NDfSN 2017


National Day for Staff Networks 2017

Wednesday 10th May 2017

showcasing some of our DSNs

This was the first ever National Day for Staff Networks! This was the first time that the fantastic role that staff networks play in the workplace was recognised and celebrated across the country. The three aims of the day were to: CELEBRATE, INSPIRE and TRANSFORM

Highlights of the day, including pictures of pledges and events, were shared on Twitter using the hashtag #makingworkbetter and tagging @day4networks

To mark this fantastic occasion, we asked Disabled Staff Networks in the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) to let us know: (1) what they were doing to celebrate this day, (2) how they were making work better for their members, and (3) what have been their proudest achievements. Here’s what they said (in no particular order):



from Lykara Ryder & Marina Matosic, Co-Chairs

“The DSF provides a vehicle for staff to raise equality issues to senior management. Over the 10 years of our existence, we are proud of how we have moved the agenda forward culminating in the achievement of becoming the first university to achieve the ‘Gold’ status in Business Disability Forum’s Disability Standard.

Some current highlights are:

Our Forum offers great networking opportunities plus advice and practical support on workplace issues.   In addition, Man Met uses it as a consultation forum for policies, procedures, products and new builds/refurbishment projects”.



UOC Logo_2010_cmyk_A4


from Kathryn Leighton, HR Manager (Development, Diversity & Reward)

One of our proudest achievements is a video, which also summarises all of the great work we do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS8D3cFuhq4&feature=youtu.be.

A colleague at Chester said “My disabled staff network provides opportunities for support, advice and guidance and is active in raising awareness around disability equality.”




from Cath Rose & Gill Cockburn, Co-Chairs

Here at the University of Bradford, the staff networks are joining together to hold an event for the National Day for Staff Networks. There will be stands representing the different staff networks and others who support the protected characteristics, eg Human Resources & Organisational Development, Wellbeing, the Nursery, Faith etc. As well as promoting the networks and encouraging staff to join, we will be asking staff and students to define themselves using labels which state ‘#ProudToBe….’. We are hoping that people will state to be proud of such things as disabled, gay, mother, Jewish etc.

We will also be launching the new Equality Data FAQ leaflet in an attempt to encourage staff to update their equality information.

We have been posting photos on Twitter @nablebradford of those signing and supporting our pledge.




from Katie Lucking, Chair

Our biggest success: UWE Bristol DSN spearheaded a series of 50 events in April 2016 to raise awareness of disabled people and different disabilities in partnership with the Students’ Union. This included a Wheelchair Challenge where we invited senior managers, staff and students to navigate our campuses in a wheelchair to highlight some of the barriers faced by wheelchair users. We created a video with the help of some disabled students: go.uwe.ac.uk/disability. The Wheelchair Challenge has actually contributed to change: new surface of accessible car parking bays, removal of obstructions, new signage, terrain improvements and a few more bits and bobs.

We are constantly commenting on policy and procedures to make sure the disabled voice is heard. We meet up monthly but communicate mostly over email.

In 2015 the DSN won the Inclusivity Staff Award at UWE and in 2016 Katie won two awards for organising Disability Awareness Month!! Katie says it’s not about the awards, it’s about building trust and respect in the university. The DSN is now asked to comment and participate in consultations. We’ve also created a community of lifelong friends, but we are all very busy so we tend to just grab the quick coffees now and then outside DSN events!!

The DSN has managed to organise an event so all the UWE Bristol staff networks can get together for the National Day.




from Sharron Sturgess, Co-Chair

“We feel the proudest achievement of our DSN at the University of Leicester is the production of our Reasonable Adjustments Guide For Staff and Managers which we are now working hard to disseminate across the institution”

“The Staff Disability Forum at the University of Leicester aims to provide advice and support to colleagues, and promote disability equality at the University.  By working with all staff and other equality fora we hope to make the work experience better for everyone!”




from Stephen Hodkinson, Deputy Chair

Our proudest achievement this last year is a project on ‘Facilitating a positive culture for disclosure of workers disabilities‘, including lunchtime seminars and a Peer-to-Peer Disability Support service providing advice based on the lived experience of disabled staff.

