Category Archives: Disability

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2022

World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. The campaign was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.

With that in mind we have chosen Jim Broadbent as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Jim is an actor, graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1972.  He first came to prominence in television comedy in shows such as Only Fools and Horses and Time Bandits with his breakthrough role coming in Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet.  His notable roles since then include Bridget Jones’ Diary, Hot Fuzz, The Iron Lady, Game of Thrones to name just a few.  He has played Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter film series and Samuel Gruber in the amazing Paddington films.

He has received many awards including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Iris, a BAFTA for Moulin Rouge and Longford and an Emmy for The Gathering Storm.

He was awarded an OBE in 2002 but declined stating that there were more deserving recipients than actors and that the British Empire was not something he wanted to “celebrate”.

Jim is an Ambassador for Dementia UK and in 2018 presented a BBC Lifeline Appeal, in which he spoke movingly about his own mother’s experience of dementia, as well as highlighting the life-changing support that the Dementia UK specialist nurses are able to offer families facing dementia – in communities, GP practices, hospitals, care homes and hospices, and on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline.

To find out more about Alzheimers’ Month see here https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month

To find out more about Dementia UK see here https://www.dementiauk.org/

To find out more about Jim see here https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000980/bio  

‘Inclusive Barbies are a major step in my life’

“It’s a major step in the toy industry and in my life. It made me feel proud of who I was.”

James Stewart is among those celebrating the new Barbie dolls that are being released today.

Mattel, the company that makes them, has released a range of more diverse dolls.

For the first time, Barbie is seen with a hearing aid, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair, while a Ken doll has the skin condition vitiligo.

James, who has the skin condition, says it “felt quite surreal” to hold. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – August 2022

International Youth Day is on 12 August and with that in mind we have chosen Meghan Willis as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Meghan, at 14 years old, is the youngest member of Wales’ para swimming squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham.

Meghan will race the SM10 200 metre individual medley for swimmers with upper limb deficiencies and has risen rapidly in the last year, qualifying as one of the top eight swimmers in the Commonwealth in her event.

She helps other young people with upper limb deficiencies through her work with the charity Reach and is determined to inspire others to become active through sport and live their lives without limits. 

She is also a young water safety ambassador for the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) promoting ability over disability.

To find out more about Reach see here

https://reach.org.uk/ .

To find out more about Para Swimming and the Commonwealth Games see here

https://www.birmingham2022.com/sports/swimming

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – July 2022

Disability Awareness Day is on 17 July and with that in mind we have chosen Francesca Martinez as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Francesca is a comedian and disability campaigner.  As a comedian, she has toured internationally, including sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

As a campaigner, she spent a year getting the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a debate in Parliament on welfare reform and its effect on disabled people. Using her award-winning humour, Francesca, who has cerebral palsy, talks passionately about facing fear, the profound power of positive thinking, gaining the right perspective and questioning society’s values in her critically acclaimed memoir, What the **** is Normal?!, which was nominated for The Bread and Roses Radical Publishing Award.

As a youngster she was a regular in the BBC children’s drama Grange Hill, becoming one of the first disabled actors to have a significant role on a popular TV programme. In November 2016, she was the guest curator at Sheffield’s Off The Shelf Festival of Words, which featured a day of inspirational talks and events. She also teamed up with Network Rail to launch a new campaign to improve disabled passengers’ experiences of travelling by rail. Another recent highlight for was supporting Frankie Boyle on tour.

For International Women’s Day Able Magazine published their top 10 most influential women with a disability which included Francesca.  She is patron of a number of charity including the Misfits Theatre Company.

To find out more about Francesca see here https://www.francescamartinez.com/bio

To find out more about Disability Awareness Day see here

https://www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk/show/

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2022

This year Diabetes Week runs from 13 – 19 June and with this in mind we have chosen Muhammad Ali as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Muhammad is a professional boxer and on 19 May 2018 he made boxing history after becoming World’s first type1 diabetic to be granted a professional licence by the British Boxing Board of Control.

As an amateur Muhammad boxed at the 2016 Olympics, 2015 World Championships and the 2014 World Youth Championships where he won a silver medal.  His ambition is to become the first diabetic boxing world champion.

Muhammad says this about his diabetes:

“Diabetes is a condition, not an illness; I’m just like any other ordinary person. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass by but learning to weather the storm. One day I’d love to say I lived by diabetes”.

Muhammad is an ambassador for Diabetes UK, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the International Diabetes Federation.

To find out more about Muhammad see here https://www.muhammadaliboxing.com/

To find out more about Diabetes Week see here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-week

Jacky Hunt-Broersma: The cancer survivor who ran 104 marathons in 104 days

A woman who took up running after she lost her left leg to cancer has passed the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons.

Jacky Hunt-Broersma, 46, has run 26.2-miles every day since mid-January, normally taking around five hours.

On Saturday, she completed her 104th consecutive marathon in as many days – an achievement she expects to be certified by Guinness World Records.

A spokesperson said certifying the record would take around three months.

Waking up on Sunday – a day off at long last – was a bizarre experience for Jacky.

“Part of me was really happy to be done,” she tells the BBC from her home in Arizona. “And the other part kept thinking I need to go running.”

Her body is also recovering from the record-chasing effort, despite having stopped. “I feel tighter than I have the whole 104 marathons,” she admits.

