Should Scotland legislate a new Accessibility Act?

Should Scotland adopt a similar Accessibility Act to the one in Norway to address the societal barriers that people with disabilities face locally? This unique Accessibility Act has been adopted in very few countries across the world. It has played a particularly important role in improving accessibility through physical, social and technological infrastructure. The success of this specific legislation in Norway has allowed its society to develop and adopt a universal design approach to their technological and physical infrastructure amongst other factors. The impact of the legislation has provided transformational change in Norway. So, could Scotland follow suit by introducing its own new legislation?

According to the Scottish Government, there are currently over a million people with disabilities who live in Scotland’s communities. However, many of them are still unable to be active citizens because of societal barriers, including access to housing, accessing public transport, employment, public services and local environments which are designed and operated in ways that exclude people with disabilities. People with disabilities face daily challenges in relation to inaccessible communication, negative attitudes, low expectations, discrimination and inequality which impact in society.

In 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU), however Scotland voted overwhelmingly by 52% to 48% in favour of remaining in the EU confirmed by the UK Government. The Scottish Government in 2014 launched a Nordic and Baltic nation’s policy statement which aimed to strengthen the relationship with countries in the Nordic and Baltic regions, bringing together various strands of engagement undertaken by Nordic countries.

The UK Parliament legislated the Scotland Act 1998 which was devolved to the Scottish Parliament. It was introduced in 1999 and gave the Scottish Parliament the responsibilities of education, health, housing and social services. The Scotland 1998 Act transferred its functioning relationship to the implementation and obligation of EU laws as well. It also provided powers to the Scottish ministers to ensure that it complied with the European Convention on Human Rights Law (UK Government, 1998). One of the overarching legislations that covers Scotland and the UK is the UK Equality Act (EA) 2010. This applies to the UK including Scotland and provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals, including equality. The UK EA 2010 applies to the provision of services, public functions, employment and education.

In Scotland human rights policies are embedded into the current constitutional legislative and judiciary system. It acknowledges Scotland has a closer increasing international engagement throughout the world where the Scottish Parliament is consumed in a compatible manner on human rights matters rather than the UK Parliament.

Norway has a well-developed legal and institutional framework when it comes to the protection and promotion of human rights. The human rights agenda was added to the Norwegian Constitution in 2014 incorporating civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Norway ratified the UN CPRD, and while the Convention is not part of Norway’s laws, the international human rights obligations are referred to in a general way since the introduction of the Norwegian Constitution.

Norway recognised a person with a disability should have the legal capacity on an equal basis with other citizens in all aspects of his or her life. The Norwegian Government also recognised its obligations to take appropriate measures to provide access for a person with a disability to support them in any required legal capacity. Furthermore Norway declared its understanding of the UN CRPD which allows the withdrawal of legal capacity or support in cases where such measures are necessary. It is clear that Norway reinforced its legal framework for the protection of human rights within the country which highlighted the inter-dependent and elitist nature of human rights legislations.

The Norwegian Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act (ADAA) 2008 came into effect in 2009 with an overarching goal in terms of human rights and equal opportunities. Most of the provisions in relation to this medical definition are aimed at prejudging the disadvantage or impairment with the medical model. Over the last few decades there have been comprehensive legislative changes throughout the world to define the definition of disability as a matter of human rights. Consequently, suitable discrimination measures have been introduced in a number of countries including the UK DDA 1995.

Over the last forty years, disability legislations have been developed to address discrimination and equality, and yet they have provided a varying degree of protection in relation to the nine protected characteristics including disability within the UK EA 2010.

Scotland could learn from Norway, when it comes to enhancing the protection of people with disabilities and removing barriers in society. One of the positive areas that was identified in the research was the Norwegian Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act (ADAA) 2008.

This particular legislation could be adopted in Scotland to enhance and adapt a more streamlined approach to making sure that all physical, social and technological infrastructures, businesses and organisations embrace a universal design approach to society. This would help reduce the stigma and barriers that people with disabilities face in Scotland.

