Networks in focus – City Disabilities
In a career that spans over 30 years in the City, Robert Hunter has been a partner in both a magic circle law firm, and a boutique fraud specialist firm. He has conducted advocacy in fraud and trust cases at all stages in the proceedings, including carrying out cross examination at trial. Robert is profoundly deaf, having suffered from progressive hearing loss since his early teens.
Together with Kayleigh Farmer and Kate Rees-Doherty, Robert founded City Disabilities, a charity offering mentoring and advice to students and professionals who are disabled or have long-term health conditions. City Disabilities also works with employers and professional bodies to raise awareness and improve best practice, including organising training, speakers and events.
Recognising that poor attitudes can sideline and limit the opportunities of disabled professionals, Robert and his colleagues are pragmatic in finding ways to break down barriers. Although many organisations have diversity and inclusion programmes, disabled professionals still encounter assumptions, prejudices and tokenism that block career progress.
City Disabilities describes its main work as follows:
We offer a free mentoring scheme to professionals from all walks of life, putting people with experience of dealing with disabilities or long term medical conditions in touch with those who will benefit from it.
We offer a free mentoring scheme to younger entrants to the City, supporting them through the process of job applications, interviews and beyond. Where possible we put them in touch with people who have first-hand experience of the professions and organisations that they might want to join.
We pool information from our mentors and mentees and share it with employers who want to develop “best practice” for working alongside employees with disabilities and work affecting medical conditions. We give talks at City employers aimed at increasing awareness and understanding, and we contribute to training and policy development.
You can read more at www.citydisabilities.org.uk