Access Wise



“As a time bomb ticks, an opportunity knocks…”



It’s been called the “demographic time bomb”, but is your business ready to benefit from the emerging market that our ageing population represents?



First – two stats for you:


  • By 2030 the number of over 65s is set to increase by 50%; the number of over 85s is set to double.


  • Half of us over 65 will develop a disability or long-term health condition.  That could be sight loss, hearing loss, mobility difficulties or reduced dexterity.



And now – one question to ask yourself:


Will this increasingly large group of potential customers want to do business with me?


Depending on the nature of your business, there are various things you can do to transform and improve the services you’re offering to this huge group of potential clients.


Given that this market sector has £80 billion to spend… (that’s the latest estimate from the Department of Work and Pensions)surely that’s an incentive to get ‘Access Wise’!



So how can I help your business?


 Having worked with national and local governments, the Disability rights and Equality and Human rights Commissions, for over 25 years, I know how to  adapt the environments, opportunities and services for those populations that are so often overlooked. And as a former Commissioner for a Sustainable London, I had a hand in making the 2012 Olympics the most inclusive ever. And I can have a similar influence on businesses.



Specifically, I can give you:


> An analysis of the key opportunities for improvement


> A Guided Review and Prioritisation Session


> Clear signposting to the best sources of technical support 



And your first step?


Get in touch today for your free exploratory consultation on 07702849479 

Sense And Sense-ability


The Now of Pooh


In the morning sunshine, in the evening twilight, a small Bear travels through a Forest. Why did we follow him when we were so much younger? He is, after all, only a Bear of Little Brain. But is Brain all that important? Is it really Brain that takes us where we need to go? Or is it all too often Brain that sends us off in the wrong direction, following the echo of the wind in the treetops, which we think is real, rather than listening to the voice within us that tells us which way to turn?


A Brain can do all kinds of things, but the things that it can do are not the most important things. Abstract cleverness of mind only separates the thinker from the world of reality, and that world, the Forest of Real Life, is in a desperate condition now because of too many who think too much and care too little. In spite of what many minds have thought themselves into believing, that mistake cannot continue for much longer if everything is going to survive. 


The one chance we have to avoid certain disaster is to change our approach, and to learn to value wisdom and contentment. These are the things that are being searched for anyway, through Knowledge and Cleverness, but they do not come from Knowledge and Cleverness. They never have, and they never will. We can no longer afford to look so desperately hard for something in the wrong way and in the wrong place. If Knowledge and Cleverness are allowed to go on wrecking things, they will before much longer destroy all life on earth as we know it, and what little may temporarily survive will not be worth looking at, even if it would somehow be possible for us to do so.


The masters of life know the Way, for they listen to the voice within them, the voice of wisdom and simplicity, the voice that reasons beyond Cleverness and knows beyond Knowledge. That voice is not just the power and property of a few, but has been given to everyone. Those who pay attention to it are too often treated as exceptions to a rule, rather than as examples of the rule of operation, a rule that can apply to anyone who makes use of it.


Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of a child’s mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same, because without it, we will never find our way through the Forest.


– from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Sense And Sense-ability


“A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see” ―

Terry Tempest Williams



This reminds me that by shunning those aspects of myself, community or society, i can never hope to achieve congruence.  The things I shy away from, reject or 

 decry are as vital on a systemic level as those I embrace.  By excluding them, I interrupt the flow within the system.  By embracing them with compassion,  they are integrated and flow is re-established and evolution becomes possible.  Another word for this process is ‘healing’.    



On Saturday, I was privileged to participate in an event organised by alternatives and led by Justine Huxley of St Ethalburgah’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.  Justine guided us to find compassion for those aspects of ourselves we are uncomfortable with.  The  sense of peace I experienced, enabled me to see that by expanding my compassion for all in the world with which I am uncomfortable: the loggers,  the sweat shop owners, the perpetrators of violence,  and ‘the Devil take the hindmost’ politicians.  Hope for a world in right relationship is possible.




Announcing A New Collaboration

Announcing A New Collaboration!


On 23 July


I’ll be teaming up with Stuart ‘The Wildman’ Mabbutt and William Mankelow 


at 19:00–21:00


Shotover Country Park

Old Rd, OX3 8TD Oxford, Oxfordshire



Join us  for a 2 hour nature and sensory walk. We don’t charge for the event but we ask you at the end to make a donation that reflects the experience, enjoyment and value to you during the walk.


We will explore the local environment and our inner-selves by actively engaging our senses during the walk, touch, taste, hearing, smell and sight.


This walk will focus on experiencing nature through our fingers and feet plus exploring what sound looks like, how it makes you feel and maybe even trying to draw it, with some guidance on recognizing bird songs and some photography thrown in too. 


We may do some silent walking, …meditation, birdwatching, wildlife sound recording, plant and general wildlife identification, art, foraging, poetry, maybe even some philosophical discussions in a isolated setting. Lets see what Mother Nature throws at us on the day.


Stuart uses sensory engagement with nature as an effective tool for pain management as he suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis.


William Mankelow is a photographer who runs ‘Shot at an Angle’ 



Join us,and explore the environment around you and things about yourself that you may have taken for granted or walked past on a daily basis.


Booking essential so we can keep an eye on numbers.  to book, just call me or email me!  


Meet at the main Car park on Shotover Country Park at the top of Old Road (Headington side).


Suitable footwear and clothing for the location and season please. Refreshments you need to bring yourself but we may pop into a local venue afterwards too.