Blank ballot with space for text or logo is dropped into the ballot box against the backdrop of the flag of Scotland. Election concept. 3D rendering. Mockup

Girls in Boccia

Over the last year, there has been a huge drive by Scottish Disability Sports (SDS) to encourage girls to take in the fast-growing sport of Boccia. 

Many people still don’t know what Boccia is?! Boccia is a precision ball sport where athletes with severe physical disabilities compete at the local, national, and international levels. Originally intended for people with cerebral palsy, Boccia is now open to athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills. Boccia is governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed). The sport of Boccia is expanding and evolving on a global scale. Male and female players will be able to compete in separate events at a Paralympic Games for the first time in Paris 2024.           

Recently, SDS held a Girls in Boccia event in Dundee on Saturday 3rd March 2023. I was curious to find out more about the opportunities to play Boccia and compete competitively as I am relishing a new horizon of what adaptive sports are available.  I attended the Come and Try Sports event in Grangemouth last year and it was captivating! You can become excited in trying to beat your opponent while trying to remain focused and precise with the ball.

How to Play Boccia. The aim of the game is to throw red or blue leather balls as close to a white target ball, or jack, as possible from a sitting position. The jack is thrown first, followed by the first two regular balls (first, the player who threw the jack, then the opposing side), followed by the side furthest away from the jack going next in an attempt to either get closer to the jack or knock the opposing side’s ball out of the way. Each round, or end, will continue in this manner until one side has played all of their balls, at which point the opposing side will play their remaining balls. The balls can be moved with your hands, feet, or both. At the end of each end, the referee measures the distance between the balls closest to the jack and awards scores accordingly. Each ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest ball earns one point. The winner is the team/player with the most points at the end of the game. If both teams have the same number of points after all ends, the winner is determined by playing one more end.       

The ‘Girls in Boccia’ event was a great social opportunity to meet other girls who were trying Boccia and to see if it appealed to them. One of the fascinating aspects of Boccia was that you have to be creative problem solvers and tactful in working out your opponent’s decision. This is where sports phycology comes in, being able to make decisions and see the objective from a different angle.          

It is clear that Boccia is all about the mindset of being, sharp, tactful and precision. It truly grips players to be competitive! It requires a lot of continuous practice, dedication and patience to perfect the ball to the jack. Boccia can be played on a recreational and on competitive basis. Competitions are organised locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.           

You can check-out the success of the event through these tweets:


Dr. Julie McElroy from Glasgow, is taking part in the Glasgow Kiltwalk in April 2023 to raise money for Victoria Park Athletics Club which has charity status. She will embark on 22 miles on her specialist Frame Runner.

The Glasgow Kiltwalk  takes place on Sunday, April 30, 2023, beginning at Glasgow Green and ending at Balloch, Loch Lomond. The Kiltwalk is Scotland’s largest mass participation walking event, attracting over 120,000 participants since 2016. The funds raised will be used by the Club to purchase a new Seated Throw chair for Para Throws. It is a sport for athletes who are unable to stand and/or have balance and stability issues that make throwing from an ambulant position difficult. Athletes in the seated throwing events use either their day chairs or custom-made throwing frames that are strapped to the ground.

Dr Julie McElroy Frame Runner Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital All images © Gibson Digital 2022.

Julie was born with Cerebral Palsy, a condition that restricts her mobility, speech, and hearing. A traumatic accident five years ago changed her life because she lost her functional ability to participate in sports and perform daily tasks.

Julie is looking forward to better times with a new horizon ahead of her as she recovers from the accident. Gordon Innes, who is qualified to coach athletes with disabilities in Frame Running and the seated throw, recently introduced her to Victoria Park Athletics, which is not far from where she lives and he has been an incredibly supportive coach.

Frame Running, previously known as ‘RaceRunning’ an athletic discipline for disabled athletes or ‘racerunners’. Athletes use a running bike, a three-wheeled frame with a saddle, body support and most notably, no pedals.        

It is clear that Julie has the indomitable will to succeed in overcoming challenges in the face of adversity this time around again. Julie is doing the Kiltwalk on a new mission to experience a new sense of freedom with Frame Runner.

Julie said “It was a light bulb moment when I spoke to my good friend of sixteen years, Ken Hames. Ken is a former SAS Commander who, having spent twenty-five years in the army, has now become an expedition leader and specialist TV presenter. One of Ken’s more renowned TV programmes is called ‘Beyond Boundaries’. I have been fortunate to have a mentor like Ken over the years. It became evident that Ken saw my capabilities of determination, motivation and stubbornness to succeed in some of the world’s toughest environments along with supporting my teammates, which requires communication, empathy and respect. This is inclusive leadership in action”.          

Julie said “Ken was one of the very few people to outreach to me when I was struggling with the impact of the injury. He saw the significance and how the impact of the accident changed me. Since taking up Frame Running, he has said why don’t you be innovative with your Frame Runner!”.

Julie is no stranger to getting involved in different initiatives over the years and the Kiltwalk is no exception. Julie’s Frame Runner has been key to keeping her mobile and pain-free. She trains down at Victoria Park Athletics Club, Scotstoun Stadium regularly.

On meeting Gordon, Julie said “I was apprehensive about returning to sports as the injury left me in chronic pain. I am indebted to Gordon for allowing me to participate in adaptive sports locally and train at the Club. It has certainly taken a type of individual like Gordon to harness my abilities against the challenges I have faced. It is no easy task!”.

The Glasgow Kiltwalk is certainly going to be an exhilarating experience and set Julie up for wherever she goes next on her Frame Running or sporting journey.

Three directors from Glasgow and the West of Scotland win IoD Scotland national awards

  • The Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland announced the winners of its Director of the Year Awards 2021 last night
  • A new category for 2021, Agility and Resilience Director of the Year, was won by Lynn Laughland, HRM Homecare Services Ltd from Kilmarnock.
  • Vivienne MacLaren, Chair of Scottish Women’s Football, was given the prestigious Chair’s Award
IoD Scotland Winner Awards

IoD Scotland revealed national winners of its Director of the Year Awards 2021 at a live online ceremony hosted by Shereen Nanjiani last night (9 December).

The three winners of national awards from Glasgow and the West of Scotland are:

  • The inaugural IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Agility & Resilience award was won by Lynn Laughland, Managing Director at HRM Homecare Services Ltd. This new award paid tribute to the commitment and drive shown by leaders during the pandemic. The judges commented that Lynn went to extraordinary lengths to increase HRM’s critical care service offering during the pandemic, providing the highest level of front-line support to the most vulnerable.
  • Dr Julie McElroy, Academic & Disability Rights Activist won IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. The judges commented that she embodies the values of equality and inclusion through her determination to highlight inequalities and socially constructed barriers for disabled people, and actively seeks out new platforms through which to increase awareness of these issues, as well as potential solutions.
  • Dr Brian Williamson, Chairman at 4icg, took home IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Non-Executive. The Judging Panel recognised his hard work to support ambitions for the group to be dominant in Europe in the next three years. The judges commented on his success as an inspirational leader who keeps looking forward while ensuring firm foundations are in place.

The regional Director of the Year 2021 for Glasgow and the West of Scotland was revealed as James Gillespie, Chief Executive at Kibble Education and Care Centre, who was described as being an outstanding leader of an outstanding, sector-leading child and youth care charity. Kibble has 650+ staff who provide 24/7 specialist child and youth care support to at risk children and young people.

The awards, headline sponsored by Badenoch + Clark, announced the national winners of the 12 director categories, seven regional categories and four discretionary awards to celebrate individuals’ business accomplishments in 2021.

Four discretionary awards were also given including the ‘IoD Scotland Chair’s Award’ which was presented to Vivienne MacLaren. In her role as Chair at Scottish Women’s Football, Vivienne has transformed the organisation and it is recognised as being an important and growing influencer in Scottish sport.

