Focusing on accessibility for National Inclusion Week

30th September 2016

Here at Virgin Media we’re really proud of our open minded, fun and generous attitude which makes us who we are.  I’ve been lucky enough to lead our Culture and Inclusion strategy for almost two years now and was particularly excited this week to embark on our first ever National Inclusion Week (26-30 September).

Celebrated by many leading UK employers, the week is all about inclusion in the workplace and the role each and every employee can play to make an organisation a great place to work. 

We take the broadest view of inclusion here and have a great legacy around our commitments. For example, we’ve already made positive changes around gender balance and celebrating our LGBT diversity

Disability is a key focus of our inclusion strategy, an area that our national charity partner Scope supports us in making progress on. That’s why this week, hot on the heels of the Paralympics, we decided to specifically shine a spotlight on our efforts to become a more inclusive and accessible place for disabled colleagues.

The week kicked off with a note from our CEO to all our people and our Inclusion Circle  – a group of senior leaders driving the inclusion agenda as part of our Sustainability Goals – answering employee’s questions like ‘what makes you diverse?’, ‘why the focus on inclusion?’ and ‘will we be looking at invisible as well as visible disabilities?’

We also held screenings of Scope’s fabulous new  End the Awkward H.I.D.E campaign with live viewings and discussions around the business.  The campaign is great, so if you haven’t watched it already I definitely recommend that you do.

Throughout the week our people shared their positive stories of living and working with disability at Virgin Media, including:

  • a talented musician from our Peterborough team who appeared in the Paralympic Superhumans advert
  • successful work experience placements supported by Remploy in our Bradford site
  • and a number of people telling us how they are  benefiting from the new OpenDyslexic font we have recently added to many of our systems and all employee computers to help people with dyslexia

The icing on the cake for me was being joined at our Birmingham and Peterborough sites by the amazing Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead (@Marathonchamp)who continues some great work with us as our Accessibility Ambassador. It was a real treat for so many of our people to get the chance to meet and chat (and of course grab the obligatory selfie) with the man himself.

Our aim this week was to start a bigger conversation about disability in the workplace and encourage our people to share their views and ideas about what we already do well and more importantly where we can improve. At the end of a super busy week, I really do think we achieved that goal.

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