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This post is a mixture of latest news and latest reflections. In life there are times we plan, times we do, and times we evaluate. I have managed all 3 of these ten times over in the past weeks! Whoever you are, I hope after reading this you will be entertained, question how much is possible in life, understand me a bit more, understand disability a little bit more, and have some tools to make a change for yourself or for disability issues (however small).

Everyday I go through a checklist in my head: Family members, best friends, my wheelchair, my car, my flat, my PAs, my work, my leisure time, my adventure plans and my health. In contemplating all of these for a few minutes a day; I ensure I touch base with my loved ones, maintain all of my vital support functions, make sure I am still challenging myself, having fun and living by my ideal life values.

Having caught up with loved ones in June, I have also been securing the funding (via the NHS voucher scheme and Access to Work scheme) for a new wheelchair. This has involved paperwork, assessments, selecting the chair, being fitted for it and various other procedural tasks. I am to receive my new Storm wheelchair on Thursday! I then need to have a clamp fixed on the new chair so that I can drive my car from it. Having secured financial assistance for this work too, I am spending Friday in the lovely company of Andy Kent from Andy’s Kars. My car also had its MOT and service yesterday. So, that ensures my mobility is sorted for a while longer, and in style.

After a few months out of my London flat whilst travelling, I have also enjoyed being back home again. I was glad to see the place in good condition! Having organised my PAs and their rota until September; I asked them to help me have a spring clean. Now I feel at home, with my flat in order and fully supported to live independently in the capital once again. Since my arrival I have met up with many old faces, visited my favourite parts of London and really appreciated how grateful you are for something after missing it. Don’t get me wrong, my time away was well spent, but its always great to return back to your comfort zone sometimes!

With loved ones seen and support mechanisms in order (as well as some good social times too) here’s the work part! The thing is, having spent one year working for myself; work, leisure, travel and adventure are very inter woven. This has happened on purpose and I am so proud to see the vision, hard work and determination start to come together. Things are still tough with many tasks to do, only one me, and a mortgage to pay. However I am relishing the challenge and riding the danger as best as I can.

With 3 years of blogging, a year of running Disability Horizons with Srin, individually progressing the disability webinars, ecourses and the imminent econference; there has been lots to plan, do and evaluate. Having had difficulty getting my elearning products fully funded, I am going to continue running them voluntarily, but have found a different model to stay afloat financially. With lived experience of being disabled, vast social media and new media knowledge and a vast network of disabled people online, contacts in councils, charities and disability companies; I am beginning to work in partnerships with these great people. With the same vision of supporting disabled people, but different roles; I am excited about how this is all going to come together!

Therefore I have been talking to Scope, Leonard Cheshire, Disability Rights UK, The JTSMA and Muscular Dystrophy Campaign about webinar collaborations. I ran a workshop for HertsPASS around careers, and spoke to students at my old school Impington Village College. I met the CEO of Choice Support and discussed some partnership work. I am being introduced to Lonely Planet and some banks about elearning projects. I am planning how to support Lero in Tenerife as their online marketing person in the UK for the next 12 months. I met with Louise from Fittleworth and floated some ideas of how they can promote their services to more disabled people like myself. Srin and I went to the House of Lords for the Employers Forum on Disability reception. Media wise I have also represented radio 4 ‘ You and Yours’ on an open day at Gatwick Airport, before being interviewed live on the show. I was subsequently asked some air travel questions on ‘Reduced Mobility’. Then today I was interviewed by the awesome Shirley Ayers on her fortnightly podcast ‘Disruptive Social Care’ (out on Friday).

Beyond ‘work’ and weekly leisure I have been plotting my biggest challenge yet. Please take a look at the video. The update is that I am close to securing the caravan, this may delay the start date and essentially I think I have pulled it off! Initial feedback was asking if I was crazy, whether I could plan it so quickly, how the logistics would work and so forth. I will refrain from anything too bold, but even if this falls short it does show the value of dreaming big. I know this will happen one day, and its probably going to happen this September.

To summarise my life and how it is shaping up in July 2012, I am:

  • A blogger
  • Disability advocate and spokesperson
  • Entrepreneur
  • Magazine Editor
  • Social drinker
  • Social media expert
  • New media and elearning consultant
  • Travel writer
  • Bad karaoke singer
  • Family and friend
  • Logistics expert (maintaining support functions)
  • Crazy idiot

I realise with reflection that my vision, beliefs and passion are not traditional. I will always question the status quo and in Shirleys words be a disruptor. I therefore run my work projects to disrupt and change the world around disability. However I run my life generally as though its my last. I am not asking or even suggesting you replicate this. I just ask you to live life the right way for you. If you’re disabled believe in your dreams, and if you’re not disabled please support people like myself in being included. Most of all please share this post with anyone who will appreciate it!

