Diversity and Disability

Disability is the last taboo!


I was invited to London to present alongside with speakers: Alexandra O’Dwyer, Director of Communications and Marketing, Scope and Kirsty Monk, Accessibility Manager, Southern Railways and Cheryl Campsie, Forster PR.


This innovative business debate was evolved around on businesses interested in changing practice and thus build a society in which disabled people have the same opportunities as those without – critical in an era of financial cutback.


How can companies, charities and policy makers address the imbalance between the number of disabled people in our society – and representation in work, in the media, and everyday life? We discussed the attitude change – which in an era of austerity costs nothing.


To see through change it will require understanding, team work and communication from all businesses, charities and policy makers to work together to address the prejudice face by disabled people and their preconceived capabilities of securing their career in the job markets.

Together, we must adopt the ‘right’ attitudes and behaviours and embracing talents of a diverse workforce with disabled people making a contribution by working alongside business professionals. Business leaders need to take a collaborative and creative approach on recruiting people with disability and ethic population in the workplace.

The future must be on building an inclusive business development for everyone. The ethos of the business community to address of mis-preconception of disabled people to work alongside business professionals, it would help improve business performance related to talent management, productivity, customer access, technology and embrace new developments.


Everyone and disabled people too must be readily committed to make a clear commitment to ensure that businesses recruit the very best disabled leaders for the future but we are too often we hear that the talent doesn’t exist externally.

Time for empowerment, motivation, active engagement, communication and interaction among businesses, charities and policy makers.

Real accessibility, real visibility!

Diversity and Disability

Diffusion 2010 – GirlGuiding UK

Diffusion 2010

I was chosen to co-facilitate the Diffusion 2010 training weekend around inclusion and diversity in GirlGuiding Scotland, which took place in Netherurd House from 22 to 24 October 2010.  I am also a Guides Leader with a Unit in Glasgow.

The event was opened to Senior Section members from all over Scotland. Our main focus was to explore how we can promote diversity and inclusion in GirlGuiding in Scotland, a number of the activities can be extremely useful for one’s personal relationships or working with people of different backgrounds in one’s future job, thus helping in our private lives and career as well!

The training included:

  • Games and activities aimed at exploring our worldview and belief system.
  • Awareness raising exercises (why people have communication and relationship problems, how to make life easier for us and for the other side).
  • Practical tips how to talk to people who are ‘different’ from us, how to establish contacts and how to deal with potential conflicts.
  • Games and activities around diversity and inclusion which we can run when helping with a Rainbow, Brownie or Guide unit, or generally working with children from different backgrounds.


This weekend was a huge undertaking for me as this was my first time of co-facilitating a training weekend. Although, I have done countless speaking appearances at various events but this was something different – ‘Diffusion’.

On Friday evening started well with a mixture of introductory sessions and team building sessions. One of the sessions, I lead which was on team building activities. Eventually one team won the task and they said it was about communication and logistical thinking. Communication is essential to working in a team, inclusion, respect of others and everyone can make a contribution, no matter how small it is, the information shared among the team will help with the completion of the task.

Roll on Saturday morning was spent talking about ‘Class divided’ and additional needs in GirlGuiding. It was informative and thought provoking asking girls to carry tasks relating to barriers that are faced by disabled people.

On Saturday afternoon, we took the girls out to do wild games. The weather was great, dry autumn day. The first of many activities, we did orienteering with girls. Once again, they were split into groups and yet once again communication, team building, inclusive involvements of other team members. They were being observed closely and points would be awarded or penalised for different aspects of their team engagements. I witnessed mistakes and good co-operation being made with everyone involved.

Next activity was body sculpture, all teams had to performed the best act in accordance to the scenarios given. This was once again, good work and good efforts from everyone.

I think the next activity was the most enjoyable of all the wild games. Each team had to come up with ways of transporting water to the marshal point. No buckets, plastic cartons, bins etc were allowed. It was interesting with what some of the teams came up with – paper cardboard filled with lots of leaves; moss; hand cup shape made of leafs etc. Very creative!

