Dame Anne Begg: 'What do I do now?'

  • 7 July 2015
Ann Begg

Disabled former MP Dame Anne Begg lost her seat in May's general election. But what has it been like being an MP and what is she going to do next?

She had been a Labour member of Parliament for the Aberdeen South constituency for 18 years. When she entered the House of Commons, it was as one of "Blair's Babes" - the record-breaking 101-strong intake of female Labour MPs in 1997.

At the time, Begg - one of only two wheelchair users in the House - says that the vast majority of MPs were male, middle-aged, white and wore grey suits.

The House of Commons isn't as accessible as it could be and she was unable to sit directly alongside other MPs in the chamber but it didn't bother her. "I remember after getting elected, someone saying: "It's terrible you stick out in the aisle, they haven't cut a bit out of the green benches for you to slot into." Begg says she wrote back and said: "I've been invisible for far too long, I'm glad that you noticed I'm there."

She says she has always resisted blending in because she thought it was good that disabled people could clearly see there were disabled MPs in the House of Commons.

Read full article Dame Anne Begg: 'What do I do now?'

Politics, prose and protest music

  • 3 July 2015
Kate Monaghan

A politician, an author and a musician walked in to a studio. Hear what happens next on the July 2015 instalment of the Ouch talk show.

Former Labour Member of Parliament Dame Anne Begg lost the marginal seat of Aberdeen South in the recent general election - a seat she had held for 18 years. She talks frankly with presenters Kate Monaghan and Simon Minty about political life as a wheelchair user, and they offer sometimes helpful suggestions about jobs she might like to do next.

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Wheelchair user on why he hates 'that' festival picture

  • 1 July 2015
Wheelchair user being raised above the crowd at a festival

A picture of a man in a wheelchair at a festival being raised up by the crowd is being shared widely as "brilliant". But when the same thing happened to 25-year-old Ollie Knocker from York, it didn't end well.

In December 2013 I travelled to Australia from my hometown of York to find work and explore the other side of the world. This was a huge challenge for me as I suffer from a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Bethlem Myopathy and use a wheelchair permanently. My brother came out with me for three weeks to help me overcome any initial hurdles like finding a suitable place to live and work.

Read full article Wheelchair user on why he hates 'that' festival picture

Independent Living Fund: What is going to happen now?

  • 30 June 2015
A man with his hand on the wheel of a wheelchair

Tuesday is the last day of the Independent Living Fund. But what is it and who will be affected?

Started in 1988, the Independent Living Fund (ILF) has provided financial support to people with disabilities across the UK.

Read full article Independent Living Fund: What is going to happen now?

How easy is it for the limbless to get a bionic arm or leg?

  • 25 June 2015
Nicky Ashwell with her bionic hand holding a flower

Last week a woman who was born without a hand, showcased her new bionic arm - said to be the most lifelike one yet. But bionics can cost up to £100,000 and aren't an option for everyone - so what do other people do?

Nicky Ashwell's bionic hand has been created using F1 and military technology and is said to perfectly mimic the function of a real hand, with 14 possible positions. She says it has taken away "her awkward moments", and the movements are natural and easy to master.

Read full article How easy is it for the limbless to get a bionic arm or leg?

'Disabled should band together to bring living costs down'

  • 23 June 2015
Person taking mobility scooter out of boot

Disabled consumers should be "bold and loud" about their spending power, says disability costs commission.

A year-long enquiry into the expensive lives that disabled people have has concluded that working together as a collective consumer force is necessary to bring down the cost of living.

Read full article 'Disabled should band together to bring living costs down'

The priest who had both hands blown off by a letter bomb

  • 22 June 2015
Michael giving a sermon

When a letter bomb was delivered to Father Michael Lapsley's house, it triggered a lifetime of healing.

Twenty-five years ago, Father Michael Lapsley's life changed irreparably while living in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Read full article The priest who had both hands blown off by a letter bomb

Losing your sight as a deaf person

  • 14 June 2015
View from a deafblind person with peripheral vision
See Hear created images of what some people with Usher syndrome experience

Sight is very important for deaf people, especially when attempting to talk with others, so what happens if you also start to go blind?

Deaf people are very visual, we use sign language and lip-reading as a way to communicate and socialise, so the prospect of losing our sight can be very daunting. A medical study found deaf people may even have enhanced peripheral vision, compensating for a lack of hearing.

Read full article Losing your sight as a deaf person

The 'dragons' who want to help disabled people start their own business

  • 11 June 2015
a man in a wheelchair sitting at a desk with a laptop

Meet the city financiers who want to help disabled people start their own businesses.

At a breakfast meeting in the City of London, a group of venture capitalists are making a presentation about a fund with a difference. It's called Kaleidoscope and it's aimed at giving financial backing to disabled entrepreneurs.

Read full article The 'dragons' who want to help disabled people start their own business

Did you hear about the club for mentally ill comedians?

  • 5 June 2015
Harriet Dyer

From a confused attempt at self-harm to setting up a comedy club for comics with mental health difficulties. Harriet Dyer has come a long way in the last year.

Comedian Harriet Dyer says friends have been questioning her state of mind her whole life. But up until quite recently, the 31-year-old thought of herself as just being eccentric.

Read full article Did you hear about the club for mentally ill comedians?