Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content

Enable Staff Network (Disabilities and Long Term Health Conditions)

Information on how the University of Sunderland's Enable Staff Network has run between 2021-22.

What is the Enable Staff Network?

The Enable Staff Network (Disabilities and Long-Term Health Conditions) was set up in 2019-20 as a way for community members and allies to be socially active while isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of August 2021:

  • 32 members attend the Enable Staff Network
  • 100% believe that the networks support the delivery of the University Value of Inclusion​
  • 100% welcome allies to the group
A person in a wheelchair

100% agree that they create connections, a safe space, shared purpose, interests and sense of belonging for members

A person with down syndrome on a tablet device

80% agree that they are able to share problems, knowledge, ideas, situations and lessons

A group of people talking

80% agreed that they solve problems, bringing resources, processes and other ways of change to the University

A person typing on a laptop with a prosthetic arm

80% agree that they are a powerful voice and source for positive change, embedded across the whole University.

Chair of the Enable Network

Ellen Gambles

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing

A student sat at a table smiling

Our impact

The Enable Network conducted research with staff which resulted in the university creating a new process for supporting reasonable adjustments with the introduction of the inclusion passport as the feedback showed this was an area we needed to improve.  This provides guidance on how to ensure that reasonable adjustments are put in place and support for line managers.

Two students studying with books

Why do staff attend?

  • To meet staff outside of their department & talk to like-minded people
  • For peer support
  • To feel represented, to be an ally to others and influence university policy
  • To be part of the equality and diversity network to share experiences and support students
A student smiling

Inclusive or exclusive?

  • Those of us underrepresented want others to understand. Having allies are the exact people we want to address.
  • We can discuss how we feel without worrying about being judged or having to explain. Having allies there allows them to understand our experiences too.
  • Allies are an important factor to provide additional support to the underrepresented group and demonstrate inclusivity. The allies also demonstrate a willingness to learn about the issues of the group and find ways/understand how they can best support the individuals
Two men and a woman laughing with each other.

Other areas

  • 20% feel the network would benefit from a more structured action plan
  • 40% feel the network would benefit from having assigned roles for individuals for example Chair, Events coordinator, note taker.
  • 80% would like to see the networks recognised in appraisals ​

Staff testimonials:

We asked the members of the Enable Staff Network their opinions.

Exterior of Cityspace at night

"The networks provide a safe and welcoming space of colleagues who share lived experiences and raise awareness of key issues."

Stairs outside the Prospect building at Sir Tom Cowie campus

"It has been fabulous to see the networks grow and develop particularly with the introduction of new groups."

City campus at dusk

"The EDI work that occurs within the University makes me proud to work here and I hope we can continue learning about and celebrating inclusivity."

Contact us

We welcome feedback on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility.

Please contact our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, justine.gillespie@sunderland.ac.uk or,
the Student Union LGBTQ+ Officer at yoursu@sunderland.ac.uk