WHO WE ARE
Newly launched in 2021, Ability Access Legal works to promote equal access in society. While there is always more that can be done to help those fighting disability discrimination in our community, there’s no doubt that we are making a significant impact.
Scroll down to meet us or click to find out about our mission and projects.
Our Board & Trustees
Empowering people with disabilities to make our world accessible for all
Get to know the dedicated board members and passionate team behind Ability Access Legal. We are united in our passion to make a lasting change in the lives of people facing disability discrimination. We support people taking a stand against discrimination in the workplace, whether that is through addressing an employer's lack of reasonable accommodation, supporting people through a work tribunal, a disciplinary hearing or court case. We also support cases fighting for access in other parts of society.
Charity Cofounder, Journalist and Disability Campaigner
Following a life changing injury aged 32, which left Simon disabled from the waist down and forced by his work to take early retirement, which he didn’t want to do.
He returned to university to study journalism and pursue his passion for writing.
In 2016, while at De Montfort University Simon set up a Facebook page called Ability Access with the idea of raising awareness of and improving disabled access. Little did he know that the Facebook page would create global impact.
In its first year Ability Access won the Jesse Jackson Prize and the awards have kept coming. Ability Access now reaches more than 20 million people a month.
Through the popularity of Ability Access, Simon now has a blog and presented a successful podcast – While Disabled – in which he interviews celebrities. He is also working on his own TV show and has a new science fiction omicron book series called Three Blind Mice. Simon also has his own production company working in film and television.
Furthermore, Simon regularly appears on top 100 as one of the most influential people in the UK.
Cofounder and Employment Barrister
Adrian is a specialist employment barrister, with extensive experience in all forms of discrimination, and with a particular interest in Disability Discrimination. He became a lawyer after a long career in business, working as a manager for a multinational corporation. For the last 20 years he has concentrated solely on employment law issues and has regularly advised at Board level on business restructures, takeovers and transfers. He provides training on discrimination law, bias and unconscious bias, as well as many other aspects of employment law, to several, household name companies.
Adrian has written articles for several magazines and newspapers, he has also contributed on radio and television on subjects as diverse as responsibility at office parties and being too fat to be a fireman. He represented the winning Claimant in the case of Sethi v Greentech which has become authority for the absolute right of a woman to return to work after maternity leave even if her marriage to to her employer’s son has broken down. Adrian is on the Legal Panel for ARAG the award winning legal insurance provider.
Adrian is a member of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, the Employment Lawyers, Association and the Agricultural Lawyers association and is a trustee of the Scout Association. He was educated in law at the University of Kent (LLB Hons) and the Inns of Court School of Law
In his spare time, Adrian enjoys sailing and, until his wife recently told him he was too old, motor racing (the race car has now been sold).
Susan Lilian Primrose Cunliffe-Lister, Dowager Countess of Swinton, Baroness Masham of Ilton, DSG (née Sinclair; born 14 April 1935) is a crossbench member of the House of Lords. She is the senior life peer.
Countess Swinton was disabled in a riding accident in 1958, and subsequently became a champion for causes related to disability. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in February 1976 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in the foyer of the De Vere hotel in Kensington, London. She is an active member of the House of Lords, where she continues to be known as the Baroness Masham of Ilton, a title she holds in her own right. She takes a particular interest in issues surrounding disability, health and penal reform. She continues to run the Masham Riding Centre in Masham, North Yorkshire. In 2011, she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Nursing.
Baroness Masham of Ilton has long been a supporter of the charity Disability Action Yorkshire, becoming Patron in 2011. In 2021, she became the ambassador for a new disability charity, Ability Access Legal, supporting its work to provide legal advice and support to people facing discrimination in the workplace due to their disability.
She competed in several Paralympic Games, winning medals for table tennis in 1960, 1964, and 1968. She is Vice President of the Snowdon Trust, founded by the Earl of Snowdon, which provides grants and scholarships for students with disabilities.
After leaving Gateway Grammar School in 1979 I started my diverse career in the NHS where I became deputy head Porter. In 1984 I acquired wanderlust and travelled, independently, around the Middle East, Asia and Europe returning in 1987. For the next 16 years I worked as general manager in a double glazing and joinery company. Alongside this I qualified as an adult tutor and taught numeracy and literacy in the evenings. Recognising that working with people in need was an area I was drawn to, I moved into social work, initially working with homeless and vulnerable women and children before moving into crisis work where I continue to the present day.
Away from work I enjoy family life, fostering (which we have done for 12 years), watching rugby (having previously played and been club secretary for over twenty years), my motorbike and the occasional game of golf.
DR TROY LAVERS
Chair of the Trustees
Dr Lavers is an Associate Professor in Law at the University of Leicester. Her PhD was focused on the legitimacy of extraterritorial measures in international law.
Troy's research interests include an analysis of jurisdiction in International Public Law, as well as International Criminal Law, certain aspects of Constitutional Law, and Feminism and International Law.
Troy was a visiting Professor of International Law at Paris Quest Nanterre, La Defense teaching on the LLM programme.
Troy is a co-founding member of the interest group, Feminism, and International Law under the European Society of International Law.
Her latest publication 'Feminist Judgments in International Law' won the American Society of International Law's 2020 Certificate of Merit for Pre-eminent Contribution to Creative Scholarship.
Troy is currently researching in the area of women in peace building and covid effects on gender equality.
Kate is proud to serve as trustee of Ability Access Legal where she leads our fundraising activities.
Kate Sansome had a successful career as a Senior Category Manager for Britvic Soft Drinks for many years. Dealing with multi million pound contracts, Kate managed a team of buyers responsible for the procurement of goods and services within the Supply Chain.
Having qualified in the Chartered Institute of Purchase and Supply in 2001, Kate has worked across a number of blue chip companies predominantly in FMCG and manufacturing industries. She has extensive experience and knowledge within both logistics and the wider supply chain.
Kate met Simon in 2013 and they were married in 2014. That same year Simon suffered a severe spinal injury, which led to Kate making the difficult decision to retire from work so they could spend more time together before Simon‘s health deteriorates further. She is now Simon's primary carer.
With a shared passion for travel, Simon and Kate have travelled to Canada, Mexico, America, and most of Europe together.
After graduating with a Law degree from the University of Leicester, Peter went to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy practices. In recent years Peter has worked in Senior Management positions within Audit & Assurance at a number of large FTSE organisations such as Britvic, and Severn Trent Water.
In 2017 Peter was elected to Leicestershire County Council where he has served on the Health, Pensions and Corporate Governance Committees, as well as serving on the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority. He currently serves as one of the authorities four Scrutiny Commissioners.
Outside of work Peter is an avid horse-racing fan and keen traveller and has recently developed a love of cruise holidays!
HERE FOR YOU
Contact Ability Access Legal if you are facing discrimination due to a permanent or temporary disability. We will listen and do our best to support you.
We would also love to hear from you if you want to support us as a volunteer, donor or patron.