Kidz Board Impact Report 2023

The Kidz Board make sure their voices are at the heart of every decision Whizz Kidz makes


The Kidz Board is a group of young wheelchair users who each represent a different area of the UK. Meeting several times a year, both in person and online, they make sure their voices are at the heart of every decision Whizz Kidz makes.

This report will detail just some of the projects the Kidz Board have worked on this year and the wider impact this has had, both for Whizz Kidz and the Kidz Board, and for the broader disability advocacy landscape in the UK.

The Kidz Board Manifesto 

In 2023, the Kidz Board formally launched their manifesto. The manifesto shares the key issues that the Kidz Board stand for and the issues that mean the most to them. It expresses what they believe and the changes they would like to see. Their manifesto includes for priorities: 

  • Priority 1 – Employment 
  • Priority 2 – Education 
  • Priority 3 - Travel 
  • Priority 4 – Accessibility 

This report centres around the four manifesto pledges, as well as exploring the Kidz Board’s online presence and awards and accolades in 2023

The Kidz Board Manifesto

The Kidz Board Manifesto

PDF, 1.7mb

This is what we stand for. It shows we care about the world we want and the issues that mean the most to us. It expresses what we believe and the changes we want to see.

Impacting upon Higher Education and Employment

The A-Z of going to University is a guide to support young wheelchair users who are considering going to, or who are already attending university. The guide was collaboratively written by members of the Kidz Board, drawing on their lived experience of being university students themselves.

With education and employment both manifesto pledges, the project began initially with a survey of young wheelchair users, designed and delivered by the Kidz Board, to understand young peoples’ experiences in education and work. Following the responses this survey received, the Kidz Board produced the A-Z guide.

The A-Z of Going to University

The A-Z of Going to University

PDF, 3.8mb

Written for young wheelchair users by young wheelchair users

The guide was launched on 17th August  2023, coinciding with A-Level results day, when students across the UK would find out if they had the grades needed to attend university. The guide was launched across Whizz Kidz social media platforms and on the website. Additionally, it was also emailed to  Disability Support Officers (DSO) at each of the 158 universities in the UK. Since the 17th August, the DSO’s who received the guide have opened the A-Z email a total of 330 times, and the A-Z guide itself has been opened 47 times. Coinciding with the launch, the Kidz Board presented at a Students Beans webinar to promote the A-Z and share their experiences – 61 people attended this webinar. 

The A-Z also further attracted the attention of Tom Pursglove MP, the then Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work. Ella, the Chair of Kidz Board, Sarah Pugh, Whizz Kidz CEO, and Tom Pursglove subsequently met to discuss the A-Z and the wider challenges that young wheelchair users face when accessing university education. The Minister recognised the loss of potential talent to employers due to young wheelchair users not applying to or dropping out of university – he pledged to take these concerns and recommendations into account while formulating policies and initiatives. 

Following this meeting Tom Pursglove invited Whizz Kidz to be further involved with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Education (DfE), particularly with reference to Adjustment Planners which the DWP have requested the Kidz Board feedback on.

Join the Kidz Board

As a Board we work together to be the role  models we wanted when we were younger, and to work towards a world in which young wheelchair users have the confidence, skills and opportunities needed to be an active part of society.

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Three young wheelchair users sit laughing and smiling in a sunny park

Influencing transport systems

Travel is another manifesto pledge that the Kidz Board are focusing on. Too often, public transport systems are inaccessible to young wheelchair users, both in terms of information and facilities available. More must be done to ensure young wheelchair users are confident to travel.

The Kidz Board have been extremely active this year in the travel sector, having accomplished the following:

  • The Kidz Board worked closely with Transport for London (TfL) on several projects – attending their Bus Accessibility and Safety Workshop, producing videos for bus drivers, testing a new ramp design, and providing feedback, and joining the TfL Renewal Team away day. In 2022/23, there were 3,252,500,000 passenger journeys made with TfL, and with around 1.6 million disabled people living in London, the Kidz Board’s work and relationship with TfL holds considerable influence.
  • Whizz Kidz provided responses to several consultations in 2023. Among these were two consultations on rail transport – the Office for Rail and Road’s Consultation on updating the Holding Network Rail to Account Policy for CP7, and the Train Station Ticket Office Consultation. The Kidz Board contributed their thoughts and lived experiences to both of these responses. There are some links to the Whizz Kidz submission included within the Office for Rail and Road’s final determinations report. Following the 750,000 responses made to Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, the proposal to close ticket offices in stations up and down the UK was withdrawn – a major win for disabled people which Kidz Board contributed to.
  • Kidz Board member, Rebecca, ‘rode the railway’ with the Chief Financial Officer of Rail Delivery Group (RDG), Ola Ogun, to demonstrate the experience of traveling via railway for a wheelchair user. As the British rail industry membership body, they hold significant influence over the UKs railways – all passenger and freight rail companies are members of the RDG, in addition to Network Rail HS2.
  • In September, the Kidz Board joined a number of UK and US government officials, charities and influencers at the Rights on Flights campaign and celebration event at the House of Commons. This is an international campaign which has gained considerable media attention and public traction since its launch this year.

