Disability Awareness Day

The Official Top 10 Speakers To Hire For Disability Awareness Day 2024

In the UK alone, there are 14.6 million people with disabilities, an estimated 22% of the total population. With such a large percentage of the population affected by disabilities, these individuals must be supported and appreciated every day. In celebration of disability awareness, Disability Awareness Day was founded, recognising the achievements of people with disabilities throughout history and honouring the challenges they continue to face daily.

When Is Disability Awareness Day?

Disability Awareness Day will be celebrated on Tuesday 16th of July 2024.

When Was Disability Awareness Day Founded?

Disability Awareness Day was founded back in 1992, by Dave Thompson MBE DL. Today, Disability Awareness Day is managed by Warrington Disability Partnership, a charity founded by Dave in 1991.

What Happens On Disability Awareness Day?

A colourful, fun, inspiring and informative day, Disability Awareness Day works towards a common goal of promoting independence throughout life and work. At the main Disability Awareness Day event, over 500 exhibitor spaces are available for companies across equipment, mobility, leisure, technology, employment, education, recreation, sport, training and much more to show their support to the disabled community.

Where Is The Official Disability Awareness Day Event Held?

The official Disability Awareness Day event is held at Walton Hall Gardens, Warrington, Cheshire.

How Can I Celebrate Disability Awareness Day?

You can celebrate Disability Awareness Day by attending the Disability Awareness Day official event at Walton Hall Gardens, or by organising your own Disability Awareness Day event. A great addition to such events is one of our talented speakers, who will all share their personal stories and experiences as a person with a disability, and emphasise the importance of being supportive and accommodating to people with disabilities.

Why Is It Important To Celebrate Disability Awareness Day?

It is highly important to honour Disability Awareness Day, as the day empowers people with disabilities to achieve their dreams and live fulfilled day-to-day lives. Even in modern society, society continues to marginalise people with disabilities, and it is vitally important that we eliminate bias towards such people.

Statistics on Discrimination Against Disability:

  • The employment rate of people with disabilities is 53%, as opposed to 82% of non-disabled people.
  • The disability employment gap is 29%.
  • 27% of working-age people with disabilities are living in poverty.
  • 87% of parents who have children with disabilities felt judged by members of the public.
  • 19.2% of working-age people with disabilities do not hold any formal qualifications, as opposed to 6.5% of working-age non-disabled people.
  • 19% of people with disabilities experience unfair treatment at work compared to 13% of non-disabled people.
  • People with disabilities were victims of 26% of all non-fatal violent crimes.

Source: Scope, Gov.UK & Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Official Top 10 Speakers For Disability Awareness Day 2024

See our list of the top disability awareness day speakers for 2024 below.

  1. Tanni Grey-Thompson
  2. Ellie Simmonds
  3. Ade Adepitan
  4. Chris Holmes
  5. JJ Chalmers
  6. Martine Wright
  7. Kelly Grainger
  8. Jamie McAnsh
  9. Ross Hovey
  10. David Weir

Book A Speaker Today!

Find out more about our exceptional speakers below, then contact The Diversity and Inclusion Speakers Agency to book a speaker for your event.

Tanni Grey-Thompson

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson forged a successful career as a wheelchair racer and has since retired from the sport and committed her time to television presenting, advisory and consultant roles. Born with Spina Bifida, Tanni has used a wheelchair throughout her life and has never let her disability stop her from achieving her dreams. Having represented Team GB at several Paralympic Games, Tanni finished her sporting career with 11 Gold Paralympic medals, 30 world records and six London Marathon wins.

A passionate advocate for disability awareness, Tanni has previously sat on the National Disability Council and been a Patron of Tees Wheelyboats Club. She has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at London International Forum for Equality and awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for her outstanding service to disabled and disadvantaged people; Tanni is a true role model for Disability Awareness Day celebrations.


“Very engaging and open about her experiences. She had some very clear messages. Tanni was also very funny, and giving of her time.”Leadership Foundation For Higher Education

Ellie Simmonds

Ellie Simmonds is a decorated British Paralympian, who marked her prominence as an athlete when she claimed four Paralympic Gold medals before she turned 20 years of age. Born with Achondroplasia, Ellie competed in the S6 events at the Paralympics, finishing her sporting career with five Gold, one Silver and two Bronze Paralympic Medals. Appointed MBE at 14 years old, Ellie became the youngest person to ever receive this honour.

