As you know, here on Disability Horizons we cover all things lifestyle – from sex and relationships to sport and fitness – all to enable you to live your life to the fullest. But while we hope you enjoy articles offering entertainment, advice and a bit of fun, we know there are many people out there who aren’t able to access the fundamental building blocks they need to live an independent life.
That’s why we’re launching Disability United, a place offering support and guidance, a place where our collective voice can ensure we’re heard, to change disabled people’s lives – to change your life. Founder Martyn Sibley explains…
I cannot remember the last time I wrote for Disability Horizons to give you all a general update. Some of you will have read my blogs or seen the odd social media mention. However, for those only following Disability Horizons, I apologise for the silence.
The first thing to say is we’ve had some role changes earlier in the year. Srin is now solely working on the accessible travel website, Accomable.com, that we Co-founded together over a year ago. With a boost in funding, the website is flying high, and to some exotic locations. That means there are now more global properties for disabled travellers to choose from on Accomable, so please do take a look if you haven’t recently.
I’m now solely responsible for the website, articles, reach and impact of Disability Horizons. It’s been over 5 years now since we launched, and we’ve come a long way. Thanks to the hard work of our Editor, Liz Ransome, we are publishing amazing content for you every week. Big thanks go to Filipe Roldao, our sub-editor, for ensuring the website looks and runs beautifully, and all of our regular social media updates are thanks to Zubee Kibria. But the biggest thanks goes to all of our community of writers, and you guys, our dear readers.
I’m very proud of our team’s achievements and can’t thank our readers enough for spreading the word about Disability Horizons 🙂
But while Disability Horizons is giving many of you what you want, we know there are a lot of you out there struggling. And the current political climate does nothing to help.
The financial shocks of the past decade have resulted in ‘everyday people’ needing to tighten their belts. Many governments have decided to cut public service spending as a result too. This often hits the most poor and vulnerable parts of society. In trying to survive, people tend to look for those in similar situations, and also look for scapegoats elsewhere.
As a result of these pressures, society is inclined to act irrationally. It is my feeling that this is why people voted, emotionally, to leave the European Union in the well documented referendum. There’s a lot of uncertainty around the economic, political and social fallout from this. But it seems likely purses will be squeezed even further in the near future.
Alongside all of this we’ve seen a serious regression in the civil and human rights for disabled people. Take a look at this recent report by the Centre for Welfare reform to see what I mean.
The question is – what can we as disabled people, as well as friends, families and professionals to disabled people, and the Disability Horizons community do about it?
I’ve had a long hard think about this. For me, Disability Horizons is the aspiration. It’s the motivation. It’s the final destination. By this I mean that all disabled people should be living their life as fully independent people, and Disability Horizons is a tool for this. It’s where we can engage with each other and the wider community to share stories and experiences on employment, relationships and travel, about the fulfilling aspects of life.
In 2011 when Disability Horizons was born, this was becoming more attainable for all disabled people. But with all of the cuts, social tension, and lack of legislative teeth, the Equalities Act 2010 is hard to access. I therefore decided we needed a Disability Horizons for those struggling to access the basics for a good life. A community with information, advice and support on care, equipment, housing and benefits. All through real people’s stories.
In 2 weeks time our new sister site, Disability United, will launch. Please sign up on the landing page today for all of the exciting launch updates – www.disabilityunited.co.uk. If you have a personal story to share, please email Fleur Perry on email@example.com.
When Disability United grows to the huge size of Disability Horizons, our options for fighting social injustice will increase too.
Remember, if you’re looking for our usual lifestyle information and a switch off from the struggles, do not fear, Disability Horizons will always be here! And we’re ready for a summer of amazing articles on assistive technology, amazing trips and relationship stories. Not to forget our Paralympic games coverage in September.
Our aim is to give every disabled person the information they need. No matter what situation they may find themselves in.
Here’s some final words on the state of the world. Whoever you are. Whatever you believe. Be confident in your values, and live the life you desire. But also be respectful of other people’s views. We know from history that hate breeds more hate. Whereas listening, having an open mind, an open heart, and the resilience to stay positive through all undesirable changes – that’s the way to a better world.
By Martyn Sibley