The Kidz Board also launched their Bus Pass campaign in 2023. It aims to draw attention tothe inconsistent rules surrounding disabled bus pass use in England and lobby the government to introduce mandatory free bus travel at all times of day for those who hold disabled bus passes. So far, the Kidz Board have discussed at length the impact of
restrictions and these key impacts have been included within a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, along with research regarding bus pass time restrictions in England. Additionally, Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests were submitted to all local authorities to collect more specific information on bus pass usage and cost in each locale. In 2024, this campaign will be further built upon, with more letters to ministers, full analysis of the FOI responses and further research to support the campaign.

Improving Accessibility

The final point of the Kidz Board’s manifesto focuses on accessibility. This crosses multiple facets of life, from work and education spaces to the leisure industry, to the natural environment. Accessibility does not just refer to that of physical access either – it also extends to representation of disabled people in film, music, advertising, and other forms of media. 

In 2023, the Kidz Board brought their influence on accessibility to a number of different sectors: 

  • Members of the Kidz Board attended the Google Accessibility Discovery Centre (ADC) and were invited to provide feedback on Google Maps and its accessibility. Discussions were had around step-free routes, using photos and voice-notes to log faults or barriers with routes, and involving 3rd party organisations that have accessible maps to incorporate best practices of others. In 2019, more than a billion people worldwide use Google Maps every month.
  • The Kidz Board worked with a number of authors, illustrators, and publishers on different book reviews, offering thoughts and feedback on text and illustrations to ensure inclusivity. Ben Andrews, author of the Better Places children's series which aims to help children to think about how places can be made better for disabled people, has been on many school visits, reaching thousands of children to share what Better Places is all about. The Little Wandle Letter and Sounds series which Kidz Board contributed to is the fastest growing Department for Education-validated phonics programme – it also already supporting over 5000 schools to teach children to read.
  • Some members of the Kidz Board have also been shadowing Disability Awareness Training session in 2023, learning the ropes to deliver sessions on their own. This further brings topics such as accessibility to the forefront within Whizz Kidz as an organisation.

Online presence

Either as a collective or as individuals, the Kidz Board featured in a number of posts across Whizz Kidz social media platforms and on external platforms. On the Whizz Kidz website, all pages that involve the Kidz Board has a total of 1,955 page views, with web users spending almost 48 hours in total consuming this content. Additionally, the Kidz Board manifesto has been downloaded from the website 148 times since its launch in 2023. The Kidz Board also feature or are involved in 21 articles on the website, covering topic such as inclusive beauty, wheelchair dancing, bookshops, assistance dogs, Voter ID, the A-Z of university, and accessible summer activities. 

Over on the Whizz Kidz Facebook, the Kidz Board featured in 26 posts over the course of 2023. The below table shows the success of just some of the posts in 2023 and the reach they garnered.

In addition to Whizz Kidz media, the Kidz Board were also showcases in articles from external media. Ella was profiled in the April edition of Women’s Running Magazine, which has a readership of just under 20,000 people per month. The Kidz Board’s ‘Exam Tips for Disabled Students’ piece was featured on Disability Horizons Shop website, as well as on our own website. The Kidz Board also made appearances in two of The Times Christmas Appeal articles – in 2020, The Times had an average daily circulation of 365,000. Georgia also recorded for the Ramped Up podcast, which should go live soon.

Across both Whizz Kidz media and external articles, the Kidz Board has received considerable publicity and has been able to share their messages and aims with a vast number of people.

Awards and Accolades

The Kidz Board were recognized for the work they do through a number of awards and accolades this year. 

The Board as a whole were nominated and shortlisted for the ITV National Diversity Awards in 2023 in the category of Community Organisation Award for Age. In 2023, the National Diversity Awards received a record breaking 90,000 nominations and votes, making it a tremendous achievement for Kidz Board to be shortlisted. Almost 7,000 people have viewed the livestream of the awards ceremony in September which Ella attended. 

Outgoing Kidz Board Chair Penny was announced on the Diana Award 2023 Roll of Honour for her outstanding contribution to Whizz Kidz. She joins young changemakers from across the globe as one of the most inspiration young people of the year. Ella, the current Chair, received the FutureVision Community Award 2023 for building a sense of community within her workplace.

Kidz Board in the News