Disability Awareness Day 21st Anniversary
“Inspirational and motivating” were the words used by one visitor who attended last years Northwest Disability Awareness Day (DAD). This year’s event hails the 21st Anniversary of this annual show that has the reputation as being Europe’s largest voluntary led pan disability exhibition.
The event will be held at Walton Hall Gardens located off the A56 in Warrington on Sunday 15th July. A huge tented village will once again house the exhibition involving over 250 exhibitors promoting independent living, supporting activities include a wide range of performing Arts, inclusive Sports, and children’s and family entertainments. Over 25,000 visitors are expected to travel to Warrington from across the UK and beyond.
DAD will be the finale of a week consisting of 12 complementary events that will attract thousands more visitors. Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex visited last year’s Ignite Your Life Mental Health event organised with 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
A government minister who visited a previous event said that "DAD typifies the strength, tenacity and flexibility of the voluntary sector". A point that was highlighted when the DAD team was presented with the Queens Award for Voluntary Services, the equivalent to an MBE for voluntary groups.
Inclusive Arts is just one of the highlights of the event with disabled performers from across the UK, including Carly and Martin from the BBC’s Autistic Superstars and an exhibition of Artwork produced by disabled artists.
This years Sports Zone will include archery, rifle shooting, climbing wall, wheelchair basketball and scuba diving, with the opportunity to do a taster dive in the onsite temporary swimming pool. Children and families won’t be stuck for things to do with entertainers and a funfair.
DAD is one of the largest community events in the North West involving over 150 volunteer stewards and assistants from Lions and Rotary Clubs, Sea Cadets, Thorn Cross Young Offenders Institute and dozens of family and friends.
With a free accessible Park & Ride service from the Old Greenall Brewery site and free bus from Warrington Bus Interchange, British Sign Language Interpreters, a scooter and wheelchair loans service, trained assistants, the event is built on promoting inclusion and independence.
Over the years the Northwest Disability Awareness Day has helped inspire individuals and groups across the UK, Europe and the world to set up similar information events including a DAD event in India organised by the MESSAGE Institute that was organised to coincide with the Warrington event.
The strap line for this year’s event is “promoting independence throughout life and work”. Event founder Dave Thompson MBE DL said: Overall DAD focusses on what disabled people can do, not what we can’t do.
For more details visit www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk or call the DAD Office on 01925 240064.