“In the year ending March 2021, disabled people were more likely to report feelings of loneliness “often or always” (15.1%) than non-disabled people (3.6%)”cited www.ons.gov.uk That’s 4 times as likely to feel cut off from society and your peers, and to not be included socially, and professionally, can you imagine? This will directly impact your physical and mental health over time.

However it’s not all doom and gloom, here at All4 Inclusion we have a well being meeting twice a month, on line so if like me classed as clinically vulnerable and try to limit social outings in groups then you might just want to register to attend. I came across Scott Whitney on LinkedIn app, All4 Inclusion CIC (we had a couple of mutual connections). I signed up for the on line well being meeting not really understanding what I was signing up for if I’m honest. My life was feeling directionless, I was concerned of the impact returning to volunteering, post Covid pandemic. The thought of trying to go back into ‘that environment’ (where I have to explain everything about my health and then have the same people ignore everything you’ve told them because your disability is lifelong but invisible). I figured this well being meeting might be the place to discuss this?

As the meeting started it seemed to me that everybody on the call was in employment, oh boy I was in the wrong meeting- argh! I’ve obviously skim read the info incorrectly- a pure Gill moment! I remember being in a high anxiety state by the time it came to me to introduce myself, and as I explained what had led me, to how my life was, being retired, and wanting to find purpose, or it all came out higgeldy piggledy. Scott and Andy reassured me I was in the right place. Scott seemed to know a lot of people, he could put members in touch with, depending on what their requirements were. It was nice to feel part of conversations that were also constructive. It wasn’t just for employed disabled people, it might be just a space you can come to, to off load if you’ve had one of “those days”. I was glad I had joined in, and it was very interesting to hear how others were able to adapt around their disability for work, or achieving their set goals.

Now the world for me, as a disabled person opened up during the Covid lockdowns when a lot of businesses adapted to working from home. It took a huge global impacting Viral pandemic to get businesses motivated to change their routines. Life was more accessible, I felt disabled people were now, experiencing increased opportunities to compete in the business world, by the small change of working from home. I only hope this continues for the disabled community, as businesses are back in the office. We need the work from home option.

So here I am working voluntary from home writing a blog for All4 Inclusion, and helping with other admin, and grant applications. It’s something I can fit around ongoing symptoms, appointments and my own health admin. To give you an idea of the well-being meetings are about I’ve made a list and included some of the benefits.

What the meetings cover

• A safe space to discuss any disability matters you have.

• If it’s professional help you need, the well-being session can help with that too.

• We might be able to put you in touch with outside help/persons of interest/ groups that maybe more specific in helping you.

• Well-being covers the whole of you, your family member or friend who has the disability. It’s not just about the physical/medical aspect of disability.

The Benefits

• A gentle introduction to the team and members.

• A break to your routine, or new routine to gain friends and support.

• A breakthrough in social isolation post pandemic.

• A boost to self confidence.

• Knowing your attendance is helping others, even when you are just listening. We all have valid contributions no matter how big or small.

• Not everyone has a supportive family or friend structure or live near to their supporters- we can help with that in a small way.

• Your contribution is valid wether it’s an update on your social or work life.

If you need more professional networking we have other groups you can join such as Disability Inclusion Networking Monthly Meeting, or the Parents of Neuro-Diverse Children Monthly Meeting. All on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/o/42571638963

We also have a monthly Webinar that you might want to attend on line, different disability topics are discussed. If you prefer more flexibility in your support of A4I, we post the webinars to YouTube so you can watch at a time more convenient to you, we also have The All 4 Inclusion Podcast if you prefer to listen instead.

If we are your kind of gang, you can attend monthly quiz or game night for free too !

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