International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) bulletin

This special bulletin includes:

Welcome from Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive, ERSA 

On this 20th International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) rarely, if ever, has the work of our members been more important.

Our worst concerns about the effect of the pandemic on the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable communities in the country proved true last year, and latest figures show there hasn’t been significant improvement to that situation in the past 12 months.

The work of ERSA members in these sometimes overwhelming circumstances has been magnificent, as the reduced access to routine physical and mental health support and risk of social isolation has been magnified by Covid-19 restrictions.

But we must use this moment as a launch pad for encouraging a better understanding and recognition by governments of the needs of people with all forms of disability.

And as the theme of this IDPD suggests, disabled people and those who represent them must take up the reins of leadership to drive a more equitable post-Covid world.
 International Day of People with Disabilities

Friday 3 December marks the 20th year of the United Nations rallying call promoting the rights and wellbeing of the more than one billion people in the world living with some sort of disability.

Against the backdrop of the continuing pandemic it seeks to increase awareness of their situation in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

A better future led by disabled people themselves is this year’s theme: ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.’

Find out more here

ERSA’s Disability, Health and Employment Forum: from Chair, Nicola Whiteman at Papworth Trust

This year’s International Day of People with Disabilities 2021 focuses on creating an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid-19 world. At Papworth Trust we strive for a world where disabled people are seen for who they are, and this year we will be focussing our efforts on breaking down some of the myths and barriers that still exist around disability.

We’ll be speaking at many events over the course of the week – from working with students across Suffolk to answer their questions about disability, to supporting local businesses across Cambridgeshire to be disability confident – working alongside our local communities to be inclusive and accessible.

I am proud to serve as Chair of our sector’s Disability, Health and Employment Forum which focuses on developing ERSA’s policies around disability and health employment. If you are an ERSA member and are interested in providing employment support to disabled people and those with long term conditions, please consider getting involved in the forum’s work. Please get in touch with
Nicola Whiteman is the Policy and Communications Manager at Papworth Trust. The charity operates around the East of England, focusing on promoting the needs and wellbeing of disabled people in housing, employment, care and leisure opportunities.

Watch the last Disability, Health and Employment on 16 November here. 

The Government must invest in a tailored employment support scheme for disabled young people and larger companies should be legally bound to reveal how many disabled people they employ.

These are among the findings of this year’s report by the Leonard Cheshire Trust: Still Locked Out: Breaking Down the barriers to disability inclusive employment

It shows the pandemic is still having a significant effect on disabled people’s employment and livelihoods.

When, in 2019, Caroline Casey announced her goal of securing a commitment to disability inclusion by the leaders of 500 of the world’s biggest companies, it seemed like an overly ambitious dream. Two years on, businesses such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Unilever have all made that pledge.

That achievement has now been recognised in the Shaw Trust’s annual Disability Power 100 list of the most influential disabled people in the UK.

Click here to find out who else made it onto the list.

Disability Employment Charter: roadmap for change

With employment opportunities for disabled people showing little signs of improvement, the new Disability Employment Charter sets out a roadmap for change as the Government develops the next phases of its National Disability Strategy.

Download the charter here

ERSA is one of the latest organisations to sign up in support of the charter and has set up an online event taking place next week. 

Register in advance for a joining link for 9 December, 9.30 – 11am 

See who has signed the charter.

Coronavirus (COVID‑19)

This award was kindly sponsored by Triangle Consulting, watch a short video from Managing Director Graham Randles here. 

Chloe Smith, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work said, “Congratulations to all of the finalists of the ERSA 2021 Employability Awards.

“I’ve seen in my own constituency and across the country what a difference members of ERSA can make and I know how much local leadership really matters in effecting meaningful change.

“As the new Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work I am passionate about championing those with disabilities and long-term health conditions and helping to improve their daily lives. As a Government though, we can’t do this alone and it is only by working together that we can help build a more inclusive society that works for everyone.” Also watch a message from the minister, delivered as part of the winners announcement in November here. 

Congratulations to the ERSA Award finalists in this year’s Team of the Year – Disability and Health category. Of our eight worthy finalists, St. Joseph’s Approved Premises Bike Project was named winner at last week’s #ERSAAwards21.

