Last month Team Under Construction entered a Disability Confident event, organised by the Department for Work and Pensions at Butlins, Minehead. It really was quite a thought provoking day. Chris Jones opened the event with the only speech of the day. You could have heard a pin drop as the ex-army veteran talked about everything he’d achieved since he became disabled. From competing in the Invictus games in Orlando to becoming the only hand powered mountain biker to enter official competitions against non-disabled athletes, to wining surfing medals and even designing and building his own bike. It was a wonderful start to the day.
Once underway the teams used their app to find the 15 challenges dotted around the Butlins site in order to gain points on their app. These included learning archery with double Paralympic medal winner Jo Frith, trying seated bowling at the ten pin bowling alley, wheelchair basketball, Boccia, gutterball, carpool Karaoke, cake decorating, tent building and all sorts. In addition to this there were 5 ‘Where’s Waldo’s’ circulating around the site. They were disabled people the teams had to find, chat to and then answer questions on their app about the person they’d just met. There were also 65 posters all over the site that teams could find, scan the code and then answer questions with a strict time limit. This meant they needed to read the whole poster before starting the quiz if they wanted to get the answers in the time. The posters covered disability statistics, Access to Work facts, advice on appropriate terms, facts and myths about disabilities, common misconceptions and famous or inspiring people’s case studies. Finally there was a Dragon’s Den judged by 3 young disabled people where the teams had to make a pledge about something they would now do differently because of today.
The trophies and prizes (donated by the teams) were awarded to the 3 best pledges of the day and not to the team that scored the highest on the treasure hunt. This was intentional and reiterated the purpose of the event which was to change people’s minds rather than speed round a course. We had 189 people attend the event which far, far exceeds any numbers we’ve had previously. We had 36 different organisations attend and we greatly increased the numbers of employers signed up to Disability Confident not just in our area but in other areas as well. We had great feedback by e-mail and through the app including vindication that our method of combining fun with information was much appreciated. More than that we changed people’s minds and attitudes towards disabled people who wouldn’t usually have even attended.
We met truly remarkable people throughout the day, learning a lot through real conversations. If you’re an Employer I urge you to always consider what a person can do, not what they can’t do, don’t make assumptions of what they can’t do because in this world they adapt to circumstances every day. Imagine what that adaptive attitude could bring to your workforce…