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Lorraine Gradwell, MBE, MA, MCIM
Chief Executive, Breakthrough UK Ltd
Lorraine is the Chief Executive of Breakthrough UK Ltd, a social enterprise business model which she has led to over £1m annual income and 40 staff, 70% being disabled people, and working to the social model of disability. Breakthrough provides a range of employment, advocacy and independent living supports, as well as training, consultancy and policy input to highest levels. Breakthrough has established a strong national reputation, being cited as best practice in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit (PMSU: 2005) Life Chances report. Lorraine's own policy input on disability spans regional and national Government: including the NW Regional Development Agency, the NW Regional Assembly, personal membership on two Ministerial Advisory Committees: DWP Disability Employment Advisory Committee and (then) DTI Small Business Council, the initial Task Force advising the Government on the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights and several aspects of the 'Life Chances' report. Breakthrough UK Ltd website.
Dr Helen Meekosha
University of New South Wales, Australia
Helen Meekosha is Associate Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Sciences & International Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She has published widely in disability studies and has been involved in the disability movement for nearly 30 years. Dr Helen Meekosha personal website.
A copy of Helen's paper Contextualizing disability: developing southern/global theory is available to download (word document)
Dr Jenny Morris
Independent Policy Analyst and Research Consultant
Jenny Morris is an independent research consultant and policy analyst who has been working in the field of disability policy for over 20 years. She led the work on independent living for the Cabinet Office report 'Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People' and was Executive Director of Independent Living Review carried out by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI). This Review resulted in the recent cross-government Independent Living Strategy and she is currently working with ODI to support its implementation.
Professor Alan Roulstone
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Alan Roulstone is Professor of Applied Social Sciences De Montfort University, UK. He has researched and published on a wide range of disability related projects and has particular interest in user-led research where disabled people are at the centre of the research process. Professor Alan Roulstone personal website.
Plenary Discussion Group
Professor Peter Beresford
Brunel University, UK
Peter Beresford is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University. He is also a long term user of mental health services and Chair of Shaping Our Lives, the independent national service user controlled organisation and network. He is actively involved in carrying out survivor research as well as being involved in the broader mental health service users and disabled people's movement. He is a Trustee of The Social Care Institute for Excellence and a member of the advisory board of Involve and the National Institute for Health Research. Professor Peter Beresford personal website.
Professor Colin Barnes
University of Leeds, UK
Colin Barnes is a disability activist, writer and researcher with an international reputation in the field of disability studies and disability research. He is a member of several local, national and international organizations controlled and run by disabled people including the National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL), the Disability Equality in Education Trust (DEE) and the European Network of Independent Living (ENIL). As a committed advocate of disabled people's rights, Colin has conducted research on various disability issues, published widely, and spoken about the experience of living with impairment in a disabling society to various audiences in a variety of locations, both in Britain and across the world. These include the House of Commons, the European Parliament and the World Health Organisation. He is Professor in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, England, and is founder and Director of the University's Centre for Disability Studies, an independent publisher: The Disability Press, and the electronic Disability Archive UK. Professor Colin Barnes personal website.
University of Exeter, UK
Rachel Purtell is a disabled women and a disability activist. She is a research fellow at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter, where she is the Director of the Department of Health funded Folk.us, (Forum for Collaboration with Users in Research) research project. The aim of Folk.us is to change research culture in Health and Social Care so that research and the implementation of research results reflects the inspirations and issues of those who use health and social care services.
Rachel is also a freelance trainer in Disability Equality Issues using a Social Model approach and one that is rooted in the lived experience of disabled people. She holds a Master of Arts in Disability Studies and has developed a nationally recognised vocational qualification in disability equality. She has a background in working for inclusive service user led organisations and voluntary organisations. Folk.us website.
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