Sense And sense-ability

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”




As I ponder, agonise and procrastinate over my choices and decisions about what to do next, I stumble across this from Rumi.  It reminds me that when i take time out to quiet the myriad voices  presenting a bewildering array of competing choices and options, in my head.  The gentle, resolute and thankfully persistent voice in my heart once again becomes audible.



Sense and sense-ability



No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring.

Samuel Johnson



There are just two weeks to go until our next dining in the dark evening at St Werburgh’s City Farm Cafe in Bristol.  If you’re  in the local area, check out the Bristol Green Week brochure for thursday 18 June.  You should spot us pretty easily as there’s a great photo.  We are looking forward to tasting some wonderful seasonal surprises from Leona Williamson and her team at the cafe, as well as the unique magic that each group of diners brings to each event.  


Less than half the places are now left. so if you want to come, but haven’t got round to booking you can do it right here:  







Sense And sense-ability

“When I became blind I found out that an inner space existed.  This space also changed it’s dimensions in accordance with the condition of my soul.  Sadness, hate or fear not only darkened my universe, but also made it smaller.  The number of objects I could encompass within myself with one glance, decreased.  In the truest sense of the word, I knocked against everything.  Objects and beings became obstacles within myself.  Outwardly I could not avoid running against doors and furniture.  I was punished very thoroughly and very quickly.  Conversely however, courage, attention, joy had the immediate of opening up and illuminating space.  Soon everything existed in me abundantly.   A great many objects, pictures, beings,  I saw a magnificent landscape before me.  I knew that this landscape could be expanded indefinitely.  In order to achieve this my joy needed merely to become even greater.  At the same time my physical adroitness increased.  I found my way and moved with assurance.  In short there were two possibilities.  To reject the world, and that meant darkness, reverses, or to accept it, and that meant light and strength. ” 


Jacques Lusseyran

Sense And Sense-ability




Mood And Perception


this week I have been working on the chapter in my book, that talks about the preciousness and power of our sense of smell and taste.  My research turned up the story of Molly Birnbaum, who damaged her olfactory nerve by the impact she experienced in a car accident.  Molly soon realised that the loss also diminished her  perception of the world. “It was as if the texture of my environment was wiped smooth,” she is quoted as saying in an New Scientist article; “The Unsung sense”.


The piece goes on to describe how Molly sought to regain her power of smell by training her olfactory receptors for 10 minutes a day using spices from her own kitchen.  She then took further advice from world class Chef’s and Perfumers about other steps she could take to regain her lost sense.  Gradually her power of smell did return.  But here’s the really interesting part of the story for me.  Molly also experienced a  link between her ability to smell and her mood.  She discovered that when she was depressed it was difficult to smell.  However, when her moods lightened, smells returned.


Fascinatingly, this reminded me of a passage from Jack Lusseyran’s autobiography; “And There Was Light”.  In which he recounts a similar realisation.    

 .  “I had completely lost the sight in my eyes.  I could no longer see the light of the world.  Yet, the light was still there! I found it in myself.  Lusseyran goes on to describe how his ability to perceive the world depended upon his mood; “The second great discovery came almost immediately afterwards.  that is, There was  only one way to see the inner light, and that was to love. When i was overcome with sorrow.  When  I let anger take hold of me.  when I envied those who saw, the light immediately decreased.  Sometimes it even went out completely.  Then I became blind.”


I wonder what in the world I might be missing, when I’m absorbed by my mundane worries, fears and feelings of self pity?


Andy Shipley


Sense And Sense-ability

Between The Dark And The Light



This weekend I had the enormous pleasure of spending some time in the wonderfully inspiring  somerset town of Frome.  I was there for the second of this year’s Be The Change Initiative’s seasonal gatherings.  Known as “4saturdays”  here.


Throughout the course of the weekend the phrase; ‘between the dark and the light’, kept appearing.  This set me pondering it’s significance for myself.   As someone with a visual impairment, the phrase has particular resonance of course.  In my own case, too much light can be a problem, as it renders hazy and indistinct much that it would be useful to see. As the light diminishes however, more becomes visible.  Whilst perhaps counter-intuitive, this nevertheless reminds me of the value of both states.  It is often the darkness that holds that which we would most benefit from giving our attention.  Those stories we may have forgotten, hidden or still awaiting discovery, often have the most to teach us.  In my own case, the more I deny my impairment and fiercely strive for independence, the less I enjoy the  gifts available within the wealth of potential support and community that surrounds me.  Such as mutual exchange, shared learning and strengthened social connection.



“A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see” 

Terry Tempest Williams







Sense and Sense-ability

Whatever Doesn’t Serve



times at the moment are for me, pregnant with possibility.  This is both tantalising  and terrifying.  As I endeavour to bring life to new ventures, whilst retaining the best of what’s gone before.  Every step takes me further into unknown lands.  Which, like the unlit and shadowy places of childhood, contain all manor of imagined terrors.  Whilst simultaneously of course, promising the realisation of my most heart felt dreams.  I always find though.  That whenever I’m being drawn towards the ‘clashing rocks’ of my imagination, something always arrives to steer me through.  This weekend was no exception.  At yet another moment of self-doubt and worry, this poem popped into my inbox.  


Thank you Catherine!



Whatever Doesn’t Serve by Danna Faulds
What weight can you
put down right now,
willingly relinquishing
the pointed quills of
guilt or judgment?
What burden of the heart
can lift, what dark corner
can be lit, the candle
flickering at first, then
burning bright?
With the next breath,
let it go, that old story
you’ve told yourself
a million times.
Whatever doesn’t serve
you on this path of truth,
leave it behind. Offer
this one gift: the simple
sacrifice that in the giving
sets you free to fully live.