Birthday candles

Scope’s online community is a year old today!

“Happy Birthday to us … Happy Birthday to us …” We are celebrating the first anniversary of Scope’s online community, and what a year it’s been!

We launched our new community on 3 July 2014, as a place for people connected by disability to find support, share experiences and swap ideas. We wanted it to be a safe, friendly environment, where disabled people, families and professionals could talk. We also hoped it would become a lively forum for discussing topical issues and subjects that were important to disabled people.

We are pleased to say – one year on – it is all that and more! So, let’s take a look at some of our best bits:

From bed-wetting to sex

Emma holding a sign which says - Desperate for a good night's sleep? Ask me anythingWe’ve had several guest experts dropping into the community to answer your questions over the past year. In September, we invited two senior sleep advisors from Scope, who were literally inundated with posts. You can see some of the fantastic tips and advice they had to offer here.

This was closely followed by a Q&A from two bed-wetting advisors from ERIC (Education & Resources for Improving Childhood Continence), which was also very popular.Then we had two “non-expert sexperts” – journalist and broadcaster Mik Scarlet and Emily Yates from Enhance the UK’s Love Lounge, who joined us for a lively Q&A about sex and relationships.

Other popular discussions were hosted by Robert Pearce from Active Nation, who came in to talk about keeping fit, and Kat Dunn from Mind, who answered questions about mental health.People in wheelchairs doing a keep fit class Plus, we had a wonderful team of youth and community workers from Carers Trust hosting a chat about young carers, and a really useful Q&A about employment support for disabled people, led by Tracy Abbott from the Business Disability Forum and our very own pre-employment advisor, Michelle Parkes.

A warm welcome

In addition to our visiting experts, we are fortunate to have a number of regular community advisors, answering your questions in their specific area of expertise. They cover a range of specialisms, from speech and language therapy to assistive technology.

Woman with blonde hair sitting at a desk, looking at her smartphoneOver the past year, we have recruited several new advisors, including Debbie from Scope Helpline, who answers questions on housing and independent living, Richard Lamplough, who is our new employment advisor and  Michelle a Scope pre-employment advisor.

Plus, of course our wonderful community champions, who welcome new members and make them feel at home. Our community champions come from all walks of life – some are parents, some are professionals and some are disabled people. They have all volunteered their time to make sure the community is a safe, supportive place to be.

Let’s have a heated debate!

The community has also played host to some lively discussions in its first year, most notably after Lucy Britton’s blog about hidden disability. Sam CleasbyIt’s a topic that’s clearly dear to a lot of people’s hearts because when Sam Cleasby followed it up with a blog about her #MoreThanMeetsTheEye campaign it got people talking all over again. And when our very own community champion, Hannah Postgate blogged about being a working mother, it went straight to the top of our most-read blogs.

Here’s a tip

One of the most popular features on the online community is our dedicated tips section. Here you can search for tips on just about everything, from travel to technology. All the tips have been contributed by disabled people, parents and professionals, and new tips come in regularly.Lightbulb illustration

Our tips have featured far and wide, appearing in everything from The Guardian and Money Saving Expert to NHS Choices, and The School Run.

Over the past year, we’ve added several new tips sections, including Pregnancy and Parenthood, Dating and Sex, Employment, Employing a PA or Carer and Health and Fitness. We’d love to hear your’s too, so please do pass them on!

We love our new online community so much, we’ve even made a film about it! You can see our community film below. 

Why not join us for a slice of virtual birthday cake on the online community today!