12 July 2017

Learning Disabilities Celebration Day

LD DayJoy, energy, fun, sunshine and over 350 people made the Learning Disabilities Celebration Day on 16 June an amazing success.

The celebration at Bristol's Trinity Centre inspired, informed and entertained with an eclectic mix of performers, volunteers and stallholders. The day was supported by Headlight Mental Health Charity, opened by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of the County and City of Bristol Peaches Golding OBE and compered by Cary Ward LD nurse Mike Richardson.

The event - which was inspired by the local drug and alcohol recovery community's Recovery Festival - was organised by AWP Specialist Learning Disabilities Services and the Forensic Community Learning Disabilities Team (CLDT) Service User Forum, alongside colleagues from Bristol City Council, Brandon Trust, WellAware, Bristol Community Health and others.

The day featured performances by a number of community groups from across the region comprising people with learning disabilities. Mill Race Singers from Calne kicked things off alongside Trowbridge Song Project who sang a selection of their favourite songs. Next up was the exuberant Zone Club, a group of talented young adults from Wiltshire Music Centre. Zone Club write, record and perform their own songs to dance to and create their own films. They have recently won the highly prized Liquid Media Award.

Lunchtime brought much excitement with the arrival of special guest Daniel Wakeford, star of The Undateables. Daniel sang a selection of his own original songs before mingling with the crowd for selfies.

After lunch Sarah and Danny from Brandon Trust Theatre put on an entertaining play with a serious message about disability hate crime, which ended with members of the audience joining a song and dance routine. Rodney and Steven introduced their film, made with Avon Forensic CLDT, about AWP's work to support people with learning disabilities who are at risk of getting into trouble with the police.

Bristol Umbrella Singers, a new autism and learning disabilities-friendly choir meeting weekly in Bristol, gave their first public performance and they really wowed the crowd. Trowbridge Song Project led the final song of the day before the raffle of some fantastic prizes donated by local businesses.

Throughout the day Alan Kellas provided a space for people to have fun outdoors with art and nature and Kelly from Avon Wildlife Trust offered fun activities to help people connect with nature and discover how being outdoors can help our wellbeing. Masha, music therapist at the Daisy and co-ordinator of all the day's performances, offered drumming and singing workshops alongside Trowbridge Song Project in a marquee lent for the occasion by BCH Camping in Trowbridge.

Stalls in the main hall featured a wide range of organisations including: Well Aware; Healthwatch; The Hive; the Diversity Trust; SARSAS; Shapes LGBT Social; Project Search; Sixteen Co-op; BOSS employment support; PROPS; Brandon Trust; Bristol Hate Crime Service; Royal Mencap; Soundbeam; Hop, Skip & Jump; and Multistory Project.

The whole event was supported and enabled by a host of volunteers including learning disabilities, mental health nursing and occupational therapy students; and staff from AWP, Bristol Community Health and Bristol City Council. Vicky Black and volunteers offered a chill out space behind the stage for anyone seeking some quiet time. Many of the volunteers, as well as people who weren't able to attend, contributed cakes for donations.

A MASSIVE thanks to everyone who worked so hard to organise, support and enjoy the day - it was fantastic.

Pictured: Undateables star Daniel Wakeford performing on the day

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