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Another big week at Purple Goat Agency!

I’ve continued my weekday livestreams, interviewing leaders in the disability world. I’ve also continued my daily Disabled Founders Journal podcast, alongside some of the livestream interviews on my channel here https://open.spotify.com/show/5or9a7baTKyL7NZDv37qET?si=sRgRDBCDTxCsjZFOUhOkTw.

Three of my favourite Daily Sib interviews include:

1) Elizabeth Ransome-Croker and I discussing the founding story of Disability Horizons, how she became editor soon after the launch, what content matters to disabled people, and how we’ve grown and funded this successful disability community

2) Neil Crowther shares his experience and thoughts from the frontline of policy and campaigns for disability rights. Spanning from jobs in care, to the EHRC and now reforming social care policy

3) Too few people know, let alone act, that the 1.3bn disabled people in the world means a marketplace of talent and consumers for businesses. Caroline Casey and Marianne Waite are here to right that wrong with the Valuable 500 campaign!

Purple Goat is also making great progress with our client campaigns. We’ve also pitched half a dozen proposals to new and exciting brands. Plus I had a couple of conversations with BIG brands last week. More to come soon!

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Over the years I’ve totally geeked out on both disability rights and civil rights. There’s nothing better than a leader building a movement, defying the odds, and beating Goliath.

A big reason for me wanting to learn about this subject, is to inform my disability activism today.

“We have to understand the past to shape our future”

I’ve been blessed to learn directly from people who won legislative protection and independent living for so many otherwise excluded people.

In a particular book I learned about 2 key people – Phil Friend and Bert Massie.

I contacted both, sharing my vision, my questions and asking for guidance. Both kindly replied to me. Phil was on an early episode of my podcast, and has taken a few phone calls from me over the years. Bert was unfortunately too unwell to talk, and later passed away.

Last week Berts posthumous book was launched (audio book can be found here). So I invited Phil back on my show, to share his favourite parts in the book, and of Berts life.

I finally got to hear some of what Bert would have told me on our phone call. Luckily for you, his words are awaiting your attention too. Whether you’re disabled or not, his life was remarkable, and one worth learning from. As well as celebrating.

As Phil points out, Bert was funny as well as impactful. So don’t presume the books all politics and activism. There’s most definitely something for everyone…

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Google+

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Peaks and Troughs. Ebb and Flow. However much I strive for consistency, it always seems to evade me. Partly because I guess ‘that’s life’. Partly because I seem to like to mix things up! I tend to regularly kick off new challenges.

From finishing 2014 tired, living back home, and struggling with a deterioration in my disability. I’m now in a new flat, building my health back up, and fighting (tooth and nail) for improvements on my wheelchair, car, care and housing adaptions. I was lucky to spend time in Fuerteventura and Austria since the New Year began, which helped keep my spirits up for sure.

Having ensured that my foundations were supporting my weaker body, and that my diary commitments are within my new limits; I’ve started building life onwards and upwards again.

Finally, after 4 years of self employment, I’m earning enough regular income to breath a little easier. I won’t take things for granted, but I feel more able to buy myself a couple of non essential/materialistic treats for once! Believe me, I’ve had some dark moments and thoughts since leaving my London monthly salary in 2011.

Whilst having enough money to cover the bills and to ‘live a little’ is nice, I’m feeling more joyous about life because of the aims, people and progress:

– My blogs are receiving great feedback on their motivating and valuable content. Thanks to everyone who has been in contact! 🙂

– Disability Horizons magazine is growing it’s readers, articles, videos, social media presence, team members and mostly it’s impact.

– Srin has learnt to code and is now able to build websites. Disability Horizons has launched DH Discounts.com (groupon for disabled people), and Accomable.com (AirBnB for disabled people). We’re extremely excited about growing these!

– Client wise: I’m working for Andy Kent at Andys Kars and with Kasia on Toda Herbal UK. Disability Horizons is working with the national pan disability charity, Scope. Plus we’re working on a few powerful projects with SMA support UK and the SMA Trust. Watch this space.

– Our Accessible Tourism work has grown with GeoCast TV greatly. You can see our 9 videos in the UK on the Britain is Great website. You might recognise the presenter? 😉

– Another company and project we’re supporting is Centaur Robotics, and their aim to design and development a new-age wheelchair. Exciting hey?!

Of course, this all looks like a lot, but we couldn’t do it without the Disability Horizons team. Thanks guys. I can’t express how proud of you I am.

The other big news is Kasia and I have huge travels planned this summer!

We’re sailing with our car, on a Brittany Ferry boat, at the end of April to Santander. There we are catching up with buddies where I lived in Asturias, before heading to Barcelona for a month. Then onto Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Germany with the European Commission. Finally onto Poland to see Kasia’s family. Then back home for British summertime, a family wedding and Ed Sheeran at Wembley.

