Transform the lives of disadvantaged people in the UK through digital technology.
Why does it matter?
The internet and digital technology can be truly liberating for the most disadvantaged people in the UK. Disabled people are some of the most disadvantaged in Britain – they’re roughly twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled adults. 25% of disabled adults have never used the internet, compared to 11% of non-disabled adults (ONS). For the 14 million disabled people in the UK, technology and access to the internet can be transformational - providing a voice, enabling people to live independently and unlocking access to education and work. That’s why we want to use digital technology and connectivity to help take away the barriers that can stop disabled people having the same opportunities as everyone else.
Disabled people are being shut out of the workplace – they face a number of barriers which prevent them from gaining employment, such as employers’ attitudes, inflexible working hours and outdated HR policies – that’s why building more inclusive workplaces is our new area of focus.
How are we making it happen?
We have evolved our partnership with Scope, which begun in 2015, from a standard ‘National Charity Partnership’ model to something more substantial which has a greater purpose and ultimately drives a bigger social impact.
In 2017, we finished two projects that reflect our older partnership model: Inspire Independence and Connect Families, leaving us room to refocus our ambition to tackling disability employment and realise our goal of transforming lives of disabled people.
(1) Supporting 1million disabled people to get into and stay in work by the end of 2020* – together with Scope we are developing a new digital employment service delivered through Scope’s digital channels.
(2) Transforming the experience for our disabled customers and employees – we have a 3 year transformation action plan in place and began laying the foundations for this in 2017
(3) Celebrating and normalising disability – we are proud to have become gold-tier sponsors of the British Paralympics Association an and will use brand activations with the BPA to help shift attitudes towards disability
We have a steering committee in place for our partnership with Scope, with an independent chair and two Executives from each organization to drive and monitor progress. Catherine Lynch, our Chief People Officer, is accountable for our Disability Action Plan.
*As we refocused our Transforming Lives goal in 2017, we will continue to measure the impact of this goal until the end of 2020. All other goals will finish at the end of 2019.
Performance against our goal sub targets in 2017
Here are our performance highlights for 2017, the third year of our 2020 Transforming lives goal. If you are looking for information on what we’re focusing on for the remaining two years of the goal, take a look at our Goals roadmap.
Inspire Confidence and Connect Families
2016 target - Complete the Inspire Independence and Connect Families projects by the end of July 2017.
How we did –
Inspire Independence – Provide 1,500 disabled people and their families with access to assistive technology between July 2015 and July 2017
· Together with Scope, we supported 1,117 disabled people and their families through recruiting an Assistive Technology (AT) team to deliver training on AT. Due to the specialist nature of the Assistive Technology roles, recruitment of the team was delayed while Scope recruited the suitable candidates, we therefore fell 26% short of our target., Despite this, the project has achieved positive outcomes for disabled people by increasing awareness of assistive technologies currently available and how they can be used to inspire independence. Scope continues to promote the role of AT in championing everyday equality for disabled people.
Connect Families – support 250 families through digitally connecting parents of disabled children between July 2015 and July 2017
· We supported 120 families between July 2015 and July 2017. We missed our target because the demand for the pilot project was lower than we'd anticipated. The pilot had the aim to develop and trail a new product: enabling parents of disabled children to access to connect to other parents facing similar issues using Skype and by training online Befrienders. Ultimately the pilot increased access to emotional support in areas where Scope didn't have a presence. The low demand for this method of support meant that we were unable to take the Connect Families pilot any further. However, learnings from this project were integrated into Scope's new strategy - 'getting the Best Start in Life'.
Develop our Partnership with Scope
2017 target - Launch new partnership focus with Scope before the end of 2017 to transform the lives of disabled people through digital technology.
How we did – In September 2017, we launched Work With Me - a new focused call to action to tackle disability employment. We launched a big ambitious goal to support 1million disabled people to get into and stay in work by the end of 2020. Using Scope’s disability expertise and Virgin Media’s digital knowhow we’ll work together to break down the barriers disabled people face in the workplace. We know employment provides the answer to many of the challenges disabled people face and we’ll be putting digital at the heart of the solution.
Work With Me: supporting 1 million disabled people to get into and stay in work by the end of 2020.
It’s a big goal and we’re determined to reach it.
Using Scope’s disability expertise and Virgin Media’s digital knowhow we’ll work together to break down the barriers disabled people face in the workplace
We know employment provides the answer to many of the challenges disabled people face and we’ll be putting digital at the heart of the solution
Our partnership with Scope will deliver three objectives until the end of 2020:
|1. Develop a new digital employment support service delivered through Scope’s website and digital channels||2. To step up and lead as a responsible business||3. Driving change in the workplace|
What this is:
• Online, self-serve content packed with advice, toolkits, tips, reviews, templates, how to guides, training, modules and video guides
• One-to-one tailored light-touch service for disabled people seeking employment
What this is:
• A disability action plan in place to transform the experience for disabled employees and customers of Virgin Media
What this is:
• Working with other businesses and the Government, we’ll share our learnings, mobilise businesses and change the workplace for good