22 July 2015 // This year's first IF European workshop took place on 3-4 July in Vilnius, Lithuania. IF members from 15 European countries came together to discuss their working priorities and to give the IF secretariat guidance for its 2016 activities. They were supported by IF's international Board of Directors who held their own meeting in parallel. IF members stated that in many cases persons with SBH who require medical intervention in another EU country receive some kind of reimbursement for their treatment, but usually they have to fundraise privately to pay for additional costs, such as transportation to and accommodation in the country of their choice. Also, worryingly, many IF members had no or little contact with the National Contact Points for cross-border healthcare, which are established to provide patients with information about healthcare abroad.
26 June 2015 // On the fifth edition of its Institutional Awards ceremony, which took place on June 20 in Madrid, the Spanish Federation of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Associations, FEBHI, rewarded IF with its "Lifetime Achievement Award". IF has received the award for its relevant and ongoing activities for the promotion, development and advancement of projects that support and improve the inclusion of people with disabilities. Through this award, FEBHI recognizes the ongoing work of IF with regard to the empowerment and independence of people with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus since it was founded in 1979. FEBHI also recommends IF for its commitment to projects in developing countries and its role in the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities.
24 June 2015 // The Access City Award 2016, the European prize for accessible cities, is now open for applications. European cities with over 50.000 inhabitants can submit their ideas, projects and strategies for the sixth edition of this award, organised by the European Commission. The aim is to celebrate cities for their efforts to facilitate the access for people with limited mobility to public areas, housing, children's playgrounds, public transport and communication technologies. In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, accessibility is one of the pillars of the European Union's Disability Strategy 2010-2020 which aims at creating a barrier-free Europe for all. The deadline for applications is 10 September 2015, and the selection process has two stages, first at national level and then followed by the European selection. Rules, guidance and instructions to apply are available in all official EU languages.