Over the last decade, we’ve created a strong and thriving community made up of disabled people, those with health conditions and their families. We exist to help you live the life you choose through advice and by connecting people together.
To highlight the benefits of our community, we asked one of our loyal members and writers, Rebecca Sullivan, to share 10 reasons why you should join the Disability Horizons community.
This year marks a huge celebratory milestone for Disability Horizons, turning 10 years old. In a decade, the organisation has built a true sense of community by providing a space for disabled people to share their stories and the things that matter to them.
Inclusivity is at the heart of Disability Horizons, covering a whole range of disabilities and aspects of disabled life. This allows disabled people to come together and make their voices heard.
Personally, as a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, when I discovered Disability Horizons, I felt like I had found a home. A place I could be myself and connect with others.
Here, I am sharing 10 reasons why you should love Disability Horizons and be part of its rich and diverse community too.
1. A sense of belonging
Having a disability can sometimes make you feel alone in your experience and with your thoughts. Being part of a community of like-minded people, all with lived experience of disability, can alleviate this.
Disability Horizons publishes stories from a wide variety of people who face a number of different barriers and challenges, many of whom may have a level of awareness that isn’t fully appreciated by your non-disabled friends.
Reading stories from others in a similar situation or who understand where you’re coming from can open up a new world for you.
It also touches on topics that people might not otherwise talk openly about. It allows you to be your true self, and this may resonate with others and spark a sense of identity and kinship for you and those around you.
2. Learning from and supporting each other
On both the website and on Facebook community group DHorizons Tribe, there is a wealth of resources, tips, advice and new ideas being continuously shared.
From simple gadgets that can enhance how you live, to ways of doing things differently that can have a huge impact on your life, there’s always something to take away and apply to your situation.
You can also learn simply from people’s stories and their disabilities, which may highlight things that were previously unknown to you or that change your view and enable you to see things differently.
With such a rich and diverse community, with all manner of disabilities and conditions represented, if you’re facing a particular challenge, there is bound to be someone who can help or point you in the right direction.
Part of what Disability Horizons does is share stories that demonstrate what disabled people can do – not what they can’t.
It’s not about ‘inspiration’, putting disabled people up on a pedestal and labelling them as ‘heroes’, but instead, it’s about showing what is possible.
It highlights stories from people who have adapted their lives in order to live the way they want – and enabling this is exactly what Disability Horizons exists for.
From reading about, listening to and learning from others, you can see how to implement positive changes in your life, which could make a real difference to you.
For example, it could be just the boost you need to start that blog, podcast, business venture or travel adventure you’ve been thinking about but never had to courage to start.
It may also allow you to sit more comfortably with your disability and identity, and give you the confidence to speak about your experiences.
4. Challenges stigmas
As well as enabling disabled people themselves to see what is possible, Disability Horizons’ stories also change the mindsets of people who don’t believe that disabled people are capable of much, or in some cases of anything.
From travelling the world to falling in love and getting married, it highlights that disabled people are no different in their aspirations and achievements to anyone else. They are talented, resourceful and certainly capable – in some cases more than the average Joe.
Disability Horizons combats stigmas and prejudice, and challenges preconceptions, chipping away at societies’ negative views, and, therefore, creating more inclusion.
It demonstrates that a disabled life can be just as full as any other, no matter what someone’s disability or background is. They just might do things differently or use adaptions, and there is nothing wrong with that.
5. Making connections personally and professionally
As well as telling your story and hearing from others, being a part of the community enables you to make connections, contribute to conversations and even find new life-long relationships.
Whether you already have a wide friendship circle, would like to make new ones, or are indeed looking for love, the Disability Horizons community enables you to find people who share your views, beliefs, humour and experiences.
It’s also a great way to network and build your career. As a writer, blogger, vlogger or journalist, it offers a particularly good way to get your name out there and expand your contacts.
This is also the case for any other carer, whether you want to work in hospitality or charity, or are an entrepreneur, the Disability Horizons community is filled with people who have knowledge to share and connections to make.
6. The latest news and information
Whenever there is a new product on the market that looks to revolutionise disabled people’s lives or a scheme launched that could be a gamechanger for disabled people, it can be really exciting news.
Disability Horizons is a place to hear about this news, and to share and celebrate it with like-minded people who see its sense of importance. Let’s not forget the latest in disability representation too, with news stories on new TV shows or films featuring disability, plus interviews with a whole host of disabled celebrities.
And although it focuses on more positive and lifestyle content, it also tackles big topics that can’t be ignored. The Covid-19 pandemic is a key example, with Disability Horizons publishing articles on the areas disabled people were most affected, such as the vaccines and face mask rules.
It offers straightforward advice that allows people to avoid the overwhelming barrage of information elsewhere and hone in on what they need to know.
7. Shares the same ideals
The Disability Horizons community, as well as the publication itself, shares a joint message and goal – make life easier for disabled people and the world around us more accessible and inclusive.
Sharing of values could be through listening to each other, swapping tips, or simply being in a space that allows you to explore solutions.
Whatever it may be, the magazine and its community thrives on this purpose and wants each and every one of us to feel enriched.
In its 10 years, it’s most certainly made a difference not only to individual people’s lives, but also on a wider scale, changing societies’ perception of disability. It helps to show non-disabled people what is possible and open their minds.
8. Safety in self-expression and creativity
Disability Horizons invites people to share their stories, allowing them to give their account of how they experience disability and the world. It is a space that offers safety when telling your story, enabling your truth to be heard, making it a way to release what’s on your mind.
It has a whole host of articles on both topics, giving readers the confidence to share their own story online or to talk openly about it with their friends and family.
It also allows you to think differently and get creative, taking ideas from others on hobbies, activities or trips. This even expands to day-to-day living, with tips and ideas on how to adapt your home or the way you do things.
Whatever your situation, whatever your feeling or whatever you’re interested in, you can be yourself, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be judged.
9. Products and recommendations
Having a disability often means you have tried and tested a number of products that claim to help overcome a challenge or provide a solution.
If you multiply this across the entire community and all the different disabilities it represents, you’re looking at hundreds of recommendations of products that truly work.
This is why Disability Horizons launched a shop at the beginning of 2020, to offer its community practical, innovative and often stylish living aids that can really help transform your life.
Based on its teams’ experiences over the years, as well as ideas from the community, the shop sells a curated range of products from trusted suppliers.
It’s also started created video reviews for products too, helping you to choose the best item for your needs.
10. Wealth of experience and its team
Disability Horizons was founded by two disabled guys, Martyn and Srin, who both want to travel, experience new things and essentially live the life they choose.
Now, 10 years on, the entire Disability Horizons team is made up of people who are disabled themselves, have a long-term health condition, or a close connection with disability. Disability Horizons truly is an organisation for disabled people, by disabled people.
Not only that, but over the past decade, it’s built up a network of connections with individuals, business, charities and organisations, all with a huge pool of knowledge and experience that can help you.
It’s here to support you now and in the next 10 years and beyond.
By Rebecca Sullivan