MK Citizen: Disabled entrepreneur wins award from Stelios

Published in Milton Keynes Citizen, December 2013 A disabled city businessman has won the prestigious Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2013. James King, who runs a home extension company – Oliver James Garden Rooms – won the award which is run by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and £50,000 in the process. James, 47, is registered blind and also dyslexic, but despite that was a losing finalist in last year’s competition. He and his team design and build garden room extensions which have tiled roofs making the conservatories warm in winter and cool in summer. James said: “I’ve always had my own company and built the business around my disability. The inspiration has come from my vision problem. There are obstacles but you just have to accept them. Everyone has them, whether you’ve got a disability or not. “Because of my vision we have to overcome certain situations, but because of this we end up with a better standard. All of the good practises that we’ve put in have pretty much come as a result of my disability. For example, the build team and specialist contractors go above and beyond to make sure each project is safe, clean and tidy – if even a hammer was ever left out on site, they know I’d trip over it.” Sir Stelios said: “I have been really impressed by the growth of James’ business and the way he is meeting a genuine need in the market. That is why he has won this award. “I am passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship, and the previous winners of this award offer proof that there are many highly talented...

Access Magazine: 2013 Stelios Award Winner Announced

Published in Access Magazine, 13th December 2013 The winner of the 2013 Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs has announced as James King, founder of the Milton Keynes-based construction business, Oliver James Garden Rooms. The annual award, overseen by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Leonard Cheshire Disability, seeks to recognise the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs, with a £50,000 cash prize going to the overall winner. After contracting the hereditary eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa, 47-year-old King was eventually registered blind and left his career as a bricklayer in favour of contracting. Oliver James Garden Rooms began trading in 2011, providing garden room extensions with tiled roofs to homeowners across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire. The business currently has a seven-strong workforce and a turnover of almost £300,000. King commented, “I’ve always had my own company and built the business around my disability. The inspiration has come from my vision problem. There are obstacles but you just have to accept them. Everyone has them, whether you’ve got a disability or not. “All of the good practises that we’ve put in have pretty much come as a result of my disability. For example, the build team and specialist contractors go above and beyond to make sure each project is safe, clean and tidy – if even a hammer was ever left out on site, they know I’d trip over it.” Sir Stelios remarked, “I have been really impressed by the growth of James’ business and the way he is meeting a genuine need in the market. That is why he has won this award. “I am passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship, and the...

Leonard Cheshire Disability: 2013 Winner!

Published in Leonard Cheshire Disability, December 2013 James King, who runs home extension firm Oliver James Garden Rooms, has won the seventh annual Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK. Stelios Award Winner James King James, 47, is registered blind and also has dyslexia. He has seen off tough competition to win this year, having made it to the final three last year and narrowly missing out on the top spot. James and his team design and build garden room extensions, which have tiled roofs, so unlike a traditional conservatory, the rooms are warm in winter and cool in summer. But the journey to a growing, healthy business has not been a walk in the park for James. In his early 20s he began his career in the construction industry. It wasn’t until later that he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary eye condition which affects the retina. James had to give up bricklaying and work around his disability, so he moved into contracting. However, as his vision deteriorated James decided he had to change direction. It was during this difficult time that the idea to set up a company making ‘garden rooms’ came to him. He began trading in 2011 and now has a workforce of seven with a turnover of almost £300,000. He currently works with homeowners across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire, but winning the award means he will be able to go ahead with plans to expand his client base to new areas of the country. James says: “I’ve always had my own company and built the business around my disability. The inspiration...

Leonard Cheshire Disability: Disabled Milton Keynes entrepreneur’s talent wins awards from Sir Stelios

Published in Leonard Cheshire Disability, December 2013 Winner of the 2013 Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs announced. A disabled businessman from Milton Keynes has won the prestigious Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 2013. James King, who runs a home extension firm called Oliver James Garden Rooms, won the award run by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Now in its seventh year, it recognises the unique achievements of disabled entrepreneurs and offers a £50,000 cash prize to the winner — the largest cash sum of its kind. James, 47, is registered blind and also has dyslexia. He has seen off tough competition to win this year, having made it to the top three last year and narrowly missing out on the top spot. James and his team design and build garden room extensions, which have tiled roofs. Unlike a traditional conservatory, the rooms are warm in winter and cool in summer. But the journey to a growing, healthy business has not been a walk in the park for James. In his early 20s he began his career as a bricklayer in the construction industry. It wasn’t until later that he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye condition which affects the retina. James had to give up bricklaying and work around his disability, so he moved into contracting. However, as his vision deteriorated James decided he must change direction. It was during this difficult time that the idea to set up a company making ‘garden rooms’ came to him. He set up Oliver James Garden Rooms and began trading in 2011....

Milton Keynes blind entrepreneur makes top three of national business competition

Published in MK Web, December 2013 James King, 47, of Milton Keynes, has fought off stiff competition for the second year in a row to make it into the final three in the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2013. James, who was diagnosed with the eye disorder Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 21 and is registered blind, is the founder and owner of Bletchley-based, Oliver James Garden Rooms, which designs, builds and finishes glazed home extensions. James says, “My own conservatory was too cold in winter and too hot in summer. With a building background prior to my diagnosis, I just knew I could engineer a far better solution to extending a property – so I developed my range of tiled-roof garden rooms.” James is enjoying his moment in the sun after coming to the notice of EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou when he narrowly missed out on top spot last year. Sir Stelios commented, “I have been really impressed not only by the growth of James’ business and the way he is meeting a genuine need in the market, but also by his drive and his positive attitude. That is why he has made it to the shortlist again this year. I look forward to this year’s final taking place in London on 12th December, where I will reveal the overall winner.” James’ eye condition which limits his field of vision, means that he is officially registered as blind. He says of his disability: “When people look at Nelson’s column they don’t see a man with one arm and one eye, they remember all the inspirational things he...

BBC News : Did the Paralympics change attitudes to disability?

Published in BBC News, 12 December 2012 by Amber Dawson Declaring the 2012 Paralympics closed in September International Paralympic Committee president, Sir Philip Craven, said: “These Games have changed us all forever.” But have attitudes to disability really altered? Some 2.7 million tickets were sold for the Paralympic Games and the amount of media and television coverage was unprecedented. British stars of the Olympics and Paralympics celebrated their success together with a victory parade through the streets of London, cheered on by thousands. But was Lord Coe right when he said “In this country we will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way”? Here is a selection of BBC News website readers’ experiences of life with a disability, pre and post Paralympics. Merry Cross, Reading I was born with a significant mobility impairment and have a high risk of falling. Before the Paralympics attitudes to disability were already deteriorating due to the ‘scroungers’ and ‘cheats’ stories in the tabloids. I haven’t experienced obvious hostility, but what has changed is how threatened I feel all the time by the loss of help and benefits. I’ve already lost help in the house and I may well lose my car which will leave me isolated. My spine is my biggest problem, so the loss of help at home is very difficult. I believe the reason George Osborne got booed at the Paralympics is because the majority of people there had family who are disabled and knew what they were going through. Not every able-bodied person is an athlete or an Olympian and the same...
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