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Comic Relief bake-off by three blind mice

Watch me make them on You Tube

Download the recipes from

Highlight of the month was taxi driver John putting on Comic Relief red glasses and nose to cook alongside me for a special Baking Blind fundraising episode. Comic Relief bake-off by three blind mice.

He went above and beyond the call of duty: using mostly obscured glasses to get a better idea of cooking blind like me.  Brave to try in the first place, braver still to do it on camera with a silly nose too– what a star!

We raised over £150 with our American-themed bakes: chewy chocolate cookies, wicked pecan pie, sesame bagels plus more English trays of flapjacks.   Heaven only knows how many calories went in to it all!

These are all straightforward bakes although measuring syrup and handling a pastry case full of sugary mix are both hazardously sticky if you’re blind.  I should have weighed out the balls of cookie dough in to more consistent sizes – but they still tasted good.

Read more….

Sarah Storey – Passion and Persistence

Since I started blogging and running Disability Horizons, I’ve recorded a few podcasts. It was with basic technology. But it was nice chatting with friends about disability issues and beyond. I’d never considered interviewing hugely successful disabled people until…

Welcome to The Martyn Sibley Show!Welcome to The Martyn Sibley Show!

As you know I came third in the ‘Power 100’ list of influential and successful disabled people in December. It was great to be personally recognised for my work. Most of all I read about many amazing people and thought…

What if I started a podcast where I interviewed these awesome humans. Would they accept my invitation? Would I grasp the technology? Would anyone listen?

Well. Here we are. I’ve already recorded four interviews. The guests are coming and the technology worked. Now it’s time to see if you like it.

Read more and listen to the podcast.

Can’t see but can cook and dream…

Penny Melville-Brown from Fareham in Hampshire is competing alongside nearly 200 other international blind people for the inaugural Holman prize being awarded by the San Francisco ‘Lighthouse’ organisation to allow the winner to fulfil their dream.

Can’t see but can cook and dream…

Penny explained: “Each of us has created a short video clip – there are many excellent ideas from amazing people.  My own goal is to take the ‘Baking Blind” channel and website around the world: cooking with other people and showing that life with a disability can still be fun, fabulous and fulfilling.  I’ve spent nearly 20 years helping other people with health conditions and impairments to get back to work so I know there’s lots of talent out there if others can look beyond our disabilities and see the people we are.”

The prize commemorates James Holman who became blind while serving in the Royal Navy in the early 19th century –his adventures travelling solo around the world are celebrated in his biography “A Sense of the World”.  Coincidentally, Penny is also a blind veteran having left the Royal Navy as a Commander in 1999.

You can support her with a ‘Thumbs Up’ for her YouTube clip at:
And see other dreams for the Holman prize at .

First round ‘voting’ closes on 15 March 2017.


Penny Melville-Brown

Naidex 2017

The all new Naidex returns to the NEC Birmingham over the 28th – 30th of March.

As the country’s most established event for the independent living industry, Naidex 2017 will attract over 12,000 trade, consumer and health professional visitors over three days, in search of the very latest innovative technology, products, equipment and services that are shaping the future for people with physical disabilities or special educational needs.

For the first time, the award winning PRYSM Media Group will be organising the event, injecting diverse content, world-class experts, top new features and leading business and trade into the show. Renowned for shows that are packed full of expert-led education, interactivity, industry-leading insight and unique levels of creativity, PRYSM have promised to make March’s edition the most immense spectacle in the brand’s long and distinguished history.

There will be a heightened level of attention towards future innovations, accessible living, transformative equipment, and the most modern tools that are breaking new ground in assisting the disabled population. There’s also special interactive zones specialising in sport, travel, children and young people, mobility and vision – to name a few.

The event’s comprehensive seminar schedule provides an unparalleled level of education, guidance and inspiration, and each session is delivered by an expert recognised for their influential work and achievement in their field.

To be a part of this remarkable event, register here for you free ticket today.

Naidex 2017

‘Your guide to flying with a disability’

2nd March 2017 (10am until 3pm) Queen Elizabeth Foundation for disabled people

Queen Elizabeth Foundation Mobility Services, Surrey SM5 4AW

We invite you to join us for a practical session to learn how to make your journeys by air as smooth as possible.

