KOLKATA: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Goa Football Association (GFA) are not on the same page regarding six matches in the Goa Professional League identified for ‘suspicious betting patterns indicative of match manipulation’, which as per a former FIFA official should be addressed on priority.London-based Sportsradar — a company that monitors betting odds, movements and patterns worldwide and has FIFA as one of its clients — has cast their suspicion on six matches played between October 16, 2019 and November 19, 2019 in the Goa Pro League last season. Sportsradar identified these suspicious activities through the Fraud Detection System and sent it to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which in turn informed the All India Football Federation (AIFF) integrity officer Siraj in March. GFA secretary Jovito Lopes said his organisation had conducted an investigation and also caught hold of one person — Gabriel Fernandes — who was giving ball-by-ball commentary of Goa League matches but said match-fixing could not be proved due to a lack of evidence. GFA had sent a letter to Siraj on March 9 stating that the suspected person was caught red-handed while he was giving the commentary during an I-League match at Margao on March 8 between Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala FC. The suspected person was having an I-League media accreditation card which said he was a reporter of Genius Group, which is allegedly linked to Bet 365. “There is no conclusive evidence. These are separate issues,” Siraj told IANS on Tuesday when asked about GFA’s report on March 9 regarding the Goa Pro League matches’ investigation. “GFA sent a two-line letter regarding the Goa Pro League matter on March 6. They said ‘we are looking into this matter’. It was like an acknowledgement. “See if this guy is a player, he can attend matches. The report is not conclusive enough. You need evidence to prove anything. So see we are still awaiting the investigation report on the matter and then we will take it forward. This is not to be confused with the March 9 letter from GFA,” said Siraj, a former CBI officer. When contacted, GFA secretary Lopes said not only did they send a letter on March 9, there was another note sent on Tuesday morning furnishing more details. “We have explained everything in the letter. The same person who was present in the I-League match on March 8 was also doing the same ball-by-ball commentary of Goa League matches. So there is a connection there,” Lopes told IANS. “We started investigation the moment we got the letter on March 5. We cannot say that he is involved but then the same person is doing the same thing in I-League and Goa Pro League matches. “We are still to hear anything from AIFF after the March 9 letter. We sent him a note today morning also apprising of further developments.” Shaji Prabhakaran, President at Football Delhi, was actively involved during the time AIFF appointed an integrity officer in 2014. Shaji is a former FIFA South Central Asia Development Officer. “In India you don’t get to know many things. But globally you get to know that Indian leagues are also in demand for betting markets,” he told IANS. “Indian leagues are also in demand and demand is growing. So when demand is growing, there will be people who will try to manipulate by getting into your system. “That was the whole reason for (having) an (AIFF) integrity officer. I played a key role in initiating everything when I was with FIFA. Even we have done FIFA interpol CBI seminars in India. “I took that initiative and that’s how it was done. It was a very good step. Now states will have to be also proactive and clubs also. AIFF alone cannot manage this. Everything needs to be on their toes. This GFA thing is not surprising for me because the suspicion was there. Right now these are all suspicions and it is not proven. Now is the right time for Indian football to be more proactive and put a system in place. “These things can impact football commercially at a time when sport is in critical juncture. “We have to protect the game in every way. That’s why as a local association we have partnered with Sportsradar,” Shaji said. “We also did a workshop last month. You have to always presume that something will happen. This is a very serious issue which has come to the notice of AIFF involving Goan football and this should be dealt with utmost intensity. If local leagues are suspicious, they can penetrate to any competition,” he added. IANSAlso Watch: #NewsMakers: Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhury, Sec. General Administration, Gov. of Assam, Dispur
BURBANK – Inside the Burbank Town Center, 22 teenagers are learning the economics of retail sales, and how to sell gift baskets, T-shirts and stone jewelry. And they’re learning how to sell themselves to prospective employers as part of an after-school program known as We Care for Youth. “Our belief is that all young people are challenged,” said We Care for Youth co-founder Jose Quintanar. “Fast money, gangs, drugs, teen pregnancy, broken homes – those are the big ones.” We Care for Youth just expanded into Burbank, setting up a store called Bliss Unlimited, where kids peddle baskets made from recyclables from Vietnam, stone jewelry, and creams, flower essences and washes. The money earned from the products goes back into the store. