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James Martin MBE and Mencap talk disability and human rights in latest Shared Goals podcast

31 Jan 2024

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has launched the latest episode of its podcast series ‘Shared Goals’.

This episode features an interview with Mencap NI ambassador, award-winning actor and barista James Martin MBE alongside Mencap NI’s Senior Marketing, Communications and Influencing Lead, Karen Gilgunn.

It explores a wide range of topics around the theme of disability and human rights, including the power of sports, drama and music to help persons with disabilities fulfil their right to participate fully in society.

James highlights his own journey with Mencap NI from young service user to award-winning actor and how he is now helping others in his role as an ambassador, while Karen outlines the steps being taken to make our communities more inclusive and concerns about the impact of funding cuts.

Alyson Kilpatrick, Chief Commissioner of NIHRC, said:

“It was an honour to have both James and Karen on our Shared Goals podcast to highlight their important work and the role that Mencap is playing to empower persons with disabilities.

Their passion and inspirational work in providing a platform for persons with disabilities to realise their fundamental rights to education, employment, health and participation shines through in the podcast.

We wish James, Karen and Mencap continued success and thank them for taking time out to appear on our podcast.

James Martin MBE, Mencap Ambassador said:

“It was lovely to be asked on the podcast and share my journey. I hope it inspires others to dream big.”

Karen Gilgunn, Senior Marketing, Communications and Influencing Lead at Mencap said:

“It was great to be involved in the podcast and highlight the importance of disability rights. We are very proud of James and he is an inspirational ambassador for Mencap.”



  • To listen to the podcast click here, listen below or search for ‘Shared Goals’ wherever you listen to your podcasts.
  • The NI Human Rights Commission is a statutory public body established in 1999 to promote and protect human rights. In accordance with the Paris Principles the Commission reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of measures undertaken by the UK Government to promote and protect human rights, specifically within Northern Ireland.
  • Mencap NI was established in Northern Ireland in 1965 and each year they support thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they choose.

Listen to the episode

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