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Guest blog

What our membership says with Sarah Beisly

Why does disability inclusion matter to Sainsbury’s?

At Sainsbury’s, we take disability inclusion really seriously. It’s really important to us and that’s kind of underpinned by our inclusion aim which is that we want to be the most inclusive retailer, where every single one of our colleagues can fulfil their potential and where all of our customers feel welcome when they shop with us and this commitment is really led by our board so each strand of diversity has a board sponsor, ours is Tim Fallowfield and he covers disability, carers and age and our strategy is really driven through what our colleagues and our customers tell us that they want and need.

We have a disability steering group and they meet every eight weeks and through that, we make decisions about what the right things are to do for our colleagues and our customers and they really drive the decision making in our business around disability. We’re also really proud that we’re disability confident leaders so this is the highest recognition that a company can get as part of the disability confident government scheme and we’re also Partners with Business Disability Forum which is a really important part of our strategy.


Why are you a Business Disability Forum Partner and how do we help you?

It’s really important to us that that we’re a BDF Partner. They do an incredible amount of work with some really great organisations and it’s important that we’re a part of that, to kind of share our insights but also to learn from other great organizations in this space.

We’ve got a great Strategic Adviser who helps us to identify priorities to drive change and to really work with us and understand us as an organisation and how we can best move forward. They also offer us bespoke consultancy days so we can kind of use them for whatever we want but we’ve used them in the past to understand more insight from our colleagues and customers, but also to have specific learning and development days, around different themes such as neurodiversity and non-visible disabilities to really increase the knowledge of our colleagues.

And they’ve also got amazing content online on their website. There’s a whole host of resources and they’re always kept up to date to make sure that that we as a business have got the most up-to-date information and guidance and that’s paired with their monthly newsletter that they send out that’s got links to guidance and to events that are happening and on events, they host great events throughout the year, things like the summer reception, the annual conference, but also workshops that we can attend to make sure that our knowledge is up to date.

I also really enjoy attending the taskforces: these are on a number of different themes so things like recruitment, technology customer service, their advice service is amazing, so we use them quite often just to make sure that our thinking is right and they offer us guidance on things like our workplace adjustments process to make sure that we were using the right language. And then finally they offer the disability confident validation, so we’ll be using that in the next couple of months and again that’s a really useful tool.


What would you say to organizations that aren’t a Business Disability Forum Partner?

I would say to organizations that aren’t a BDF partner to get involved and to look into it. There are so many great reasons to become a Partner and I’d thoroughly recommend it. BDF really provide for us kind of that bridge between business and our disabled customers and colleagues. Their guidance and support means that we do the right things for our customers and for our colleagues with disabilities, so I would recommend to anyone that’s not part of it to get involved.


For more information about how to become a Member or Partner, please visit our website or you can email


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