WORK is well underway for the 27th annual Disability Awareness Day which takes pace at Walton Gardens, Warrington, on Sunday, July 15.
Founder and event co-ordinator Dave Thompson, now Chief Executive of Warrington Disability Partnership, said: “In 1992, who would have thought that a disability information event organised by a very small, then unknown disability group, would grow in size and stature, and would influence the development of a now internationally-recognised Disability Awareness Day.
“This year sees the ‘27th Anniversary event’, which has inspired people from all over the world and provided advice and support to 100,000’s of disabled people, their families, friends and carers<” added Dave, who helped co-found Warrington Disability Partnership after breaking his neck in a sporting injury.
More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s DAD, the world’s largest not-for-profit, voluntary-led, pan-disability exhibition, which will once again be hosted at Walton Hall Gardens on Sunday, July 15 with the support of joint principal sponsors St George Healthcare Group and St Mark Universal Copts Care.
A huge tented village housing approximately 250 exhibitors – including equipment suppliers; transport; holidays; leisure and employment providers; and support groups and services – is set to attract visitors to travel from all over the UK and beyond.
Inclusive Arts is just one of the highlights of the event – with a number of disabled artists including nationally recognised performers such as the Ella Performance Group and Carly Ryan. The Main Arena will offer visitors a range of family entertainment including guide dog display teams, falconry displays and a number of marching bands. Also on-site will be the fully accessible Sports Zone with have-a-go events including Scuba Diving in the temporary pool, climbing wall, shooting, archery, basketball and much more.
A free, accessible Park and Ride service is available from Wilderspool Park; plus a free bus service every 30 minutes starting at 9.30am from Warrington Bus Interchange; British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters; trained assistants; and a scooter / wheelchair loans service promises to ensure DAD is fully inclusive to all.
“The background story to DAD is a great example of just how far a ‘can do’ attitude can take you,” says Event Founder and Co-ordinator, Dave Thompson MBE DL.
“What started out as a one-off event is now one the highlights of the international disabled community’s calendar – inspiring similar events as far afield as India, Cameroon, Uganda, Gibraltar and Thailand. Our team is also working closely with one of our sponsors St Mark Universal Copts Care teams based in the UK and working in Egypt and Sudan.”
The big day on Sunday July 15 from 10am to 5pm – will be a fitting finale to a week comprising a variety of complementary events to savour, which are guaranteed to attract many more visitors to events aimed at disabled children and young people, mental health, learning disability, carers and a cultural diversity evening.
For more details on DAD and ‘DAD Week’ and all the events listed, please contact Warrington Disability Partnership on 01925 240064 or visit www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk