Two years ago, as part of its commitment to becoming a disability confident organisation, Norton Rose Fulbright took part in the Wheelchair Challenge, in support of the International Day of People with Disabilities, and more specifically to raise funds for Aspire.  In December, they decided to take part again.

Long term supporter of Aspire, Yasmin Sheikh of Diverse Matters, www.diversematters.org, created the Wheelchair Challenge to raise awareness of some of the obstacles that people with spinal cord injuries are faced with every day.  Volunteers spend a day in a wheelchair to gain some insight into the day to day challenges that wheelchair users face in the working environment which they can then share with their co-workers.

Yasmin said, "I created the Wheelchair Challenge to give visibility to disability in the workplace. Although disabled people are the biggest minority group in society (there are over 11 million people in the UK with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability (DWP figures), they are often left out in the conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This challenge seeks to address this by putting disability on the diversity agenda and to get conversations started about all disabilities, both visible and non-visible."

Caroline Lindner, Co-Chair of Employee Disability Network, Shine at Norton Rose Fulbright said, "We had seven volunteers, which included three partners, take part in the 2017 Aspire Wheelchair Challenge.  Apart from raising critical funds for Aspire, the challenge helped us to continue on our ongoing journey to become a more disability confident organisation.  The experience has provided everyone with an insight into what we can do to support our colleagues who have disabilities, both visible and non-visible."

The team from Norton Rose Fulbright believe that the Wheelchair Challenge is an example of the way they put their commitment to diversity and inclusion into practice and also to start conversations about disability and long term health conditions.  Comments from the participants included: "The longer I was in the chair the more I noticed people looking straight over my head – it made me feel insignificant and forgotten" and "I have a friend who is in a wheelchair and understood his life was marred with challenges, but this activity gave me real insight into the daily hurdles both physically and mentally."

Thanks to the volunteers who took part and to their generous colleagues and supporters, the challenge raised an incredible £5,100 for Aspire!  

For information on how your company can get involved, please get in touch with Hannah on 020 8420 6731 or email [email protected] .