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Channel 4 has pledged to ‘empower’ disabled freelancers as it launches a mentoring scheme as part of a broader six-point action plan.

The broadcaster has teamed up with campaigning collective Triple C’s Disabled Artists Networking Community (DANC) to establish a mentoring scheme by disabled creative talent for disabled talent.

It pledges to help freelancers by ‘removing barriers and championing disabled talent at all levels’ and to assist indies with hiring and developing disabled talent.

Recently-appointed C4 creative diversity and disability lead Ally Castle is driving the six-point 'engage and enable' plan to help the broadcaster hit its  target of doubling its disabled staff numbers to 12% and achieve 9% on-screen representation by 2023.

The broadcaster wants to strengthen the influence of its established disability talent pipeline, on programming including Paralympics coverage, Rosie Jones-fronted travelogue Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure [main picture] and topical comedy show The Last Leg, to ensure fair and authentic representation of disability across its portfolio, particularly through ‘disruptive’ programming with impact.

The latest initiatives build on C4's established efforts to develop disabled talent, including a Paralympics Training Scheme, introduced in 2016 and repeated for this year's Games, run in co-operated with Think Bigger!.

DANC, as well as Deaf & Disabled People in TV, will host 4 Connect networking events.

Channel 4’s six-point 'engage and enable' disability plan

  • Empowering disabled freelancers by removing barriers and championing disabled talent at all levels - including launching the industry’s only mentoring scheme in which disabled talent mentor disabled talent, in partnership with DANC

  • Identifying talent pipelines & pathways including. what is believed to be the first ever disabled talent & contributor welfare policy, and identifying spaces and routes for disabled on-screen talent to grow within the Channel 4 portfolio

  • Industry upskilling to build knowledge and provide practical support including sponsoring 4Connect networking events for indies to meet with disabled talent in partnership with groups such as Deaf & Disabled People in TV, and producing guidelines for indies on hiring, including and progressing disabled talent

  • ‘Paralympics & Beyond’ portrayal of disabled people in every genre with a disability code of portrayal, and providing expert editorial support on key projects to ensure fair and authentic representation

  • More disability 'disruption' with more memorable and challenging on-screen moments that will deliver big-scale social impact

  • Regular dialogue with disabled people by inviting and encouraging conversation and consultation with disabled viewers, organisations and industry insiders 
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