Category Archives: Disability

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month

4 January is World Braille day and with that in mind we have chosen Mike Brace as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Born in Hackney, East London, in 1950, Mike has always loved sport. However, at the age of ten, his life dramatically changed. Blinded in one eye, after an accident with fireworks, Mike then lost sight in his second eye two years later from a detached retina. At 12, he reluctantly went to a specialist boarding school, but there he re-discovered his love of sport.

In 1973 he founded the Metro Sports Club for the Blind. Later, he helped set up The British Paralympic Association, British Blind Sport and the British Ski Club for the Disabled.

Mike went on to become a successful cross-country skier. He managed, and competed in, the Paralympic ski team. A talented and versatile athlete, aged 33, he completed the Devizes to Westminster 125-mile canoe marathon. It took him and his guide 27 hours of non-stop canoeing, without sleep, in the worst weather conditions in the history of the race.

As a board member of both the successful Olympic and Paralympic 2012 Bid Team, Mike was appointed to the London Organising Committee for London 2012 and later became CEO for the newly formed VISION 2020 UK, an organisation which unites various charities, including RNIB, and health services involved in sight loss.

Mike recently won this year’s lifetime achievement award at the RNIB See Differently Awards for his outstanding contribution to business, sport and charity, changing perceptions of disability and inspiring thousands. In 2003 Mike was awarded an OBE and, in 2009, a CBE for Services to Disabled Sport. He was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of London in July 2016.

To find out more about World Braille Day see here

To find out more about Mike see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – December 2019

3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and with this in mind we have chosen Mike Oliver as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month. Sadly Mike died in March following a short illness and this is the first time we have had a posthumous Champion. 

Mike was a Professor Emeritus of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich who spoke, wrote and published books including Understanding Disability, The Politics of Disablement and The New Politics of Disablement.

He was the first Professor of Disability Studies and was best known as the person who named and popularised the concept of the ‘social model’ of disability which states that it is the way society is organised which is disabling, not a person’s impairments or medical diagnosis.

In his work he comprehensively explained that society is the disability not the individual and goes on to demonstrate that by changing society by removing disabling barriers, disability could be minimised to the point of eradication. As Mike once described it, this different approach to disability: “changed it from being a medical issue to being a human rights issue.”

Countless change-makers who have shaped the legislation, policies, and world which exists today credit him and the social model as being their ‘lightbulb moment’. The initial concept was not his own creation: the principles were laid out in a 1976 pamphlet produced by the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Discrimination. However, Mike developed the term and popularised it with his 1983 book Social Work With Disabled People.

The book was originally written as course materials for healthcare professionals Mike was training, but it came out at a fortuitous time for the growing disability rights movement. The social model gave campaigners the framework to address disability discrimination, and the concept became a tool to address underlying assumptions.

Mike is remembered as the father of the social model, the person who founded disability studies as an academic discipline, and the man who ignited a movement and changed the lives of millions of disabled people around the globe.

  To find out more about International Day of Persons with Disabilities see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – November 2019

World Diabetes Day is 14 November, with that in mind we have chosen Henry Slade as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Henry is a professional rugby player who signed his first professional contract with Exeter Chiefs at the age of 18, the same year in which he also developed type 1 diabetes.

He has adapted to life with diabetes but admitted there was a moment he thought his career may have come to a premature end.  He could not understand how he could continue to play and have diabetes.

Fortunately he was told his rugby career would not be jeopardised, providing he was able to control his diabetes.  He quickly educated himself on what management routines worked for training and matches, what worked best for himself and took advice from fellow rugby professional Chris Pennell who is also diabetic.

Henry has not let his diabetes hinder any of his ambitions.  He was called into the England squad in 2014 and is currently part of the England Squad at the World Cup in Japan.

When asked if diabetes has changed him, he answered: “I wouldn’t say it’s changed my life. The way I look at it is you can’t change what’s happened to you. I’ve got diabetes and it’s something I just have to live with.

To find out more about World Diabetes Day see here To find out more about Henry see here

UK Invictus Games 2020 team unveiled by Duke of Sussex

A former RAF medic and RAF corporal will lead Team UK at next year’s Invictus Games in the Hague.

Capt Rachel Williamson, from Rutland, who was discharged after being injured, will lead the 65-strong team.

David Morris, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be the vice-captain.

Cpl Morris developed PTSD after a Red Arrows colleague died when his ejection seat deployed while on the ground.

The pair both represented the UK at the Invictus Games in 2018.

Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a way of using sport to create a positive impact on the lives of injured service personnel and veterans. More

The Shaw Trust Power 100

The Shaw Trust Power 100 which lists the top 100 most influential disabled people includes a tribute to Mike Oliver a former member of staff of the University.