Lucy McKee was presented with the inaugural ‘IoD Scotland One to Watch Award’. Her motivation for the work she tirelessly does is nothing to do with personal gain and everything to do with wanting to make a difference for others. She uses her voice in her role as Chair of the Board (aged only 18) of ACE Youth to celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity, and is now a membership Ambassador for the national charity, ENABLE.

Louise Macdonald OBE, National Director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland, commented on the winners: “Leaders have faced an incredibly challenging two years in businesses and cross sector organisations across the country, with many being forced to pivot operations and switch from thriving to surviving and back to thriving. The awards honour the resilience and tenacity of those directors, celebrating the leaders who are continuing to drive Scotland’s economy and communities forward with passion and determination despite the most extraordinary conditions. The standard of entries was excellent this year, and I’d like to congratulate all of the individual and regional winners, as well as all of the shortlisted finalists.”

The full list of individual winners of the IoD Scotland Director of the Year 2021 Awards include:

Award CategoryWinner (and Highly Commended)Based in
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Large BusinessDuncan MacLean, Candle Shack LimitedFalkirk
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Small-Medium BusinessSimon Poole, Jerba Campervans LtdNorth Berwick
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – InternationalNeale Campbell, Liquid Gas Equipment Ltd (t/a Babcock LGE)Rosyth
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Agility & Resilience Sponsored by InsightsLynn Laughland, HRM Homecare Services LtdHighly Commended: Shelley Booth, Shelley Booth. The Feel Look Be FormulaKilmarnockDundee  
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Family Business Sponsored by Turcan ConnellMichael Longstaffe, Smith Anderson Group LimitedKirkcaldy
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Third Sector Sponsored by SCVOAlastair Davis, Social Investment ScotlandHighly Commended: Jane-Claire Judson, Chest, Heart & Stroke ScotlandEdinburgh Edinburgh
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Public SectorDr John Scally, previously National Library of ScotlandEdinburgh
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Young Sponsored by Badenoch + ClarkKathryn Strachan, Copy House LtdHighly Commended: Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, Edinburgh Dog and Cat HomeEdinburghEdinburgh
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Sponsored by Scottish GovernmentDr Julie McElroy, Academic & Disability Rights ActivistHighly Commended: Philip Gerrard, Deaf Action  GlasgowEdinburgh  

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Innovation Sponsored by Wheatley Group  
Viana Maya, pRESPECT / pRESPECT HUB CICEdinburgh
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Sustainability Sponsored by Zero Waste ScotlandSara Roberts, Healthy NibblesLoanhead
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Non-ExecutiveDr Brian Williamson, 4icgGlasgow
Regional Directors of the Year 2021
Edinburgh & LothiansSimon Poole, Jerba Campervans LtdHighly Commended: Andrew Johnstone, Loft Boarding Scotland Ltd
Central ScotlandDuncan Maclean, Candle Shack Limited
Glasgow & West of ScotlandJames Gillespie, Kibble Education and Care Centre
Highlands & IslandsAlan James, AJ Engineering & Construction Services
Fife & TaysideMichael Longstaffe, Smith Anderson Group LimitedHighly Commended: Neale Campbell, Liquid Gas Equipment Ltd (t/a Babcock LGE)
South of ScotlandJoanna Campbell, Dumfries and Galloway College
Aberdeen & GrampianDr Idara Umoh, The Sidylle Group
IoD Scotland Discretionary Awards 2021
IoD Scotland Chair’s AwardVivienne MacLaren, Scottish Women’s Football
IoD Scotland One to Watch AwardLucy McKee, ENABLE Scotland
IoD Scotland Leadership in Learning AwardDr Ken Thomson OBE, Forth Valley College
IoD Scotland Young Enterprise Scotland Award – the evening highlighted the achievements of both 2020 and 2021 winners2020: Finlay Matthews, Glasgow Academy 2021: Christian McCulloch, George Watson’s College


Sponsors and Supporters of the Director of the Year Awards

  • Badenoch + Clark, Insights, SCVO, The Scottish Government, Turcan Connell, Wheatley Group, Zero Waste Scotland, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Caithness Glass, Kinloch Anderson, Solo Films, Young Enterprise Scotland

