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  • Writer's picturePhilip J Connolly

The Unity Plan: how the DRN builds an inclusive economy with you

Part 1

Over the last sixteen months over 2000 people have connected with the Disability Resilience Network - the DRN. It is our hope that you connected not simply for information but to collaborate too. It is for this reason that we are inviting you to join a regional task force based upon your own city region. The purpose of the task force would be to enact positive measures to achieve an inclusive economy for disabled people. Each task force could set its own priorities from a menu of options.

The menu would include the following:

  1. Reviewing the equalities work in respect of disability of the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Local Industrial Strategy

  2. Influencing the uptake of the disability social value in major local public procurement by both central and local government

  3. Wherever appropriate, connecting local university research departments to the future accessibility and economic participation opportunities of disabled people

  4. Building the evidence base for the effectiveness of this approach to contribute to the lobbying of the Chancellor for fiscal measures in future budgets including future revisions of the Green Book.

  5. Producing a strategy for influencing the disability inclusivity of local labour markets or where these may already exist reviewing the plans of other key stakeholders in partnership with them.

  6. Influencing the equalities agenda of local employers forums e.g. the Chamber of Commerce

  7. Influencing local mayors and in turn their influence on events that deliver major employment benefits such as the Commonwealth Games, City of Culture, football and other sporting clubs etc with respect to disability equality.

  8. Influence any other relevant opportunity supportive of the economic inclusion of disabled people and those with a long-term health condition.

We ask for your commitment of time in three stages: Stage One to build relationships and the adoption of appropriate metrics. Stage Two to implement policy and priority changes and Stage Three to measure impact. We anticipate this work starting in September 2022 in 21 cities and also India - in 22. We would use the summer months of May, June, July and August to recruit people such as yourself to the task forces and to offer some ongoing training around the issues of disability enterprise and employment.

We will take the learning from this experience to the Chancellor because these ideas offer opportunity to disabled people but may benefit their families and communities and their local economies even more. Whilst our agenda is focused upon employment we will work with those who are seeking a fairer welfare system with adequate levels of benefits.

We seek to influence India both directly through the many Indians who have connected to us but also through the UK India trade deal. There are tens of millions of disabled Indian people potentially exerting a drive towards a pluralistic economy and the possibility of creating a testbed for new job creation ideas. We also recognise the leadership role of India both internationally and within the Commonwealth. We will look to hold first hand dialogue by touring India particularly their major IT centres where our connections have been the most forthcoming.

As our plans develop the "Unity Plan" will move centre stage. We call it the "Unity Plan" because we want all our diverse audiences to be able to see themselves in the plan. Six centuries before Christ the Indian prince Gautama Buddha spoke of the wisdom of this aim when he said: "He who experiences the unity of life sees himself in all living beings." The DRN sees itself in all living beings since all living beings have inherent faults in the genetic code that multiply with age. We work for unity since like the Hindu faith the Buddha was born into, we have affinity with the notion that there is no separate 1. We are not separate from our environment nor are we separate from the consequences of our unjust economy. How then can we be when we are not separate from the fate of one another?

The "Unity Plan" is for you and you, all of you. Send us details of your role and the contribution you make or will make to overcoming the separation of disabled people from non-disabled people so that we can update the "Unity Plan" accordingly. We want you to be able to see yourself in the plan. We want you to complete the plan.

Visit to tell us of your training needs, to join a task force or to simply connect.


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