Category Archives: Disability

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – May 2013

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month, being celebrated in England between 23 and 30 May. With this in mind we have chosen Stephen Fry as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Stephen is well known for his variety of talents including; being an actor, quiz show host, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director, activist, and board member of Norwich City Football Club. However, what is less known about Stephen is that he suffers from Bipolar Disorder.  He was finally diagnosed when he was 37 years old having experienced mental health problems for much of his life.

He has spoken publicly about his experience with bipolar disorder, which was also depicted in the documentary ‘Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive’. During the programme, he was dismayed to discover the extent of prejudice surrounding mental health problems;

“I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about.

“Once the understanding is there, we can all stand up and not be ashamed of ourselves, then it makes the rest of the population realise that we are just like them but with something extra.”

He is involved with the mental health charity Stand to Reason and is a celebrity supporter of the mental health charity ‘Time to Change’.


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2013

April is Autism Awareness month and with this in mind we have chosen Luke Jackson as our Inspirational Diversity Champion.

Luke Christopher Jackson is a British author who rose to fame at the age of 13, when he wrote a book from first-hand experience about his life with Asperger syndrome. In the book, entitled ‘Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence’, Luke writes about his younger autistic and ADHD brothers, providing amusing insights into the antics of his younger years and advice for parents, carers and teachers of children with Asperger’s.

Luke’s main reason for writing was because “so many books are written about us, but none are written directly to adolescents with Asperger Syndrome. I thought I would write one in the hope that we could all learn together”.  The book created a sensation and greatly increased general awareness of the condition.

Luke left school at the age of 14 “after completely having had enough”. He has since been singing and playing in a band, has written two further books and has appeared in documentaries about Autism.

Who is Matt Gilbert? Why is he Different?

Matt Gilbert is a professional rugby player. What makes him different is that he is deaf. He is the only british deaf professional rugby player and he currently plays for Bath.

Find out more about Matt and deaf rugby here:

Recruiting local disabled people

Greenwich Association of Disabled People are looking to recruit local disabled people for their trustee board.

This could be a good opportunity for volunteers with professional experience, such as business planning, marketing or finance, to maintain their experience, or for students to gain experience relevant to their degree.  There may be others who can contribute their perspective as disabled people, helping the organisation ensure its services remain true to its core principles.

GAD has a long history in the local area since 1975, with a reputation that extends nationally.  GAD is highly committed to remaining an organisation run by and for disabled people.  As well as providing advice, information and advocacy services, GAD runs a Personal Assistants agency, providing close support for 60 local people, and supports users to become involved in the organisation at different levels, including representing the organisation externally.  See for further information.

GAD is based in Greenwich, near the University’s maritime campus, based at The Forum@Greenwich on Trafalgar Road.

If you are interested, please contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator:

Telephone:  020 8305 2221


Autism Awareness Day Today

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. It was set up by the United Nations in 1989 to raise awareness of the condition.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language. More information can be found on the National Autistic Society website here:

There are over 500,000 people with autism in the UK – that’s 1 in 100. Together with their families, that’s over two million people whose lives are touched by autism every single day.

Find out more about World Autism Day and the signs and symptoms of the condition here:

Matt Hampson wins Sports Book of the Year

Matt Hampson is the winner of best biography at the British Sports Book Awards.

‘Engage’ is Matt’s shocking and moving story descibes how he dislocated his neck and was paralysed in an England rugby training session, and his readjustment to everyday life after the accident.

Read more about the Matt Hampson Foundation and his winning book: here: