Okay, given the difficulties with using IRC for the live chats, I've set up a Google Group for discussions. This can be accessed as an email list, or through the web interface, as you prefer. You do, however, have to have a Google account set up to join - this doesn't have to be a gmail address, Google allow accounts to be set up using other email addresses.
Alternatively, I can manually add people who don't have Google accounts (I think). Let me know if you want me to do that.
You can join on the web at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/union-of-disabled-people-discussion/ or by email by emailing email@example.com.
Being usable as an email list makes it more accessible for visually-impaired users, among others. If you would prefer not to receive loads of emails into your inbox, there are several options. You may choose to receive digest emails (all of the activity for a certain time at once), you can access it over the web and optionally get notifications of new messages, or you can get all the emails, but set your email to automatically sort them into a folder.
IRC didn't work too well, but let's see how this works.