The Disabled Staff Network at the University of Nottingham provides a safe meeting and discussion place for disabled staff and a mechanism through which we can make direct inputs into university policy.




from Hamied Haroon & Melanie Sharpe, Co-Chairs

Our Top 3 proudest achievements:

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Team organised a drop-in UoM Staff Networks Fair over lunchtime with information stalls representing the wide variety of staff networks at the University. Photos were posted to Twitter @UoMEandD and @UoMDSN




from Anna Button, Deputy Chair

We as a Force are promoting a week of action (Anna is a Regional Ambassador), and as Communications SPOC for the National Disabled Police Association, Anna has done a strategic briefing to ensure all 42 UK Forces will be partaking on the day.

We are tying this in with our Mental Health Awareness week and our first birthday!

Staff Networks Poster (005) (2)


Recent Posts

NADSN Black Lives Matter Statement

The tragic killing of George Floyd and others in the USA[1] along with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement serves to remind us that there are continued inequalities and fundamental differences that exist within our society.  Differences which are not acceptable.

The National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) stands in solidarity with the BLM movement in speaking out against racial injustices and inequalities faced by our communities in the UK and beyond[2].

The pandemic has served to highlight further racial disparities in the UK. Death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. This disproportionate impact is multiplied for Disabled Black and Asian people. The Public Health England Report found that structural racism plays a part.

“Together We Can – and Will – Transform”.[3]

Our purpose as a super-network remains vital.  As members, we seek to inspire support and success.  As a community, we share our opinions, values, culture and best practice and deepen our understanding of each other, our world and how we can have a positive impact. At this challenging time, we urge all our members to look out for each other and empower one another. When we work in collaboration, we can achieve great change.

Ableism Has Much in Common with Racism.

We understand that ableism and racism are not equivalent.  However, the experiences of ethnic minorities and Disabled people have some similarities. Disabled people regularly face systemic and institutional discrimination within society, education, work, and healthcare settings. We have been pitied, abused, excluded, stereotyped and met with disdain and platitudes. Disabled people have been underrepresented and misrepresented in entertainment and media. Our narratives and achievements have been appropriated and used as inspiration for non-disabled people. These forms of barriers are compounded for Disabled people from ethnic minority backgrounds, particularly those of us with a mental health condition or those of us who are neurodiverse.

Our Work.

Throughout our work, we strive to embed an intersectional understanding and approach. In 2019, we co-hosted a National Intersectionality Conference with the LGBT+ Network of Networks in Higher Education. We also appointed an Intersectionality Lead and two Intersectionality Partners onto our diverse Steering Committee. We will continue to work to better understand the inequalities and barriers Disabled people from ethnic minorities face and work to challenge and combat these. We will continue to work in partnership to support all members of our community, as well as seeking to set an example for others.

We strive to be a part of the solution.

[1] The wave of protests in the USA over the killing of George Floyd are the outbursts of anger and injustice that have erupted after the deaths of many other black Americans whilst in police custody. Data: US ‘Mapping Police Violence’ – https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/ and in the UK since 1990, 184 people from ethnic minorities have died as a result of police actions (20 due to police shootings and 164 in custody).  https://www.inquest.org.uk/bame-deaths-in-police-custody

[2]Many of the Black people killed by police are disabled. Inquest notes that ethnic minorities were twice as likely to die after restraint or use of force, and twice as likely to die if they had a mental health condition. https://rudermanfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/MediaStudy-PoliceDisability_final-final.pdf

[3] Slogan: “Together we can – and will – transform” – https://blacklivesmatter.com/

This paper is also available as a Word docx and PDF.

For Further Details

Email: uk.nadsn@gmail.com | Twitter: @nadsn_uk | Facebook: NatAssDSN | Web: nadsn-uk.org

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