Asif Iqbal MBE, President of Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club as announced as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK at a reception at the South Bank Centre last night (Wednesday 17 October 2018).
The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE. Kate is the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology’ – 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.
Asif has spent his career in the public and not for profit sectors, with local and central government, to increase representation and remove barriers for deaf and disabled people.
Asif was born deaf, and is the President of the Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club as well as the Chair of Hearing Loss Professionals UK Network (a network of representatives working with Sensory teams/services within Adult Social care). He has been an Ambassador for the Government Equalities Office and sat on advisory boards for the British Council, the Runnymede Trust, the Department of Transport and the Department of Work and Pension.
At the Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club, which has been running for almost ten years, Asif has led various initiatives to improve access – like working with Harrow Council to sign up to the British Sign Language (BSL) Charter. When the council joined in 2015 they became only the second London borough to do so, ensuring people with hearing loss in Harrow have more equal access to local services. As lack of awareness of the barriers is one of the biggest problems, Asif works with council and services to improve their engagement with the deaf community to address the gaps. Asif successfully influenced London Assembly and a motion was passed in March 2016 for Greater London Authority to adopt the BSL Charter.
Asif has worked with a number of arts organisations including the Royal Collection Queen’s Gallery Project Group and the Harrow Arts Centre. At the latter, Asif set up the first ever BSL-interpreted performance – a Christmas pantomime – which was hailed as a breakthrough for enabling the deaf community’s access to arts in the borough. One of his proudest achievements with the Deaf Club, has been organising the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.
Asif also appeared on TV shows including BBC2’s iMPOSSIBLE; LetterBox; Ch4’s Political Slot and in Coronation Street.
Asif Iqbal MBE exclaimed: “It took me by surprise, I couldn’t believe it. I am honoured to be recognised for my public services. It has always been my belief and value to support and empower others, enabling them to have a voice in accessing to services and influencing the decision makers. Being Deaf, I have overcome several barriers in my life journey, I have greater empathy and encourage others to work together for better changes and achieve their full potential."
Nick Bell, Interim Chief Executive of Shaw Trust – a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK and internationally, said: “Congratulations to Asif Iqbal. 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 full Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List can be found on www.disabilitypower100.com.