The race started and excitement was in the air! I originally thought that the team who had the paper cardboard filled with lots of leaves would stand a chance of winning but their box immediately collapsed as soon they poured water in and attempt to lift the box. The team were disappointed but they continued with using the bundle of leaf. Meanwhile all the other teams were progressing well. The team which had the moss were transporting a lot of water. Nearing the end, we provided them with polyethylene cup which we cut the bottom off therefore, they had to use their hands or head etc. Once the race was over, we measured each team water collection and the team that had the moss won the game.

Back inside for more activities on diversity, we asked the girls to think about what is different in relation to inclusion and diversity. It was followed by looking at countries in the wealth, poverty etc. The games were thought provoking and created an interesting debate.

Just before dinner, the girls were sent back out to go on a treasure hunt to collect their mystery envelopes in the wild. Most of the girls returned on time but one group got lost finding their own way back!

On Sunday was spent summing about the weekend and how to move diversity and inclusion forward in GirlGuiding Scotland.

On reflection, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. The girls that took part in the weekend, I hoped they had learned something new that will help them understand about inclusion and diversity.

Self Motivation and Learning


Equipping and inspiring leaders

RADAR is interested in equipping people living with Ill health, Injury or Disability (IID) to be leaders and influencers in public life, and to take up leadership positions in the public, private and third (voluntary) sectors. That is what our Empowerment and Leadership programme is all about. RADAR won funding in 2009 to deliver a series of leadership events for disabled people, following on from our work with Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

A series of four Leadership Development Days are scheduled to run between September and December 2010, offering a blend of skills training and personal development work. They will be open to anyone experiencing Ill health, Injury or Disability (IID) who has aspirations to become a leader and positively influence the world they are living and working in.

I attended the RADAR Leadership Development Day in Glasgow in November 2008, I already had some experience of leadership in school, and from taking part an expedition which saw myself and 9 other disabled young people trekked across the Andes but the RADAR Leadership gave the tools to advanced my aspirations further.

“Before RADAR’s Leadership course, I was lost. Although I had ideas/ambition on what I wanted to achieve, I didn’t know where to begin, and I felt young to be doing things that I wanted to aspire to. RADAR has made me more focussed and confident to achieve the goals I would like to fulfil. I’m now climbing ladders to wherever my career will take me in the future”.

Now two years on, I was delighted to be back sharing my leadership journey at the RADAR Leadership in Birmingham this year. It was fantastic to addressed 100 delegates from all walks of life who experienced Ill health, Injury or Disability (IID), black or minority ethnic backgrounds, people with learning difficulties, people with neuro-diversity conditions (e.g. Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism) and people with mental health conditions.

My presentation looked at what I have achieved and what the quality of skills it takes to achieved these accomplishments. Furthermore, I talked about myself leadership journey, preconception of ability to achieve goals and times of going through unchartered waters. Throughout the years and while I am still learning all the time, it has been myself motivation, determination and more recently myself self leadership skills that has helped me possess the quality of leadership.

After the presentation, I stayed around to speak to delegates and on hand to offer advices about confidence, leadership advices etc. I met a few interesting delegates and one in particular caught my attention was a Down syndrome women, she thoroughly enjoyed the talk and asked how she could get involve in some of the ventures I do in her local area. Her case study caused my head to think that people with learning difficulties need assistance to nurture their confidence, more information available to parents and support workers about the different types activity involvements these people with learning disabilities could take part in.

They have the right to make choices about what to do and take part in. Its naturally for people to focus on what disabled can’t do however, we need to adopt in a change in attitude on focusing on what disabled can do as I find there are things that I would like to do but it looking at the picture/situation as a whole and it is about thinking out with these boxes and implementing a strategy to coping and participating in mainstream activities.

There is still a lot of unlocking potentials to be done but RADAR is a pilot form to make this happen.

Thankyou RADAR!

The day was truly inspiring for me too, watch this space!