About IoD/IoD Scotland 

  • The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurs and directors of public sector bodies, charities and start-up companies. 
  • IoD in Scotland has seven branches – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Central, Fife and Tayside, South of Scotland, Aberdeen and Highlands & Islands –
  • The IoD is dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurial activity through good governance and responsible business practice. It provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels. Follow us on Twitter to get the IoD’s reaction on business and public policy issues.
  • For further information, visit our website:

IoD Scotland reveals Glasgow business leaders shortlisted for national awards

  • The Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland has announced the 47 leaders shortlisted for the Director of the Year Awards 2021.
  • This year features a new category recognising the ‘Agility and Resilience’ of leaders during the pandemic.

IoD Scotland has today revealed that business leaders from Glasgow and the West of Scotland are finalists for national awards across five categories at the 2021 Director of the Year awards. Finalists from the region have shown particular strength in the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion category with two finalists and the Non-Executive category with a further two finalists.

Seven business leaders from Glasgow and the West of Scotland have been shortlisted for the national awards, including:

  • Claire Nelson, Netball Scotland & Strathclyde Sirens
  • Dr Julie McElroy, Academic & Disability Rights Activist
  • Alastair MacNish OBE, previously Wheatley Group
  • Brian Williamson, 4icg

The awards, headline sponsored by Badenoch + Clark, celebrate individuals’ business accomplishments in 2021 and the winners will be crowned at a live online ceremony on Thursday 9 December.

The awards will pay tribute to the focus and drive of leaders over the last 12 months, at a time where strong leadership has been vital to ensuring the successful economic and social recovery of Scotland. To honour this, the IoD has introduced a new award for 2021; The Agility and Resilience Director of the Year. This title will be awarded to the leader whose efforts to tackle the continuous challenges of 2020 went ‘above and beyond’. Two finalists have been shortlisted in this category from Glasgow and the West of Scotland, Lesslie Young, CEO of Epilepsy Scotland and Lynn Laughland, Managing Director at HRM Homecare Services Ltd.

Louise Macdonald OBE, National Director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland, said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, many organisations are re-evaluating and refocusing their objectives, which is a process that heavily relies on the insight and leadership of directors. During the most challenging times the truly inspirational leaders shine through even more brightly among their peers, and our Director of the Year Awards are a way to celebrate that talent and strength of Scottish business leaders

“We were keen to acknowledge the work of directors in steering their organisations through the pandemic with our ‘Agility and Resilience’ award. Some leaders have shown outstanding strength and determination during these tumultuous times, and I’m so proud to be able to celebrate and recognise every one of their efforts later in the year at our ceremony to announce the winners.”

Dr Julie McElroy inducted into Hall of Fame at College Expo20

CDNBWCDN is delighted to welcome Dr Julie McElroy as the third inductee of the CDN College Hall of Fame.

The Glasgow Clyde College graduate and prolific disability rights advocate was presented with her award by Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, at CDN’s Virtual College Expo20 on Thursday 11th June 2020.

College Expo is Scotland’s landmark event for everyone involved in post-16 education and training. It is a celebration of college excellence, a hub for staff development and practical innovation.

Julie has Cerebral Palsy, which has resulted in walking difficulties, along with a speech and hearing impairment, and manual dexterity problems. Despite the difficulties associated with her disability, Julie progressed to mainstream education, honing her self-leadership to turn her life around.

She completed a Higher National Diploma, along with other qualification merits in Further Education, at Glasgow Clyde College from 2003 to 2006, and went to study for a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Information Technology at the University of the West of Scotland.

Julie found her research specialism when writing her dissertation, ‘A Critical Investigation into Best Practice for Implementing Assistive Technology in Further and Higher Education’ and went on to complete her PhD in Assistive Technology within the School of Computing at University of the West of Scotland.

