The Upcoming Naidex Convention 

The Upcoming Naidex Convention 

samanta bullock judge naidex
Naidex

Whether you have a disability, you care for someone who is disabled or you work within the independent living sector, the Naidex convention is the pinnacle of the year. It’s by far the biggest industry exhibition in Europe, and that’s why so many people flock to the venue on an annual basis. How many to be precise? Just a mere 12,000.

Now, the event spreads across two whole days, which gives everyone a perfect amount of time to browse the stalls, watch some demonstrations and just have a great time. Everyone who attends is in some way connected to independent living, which empowers you to meet new people who share common interests. 

invitation nailed 26 april naidex samanta bullock wheelchair model
Naidex

I personally attend most years, and I’m always amazed at how many people actually turn up. But, I’m also inspired by the innovative solutions that companies continue to create and work so hard on. It almost highlights how determined humanity is to discover ways to make life better for disabled individuals.

From smart wheelchairs and robotic limbs, to aftercare and rehabilitation measures, the convention really does see some unique products on display. The wonderful thing is – and something that should give hope to the independent living community – technology keeps evolving at a tremendous pace, which means products will become more adept, more intelligent and more helpful. 

Something that I’ve loved since I’ve been heading to Naidex is the element of healthy competition between traders. Everyone pushes each other to manufacturer better products, services and educational material. In fact, Naidex have even established their own awards ceremony.

invitation nailed 26 april naidex samanta bullock wheelchair model It’s broken down into four sections; the Naidex Innovation Award, Naidex Changing Lives Award, Naidex Professional Award and Able Magazine Best in Show Award. For all those in attendance, you’re able to cheer on your favourite nominee and see who claims top spot. Moreover, like I’ve just touched on, this is something that I truly admire about convention.

So much so, I’ve actually been invited to be a part of the judging panel for the Naidex Changing Lives Award, alongside Geoff Holt MBE and Tom Jamison. This particular category is full of nominees that have forged a product or service that has had a hugely positive impact on users. 

If you’re interested, the event will take place on Wednesday 25th of April and Thursday 26th April at the NEC, Birmingham, UK. Join the 12,000-strong crowd and pledge your support to the independent living sector. There’s roughly 300 exhibitors, one to one advice from leading professionals, and the chance to network with some amazing people. You can enhance your knowledge, buy cutting-edge products or just attend for the ambiance.

Want to know what the best part is? The convention is completely free to enter.

How Wheelchair Users Move on the Aircraft

How Wheelchair Users Move on the Aircraft

samanta bullock wheelchair user model aircraft airplane move toilet
Aircraft

People are often curious as to how I travel on a plane.  This video gives you a little insight into how I get to my seat and how I get to the toilet on board.

I love to travel and share my experiences.  I learn so much by visiting new places and meeting people from different cultures.
There has been a lot of publicity about the challenges of disabled people travelling in the UK but the increased awareness will only help improve the services offered to disabled travellers.
I hope you take the opportunity to go out and explore the world.

Inclusive Sport  – A personal Perspective ‘Get Out Get Active’

Inclusive Sport – A personal Perspective ‘Get Out Get Active’

As You know I love to be active and lead a healthy lifestyle. Here is a blog is written by my husband on inclusive sport and the activities that we do together. 

Statistics show disabled people to be the least active group in the UK and it would seem logical that this is the case around the world.

 

The ‘Disabled People’s Lifestyle Report’ from September 2013 found that there is clear untapped demand for physical activity and sport within the community in the UK with 70 percent of the disabled people surveyed stating they would like to be more active. The report also found that 64 percent of the disabled people surveyed would prefer to take part in sport and physical activity with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people.  However, at the time of the report, only 51 percent did so.  The UK research highlighted a clear mismatch between people’s preferences and the availability of opportunities. Over 60 percent of those surveyed claimed that either a lack of awareness of opportunities or a lack of available opportunities is what prevents them from taking part in sport and physical activity.  Get Out Get Active is a project aimed at addressing these issues.

 

Get Out Get Active is a programme to encourage more disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together and has been introduced by a consortium of partners led by the English Federation of Disability Sport. The £4.5m programme concentrates on ‘fun and inclusive activities’ over a period of three years.

 

As the husband of a T12 paraplegic and somebody who has been involved in disability sport in various roles from volunteer to coach to administrator since 1991 I can relate very strongly to the finding that many disabled people want to take part in physical activity with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people.

 

My wife, Samanta, is a former no 1 Brazilian wheelchair tennis player and very active but the majority of her current activities are with non-disabled family and friends.  In her wheelchair tennis career, the competition was with other disabled people.  Outside of the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour and since retiring the vast majority of Sam’s physical activity and sport is done with non-disabled people.

samanta bullock acroyoga disabled yoga
Acroyoga X Wheelchair User

 

The list of activities and sports she has tried is extensive

Archery – Basketball –  Beach Tennis – Camping – Canoeing – Cycling – Dancing

Fitness classes – Golf – Gym – Netball – Roller skating – Snorkelling – Squash

Swimming- Surfing – Table Tennis –  Pushing/Walk – Trampolining – Yoga including Acroyoga

As a couple we want to do activities together and this certainly applies to our nieces who don’t see any barriers to the activities that we can do as a group.  When planning to go roller skating the question came up as to whether the venue would allow Sam to go round in her wheelchair. The younger niece who must have been 7 at the time said ‘Of course it will be ok as she already has wheels.’  Our nieces love to do activities with us as a group.  We cycle, run, push, attend fitness classes, go swimming and play tennis as a family.  We take part in these activities in the house, in the garden, in parks, in the countryside, in sports clubs & in leisure centres.

 

 

In the words of a 11-year-old niece ‘I like the challenge of going on cycling adventures with Sam and solving how we will get over and around obstacles like rough ground, up & down slopes, across narrow bridges over ditches & occasionally up & downstairs using teamwork.  When we go swimming I don’t notice Sam has a disability. She is such a good swimmer’

 

We believe strongly in the benefits of inclusive activity and sport but not just for the physical benefits.  Exercise and social interaction are beneficial for the wellbeing of all family members.  Exercise & sport for disabled people does not have to be in disability specific sessions.  People can go for a walk/push with non-disabled family and friends of a similar fitness level.  Some people may prefer to participate with people with a similar impairment.  Some may want a combination of both complementing time spent with family & friends with time with people with a similar impairment sharing thoughts and ideas.  The key is that the disabled person is in a position to make choices about the most suitable environment(s) for them to exercise and play sport.

 

To conclude everybody should Get Out and Get Active.  I am off for a run followed by some yoga.