Two Common Purpose alumni have been shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards. Sarah Chapman (above) and Suzi Rees, who are alumni of our Frontrunner for Disabled Students programme, have both been nominated for the Positive Role Model Award for Disability. Frontrunner for Disabled Students is a Common Purpose leadership development programme for disabled students.
The Awards ceremony, which takes place on Friday 26th September and will be hosted by Brian Dowling and Cerrie Burnell, celebrates the excellent achievements of grass-root communities that tackle the issues in today's society, giving them recognition for their dedication and hard work.
Sarah Chapman, who suffers with dyslexia, left school in 2000 with no qualifications. 10 years later she re-entered education through an adult learning centre and after gaining several qualifications, was accepted into the University of Derby. Since then she has launched Young Dyslexics, a national dyslexia awareness initiative for UK schools which challenges children throughout the UK to prepare and deliver a presentation to their class/whole school about what it really means to be dyslexic.
Sarah was a participant on Frontrunner for Disabled Students at the University of Derby earlier this year. In her words:
"Being offered a place on the Frontrunner programme was amazing as I developed some much needed confidence! Being able to meet and work alongside leading industry employers and other students with SpLDs and disabilities made me look at myself differently which had an amazing impact on not only my life but the lives of others through the work that I went on to do.
"Being nominated for the National Diversity Awards as a Positive Role Model for Disability was an incredible feeling and when it was announced that I had been shortlisted from 21,000 people to just 5 - I couldn't believe it!"
Suzi Rees, who was a student at the University of Reading, participated in Frontrunner for Disabled Students in 2011. Since then she has founded and developed, iDID Adventure, a social enterprise aimed at improving physical and mental health through access and participation in adventure sports. Working on both a national and grassroots platform, she is actively improving opportunities for deaf and disabled individuals in adventure sports.
Frontrunner for Disabled Students gets students off-campus and out into the city they are studying in to discover how it works - and doesn't work. The next Frontrunner for Disabled Students will be run in Nottingham on 4-6 November.