She has become a prolific disability rights advocate over the years, and has an impressive track record, with many awards to her name, including: Scottish Learning Partnership’s Adult Learner of the Year and Glasgow City Council’s Lord Provost Award for her contribution to disability in Glasgow. Julie was also the first female and youngest person to be awarded the Glasgow Clyde College Fellowship.

Julie said:

“The news is still sinking in that I have been inducted in the CDN Hall of Fame. I feel honoured to be recognised by the Further Education sector and the accolade will hold me in high regard in my pursuing my future career aspirations. It is hard to believe that it was only eight years ago when the college bestowed me with the College’s Fellowship.

“The CDN Hall of Fame is a fantastic recognition for Glasgow Clyde College, formerly of Cardonald College. It is a true testament to how the college has transformed my outlook in life. Since leaving the college, the connection has always remained. I am indebted to the college for nominating me into the CDN Hall of Fame.

“I hope that highlighting and recognising my story will inspire future students to succeed in their education pathway.”

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of College Development Network (CDN) said:

“The CDN College Hall of Fame is a way of highlighting and recognising the outstanding contribution that college graduates make to society and the economy; and demonstrates the variety of pathways to success from college. Julie is an absolute inspiration and we are delighted to induct her into the CDN College Hall of Fame and I hope to meet her in person sometime soon.”

Jon Vincent, Principal of Glasgow Clyde College said: “ Few are as deserving of this accolade as Julie. She has worked incredibly hard to achieve her PhD, and we are proud to have her as not only an alumni, but also as a Fellow of Glasgow Clyde College.

“Julie’s work as a disability rights activist has been inspirational, and she is a very worthy inductee of the CDN College Hall of Fame. We look forward to seeing what she achieves next”.



Rising Star Finalist for SWiT Awards 2019

Dr. Julie McElroy has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Rising Star category in the Scottish Women in Technology Awards 2019.

ShortlistedFinalist-SWiT-Rising star.jpg

The Rising Star category highlight women who are “a student, graduate, apprentice, or someone who is at the beginning of their technology journey and is acting as an advocate for technology and/or gender equality which is impacting the wider community. The winner of this award will demonstrate that they have an enthusiasm for tech and have the potential to be a future leader/source of inspiration in the sector” (SWiT, 2019).

Chloe Booth, Chief Product Owner – Tech Talent of Nationwide who nominated Julie for this Award. Chloe says “Julie is a pioneer and rising star in the field of Assistive Technology with an ambition to contribute to a global presence of Assistive Technologies.  Julie believes that people are our greatest asset. It is fair to say that best performances come from individuals who are user-led in the developments of Assistive Technologies. Through her own lived experience and her PhD in Assistive Technologies, which allowed her to investigate the learning experiences of disabled students in technology-rich learning environments, she has developed a specialism in accessibility and usability design, which is particularly relevant in the development of software solutions. This requires an understanding and awareness of a range of technologies in order to derive innovative and practical solutions. Her contribution was highly sought when she moved to University of Strathclyde to further her studies looking at the reutilisation of assistive technologies for a Masters in Knowledge Exchange which she is due to graduate in November later this year”.

The Scottish Women in Technology Awards will be an a prestigious awards ceremony to be held on 24th October 2019 at Radisson Blu Glasgow.


Julie McElroy, who is profoundly deaf and also has Cerebral Palsy, graduated University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at a ceremony at Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church on Wednesday 12th July 2017 after successfully completing a ground-breaking PhD.

Julie’s PhD in Assistive Technology investigated the learning experiences of students with disabilities within tertiary education who use assistive technology as part of their learning experience. Julie hopes to use her research to develop a framework that can be used by education bodies to assist them in providing a better understanding of the key issues and interactions involved in the area of assistive technology.
Julie McElroy
Born with cerebral palsy, which affects the messages sent between the brain and the muscles as well affecting movements and co-ordination, Julie was told she would probably spend her life in a wheelchair.
Julie’s PhD studentship followed a degree in 2010 which she successfully completed at UWS. During her time at UWS she was awarded the UWS Court Medal 2010 for highest achieving student, won an Adult Learner of the Year Award 2012 from the Scottish Learning Partnership and awarded Glasgow Lord Provost Award in 2012.


