Hospital chimney lights up for disability day

The landmark boiler house chimney at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) will turn purple on 03 December as part of the global #purplelightup movement celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

The Trust will also use the light up event to launch its new purple network for staff with hidden or visible disabilities, physical or mental health conditions and allies.

The chimney will glow purple from 16:30 on Tuesday (3 December) and will stay lit for three days alongside some of the country’s famous buildings which, in previous years, have included the BT tower and King’s Cross station.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities began in 1992 to promote an understanding of disability issues and build support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities.

#PurpleLightUp is a worldwide campaign which supports IDPD by increasing awareness of the value of integrating people with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. It asks disabled employees, staff networks and their allies to drive this forward within their own organisations.

David Wherrett, CUH director of workforce, said: “Lighting up the chimney, the most recognisable part of the hospital for many people, hopefully shows the importance we place on being an inclusive workplace. As a health care provider we also recognise that 70% of people using NHS services have long term health conditions.

“According to the Office of National Statistics, 7.5m (22%) of the UK working age population have declared a disability and yet their rate of employment is 30.1% lower than those without disabilities.

“The NHS is the UK’s biggest employer with 1.2 million members of staff. As part of that it is really important that we are leading the way when it comes to the integration of people living with disabilities across all areas of life.

“Our new staff network includes people living with disability or physical and mental health conditions and those who have experience of friends or family who are living with disability.” They have been instrumental in producing our workforce disability equality standard action plan, which ensures we are constantly considering the needs of all our staff in everything we do here at CUH.’

Facts about the chimney
The 70 metre chimney at CUH was completed in 1970, with one continuous pour of concrete lasting two weeks. It houses the incinerator and boiler house which covers five levels and disposes of six tonnes of waste from the Trust every day saving the Trust an average of £3million per year. Steam generated by the plant is also used to supply heat and hot water to buildings at the Trust, saving around £70,000 a month on bills.

It is one of only two dedicated on-site waste management units in the NHS, and disposed of 1,950 tonnes of potentially harmful waste from CUH last year.


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