3 December 2019
Today we mark the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, through our support of the #PurpleLightUp campaign. Now in its third year, #PurpleLightUp sees governments, universities, charities and businesses light up their buildings to showcase their recognition of the economic power of disabled people across the globe.
Again this year, Virgin Media is proudly changing colour, with our London office, website, social media channels and even our set-top box TV menu turning from our trademark Virgin red to purple. If you’re a capital dweller, keep your eyes peeled for a purple taxi (electric of course), cruising around the streets of London picking up influential business leaders who are driving this inclusion revolution forward. Tune in to listen to Kate Nash, CEO of PurpleSpace and Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500 in conversation with leaders from across sectors on disability inclusion in global businesses. You can watch the interviews as the happen on Twitter - @MyPurpleSpace.
Disability inclusion at Virgin Media
Since we partnered with disability equality charity Scope back in 2015 we’ve committed to thinking and acting differently about disability across our organisation. From offering remote controls with inverted colours, so the buttons stand out for people with visual impairments, providing training for our frontline employees and line managers, to setting up our employee disability network UltraViolet, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far but we know there’s more for us to do.
With Scope we’ve set a big, bold target to support 1 million disabled people with the skills and confidence to get into and stay in work by the end of 2020. To achieve this we set up Support to Work, the digital employment service for disabled jobseekers, run by Scope and fully funded by us. I’m really proud that, so far, the service has supported over 450,000 disabled people.
We know that change starts from the top, that’s why we became a founding partner of The Valuable 500, the global movement putting disability on the business leadership agenda. Our Chief Operating Officer and executive sponsor of disability, Jeff Dodds was one of the first Valuable 500 leaders and has been championing this agenda with our suppliers across his network and our operations.
We want to help other businesses – big and small – get started, that’s where #WorkWithMe comes in. #WorkWithMe is a business to business community for organisations committed to transforming the experience of their disabled employees and customers. The community is underpinned by the #WorkWithMe pledge, five action areas to guide operational managers to get started, or continue, their progress towards disability inclusion in their organisation. The community gives members free, open-source access to practical advice on how to improve their workplace policies, practices and culture for disabled people.
On #PurpleLightUp day we stand alongside other businesses and organisations committed to becoming more inclusive for disabled people, to celebrate the economic power of the disabled community that makes up 1/6 of the global workforce.
Inclusive businesses are the businesses of the future - the evidence is in on this. Businesses who design inclusive products and services, have inclusive policies and practices and employ a workforce that represent the diversity of the communities they serve will be the winners. So it’s not only the right thing to do, businesses can’t afford not to have disability inclusion on their agendas.
The time is now:
If you are a business leader on an executive committee sign up to The Valuable 500
If you are responsible for inclusion policy or strategy in your organisation take the #WorkWithMe pledge
Madeleine Cobb is Virgin Media’s Head of Sustainability.