Lord Morris of Manchester Memorial

Lord Morris of Manchester Memorial

Alf Morris was born in Manchester in 1928 and was brought up in Ancoats and Newton Heath. He was the Labour MP for Wythenshawe between 1964 and 1997. In 1970 he successfully introduced the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, a ground-breaking piece of legislation which was the first in the world to recognise the rights of disabled people and set down specific requirements for access and support. In 1974 he became the world’s first Minster for Disabled People and introduced a Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill in 1991. He also went on to establish the Motability scheme which transformed the lives of so many people. In 1997, Alf was elevated to the peerage as the Baron Morris of Manchester. He continued to scrutinise the government and campaign for the rights of disabled people in the House of Lords. The Victoria University of Manchester conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Alf in 1998. He died on 12th August 2012. Alf’s life and achievements are described at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alf_Morris and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-19253539.

Manchester Trades Union Council, the North West TUC Disability Forum, Manchester City Council, Mike Kane MP (Labour, Wythenshawe & Sale East) and the family of the late Lord Morris of Manchester are working together to establish a permanent memorial in Manchester to commemorate his pioneering role in disability rights legislation and support.

The North West TUC Disability Forum and Manchester Trades Council invited all interested Trade Union reps and representatives of disability groups to a meeting to discuss how to work together to establish a memorial in Manchester in recognition of the work of Alf Morris and to decide what type of memorial would be most fitting. The first meeting was held on 25th September 2014, at the Mechanics Institute on Princess Street.

As Co-Chairs of The University of Manchester’s Disabled Staff Network, Hamied Haroon and Melanie Sharpe decided that our University should play a part in the memorial to this great Manchester politician, and attended this meeting. They were expecting the plans to involve a statue of Alf Morris to be installed somewhere in Manchester, but it was quite the opposite! The suggestions discussed were actually of long-term practical projects that would highlight Alf’s legacy of putting disability issues, rights and equality at the centre of politics and policy making, and how he set an example in Manchester for the rest of the world to follow!

Rosie Dammers, Wellbeing Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union, was keen that the Students’ Union should also play its part in the memorial and joined Hamied and Melanie at the second meeting on 20th January 2015.

The Alf Morris Manchester Memorial Steering Group suggested that the University would be responsible for two initiatives:

  1. Host a high-profile and prestigious Annual Event in memory of Alf Morris, on the subject of disability equality and politics.
  2. Provide support (financial etc) and recognition each year for a deserving and talented student from the Greater Manchester area or North West region who aspired to study politics, focussing on disability, at our University (probably at postgraduate level) and potentially follow a career in politics.

The Group suggested that the Students’ Union would be responsible for a student-focussed project:

  1. Run a competition for University students, particularly those studying arts, to come up with the best design for a prominent stained glass window in the Mechanics Institute to commemorate Alf Morris.

Subsequent meetings of the Group were held on 19th March, 10th July and 21st September 2015 and 15th January 2016. Lucy Hallam took over from Rosie Dammers in July 2015.

In separate communications with the University’s Disabled Staff Network, the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Disabled Living Foundation have offered their support for the Alf Morris Memorial initiatives at the University.

Recent Posts

COVID Post-Lockdown: Perspectives, Implications and Strategies for Disabled Staff – NADSN’s Position Paper


The National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) is a super-network that connects and represents disabled staff networks at organisations across the United Kingdom. NADSN exists as a collective platform to share experiences, develop good practice, and to examine challenges and opportunities for disabled people in the workplace. Focussed on the tertiary education sector, we also have membership from the NHS, public, private and third sector, undertaking a variety of occupational roles; all committed to equality, diversity and inclusion of disabled staff. Disabled staff form an integral part of the workforce in HE.

The paper entitled “COVID-19 Post-Lockdown: Perspectives, Implications and Strategies for Disabled Staff” was developed under very tight timelines as English universities are going back quicker than the other nations, by way of a national membership consultation and peer review by NADSN’s member networks.

NADSN has been very concerned about the development of national policy up to this time and for moving out of the COVID-19 lockdown stage as national policy has been silent in relation to disabled staff apart from in presenting a narrow, medicalised view. We have structured this paper within a social model of disability and the sentiments expressed in the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in considering the current issues and setting out our 12 recommendations. This paper discusses NADSN’s observations about the lived experiences of Disabled people during COVID-19. Secondly, it moves to outline COVID-19 and the changing workplace. The paper then moves to a broad discussion concerning safe working practices and policies as we move out of lockdown and beyond.

Dr Hamied Haroon, Chair of NADSN said “this paper is a landmark contribution towards COVID-19 policy formation around university and staff arrangements particularly for disabled staff employed in universities across the UK. NADSN has pulled together the voices, observations and recommendations of disabled employees throughout the country. We are an integral part of the working life and communities in universities across the country, this paper will ensure that we are no longer an afterthought in promoting diverse workforces in higher education.”

COVID-19 Post-Lockdown: Perspectives, Implications and Strategies for Disabled Staff” can be found on Google Docs here.

The Paper is also available as a Word docx and a PDF.

For Further Details

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


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