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The program teaches high school kids in Burbank and Glendale leadership skills and how to build character, and offers practical skills such as creating a resume and interviewing for jobs. The kids who participate get 10 high school credits, contacts to employers and a path away from drugs, gangs and teen pregnancy. Karolina Ter-Mirzoyan, 19, is working at the store overseeing a staff of four. The Armenia native moved to the United States when she was 5. She said the program gave her invaluable life lessons. “It seems to, like, change your life,” said the Hoover High School graduate, now at California State University, Northridge. “It teaches you so much leadership. All kids need is a chance, an opportunity to spark that light.” In order to get the high school credits, teens must put in 180 hours of work, which is equivalent to two classes or nearly 23 eight-hour workdays. The teens, who come from Burbank, Burroughs and Glendale high schools, work after school and on weekends over 18 weeks. The nonprofit We Care for Youth operates on $100,000 a year and recently was awarded a one-year, $50,000 federal grant that will go mostly toward youth programs at the Bliss Unlimited store, which had its grand opening Wednesday night. Quintanar said that the program helps teens get jobs after they graduate, but there are no guarantees. “It guarantees them they will have the skills to get a job,” he said. “But the kids can undermine themselves.” He pointed to an example of a teenager who, on his first day of work at a J.C. Penney, was recognized by the head of security as a shoplifter he had arrested years earlier. The teen was forced to resign. “We also teach kids about making good choices,” Quintanar said. “And that actions have consequences.” Herbert Petrosyan, 26, of Glendale is a graduate of the program. The owner of a cellular telephone business, he said that the program gave him discipline. “I was never a troubled kid,” he said. “But the program has guided me in the right way. I was on (the) right path. However, they made me stay on that path. I never strayed.” Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
This fusion has allowed Amandla EduFootball to develop a healthy attitude towards education in the children taking part in its programmes, using their love of sport as incentive. (Image: Amandla EduFootball, via Facebook)As the name suggests, Amandla EduFootball capitalises on the widespread love of the beautiful game to get children to engage with education by fusing the two, creating a single vehicle to uplift and empower the country’s youth.This fusion has allowed Amandla EduFootball to develop a healthy attitude towards education in the children taking part in its programmes, using their love of sport as incentive.Florian Zech and Leonora Reid, who were working at a children’s home in Cape Town before founding Amandla, came to realise the need to give children in residential care the opportunity to take part in sports and life skills building activities during their down time.The idea of creating an “education through sport” programme seemed to be an ideal way of engaging and stimulating pupils after school while also drawing their attention away from negative influences such as substance abuse and violence.Today more than 3 000 children take part in the organisation’s activities every week – and this number is growing steadily. This continued growth shows the relevance and impact of sports in education and the development of young minds.Amandla’s focus on fair play aims to encourage children to develop their team work skills, their attitude towards other children as well as their ability to deal with conflict. (Image:Amandla EduFootbal, via Facebook)TUTORING PROGRAMME AND FAIRPLAYBy combining daily homework sessions with football, Amandla EduFootball’s tutoring programme helps learners to improve their academic performance. It also gives them ongoing support.These sessions help to get the children past areas where they may be struggling at school and help them to improve their performances all round, giving them a strong foundation to build on later on in their school careers.EduFootball also runs football leagues among the children taking part in its programmes. The points tallies in the league combine the scores of each of the matches with fair play points given to team members.These fair play points serve as indicators to track the improvement in behaviour among team members and the opposition and encourage them to develop their team work skills, their attitude towards other children as well as their ability to deal with conflict.GET INVOLVED IN EDUFOOTBALL“Our experience and research tells us that we cannot achieve a sustainable impact in marginalised communities without in-depth collaboration,” Zech explains, touching on the importance of getting support from the public and corporations for non-profit organisations such as Amandla EduFootball to succeed.“The ability to bring together partners from all sectors allows us to create lasting change among our youth and communities.”If you want to help improve the lives of the many children benefiting from the efforts of Amandla EduFootball, visit its website for details about how to get involved.The organisation welcomes volunteers who want to work directly with the children during the day to day activities at their facilities. If you would prefer to donate to the cause, visit the donate page for information on how to do so.For more information, contact Amandla EduFootball on 021 447 8261 or via email at [email protected] YOUR PARTPlay Your Part urges you to share your story. If you or anyone you know has gone out of their way to brighten up the day for someone else, we want to know.If you have a story to tell, be it your own or that of an organisation or initiative dear to you, submit your story or video to our website and tell us how South Africa is playing a part to build a better life for all.
