Background

Hamied Haroon works at The University of Manchester as a research scientist in medical imaging, since 2004. Hamied was elected as the first Chair of the University’s Disabled Staff Network, when it was established by the University’s Equality & Diversity Office in 2007. He continued as Chair until August 2013, when he and Melanie Sharpe became Co-Chairs.

In late 2013, Hamied developed a keen interest in trying to form a nationwide super-network/association of disabled staff networks, predominantly at higher education institutions (HEIs), as an umbrella organisation to share experiences and good practice and arrange activities and events, etc. He was thinking of something similar to the “network of networks” that ECU recently set up for BME staff networks at HEIs. Hamied talked to various people about this idea, such as Patrick Johnson and Jane Cordell, who were all very supportive and enthusiastic. So he took the first step forward in January 2014 …

Jane suggested to Hamied that he talk to her friend, Kate Nash OBE, who runs her own network of disabled employee networks and resources. Kate provided some great inspiration based on her successes and expertise. Meanwhile, Patrick advised Hamied to contact Chris Brill, who works on disability and age equality issues at ECU. Chris was very receptive to the idea and very encouraging, and offered ECU’s support to establishing such a nationwide super-network/association. Chris suggested that Hamied put his ideas on paper, which he did and sent to him. He then put Hamied in contact with Nicki Martin and the late Deb Viney, both founding Directors of NADP. Chris, Deb, Nicki and Hamied arranged to meet together on 8th May 2014 at SOAS University of London to discuss his proposals and how to move forward. Chris, Deb and Nicki were hugely supportive and suggested:

  • Forming a Steering Group to get things going, formed by people from a mixture of different organisations (including UCU), starting with: Deb, Chris, Hamied, Nicki
  • Making it a business or a wing of NADP
  • Creating a dedicated JISCMAIL list
  • Allowing individuals as well as institutions to become members initially
  • Having clear Terms of Reference
  • Catering for different HE and FE groupings (e.g. Russell Group, University Alliance, etc)

This was followed by the launch of NADSN …