The Bike Project offers weekly one-to-one tuition to participants by mechanics in repairing and recycling bicycles. Seventeen men – offenders with mental health difficulties – took part during the last year, cultivating practical, vocational, team-building, and problem-solving skills and helping to prepare for independent living.  Read more 

Also highly commended: 

Forwards Employment Service, Gloucestershire County Council   
Gloucestershire County Council’s Forwards Employment Service provides support to find work for young people who are in education with additional support needs, those transitioning from education, and adults engaging with Social Care or Health Services. During the pandemic, job brokers worked hard to keep in touch with those furloughed and find new jobs for those who lost them. 

Ideal for All: recognising IDPDIdeal for All is a Disabled Peoples User-Led Organisation (DPULO) and since 1996 has provided inclusive and accessible information, advice, and co-produced services to more than 30,000 people. It provides Direct Payment support services and award-winning Employment, Skills, Health and Wellbeing programmes. Delivery is completed by peer-support and condition management/independent living and the charity has developed seven acres of derelict land over three sites into accessible community horticultural assets to support these socially enterprising activities.
Khatija Patel, CEO of Ideal for All says: “International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a great opportunity for us all to take action towards making our world more inclusive for everyone. As part of this effort, we are starting the day’s events with our Youth Group; borrowing their hashtag #AllTogetherDifferent21, we aim to unite everyone in the face of adversity, ensuring that disabled peoples’ voices are heard. Set against the backdrop of our Employment partnership project with West Midlands Combined Authority and funded by National Lottery Community Fund, our Stand Out team is asking you to join us by wearing colourful clothing.

We encourage everyone to participate, using the hashtags #StandOut and #AllTogetherDifferent21 and tagging @idealforall on Facebook and Twitter to spread awareness. We hope you will join us in celebrating.

RNIB launches eLearning courses

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched eLearning courses which increase awareness of sight loss and provide information, advice and resources for jobseekers with sight loss, employment professionals, and employers.
For Jobseekers: RNIB’s new free online jobseeker course has been designed to help people with sight loss decide the next steps to take when thinking about employment. We’ve called on the experience of our professional employment advisors to put together their top tips for a successful approach to looking for work. The course has been tested by people with sight loss to make sure it’s easy to use, addresses their job search queries and is fully accessible. For further information visit the RNIB website: RNIB Jobseeker
For Employment Professionals: Do you want to know more about sight loss? Does your team help people with sight loss to find work? RNIB’s “Understanding Sight Loss for Employment Professionals” e-Learning course will give you the knowledge and tools to help. The course is online and takes about forty minutes to complete, it can be done in your own time and at your own pace. It includes the facts about sight loss, common eye conditions and their functional effects, things to consider when talking about jobs, how to guide someone with sight loss and further resources to help you. For further information visit the RNIB website: RNIB Employment Professionals
For Employers: RNIB’s “Understanding Sight Loss for Employers” course equips employers with everything they need to know about recruiting, supporting and retaining people with sight loss. It covers topics such as accessibility, technology, advertising posts, interviewing and supporting people with sight loss at work. For further information visit the RNIB website: RNIB Employers

Follow the hashtag on twitter #IDPD2021

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Events coming up


Read more and get involved! 

IDPD and the Covid-19 impact by Prof Amanda Kirby
The Valuable 500 are campaigning today

The ReAct Partnership 
 is the first partnership of its kind – an industry-led active collaboration supporting continuous improvement in Restart delivery through action research, shared learning and evidence-based resources. Read more about the partnership.

Our first major project has been on shared employer engagement models. Eligible organisations are invited to a launch event  on 7 December at 9am where we’ll present the findings and discuss how we can use them to drive performance and make a difference with Restart. 

To receive an invitation link, you must be a delivery partner on the Restart Scheme supporting one of six of the prime providers who have co-funded the project, they are Fedcap Employment, G4S, Ingeus, Maximus UK, Reed in Partnership and Serco. If that’s you, get in touch with us via

ERSA Membership
Giving a voice to the employment support sector 

ERSA member organisations deliver services to jobseekers and learners across the UK.  ERSA supports them through a wide mix of policy support, representation and services. 

If you are not already in ERSA membership you have find more information below, or get in touch directly with the team via for an informal chat.