Homerton prides itself on its variety of people, and disabilities is an area in which college always strives to be more inclusive. Whether it’s a visible, physical disability to more discrete learning difficulties, there’s always going to be help at hand both in college and the university and no reason to hold you back from being the best you can be at every aspect of life in Cambridge.
Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma on the idea of having a disability, which may prevent people from finding help when they really need it. This is most prominent with conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and colour blindness that people don’t always consider to be disabilities serious enough to interfere with work. The reality is that sometimes they do, and if this happens there is always help available in a variety of places in the university, many of which can be completely anonymous.
Access in Homerton
Homerton’s grounds are almost entirely flat with paths leading all the way around the grounds linking accommodation blocks and main buildings. An official accessibility assessment was completed in 2012, resulting in few but significant changes, such as the replacement of the narrow double doors at the entrance of the Cavendish building. All accommodation blocks except D&E and Queen’s Wing are fully wheelchair accessible with lifts and emergency evacuation slides on all stairwells, as well as dedicated rooms for students and guests with limited mobility. Automatic push-to-open doors are also widely used in the main administration buildings and entrances to accommodation blocks.
Plans to implement a wider use of braille on public signs around the college are under discussion for the academic year.
Public announcements in the Mary Allen Building are displayed on backlit LCD screen in large print.
Help in College
There is a whole wealth of help available if you’re feeling a bit down, struggling with work or need a more long-term solution.
Student Health Advisor
Sandy has her own office/surgery on the ground floor of West House. Her opening hours are:
– Monday – 9:45am-1:00pm
– Tuesday – 9:45am-1:00pm and 2:15pm-5:45pm
– Wednesday – CLOSED
– Thursday – 2:15pm-5:45pm
– Friday – 9:45am-1:00pm
There’s no need to book an appointment and she can suggest short-term fixes and give advice to more simple problems. For more complex matters, she may refer you to your doctor or other medical services in Cambridge, but is a great first step and can help relay any issues directly to your tutor or DoS.
Her contact details are:
Phone: ext (7) 47248
Your college tutor is there for your pastoral needs and can often give advice if you are struggling with work or have an issue with college accommodation or buildings by contacting the right person in college on your behalf. They can also recommend solutions to getting to lectures if you’re having difficulties.
Some years the HUS have a co-opted disabilities officer via an open portfolio who is on hand to give advice and point you in the right direction if you are feeling like things are getting a little on top of you. If you’d like, they can put you in touch with elected and co-opted welfare officers as well as other students in Homerton with similar disabilities if any are known and have agreed to help.
Help in the University
Disability Resource Centre (DRC)
If you have disclosed a disability or learning difficulty to the university, you should have been assigned an adviser at the DRC. If not, get in touch with them as soon as you can so they can allocate you one. They are an invaluable resource and can provide personal tutors, advice on staying in control of your condition, hold specialised seminars and focus groups, provide loans for specialised equipment, and provide information on grants and bursaries for disabled students. Their contact details are:
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Phone: 01223 332 301
– Address: Keynes House, 24a Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1QA
This service is available to all students during full term and is useful for talking through problems that you’re having with someone you don’t know completely anonymously if you so wish. It can sometimes be helpful to just offload things on your mind before moving calmly on to the appropriate action, so try not to overlook it when you feel like you’re in trouble. Their number is 01223 744 444 and is available between 7am and 7pm. Alternatively, they are on Skype for free with the name ‘cambridge.linkline’.
CUSU Disabled Students’ Campaign
This is a new CUSU campaign representing all disabled students and combating discrimination throughout the University. By disabled students for disabled students the DSLC is the organised voice of disabled students in Cambridge University. The Disabled Students’ Liberation Campaign exists to support and advance the interests of its members through sharing information, advocacy, organising and campaigning. They work with CUSU and the other autonomous campaigns to end discrimination against disabled people and others in Cambridge university and beyond. If you would like more information or would like to take part in any activities, visit http://www.disabled.cusu.cam.ac.uk/ and sign up to their mailing list.