No Limits 2008

2008-09-28 by

I am very happy to be reporting back this week from the No Limits 2008 exhibition. I felt privileged to be part of it.

I was at the London Village initiative, captained by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its partners Business Link London, Transport for London, Direct Enquiries and Wideaware.

I was struck by the level of collaboration between all of us and by the ability of the GLA to work in partnership not only with their most obvious partners (Business Link and Transport for London) but with independent businesses like Direct Enquiries and Wideaware. We looked after each other, which made a pleasant change from other large events I’ve attended, where often staff struggled to work together.

No Limits featured a vast number of exhibitors and interesting speakers. Very notable were: David Morris and Margaret Hickish, reporting back from the Paralympics in Beijing; Tracey Jannaway talking on Independence, Empowerment and Control; and Sarah Clemerson, whose seminar on Inclusion Through Design for the autistic spectrum was absolutely compelling and eye-opening.

I myself acted as a case study for Business Link in a ‘Only Entrepreneurs Need Apply’ presentation, and I also presented a demonstration of Wideaware’s online disability equality training.

Events like No Limits are needed: certainly they’re not an easy feat and meeting the access needs of disabled participants can often be hugely challenging – simply for the sheer size of the provision required.

But it’s important that organisers keep at it, as there are far too few dedicated events like this in London where disabled people can meet other disabled people, learn from them, try out new equipment and technology.

As a business owner I also felt that although many specialist providers were under one roof and potentially competing against each other, opportunities spontaneously came up to work together, forge new partnerships, and learn from each other.

The No Limits show has still some way to go to reach its full potential, but these things take time, effort and sincere acknowledgement that full-inclusion is always a work in progress and can never be achieved 100%. But I applaud the organisers for trying and for listening to the feedback. I am sure that the event will grow to become more inclusive, vibrant and unique. See you next year!

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