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Announced by the Office for Disability Issues and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), nine new chairs have been appointed to Regional Stakeholder Networks; the new chairs will strive to break down the barriers disabled people and their families face in everyday life.

The appointees will lead nine new Regional Stakeholder Networks, tasked with amplifying the voices of disabled people and disability organisations across England, reporting back to the Government on a range of issues including transport, housing and employment.

The chairs of the network were selected based on their understanding of disability issues specific to their regions and their knowledge of disability policy.

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Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “If we are truly to break down the barriers faced by disabled people in everyday life, it’s vital that we listen to their views.

“All the chairs have a wealth of experience, expertise and skills which qualify them for these crucial roles. I am delighted at the calibre of the successful candidates and looking forward to working with the Regional Stakeholder Network to drive change and improve the lives of disabled people across the country.”

The chairs will convene meetings with network members within their regions and work with the Office for Disability Issues to help inform future policy.

The Network chairs are:

  • East of England: Naomi Tomkys OBE, CEO, Sky Badger
  • Greater London: Ruth Owen OBE, CEO, Whizz-Kidz
  • North East: Michael Potts, Board Member, Veterans Advisory and Pension Committee
  • North West: Lynne Turnbull, CEO, Cheshire Centre for Independent Living
  • South East: Barry Ginley, Director, Tamstone Consulting
  • South West: Samantha Everard, CEO, Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE)
  • West and East Midlands: Louise Mckiernan, CEO, Birmingham Disability Resource Centre
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: Liz Leach Murphy, Founder/Managing Director, Imagineer CIC
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