As you are probably aware, we’ve been busy organising the first We Are All Disabled conference which was due to take place next month. Unfortunately we recently found out that Virgin Money, who very kindly offered us to use their conference facilities, are not allowing any external organisations to use the venue until 2022 at the earliest.
We have therefore decided to postpone the conference until the Spring and as soon as we have a confirmed date I will let you know. Although it’s disappointing we feel it’s the most sensible course of action for now given the continuing uncertainty around Covid restrictions etc.
On a positive note, having CIC status for We Are All Disabled opens up many more opportunities in terms of funding and sustainability. Being a CIC requires having several directors and I’m delighted that we have appointed four directors, including myself, each with our own unique skills and experiences.
When I started the We Are All Disabled blog at the beginning of the first national lockdown, I had no idea what an impact that it would have. It has grown and developed to be something far more than just a blog and over the last few months I have spent some time reflecting on the mission for We Are All Disabled and thinking about what I want it to achieve and the best ways to move the movement forward.
We Are All Disabled is a movement to inspire positive change. Being ‘disabled’ means different things to different people. Almost everyone has something that potentially limits their ability to fully participate in society, particularly in these current times.
We want to encourage discussion and debate by bringing people together from across disabled and non-disabled communities to explore, challenge and change perceptions of disability.
We will do this by creating a safe and supportive space for people to share their experiences and talk about issues which they may find uncomfortable in order to inform, educate and inspire each other.
We Are All Disabled promotes the Affirmative model of disability which encompasses positive social identities grounded in the benefits of a lifestyle of being impaired and disabled.
Our ultimate aim is to create a global community, founded in the North East of England which promotes empathy and understanding in order to improve the everyday lived experiences of disabled people.
We recently completed our first funding bid which was a demanding task that required a lot of specific and detailed information about the organisation and the projects we intend to run. However, it was also very exciting and enjoyable as it gave us the opportunity to clarify the short, medium and long term objectives for We Are All Disabled and outline a strategy for its future development.
We have lots of exciting plans which I look forward to sharing with you in the coming months and we will be updating this site shortly with more information about We Are All Disabled and our work.
I am so grateful to you for taking the time to read my blog and for all the encouragement and support I have received so far. My life’s mission is to explore, challenge and change perceptions of disability and with We Are All Disabled I think I have started to create a space for thought, discussion, empathy and understanding.
Ultimately I am leading the We Are All Disabled movement because as a disabled person I no longer want to be perceived as different. I want to take a stance by using my voice and encouraging others to do the same in order to bring about positive and lasting change.
Through coming together and embracing or unique strengths and identities we can all learn to celebrate our differences and feel pride in who we are.