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February 7, 2022

February 2022 Spark Newsletter

February Spark Newsletter 


We hope you are all doing okay, and this semester is going well for you. I am really starting to dream of the spring weather and getting outside in the garden to work instead of being cooped up inside the house. Hopefully not long now!


British Sign Language Bill (BSL) has been Approved! 

After the amazing success of Rose on Strictly Come Dancing, BSL has really been brought to people’s attention. So much so that it has finally just been made an official language of the UK! Hopefully this will help to ensure that D/deaf people have access to BSL interpreters more readily and that there will be more mechanism to removed barriers faced by BSL users. For more information see BSL approved as official language in i-news.


Petition to make audio announcements at bus stops standard 

People who are visually impaired often face barriers when trying to travel independently. One of the issues is the visibility and accessibility of bus numbers, often making travel stressful and potentially dangerous. This problem could be easily solved by the use of audio announcements at bus stops. Please consider signing the petition to make audio announcements at bus stops standard.


Leading into the Future Programme at SHU

Leading into the Future is a leadership programme designed for people from groups who are under-represented in senior roles at Sheffield Hallam. The university wants to build a diverse leadership team and so is running a training programme. The programme aims to explore the impact of being from a minority background in a majority culture and develop strategies for success as well as

  • Enable you to develop your authentic leadership voice
  • Support you to explore your career aspirations and channel your ambition
  • Identify how to build relationships with stakeholders.

Application to get onto the programme open on Monday the 7th of February. Find out more about the Leading into the Future Programme.


New Senior Disability Champions and Sparks Network aims for 2022

You may or may not be aware that two new Senior Disability Champions have been appointed – Joe Rennie and Kevin Kerrigan. As a network we are really pleased with these appointments as we have worked with both Joe and Kevin in the past and know them to be good allies. Joe and Kevin will now lead the Disability Steering Group and the Spark Committee will be working with them to promote our agenda.


With new engaged senior champions and the start of a new calendar year we are looking to set out our aims for the network in 2022. Holly, Nick and I (Steph) have had an initial meeting to put some thoughts together but if you have any thoughts or ideas on what the network should focus its efforts on in the next 12 months please email with your ideas. This could be something small, something related to awareness raising or something systematic about the way the university supports disabled staff.


The second virtual “Disabili-tea” room has now been scheduled (12-1pm, 23rd February)

If you need a place to let your guard down a little bit and chat to other disabled staff about how you are really doing this is the place!

Following the success of the first session we are going to offer Disabili-tea sessions every four to six weeks. These virtual catch ups are a safe space to chat with other disabled staff about absolutely anything from how work is going to things going on in your home life or the wider world.

The next Disabili-tea Room is going to 12-1pm on Wednesday 23rd February on MS Teams. You can pop it in your calendars by clicking – join Disabili-Tea


Call for new committee members 

The network is in need of more committee members in order to help sustain and continue to grow the work we can do. Please email Spark at if you might be interested in joining the committee. We will invite you to the next committee meeting so you can get a feel for what is involved and there is absolutely no pressure if you decide it is not right for you.


Best wishes


Steph and the rest of the Spark! Network Committee