Tags:#start#startups Related Posts tim devaney and tom stein How to Get Started in China and Have Success China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … OK. That’s an exaggeration. Odds are you can’t win every startup competition you enter. But you could win 92.59%. Candace Klein did. Klein is the founder and CEO of a new peer-to-peer lending platform called SoMoLend and she’s won 25 of the 27 startup competitions she’s (That’s a winning percentage of 92.59% – do the math). We asked her how she did it.Get A MentorMost startup competitions offer entrants the chance to connect with a mentor. Take it, says Klein, who has signed up for a mentor at every competition she’s won.“We’ve had media mentors who have gotten us press. I had one mentor who helped us negotiate a term sheet. Anyone entering a business plan competition should sign up for the mentorship. It’s a huge mistake not to.”Best of all, mentors are often on the competition’s panel of judges. So even if you don’t take home prize money, you will benefit from the free advice.Keep It SimpleIt’s easy to be complicated – to show up at your presentation and regurgitate the technical details at the heart of your innovation. That will not sway judges and investors.“Even if you have a complicated concept, you should make it understandable,” Klein says. “You get engineers and mathematicians who are starting companies and they get so bogged down in details they don’t do a good job of explaining what the business does. Make it simple, make it so a third-grader can understand.”Pack Your BagsKlein has entered and won competitions from Xavier University to the University of Dayton, where she took five of the five awards on offer. On May 10 she won best of show at FinovateSpring and the week before finished first at Business Insider’s Startup 2012.“The downside of participating in all these competitions is that it’s a tax on your time,” she says. “You have to be there in person. We drove to St. Louis six times for the Olin Cup competition at Washington University. We did win it but we had to be there on six different occasions.”Be YourselfYou’re not Mark Cuban. Don’t try to be. When you present at a startup competition, just be yourself, Klein says.“If you’re a funny person, be funny on stage. If you’re a storyteller, tell stories. If you’re a sweet person, be sweet. The judges want to believe in the jockey. The horse itself may be a concept they like or don’t like. They want the jockey. I know I raised money from people who liked me and not just my idea. They want to see you’re poised and confident and quick on your feet.”Klein is certainly confident. At 31, she’s won $500,000 dollars in prizes and raised over $1 million in angel and seed funding. She was born to a teenage mother, the oldest of five kids, and her father left when she was 5. She has four college degrees and has had ovarian cancer twice. (It’s now in remission.)Enter Plenty Of CompetitionsShe recommends that every startup enter at least five competitions. Even if you don’t win, you’ll learn how to pitch. “The reason I do all this is it gives me great practice for when I go in front of investors. It is intimidating and stressful but that’s a good thing. The second benefit is most of the judges at these competitions are also investors, people who are looking for deal flow.”But Avoid Those Without Prize MoneyObviously, Klein has entered far more than five competitions. But there are those she avoids: the ones that don’t offer prize money. She won’t sign up for any competitions that doesn’t promise at least $10,000 in prizes. And while she’s pocketed her share of cash, she’s won a lot of services as well, including six months’ free office space in New York and legal help from three different firms.“I don’t know if winning all these competitions will translate into a successful business. We’re still a startup. But what I will say is that I can articulate what my business does to anyone. I can sell the vision.”Klein recently launched her own startup competition, SoMoLaunch. First prize is $5,000 and consulting from Klein. She’s taking applications at SoMoLend.com until Sept. 30.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture
Wolves complete stunning away comeback over Slovan Bratislavaby Freddie Taylor13 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo says his team are out to enjoy the Europa League after clinching their second group stage win on Thursday. The Premier League collected a courageous away victory over Slovan Bratislava, winning the match 2-1.Andraz Sporar’s deflected shot opened the scoring for the hosts after 11 minutes.But two goals in five minutes in the second half from Roman Saiss and Raul Jimenez sealed a memorable victory for Wolves, with Diogo Jota’s late red-card the only blemish on the evening.Nuno told BT Sport: “It was tough like we knew it would be. First half was difficult, we didn’t perform very well, second half was much better. They had one shot on target and that’s something we’ve got to improve, we can’t concede this goal.”Adama [Traore] helped a lot with his width and helping to unbalance them. With one man less it was about defending, we were brave and we managed to take what we wanted from the game. The Wolves fans here can go home happy.”Our aim is to enjoy this competition. You have to remember where we came from. It’s about enjoying it and seeing what happens at the end of it.”The young people were shouting, I didn’t expect that from them. It was so noisy and it gave Slovan an advantage and really helped them. It was better having them in the ground though, it’s more enjoyable.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