But Jacky – who was born and raised in South Africa, and has also lived in England and the Netherlands – is grateful. Because running has given her the confidence she was afraid she would never regain. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2022

11 – 16 April is Parkinson’s Awareness Week and with this in mind we have chosen Paul Mayhew-Archer as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Following a brief career in teaching, during which he organised a school trip and got left behind, Paul Mayhew-Archer has spent the last 40 years trying to make people laugh. 

He is a multi-award-winning writer whose credits include ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, “Mrs Brown’s Boys” and the screen version of “Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot” starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. He also produced the much loved Radio 4 shows ‘I’m Sorry I haven’t A Clue’ and ‘Old Harry’s Game’, and as a script editor he has worked on everything from ‘Spitting Image’ to ‘Miranda’.  

In 2011 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, an incurable illness that gets progressively worse and has over 50 symptoms. It is also – as Paul quickly found out – funny.   

Since then he’s had some of the best times of his life.   

In 2016 he made his first documentary, “Parkinson’s: The funny Side”, for which he won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Presenter.

In 2018 he took part in his first podcast, sitting next to The Archbishop of Canterbury and performed his first ever One Man show, “Incurable Optimist”, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He now promotes the therapeutic power of laughter as a stand-up comedian, and is an active member of the Parkinson’s UK Oxford Branch.
To find out more about Parkinson’s Awareness Week see here https://parkinsonscare.org.uk/awarenessweek/

To find out more about Paul see here http://mayhew-archer.com/

University Mental Health Day

University Mental Health Day is celebrated across the UK bringing the university community together to make mental health a university-wide priority and create ongoing change to the future of student and staff mental health.

We know that mental health hugely matters to our students and it matters to us. Universities, including ours, have an important role to play in promoting good mental health, identifying those who are starting to struggle early, and supporting those who have a mental health condition.

In what has been a challenging period, we’re focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of our community with a programme of workshops, discussions and resources for staff and students, ensuring that we continue to support each other and our mental health through these times.

What’s on

This is our most wide-reaching programme of activities to-date, with a breadth of online and face-to-face events taking place across the university – including a keynote session from our Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane Harrington, and Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, President of the Mental Health Foundation.

The 5-day agenda will include sessions covering nature bathing, exercise and mental wellbeing, and support for staff from Confidential Care, as well as hearing from the Student Wellbeing team and Greenwich Students’ Union about student mental health.

In a session led by the university’s BAME staff network we will be discussing what some old civilisations and the global majority can teach us about mental health and wellbeing. Staff can receive guidance on supporting students with mental health needs, and we can learn more about the benefits of ‘switching off’..

Join our events

For more information, including a full list of sessions and resources, visit our University Mental Health Day website.

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – March 2022

On 3 March it is World Hearing Day and with that in mind we have chosen Chris Fonseca as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Chris is a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher and deaf ambassador. He specialises in Urban dance technique and works extensively across the UK and overseas – receiving both international invitations and commissions.

Chris drew early inspiration from the actor Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers and Old Skool dance techniques such as Electric Boogaloo, Popping, locking and B-Boying. Whilst attaining his degree in Graphic Communication, Chris was a founding member of Def Motion, an all-deaf dance group affiliated to Deaffest – the UK’s annual Deaf Film Festival.

Since then Chris has been involved in a variety of endeavours. In 2012, Chris appeared in the London Paralympics opening ceremony showcasing his talents as an accomplished dance artist and creator.

Other achievements have included – The Black Collective: Black History Month, Smirnoff’s Keep it Moving campaign, LinkedIn’s Chase the Great campaign, SKY1’s what’s up TV, BBC’s the One Show, BBC Three’s Amazing Human JBL: Sound to See campaign, BBC’s The Greatest Dancer, Blue Peter and touring the UK with the Wind in The Willows musical.

To find out more about Chris see here

https://www.chrisfonsecadancer.com/home

To find out more about World Hearing Day see herehttps://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hearing-day/2022

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month

World Braille Day is on 4 January 2022, with that in mind we have chosen Amy Kavanagh as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Amy is a blind activist and freelance disability consultant who uses social media to share her experiences as a low vision Londoner.

She advocates through writing, policy influencing and public speaking. She is engaged with a variety of disability issues ranging from accessible gaming, disability hate crime, digital inclusion, public transport and disabled women’s rights.

In 2018 Amy started the #JustAskDontGrab hashtag, a now globally recognised campaign which raises awareness of the experiences of unwanted touching which many disabled people experience when navigating life in public. Over the last year, #JustAskDontGrab has also become a focal point for disabled women to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. Amy continues to campaign for disabled people to have their consent and boundaries respected.

When COVID-19 put the country into lockdown, Amy established The Staying Inn as an online space for disabled people feeling isolated during the pandemic. The pub has grown to a community of more than 2500 disabled and non-disabled people who enjoy events including quizzes, craft clubs, activist interviews and skills workshops. The Staying Inn has become a model for providing online accessible events and now delivers digital inclusion training for individuals and businesses.

In November 2020, Amy was partnered with Guide Dog Ava. This golden retriever diva has supported Amy to rebuild her confidence and embrace her independence after a difficult year. Amy hopes to continue building communities and spaces for disabled people to share their lived experience and campaign for a more inclusive world.

In 2021 Amy came fourth in The Disability Power 100 list.

To find out more about Amy see here https://amykavanagh.co.uk/

To find out more about the Staying Inn see here https://www.thestayinginn.org.uk/ To find out more about World Braille Day see here https://brailleworks.com/what-is-world-braille-day/