Celebrating learning disability week with a big clean up
Tuesday 16th June 2015: people with a learning disability from Canterbury District Partnership Group, supported by East Kent Mencap, and the Canterbury Umbrella Centre which provides support to people with mental health problems, led local residents in a litter pick around Westgate Gardens, Canterbury. Among the participants were Lord Mayor Sally Waters and the Lord Mayor’s Escort and husband Robert Waters.
The event forms part of Learning Disability Week, a national celebration of what people with a learning disability can achieve. The aim of the litter pick was to clean up the Westgate Gardens, but also to give members of the public a chance to get to know their neighbours who have a learning disability better. There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK but many feel they are not listened to by those in power and that too often they are seen as ‘a problem’ rather than as active citizens who contribute to their local community.
Organiser Jeremy Gauld, who has a learning disability, said ‘I’ve really loved doing this litter pick. I like helping and being outside.’
Lord Mayor Sally Waters commented ‘This event and the events like it taking place throughout the country serve to highlight the contribution that people with a learning disability make to their local communities. It was wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate Learning Disability Week and to hear first-hand some of the amazing things that people from East Kent Mencap are achieving.’
Anna Olliffe from the Royal Mencap Society added ‘Today hasn’t just been about people with a learning disability taking the lead in serving their community – it’s been about people in Canterbury getting to know their neighbours with a learning disability, working alongside them, and building relationships. We’ve picked up a lot of litter today, but we’ve also broken down a lot of social barriers and maybe a few prejudices too.’