At times like these, there’s nothing quite like the sympathetic ear or a kind word from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. That’s why it’s so important to get involved with community spirit at this time: whether that be in your local area, or the online disabled community.
It’s more important than ever to maintain a connection to the outside world, to help combat any stress, anxiety, isolation or loneliness that you might be feeling at this unusual time.
Organisations across the UK are working hard to ensure anyone who needs support is able to access it, whether that’s a food delivery, replacement care services or just a friendly voice at the end of the phone to speak to.
If you’re self-isolating or social distancing, that doesn’t mean you can’t access community, it just means you may need to look somewhere different.
Online platforms provide the perfect opportunity to gain advice, share problems and have a chat with others in the same situation, all from the comfort of your own home.
Charities such as Scope, Mencap, the MS Society, and Alzheimer’s Society all run online communitiies, where disabled people can turn to for advice, help, support or even just a friendly chat at any time.
Whether you want advice about keeping save and accessing services during the outbreak, or want to chat with people who share your hobbies or understand your daily obstacles, these forums are a great place to do so.
Even though you might not be able to get outside at the moment, and places are mostly closed, accessibility review charity, Euan’s Guide, is another place that provides a platform to network and chat with other disabled people.
From recipes and Netflix recommendations to cure your boredom, to staying fit and taking part in virtual tours, it’s a great place to go for some light relief and a distraction during this time.
The Disability Living Fund, which recently merger with The Shaw Trust, runs youreable.com, another online community for disabled people to meet others and share interests.
If you’re deaf or have a hearing impairment, there are community groups you can join that can help you find accessible forms of information. The Deaf Translators/BSL Interpreter Volunteer – Access for Deaf Community group, as well as the Deaf Stay At Home group are both made up of volunteers dedicated to ensuring you have access to all the latest updates and can help in other ways, too.
With over 500,000 people across the country signing up as NHS volunteers to drive vulnerable people to appointments, pick up medication, shop for essential supplies and lend a listening ear over the phone or video chat, you’re certainly not alone at this time.