Throughout her career as a swimmer, Ellie has passionately advocated for athletes with disabilities, such as in her work as a Patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK. Having been awarded the Best British Sporting Performance for an Athlete with Disability at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards, Ellie is without a doubt a role model to people with disabilities across the globe.


“It went really well thank you! We have received some great feedback and Ellie was so great.”Sophie, Events Executive, SR Group

Ade Adepitan

After contracting Polio as a child, which resulted in a loss of the function of his legs, Ade Adepitan’s life was changed forevermore. Ade has never let his disability hinder him from achieving his dreams, and he has forged a highly successful career as one of the first physically disabled television presenters in the UK, with his career now spanning over two decades. Ade is a true role model, having represented Team GB at the 2004 Paralympic Games as a wheelchair basketball player and won a Paralympic Bronze medal. He has also presented a variety of his own TV shows, such as Africa with Ade Adepitan and Climate Change: Ade on the Frontline.

Appointed MBE for Services to Disability Sports, Ade has forged a reputation as a passionate disability advocate. In recognition of his advocacy, Ade has also been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of East London and was named on the 2020 Powerlist of the Most Influential Black British People. When looking for a speaker who never lets adversity stop them from achieving their dreams, look no further than Ade Adepitan.


“Ade was extremely amendable and relaxed – he gave us some fantastic quotes and a brilliant interview.”Tourism South East

Chris Holmes

Renowned for his achievement of being the UK’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, Lord Chris Holmes’ story is inspirational and admirable. When he was a teenager, Chris, went blind due to Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy, a genetic eye disorder. Determined to not let his disability define him, Chris committed to the same training regime for sighted swimmers and set his heart on representing his country. Solidifying his name in the history books, Chris is the proud holder of nine Gold, five Silver and one Bronze Paralympic medals, and was appointed MBE in 1993 for his Services to Swimming for the Disabled.

Outside of swimming, Chris has committed to improve inclusion. He has worked as a Special Adviser on Diversity and Inclusion for the Civil Service, Commissioner of the Disability Rights Commission and Non-Executive Director to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Often described as ‘one of Britain’s greatest Paralympians’, do not miss out on an inspirational speech from passionate disability advocate, Lord Chris Holmes.


“Everything went great during our call with Lord Chris Holmes. The team really enjoyed his vibrant personality and his storytelling.”Julia, Adikteev

JJ Chalmers

A truly honourable man, JJ Chalmers was formerly a Royal Marine Commander, deployed to fight in Afghanistan for his country. A confident and dedicated soldier, JJ’s life was changed forevermore when he fell victim to a horrific IED explosion, leaving him with facial disfigurement, destruction of his right elbow, leg wounds and the loss of two of his fingers. Despite the life-changing injuries that the IED explosion caused, JJ has never let this adversity hold him back. Rebuilding his life and confidence after his injury, JJ later won Gold at the Invictus Games, starred on Strictly Come Dancing and presented the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games for Channel 4.

Challenging himself each and every day, JJ’s story is nothing short of incredible. Having endured months of gruelling rehabilitation and 30 operations over the course of eight weeks, JJ knows what it takes to have the resilience to overcome challenges. Learning to cope with the disability caused by his IED injury, book JJ Chalmers when looking for a speech from a true role model.


“The conference went very well and JJ was excellent. The informal feedback we have had is overwhelmingly positive. People have described JJ as inspirational, authentic, kept their attention at all times and good balance of humour and excellent content.”Fiona, Revolution Bars Group

Martine Wright

On the 7th of July 2005, Martine Wright’s life changed forever. On what would only seem a normal Thursday, Martine boarded the Circle Line tube after celebrating the announcement of the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games with friends. Little to her knowledge, she was sat just three feet away from one of the suicide bombers of what is now known as the 7/7 London Bombings. Shehzad Tanweer detonated the bomb he was carrying, and Martin was left as one of the worst injured victims and was the last rescued survivor of the 7/7 bombings. Losing 80% of her blood supply and both of her legs below the knee, Martine was left with devastating life-changing injuries.

After recovering from her injuries, Martine used her misfortune as a force for good, passionately advocating for disability sports after competing for Team GB as the Captain of the sitting volleyball team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Appointed MBE and earning the accolade of Autobiography of the Year at the Sports Books Awards, Martine is without a doubt a role model to all.


