Yorkshire leads the charge to give disabled people greater prominence in broadcasting

The importance of giving disabled people a greater prominence in the world of broadcasting is to come under the microscope as bosses call for the sector to play a greater role in driving change.

17 March 2019 ...... Charlotte Armitage, managing director of Yorkshire Academy of Film andTelevision. Picture Tony Johnson.

Representatives from across the TV landscape, including NTA winner and Emmderdale star James Moore, are joining together to take part in a panel discussion on representation and engagement of disability on screen and the impact and influence of film and TV.

Held at Mind the Gap Studios, one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies based in Bradford, the event has been organised by the Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA) and BBC Radio Leeds to stimulate the conversation of disability and visibility.

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Taking place on Monday July 8, panellists include Mr Moore, Miranda Wayland, interim head of diversity and inclusion at the BBC, Angela Chan, head of creative diversity with Channel 4, Ade Rawcliffe, head of diversity commissioning at ITV and YAFTA MD, Yorkshire Post columnist and film and media psychologist Charlotte Armitage. There are currently 50,000 people with disabilities working in Leeds alone and 7.6 million nationally.

Shahid Hussain, senior journalist and BBC Radio Leeds producer, said: “We’re delighted to have such a diverse mix of panellists including those in front of, and behind the camera.

“With decision makers and disability champions, its set to be a lively, engaging event which should make broadcasters think about authentic representation and inspire those wanting to break into the media.”

MP Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, is backing the campaign.

Ms Armitage, added: “Disability within the media industry, particularly in film and TV, still has a long way to go in terms of accessibility and representation.

“From castings and logistics, to how characters are developed and written about, there’s lots we can do within the industry to positively influence change.”

There are limited free tickets to attend the event which can be booked at disabilityinthemedia.eventbrite.co.uk

The event comes after new figures showed that one in three small businesses are not employing anyone with a disability.

The research from recruitment specialist, Reed in Partnership, showed as much as 18 per cent of the working age population of the UK had some kind of dis- ability.

However small business leaders said that they were concerned about costs of adaptations, lack of HR support, absence of knowledge about certain conditions and getting things wrong when it came to management decisions.

The Yorkshire Post’s sister title the YEP recently ran its Let’s Work Together campaign to support getting more disabled people into the workplace.

Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, said: “One of the biggest challenges employers face is to fill all their skill gaps.

“But for those businesses that are prepared to make small changes, they will reap huge benefits.

“We want businesses to engage and consider offering opportunities. It will only work if the business is prepared to take a chance and talk to support organisations such as Better Working Futures, run by Reed In Partnership, available through the Jobcentre.

“There is support and funding out there for any business that needs guidance or to give them the confidence to employ someone with a disability or health condition. Adaptations can be made or special equipment purchased or anything that is needed to make it possible.”