Watch out too for Srin’s trip from Friday in France, Spain and Portugal!

One last thing guys. This was all my dream years ago. It didn’t come quickly or easily. It’s also intertwined with my job; so I’ll be writing/recording/advising/improving things throughout these upcoming events.

My biggest hope is that my personal actions, and the projects with Srin on Disability Horizons, will make a positive difference for others. I hope that disabled people will shake old stereotypes. I hope that non disabled people will remove the social barriers disabling us. I hope that we have started a community that will change the world together.

It’s going to take time, but we’re getting there, slowly. I am looking forward to giving it our best, with you, regardless.

See you soon!

Martyn

Tweets @martynsibley
World Changer @ www.martynsibley.com
LinkedIn Profile @ www.linkedin.com
Healthy Goodness @ www.todaherbal.co.uk
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If you are in a hurry, please click on the fundraising page and donate just£10.

Do you remember my Epic European Disability Roadtrip last year? In October I travelled in my Motability car to my grandfathers homeland of Lithuania, down to Prague, back to the UK, and everywhere inbetween. I overcame personal barriers, met disabled people across Europe and spread a positive message.

On my first leg in Poland I met Boguslaw and Teresa. I learned about life in Poland with a disability: the lack of funding, lack of equipment, lack of care, their basic government disability policy and the negative attitudes of society.

Boguslaw was a national and international speedway champion. After an accident, he uses a wheelchair and is now invisible to his previously adoring public. He and Teresa shared with me their plan to ride around their country by wheelchair to raise awareness and to demand change.

The months have rolled by. As I’ve been working in Spain, nurturing Disability Horizons and so on; they have really pushed things along. The event is called ‘Dignity and Equality’, began on the 24th June, is running until the 4th August, and covers 2500 kilometres – all by wheelchair! Here’s their facebook page and blog.

The aims of the project are:

– Increase the government funding to disabled people and carers
– Implement full accessibility of public buildings
– Educate society on disability and the need for inclusivity
–  Specifically enhance the rehabilitation services following accidents and sports injuries

I love how life works out sometimes. I’ve recently been working with a company called Toda, based in Canada. I was introduced to them because my girlfriends dad, Tadeusz, is their representative in Poland. We are now the representatives in the UK, but more of this for another post. Toda is the main sponsor, and Tadeusz  is the main organiser of this amazing project. With him knowing my work and introducing me to the guys before; he asked me to take part.

You all know I’m always up for this kind of thing! So in one week we are driving to Poland, riding with the crew and supporting their great efforts. Amazingly, Woodstock Poland have taken the guys under their wing and promoting this project nationwide. On our penultimate day of riding (3rd August) we will be on stage, just before the Kaiser Chiefs!

This is why I’m writing to you all today. I’ve set up a crowd fundraising page to give them a boost of needed cash towards their costs. I’d love for any crazier wheelchair users reading to get out to Poland and support them too. For those who can’t make it, you can follow it through my eyes, online.

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Hola to my lovely blog readers! Hope all is well in your world 🙂

This blog post is going to touch on a few points, so brace yourself. I want to bring you up to speed on my recent happenings, tussles with my future direction and give you some advice on how to change the world yourself.

You may have noticed less posts on my blog than usual. It’s taken a trip away to realise something very important about myself; I burnt out at the end of 2012. This isn’t in some dramatic way, but nonetheless food for thought in the future.

Having thrown myself into my blog, Disability Horizons, e-learning projects and media work; it became apparent that making a living from your passion isn’t so easy! I’ve been lucky enough, under the tutelage of AJ and Melissa Leon, to know how to work on your passion and travel sustainably. It’s amazing I’ve achieved so much the past 18 months, and survived them too, but it has certainly taken its toll.

It became apparent that funding my projects directly was a fair way away, and unfortunately life demands money. So, in November and December I began a quest to offer my wealth of knowledge and experience on social media, marketing and disability to others. Life always throws us challenges, and seems to go the way we least expect. I certainly didn’t plan two years ago to offer myself for consultancy work, but for now it’s right in many ways. As I’ve meandered to this point and questioned my upcoming direction; simplification is the best option. Following a lower spell, I realised my consultancy work can pay the bills, but my disability projects can carry on and I can continue to explore this world of ours – changing it bit by bit.

Which brings me onto my advise. The whole time I’d debated if I had failed, whether I should give up, and if my attempts had made any difference; I was missing something so obvious! It took something right under my nose in Spain to show me the importance of life.

First and foremost I shouldn’t have been questioning anything whilst on my project in northern Spain. With European Union funding to travel to, live in and volunteer on cool activities; you could get annoyed at me for any negativity. However, I’m a deep thinker and I care about working on things: past, present and future that matter! Hence my pensive mood in Aviles.

