Big Ian Donaghy
Author, Filmmaker & Inspirational Speaker
Big Ian Donaghy is a passionate inspirational and keynote speaker who works tirelessly to raise dementia awareness, combat loneliness and provide grief support.
Drawing on his experience of 20 years teaching young people with learning difficulties, and nearly 10 years in the world of care, Ian speaks on how companies and individuals can better support their families, and staff who have been affected by dementia, grief and or loneliness.
Following a stint as a 28st doorman, he took himself off to university to train to become a teacher, embarking on his career at a school for children with special needs in York.
In 2000 he was headhunted by the Home Office to implement in-school inclusion units to give a second chance to youngsters who had been excluded. In one area under his watch, the number of permanent exclusions fell from 13 to zero in a year. In 2010 Ian was headhunted again – by a leading figure in the care sector who wanted him to replicate in the care world the positive impact he was having in the educational field.
Experienced in addressing and hosting conferences across the UK and Europe, Big Ian speaks with an infectious enthusiasm that is simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking making audiences laugh and cry in equal measure.
Ian is also a filmmaker and author, and his online campaigns include #DEMENTIAisAteamGAME, launched with a series of short, powerful films highlighting the fact that the condition isn’t one person’s or one care home’s business but a challenge – a team game – in which we all have a part to play.
Ian has also written two books –
Dear Dementia:The Laughter and the Tears has a message for all those touched by dementia – those living with dementia, their carers, and all professional staff. The book was deemed the only one on the Read Well Books on Prescription list to truly connect with people living with dementia.
The Missing Peace is a unique life-affirming read. It deals sensitively with difficult times in people’s lives and their heroic efforts to overcome them. The book aims to fill an important void that everyone will find in their life sometime.
Ian Donaghy is a passionate and moving speaker, lauded for his infectious enthusiasm and thought-provoking delivery. His speeches are all bespoke to each client but helps companies, associations, and groups get a better understanding as to how to support those who have been affected by Dementia, Grief, and loneliness.
Ian also has a talk called manKIND in which he speaks on the power of kindness and the impact companies can make on their communities.
“Big Ian is a powerhouse of ideas… and then he brings them to life” – Angela Rippon
“Wonderful & inspirational” – Mark Gatiss
Big Ian spoke at an awards ceremony designed to recognise the contribution of Belong's workforce and the incredible difference they make to people's lives. He got across their value in an unimaginably powerful way and every single person in the room laughed, cried and left inspired and reaffirmed in their vocation. It was so refreshing to have a speaker with real insight into the social care sector and who engaged with people in such an uplifting way. It made it an incredibly special and memorable event for all who attended. Thank you Ian
— MAHA HAMER – PR & MARKETING CONSULTANT
I’d heard a lot about Big Ian from a mutual connection so he was a natural choice and boy did he deliver! Such a natural speaker, passionate and strongly believed in what he was talking about. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room and I would strongly recommend Big Ian for any event.
— LEWIS SPENCE – Corporate partnership Manager