Category Archives: Disability

Join our Staff Networks

Dear Colleagues

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

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

If yes, then how about joining one of our Staff Networks. We are particularly keen for staff to join these Staff Networks: Disability, Faith and Women’s Network.

Regular Staff Network meetings will be held and will focus on planning work that helps promote diversity and inclusion across the University. These networks will have a direct communication channel to Senior Management through the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


If you are interested in being a part of any of these inspiring groups, please contact Naseer Ahmad in the EDI Team on:

Best Regards

Gail Brindley

Director of Human Resources

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2019

On 2 April it is World Autism Awareness Day and with that in mind we have chosen Rosie King as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Rosie is a writer and public speaker from Wakefield. She is currently studying creative writing at university and wants to go on to teach and support people with learning disabilities, as well as pursuing her career in writing, and speaking.

Rosie and her brother Lenny are autistic and their sister Daisy has Kabuki syndrome. Rosie is passionate about sharing their unique experiences of life and increasing public understanding.

Rosie has delivered a very well received TED talk, has spoken at conferences and has been interviewed widely in the media. She is one of the writers of popular CBeebies series Pablo, and also voices one of the characters.

Rosie has worked with the National Autistic Society in various ways, starting when she was a teenager in the Young Campaigners Group.

In the intervening years, she’s spoken at Professional Conferences, led a Q&A on the Society Twitter channel, and supported campaigns. Rosie has worked on many media opportunities, including BBC Breakfast and the One Show.

Rosie is a passionate speaker who offers a positive and thought-provoking insight into autism.

To find out more about Rosie see here

To find out more about World Autism Awareness Day see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – March 2019

21 March is World Down Syndrome Day and with that in mind we have chosen Sarah Gordy as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Sarah is an actress who has Down syndrome. She gained her first professional acting job on the ITV television series, Peak Practice, and subsequently landed many other TV and theatre roles.

She is best known for her roles as Orlando Quine in Strike: The Silkworm and Lady Pamela Holland in the BBC TV series Upstairs Downstairs. She has also acted in episodes of Call the MidwifeHolby City and Doctors. As well as these BBC shows, she has acted in short films, radio dramas, commercials and many theatre productions.

In 2014 she appeared in an episode of Call the Midwife, in which the episode highlighted the treatment of people with physical and intellectual disabilities in British society in the late 1950s.

She also appeared in the BBC Radio 4 play, Resurrection, has read four “Bedtime Stories” for CBeebies and in 2014 she broke new ground by playing a central character without a disability in the play Crocodiles at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

Sarah is also one of the principal dancers for Culture Device Dance Project, an experimental dance company for professional dancers with Down syndrome. She has performed in Germany, Macedonia, UK and Ireland. She performed a series of dance pieces at the My Perspective International Photography Competition Awards Ceremony in June 2016 which is held each year by the Down Syndrome Association (DSA).

In 2013 when she was nominated for the BBC Sussex and Surrey Community Heroes Award which she won. She was given the Arts Award in Lewes Town Council’s Civic Awards in 2014 for service to the people of Lewes and her work in the Arts, especially for disabled people living and working in Lewes.

In November 2018 she was presented with an MBE for services to the arts and people with disabilities becoming the first woman with Down syndrome to receive the award. The following month she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Nottingham, becoming the first person with Down syndrome to be awarded an honorary degree by a British university.

Sarah is a celebrity ambassador for Mencap and Patron of Circus Starr.

To find out more about World Down Syndrome Day see here


To find out more about Sarah see here

Sickle cell: Call The Midwife shines spotlight on disease

Mr Aidoo is diagnosed with sickle cell on Call The Midwife

Viewers and people with sickle cell disease have praised TV show Call The Midwife for its storyline portraying the condition.

In Sunday’s episode, which is set in 1964, characters Dr Turner and Nurse Trixie Franklin discover that a mysterious disease affecting a young Ghanaian family was a genetic blood disorder.

But it didn’t take long for viewers on social media to spot the symptoms and diagnose the condition as sickle cell.

Many took to social media to praise the period drama for its portrayal of the disease.  More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – January 2019

World Braille Day takes place on 4 January and with that in mind we have chosen Jill Barkley as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

At 19 years old, Jill suddenly lost her sight from diabetic rhetinopathy. While adjusting to the huge change, Jill’s mum encouraged her to give hospital radio a go and she found her new passion. Jill studied sound engineering and came top of her class of eighty boys before taking a media degree at university and became a qualified journalist. Around 12 years ago Jill joined RNIB Connect Radio (originally Insight Radio) in Scotland, Europe’s first station for blind and partially sighted people.

