Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an annual observance organised by the United Nations to promote the rights and wellbeing of people with disabilities.
2018’s theme focuses on empowering people with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no-one behind’.
More than one billion people worldwide have some form of disability – that’s one in every seven people. More than 160 countries have now signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but there’s a long way to go and true inclusion won’t come until the world accepts all human difference and people demand their voices to be heard. To highlight this Purple Space, the world’s only networking and professional development hub for disabled employees, is asking businesses to go bigger, bolder and brighter on December 3rd and get involved in #PurpleLightUp by flying a purple flag or lighting up locations purple.
This year, Virgin Media is ditching its famous red to go purple for one day only. They’ve invited employees to go to work in purple and enjoy purple cakes, beetroot salads and violet lattes. At Virgin Media HQ they’re lighting up the building purple both inside and out and they’ll be hosting discussions with some of their people about how they can continue to have confident conversations about disability at the company.
Last year in partnership with Scope, Virgin Media launched #WorkWithMe, a commitment to support one million disabled people to get into and stay in work by the end of 2020. They’ve funded a bespoke employment service, offering advice and guidance for disabled people apply for jobs through Support to Work, a 12 week programme and range of online advice.
Virgin Media is also asking other businesses to sign the #WorkWithMe pledge to commit to thinking and acting differently about disability at work. They’re running roundtables and starting conversations with other businesses to discuss how employers can remove the barriers disabled people face getting into and staying in work. This gives businesses the chance to speak openly about the challenges they’re facing in promoting a positive culture around disability and learn from others.
At Virgin Management, we’re joining Virgin Media to light up our office purple in support of #PurpleLightUp. During this year we have also had a group of employees commit to exploring ways that we can create a more representative and inclusive place to work.