11 November 2013
Richard Whitehead - inspiring others to live without limits
We’re all about helping everybody live an independent digital life. Earlier this year, we teamed up with British double leg amputee and Paralympic Gold medallist, Richard Whitehead, to help us make accessibility part and parcel of the Virgin Media experience and to promote a life without limits.
As our Accessibility Brand Ambassador, Richard visited a number of key Virgin Media sites across the country, including offices, call centres and high street stores, to meet staff, talk to them about ability, and raise the profile around accessibility. While in Wales spending some time with our Swansea team, we also met up with the Digital Accessibility Centre, a not-for-profit social enterprise who we’ve now partnered with to help make our products and services even more inclusive.
Richard is not the kind of guy who’s afraid of taking on big challenges, and in August we were proud to champion his own personal challenge to complete an incredible 40 marathons in 40 days – in support of our national charity partner Scope, along with Sarcoma UK.
As well as publicising Richard’s epic run, over 120 staff members logged 8,453 miles* running, walking and cycling in their spare time to support our ‘Match the miles’ challenge. Virgin Media people also stepped up to be Richard’s running buddies, running by his side as he headed south towards Land’s End.
What’s more, we thought Richard might enjoy some digital entertainment on the road, and a bespoke TiVo on-the-run service showing Chariots of Fire from the back of his support car did the trick and even helped him gain a few more column inches in the press!
“My main motivation for the run is to prove that anyone can live a life without limits. My biggest challenge besides the blisters and sore hips is the repetition of running for 40 days and keeping myself motivated and in good spirit…Watching Chariots of Fire whilst running was brilliant – seeing one my favourite movies on my own mobile cinema was perfect for helping me get over some serious hills.”
Richard Whitehead completed his inspirational feat on 23rd September, and staff competition winner, Annabel Montgomery, was there to see him over the finish line.
"It was an incredible experience not only seeing Richard cross that finish line, but also to meet him and the team and just being there to celebrate such an achievement!" said Annabel. "I’m so grateful for this opportunity."
Thanks to Richard, we’re seeing a shift in how we think about accessibility at Virgin Media. His influence as Accessibility Brand Ambassador has also helped create an opportunity to engage in a conversation with over 1,500 of our staff on his visits to our key offices. Not only this - the ‘Match the miles’ staff challenge raised a fantastic £30,000 for Scope and Sarcoma UK. In addition, we also fundraised by providing a text to donate service from Virgin Mobile, and Liberty Global also kindly matched the money our staff fundraised.
Even though Richard’s run has finished, it doesn’t stop here - we’re looking forward to working with Richard again in 2014.
To find out more about accessibility at Virgin Media, visit: virginmedia.com/accessibility
* This was using an app, rather than running with Richard