as the world moves online. This can impact your wealth, health and mental well-being. Most people would agree that harassment of anyone on the street is a bad thing and should be stopped such harassment, particularly experienced by women, also impacts disabled people too. We might agree it should be against the law, but how do you police someone ‘staring intently’? Listeners Corner returns about jogging pants and your ‘favourite’ grandchildren. LINKS Minister of Disabled people swanning around in a flack jacket, helping to "hunt" down benefit cheats! FlawBored Theatre Company The Challenges of tech for disabled people in rural communities. digital divide Disability street harassment a crime


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From Croissants to Controversies: Phil & Simon's Tasty Take on Disability Classics

Three disability classics in this months show. It’s Phil and Simon debating and exploring. Firstly an independent American short film highlights how to ask for help as a disabled person and how best other people can offer it. Called ‘Act of God’, the film explores different strategies and responses in a witty and thoughtful way. It gets us talking and Simon gets moody whilst Phil stays calm and polite. Language is next: Prof. Amanda Kirby, who is neurodivergent herself wonders how language changes and it’s impact. Her example, ‘awe’ is both good and bad when it becomes the words awkward, awful and awesome, which are three words often attached to neurodiversity. Lastly, a survey of 3000 disabled people found 75% had never heard of the social model. This somehow doesn’t surprise us. Does it matter? That said, we wonder if something is lost by not knowing about it. Sophie Morgan gets mentioned about five times by Phil for some reason. Links Act of God article and film Prof. Amanda Kirby’s blog Neurodiversity is awesome Evenbreak survey showing 75% of disabled peeps haven’t heard of the social model. Article by Liam O’Dell about the survey Sophie Morgan on Instagram


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Are we looking at disability through the wrong lens?

Peter Torres Fremlin joins us this month. He’s a prolific writer and journalist, specifically the Disability Debrief which is a newsletter reporting on disability news from around the world and the people that are making change happen. He has lived and worked in many countries, including Bangladesh and Egypt and worked for several large international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation and Humanity and Inclusion (formerly Handicappe International). In a personal and professional conversation, Peter asks if we’ve focused too narrowly on the barrier removal, the societal-based definition of disability. He challenges this approach, suggesting it’s not ‘messy’ enough to encapsulate the diversity of human beings, being those with disabilities and long-term health conditions. He goes further, illustrating what independence means to different people, explaining that once he realised how helpful people were in the countries he lived in, he knew he would be ok. Thoughtful, serious, erudite and quotable, Peter shares his (re)thinking and experiences so far. We hope you enjoy the show and check out the Disability Debrief which he writes. Links The Disability Debrief Peter's own website Desability Peter LinkedIn page Peter’s Twitter handle WHO report on inequalities in health for disabled people disability and health, respond to the crises exposed by the covid pandemic a landmark study on health inequity from the World Health Organization, The Missing Billion


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Give me a child until she is seven and I will show you the adult. Our guest is Ruth Owen

Dr Ruth Owen OBE started in the tech industry, then became CEO of Whizz-Kidz, a national children’s disability charity. Two years ago, Ruth accepted a demanding and, some consider, contentious role, becoming CEO of one of the big disability charities in the UK, Leonard Cheshire. Ruth is our guest this month. As we spoke with Ruth, we moved away from her career and considerable achievements to find out more about the person behind the titles. What drives Ruth, what influence did her parents, her education, and the institutions she grew up in have on who she is today? As a disabled child, what are her memories, the challenges, and dreams? Is there a connection to why she dresses immaculately and has a need to smell jet fuel? In a fascinating conversation, we discover how much who she was then, determines who she is now. We explore how Ruth can achieve her ambitions to ensure Leonard Cheshire remains relevant and purposeful for those disabled people they engage with and those they don’t. Links Ruth’s Twitter handle @Ruth_owenOBE Ruth Owen biography Leonard Cheshire Annual accounts 2020/21 Whizz-Kidz


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Gym Gains and Grandchildren: Navigating Life's Highs and Lows

Welcome to the first show of 2023, where Phil and Simon are ready to serve up the year's hot topics! In this episode, we'll discuss everything from the highs and lows of 2022 to the exciting things on the horizon for 2023. First up, we'll be talking about the joys of hitting the gym as a visibly disabled person. It's not always easy, but the gains are worth it (pun intended). We'll also discuss the excitement of welcoming a new grandchild into the world and pondering the meaning of "equal love." We'll also be delving into the struggles of dealing with a decline in physical abilities. You know, like when picking up a cup of tea becomes a weightlifting competition and pulling up your trousers becomes a marathon. But we're all in this together and will discuss ways to confront these challenges. And last but not least, Simon will be chatting about the thrill of being involved in a BAFTA-winning TV show (and six other awards!) in 2022. We approach serious topics with thoughtfulness and humour, promoting positivity while acknowledging the need to confront reality and find the best way to navigate it.


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Networkologist with a splash of Purple Obstinacity

Creating change in the world of disability takes many skills. One perhaps less recognised is finding the right word for the right moment. Our guest this month is adept at this and would give Gyles Brandreth a run for his money. Kate Nash is the founder and chief executive of Purple Space, a professional development membership hub for disability employee resource groups. Her recently published first book, Positively Purple, discusses the importance of this work. It also "shares" (another Kate word) some of her personal disability history; Kate readily admits it isn’t something she finds easy. Through her work and her book she encourages other people with disabilities to find their voice, tell their story and ultimately achieve what they want to and who they wish to be. Whether she is being a networkologist (working with Employee Resource Groups aka staff networks) or utilising the obstinacity (obstinate and tenacity) that many of us have and often unfortunately need, Kate is a formidable presence in the world of disability advocacy. Links Kogan Page Positively Purple Kate Nash book Amazon Positively Purple various formats Purple Space Kate Nash LinkedIn Purple Light Up Twitter


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Strictly Right or Wrong / Not All Disabilities Are INvisible

Phil and Simon are ripping it up, pushing the conversation, and exploring the boundaries of where we are today when it comes to disability. There’s fun, seriousness, thoughtfulness, respectful disagreement, celebration and controversy We ask why does the ‘life stops after becoming disabled’ idea remain so strong? Phil explores his concerns about Ellie Simmonds going on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and Simon vehemently disagrees. We highlight the worrying crisis for disabled people in being able to recruit PAs and support workers. If that wasn’t enough, Phil has an idea for some merch. Right at the end, we have a packed inbox of brilliant and interesting comments from you. Links Going blind and travel Guardian article on the Canadian family travelling the world Travel Eyes for blind travellers Strictly Come Dancing Strictly Come Dancing John Whaite brilliant Instagram video about difference on Strictly Ellie Simmonds Instagram Nikita Kuzmin (Ellie’s dance partner) Crisis in care workers Guardian article Staffing crisis in care homes Personal tweet Baroness Jane Campbell on recruiting a PA Video of House of Lords Care Crisis Q&A 7 Sept 2022