Disabled Students UK has been shortlisted for Shaw Trust’s 2021 Disability Power 100!
Historically the Disability Power 100 has been an annual celebration of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. This year, the list has been extended to include disabled-led organisations that are working tirelessly to create a more accessible and inclusive world for all.
Disabled Students UK is a grassroots organisation working for increased accessibility in Higher Education and is the biggest disabled student-led organisation in the UK, with over 400 contributors from 60 different universities. Mette Westander, the Founding Director states:
“We are thrilled to be recognised for our work to bring about real change for Disabled Students. We celebrate the decision by Shaw Trust to include organisations this year as it emphasises the power of disabled communities, especially during a year when many disabled people have faced enormous adversity and have really had to pull together.”
A recent survey by Disabled Students UK shows that 82 percent of disabled students report worsened mental health during the pandemic, and only 23 percent report receiving the disability support they need. The organisation has created supportive networks, conducted research, and developed resources for both disabled students and the sector to help navigate the pandemic.
“What we have been able to achieve in one year, during a pandemic nonetheless, is a true testament to disability wisdom and adaptability. Our report on the impact of the pandemic was mentioned in parliament, we have spoken at the APPG for disability and consulted with some of the major bodies in the sector.”
The organisation is made up of current and former disabled students and is partly funded by its contributors. It has a uniquely disability-informed structure, including remote working and forms of participation accessible to those with varying availability.
Established as a Community Interest Company, in addition to its student-centred work the organisation also provides paid services for researchers, universities, Student unions and other stakeholders:
“Disabled students are often expected to do accessibility labour for free, but we recognise that our organisation contains some of the UK’s leading experts in HE accessibility, with years of experience. We want to ensure our contributors are fairly compensated for their work.”
About the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100
The Shaw Trust Power is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. Since its inception four years ago, the publication has gone from strength to strength. Over the years it has allowed Shaw Trust to encourage businesses, employers and other organisations to reflect on opportunities available for disabled people. The list plays a vital role in providing much needed encouragement to the young and talented leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to see that aspiration and ambition can be fulfilled regardless of disability or impairment. A fifth of the UK’s population has a disability, however, there is very little recognition of successful and influential disabled people or disabled-led organisations. Shaw Trust wants to change the public perception of disability, to recognise strong, successful, influential people and groups. This year there were more than 550 nominations for the 100 places on the list.
The full Shaw Trust Disability Power List 100 can be found on www.disabilitypower100.com.
About Shaw Trust
Shaw Trust believes everyone has the right to live a decent and dignified life and an opportunity for rewarding work. We are a social purpose organisation challenging inequality and breaking down barriers to enable social mobility.
Having grown from humble beginnings in 1982 in the village of Shaw in Wiltshire, finding jobs for disabled people, today we are a complex and diverse charity committed to employment as the core pathway to a better life. For us being part of the solution is about creating the conditions for this to happen, advocating and delivering services that make a real difference. Working in partnership, not competition, we are part of an eco-system of purpose-led organisations, striving for a fairer, more equal society centered on opportunity for all.
Shaw Trust was founded on these principles more than 30 years ago, and for our 2,500 employees and 1,000 volunteers across the UK, they remain true.
Find out more: www.shawtrust.org.uk