Throughout the month Loughborough University and Loughborough Students’ Union are highlighting the services and support available to staff and students, as well as running a number of online events to recognise the month and raise awareness.
In line with this year’s theme, we are reflecting on what the University has done in the past year to support staff and students with disabilities, as well as looking ahead to the future and how we can continue to improve.
Last year the Staff Disability Group was rebranded after consultation with its members and renamed the Staff Inclusivity Group. It is committed to achieving equality for all staff at the University, by working closely with the institution to develop a fair and supportive environment.
The group provides a forum for staff, allowing them to raise issues and seek support. Currently, the group have fortnightly virtual meetings to provide members with a chance to keep in touch.
Recently they have worked with the University to help support staff members who are exempt from wearing face coverings, with the introduction of lanyards, and they have also worked with FM to ensure that people are made aware of building works that may affect their movement around campus.
During last year’s Disability History Month, Loughborough launched a brand new Para Sport Strategy with a vision to create life-shaping opportunities through the development of an inspirational and inclusive Para sport offer. Significant progress has been made since then and we will be providing a full update later in the month. More information on Para Sport at Loughborough is available here.
Loughborough Students’ Union will also be running four online discussion panels, focusing on important issues surrounding disability.
Alex Marlowe, LSU Welfare and Diversity Executive Officer said: “Disability History Month is a specific time to raise awareness around those living with disabilities’ rights, their fight for equality and their experiences. We can always be more inclusive, we can always do better as a society, and we should always be fighting for that.”
The Hazlerigg and Rutland buildings will also be lit up purple on 3 December as part of the #PurpleLightUp movement, coinciding with International Day of Disabled Persons. The buildings will continue to be lit until 20 December, showing support for staff and students with disabilities and the contributions they have made.
Adèle MacKinlay, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development and the University’s Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion added: “We have come some way in developing an inclusive, welcoming and vibrant culture in which all colleagues and students can feel valued, respected and engaged (*); however we have much more to do.
“The Inclusivity Staff Group is an invaluable source of support to colleagues, as well as advocating for change with management. Our intent during 2021 is to work with colleagues to improve our collective understanding of neurodiversity and what that means for the workplace. We also intend to continue our focus on improving the physical and environmental access for disabled students, staff and visitors.”
(* - this is the first anticipated outcome of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy).
More information about what the University is doing for Disability History Month can be found on the dedicated webpage.
Any member of staff who identifies as having or being affected by physical or invisible differences (including those who support or care for others) is welcome to join the Inclusivity Group. For more information, please contact Emma Nadin by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students seeking further information can contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity team.