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Disability Smart Awards 2024: Winners announced!

Winners of Business Disability Forum’s Disability Smart Awards 2024 were announced at a ceremony in London last night (30 April), hosted in partnership with Bloomberg.

Disability Smart Awards 2024 logo. A blue and purple star overlaid over a grey faded star

Winners announced at London ceremony

Ten organisations and individuals won Disability Smart Awards this year. A further seven were awarded ‘Highly Commended’ status.

Now in its tenth year, the Disability Smart Awards is an annual event which recognises organisations that are removing barriers and making the world more inclusive for disabled people. The awards are free to enter and open to organisations of any size across all sectors. Evidence and learnings from winning and highly commended projects are shared during the awards, and throughout the year, to help increase business understanding around diversity and inclusion.

Disability Smart Awards 2024: Winners and Highly Commended

Disability Smart Diversity and Inclusion Professional Award

Winner: Kim Whippy, PwC LLP, for the breadth of initiatives that she has delivered for PwC LLP and the positive change that has been achieved.

Disability Smart Leader Award

Winner: Oliver Holbourn, CEO of RBS International (NatWest), for a strategic approach to disability inclusion resulting in large scale change internally, plus clear and generous leadership, which has accelerated the pace of change across the sector.

Highly Commended: Professor Brendan Stone, The University of Sheffield, for leading and championing the Institutional Disability Strategy and Action Plan, including a focus on inclusive design and intersectional experiences.

Disability Smart Technology Award

Winner: Microsoft, for the precision haptic touchpad in Surface Laptop Studio 2. The adaptive touch mode means users with limited mobility can use the trackpad with different parts of their limbs.

Highly Commended: Family Care Trust, for creating an interactive Minecraft version of real-life Newlands Bishop Farm. The farm provides work-based learning for adults with learning disabilities. Trainees can prepare for their visits using the virtual world.

Disability Smart Inclusive Workplace Experience Award

Winner: PwC UK, for developing a bespoke, innovative neurodiversity learning programme – Great Minds (Don’t think alike) – when internal research highlighted the lack of practical awareness of how to support neurodivergent colleagues.

Highly Commended: Na Laga’at Center, for increasing economic and social inclusion through a range of innovative enterprises that employ deaf, hearing impaired, blind and visually impaired people as staff and performers.

Disability Smart Inclusive Recruitment Award

Winner: Whitbread PLC, for their Thrive Programme that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to supporting young people with learning disabilities and autism to improve skills, confidence and obtain meaningful employment.

Highly Commended: Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, for their work to develop a comprehensive digital platform aligning with government initiatives in Abu Dhabi to create an inclusive and efficient employment ecosystem for disabled people.

Disability Smart Inclusive Communication Campaign Award

Winner: Reckitt, for their ‘Me, My Autism and I’ TV advertising campaign for the Vanish detergent brand and their wider work to increase understanding around the everyday experiences of young girls living with autism.

Highly Commended: The Royal Society and The Scottish Sensory Centre, for their joint work developing new BSL signs, making it possible for the Deaf community to engage with important environmental topics including climate change.

Disability Smart Inclusive Customer Experience Award

Winner: TUI UK&I, for their detailed access guides that enable their disabled customers to make informed choices about their holiday and their dedicated, specialist Assisted Travel Team to help customers with access.

Highly Commended: Marsham Court Hotel, for their passion and drive to create a family-run, full-service hotel that is as affordable, accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Disability Smart Accessible Built Environment Award

Winner: HSBC, for their work to create the most accessible, inclusive and sustainable digital branch, yet, in Sheffield. HSBC has introduced sensory rooms, safe spaces for domestic abuse survivors, video signing at ATM machines and gender-neutral accessible toilets. It is also the first bank to trial Goodmaps – an audio navigation app for people with sight loss.  

Disability Smart Global Disability Inclusion Award

Winner: Accessibility Discovery Centre, London @ Google for creating a dedicated centre for research and innovation in accessible technology, driven by disabled people throughout its development.

Highly Commended: The Valueable Network, Associazione Italiana Persone Down ETS APS, for providing vocational training and job inclusion for people with learning disabilities in the hospitality sector throughout Europe.

Disability Smart Inclusive Product Design Award

Winner: Primark, for their affordable, adaptive underwear range covering a wide range of needs. Primark is also working to make their stores accessible to everyone.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum:

“I would like to congratulate all of this year’s Disability Smart Award winners and finalists. Their efforts and achievements are already significantly improving the life experiences of many disabled people, but I also hope their stories will provide real-life examples of ‘what works’ for all businesses to follow.”

Pamela Hutchinson, OBE, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Bloomberg:

“We were delighted to host this year’s Disability Smart Awards, supporting Business Disability Forum and celebrating the visionary work being done by organisations and individuals to create a more accessible world. At Bloomberg, we are committed to the inclusion of all and the exclusion of none. We understand the importance of valuing different perspectives and lived experiences to enhance workplace inclusion and improve customer experience.”

Disability Smart Awards 2024: Winning stories

Go to Business Disability Forum’s Disability Smart Awards 2024 page to find out more about all the awards and winners.


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