My 2019 in review

2019 has been an amazing year, full of achievements, new experiences and plenty of memories.

Highlights of 2019

Here are my 10 highlights of 2019, with 60% of them dedicated to Disability Horizons – where I’ve become a full time member of the team and been given more jobs and responsibilities, which I’ve loved

The rest consist of other professional and personal achievements, new furry additions and my favourite entertainment of 2019

1. Disability Horizons website access

Disability Horizons Giving you a voice
After 7 years of being a loyal community writer for Disability Horizons, I was given the opportunity to have access to the website dashboard on WordPress to upload and edit my own articles. It felt like going backstage on a movie set and seeing how the website comes to life. So far I’ve been able to publish 44 original articles independently this year.

2. Disability Horizons news

Disability Horizons latest news logos
A majority of those 44 articles have been news pieces. My role was to search the internet for relevant disability-related news stories or browse press releases sent to our editor, then write them up into a 500 word article.

The most popular news stories I wrote were The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme helping people with hidden disabilities and Zack Gottsagen: an actor with Down’s syndrome tipped for Oscar glory. To see a full collection of my news articles this year, visit Disability Horizons news roundups.

3. Disability Horizons interviews

Martyn Sibley

I’ve had the pleasure of conducting written interviews with disabled people from the world of television, acting, sport and activism:

Plus I conducted my first full length video interview with our co-founder Martyn Sibley, discussing how to confident as a disabled person.

I am also still awaiting to secure interviews with other famous disabled people including Nikki Fox, Nikki Lilly, Warwick Davis and Katie Piper.

4. Disability Horizons digital panel

Airplane

Another new experience I had this year was helping organise and promote Disability Horizons’ first digital panel, which discussed accessible air travel.

We also ran a survey to find out disabled people’s experiences of accessible flying.

My role was to look through the answers we collected from the survey and write a news article for the online magazine and a press release to send out to media outlets. I also helped get in touch and organise the guests to appear on the digital panel.

Moreover I assisted with editing the digital panel and adding video descriptions and social media copy.

I was privileged to be given this much responsibility and it was a great learning curve.

WATCH: Digital Panel Accessible air travel

5. Disability Horizons Shop

Disability Horizons shop screenshot

As I’ve mentioned previously, these past few months I’ve been helping launch Disability Horizons’ new online shop, which is due it’s official launch in January 2020.

I’ve  been uploading and editing products and making them SEO friendly. Plus I’ve written up a couple of articles promoting the shop too.

Check out our stylish and accessible products at the Disability Horizons Shop.

6. Disability Horizons events

Caravan holiday park

As well as all the online research, sending emails, making phone calls, writing articles and editing videos, I also got the opportunity to explore the outside world and experience some on location journalism reporting.

Firstly, I attended a press launch of Team BRIT’s racing academy for disabled drivers in Surrey.

A month later, I went to London to attended the Outstanding Attitude Awards, which celebrates the top accessible music venues in the UK.

Then in the summer, I was invited to go to Norfolk and review a new accessible caravan at Belle Aire Holiday Park.

In addition, I went to Naidex 2019, an annual disability exhibition that takes place at the NEC Arena in Birmingham. I finally got to meet some of the team at Disability Horizons and AccessAble. Plus I was very lucky to meet the legendary actor anf TV presenter Warwick Davis.

Left image Zubee, Liz & Emma at the Disability Horizons stall at Naidex. Right image Emma with Warwick Davis

7. AccessAble projects and council meetings

Emma holding AvvessAble frame

This year my role as AccessAble Champion for Hampshire was in full swing.

So far I’ve published 3 blog posts and 4 videos, which you can view in my AccessAble anniversary roundup.

I also got to attend meetings with local councillors to persuade them to fund more access guides. Unfortunately, the five councils we met with are still reluctant to proceed but it was a great experience and I hope more developments can happen next year.

8. Dusty the rabbit

Dusty the rabbit on Emma’s lap

Following the sad passing of my first rabbit Mickey in September 2018, I was keen to have another rabbit. Therefore in January 2019, for my birthday, I was given a fluffy, white & ginger bunny who I named Dusty.

He is very cute, fluffy and friendly and loves giving me kisses on my hand.

