Disability inclusion

Would you like to help develop a peer support group for staff with disabilities? Professor Brendan Stone, Deputy Vice-President for Education, explains:

Dear colleague

As part of the University’s equality diversity and inclusion work, I have been chairing a Disability Inclusion Task & Finish group in which staff and students have been developing a disability inclusion strategy and action plan. Most members of this group live with disability themselves, and/or have responsibility for areas of work which includes a focus on disability and inclusion.

This work is ongoing, but we feel that one immediate need is to facilitate a peer support and information group for staff with disabilities. This will be a confidential space where people can talk with each other, share experiences and information, and if appropriate offer support.

I am looking for expressions of interest from colleagues who would be interested in working with me and others in facilitating the development of this group. The group will also provide invaluable input and insight into the wider work moving forward.

Online peer support for staff with disabilities

There is a genuine need to establish a virtual hub or online community as a safe and confidential space for staff with a disability to share their experiences and provide mutual peer support. This would also create a structured and supportive channel to bring forward ideas - and share any concerns - which would feed into the wider work on disability inclusion.

We would like to hear from staff with a disability who would be interested in helping to set up and facilitate this. Ongoing administrative support from our HR Equality Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) team is available if needed. We hope that this group will form the foundation of a Disability Staff Network, which will go on to work with the Disability Inclusion Task & Finish group.

Expressions of interest are welcomed through this Google form.

For colleagues with a disability, this is also an opportunity to let us know about your experiences during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. How have you been affected by recent changes in our working environment and how might we be able to provide additional support and adjustments to how we work moving forward?

Suggestions and comments may be submitted anonymously but expressions of interest will require a name and email address.

Disability inclusion strategy and action plan

Taking a holistic, collegial and ambitious approach to disability equality and inclusion, the newly formed Disability Inclusion Task & Finish group is currently working on the foundations for a disability inclusion strategy to develop and inform a University-level action plan. This will aim to bring about transformational change to address both the current and wider challenges experienced by staff and students with a disability, reduce differential outcomes in attainment and progression and ensure that our disabled staff and students are fully supported to flourish and meet their full potential.

Work on this has incorporated previous suggestions, ideas and concerns from the Vision consultation sessions, staff survey feedback and direct emails to our HR EDI team. A University-wide consultation exercise will take place later this year to ensure wider engagement of staff and students to input into and shape the strategy.

If you would like to discuss further, please contact either our HR EDI team at hrequality@sheffield.ac.uk or myself directly at b.stone@sheffield.ac.uk. Enquiries will be treated in confidence.

With best wishes

Professor Brendan Stone

Deputy Vice-President for Education

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*The definition of a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, including chronic illness, neurodiversity / specific learning difficulties, progressive conditions and sensory impairments. The conditions, experiences and barriers of those with disabilities and those with mental health conditions can differ considerably - although can often be intersectional. Both are covered under the Definition of a Disability under the Equality Act 2010.