D-Ability Staff Network continues to make a difference at Gateshead Health

Disability History Month runs from 16th November to 16th December to continue to promote respect, dignity and equality for all.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust’s D-Ability Staff Network is using Disability History Month, which runs from 16th November to 16th December to continue to promote respect, dignity and equality for all. The D-Ability network includes all levels of disabled employees and has grown in size following the pandemic with many diverse visible and hidden disabilities represented.

Since its inception, the network holds monthly sessions to support staff and guide them to resources and boost morale through difficult times. In 2021, the Network welcomed Baroness Tani Gray, an Olympic Champion, as well as Dr Lucy Reynolds founder and director from We are All Disabled to share their lived experiences with the organisation in another successful Disability History Month campaign, demonstrating a fantastic legacy of promoting awareness within the organisation.

This year the network was able to hold its first live Neurodiversity Day, focusing on information for autistic staff working in the trust, which led to the second live day in October focusing on information for the ADHD and Dyslexia staff. On the day, staff were welcomed on-site to meet representatives from Gateshead Autism Hub, Project Choice and the North East Autism Society, as well as neurodiverse colleagues from within Gateshead Health’s D-Ability, BAME and LGBT+ staff networks. The event was attended by over 300 colleagues.

Maria Butt, Chair of the D-Ability Network reflects on the work of the network saying, “I am very proud of the network’s achievements throughout the year and as we are celebrating Disability History Month it is great to see everyone in the Trust get involved with activities and supporting one another. I would like to thank everyone for all your support this year and hope in 2023 the Network continues to grow and influence.

“The network is helping to further positive culture around disability at Gateshead Health by celebrating this year’s Disability History Month theme of health and wellbeing.”

Amongst the celebrations set to take place is an open-invitation webinar for staff with Author and Lifejoy Coach, Dr Rebecca, scheduled for Wednesday 30th November. The session will be the start of the network’s #GHNTBeatStress campaign and will aim to help those in attendance transform burnout into balance.

Ongoing throughout the month is an invitation to Gateshead Health colleagues to nominate anyone from within the Gateshead Health workforce for commendation. The effort comes as the Network seeks to recognise and commend those who have gone above and beyond to promote awareness of issues which impact those with disabilities and/or long-term health conditions, or who have helped to drive positive changes for colleagues at Gateshead Health.

Managing Director for QE Facilities and the Executive Network Sponsor, Anthony Robson said, “We support an inclusive culture within Gateshead Health and we’re happy to support and celebrate Disability History Month. This helps us to celebrate our staff successes and we have so many colleagues who are interested in understanding the conceptual foundations of disability and special education.”

While Disability History Month 2022 will wind down on Friday 16th December, the D-Ability Network’s efforts will continue into 2023 and beyond, with the network acting as a safe point of contact and ally for all disabled colleagues; a driver of positive change and a champion of awareness-raising.

To keep up with the Network’s efforts, drop them a follow on Twitter, @ghntd_ability.

Humaira Saeed, Maria Butt, Michelle Newton and Coleen Knox during ADHD Awareness Month
Our D-Ability team (from top left to right) Humaira Saeed, Maria Butt, Michelle Newton and Coleen Knox during ADHD Awareness Month where they promoted and supported staff to raise awareness about ADHD in the Trust.