Julie, commented:

“I want my research to influence the discussion to investigate disabled student experiences, understand their perspectives and hopefully contribute to a better understanding of students’ use of assistive technology and the extent to which it can enhance student learning and engagement.”




For further information contact:-

Niall Gordon (Senior Marketing Co-ordinator – PR)

Marketing & Communications, University of the West of Scotland

0141 848 3726 / 07764 285 882



Ultimate DofE Diamond Challenge

IMG_4484After ten months, Julie has put in the commitment and preparation into finding her ideal physical challenge which was the Strathkelvin Railway Path at Strathblanefield. This is going be quite a remarkable feat to conquer as her physical co-ordination is complex with her whole body moving all the time. With the effects of her muscles, she generates so much heat and uses far more energy to undertake these challenges. Robert Bell, Mountain Leader was on hand to support this challenge as he knows how much Julie’s body is up against with the spasticity in her body.

Robert Bell previously served fifteen years in the Army (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders).  Since leaving, Robert has gone onto crave various careers and one them in the outdoor pursuits and is qualified in many areas of the outdoor with young people at the forefront of his fulfilment.

Robert said, ’Julie’s challenge is her disability, the complexity of her walking gait and of course, her deafness.  Julie can tire quite quickly due to the physical exertion on her body, this means not only will it be physically demanding but mentally too. However knowing of Julie’s previous achievements in the outdoor pursuits arena, I know her determination to succeed will get her through’.

Furthermore, Julie was tasked to deliver the ultimate DofE Scotland Diamond by asking  Al Kellock, former Scottish Rugby Union player having played for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland to accompany on this countryside sponsored walk, will help cement the DofEScotland Diamond Challenge and captalise on DofEScotland 60th Anniversary celebrations and generate much funds to help enable more young people to complete their Awards over the next five years.

The walk itself was tough let alone in 30 degrees heat. Due to the nature of my Cerebral Palsy combine with the unprecedented heat, my body was seizing up with cramps. Thanks with the support of Al Kellock and Rab I successful completed it. We were also joined by Bob Hope who also sit on the Scottish Advisory Committee for DofE Scotland.

It is opportunities like these that have a lasting impact for my personal development. It was a tough physical challenge, I was overwhelmed that I achieved it.

It now time to reflect on the immense achievement. I have certainly had an exciting time champion the work of DofE Scotland.

Third DofE Challenge Instalement

My Diamond DofE journey is still going strong and have managed to pack in a busy schedule for the month of June and July.

Before I embarked on the most awesome and exhilarating Tall Ship voyage aboard the Lord Nelson in June I also undertook a cycle around Millport. This was a remarkable achievement as I rarely cycle in my local area due to my profound deafness.

The voyage was from Greenock to Greenock for five days! We sailed to Islay, Carskiey and Loch Striven. This voyage was a challenge as we had challenging weather to contend with, snow, winds, rain, sunshine. It was a perfect opportunity to highlight the work of the Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Award as it celebrates its 60th Anniversary.

One of many highlights of the voyage is when I had the opportunity to climb the rigging. I became quite overwhelmed with emotions. It was the combination of the weather, the health and safety and the ability to climb the rigging during the torrential rain. When I finally reached the platform, the sense of achievement was surreal that I had climbed the rigging during the cold weather. I was so exposed to the rain and winds when I was high up. You can read more about my experiences in the log available to read.

In July, I was also on hand to celebrate and highlight the achievements of over 1000 Gold Award holders at Holyrood Palace.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to teaming with former Scottish Rugby Internationalist, Al Kellock in August to do a short sponsored walk with Rab Bell who will be supporting me along the way. Hope the weather is kind to us!

You can also read about how my DofE has change my life and to where I am now via the Daily Record.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award does change a young person’s lives as I have seen the bestowed effect that it has on my life so I urge you to pledge to make a donation to enable DofE Scotland to make a difference to other young people life and to allow many more to do the Award in the year of its 60th Anniversary.