A not-yet-trademarked name has been in my mind for a long time now. When I started The Disability Issue in 2019, I think I wanted to use my networking skills more often. However, the COVID-19 pandemic came along and bothered so many of us. But I think I’d like to let people I believe we need to build a new, independent disabled people’s organisation in the UK. I’ve got plenty of ideas in mind, so here are a few words and images to explain what Disability Central is going to offer.
I’m Keeping This Brief
One abundantly simple fact is that this is going to be a massive project. Do not hold your breath, for it will take time. However, although disabled people run DPOs, it doesn’t matter if you’re disabled or not! If you support disability rights, then I’m going to want you to know about this when it’s constructed. I have plenty of things to learn and many people to meet first. Please, give me three years or more to boost my knowledge.
Right now, I have barely any professional material to show you. I like the look of the logo, but still have so many skills to learn and baby-steps to take before a strong, diverse, and productive team of disabled people and I launch the organisation. However, I have been writing a PDF document about it, and there’s no doubt that it’s not a straightforward task to complete. Still, I’ll supply you now with what I think is a basic picture of what Disability Central will involve.
The Upcoming Plan
Rather than complain about social issues arising for disabled people, I believe we need more constructive ways to manage them. Social innovation is a term that was hardly used before the year 2000, but has gained more popularity in recent years. It has various definitions – but the way I would describe it is simply as a positive method used to solve social problems where many characters will benefit from the intended outcome.
Disability Central is the name that may well be used to label a new nationwide independent disabled people’s organisation in the mid-2020s. I want it to provide a wide range of services to all others – but disabled people in particular. It should offer social wellbeing to disabled people in the UK, gaining us a lot more attention in society. However, to do that, I want the DPO to work well with non-disabled people too.
I learnt about social innovation by studying the course Becoming a changemaker: an Introduction to Social Innovation. Coursera.org listed this course provided by The University of Cape Town online for free. So why not give it a try? I definitely recommend other people use the steps provided by the lecturers to take care of other complex problems in life too.
I Want to Stop Complaining and Start Educating
For so long now, I’ve come across Twitter and cringed during my first glance of discussion. If a popular person makes a comment, most people will know that it’s likely to lead to another negative outburst too. People are so often verbally bullied and discriminated against online via the social media platform. Although I hold a Twitter account both as an individual and for The Disability Issue, today, I rarely make comments. Would the world be a much better place without it?
Twitter is the place where comments about disabled people’s social difficulties are most common. However, right now, not enough disabled people have the mental stamina to make these comments – I think these people lack much motivation at the moment. Other discussions about other topics so often seem to out-trend and overpower them. Disability continues to be an overlooked subject on the internet and is often so far from a trending topic on Twitter.
So, how can disabled people truly start getting the public’s attention? Well, in the UK, I certainly believe the best place to get more attention is in Greater Manchester.
When I write up a more detailed document about Disability Central, I’ll also be interested in passing it on to not only disabled people’s organisations, but universities and colleges in Greater Manchester as well. Over 95,000 students are embedded in our large urban area, and universities are always keen to gain more credit. They’re smart enough to help us out. I may even have a friend who can pass on my paper to GM’s Mayor Andy Burnham. Like many, I see him as an important asset in our region. Labour is trying to gain the trust of others, and he’s been speaking up for disabled people a lot recently.
People are Willing to Learn
Right now, non-disabled people are admittedly not so educated about what it’s like to live as a disabled person in the UK. Plus, I didn’t learn about the social model of disability until my late twenties. The GMCDP has taught me well, but I had to do a bit of research before I found and contacted my local DPO.
We can’t avoid every non-disabled person, or treat them as potential devils. I’ve spoken with caring, non-disabled Christian friends I’ve made recently. They’ve told me they’d be happy to learn more about disability-related information. Unfortunately, schools don’t teach students about it. We’re going to have to make the first move and pass on this information in the UK.
Let’s Make Some Friends
So, how can we do this? Well, I’ve thought of a few ideas. However, with the internet playing such a significant role in everyone’s life, it seems logical to start off with a website. Let’s say we make it as a centre-point for both disabled and non-disabled to shake hands. When design-thinking, one important step to take is to build a prototype, so take a look at the image below.
With the help of disabled people of all ages, I’d like to see Disability Central develop into a new social media platform, mostly for disabled people. Before it reaches that stage, I think it’ll be important to get every person’s attention in our nation. Plus, one main reason students attend university is because they’re willing to learn. Therefore, I’ll later ask universities to promote it in Greater Manchester – the country’s most left-wing urban area. I’m sure non-disabled students will be happy to be educated and spread word as well. Now, I am no expert regarding business! However, as time continues, I think we can branch out to other universities in the UK, and gather funding to advertise elsewhere as well.
To begin with, I think we should show a presentation during church services. I attend Ramp Church in Manchester, and it involves such friendly individuals who I imagine will learn and possibly spread information to family and friends, too. Of course, Christianity isn’t very popular in the UK at the moment, but we could build our way up slowly but surely.
The Key Reason of Setup
With the use of social innovation and design thinking, I’m sure we’ll be able to get media attention. I’ll then want people to know that Disability Central wants disabled people to join it so we can become a new, modernised, independent headquarters for disability in the UK. I know disabled people shouldn’t be prone to pressure, but if they join, the DPO will become a stronger force for disabled people.
In the UK, 22% of the population has a disability and four million disabled people are in poverty. They don’t always want to talk about their health problem, and they have a powerful right to keep it personal. But I want to make a social media platform which disabled people can get as involved with as they wish to. I’ll also want to arrange more and more social activities via the website and gradually expand it too.
Now, I’m aware we need to vocalise disabled people’s issues as much as possible. We are so often ignored by the UK Government, and disability is highly under-funded within our nation. However, speaking up in a new, eye-catching, independent DPO will gain more attention than ever before.
I also like the idea of people discussing the best ways they’ve dealt with personal issues in the past. Plenty of people will understandably feel too uncomfortable talking about this – and that’s fair enough. However, I imagine some people will share this information (anonymously if needed, too). Starting a forum about how we have dealt with problems in the past could prove very beneficial. The NHS is very much struggling to provide psychological help to many people at the moment. However, with the use of a forum, many people could gain information to deal with issues from disabled people who have experienced and recovered from similar issues.
So, that’s the Overview
So, as mentioned, you’re going to have to wait a while before Disability Central makes its breakthrough. Please, be patient! I want to do it in the right, professional way, and it’s an enormous project to get up and run. I’ll keep people updated as I make my key developments, but, for the time being, disabled people should probably get involved with current DPOs and be willing to support them and other disabled individuals during stressful times.
If you want somewhere to relax and stay social, then I spoke about Ramp Church in my previous blog post. Although I imagine there are more modernised Christian churches in Greater Manchester, there are probably other similar places to check out around the UK as well. So many people are adamant that religion doesn’t work for them, and I used to think Christianity wasn’t for me. But I honestly feel this has been the best year of my life since before epilepsy hit me hard as I entered adulthood.