The day is suitable for individual travellers, parents of disabled children, and assisting health professionals who are considering flying.

With industry experts we guide you through the whole journey by air, from booking to arrival at your destination to reduce stress and make your journey comfortable.

A replica aircraft cabin is central to the day and available for you to see and try seating and transfer equipment.

The ‘guide to flying’ session will cover:

Booking, insurance, safe carriage of your wheelchair, being fit to fly & medicines, hiring equipment abroad, check in & security, boarding the aircraft, managing challenging behaviours, aircraft seating, airport facilities, hidden disabilities & using the toilet.

 Places are limited and booking is essential to secure a place

For more information email:

Or call: 020 8770 1151


View PDF for more information
Download PDF Registration Form

Ignore the Fear. By Martyn Sibley

It’s very hard to get reliable data on the quality of life for disabled people.

Particularly on a global scale. It’s partly hard to define ‘quality of life’, and mostly it’s hard to gather good data as research on the topic is patchy. Ignore the Fear
The media has become very vocal on both the worldly threats to everyone, and also have their own strange take on disability (triumph over tragedy vs benefit scrounger). It’s scary to just look at my news app these days.

In the era of post truth and fake news I’ve decided to rely more on my own intuition. By observing things from my experiences, speaking to friends, and networking with different professionals – it’s possible to get an idea of the ‘real world’ situation at this moment in time.

The bigger picture

My university degree was in Economics, but it doesn’t take long to just look at history and see two things:

1) Over centuries our living standards always go up.

There’s never been a safer, more prosperous time to live. If you dig for real data you’ll see that the negative effects of crime, disease and poverty are down. Also that leisure time, technology innovations and total wealth are all up (distribution of that wealth is another conversation).

2) Over decades there’s the same cycle occurring.

As an economy gains momentum and particularly has more confidence, it grows. Companies invest more in technology and labour, creating more jobs. With more employment, higher wages, and a feeling of security people spend more. This in turn grows both the private and public sectors (public sector from all the corporate, income, and consumer taxes). So public spending increases too. It’s all very rosy.

Read more…

Poland, Health and Big Impact Projects. By Martyn Sibley

Poland, Health and Big Impact Projects

In the past 2 months I’ve moved to a more accessible bungalow, driven to Poland and back for Christmas/New Year, battled a nasty virus, and delivered multiple client projects. Somehow.

When I look back it seems impossible. With each baby step, big challenges can be overcome. Apparently.

Regarding the bungalow, I’m going to write a whole post on how I made it accessible for my needs. So watch this space for my recent accessible housing news.

The trip to Poland in December was very enjoyable. The drive is getting more tiring every time Kasia and I go there. I suppose novelty is a type of fuel. However having the car and hoist is so helpful once in Miedzyrzecz, where we stay. We always have a great time, despite the hundreds of miles we cover.

I’d never spent Christmas in another country before. It was really interesting too. In Poland (and many other European countries) the main celebration is on the 24th December. We ate the 12 traditional Polish dishes including Pierogi, delicious soups, and carp. We sang Polish carols and shared great gifts.

Whilst enjoying a different cultural experience, I naturally missed my family and the British food I’m accustomed to. So Kasia’s family decided to cook turkey, stuffing, vegetables and roast potatoes with gravy on their second day of Christmas. The 25th December.

I munched through this with a big smile 🙂

Read more…

William Merritt Charity Moves into New Disable Living Centre

William Merritt Charity Moves into New Disable Living Centre

William Merritt Charity Moves into New Disable Living Centre
The William Merritt Disabled Living Centre have moved into a newly renovated building and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and the Lord and Lady Mayoress officially unveiled the plaque yesterday, on Friday 27th January 2017. Today, the local community enjoyed the continued celebrations and got the opportunity to have a look around the new Centre. Guest enjoyed cake, sweets donated from Haribo, and samples from Wiltshire Farm Foods.

After 35 years of being based at St Mary’s Hospital in Armley, the charity has moved to a new building in Rodley that has been renovated so that Occupational Therapists can conduct more assessments of people with a disability or condition in Yorkshire. The renovation couldn’t have been possible without thousands of pounds of donations from Projex Building Solutions, Firecrest, Kingkraft, Wates, The Passmore Group, Yorkshire Care, and Box Architects.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson officially opened the centre commented, “I was delighted to asked to come and open the William Merritt Centre. It is a fabulous building and to have not only so much space, but the range of equipment and advice in one place is fabulous. It will really make a difference to the lives of disabled people to be able to ultimately access the best equipment for them.”

