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Simon James Stevens
|Alma mater||Coventry University|
|Occupation||Activist and disability issues consultant|
Simon Stevens (born 1974) is an award-winning English activist, trainer, Huffington Post blogger and disability issues consultant known for his high-profile work around disability issues in the UK. Stevens was awarded a "Enterprising Young Brits" award in 2004 as a "truly inspirational entrepreneur" for setting up Enable Enterprises in 1998.
In 2008, Stevens was presented with the Revolutionary Award, a category of the UK Catalyst Awards presented "For something that makes people in power more aware of the need for change." The award was presented to Stevens by then UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown for his founding of Wheelies, a disability-themed nightclub in the online virtual world Second Life. Stevens also featured in the disability-themed 2012 Channel 4 hidden camera prank show I'm Spazticus.
In April 2016, Stevens was rated as one of "the ten most influential in the West Midlands from the world of social media" by Birmingham Mail. In addition, in April 2013, he was rated 60th on the Disability News Service influence list, which according to the DNS website "highlight some of the many disabled people who make a difference in modern Britain.". Updated in 2016, Stevens was then rated as one of "the ten people listed as the most influential in the West Midlands from the world of social media"
However, within the disability community itself, Stevens is something of an outsider whose views do not reflect those of the majority. Indeed, to many he is nothing but a troublesome irrelevance.
Furthermore, in Twitter debates, Simon adopts an argumentative style where he pretends he is drunk and fires illogical misspelled red-herrings at his opponents.
Stevens is affected by Cerebral Palsy, which, according to Stevens' site "affects my speech, mobility, hand control, balance and continence to a significant degree and provided me with a very good sense of humour." Additionally, Stevens has been diagnosed as having mild bipolar and in 2009, Stevens had a nerve virus which resulted in long term Acute Neuropathy.
In 2006, Stevens became the first user of Second Life to use a wheelchair as part of his avatar character. He later founded the virtual club Wheelies the world's first disability-themed virtual nightclub in Second Life, and "a friendly and inclusive place for disabled and non-disabled people from around the world to meet."
Stevens claims to have worked with 149 companies, which are listed on his website. Stevens has written extensively about efforts in UK schools to integrate persons with disabilities into the mainstream educational system. This work around "integration" and his own integration experiences have been used to illustrate improvements in the UK's integration systems since the 1970s. Stevens has also been a national figure in "Go on Gold", a nationwide disability services campaign in the UK. Go ON Gold "aims to enable disabled users to use the internet, smartphones and digital TV to improve their day-to-day lives, access services and jobs and interact with a world which may previously have been out of reach." Stevens has been a frequent guest blogger for the BBC website's disability blog "Ouch!" He has also written for Service User Voice. From January 2011 to April 2013, Stevens was a board member for Skills for Care as a service user.
- "Simon Stevens". HuffPost.
- "Award Winner Simon an Inspiration". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "I'm Spazticus". Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Birmingham Post Power 250: Social Media". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "The List". Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Oops! Simon Stevens in his defence of ATOS forgets to mention he's employed by them".
- "atosvictimsgroup.co.uk". atosvictimsgroup.co.uk.
- "Simon Stevens". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Is Solidarity an Excuse for Disabled People Not to Work?". The Huffington Post UK.
- "Simon Stevens". Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Simon Stevens: A High Flyer in Two Worlds". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "My life with cerebral palsy". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Coventry Man leads national campaign for digital inclusion for disabled people". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Simon Stevens BBC Ouch Blog". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Service User Voice". Retrieved 18 December 2012.
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