A University of Brighton student has been named one of the most influential disabled people in the UK.
Jess Starns, who studies MA Inclusive Arts Practice, made the Shaw Trust Power 100 List for her charity Dyspraxic Me, which she founded in 2013.
The list was announced at a reception at the Southbank Centre in London. More than 700 nominations were received for the 100 places.
Jess set up Dyspraxic Me because she couldn’t find sufficient support for young adults with dyspraxia. She was motivated to create the service she needed.
In 2013 Jess received backing from Fixers – a website that helps young people achieve their goals and campaigns – to make a resource book for other young adults with dyspraxia so they could set up their own support networks.
Since then Jess has organised regular workshops in London in which attendees can meet other people with dyspraxia and partake in a variety of activities including cooking, sports, ballet, vlogging and training to develop assertiveness and social skills.
She also organises a yearly Dyspraxia Awareness Week in October and last year Dyspraxic Me became a registered charity. Her work was recognised by Downing Street with a Points of Light Award.
Jess works at the British Museum as a Youth Volunteer Coordinator and is passionate about making museums inclusive to all. She is currently combining these interests with her Masters degree in Inclusive Arts Practice. For her MA she is researching how we interpret and curate the history of labelling people with specific learning difficulties.
Speaking after being named in the Shaw Trust Power 100 List, Jess said: “I feel honoured to be on the Power 100 list and it’s humbling that my hard work has been recognised. It was great to meet others on the list and to hear all about their interesting and important work.”
Nick Bell, Interim Chief Executive of Shaw Trust – a charity helping to transform the lives of young people across the world – said: “Congratulations to Jess Starns. The judges were beyond impressed by the standard of nominations but selected the most influential people who are proving that disability or impairment is not a barrier to success.
“One of our aims for the Disability Power 100 list is to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve their ambitions. At Shaw Trust we work with government, local authorities and employers to support people overcome barriers which hold them back from achieving their potential.”
The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel chaired by Kate Nash OBE, the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology’. This is the science behind the growth of workplace networks and resource groups. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people. In 2013 she was appointed Ambassador to Disability Rights UK.
Journalist, presenter and comedian Alex Brooker, best known as the host of Channel 4’s The Last Leg, was named the most influential disabled person in the UK. Second place went to Paralympic Champion Jonnie Peacock MBE while peer Baroness Jane Campbell took the third spot.
The full Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List can be found on www.disabilitypower100.com.