Occupational Therapists at the Centre provide impartial information, advice and assessment on equipment and practical aspects of daily living for disabled people of all ages, their carers, professionals and older people. Anyone can make a free appointment with one of our Occupational Therapists to discuss your needs in more detail.

Chair of Trustees Professor Anne Chamberlain explained, “We are a charity and are very fortunate in that so many people have given generously of their time and equipment for our new Centre. The staff have worked incredibly hard too. So now we have a beautiful new Centre and this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter; we look forward to helping even more people.”

Dignitaries and VIP’s enjoyed a tour of the different departments in the Centre including the technology room, the driving assessment and vehicle adaptations area, everyday living aids, the paediatric assessment area, Try B 4 U Fly, and training room.

About The William Merritt Centre
The William Merritt Centre is a charity offering impartial advice and professional assessments on a wide range of equipment. You will have the opportunity to try equipment before you buy it to make sure it best meets your needs. The range of children’s equipment on permanent display in the Centre is limited, but the paediatric therapists are able to bring in a wide range of equipment to cover all aspects of daily living. We also provide training on Moving and Handling to people in the care profession.
The address is:
The William Merritt Centre
Aire House
100 Town Street
LS13 1HP

The website address is

About Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson

Regarded as one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, Tanni, amassed a remarkable medal haul over 16 years and five Paralympic Games of 11 gold, 4 silver and a bronze.
In 2005 she became ‘Dame’ Tanni Grey-Thompson for her services to sport. Tanni has continued to be involved in sport and physical activity. She is a Board Member of the London Marathon, the Sportsaid Foundation, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Join In. In addition to this she is also a Board Member of several organisations including Transport for London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the London 2017 Organising Committee.

In 2010 Tanni became an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, taking the title Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham. As a working peer Tanni uses her experience and knowledge during debates in the House and she has spoken on a range of issues including Disability Rights, Welfare Reform, and of course, Sport.

Accessible Adventures in Mallorca. By Martyn Sibley

There’s very few emails I dislike receiving. I love my job! However there’s also only a few emails that I get extremely excited about. One of those such occasions was being invited to visit Mallorca at the end of last year.

Clara and Rafa from Handisport said “do you want to come for some winter sun, try out sailing, mountain trekking, blokarting, and tour the capital Parma?”. I was like errr YES. Such a fantastic opportunity right?

So Kasia and I flew on a Monday and had one of the smoothest flights ever. So good I tweeted EasyJet a big thank you. We were greeted at Parma airport by the very happy and helpful driver Hugo from Autocares Adrover. He took us to our ‘Island Mallorca‘ hotel and we relaxed with great food and a glass of wine. The hotel room had a fantastic wetroom shower and Handisport had rented a hoist from Mobility care. I took my own sling, as I usually do.

After a great sleep we ate a delicious breakfast (the food was constantly delicious!) and we met Hugo by the adapted van. Day 1 of the itinerary had began. Off we headed to tour Parma with ‘Routes for Palma‘. We rolled around the streets, learned of the history, and saw many interesting places. My favourite was the cathedral that was originally surrounded by the sea. It now stands a little back from the water, but looks out to the horizon beautifully.

Accessible Adventures Mallorca Martyn Sibley

After 2pm we headed for a typically later Spanish lunch. It was hosted at the amazing restaurant Es Museu. Starter, mains, drinks, desert and coffee. I was so full and content on that warm Mallorcan terrace. Delicious.

Read more…

Nigel Farage MEP, speaks to Disability Talk

Nigel Farage MEP, speaks to Disability Talk.Dear Christopher,

Please find enclosed the relevant pages from our 2015 General Election manifesto. In particular, you may be interested in our policies on increasing carers’ allowance, protecting the rights of disabled people and improving carers’ access support.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Yours Sincerely

Nigel Farage MEP

“We want to see a welfare system that is fairer, simpler and less open to abuse. Our approach is one that firmly opposes the ‘benefits lifestyle’ but also addresses the current welfare regime,which has produced unjust outcomes.”

View the relevant manifesto page in PDF format.