Every week day Jill presents her show The Morning Mix on RNIB Connect. It’s a mix of great tunes, disability issues and listener call-ins, with her own unique mix of empathy, positivity and fun. She has also worked with BBC Radio Scotland hosting the Music Match and this year she took over a late night slot, presenting The Jill Barkley Show. Some of those listeners now tune in to RNIB Connect, too. As well as being a fantastic role model for what visually impaired people can achieve, Jill has been very open and frank about the challenges, including the breakdown she had a few years after losing her sight.

She’s an ambassador for RNIB and Guide Dogs UK, regularly speaks for both charities at events, and featured in a documentary about guide dogs on ITV. Jill’s a regular at festivals, where she reviews performances and interviews acts. She’s usually right at the front of the crowd at the shows, and has interviewed huge international stars including Dolly Parton, Guy Garvey from Elbow and Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine.

She also throws herself in to a huge range of things, from fire-breathing to conducting an orchestra, to flying a light aircraft!

To find out more about World Braille Day see here

To find out more about Jill see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – December 2018

Monday 3 December is International Day of Disabled Persons 2018 with that in mind we have chosen Billy Monger as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Billy is a racing driver who first got behind the wheel of a vehicle at the age of three when his father bought him a go-kart.  He successfully progressed as a driver in Ginetta Junior and British F4 earning the nickname Billy the Whizz.

In 2016 Billy joined the F4 British Championships with JHR Developments where he took 3 podiums and finished 12 in the championships and remained with the team for 2017.

However on 16 April 2017 whilst competed in a race at Donnington Billy crashed into a stationery car at high speed resulting in devastating leg injuries which required double lower leg amputations.

Billy received huge support from his fellow drivers and the racing community raising £500,000 in 24 hours.  Despite his injuries his recuperation and rehabilitation have been such that he returned to the race track in July 2017 when he tested an adapted race car with additional hand controls at Brands Hatch.

In February 2018 Billy drove a single seater racing car for the first time since his crash when he tested a BRDC British Formula 3 car for the Carlin team at Oulton Park. The following month he confirmed that he would be racing for Carlin in the opening meeting of the 2018 BRDC Formula 3 series at the same venue.

In order to compete in F3, he and his family had to appeal to the sport’s international governing body, to change their regulations, as they had restricted disabled drivers from racing single seaters on the grounds of safety: the FIA decided to lift the ban in December 2017, allowing disabled drivers to race appropriately-modified single seaters as long as they could pass safety checks. In March 2018 less than a year after his accident Billy placed his Carlin British F3 car fifth on the grid and went on to finish an incredible third and walked onto the podium.

To find out more about Billy

To find out more about International Day of the Disabled

‘Purple Tuesday’ to highlight needs of disabled shoppers

Young woman using wheelchair browsing in shop

Some of the UK’s biggest retailers are taking a break from the frantic buildup to Christmas this week for “Purple Tuesday”, the first national day dedicated to the needs of disabled shoppers.

Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s are among more than 700 businesses – after an initial target of only 50 – who had joined the initiative by Monday morning. Companies are required to make at least one long-term commitment to improve the experience of disabled customers in order to take part.  More

Kitty O’Neil: Wonder Woman Stuntwoman dies at 72

Kitty O'Neil in 1977 and doubling for Lynda Carter

Kitty O’Neil, a stuntwoman who was Lynda Carter’s stunt double on 1970s TV series Wonder Woman, has died in South Dakota at the age of 72.

O’Neil, who lost her hearing when she was five months old, also doubled for Lindsay Wagner on The Bionic Woman.

Her other credits included Smokey and the Bandit II and The Blues Brothers.

O’Neil’s success as a stuntwoman led her into the world of speed racing and she set a land-speed record for women in 1976 – which still stands today.  More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2018

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and with this in mind we have chosen Fiona Phillips as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Fiona is a Broadcaster, TV presenter and newspaper columnist whose career in journalism started as a reporter for local radio, before moving to television with local BBC news and Sky news.

She joined GMTV in 1993 initially as the entertainment correspondent based in Los Angeles before becoming the main presenters of the show in 1997.  Fiona left the show after 12 years to spend more time with her children and care for her father.

Both Fiona’s parents were diagnosed with dementia. Fiona’s mother, Amy, had Alzheimer’s until her death in May 2006 and her father, Phillip, who was diagnosed with the disease shortly afterwards, died in February 2012.

Fiona is a passionate campaigner and ambassador for a number of national charities including, particularly, The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Fiona’s latest TV show is Shop Smart: Save Money on Channel Five a show which offers guidance on finding great deals and offers, with tips, tricks and challenges to make sure shoppers are getting the best value for money.

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

To follow Fiona on Twitter see here