Dusty isn’t as adventurous as Mickey, but calm and content, especially on my lap – well most of the time until he is hungry.

9. Music

Collage of images Bon Jovi, The Who & Killer Queen

I attended five concerts this year; Snow Patrol, Killer Queen, Spice Girls, Bon Jovi & The Who. Plus I went to the West End to see Matilda the Music. All reviews available to read in my Live Music: 2019 roundup.

This year I also got the chance to interview 12 music artists and bands. My favourite new discovery was The King of Mars. You can read all the interviews in my Music Interviews: 2019 roundup.

In addition, I’ve enjoyed some new music in 2019 from the likes of The Black Keys, Liam Gallagher, Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club, Blink 182, plus many more.

10. TV, films & books

TV, films & books

I’ve watched and read a variety of TV shows, films and books this year. I’d have to say my ultimate favourites were Stranger Things 3, Toy Story 4 & The Secret Commonwealth by Phillip Pullman.

2019 blog donation total

In 2019, your generous donations have raised a total of £225. Back in August, I donated £35 to Fi Anderson’s wheelchair fundraiser – who has now reached her target and purchased her chair, which is fantastic news.

The money raised since September, I have donated 20% to the charity Guide Dogs. The rest of the funds will go towards the maintenance of this blog.

Thank you to everyone who gave money and I hope to receive your continuing support in 2020.

Resolutions and blog-olutions

My new year’s resolution for 2019 was to read more classic literature.

I managed to read four books between January and March: Emma by Jane Austen, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and the Narnia series by C.S Lewis (I read book 1: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and book 2: Prince Caspian). However by April, I begun to fail, re-reading Harry Potter for the trillionth time and by June, I admitted defeat.

With the time periods and the style of language, I struggled to follow the stories as an audiobook and became bored easily.

I have decided my resolution for 2020 is to attend more theatre productions. I’ve performed in many over the past 15 years but haven’t attended as many as a spectator.

I already have two shows booked so far: We Will Rock You & The Lion King Musical, both at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.

If you can recommend any other theatre productions, then please let me know.

As for my 2019 blog-olutions, I’ve done a slightly better job at sticking to them.

I created a new theme making my blog simple and bold. I also did a monthly roundup of my life and blog content (see below).

I was aiming to produce more guest blog posts and have more guest bloggers feature on here too. However I didn’t get to publish as many as I hoped due to my workload.

I published one guest blog post titled The Reality of Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy & Acute Retinal Necrosis at UndercoverSuperhero.

I’ve also written a guest blog post for Amanda Gene, which is scheduled to be published next year.

The few guest bloggers who featured on Rock For Disability included:

I’m eager to publish more guest posts and feature more guest bloggers in 2020.

If you’d like me to feature on your blog or you’d like to feature on my blog, or even do a collaboration, please contact me.

My 2020 blog-olutions will also include making changes suggested in my recent blog survey and plan a more stable blog schedule that will not overwork me.

My summary of 2019

In case you missed any of my blog posts this year, here is a roundup of the monthly roundups:

1. My summary of January 2019

2. My summary of February 2019

3. My summary of March 2019

4. My summary of April 2019

5. My summary of May 2019

6. My summary of June 2019

7. My summary of July 2019

8. My summary of August 2019

9. My summary of September 2019

10.My summary of October 2019

11. My summary of November 2019

12. My summary of December 2019

My plans for 2020

In 2020, I’m looking forward to seeing Billy Lockett, John Bishop and The Killers live – in addition to my trips to the theatre.

I’m hoping my goal to get onto the waiting list for a guide dog will happen and maybe even being matched with a dog by the end of the year.

I’m also eager to continue my campaign to have audio description avalable on all TV shows, films and streaming services. To achieve this, I need your help. So if you haven’t do so yet, please, please, PLEASE sign my petition. The more signatures we get, the more likely production companies, Ofcom and the government will take action and make the media industry inclusive for everyone.

And finally – I aim to just keep creating some fun, interesting, engaging and world changing content for Disability Horizons, AccessAble and Rock For Disability. Plus continue my ambition to become a full time freelance journalist.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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Published by Rock For Disability

This blog follows my life as a disabled person, reports disability news, share music reviews, give advice pieces, shows multimedia content plus much more!

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