Introducing EEAST's Disability Support Network

Nicky Parry
Nicky Parry

The EEAST Disability Support Network has been set up to raise awareness of disabilities and support all staff who have a disability, have family or friends with a disability or encounter people with a disability through work.

Nicky Parry, Deputy Chair of the Network, tells her story: 

I have recently joined the Disability Support Network group, organised by the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) team.

"At first, I wasn’t sure about what to expect, but something I didn’t expect, was to feel like I belonged to a group like never before."

I was born deaf, following my mother having German measles. I was not diagnosed until I was two and a half years old. I am sure it came as a shock to my parents, as for the first year of my being here they had to deal with my health issues, which I am pleased to say, do not hinder my life in any way!

Being deaf has not always been a problem to me; I have always just got on with it. However, it was a struggle especially throughout education and some workplaces, until I came to EEAST.

For the first time in my working life, I was advised to have a Workplace Assessment, to discuss my needs and required equipment in order to make my role easier. As a result, I received equipment to be able to hear clearly on the telephone and in meetings. This has made a huge difference. Anyone who has a disability, is entitled to apply to Access to Work to request a Workplace Assessment.

I have never really involved myself with the deaf community, although I did try to get involved with the National Deaf Children's Society, but I really didn’t fit in, mainly because I don’t sound deaf and so far I don’t need to sign. However, I have always wanted to do something to help children and adults with deafness, but really didn’t know where to start.

When the EDI team advertised a Disability Support Network meeting on ‘Need to Know’, I jumped at the chance to attend and I am so glad I did.

"I have met other colleagues, who all have different disabilities, mostly hidden disabilities, which is something we would like to highlight as a group. I have also met another colleague who, like me, is deaf and we both feel we belong to the group."

We have met up a couple of times and I am honoured to have been made one of two deputy chairs.

Anyone can join our Disability Support Network, so please come along and see what we are like and what our ethos is - we are not all serious ‘dudes’ and want the group to grow.

Best wishes,

Nicky 

Published 14th May 2019

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