Then one night I headed to a bar where I’d interviewed the owner for this video. He said last year he would build a ramp should I ever come back. It was unlikely I would return and I really thought the ramp would’ve been forgotten. On arrival, he greeted us, headed off and came back with a ramp smiling!

Clearly on a personal level it was great to enter the bar safer and more easily. Furthermore, it made me glow that other wheelchair users could do so in the future too. The accessibility video project had made a difference.

Then someone said to me these powerful words: “you know Martyn, your work is great, but you really change the world just by being you and living life”.

So, as I head off to strategise my consultancy business, dream up my next disability project, plan for my radio show with Kasia here and so forth – remember this…

Whoever you are and whatever you do: if you live life fully, make people question our world sometimes, and change even one persons attitude – you are changing the world! Even more importantly, appreciate what you already have alongside planning an even more beautiful future.

I hope you enjoyed this very open and honest post. If you have any thoughts please get in touch, and if your peeps will enjoy it too please share it.

I’ll be back with a video on my Spanish antics soon. We are planning the premier of the video before I leave Asturias in 4 weeks and head to Tenerife, before driving my car home mid April 😉

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If you are disabled, have a relationship to someone who is, work in this world or maybe just read my blog; you get the base issues faced.

When writing on the subject of disability, you can’t be everything to everyone. Despite having an impairment, people are still people. A medical condition will vary making life’s challenges different. Then throw in types of personality, intelligence, humour, interests, political persuasion and you get a large disparity.

I know my experiences and views will appeal more directly to a wheelchair user, silly sense of humour and a social kinda being. It’s great that my mirror image will be agreeable, but it won’t change the world!

My holy grail is not just to outline why disabled people have been oppressed, pushed out, misinterpreted and shunned, but to unify society to eradicate this rubbish.

We all know the deal is that a disability, impairment or medical conditions occurs very frequently – 10m currently in the UK. We know back in the day that society tried to cure and if unable to, would exclude such people from the world. Today, even though people don’t realise it, it’s still happening.

When I can’t wheel upstairs or on a tube, when someone sees me and thinks “ah bless”, when an employer thinks “too awkward and risky”; it’s because someone just hasn’t thought properly, but it’s wrong!

The problem is nobody is conscious of this. When disabled people had no voice we needed direct action. The fact the generation before me chained themselves to buses, threw paint at Parliament and fought to be heard: they gave my generation more choice and opportunity.

I want to say thank you for this! I can’t imagine life without these actions. Makes me shudder to think about and I’m so grateful for these actions.

Nonetheless, we are thankfully in a newer world. With a better standard of living, despite recent difficulties, people are looking to support others and in turn grow themselves to be a better person. Read Maslow or my Disability Diamond Theory for my point here.

Despite these stupid barriers that disable me and others, plus the ignorance that causes them; I do believe people are good. They just don’t understand disability or know what to do.

We saw with the Paralympics a coming together of worlds. A group of ‘superhuman’ athletes who are cool, sexy and happen to have an impairment. They collided with a public who were on an Olympic high, more socially minded and ready to look beyond medical conditions.

So what next?

The crux of the solution relies on the masses – our local communities and general society. However they need education, support and guidance as to how. It’s time to move on from finger pointing and become activists in a new way.

Before the political crew come at me – government must improve policies, funding and investment to disabled people. I’m just stating that we can alter how we demonstrate the value in this…

I believe disabled people can start to ‘own’ their differences. Many are kicking ass at school, work and life. If we have sex differently, roll rather than walk, speak with a computer, require sensory stimulation; so what!? By showcasing this, being proud of it and never settling; the bar gets raised a little higher. Moreover the message can be “disability is cool, sexy and I need to get involved”.

When someone says the wrong word, is derogatory or discriminates; smile and explain your challenges and your successes. If someone asks how they can help; tell them to demand access to public buildings, transport and employment. Suggest they may want to write to their MP and so on. Throw in jokes as it’s the best way to break down barriers. Be courteous, respectful and engaging. If you’re not disabled and want to chat with a disabled person, just be normal and ask of anything you’re not sure of. You may get burned, but you make the best friend imaginable. what have you to lose?

In seeing disabled people as capable, achieving and valuable members of the world; the rest will follow. I am living by this mantra, as are many other people I know. I want to see disabled people loving themselves, educating the world on their amazing difference and seeing these barriers fall.

If you liked this post, know someone else who would enjoy reading it or have a head on your shoulders; please share this far and wide. We are onto something here, so please be a crucial part of social change in action 🙂

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Three and a bit years ago I was lucky enough, or maybe destined, to meet AJ and Melissa Leon of Misfit-Inc. They spoke about social media at the Institute of Fundraising convention. I was working my way up in fundraising at Scope and finding my way generally post uni. Their strategy was simple and yet powerful!

Tell your story
Build a community
Change the world

Ever since we launched www.martynsibley.com, I’ve been relentlessly telling the story of a 20 something, life loving, travelling, ambitious and disabled guy. I’ve written articles, taken photos and made videos. I’ve explained my limitations, my needs, my relationships, my hopes, my fears, my success, my failures and my dreams.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself and other disabled people. The message is strengthening every day – disabled or not we all have limitations, yet with the right support and mindset so much is possible.

I’ve met amazing people on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Some are friends, some collaborators and some I progressively debate with. With a stronger message and community; how am I changing the world?

After some sleepless nights, good family support, cool friends, some failures and mega hard work; I’m blogging to great feedback, co-running www.disabilityhorizons.com to huge numbers, delivering e-learning projects (webinars, ecourses and econferences), speaking in person and on multiple media platforms (tv, radio and print), meeting politicians, consulting with large organisations and doing crazy projects such as the #EEDR.

I’m feeling healthier without being in a confining office, for grabbing more winter sun, managing my own time, working with amazing people and waking up with an unbelievably innate passion!

I still have  worries; running too many projects for one person (let alone 10 people) and so much more to learn. I am currently spending quality time with family/friends post travel; chilling with my new wheelchair and PA team, about to write a book for the #EEDR (yes, I am about to become an author); growing Disability Horizons and launching some great new resources there; promoting the dConference; and finally I am being asked to speak, train and consult on cool projects (providing the horribly necessary £££).

Having feared failure, kept going, adapted, stayed true to myself and asked for help when necessary; I have a new energy, some financial oxygen and a good feeling until next Spring. I also found out I have been accepted on a professional partnership grant in Aviles. This is where I volunteered in March and April this year, where we made this cool accessibility video!

I’m not going to preach or spell out what this means to you. Only you can decide this. However this is more than an update on how happy I feel and well things are going. Partly because it also explains how bumpy and uncertain things have been, partly as the next year will be as challenging, but also because I want it to spark change for you. It might mean sharing the message, contributing to Disability Horizons, being on my next elearning project, working in partnership or something else ‘disability’ related.

Moreover, I hope it might just change your view on disability generally, for you to take an action in everyday life and also to go and grab your own dreams. If I can do it, the lad from Cambridgeshire with SMA, you certainly can.

Please do me the favour of sharing this article with someone you think will enjoy and benefit from reading it. It would mean a lot to me…

Until the next trip, project, video and article; stay well 🙂

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I am excited to launch a new project with you guys today – the Disability eConference!

It is a new concept in the disability field! Using web based tools, personal experiences and all created by you; it will make a great impact in the disability world.

The first topic, which was decided back in April by people who contacted me on Twitter – is Disability and the Internet. However you can contact me with your ideas for the actual conference name!

This eConference will enable our community to:

• share the many specific uses of the internet for disabled people
• give disabled people new ideas, useful resources and a space for peer-to-peer learning
• educate non-disabled people how awesome disabled people are with the right resources

Every contributor will share a story, experience, view or opinion on how having the internet enabled them to do something cool.

I want to cover the below areas:

• Parents seeking medical support for their disabled child
• Parents seeking peer-support after knowing their childs diagnosis
• Young children (approx 5-15 years) looking for answers on their medical condition
• Young children (approx 5-15 years) looking for peer-support
• Adults with questions on their impairment
• Adults with questions about govt provision for their disability (benefits, equipment etc)
• Education and elearning
• Government policy consultations
• Dating/relationships/sex
• Music
• Sport
• Employment
• Finance/Banking
• Travel
• Third life gaming

Do get in touch with any other topics I may have missed.

How are we going to do this?

Well it’s simple. Anyone involved will record a 3 minute answer to a specific question on www.audioboo.fm, which will then be uploaded, along with a little biography of themselves/their experience and a nice photo too. This will all be placed on the eConference homepage; creating a platform for worldwide support and inspiration.

The idea is to have people from all backgrounds and with different experiences. We already have Tanni Grey-Thompson, David Proud and Karni Liddell on board!

The launch date for this first eConference is scheduled for late July. Website developers Misfit-Inc are on board with their slick design and ace user-experience insights.

Sponsorship

If you would like to support this project and back an excitingly innovative community-led disability eConference, please do get in touch.

How to contact me 

Please let me know by Monday 2nd July:

  • Any ideas for a cool and appealing conference name
  • Which of the areas you want to talk about (all within disability and the internet)
  • If you are willing and able to support this projects success through other ways

Email: martyn@martynsibley.com
Twitter: @martynsibley
Tweet hashtag: trending with #dconference2012

Exciting times guys 🙂