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BREAKTHROUGH IN AWARDS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

BUSINESSES that go the extra mile for disabled people are to be heralded at the
third National Independent Living Awards.

Manchester-based Breakthrough UK wants to celebrate organisations who
consistently champion disabled people by ensuring recruitment practices do not
create barriers, making public places more accessible or providing modern
accessible homes.

Breakthrough UK is a not-for-profit organisation which is at the forefront of
tackling barriers to employment and independence experienced by many disabled
people.

It established the awards in 2007 to applaud those commercial and voluntary
organisations that excel in promoting the independence of disabled people.

Categories in this year’s Awards will be presented to companies that promote:
good practice in employing disabled people; accessible public transport; and the
provision of accessible, useful, and timely information.

Other categories are open to groups or organisations that promote: peer support
among disabled people; and an overall independent living initiative.

A new category has also been created in this year’s Breakthrough UK Independent
Living Awards to celebrate the outstanding business achievements of a young
disabled person.

The ‘young entrepreneur’ prize is open to all disabled people under the age of
35 who have established their own business, organisation or initiative.

Lorraine Gradwell MBE, chief executive of Breakthrough UK, said: “The
Independent Living Awards are a fantastic way to reward companies and
organisations that value disabled people.

“Last year we had a superb shortlist of people who had put disabled people at
the heart of their business and this year we are hoping to see similar
inspirational stories.”

Sponsors of this year’s event already include the North West Strategic Health
Authority, the Harvest Housing Group, Manchester City Council and the North West
Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

Among the winners of last year’s Awards were: The Trafford Centre (accessible
information); Warrington Disability Partnership (best independent living
initiative); and Manchester-based Body Positive North West (excellence in the
employment of disabled people and peer support).

Dave Wilson, head of people and policy for BT – which won the Award for
Excellence in the Employment of Disabled People (Public and Private Sector) –
said: “The Breakthrough Awards are fantastic recognition of our approach to the
inclusion of disabled people on our workforce and as customers.”

Nominations open on February 1, 2010, and all entries must be received by March
19, 2010. The awards ceremony will be held at Manchester Town Hall on June 16,
2010.

Further information about how to enter can be found at www.breakthrough-uk.co.uk
or by contacting Theresa Cartmill on 0161 273 5412.

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