No related posts. The deadline to apply the warranties for defects or malfunctioning of items bought last Christmas will last until the first week of February.Consumers have by law 30 days after an item was purchased to check its quality.Economy Ministry (MEIC) offices will reopen January 7, and as of that date buyers have 30 days to validate the warranty of toys, appliances, technology gadgets or any other gift that may not work as expected.All MEIC offices are closed this week and so is the Consumer Protection Office.To file a complaint with MEIC starting next Monday, buyers must present original receipts. Facebook Comments
“I think it’s one of the best, one of the best I’ve seen in a while in a draft at all positions,” he said. “In the past it’s like ‘Ooh, once you get past these four guys, really, what’s there?’“I think this year it could, once you get past these 12 guys what will be there? Guards, centers, everything that is in this draft I think that you’re looking for, and even at the right price.”So really, what it comes down to, is Arians knows the Cardinals could use some help but is not ready to pigeon-hole the team into a position. With more than a month to go before draft night, it makes sense to leave all options on the table.And that’s a possibility, Arians said, because the Cardinals have the luxury of having quality depth already on the roster.“Especially after the free agency period,” he said. “We can go into this draft and key really good football players, and whoever’s there, take him, regardless of position.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share Arians said it’s understandable to start filling needs late in the draft, but early on the best course of action is just to find good, quality football players. “In those first few picks, if you’re drafting for need you’re going to bust,” he said. “You’re forcing yourself to come off your board.”Now, who is where on the Cardinals’ board is not known, and most coaches agree need, to an extend, does factor into their rankings. After all, the best player on the board may be a wide receiver, but with Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd already on the roster, chances are the Cardinals will not take one with their first pick. Where the Cardinals do need help, though, is at quarterback. Arians said just because people feel like the team should draft a passer does not mean they will, but that does not mean they won’t, either.“If we feel like there is a quarterback at seven that is within that range on the board, or higher, then we’ll take a quarterback,” he said. Likewise, Arians would not rule out the team selecting a guard, so long as he’s a difference-maker, but the fact that the coach believes there is great depth in this year’s class of linemen may lead the team to go a different direction early. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories As it currently stands, the Arizona Cardinals will have seven selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, one of which is the seventh overall pick. They might use that pick a quarterback. Or an offensive lineman. Or a linebacker. Or a defensive back. Whoever the Cardinals decide to pick, they will not be making the choice out of need.“In this period of free agency you build your team as good as you can make it and then you go to the draft,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said at the annual NFL owners meetings. “In the draft, you do not draft need — you draft the best players available.”
A simple question at the pharmacy could unlock savings for millions of Medicare beneficiaries.Under a little-known Medicare rule, they can pay a lower cash price for prescriptions instead of using their insurance and doling out the amount the policy requires. But only if they ask.That is because pharmacists say their contracts with drug plans often contain “gag orders” forbidding them from volunteering this information.As part of President Trump’s blueprint to bring down prescription drug costs, Medicare officials warned in a May 17 letter that gag orders are “unacceptable and contrary” to the government’s effort to promote price transparency.But the agency stopped short of requiring insurers to lift such restrictions on pharmacists.That doesn’t mean people with Medicare drug coverage are destined to overpay for prescriptions. They can get the lower price, when it’s available, simply by asking, says Julie Carter, federal policy associate at the Medicare Rights Center, a patient advocacy group.”If they bring it up, then we can inform them of those prices,” says Nick Newman, a pharmacist and the manager at Essentra Pharmacy in rural Marengo, Ohio. “It’s a moral dilemma for the pharmacist, knowing what would be best for the patient but not being able to help them and hoping they will ask you about the comparison.”For consumers inclined to price-shop, details may be hard to find: Medicare’s website and annual handbook don’t mention it.”If you don’t know that there are a bunch of different prices that could be available at any given pharmacy, you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Leigh Purvis, the AARP Public Policy Institute’s director of health services research.Researchers analyzing 9.5 million Part D prescription claims reported in a research letter to Journal of the American Medical Association in March that a patient’s copayment was higher than the cash price for nearly one in four drugs purchased in 2013. For 12 of the 20 most commonly prescribed drugs, patients overpaid by more than 33 percent.Although the study found that the average overpayment for a single prescription was relatively small, Newman says he has seen consumers pay as much as $30 more than the cash price.And many beneficiaries may not know that if they pay a lower cash price for a covered drug at a pharmacy that participates in their insurance plan and then submit the proper documentation, insurers must count it toward their out-of-pocket expenses. The total of those expenses