Scope’s online community is a supportive space where disabled people, their friends and families can chat to people with similar experiences. Once you’ve registered, you can join any discussion or start your own group. Discussion groups cover all sorts of topics, from sex and relationships to socialising.
The virtual coffee lounge is an informal space where you can chat about hobbies, sports, movies, cooking or anything else that interests you.
Facebook groups can be ‘public’, where anyone can join, or ‘private’. Private groups based around shared interest or experience are a good place to start. They can provide a space to get to know people.
Private groups usually moderate who joins them. This means that you will have to ask to join the group. The person who ‘owns’ the group has to approve your request. They may ask you a few questions, such as why you want to join the group.
Once you’ve joined the group, you can:
chat to other members
hear about events, campaigns or meetups
comment on posts that you are interested in
Find a group by searching for a particular interest or through a charity’s homepage. Facebook will suggest groups based on your interests and location.
These apps are designed to help people find friends. They are different from dating and relationship apps. They can help you find people in your area with shared interests.
Meetup was set up to help people find local groups where they can make friends or try out something new. There are many groups for disabled people listed in the UK. You can enter a search term and a location and find out what’s happening near you.
Luv2MeetU is “a friendship and dating agency for people with a learning disability or autism aged 18+”. They arrange events for their members and support people to get involved in social activities. They can set up meetings between members with a chaperone.
Meeting people through volunteering
You can meet people with shared values through volunteering. It can be a great way to spend time with people while completing a shared task.
Many local groups will need volunteers. These groups can cover a wide range of interests, such as:
supporting people in need
You could help with things like:
organising trips and events
delivering food and medicine
Do-it.org is a national database of over 1 million volunteering opportunities. It offers a simple search tool and includes home-based opportunities.
You can also ask your local volunteer centre about opportunities near you.
Many larger cultural venues or leisure organisations offer accessible events for disabled people, such as BSL (British Sign Language) signed tours of a museum. These events can be a good way to meet other people who have a shared interest.
To find out about these events, sign up for newsletters from:
cultural venues, such as theatres or cinemas
leisure organisations like Sustrans, the National Trust, English Heritage or your local Wildlife Trust
disability sports organisations and charities
charities that support disabled people. They often share details of events that could be of interest.
Meeting people with shared experience of disability
If you prefer to meet people who understand what it’s like to be disabled, you could look for local disability organisations or groups that focus on your particular condition.
Local support groups
There are many local groups that support disabled people. They may be pan-disability or be more specific, such as a group for visually impaired people. They are often informal so you can turn up whenever you like.
Some groups may arrange accessible trips, for example, to the theatre, a museum or a concert. They may also arrange adjustments for the group, such as:
a signed museum tour
an audio described performance
autism-friendly film showing
These groups will usually have considered possible barriers to joining, such as timing or location of meetings. They will know that some people find it difficult to attend regularly.
You may also find you can arrange your own meetups with people from the group.
Find your local group by searching online. Many groups have a Facebook page where you can start chatting to other people before you meet up. They may have a Twitter account to keep members up to date with meetings.
Your local authority’s website should have details of:
Day care centres are able to open, but their services may have changed to make sure that people are safe. They may have:
reduced opening hours
limits on the number of people who can be in the centre
a smaller range of activities
Some local authorities have local area co-ordinators. They can help you find information about activities to improve your health and wellbeing. Contact your local day care centre to find out what is available.