A unique new website aims to bring together networks representing hundreds of thousands of disabled employees across the UK.
PurpleSpace will support the leaders of disabled employee networks (DENs) and disabled employees themselves in a bid to share best practice, and provide opportunities for learning, networking and professional development.
DENs are set up by disabled employees within an organisation and provide their members with peer support on disability-related issues, and help them develop their careers.
PurpleSpace – named because of the increasing use of that colour to represent disabled people – has been created by former RADAR chief executive Kate Nash, whose company Kate Nash Associates (KNA) has worked with organisations such as Thomson Reuters, RBS, the global consultancy Ernst & Young, and the Metropolitan police.
KNA already works with 300 DENs, with a combined community of about 850,000 disabled employees.
Nash said she wanted to “create a new social and economic ‘movement’ of employees helping others to navigate the experience of disability and stay in and get on at work”.
She said: “PurpleSpace will facilitate the biggest UK conversation between network leaders and disabled employees about how to stay in work and flourish when you acquire a disability or health condition.”
The site was set up with the help of umbrella networks such as the Civil Service Disability Network, the Disabled Police Association (DPA), the Employers Stammering Network, the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN), and NHS England’s Disability and Wellbeing Network.
Andy Garrett, DPA’s vice-chair and a PurpleSpace ambassador, said: “I am full of excitement and anticipation that PurpleSpace will open and build multiple new avenues for disability networks and their leaders; developing their skills, sharing resources and initiatives and working together to release disability potential across a wide range of organisations.”
Hamied Haroon, founder and convener of NADSN, said: “The launch of the PurpleSpace initiative couldn’t have come at a more critical time for disabled employees.
“PurpleSpace will provide a unique platform for me and other network leaders from disparate sectors and backgrounds to connect and support each other.”
8 October 2015