Dancing Giraffe

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Dancing Giraffe's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Dancing Giraffe is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Susan Pattrick, CEO
Philip Morant School
pupils performing
at the International
Day for Persons with
Disabilities in 2012
Essex-based Dancing Giraffe pride themselves on leading the
charge in transition from diversity and equality to inclusive
thinking in society and the community. The support,
information, products and services that they provide are all
focused on and grounded in removing the labels and terminology
that tend to cause discrimination in and of themselves. Susan
Pattrick, CEO, tells the
that they believe the only
relevant label for anybody is to be human, and why a continued
philosophy of inclusion is so important to their work.
Many people have their own ideas about disability. Some people talk about the
medical model, others about the social model. We know for sure, however, that
changing attitudes rather than standardising models or metrics is of paramount
importance going forwards.
Fostering atmospheres of inclusion
We want to see inclusion in every aspect of life. Disabled people are resourceful
and adaptable, as shown by their ability to overcome the significant barriers that
life has placed in their way. They tend to embody the personality traits that people
are looking for in both business and society. To recognise this, however, people
need to see past the disability and look at the person.
Unfortunately, many disabled people do not have that support on a daily basis. We
want to provide the capacity for both individuals and grassroots organisations to
share and work together; they have to be aligned with common goals to improve
the quality of life in the community.
»CEO: Susan Pattrick
»Founded in 2011
»Based in Marks Tey, Essex
»Services: Disability and
inclusivity support, information
and services
»No. of volunteers: 25
Dancing Giraffe
Creating dedicated support
By using our website alongside other
developed initiatives, we provide
opportunities for engagement and
useful and helpful information for
individuals both locally and across the
country. We also provide a telephone
support service for those people
who do not have or cannot access
If what someone is searching for is not
available, all they need to do is email
us; we’ll then do the research and
put the results up on our website for
everyone to access. This helps disabled
people and their communities find
the support they need. It also helps a
variety of businesses and organisations
to find links to other supporting bodies
who could help them in developing the
right atmosphere of inclusion.
We have been working on this
since 2011 and pride ourselves on
both the articles our team write
and the information that we hold
in our resource centre. Our team is
small, but incredibly capable and
We are driven by an ethos of
encouraging positivity and inclusion in
every aspect of life. We want to really
inspire disabled people to participate
in their communities. Although
some people that we engage with
are diagnosed with disability as they
grow older, we do find that many
of our service users are actually born
with their often-complex needs,
and this can prove to be an issue
New diagnoses and hidden
One of the most significant challenges
for everyone working towards disability
support and awareness is that of
new diagnoses. When someone
who has previously been healthy
for decades acquires a disability, it
can be devastating and often prove
incredibly emotionally challenging for
the individual, their family and their
community. The frameworks and
infrastructure for support in these
cases do exist, but a new diagnosis is
a real obstacle in and of itself. This is
a very complex area; each and every
disabled person has a unique journey
through life, irrespective of the stage
at which it is identified or diagnosed.
Living with disability is a very personal
journey, and defined by one’s
personality as much as it is the quality
and availability of support.
A disability debate at
Anglia Ruskin University
We are driven
by an ethos of
positivity and
inclusion in
every aspect
of life
Highlighting best practice
We also remind people that disability
can strike at any time, whether it’s
visible or not; concerns such as cancer,
diabetes, multiple sclerosis or mental
health issues are just some of the
many hidden disabilities that need
to be considered in day-to-day life.
These can present major challenges
for not only the disabled person
themselves, but also their support
network, who are usually relatives and
friends. As much as people do try, it
is rare to find a support network that
is actually perfectly established for
and tailored to an individual’s specific,
One of our key aims at Dancing
Giraffe is to encourage involvement in
local community and ensure that our
service users do not feel isolated. We
need to remind people who may one
day be disabled about the potential
that those with disabilities have to
both contribute and add value to
communities and workplaces.
Fostering understanding
To counteract the challenges that
disabilities of all kinds present,
we need to build bridges of
understanding between the
organisations that help disabled
people. At Dancing Giraffe, we
endeavour to be that central vehicle
in the form of a “go-to” household
name and website. This will, in turn,
help government to get to the heart
of the community, enabling business
to promote services and allowing
educational services to link with
disabled people.
If we are to build these bridges,
however, the language used when
discussing disability must change. This
does not simply apply to issues of
labelling and division; we also need
to make the language itself simple
and concise, both in writing and
verbally. Additionally, we believe that
alternative means of communication
are extremely important – making
use of sign language and Braille for
those who can’t easily use a computer
should be second nature for all of us.
An inclusive, interconnected
We have a clear vision of our future
and the future of disabled access
across the country. We will strive to
bring stakeholders together and effect
change that leads to social inclusion for
disabled people and their communities.
To achieve this, we are working
hard to achieve our ultimate goal:
bridging the gap between business,
government, communities and
education, so all can access and
engage with every side of society in an
inclusive and respectful way.
We have a
clear vision of
our future and
the future of
access across
the country
Eddie Clampin before his
race in August 2018


This article was sponsored by Dancing Giraffe. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister