Job Clubs – by and for disabled people

The Department for Work and Pensions is looking for organisations led by disabled people or in the voluntary sector that could help unemployed people with long-term health conditions/disabilities to get back to work. They want to set up “Journey to Employment Job Clubs” and will provide the funding to design and deliver a holistic and tailored package of back-to-work help including confidence building, managing health conditions etc. Their concept is that sessions will be led by other disabled people and overseen by a disabled community employment specialist recruited by the organisation to work with the club, Jobcentres and employers to secure work experience opportunities.

Have a look at our website for ideas about their potential needs and how the support might be tailored :

And please contact me if you want help.

Further information from DWP:

or call 0207 449 5056

Best wishes

Penny melville-Brown


Getting around – at home and outside.

We’ve all heard lots about the need for more house building but will there be enough homes that match the needs of everyone: more older people, more facing mobility and other physical needs –from easy-to-reach power sockets to floors without trip hazards? The Equality and Human Rights commission will be asking for your thoughts from next month.

Great news for wheel-chair users: a recent legal decision means that they get first place when it comes to using “wheel-chair” spaces on buses – so other passengers would need to move their luggage, prams etc and the drivers should make sure that this happens. And the EHRC is also chasing up Premier League football clubs about whether they are meeting their legal responsibilities to make grounds accessible (and, of course, that means more than access for wheel-chair users).

Best wishes

Penny Melville-Brown

Pot up hot marmalade with your eyes closed!

Watch me do this on YouTube

The finished article

The finished article

Seville oranges may only be available in January.

A talking thermometer, preserving funnel and jug the same capacity as the jars make this possible.

I always simmer the fruit the night before so that they are cool enough to handle.  The fruit has to be fully cooked and softened before adding the sugar.

By keeping the amount of water to a minimum, you don’t have to boil the marmalade so long to achieve the setting temperature.

I test for the set on the stainless steel sink as it cools the marmalade quickly and is easy to clean.  The marmalade will set well when the surface of the test blob wrinkles when pushed by your finger.

You can add some liqueur or whisky to the pan before it goes in to the jars.

I get jars from the Jam Jar Shop ( a quick wash and then place in a roasting tray in a very low oven – this dries, sterilises and warms the jars so that they are less likely to crack when hot marmalade is poured in.

Stock up early with these fabulous oranges – you can freeze them whole.


Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd

Helping disabled people to work since 2000


You can find my recipe here (

Hospital appointments aren’t that easy!

As for today: quite a lot of drama. Awake at 0400 to make sure I heard the alarm at 0600 and then off to catch the train – with the traffic so bad that it took nearly an hour to do 12 miles! Train was utterly freezing as the heating computer had broken (oh for the days when it was just a lever that the passengers could operate) and felt like an ice block after three hours following delays due to a fatality on the line ahead. Not much help on board but, thankfully, a fellow passenger rang through to the hospital to explain the situation – I had visions of them refusing me the appointment because I was so late. Arrived at last and got through the first appointment, grabbed lunch, second appointment and then ages to get hold of a porter to guide me out to a taxi. Again, traffic so bad in London that it took much longer to reach Waterloo where chaos ensued with all the trains via Woking/Basingstoke cancelled. Managed to get helped on to train to Havant and then on to Fareham where, despite phonecalls, no station staff ready to guide me off the platform. The train couldn’t move until help was available – in the form of a woman naval Petty Officer who risked her own train to help me over the bridge. Station staff lurking at the barriers pretending that they don’t do passenger assistance. Finally home after about 10 hours out – and the first chance to get to the loo – one of the real consequences of not being able to se

Don’t forget to remove the shell!

A comforting hearty soup for cold winter days – you can watch me make this on You Tube

Put the crab shell in to this chowder after adding all the flesh to get maximum flavour.

I get bacon from Greenfield pork ( – they also did a fabulous hog roast for a big party I gave.

I didn’t have any milk so added 2 heaped tablespoons of skimmed milk powder.

If you prefer a chunkier soup, put aside some drained spoonfuls of the cooked mix while liquidising and then return and stir through.

A dash of cream can make this soup even more luxurious – but certainly isn’t essential.

These quantities made over 3 pints/nearly 2 litres of soup

You can find the bread recipe at:

And the Chowder recipe is at:


Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

Chowder and mini loaves for 2

Chowder and mini loaves for 2


Fancy fish eggs on toast?

Delicious Mediterranean savoury dip – watch me make it on You Tube

In Athens years ago, they mixed taramasalata with mashed potato to make it go further.

If you can’t see, weighing on talking scales can be easiest and cuts down on washing up and other equipment: half a pint of oil weighs 8 ounces

To prevent the taste of the oil being too strong, I used half sunflower and half olive oil.

Smoked cod’s roe can be difficult to find depending on the season.  I ordered from my local fishmonger ( and it arrived within a couple of days.

Cod’s roe come in pairs – each is about 8 ounces weight so you could use one  with half the ingredients and freeze the rest for another day.

Smoked cod’s roe is not cheap but this mix made nearly 3 lbs weight at a cost very close to the supermarket version and, hopefully, better in terms of taste, texture and no other added ingredients.  If you would like to see my recipe, please follow this link:

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

NHS still struggling with legal compliance.

  • Communication failures fatal?
  • NHS ignores the law?
  • Who takes responsibility?

The media is full of stories about deaths because patients are not being given food or water. How many others have died because they never got information about their conditions, treatment or tests (the Chief Medical Officer’s report last year revealed the high risk for those of us with sight or hearing difficulties).

Thankfully, support from the E-Access Bulletin ( is encouraging the NHS to make sure that every one of us get the information we need.

I blogged about this last summer when the Standard was issued (xx insert link). Since then, my personal experience is that one request may not be enough to get them to change their ways. Despite asking for information by e-mail, I still get letters that would force me to share my medical information with whoever can read them to me – letters from both Moorfields eye hospital Chief Executive and someone who wants to send me a bowel cancer kit! (And heaven only knows how a blind person is supposed to capture the sample!).

Hopefully, the far-reaching E-Access Bulletin article will encourage more people to ask their GPs and hospitals to make the changes that are years overdue. It really isn’t difficult or expensive.

Meanwhile, I’m writing to the NHS Chief Executive – surely he has someone responsible for all of this and doesn’t expect those of us who already have communication barriers to complain to each and every part of his organisation that is failing?

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd

Helping disabled people to work since 2000