Disability Confidence at BearHugs
Running BearHugs involves managing a lot of moving parts. This involves everything from managing our offices to our stock to our website to our social media to our finance to our staff and, of course, our orders and our customers. I don’t do everything perfectly, but I do manage and I like to think I do ok.
Yet only a few years ago, I wasn’t even a viable candidate for a lot of job vacancies. Because of chronic illness, I wasn’t able to carry out a conventional 9-5 job, which ruled me out of the majority of job opportunities. I was capable and I knew I had a lot to offer, however, due to the varying nature of my illness, I struggled to find a role that was a good fit. The hurdles weren’t about my abilities, they were about accessibility. That was a key motivator for me in starting my own business. I wanted something that matched my capability, needs and lifestyle.
Working with BearHugs has been a real life-changer for me. Because of that, I understand how important it is that employers are open-minded, flexible and enthusiastic when it comes to offering accessible employment opportunities. There is an enormous amount of untapped potential out there as a result of employers not considering accessibility requirements when curating their working environments. There are so many great candidates employers are denying themselves the opportunity to work with simply by not taking these requirements into consideration. Can any company really consider themselves innovative if from the outset they are denying a large portion of the population the opportunity to work for them? Accessibility, even for wheelchair users, is about far more than offering wheelchair ramps.
I hope that all employers make it a priority to become Disability Confident. Almost a fifth of the working age population in the UK is disabled. There is a huge number of talented candidates out there eager for the right opportunity, and the longer an employer takes in acknowledging and catering for this, the further they will be left behind when it comes to making the necessary adjustments. You want your company to reflect what you would like to see in society, and the sooner you build these ideas into the ethos of your company, the sooner the entire work that your company carries out becomes infused with these values.
BearHugs is proud to be one of over 5000 Disability Confident employers in the UK, and I look forward to learning and understanding more in the future in order to be able to offer the best and most accessible employment opportunities possible - and I strongly encourage all other employers to do the same.
Faye Savory, Chief Sender of Hugs