Members of a supported living service in Brighton volunteered their help to make sure celebration-goers stayed hydrated at this year’s Disability Pride event.
Staff members and four people who live at Arden House in Preston Park, which supports people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, greeted visitors and running a watering station at the event at Hove Lawns on July 14.
The celebrations included live music, acts, performances, and speeches from disabled people; work from disabled artists; and stalls from local support organisations.
Chris Woolgar, manager of Arden House, said: “Everyone was really excited ahead of the big day and enjoyed being part of the planning process.
“The event’s volunteering programme means that more people with both visible and invisible disabilities or conditions can get involved.
“Being part of the organisation and planning meetings for this wonderful celebration is giving them a real sense of purpose.”
Disability Live kicked off at noon with a short parade along the promenade, led by Unified Rhythm – a carnival band with over 80 per cent disabled members.
The Arden House team included David Metzler (33), Taurean Bailey (29), Nicholas Arnell (34), and Jamie Blunden (22).
“The celebrations bring disabled and non-disabled people together to help change and challenge negative attitudes and perceptions,” added Chris.
“Although disability rights have come a long way for people with disabilities, barriers can be more frequent and have greater impact.
“We hope this event allowed people to celebrate what’s been achieved so far, and to keep building a community to fight these challenges.”
The event was officially opened by Alison Lapper MBE; Councillor Dee Simson – Mayor of Brighton & Hove; and Jenny Skelton, Chair of Disability Pride
The Regard Group is now a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Stonewall works with the country’s leading organisations to create fully inclusive environments for staff, clients and the wider community, and is the largest non-governmental programme of its kind in the world.
Joining Stonewall is another step in developing Regards culture of inclusion.
Regard is reviewing its quality and people policies, and inclusive workplace practices, to ensure people who are part of the LGBT community feel at home with the organisation.
Billy Cole of Stonewall said: “We’re really excited to be working with The Regard Group through our Diversity Champions programme.
“The work we have planned shows a real commitment to LGBT for both the people supported by and employed by Regard. We’re looking forward to see what we can achieve working together.”