BBC Cymru Wales has announced Siarad Anabledd | Talk Disability, its new commitment to disability on and off screen.

Launched by Rhuanedd Richards, Director BBC Cymru Wales at Ysgol y Deri, Penarth – home of the brand new BBC One Wales series – A Special School , the broadcaster will begin twelve months of programmes, initiatives and content designed to inspire conversations about disability across Wales.

Central to the commitment is the announcement of new BBC Wales traineeships specifically for people with disabilities, created in partnership with Disability Wales. Consisting of eight-week placements in either radio, news or business and operations departments, trainees will have the opportunity to undertake work experience in the heart of BBC Wales, getting involved with script writing, researching, writing copy, producing content and more.

Each trainee will be assigned a BBC Wales mentor to support them during their placement. Recruitment for the traineeships will open late January via the BBC Careers website, with placements due to start at the end of March 2023.

Rhuanedd was joined by the stars of the programme, the staff and students of Ysgol y Deri in the company of Lucy Owen.

She said: “One of the things I’m most passionate about is ensuring BBC Wales’s content and its workforce is representative of the audiences we serve and as an industry, we’ve got more to do when it comes to reflecting audiences with disability. That’s why we’re launching this new commitment to increase the representation of disabled people on and off our screens, and ensure that BBC Wales is an attractive and inclusive career option for people with disabilities. It’s an exciting development and one which I hope will spark conversation and dialogue as well as brilliant programmes and content.”

With 27% of the Welsh population identifying as disabled, five per cent higher than the UK average, BBC Cymru Wales is adopting the new commitment in a bid to ensure its content and workforce reflect the population. The specific commitment to audiences in Wales follows a BBC-wide commitment announced in December 2022, on United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons.

Headmaster of Ysgol y Deri, Chris Britten, said: “I’m looking forward to everyone seeing what happened when we welcomed the cameras back for a brand new series of A Special School, a true celebration of the children and the staff here at Ysgol y Deri. I’m excited that audiences will once again experience the remarkable sprit of the school that provides a place for fun, laughter and achievement to pupils who are differently able.”

As well as the second series of A Special School, which was produced in partnership with The Open University and returns to BBC One Wales,  there will be features on Scrum V including a profile of the Wales Deaf rugby teams – women and men – as they look ahead to their World Cup in Argentina.

A series of short films from new filmmakers that explore the theme of non-visible disabilities will also be released on BBC Wales social media platforms and on BBC iPlayer throughout the year.

Audiences will also see focused coverage of stories from the disabled community, plus new disabled contributors and talent, across BBC Wales News and BBC Radio Wales, as well as Welsh language services BBC Cymru Fyw and BBC Radio Cymru.

Along with the new content, a programme of training, engagement and partnership activities is being delivered for all existing BBC Cymru Wales employees in conjunction with its staff network BBC Ability Cymru, to help promote an inclusive, diverse and collaborative working environment.

The Siarad Anabledd | Talk Disability commitment will continue throughout and beyond 2023, with more content, including a campaign to tackle barriers to conversations with disabled people, due later in the year.

Jon Creamer

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