July Spark! Newsletter
Hello, I’m Liz one of the Communication Officers. I know lots of people look forward to it, but I’ve been having a hard time with the hot weather so I’m hoping for no more heatwaves!
This edition is quite a long one, so let’s get going…
About Our New Co-Chairs
Our new Co-Chairs have provided us with a bit of information about them.
Chris has become a co-chair of the Disabled Staff Network, as he wishes to support in the strategic development of the group. He will be able to participate and represent the network on senior university committees and steering groups and have an influence on decision-making and policy setting. His breadth of knowledge, experience and resources will support the network in developing its ambitions and aspirations. Chris has worked in higher education for over 10 years and has had extensive experience in pursuing Inclusive Practices ideals, audit toolkits and the implementation of training and coaching. As an ambassador to the IP drive, Chris has led and promoted many projects to embed IP traits within many HEI’s conduct and policies.
I’m really pleased to have been entrusted with the role of co-chair for another year. I’m hoping to continue to build the visibility of the network across the University and expand our membership further. I want to continue to ensure that Disabled staff are considered by the University when making big decisions. I’m hoping to push SHU policies for disabled staff to not just meet minimum legal standards, but to go further than that and ensure that SHU is an excellent place for disabled people to work and study.
I am delighted to have been elected having served as the network secretary for the last couple of years. My hopes are to grow the network, create a greater sense of community for disabled staff and continuing to lobby the university for better support for disabled staff.
The Co-Chairs Joint Statement
We’ve heard from them individually, so now let’s have a look at a joint statement:
Our renewed aim as co-chairs is to lobby the university to improve policies and support and ensure disabled staff are granted the reasonable adjustments they need to thrive. We will also continue raising the profile of disabled staff through comms and events and strive to create a greater sense of community. We will endeavor to support staff as they navigate the challenging process of Access-To-Work and work collaboratively with HROD to smooth out the process of implementing reasonable adjustments in the workplace. We will work with senior leadership committees to embed Inclusive Practices policies, strategies, and train all in the aspiration of universal design within the academic environment.
Hybrid Working Survey
Professional Services have just undertaken the Hybrid Working Pilot and were asked to complete a survey before and after this had taken place. The results from the first survey show that 10% of those staff taking part have noted health concerns as a barrier to on campus working. That number could be higher assuming anyone else has made the same mistake as me and not realised that there was an option to tick ‘I have not returned yet’. That might have just been me though. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the results of the second survey.
Dr Luke Bearden and a related podcast
One of our lecturers, Dr Luke Beardon, has a book called Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children which has hit the number one spot in the Family & Lifestyle Pediatrics bestsellers list on Amazon. Congratulations to Dr Beardon!
This book is about children, but there is a book focused on adults called Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Adults: A Guide for Autistic Wellbeing.
Dr Luke Bearden teaches on our MA Autism course which gets a couple of brief mentions from guests in these episodes here and here of the BBC podcast 1800 Seconds on Autism. If you’ve never heard it, it’s a podcast with episodes from Nov 2018 to June 2021 with autistic hosts Robyn Steward and Jamie Knight discussing their experiences with guests. Dr Luke Beardon will also be featuring on a BBC 2 show with Chris Packham later this year, we will be sure to let you know when it is released!
Awareness Days & Events
24 July (24/7) is Samaritans Awareness Day, named because they say they’re here to listen 24/7. On this date and throughout July, they’ll be running an awareness-raising campaign Talk to Us, to remind people that they’re here for anyone who needs someone to listen. You can find out more about their Talk To Us Campaign | Samaritans Campaigns and get further resources on their website.
National Schizophrenia Awareness Day
25th July is National Schizophrenia Awareness Day.
One in one hundred people will experience schizophrenia, which might be more than you think. This day is hoping to highlight the challenges faced by hundreds of thousands of people and break down the stigma and discrimination. The National Schizophrenia Awareness Day (rethink.org) has more information about this and further resources.
Pinknic is this month
Sheffield Pinknic is a yearly free event held at the Peace Gardens to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The event will take place on Saturday the 16th of July from 11:00 – 1900. To find out more visit https://en-gb.facebook.com/pinknicsheffield/
So don’t forget you haven’t missed it, Pinknic is taking place on July 16th. Who says Pride can’t last a month and a half!
Reading list – call for submissions – personal opinions
In case you weren’t aware, there is a reading list curated by the library which can be found at this link here:
The Networks communications team would love to hear from you about recommendations for books, films, tv shows, podcasts etc. It can be difficult giving an opinion on something that does not represent your lived experience, but we understand any opinion is personal and not a blanket endorsement.
And while we’re talking books this is just a reminder to those of us who are new or may not be aware, our very own Co-Chair, Chris Ross, has a book out called Blind Faith
Call for new committee members
The network needs more committee members to help sustain and continue to grow the work we can do. Please email Spark at Sparksdn@shu.ac.uk 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.
Liz Anyon and the Spark! Committee
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