What if we viewed lived experience as an asset? As an asset of professional, economic,…
This week it was announced that I had been named as one of the 100 most influential disabled people in Britain, on the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List.
What is the Disability Power 100 List?
The Shaw Trust Power List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. Since its inception four years ago, the publication has gone from strength to strength, it is unique in the UK and has become well known in the disability publication landscape. Over the years it has allowed Shaw Trust to encourage businesses, employers and other organisations to reflect on opportunities available for disabled people. The list plays a vital role in providing much needed encouragement to the young and talented leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to see that aspiration and ambition can be fulfilled regardless of disability or impairment.
The Shaw Trust Power 100 list aims to further inclusivity by celebrating the achievement of those selected to be included. The title provides biographies of the top 100 influencers with disabilities in the UK and also an interview with the person taking pride of place in the number one spot. This year there were nearly 700 entries for the 100 places on the list and the standard of nominations was incredibly high.
For more information please visit: www.disabilitypower100.com,
To see the full list, go to http://disabilitypower100.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Power_100_2018.pdf.
You can join in the conversation on social media using #DisabilityPower100.
My Dedicated Page In The Power 100 Publication:
Health advocate and activist
At 24 years old [now 25] Lucy Watts is already a prominent advocate and activist for people with disabilities and those needing palliative care. Her work has taken in everything from local organisations to advocacy on a national and international level.
Lucy has a rare, complex and disabling life-limiting condition and receives palliative care. She recently founded YACCA, a user-led charity for young adults with complex health needs and disabilities, as well as Palliative Care Voices, an international patient and carer network.
Lucy regularly advises organisations about the needs of service-users and is a consultant for an international palliative care charity. She holds roles in a number of charities, co-leads research and sits on committees including for NHS England. Lucy also blogs
for Huffington Post and has appeared on various BBC programmes. She is a sought-after speaker and uses her story, experiences and skills to educate other and create change.
Lucy says: “It’s amazing what you can achieve with hard work, determination and a refusal to be limited by other people’s attitudes and low expectations. I’ve exceeded so many expectations by refusing to accept them. My belief that I can – and will
– achieve has taken me to incredible places. Life is an adventure; so grab every opportunity and don’t let the attitudes of others stop you reaching your potential.”
In 2016 Lucy was awarded an MBE for services to young people with disabilities, and this year she will receive an Honorary Masters from the Open University [received Sept 2018]. In her own time she also mentors other disabled people, especially young people.
“It’s amazing what you can achieve with hard work.”
~ Lucy Watts MBE MUniv
What Does It Feel Like To Be Included?
It has been my third ‘honour’ of 2018, following being a Runner-Up of the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders and the hugely exciting honour of receiving an Honorary Degree of Master of the University from the Open University just last month, and appearing on the Disability Power 100 has been another great achievement. It’s a privilege to be considered one of the 100 most influential disabled people in Britain – I mean, just wow. “Little old me” being named as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain. I can’t quite get my head around it. I look at the other individuals named and think “they deserve it so much more than I do” – although I know my family and supporters will chastise me for not recognising my own achievements. I was asked by my PA today if I felt proud of myself. I replied, honestly, “a little bit”. She then said I should be proud of myself for all I have achieved – but it’s something I greatly struggle with. I feel like what I do is never quite enough, there’s always more to do, and I look at others and see what they’re doing and feel like they’re achieving more than me. You’d think an MBE, an Honorary Masters and being named as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK would make me understand how much I’ve achieved, but it’s something I really struggle with. I do my best, with what I have, make the most of every day, make the most of the time, energy, abilities, knowledge, experiences, skills and passion I have, and try to contribute as much as I can to the world, to society and the people within it. I always feel like I could do more, do better, and partly I think that’s why I do as much as I do; see I do recognise I do a lot – too much some would say – but there’s always that niggling feeling that it’s not enough. Not only that, feeling like I could do more, do better keeps me striving into the future and making goals and having dreams and aspirations and making plans, despite how uncertain my future actually is. So I think, in a weird way, it’s actually a positive thing; if I felt like I’d done enough, I am scared I’d give up, so feeling like there’s room for more, for better, more to achieve, that actually keeps me driving into the future and setting goals and making plans, and that has a hugely positive impact on my life. I digress.
I do really feel like it’s an achievement to be on the list. With so many incredible people appearing on the list, I feel extremely honoured to be considered on their level. People I admire so greatly, people I look up to, friends who I am proud of for all they achieve; it is a real privilege to be considered worthy.
What Do I Hope It Will Achieve?
The Shaw Trust, who organise, coordinate and produce the list, are keen for it to achieve various things. Encouraging businesses and employers to reflect on opportunities for disabled people, to become more equal and accessible, to see the varied skills and talents disabled people can bring, and to hopefully overcome that bias against or negative attitude towards hiring disabled people; seeing our skills, not our impairments; seeing our talents, not our challenges; seeing our potential, and not seeing problems and putting up barriers. Inspiring and empowering disabled young people and indeed all disabled people to see that the sky is really the limit, not to limit their dreams and aspirations, not to be restricted by barriers (of all kinds) or to be knocked by setbacks, and to see that they truly can do the things they want to and live an incredible life, with the right support. Also, showcasing the abilities, talents, skills and achievements of disabled people for the world to see, to challenge misconceptions and help overcome bias and prejudice. It has many impacts, albeit I feel the penetrance of the list and thus its impact could be improved and its reach spread more widely to have the full effect on society and individuals.
Personally, I hope it will show people around me in my friendship circles and networks that they can do and achieve so much, that there’s people recognising the achievements of disabled people, and also show just how much can be achieved with hard work, dedication, determination and passion.
I also hope everyone who has helped get me to where I am today feels a sense of pride. It’s true the saying that “it takes a village”, we are all interdependent and some are more independent than others within that interdependence, and I have hundreds, if not thousands of people who have played a part in getting me to where I am today; some have played a big part, some small, and some have played a monumental role in getting me to where I am. I hope they feel a sense of pride for their contribution to my life and what I have achieved as a result of the contributions they have made along with the contributions made by everyone else. I would be here forever if I tried to thank everyone.
Do You Know An Inspirational Disabled Person Making A Difference?
Do nominate them for the 2019 Disability Power List when nominations open!
To see the full 2018 Disability Power 100 list, go to: