Dowling resurrects magazine for the disabled

By Sarah Lagan

The former editor of the Liverpool Echo’s award-winning disability
supplement I Can Do That! – which was axed last year – has left the
paper to relaunch the title as a free magazine.

Tom Dowling has renamed the title All Together Now! and registered
it as a charity. It is intended to help disabled people and their
families retain or regain their independence.

Echo publisher
Trinity Mirror, which said it was forced to close the publication for
commercial reasons, has agreed to print the first few issues of the
bimonthly at cost price and Dowling will continue to write his column
on disability for the paper.

He is aiming to broaden the magazine’s appeal by replacing the word “disability”

on
the cover with the slogan “for anyone who won’t let anything get in
their way”. The print run has been increased from 22,000 to 60,000
copies.

Instead of being solely distributed to disability
centres, it now goes out to libraries in Merseyside, Cheshire and north
Wales as well as schools, leisure and sports centres, social service
centres, health centres and hospitals, plus around 50 supermarkets in
the region.

Eighties rock band, The Farm, which released the song All Together Now, helped publicise the relaunch.

Dowling said: “This is a tremendous grass roots project involving hundreds of groups, councils and NHS trusts.

“For
seven years I Can Do That! had blazed a trail for disabled people and
carers, providing a wealth of information to help people with their
independence.

Now we have the chance to start again.”

Chris
Walker, regional managing director, Trinity Merseyside, said: “The
editorial quality of I Can Do That! has been transferred to this new
publication and we are pleased that we have been able to help in its
birth in a number of ways. We wish it a long and successful future.”

Dowling,
52, who will also edit the title, has spent most of his life in a
wheelchair. In 1974 he was shot and paralysed while travelling in Iran.

He added: “I know the frustrations disability brings to families. Information is the key to getting on with your life.”

I
Can Do That! won the Regional Press Awards’ regional supplement
category in 2002 and Dowling has now received a media award from
Wirral’s disability group WIRED for helping to save the title.

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