Philip Connolly

Campaigner and Advocate

Philip is senior advisor on employment and social protection policy at international pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

Philip has approached empowerment and equality for disabled people from many angles: public procurement, policy change, community organisation, cultural expression and digital fabrication. He initiated and co-authored the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability’s report Ahead of the Arc, which was supported by all UK political parties. He’s contributed to numerous government policies and written publications such as Livable London, and the Reskilling Guide.

Whilst at Disability Rights UK he supported the Department of Education with policy aimed at equal participation in skills acquisition and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on industrial policy.

Philip, who is partially sighted, has worked for RNIB, focusing on independent living and employment. He is qualified in construction, environmental management and teaching, and worked for the charity Living Streets for five years creating more accessible, walkable cities and neighbourhoods. 

Philip, who also has Parkinson’s disease, was previously the policy and development manager for Disability Rights UK and his work was recognised and honoured in parliament with an early day motion which praised his “strong and passionate example for current and future activists to follow”. He was praised as one of the disability community’s “most competent and forthright advocates.”

He said: “When I was 16, my life was disrupted by sight loss and punk rock. These days the Government itself funds disruption, in technology and business models. I seek to use its power and aply it to disability policy. Ahead of the Arc disrupts the over focus on supply side measures and finds answers on the demand side. The purple pounds and purple culture challenge the low status of disabled people. Above all community disrupts powerlessness and replaces it with the leverage and wisdom of the crowd. Disruption is key!”