By Evie Whitaker
A new way for PR and comms businesses to voice their queries and concerns around disability and inclusion in the workplace has been brought forward by a Leeds-based firm.
DisAbility PR has launched The Agency Mailbox, where businesses can submit their questions about disability in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
The questions will be answered during a conversational podcast that aims to “debunk and dispel the myths surrounding disability” by talking to those from the disabled community themselves.
The founder of DisAbility PR, who will be leading the podcast, is Sara Hawthorn who herself has suffered with hearing loss whilst managing a thriving PR company, InFusion Comms.
The BBC recently collected data from their employees disclosing disabilities, and found that 10.4% of its workforce were disabled.
It aims to increase this to 12% by 2022 through the introduction of measures such as mandatory disability awareness training.
Sara Hawthorn, founder of DisAbility PR, said: “These BBC stats are the first step and have allowed a full spectrum view; the challenge is what happens next and is often where organisations fall down.
“It’s about taking positive steps to changing your culture long-term, and creating a two-way dialogue between organisations and those with disabilities.
“I want The Agency Mailbox and the launch of the podcast to start a conversation around disability, without judgement being passed on their questions and worries.”
The conversation is welcomed by many, including those who continue to struggle to find an accommodating workplace.
Josh Banner, former factory worker, said: “At the moment I’m looking for a permanent career path, where I will hopefully be seen as an equal despite my visual impairment.
“That’s why I think this podcast is such a good idea, it will be able to help others like me find a forever job.”
Although some companies still lack diversity in their work force when it comes to disability, there are others that have achieved the complete opposite.
Steven Lyth, owner of Steline Shopfitting Ltd, said: “Working in a hands-on job is difficult for anybody, but with a disability it’s a whole different ball game.
“I’ve experienced working with a disability since 2004 and it’s been really difficult but I definitely haven’t let it stop me.
“Over 14 years I’ve built up my own business and travel up and down the country with my son and brother. I love it and how it makes me feel like I am able.”
The Agency Mailbox is available to submit questions to at: Agency Mailbox