Do you struggle to keep disability on the diversity agenda?
Do you have a disability network or perhaps it has died a bit of a death?
Maybe you have a low disclosure rate for people with disabilities (both visible and non-visible) as they are worried about sharing this information which means that they are less productive and unaware of the adjustments which can help them thrive at work.
If you have answered yes to any of the questions above then The City Wheelchair Challenge gives visibility to disability.
See some of our Testimonials, read our Frequently Asked Questions and watch a video from one of our Wheelchair Challenge events below to see the impact we can have on your organisation.
The Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge
- What is it?
The Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge is an exciting movement, which is now in its third year, involving volunteers in City organisations in the legal, banking, financial and insurance world, who wish to give visibility to disability in the workplace.
Volunteers will spend 8 hours using a manual wheelchair during the working day and will only use the chairs in their offices.
- When is it?
The Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge takes place throughout the year so that organisations keep disability firmly on the diversity agenda.
The most popular time to take part in the challenge is on or around 3 December (International Day for People with Disabilities) and on or around 1 March (International Wheelchair Day).
- Who can take part?
Up to ten volunteers per organisation can take part. The Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge is open to any organisation in the City of London.
The more senior the volunteers, the bigger the impact the organisation will have regarding their message about disability both internally and externally.
- Who supplies the wheelchairs?
Yasmin Sheikh of Diverse Matters will supply the wheelchairs from London Wheelchair Service.
- How do you get the volunteers?
Diverse Matters can assist your Communications Team regarding how to publicise the Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge to ensure that the wording and tone is appropriate so that your staff understand the purpose of the challenge and what it involves.
- What are the benefits of doing the challenge?
EY (Ernst & Young) recently took part in the challenge and have shared this six minute video.
The benefits of the challenge to name just a few…
- Raises awareness by giving visibility to disability.
- Allows empathy.
- Deals with other people’s reactions.
- Encourages openness about disabilities (both visible and invisible).
- Gives insight about the challenges.
- Shows that disability can be a strength.
- What about Health and Safety?
Volunteers will receive wheelchair skills training (30-45 minutes) in advance of taking part in the challenge so that they feel comfortable and safe using the chair.
Diverse Matters will also provide briefing notes to ensure both compliance with the rules and the safety of the participants.
The volunteers will not take the chairs outside of their offices.
- Isn’t it a bit patronising and negative?
- I found the reaction of others to the idea of the day really positive. We told clients about what we were doing and they thought it was great that we were doing it and really liked the fact that we are raising money and profile for a charity that supports a section of society that we routinely see in the serious bodily injury claims we deal with. (Danielle Singer, partner in Casualty and Healthcare Department at Clyde & Co LLP)
- It was one of the best things I have done. It was so eye-opening about things you wouldn’t think about on a day-to-day basis. (Anna Doherty, Managing Director, JP Morgan, Technology).
- This event raises awareness on a very practical basis. Lots of people asked us questions. (Suraya Mailvagnam, Managing Director, Legal, JP Morgan).
- This is truly how I feel about the challenge and how it made me feel on the actual wheelchair challenge day:
The staff who were in the wheelchairs for the day spoke to me about the challenges they faced throughout the day and somehow this was comforting; because it confirmed that my observations about my office environment were real.
In turn this empowered me to make small changes in my office environment which were really simple i.e. moving a tray to assist me carry hot drinks from a high shelf to somewhere I could reach.
The challenge day was easily the most comfortable I have ever felt being disabled in my office; I spoke to people in corridors and in the kitchen area who were speaking to me without bending down.
My experience of the challenge and the comments I have received from staff in my office have been so positive. People with hidden disabilities approached me and discussed their disability.
The positive visibility this event gave had a great impact on me and staff in my office. I would definitely recommend others offices to take part in this event. (full-time wheelchair chair user of organisation which took part in the challenge)
- What happens afterwards?
Diverse Matters can assist you with other services on how you engage and give confidence to your staff when it comes to disability in the workplace.
Some organisations chose to take part in the Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge followed by a panel discussion (facilitated by Yasmin Sheikh of Diverse Matters) afterwards.
Employees discuss the learnings of the Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge and the way forward in respect of how to tackle disability issues in their organisations.
- How much will it cost?
There is a charge for the cost of hire and delivery of the chairs.
There will be also be a consultancy fee for the services involved in arranging the smooth running of the Diverse Matters Wheelchair Challenge.
- What about doing it for charity?
Organisations are able to raise money for the spinal cord injury charity, Aspire.
Aspire provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury, supporting them from injury to independence.
- Who has taken part already?
Norton Rose Fulbright
Clyde & Co. LLP
- How do I find out more?
Please contact Yasmin Sheikh of Diverse Matters via email.