CanDo, which helps those with physical or mental, or visible or non-visible impairments, is one of seven employee networks at Network Rail.
It has signed up more than 740 members since it launched in 2014 and increased membership by 70% since 2018.
On 3 December, it’s celebrating International Day of Disabled Persons, which this year focusses on transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.
Lucy Cashin, chair of CanDo and counter fraud and investigations lead investigator at Network Rail, said group plays an important role in making the railway a better place to work for everyone.
She said: “We are here to provide support and signposting for disabled employees, as well as to encourage people to share their disability experiences.
“Everyone is welcome to join CanDo, whether you are disabled, or just want to find out more about how to support disabled people. We encourage everyone to join the network.”
Lucy said of the United Nations International Day for Disabled Persons: “It is to recognise the economic contributions of disabled people around the world, and is recognised by getting companies to light their buildings, stations and offices up in purple aka #purplelightup.”
It works to …
- Raise awareness of and remove the stigma around being disabled. Lucy said: “We believe it is vital to bring your whole authentic self to work.”
- Collaborate with the other six employee networks to highlight intersectionality, when categorisations of people such as race and gender interconnect to create overlapping forms of disadvantage or discrimination.
- Collaborate with the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Steering Group and raise concerns around things that could negatively impact mental health.
- Raise the profile of disabled colleagues at Network Rail by sharing stories and experiences.
- Review and shape policies in the business that may impact disabled people.
- Share best practice with other disabled employee resource groups from other companies.
Its achievements include internal changes such as improvements to reasonable adjustments – changes to a working environment to enable people to work productively and safely.
Adjustments can include changing recruitment processes, providing equipment or services or allowing flexible working hours.
CanDo has also ensured it formally carries out diversity impact assessments, which examine the aims of a project or piece of work, and the potential impact it will have on people with protected characteristics such disabilities. CanDo makes sure the assessments take any negative impact into account during the planning phase.
Lucy, who leads CanDo with co-chair Mark Allen, a discipline manager at Network Rail, said: “I became involved in CanDo as I wanted to support fellow disabled employees in Network Rail. There are so many challenges that come with having a disability. I’d love to remove the stigma of disability and encourage people to be open about their own experiences.”
Mark is passionate about raising the profile of non-visible disabilities and is a mental health first aider. Additionally, Mark helped set up Network Rail’s Mental Health Champion network and supports colleagues regularly who are going through difficult times.