Thanks for your support. I now have 2000 followers on Twitter, more blog hits than ever and real motion of progress. With the right vision, collaboration and disruption I truly believe disability won’t be a ‘thing’ in years to come!

Twitter – @martynsibley
Website – www.martynsibley.com
Online magazine – www.disabilityhorizons.com
Skype Name – sibbers1314
Mobile – 07824 535720
Email – martyn@martynsibley.com

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“Today the Big Society Network (http://thebigsociety.co.uk/) and the Network of National Volunteer-Involving Agencies (NNVIA – http://www.csv.org.uk/about-us/strategic-partnerships/nnvia) brought together inspiring social entrepreneurs , known as Nexters, to showcase innovative ways of using social media to strengthen communities, particularly excluded or isolated groups.

The Nexters, who are part of the Big Society Network, are charged with developing new ways to enable people to volunteer time, expertise or money, or to engage democratically with public services and with civil society. All use networked technologies, such as web, mobile or games to ensure their services deliver maximum impact and are accessible to everyone in the UK.  Organisations involved include the National Trust, Breast Cancer Care, Leonard Cheshire, Guide Dogs and CSV.”

I am not a ‘nexter’ but was kindly asked to speak in partnership with Leonard Cheshire. The video shows a short piece of the workshop I facilitated. I explained my message of positivity to disabled people, the projects I run and the technology that enables this.

The feedback outlined the ‘fear’ of technology and people being unsure how to apply it to their cause or to their organisation. My response is worry about the vision and message. Only learn about social media as a tool for your cause, not as an outcome. The tools I use are great, low cost and far reaching. In time it can work for everyone and everything!

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Evening everyone. I hope you have all been to, shown support for, or at least been aware of the hardest hit marches today? If you are on twitter checkout the #hardesthit hashtag and get up to speed on the days events here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15399724.

I had an unfortunate turn of events after returning from my great trip to Edinburgh that resulted in my not being able to attend the London March today. Of all ironies, my carer who flies from Poland had her flight cancelled. My PAs change over at 2pm Friday and from yesterday afternoon I was faced with a difficult prospect of a weekend ahead. I rely on my PAs for so much and staying alone for even 2 hours is not an option. On top of this my mum, who always comes to the rescue, is in Tenerife. I am very fortunate to have a 22 year old sister who is happy to help with my personal care, turn me over at night and who is basically lovely. My dad also lives near mums house in Cambridgeshire, so between my sister and dad I have been ok.

Having taken the survival instinct decision to drive back to my hometown for these reasons, it meant I had to cancel my plans in London. I was due to meet friends from Scope at Jamie Olivers restaurant followed by a different crew of Scope mates at the pub. I was then hosting Mr.Mathew Sutton tonight, a tweet up with him (@smegfirk) and @hellycopeland tomorrow lunchtime., finishing off with a concert tomorrow night. Most importantly moving onto the point of this post, I couldn’t attend a march to protect disabled people’s rights.

This occurrence, although very frustrating, illustrates a very important point! If something as unfortunate, isolated and rare as my PA not being able to work can cause such disruption, stress, worry and impact: IMAGINE IF THE GOVERNMENT CUTS RESULTED IN THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK!!!

You guys know me, know my situation, know my attitude to life, know how hard I work, know my likes, dreams and aspirations. This could all fall down with the cuts. By investing in disabled people just like me; yes there are costs, but compared to the physical and emotional deterioration I would have, I can promise you the ‘costs’ would be more as a result. Furthermore, the value disabled people put back in to the economy as employers, workers and consumers; there is a economic benefit too.

I’ll finish my Saturday night post by saying the cuts are necessary, but think about who, what, where, why, when and how. It is socially, economically and legally wrong to under invest in disabled people, even if it is seemingly ok politically.

Please feedback your thoughts on this and share this post anywhere you see fit… Mart

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Greetings blog readers! For those viewing this soon after I had written this post, it is Monday 17th October, and for my lovely subscribers receiving this via email it is Tuesday 18th October. However you came to read this I hope you are all well.

