Crowds gathered at Greenacre School in Barnsley to celebrate learning disability week in August. The fun day was organised in partnership with Barnsley Hospital, Mencap, Barnsley Integrated Learning Disability Service and Barnsley Council’s public health team as an opportunity for local people and families to find out more about local services and get involved in fun and interactive sporting and artistic activities.
Learning disability week is organised by the national charity Mencap, to raise awareness of the condition and the help and support available. This year the theme was ‘Who’s your superhero?’
Greenacre School hosted the fun day and two other events were organised at venues across the district as part of the awareness week.
On Monday 19 August the team hosted a talk at Barnsley hospital, to give people with learning disabilities and staff the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas about how to improve the service.
On Wednesday, the feature event of the week – a fun day – was held at Greenacre school. The day was opened by Barnsley’s Mayor, Mr Ken Richardson and attended by over 100 people. The day was a great success with children, young people and adults getting involved in the activities.
A football match, with Toby Tyke (Barnsley FC mascot) and Cheerio (Barnsley hospital’s mascot) captaining the teams, was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. A penalty shoot out showed off the mascots goalkeeping skills and staff from Barnsley FC’s football school helped to referee the game.
People were also encouraged to have a go at cycling, using one of the specially adapted bikes provided by Quest 88.
The cycles and tricycles that they brought along enable children and adults with different levels of physical and cognitive ability to have a go at cycling – and many took the chance to. Even the mayor got involved, and joined Joanne on a bike!
Art workshops and physical activities such as tai chi, pilates and yoga were also organised throughout the day as well as a karate display and performance by Take a Bow theatre group in the afternoon. Rachel, who was having fun in the art workshop run by Aiden from Mencap, said, “I really like going to art workshops. I am doing an art course in September so this is good practice. I like mixing colours and using lots of different materials to make my pictures. I’m going to put these pictures up at home.”
Local organisations, as well as other Trust services such as the sensory and adaptation team, therapy services and children’s speech and language team were at the event with information stalls to tell people about the support available locally.
The week of activities was rounded off with a presentation by staff working within learning disability services, service users and carers at the Alhambra shopping centre to raise awareness of the week.
Joanne Brown, professional support & practice development nurse who works in Barnsley learning disability services explained, “We organised the events this year to celebrate those we work with everyday, raise the profile of some of the challenges they face and highlight support available to local people with learning disabilities and their families.
“Thank you to everyone who helped out, particularly at the fun day, including Barnsley hospital and the public health team who funded the venue for the day. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I hope that the events, as well as being fun, were informative and highlighted the support available locally.”