can trigger the drug coverage gap, commonly called the doughnut hole. (This year, the gap begins after the plan and beneficiary spend $3,750 and ends once the beneficiary has spent a total of $5,000.)Daniel Nam, executive director of federal programs at America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, agrees that “patients should have access to the lowest price possible at the pharmacy.” But, he says, Medicare’s warning takes aim at an increasingly rare occurrence. Gag order clauses are “not something they are incorporating into their contracts,” he says.UnitedHealthcare, whose popular prescription drug plans dominate the market, does not include such clauses in any of its Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance contracts, says Matt Burns, a company spokesman.Pharmacy benefit managers also say gag orders are not typical. “If it is happening, it is very much an outlier,” says Mark Merritt, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.Some pharmacists disagree. Kala Shankle, policy and regulatory affairs director for the National Community Pharmacists Association, which represents 22,000 independent pharmacies, says insurers have punished pharmacists who violate gag orders by dropping them from the plan’s network.In Ohio, one of several states that have banned gag orders in insurance contracts, including some Medicare drug plans, officials responded to complaints about the problem.”The Department has received inquiries related to entities withholding cost-saving information from consumers, which sometimes results in an insured paying more for pharmacy benefits than the actual cost of such pharmacy benefits,” the Ohio Department of Insurance wrote last month.Illinois and Ohio state legislators are considering bills making these restrictions illegal, and similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.”If we didn’t have these gag clauses, there would not be a need for the legislation and policy changes movement that’s going on in the country,” says Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association.Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service and editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You’ll find Susan Jaffe on Twitter: @SusanJaffe Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.
A food delivery man in India has been fired after a video that showed him eating a customer’s order went viral. The video shows a balding man dressed in a red T-shirt with a red delivery bag on his motorbike. The T-shirt reads “Zomato,” a popular online food delivery company in India.The man is parked at the side of a road. He uses a spoon to skim a few bites from a container of food he’s opened, puts the lid back on, then picks another container and does the same thing. He puts the containers back in a plastic bag and reseals the bag with tape. This happened in the southern Indian city of Madurai.The incident prompted outrage and jokes on social media. People lambasted the company for having poor standards and shared the video as a cautionary tale against using online food delivery services. But after news broke that Zomato had sacked the delivery man, the online discussion turned sympathetic. It sparked a debate about exploitation of workers by India’s burgeoning online food delivery industry. Rajyasree Sen, who writes columns on food, pop culture and politics for several Indian newspapers and online publications, says the incident highlights a larger problem in Indian society: socioeconomic disparity.For folks who “have more food than we know what to do with,” she says, it’s easy to ask: Why on earth would a delivery man do something like this?To answer that question, you need to take a look at the life of India’s delivery personnel.Companies call them delivery “executives” but their wages and working conditions tell a different story.According to popular job search sites, food delivery companies say they’ll pay an employee around $250 a month. That may put them in the top 20 percent earners in the country but it’s barely enough to live in cities (where most food delivery apps operate) as the cost of living is also higher. In media interviews, delivery persons have described how they have to work long hours, since they are typically paid per delivery — roughly $1 per order.And if they need to take a break, they lose out on potential income. There are plenty of other delivery persons to step in. Zomato has a fleet of more than 150,000 drivers. Swiggy, an app-based food delivery service, has 100,000 active delivery people.Swiggy delivery “executives” went on strike in December to protest a proposed drop in the per-delivery fee they earn.What’s more, customers don’t always appear to appreciate the delivery person. “It is a horrible job because of the way people treat you,” says op-ed columnist Sen. Even in the height of summer, she says, a lot of customers would not even offer a glass of water to a delivery man. As to the video: In an official blog post, Zomato called the occurrence “highly unusual and a rare case.” “We take this very seriously and will soon introduce tamper-proof tapes and other precautionary measures to ensure we add an extra layer of safeguard against such behaviour,” the company said in its statement.Companies need to understand that delivery people often ferry food that they themselves may not be able to afford, says Sen. “[Companies] either need to give food coupons or need to give [delivery agents] one meal a day,” she says.Commentators noted that the outrage against the video exposes a lack of empathy among India’s elite. “Instead of insisting that Zomato, Swiggy and the other delivery services protect our precious parcels from ravenous riders, perhaps we should take to Twitter and ask them to give their employees better working conditions and quality of life,” wrote Dushyant Shekhawat, who comments on political and social issues, in an op-ed piece.Online food delivery companies like Swiggy and Zomato are fairly new — they launched within the last 5 years — but have transformed how Indians eat. Zomato boasts 21 million orders a month and is available in 38 cities across India as of September. The value of the company Swiggy crossed the $1 billion mark this year. It caters to customers in 57 towns and cities.Online food delivery in India is a $7 billion industry. Sushmita Pathak is NPR’s producer in Mumbai. