Launch of Disability Networks website

A new disability information website was launched last Friday by new Manx charity Disability Networks.

The website provides a gateway to Manx disability-related services and resources, and can be accessed via www.disabilitynetworks.info.

The website was launched at an event at Noa Bakehouse (Fort St, Douglas) on Friday 28th November, hosted by the charity.

A gap was identified between provision of services and resources, and the needs of people with disabilities. A survey confirmed the demand for such a service. Much valuable work had been done by many organisations to compile relevant information, but it was generally separate. This meant that it could be time-consuming to source information, and some people could not find what they needed. Many interested parties gave guidance on how best to find and communicate the mass of information covering all disabilities via a single source. Feedback indicated preference for an independent source. Disability Networks was set up to follow the concept through.

Due to the constantly-changing nature of what is available, a website seemed the best starting-point. The site provides a single source of information that can be rapidly updated, and a reference point for those with PC access. Whilst many users do not have a PC, friends, family, libraries, lifelong learning centres or professionals may be willing to help by searching and printing out useful pages. The aim is to build links from the Disability Networks site to access other useful sites, rather like joining up a dot-to-dot puzzle to reveal the complete picture.

The local information contained in the Disability Networks website covers the full range of disability services for all ages, as provided by public, private and charitable sectors. The aim is to keep the site simple and easy to use. Ideas are welcomed by users to guide the development of site content: see the feedback option on the site. Alternatively, email disabilitynetworks@manx.net.

Beth Martin, a Director of Disability Networks, comments:-

“As a small community, local information is more limited and manageable. This means we can aim at providing a service of excellence. But we do need the support of the community to develop this service. We need those who have been included (and there are lots of businesses, charities and other organisations on the site already) to put a reciprocal link on their sites back to us, please. We need to hear from other organisations and businesses that are not yet included, but that should be. And please let us know of any inaccuracies or ‘dead links’ found when browsing, so we can address them. We are also testing a Browsealoud option to make the information contained accessible to those with difficulty reading. Between us all, we can make this work!”

The charity is run purely by volunteers, so any donations – which are most welcome – will be used directly towards communicating information and raising awareness of the site. The Directors of Disability Networks wish to thank all those who have shared their vision and contributed with funds and service donations (including anonymously), or advice, enabling DN to reach this exciting stage.

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