Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) - Hardest Hit march
We’re delighted to have appointed eight Disabled activists and movement-builders to a panel that will shortlist applicants to the disability justice fund. The new advisory panel will ensure that Disabled people are at the heart of decision making for the fund.
After finalising a shortlist, the panel will recommend to Trust for London which organisations they believe should be funded out of those shortlisted. They will work with us until 2026, for the full duration of the fund.
Find out about the panel members below. You can read more about why and how we recruited to the panel, and why it matters, in Joanna Wootten’s blog here.
Dr. Amo Raju
Dr. Amo Raju is one of the longest serving CEO’s of a user-led Disabled people's organisation in the country, having been at the helm of Derby-based, Disability Direct for over 28 years. Since 1997 he has generated over £25m in grants, contracts and chargeable services and now mentors upcoming leaders in all sectors in creating successful social enterprises through his own company – Amo Raju & Associates Ltd. Recently Amo won the ‘Outstanding 3rd Sector Achievement Award' at The British Sikh Awards 2022 and was also recognised by the University of Derby by award of a doctorate for his services to the 3rd Sector and Disabled People.
Amo has previously held positions as an advisory member for the National Lottery, a Councillor (& Cabinet Member) at Derby City Council and various other Non-Exec roles.
As a disabled person from the south Asian community, he has recently published a highly commended book called ‘Walk Like A Man’ based on his own secret battles with depression and the wider world.
Becca Bunce is a human rights advocate. Her work and research focus on how people with lived experience of inequalities participate in - and lead - social change. Becca is currently undertaking a PhD studentship in Public Policy and Design Thinking at King’s College London and UAL. The PhD research explores how ‘lived experience’ is understood and applied by policymakers.
Becca was previously a trustee of Inclusion London and is currently a trustee at John Ellerman Foundation and IPPR. She has worked in policy, advocacy and strategy for 13 years, starting on the UK Civil Service Fast Stream before moving to work with NGOs and grassroots groups. The common thread across all her work is ensuring marginalised people and groups have access to and inclusion in social movements - and more broadly in society.
From October 2014 until September 2019, Becca co-founded and co-directed the multi-award-winning, law-creating IC Change campaign. The campaign built a coalition of organisation and supporters calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women.
Becca’s work has received many accolades. She was cited as an inspiration by President Obama for her work on violence against women and disabled people's rights. Becca was also named as one of the 150 leading women in the University of London's history.
Isaac Samuels is a disabled person with lived experience in health and social care, who employs his own personal assistants and looks after his niece’s personal budget. He is the chair of the National Co-production advisory group (Think Local Act Personal) and is passionate about personalisation and how this can support disabled people to have the best possible lives.
Isaac is an established community campaigner and co-production advisor. He has worked for 25 years within the health, social care, and housing sectors supporting those at risk of disadvantage due to social, political, and environmental barriers such as poverty, health, and or disability, to live their best lives. He does this by supporting people to share their lived experiences to shape policy and their desired life outcomes, irrespective of the systematic barriers they may face.
Isaac has lived experience of his own inequalities associated with his own health and social care support needs. He is passionate about supporting others to overcome these particular barriers. His lived experience of the effects of life-changing health conditions has shaped his knowledge and approach.
Previously, Isaac has held a wide variety of roles which have including being a professional leader and facilitator of an integrated policy for people living with additional support needs (disabilities), research and practice within the multiple contexts of nursing, mental health, HIV/AIDS stigma, co-production, mental health research, choice and control, and the Care Act.
Co-production is at the heart of all of Isaac’s work which is based on a rights-based approach for all people to determine their outcomes and be the authors of their own narratives. Isaac’s values are compassion, equity, fairness, and breaking down stigma through living by example.
Iyiola Olafimihan is a Disabled consultant/activist and campaigner who has been involved in disability justice work for over 20 years in the disability field, community engagement, capacity building (including Disability equality training), policy, and human rights law such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He has worked in Nigeria and the UK where his work has focused on the intersection of disability and race, education, independent living, employment and immigration issues. He once featured as co-star in a home video called "ABIONA" which raised awareness about disability and the right to marry and have a family life in Nigeria.
He holds senior roles on several boards. Iyiola qualified as a lawyer in Nigeria but also has a master's degree in Human Rights and Social Justice from London Metropolitan University. He is married with two lovely children and is a frequent visitor at Jazz Cafe Camden and the O2 Arena Brixton, where he enjoys watching and listening to artists' performance.
Simone Aspis joined Inclusion London in 2022 with 25 years’ experience of campaigning with and for disabled peoples’ human and civil rights working with a broad range of disabled people’s organisations.
Some of Simone’s successful campaigns include securing people with learning difficulties inclusion in the Disability Discrimination Act and Direct Payments legislation and strengthening disabled people’s rights to inclusive education in the Children and Families, Equality and Apprenticeships legislation.
Simone’s other interests include the institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation of people with learning difficulties and autistic people, and topical bioethical issues. In a voluntary capacity, Simone has been an advocate for disabled children and young people wanting to attend mainstream schools or who want to get out of psychiatric system.
Simone is director of Changing Perspectives www.simoneaspis.co.uk
Shani Dhanda is one of the UK's highest-profile and most influential disability activists and a multi-award-winning inclusion specialist, working with global companies, broadcasters and the UK government to break barriers and integrate intersectional inclusion and accessibility into their frameworks.
As an influential woman in leadership and social entrepreneur, Shani has taken change into her own hands and founded numerous organisations to improve representation and challenge social inequality globally - Diversability, Asian Woman Festival, and Asian Disability Network.
Shani has been recognised with over 22 awards for her inclusion and activism work.
Tara Flood is a disability rights activist and has worked in the Disabled people’s movement for many years at a local, regional, national and international level. She is currently the Strategic Lead for Co-production at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham - key to this role is to actively build the capacity of local Disabled People’s Organisations to ensure their independence of voice and sustainability.
Tara is committed to realising the Disabled People’s movement mantra of ‘nothing about Disabled people without Disabled people’ and actively campaigns to create social and political change, focused on removing systemic, intersectional barriers and delivering equity and inclusion for and with all Disabled people. She was involved in the discussions at the United Nations in the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is now working to get the Convention fully implemented.
Throughout her career Tara has worked with organisations led by Disabled people, allied organisations, human rights organisations, statutory agencies and Government departments, both in a personal and professional capacity, and is committed to the voices and experiences of ALL disabled people being at the heart of discussions and decision making about our lives.
Tara is a Steering group member of the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance and also sits on ROFA’s International Committee.
Tasnim Hassan is a doctoral student at Durham University researching the intersection of Disability & Race which looks at how Black and Brown Disabled people negotiate and navigate their intersectional identity. She is also the Disability & Co-production Lead at Black Thrive, working towards achieving equity for local Black Disabled communities to find meaningful employment.
This is further combined with many years of student activism for disability justice and wellbeing, ranging from being elected as Vice President Welfare & Community at Lincoln Students’ Union, to sitting on both National Union of Student’s Disabled and Black Students’ Campaigns. Tasnim is also a trustee at the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) and the co-chair of the Disabled Black Lives Matter group. She has also undertaken disability related projects at various charities and non-profits including Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Ladders4Action.