Have you ever felt that you weren’t able to participate in something because of the world around you? That someone else’s opinion or lack of understanding got in the way of you fulfilling your potential?

As I’m writing this, one example pops into my mind. My GP suggested that I should look into yoga classes, so I signed up for a session with a friend. When I got there, I told the tutor that I have an injured shoulder and knee on my left side, leaving me quite weak at times. I thought that this wouldn’t get in the way, but the tutor didn’t suggest any adaptations I could make, and actively pointed out to the rest of the group when I was doing things ‘wrong’ to cope. I left feeling hurt and demotivated.

Wouldn’t it have been lovely if, when I’d explained what my needs were, the tutor had tried to make me feel comfortable, and helped me to join in without feeling like I was doing something wrong? This is central to Independent Lives’ vision – for a fair society where we can all participate and fulfil our potential.

It sounds great, doesn’t it? No matter what we face in life, I think we can all recall a time where we felt excluded or limited by someone else’s beliefs about our capabilities.

Our membership scheme, Friends of Independent Lives, is free, and open to anyone with a disability or health care needs and the people who care for them. My role as Engagement Officer will be to bring our voices together; sharing stories, struggles and solutions from our members with people who make decisions, locally and across the UK. In this way, we can all help to shape a better future for all.

Friends of Independent Lives wouldn’t exist without you. In these early stages of the scheme, it’s an especially good time to join and have your voice heard. What would you like from your Friends of Independent Lives membership? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Join the Independent Lives scheme today

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