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Community must be at the core for disabled people

David Ashton-Jones, Chief Executive at Homes Together

David Ashton-Jones, Chief Executive at Homes Together, a provider supporting younger disabled adults, discusses why disabled people need close connections with their community

Community sits at the core of our experiences, offering a sense of belonging, support, and identity. I’d go as far as to say this: having a sense of community and interconnectedness is essential for our mental wellbeing and everyday happiness.

Unfortunately, accessing local amenities remains a significant challenge for disabled people. Simple activities like visiting the shop, going out with friends, or just engaging in community events can be fraught with difficulties, from physical barriers to a lack of transport options.

At Homes Together, we’re committed to making sure everyone has a chance to form these vital connections within their local communities. We provide care for adults living with disabilities in our homes in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon, and Gateshead – and in doing that, our focus is on not only meeting the practical needs of our service users, but also enriching their social and emotional lives.

Why community is so important for wellbeing

The positive impact of community integration on disabled people cannot be overstated. Through regular community interaction, people build confidence, foster a greater sense of independence, and develop essential life skills.

Social inclusion is especially important. It’s about more than just occupying the same space – it’s about being accepted and forging connections. Feeling you belong in this way is a cornerstone of wellbeing for anyone.

Additionally, being an active community member means more chances to participate in the joys of daily life – from pursuing hobbies to attending social gatherings. These activities aren’t just a way to pass time; they help to lift the spirits and broaden horizons. In other words, they’re key aspects to living a richer, more purposeful life.

Supporting community engagement at Homes Together

At Homes Together, we actively encourage service users to be a part of the local community. That means trips to local eateries, swims at the pool, arts and crafts workshops, picnics in the park and even singing with the local choir. So much of this is down to the commitment and support of our teams, without whom many of these activities wouldn’t be possible.

We believe everyone deserves to live life to the fullest, no matter their abilities. We champion physical activity especially, with service users taking part in fitness classes and scuba diving, for instance. They also join specialised swimming classes – a great low-impact exercise for those with limited mobility.

By recognising the importance of organisations that cater to individuals with different needs and supporting them through sponsorships, we’re always making sure there are plenty of options for those who need them.

How community interaction can benefit society at large

There are 6 million disabled people in the UK, but many of them still find it very difficult to access facilities and services in local communities.

Yet the truth is, making these amenities universally accessible will benefit everyone. With more interaction, members of the community gain a better understanding of the unique challenges faced by those with disabilities, breaking down biases and stereotypes and instead encouraging empathy, acceptance, and inclusion.

Added to this, education and awareness efforts championed by caregivers can be transformative, leading to shifts in cultural attitudes. And that in turn can lead to improvements in infrastructure, policies, and services – benefiting all of us equally.

Community connections

Being part of the local community is crucial for disabled people, positively impacting their social inclusion, access to support networks, opportunities for participation, and developing independence.

At Homes Together, we remain committed to facilitating the connections between disabled people and the local community. It’s through these connections that we can build a more inclusive and accessible environment – and a better life for all.




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