“It was brilliant, the feedback we have had already is overwhelmingly positive! So please do forward onto Martine our thanks, and the message that she has made a huge impact on so many of us!”Charlotte, J.P Morgan

Kelly Grainger

Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 44 years old, Kelly Grainger is one of the most passionate advocates for Autism on the speaking circuit. Working successfully for 23 years in corporate settings, including for the likes of Merlin Entertainment and PepsiCo, Kelly now tours the country as a speaker, sharing his passionate advocacy for developmental disabilities such as Autism. Co-Founder of Perfectly Autistic, Kelly supports and guides people who have been diagnosed with Autism, and has also been featured by the National Autistic Society and invited to speak at the 2020 Autism Show.

As a parent of children with Autism, Kelly knows first-hand how people with disabilities are portrayed and understood, now on a mission to increase acceptance and understanding of Autism. Also booked by corporate clients, Kelly advises businesses on how they can be more accommodating and accepting of neurodiversity in the workplace. When looking for a passionate speaker on Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, look no further than Kelly Grainger.


“Kelly delivered a really fantastic session yesterday! His talk was super engaging, clear and really insightful. We’ve had lots of great feedback come through already and the Teams chat was alive with discussion so it was fantastic to see that so many people found the conversation insightful and though-provoking… so really big thank you to Kelly!”Emily, BP

Jamie McAnsh

Back in January 2014, Jamie McAnsh experienced a devastating and life-changing experience, when he awoke paralysed from the waist down. Eventually diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Jamie had answers, but the real question is what did he do next? Never letting the adversity he faced in life hold him back, Jamie completed incredible feats that many thought he would never achieve. Developing a taste for adventure, Jamie completed 12 extreme challenges in 12 months, winning the first Charles Holland Award in the ‘against all odds’ category. Some of his many tasks included hand-cycling 100 miles in 13 hours and completing the gruelling WAAT4 challenge of 30k over the Brecon Beacons.

Throughout his life, Jamie has constantly faced adversity, having also been diagnosed as Dyslexic and suffering from Anxiety and Depression. Nevertheless, Jamie has tackled each of his problems head-on, never letting challenges defeat him. Having woken one morning faced with disability, Jamie passionately supports others with the uncertainty of being diagnosed with a disability, and advocates for increased acceptance and understanding of things such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.


“Wanted to say thank you for organising and for Chris recommending Jamie – he was the perfect choice for our away day. He had such an amazing story to share and has achieved some pretty incredible things. I believe one of my colleagues is planning on getting in touch to do a talk to our mental health network as his journey has been extraordinary.”Jo, EDF Energy

Ross Hovey

A renowned expert on disability in the workplace, Ross Hovey forged a highly successful career working for Lloyds Bank for over 20 years. Working in roles such as Accessibility Manager and on the Group Disability & Mental Health team, Ross has played an instrumental part in shaping the inclusivity of the major corporation. Now the Co-Founder of Changing Places International and the Co-Chair of WharfAbility, Ross is on a mission to change the day-to-day life of people with disabilities for the better – increasing accessibility and representation for the community.

Living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Ross is now booked as a speaker for a range of corporate events, sharing his lived experience. With a depth of knowledge on disability in the workplace, Ross is a fantastic speaker to hire for Disability Awareness Day, who passionately emphasises the importance of assisting people with disabilities to live equal and fulfilled lives.

David Weir

David Weir is a decorated British Paralympian, who specialises in wheelchair racing. Having brought home six Gold, two Silver and two Bronze Paralympic medals and won the London Marathon on eight occasions, it is without a doubt that David is a true inspiration in the field of disability sport. Born with spinal cord transection, David is unable to use his legs, and despite such adversity, he has never let challenges stop him from achieving his goals. Highly rewarded for his achievements, David has been named Disabled Athlete of the Year 2005 and 2008 by BBC London.

Appointed both MBE and CBE for his Services to Disabled Sports, David has marked his prominence as an athlete in the Great British history books. Hailed as ‘Britain’s top wheelchair racer’, David is a true role model to other people with disabilities who aspire of becoming the next sporting superstar. Book David for Disability Awareness Day to learn more about his story of being an inspirational Para-Athlete.


“David was a delight to listen to and socialise with. His story is an inspiration and the way that he tells it is inspirational. David had time for everyone, was engaging and happy to sign autographs and be photographed with delegates from the moment he arrived to the moment he left. He is a brilliant talent and wonderful man.”Mick, Parker Communications

Book a Speaker To Celebrate Disability Awareness Day 2024

If you are interested in booking one of our powerful speakers for Disability Awareness Day, don’t hesitate in contacting one of our dedicated booking agents by calling directly on 0203 9816 297 or by completing our online contact form.

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