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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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Like others all across the UK I was spellbound by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and it wasn’t just the sport… it was the electricity in the air, it was the collective community consciousness and for me it was about the big bright light put on disability never before witnessed in the four corners of the UK.

My day-to-day life consists of surmounting hurdles that a non-disabled person would never encounter. Whether crossing the road, accessing public transport or overcoming stereotypes, there are always additional challenges to overcome. So taking up the mantel from last year’s Games I wanted to do something big to help people understand the challenges I and many others face on a daily basis, and to raise money for my favourite charity, Scope.

Today as I announce my role as an ambassador for Britain’s Personal Best, I have set myself the greatest challenge of my life… to pilot my wheelchair every inch of the 970 miles from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. I will begin my journey in September and aim to complete on 5 October in time for the Britain’s Personal Best big weekend 4-6 October.

During the Games the recording of competitors’ ‘personal best’s or ‘PBs’ became commonplace as athletes secured lifetime achievements. The idea behind Britain’s Personal Best is simple; it takes the notion of the ‘Personal Best’ and transitions it from its current association with elite athletic accomplishment and instead invites everyone in the UK to achieve a ‘PB’ as part of a new annual national celebration of personal achievement.

I want to inspire other disabled people to achieve their own personal best and encourage non-disabled people to challenge their own preconceptions of disability and promote integration and inclusion by sharing the experience with my non-disabled girlfriend who has decided to join me by cycling the route alongside me.

With Britain’s Personal Best we are building on how inspired the UK felt after London 2012. It is a call for each and every one of us to dig deep and find something amazing that shows us at our own personal best. Whatever our age, ability or resources. It’s about helping each other and ourselves, taking on a challenge that is intellectual, sporting, artistic, healthy or just plain scary. Personally, I’m excited to challenge myself following in the footsteps of those inspiring Olympians from the Olympic and Paralympic games. It won’t be easy physically, technically and logistically, but that’s par for the course.

I also want to encourage others to challenge their personal best. It doesn’t need to be as crazy as mine; just leave your comfort zone, stretch yourself and have fun! Some people will be raising money for their favourite charities, doing something that they have never achieved before, be it rock climbing, or forming a new business, together or as individuals. The first step, to log on and register at www.whatsyours.org

I care about disability and I care that the big bright light from last years Games doesn’t go out. So this will be my personal best… what’s yours?

Britain’s Personal Best big weekend will take place 4-6 October 2013. To help out:

1.            Watch our new promotional video, and share it on your blog and/or Twitter and Facebook, using the #PersonalBest hashtag;

2.            Register your own personal best at our website, http://www.whatsyours.org/;

3.           Like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BritainsPB.


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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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As you well know, I’ve been working hard on the Epic European Disability Roadtrip, which saw me travel through Europe for three weeks, experiencing how disability is viewed by other cultures and talking to disability groups, all to raise awareness of disability issues faced in other countries.

However, this isn’t my only project I’ve been focuing on. I would now like to introduce you to the launch of an innovative and new venture; dConferences.

Being able to launch the first dConference remotely from Prague whilst still on the trip was not only cool, but very fitting for the first dConference; ‘disability and the internet’.

dConference 2012 brings together fourteen disabled people and organisatoions. The purpose is to share, learn and progress together through the conference. The contributors are only the beginning, because you can spread this information and comment with any additional thoughts you have.

Our speakers explain how the internet has helped them with their disability in a variety of ways: education, employment, care, relationships and so on…

Carrie-Ann Lightley from Tourism for All and Eastenders actor David Proud are just two of the contributors. And sponsorship from UnLtd, supporters of social enterprises, and disability blogger Sarah Ismail from Same Difference have made this all possible.

A common misconception of Dconference is that it’s live. All contributors have pre recorded their talks. So all you have to do is visit the dConference website register for free with your email and consume at your own pace. Transcripts are available on each audio entry for hearing impaired people.

Please do me the kind favour of sharing the links and information with your friends and networks. If want to share it on Twitter or Facebook, here’s the Bitly link: bit.ly/PXzTEs

I hope you enjoy the conference and benefit from it in some way. If you would like to contact me, please email me at martyn@martynsibley.com

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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 🙂

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As referenced in a recent blog post, I have not been so prolific with my article writing of late. In all honesty my efforts have been on grasping self employment, reflecting on our progress in changing the world for disabled people and planning the coming months. Enough of the excuses though because I am now excitedly writing to launch not one, but two pieces of big news!

Disability Horizons has been running for almost 6 months. The new design looks amazing, the top quality articles, writers and topics are improving weekly and your feedback as readers becomes more enthusiastic by the day. As co-editors, Srin and I try to lead by example with our world travels and adventurous exploits, but also we want to encourage the Horizons community to step up to the plate. The first piece of news throws down the gauntlet to you guys, and the second piece illustrates our personal zest for life.

So without further ado, I now introduce to you – Disability Horizons meet-ups! Please click on this link to join the group 

http://www.meetup.com/DisabilityHorizons

Our vision is to choose a day, a time, an accessible location and sometimes a theme (sport, art, music etc). It is then up to you to come along, meet other Horizons socialites and benefit from chatting with like minded people. We also want to recruit ambassadors who can run meet-ups in their local area. We already have a couple on board!

People in conversationAs you can imagine, we want these meet-ups to be about living life, socialising, leisure activities and travel. Of course, barriers and challenges will be discussed, and you can learn from each other on various solutions, but every meet-up will celebrate disability, personal achievement and having pure fun.

Onto news piece number two. It seems ages since I travelled to Cyprus in April. My summers are normally spent in the UK carrying out plans I made during the winter. This is as a result of bad health (although I tend to manage the odd trip somewhere warm too). In the winter of 09/10 I planned to fly a plane (which I did last August), whilst last winter I planned to attend some music festivals, which I most certainly did this year (attending 5 altogether, here’s my review of Lovebox in June). It is also coming up to a year since Srin and I met Jack Black on our California and Vegas road trip.

With the right conditions set, we have booked our next travel adventure – to New York!!! I cannot tell you how excited we are. Our good friend Toby is joining us having now recovered from his coma and ill health last year. Our general plans are as you would imagine: good food, drink, company, visit statue of liberty, empire state building and so on. We leave on Monday 26th September and return on Sunday 2nd October. Brace yourselves for the articles!

Our first meet-up is therefore going to be in New York. We will follow this with a London meet-up in late October, and then the sky is the limit. If you are in New York, or know someone else who is, then the registration link for Wednesday 28th September meet-up is available by clicking here.

Please get in touch with your thoughts and if you are interested in becoming an ambassador for the Horizons meet-up group – you know the drill: disabilityhorizons@gmail.com