As you will have no doubt seen or heard, its been quite a few weeks. The ‘3 wheelies and 1 New York’ video shows the amazing time I had in New York and I am writing a post soon on the details of what we did in the Big Apple. I then worked 2 days for the beeb as a presenter for the BBC London show ‘Inside Out’ and learning how to do ‘pieces to camera’ with no prior training: it was a steep but fun learning curve. This was soon followed by my first ever keynote speech at a conference http://www.influencercon.com (also shown on my recent video footage). Last week was less travelled and crazy, but I did have lots of work to catch up on and I completed my webinar series on the blog. You can see the video here http://martynsibley.com/online-learning. Along the way, I also was interviewed by comedian Richard Herring for his radio 4 show. I then proceeded to attend the live recording at BBC broadcasting house and hear our chat played back. Funny as! This will air in November sometime, as will my presenting debut.

So, the purpose of this post relies on a test of your memory and engagement 🙂 You may remember or even have voted on where to send me? http://martynsibley.com/where-will-you-send-me Well, as the results show Edinburgh won out with 49%, closely followed by Manchester. I have since done the usual disability traveller routine of prepping and planning, especially around my recently crazy schedule. On Tuesday 18th 2011 at 9.00am I am leaving Kings Cross for the 4 hour trip north of the border!

I am hoping to link up with some organisations in the city to talk about my work. I am also delivering my webinar for Scope at 7.30pm from my hotel room. How cool is that? You can register here http://www.scope.org.uk/news/blogs/martyns-blog/free-disability-webinars. Whilst on my trip, as you saw on my article the wish to see more beautiful parts of the UK, I am seeing a friend from my Coventry university days. Claire lives near Edinburgh and I am visiting her home town of Kinghorn. It will be great to see her after 7 years and I am sure she will be looking even more beautiful than I remember. She has promised to show me Edinburgh too.

Of course I will make a video showing the trip, the travel, the new places, the people and the unknown happenings. So, thanks for voting and choosing to send me somewhere as great as Edinburgh. Who knows where it might be next time 🙂

Take care, M

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You may have seen on Twitter and Facebook that I delivered a keynote speech last Friday? AJ and Melissa put me forward to their friend Phil McKenzie as a speaker for his amazing project http://www.influencercon.com in NYC, LDN and Berlin.

The 40 minute speech outlines my story, how I dealt with being disabled, the way I have translated this into a new theory, how I hope others can benefit and my vision of new media empowering the next generation of disabled people to thrive!

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Fresh from running my baby and creation #disabilitywebinars last night – I realised many people are still a little confused what a webinar is. Having run a few, I am now feeling comfortable with the complex technology alongside the challenges of presenting and fielding questions. So, I thought it was time to tell you the amazing benefits of my webinars and get more of you on board! Here is a quick guide:

1) Its easy to register. Just click here http://martynsibley.com/online-learning and choose the webinars for you. Once on the relevant sign up pages, fill out the 5 simple boxes (first name, last name, email address, if you are disabled and how you heard about the webinars)

2) You will then receive an email explaining exactly how to log in to the session. Generally you will download a simple piece of software to enable attendance. Then just click the link prior to the scheduled time of your session and enjoy

3) The webinar itself consists of a variety of topics: for disabled parents, the teenage years, Independent Living (accessible housing, work, benefits, social care, transport etc) and accessing leisure/travel/adventure

4) You will see the view on my computer such as powerpoint slides, word documents and websites. Meanwhile you will hear my voice explaining them. For anyone with specific access requirements please do get in touch, I am sure we can make the right adjustments for you.

5) Having heard my theories, personal experiences and seen the embarassing pictures; you have 15/20 minutes to ask me questions. This has proved the most valuable time for individuals to really draw out of my experiences on things that can help their life.

6) A webinar lasts 1 hour but on special occasions (such as last night) I offer a free one hour skype session. This morning I chatted with a lovely girl in Northern Ireland having care package problems at university. Get in touch if this is of benefit to you too 🙂

Here’s a little video to show a webinar in action:

So, I hope I have explained the concept better, that you understand the value in my presentations, you are no longer put off by the technology and you will join the next session? – Independent Living Part 1 – Sign up now

 https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/943407078

The webinar holds up to 1000 people, but without losing the personal touch. I am happy to share emails, twitter handles and so forth on the follow-up email (allowing the audience to network). Please share this blog, share the ‘online-learning’ link and the sign-up url’s! The more the merrier 🙂 See you on Wednesday 14th September…