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Disability

Disability Good Practice Examples

BT

BT is seen as a ‘disability confident company’ as it delivers a range of simple, accessible and easy to use products and services to customers, but puts equal emphasis on creating an environment where employees are given the opportunity to maximise their contribution to the business by removing actual or perceived barriers that they may face as a result of their disability, impairment or long term health problem. Find out more here.

Marks & Spencer partnered with DisabledGo to improve the accessibility of disabled customers shopping online. M&S and DisabledGo are now working together to provide customer staff training, as well as offering opportunities to more than 100 disabled people, making improvements to store access and product ranges.

University of Derby Students’ Union

At the start of the academic year 2012/13 the University of Derby (UoD) granted £3000 to the University of Derby Athletic Union (AU) to run the Inclusive Sport Campaign following a proposal by the Athletic Union President, Mark Farthing.

The Union set up a Sportability Club (for FE students with disabilities), which has a core membership of 40 students who participate in Boccia, Football, Cycling, Equine and Dance.

‘We realise that in order to change our sporting culture to incorporate disability sport we need to engage our student volunteers and educate them on the importance of acknowledging the barriers to sport faced by some students. As a part of this, we ran a Disability Awareness Workshop which was accredited and ran by MJM-Associates entitled Disability and Sport, the Ability Model to Inclusion. A total of 25 students took part in this and feedback was so positive that we are looking into making this an annual workshop.

In order to engage with the local community, 20 students went to support the local wheelchair basketball team in a showcase fixture. As a result our Disabled Students’ Officer was able to engage in sport for the first time since being at the University.

One of our student volunteers ran sitting volleyball taster sessions which highlighted the flaws in our marketing and as a result, the University of Derby and SU have established a long term plan, built in to the sport strategy which aims to engage students in the future BUCS disability sport programme.’ - Drew Walsh, Director of Student Services

University of Manchester Students' Union

To improve the standard of service Deaf and disabled people receive in gig venues the Union has been working with the charity Attitude Is Everything since 2011.

In February 2013, both the Academy Venues and Manchester Students’ Union were awarded Silver Status from Attitude Is Everything. They are the first Students Union to receive this accreditation and did so through the following work:

Developing the Manchester Academy Access Guide, which can be downloaded from the Union website and used as training material for staff on the services offered.

Manchester Academy Access Address Book and Access Requirements Form- all customers are asked to complete the form and are also given the option for the Union to store their information so when booking in future they do not have to complete the form again.

Tech Spec- the Union clearly state information on which facilities are accessible for wheelchair users. From societies booking rooms to bands booking gigs, the Union provides the necessary information in order for disabled people to make informed decisions.

Training- The Union conducts yearly training sessions where permanent staff receive training from Attitude is Everything. This training is then rolled out to student staff.

Michelle Horan, Front of House Manager

University of Wolverhampton Students’ Union

The Union carried out focus groups for students with disabilities. As a result they were able to address the issues of accessibility for wheelchair users. Since then, extensive renovation of all the university buildings have been taking place to include automation of doors and providing more ramps, starting with the Union buildings. As a result of the work of the Welfare VP Wolverhampton University has employed a Mental Health Worker for the first time.

‘We also started a mentorship scheme for autistic students (or students with other social anxiety disorders) so as to improve retention. The scheme is called Friendly Faces and a mentor can support by doing things as simple as meeting up for a cuppa on campus. We petitioned the university for sporting facilities for students with disabilities and the VC has released a blueprint for the revamping of our sports centre which includes more disabled access.

Also, for our mental health campaign, we set up a working group between the SU and key University staff across all departments to address growing concerns about mental health issues. As a result the University is updating their mental health policy to accommodate the growing needs and concerns for mental wealth. The University has also put up first aid mental health training for front-lining staff across the University including the Students’ Union.’ - Iwuese Nyager, Welfare Vice President

If you would like to provide a case study on promoting disability equality please contact Equality & Diversity Consultant, Mandeep Rupra-Daine – mandeep@nus.org.uk