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… User-led organisations have played a key role in two major new projects that aim to improve access for disabled tourists and ramblers.In Oxfordshire, Natural England has opened the National Land Access Centre (NLAC), which will provide training for landowners, farmers and rights of way officers on how to ensure that gates and other countryside obstructions are accessible to disabled people.And in Lancashire, Blackpool-based disabled people’s organisation (DPO) Disability First is celebrating a government grant of nearly £1 million for a project that will improve access to the Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool coastline.NLAC, based at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, will offer training courses that show how to use, maintain and install fences, barriers and stiles that meet a new British Standard, which was published in February.Natural England, the government’s advisers on the natural environment, has worked closely on the plans with the user-led charity Disabled Ramblers, and project partners The British Horse Society, the specialist gate supplier Centrewire and the Pittecroft Trust.John Cutherbertson (pictured at the new centre), chair of Disabled Ramblers, told Disability News Service (DNS): “There is a huge swathe of the population who cannot clamber over stiles.“What we found is the main thing that stops people accessing the countryside is the lack of understanding by those people who are putting these gates in.“Some of them still think that the less able would prefer to stay at home and watch the telly.“They don’t realise that people want to get out there and need to get out there for their mental health as well as their physical well-being.”He said Disabled Ramblers was trying to educate these groups, such as farmers, landowners and rights of way officers, about the “least restrictive” way to enclose land, and ideally install gates that disabled people can open and close on their own, without needing someone with them.He said he hoped that the selection of gates and barriers on show at the centre would grow and would be joined eventually by accessible versions of other equipment, such as bridges and boardwalks.Disabled Ramblers has provided an off-road mobility scooter to the centre so people who take the courses can use the vehicle to see how difficult it can be to manoeuvre through such obstacles.Cuthbertson said that Centrewire, which was founded by Tom Bindoff, a non-disabled member of Disabled Ramblers, had been keen to modify its products to make them more accessible.Bindoff has even designed a “kissing gate” that can be opened by a scooter-user using a RADAR key, he said.The disabled Tory peer Lord Blencathra, deputy chair of Natural England, said: “Improved access will help to connect more people with their natural environment, giving them a chance to enjoy our countryside, its open space and fascinating wildlife – all key aspects of the government’s 25 year environment plan.”Meanwhile, funding of £985,000 has been awarded to a consortium led by Disability First through the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.Alan Reid, chief executive of Disability First, said his organisation was “thrilled and very proud” to be awarded the funding in its 25th year as a charity.He said he wanted the Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre coast to “strive to become a more truly inclusive resort”.The Access Fylde Coast project is supported by Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils, Blackpool Transport, Marketing Lancashire, Lancaster University, the access information provider DisabledGo, Blackpool’s Coastal Community Team and the area’s local Volunteering Centre.Reid said the project, which will last nearly two years, was “exciting and unique”.He told DNS the scheme would improve access for both visitors and residents by offering free access audits and disability awareness training to local shops and businesses.The project will also develop a culture and heritage mobile phone app, linked to existing apps offered by Blackpool Transport and DisabledGo, and which will include a British Sign Language interpretation service.He said: “This will support people with a variety of disabilities with tram and bus access once they step off the train station in Blackpool and venues will have details of their particular disabled facilities and heritage information on the app.”The project also plans to showcase professional disabled performers at Blackpool Opera House theatre and disabled artists in a local art gallery, and improve access at existing events including the Blackpool Illuminations switch-on and Lytham Festival.He said there was also the possibility that a disabled performer could perform at, or even switch on, the illuminations next year.On a visit to Lytham Saint Annes, coastal communities minister Jake Berry said: “It’s really exciting to see money from the Coastal Communities Fund help kick-start these shovel-ready projects, which have the potential to unlock the barriers to development and growth in our coastal communities.”The Coastal Communities Fund was established to support coastal projects in the UK to deliver sustainable growth and jobs.Picture by Annette Venters