Disability and Neurodivergent Network Banner Image

Disability and Neurodivergent Network

University of Cumbria Disability Network

Supporting Disabled Staff at Cumbria

We are the staff Disability and Neurodivergent Network (DANN).

Founded in July 2021, DANN is run by a group of colleagues who have come together to create a safe community for disabled staff, where we can celebrate and share our experiences and ideas. We're here to support each other, challenge harmful practices and make a difference in our university community.

Find out more about our network with Assistive Technology Officer and Network Chair, Caroline Briggs. 

Join Our Network

Video skipped
Logo for Disability Confident Leader

Disability Confident Leader

Disability Confident is a government scheme, working with employers to:

  • Challenge attitude towards disability
  • Increase understanding of disability
  • Remove barriers
  • Ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations

The University of Cumbria achieved Disability Confident Leader level in October 2022. To achieve Disability Confident Leader status the university had to undertake 3 additional steps from our existing Disability Confident Employer responsibilities, that focused on challenge, leadership and reporting. Our self-assessment was externally validated, with our validator agreeing that we deliver against all core actions as a Disability Confident Employer and noting that we are employing disabled people. The university provided an extensive narrative of the activities we take or will be undertaking, including examples of staff training from DANN, our wellbeing hub and sharing of good practice. It was also evidenced that we record and report on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

More about the scheme

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme

Disabilty History Month 2023

To mark Disability History Month 2023, which runs from 16th November to 16th December, we want to highlight that the University of Cumbria has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme, which is in place to encourage inclusivity, acceptance and understanding.

The Sunflower is a simple tool for you to share that you have a hidden disability voluntarily. Simply by wearing the Sunflower, you’re just letting everyone know that you might need extra help, understanding, or just more time.

The University’s Disability & Neurodivergent Network (DANN) proposed the idea, which was approved by the EDIW Committee, noting that the Sunflower lanyard is in-keeping with our wider Equality, Diversity & Inclusion agenda and continues to drive aspects of disability equality forward at the university, building on the success of being awarded Disability Confident Leader status in October 2022.

The initial phased introduction of the Sunflower lanyard will be piloted with staff, with members of DANN positioned to distribute and monitor the uptake and impact. 

It is worth noting of course that students and visitors who have acquired their own Sunflower lanyard and interact in any capacity with the university would be afforded the same respect and support as staff members choosing to wear a Sunflower lanyard.

“It’s fantastic to see this DANN led proposal come to fruition, driving forward disability equality and making the invisible, visible to improve the experiences of our university community”. Lee McDermott, EDI Officer and a founding member of DANN.

During Disability Month

Disability Month 2022

During Disability Month 2022 DANN contributed to internal awareness-raising that focussed on:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Disability Confident Leader developments
  • The social model of disability
  • How to report disability hate crime
Text reads: Disability is not the stereotype that we see on television. It's just people with a collection of differences. If there was a box for people with disabilities or neurodiversity none of us would fit into it. Caroline Briggs, Assistive Technology Officer.

Disability History Month 2021

For Disability History Month 2021 (18th November - 18th December), DANN members have taken action to spread awareness of our network.

They have done this by:

  • Creating a series of videos sharing their personal experiences with disability and/or neurodivergence for the University of Cumbria YouTube channel. You can watch them here.
  • Making improvements to the accessibility of the Cumbria website and updating the Accessibility Statement. The website is currently being redeveloped and thus more changes are to come. 
  • Hosting a webinar on accessibility and offering helpful guides and blogs that can be found on the Accessibility Page in SharePoint.

Colleagues are welcomed (including allies) to join the group by completing the DANN Members Form. Thank you to everyone who has engaged with our network throughout the month, especially those who have shared their personal experiences with the world. 

You are not alone. 

DANN Terms of Reference

Learn more about the Disability and Neurodivergent Network Terms of Reference.

Initially, the Terms of Reference will be reviewed after one year. Following this, the review will take place every two years. 

Next Review: November 2022

DANN Terms of Reference 2021