This year the list includes 4 former Inspirational Diversity Champions of the Month namely, Sophie Morgan, Matt Hampson, Tani Grey-Thompson and Ade Adepitan.

Information about the Trust and this year’s list can be found here

HR Bulletin No 19.9 – Join Our Disability Staff Network

Dear Colleagues

 Would you like to have a say in how the University:

  • Promotes equality, diversity and inclusion for staff with disability
  • Celebrates the diversity of its staff and students
  • Shapes its recruitment approaches to support diversity
  • Develops and supports staff to advance their careers
  • Develops and delivers teaching and learning to students from diverse backgrounds

If yes, then how about joining our Disability Staff Network. We welcome all new members who may have a disability (physical or hidden) themselves or who support someone else with a disability. 

Our aim is to:

  • Support all staff with disability to enable them to achieve their potential in their careers
  • Help make the university environment barrier-free for all staff and students
  • Raise awareness and educate colleagues about various disabilities and how to support colleagues who may have a disability

The network has direct communication channel to Senior Management through the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


If you are interested in being a part of this inspiring group, please contact either Naseer Ahmad in the EDI Team on: or Ciara Doyle, the Chair of the Disability Staff Network on:

Best Regards

Gail Brindley

Director of Human Resources

Text Box: HR Bulletin 19.9

16 September 2019

To: All Staff

Double amputee model walks at New York Fashion Week

A nine-year-old model who had both legs amputated as a baby has walked the runway at New York Fashion Week.

Daisy-May Demetre, from Birmingham, is believed to be the first double amputee child to walk in an official New York Fashion Week show.

Her father Alex said she was “amazing” and “felt really proud of herself” as she modelled for brand Lulu et Gigi.

She is set to model at the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Fashion Week later this month. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2019

World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. September 2019 will mark the 8th World Alzheimer’s Month. The campaign was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.

With this in mind we have chosen Scott Mitchell and Barbara Windsor as our Inspirational Diversity Champions of the Month.

Both are former actors and have been married since 2000.  Barbara, well known in the role of Peggy Mitchell in Eastenders, is currently living with Alzheimer’s.  Barbara was diagnosed in 2014 but her condition was only made public in 2018.

Together they are campaigning to raise awareness of the condition and for more support for the families and those affected by Dementia.

Scott and Barbara led the charge for Dementia Revolution, a unique ground-breaking campaign formed by Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, helping to raise over £3 million towards dementia research.

Dementia Revolution was the chosen charity for this year’s London Marathon and Scott and fellow Eastenders friends of Barbara’s decided to raise money for the cause by running in the name of Barbara’s Revolutionaries.

Scott and Barbara have recently become Ambassadors for the Alzheimer’s Society and continue to fight against dementia.

To find out more about World Alzheimer’s Month see here

To find out more about Dementia Revolution see here

London’s Wheelie Gang helps children who use wheelchairs

Emma from Greenwich set up the Wheelie Gang because her daughter Evie had no friends in her school in a wheelchair.

But now, after seeing how many children in wheelchairs feel the same as Evie, Emma’s project has grown into something she hopes to expand across London.

Emma uses her local community centre in Greenwich to organise disabled-friendly sports and crafts for children. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month

On 14 July it is Disability Awareness Day and with this in mind we have chosen Sophie Morgan as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

In 2003 Sophie was left paralysed from the chest down after a road accident when she was 18 years old after which she was determined to channel her adversity into opportunity.

In 2004, 9 months after her accident, she took part in the first series of BBC Two‘s Beyond Boundaries, which followed 11 disabled people on an expedition to traverse 220 miles across Nicaragua from its Atlantic coast to its Pacific coast.  She haS also appeared in Britain’s Missing Top Model where women with disabiliities competed to become a model, challenging boundaries in the beauty and fashion industries in which she came runner up.

In 2013, she presented Licence to Kill, a documentary for BBC Three about road accidents like hers caused by young drivers. Following broadcast of the film, Sophie teamed up with BBC Learning and Drive iQ to launch the Licence to Kill Schools Tour, visiting schools and colleges to promote young driver safety. The tour was endorsed by organizations including Road Safety GB, Transport for London, and RoadSafe.

Sophie has now worked as a reporter for the BBC and Channel 4 appearing on Horizon, The One Show and No Go Britain.  She has also become a presenter for Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics in 2012 and 2016 and the 2016 IPC European Swimming Championships.

Sophie has been involved in many campaigns including The Back Up Trust providing support for people with spinal cord injuries, she is a patron of Scope, an ambassador for Parallel London and she has assisted in promoting SEAT a programme to help disabled youths to drive.  She also designed the ‘Mannequal’ a wheelchair for a mannequin which was installed in Adidas and Debenhams.

To find out more about Sophie see here

To find out more about Disability Awareness Day see here