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University to launch Disability Staff Network

Disability Staff Network

As a university, we have a proud history of supporting diversity and inclusion. We know that we can only achieve our vision of being a world-class, forward-looking and ambitious university by recruiting, supporting and developing staff from the widest variety of backgrounds. 

Work is now underway to launch a staff network for disability – a group specifically designed to represent the views of disabled colleagues and to instigate positive change across the University.

The new group joins our staff support networks representing protected characteristics – the LGBTPlus Network, the Cultural Diversity Group and the Women@Reading network. 

The network is still in early stages of development – in September, founding members of the group (several of whom are featured on the Faces of Reading website) met to establish the key aims of the group, which are:

  • To give disabled staff a voice in the University, and to provide a consultation group on matters affecting day-to-day activities. 
  • To inspire culture change and raise awareness of challenges experienced by disabled staff.
  • To improve understanding of what constitutes a ‘disability’. 
  • To offer staff the same level of service we provide to our disabled students.

Founding member Charlie Williams, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Meteorology, said:  

“This network will enable colleagues with disabilities to have an increased influence within the University, so that we can provide recommendations on how to make our University community more inclusive. We want to identify what the University already does well, in addition to drawing attention to areas where change is much needed.

“As well as supporting colleagues with disabilities and mental illness, we want to raise awareness on how impaired individuals encounter challenges with fundamental aspects of everyday work.  

“We fully accept that disability is a very broad term, and it is impossible to meet everyone’s needs. But we will do our best to reflect the spectrum of disability as widely as possible, and look forward to working together to promote equality for all staff.”     

The network will be open to all University staff – membership is voluntary, and colleagues without disabilities are more than welcome to join.

An informal coffee morning will be held on Monday 13 November at 11.30 am in the ESSC Common Room (Room 175, Harry Pitt building) for those interested in joining.

If you can’t make the coffee morning but would be interested in joining the group or keeping up to date with activities and events, please email

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