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Charity moving forward with plans to deliver a National Disability Museum

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WARRINGTON Disability Partnership is moving forward with plans to deliver a National Disability Museum in the town.

The charity’s founder and chief Executive Dave Thompson says he has been inundated with positive feedback since first mentioning the possibility on social media.

Dave, who helped set up the charity nearly 30 years ago after breaking his neck playing American football, says initial discussions via social media platforms attracted nearly 1,000 very positive comments and discussions all fully supporting the idea of developing a bricks and mortar National Disability Museum.

This was followed by further positive discussions with leading organisations such as the British Health Trades Association, British Red Cross, various disability organisations, disabled people, educational establishments and professionals working in museums.

Dave said: “All support the notion of creating a museum dedicated to preserving the history of disability through exhibits, collections, archives and educational programmes.

“Suggested outcomes include greater awareness and understanding of the lives of disabled people, created through sensory stimulation from exhibitions of equipment and archived materials, storytelling boards and dialogue.

“Current thinking suggests that a purpose built centre of excellence could be developed into a national resource, with a three-strand approach catering for local, national and even international needs.”

•Locally, a new facility could replace the current Centre for Independent Living displaying modern day mobility and independent living equipment.
•Nationally, a new facility could include the Disability Museum aimed at preserving history, heritage and culture of disability.
•Internationally, a new facility could include a Design and Development Hub, providing space for equipment designers to display their latest equipment. Disabled people, carers, health and social care professionals could be invited to try and test the equipment on display, and provide feedback to developers, with the aim of designing mobility and independent living equipment that disabled people want, and not simply need.

Dave added: “It is nationally accepted that Warrington offers excellent links to road, rail and air travellers, with experience of developing a number of focussed/themed museums including RAF Burtonwood Heritage Centre, Cheshire Police Museum and Warrington Museum of Freemasonry.

Warrington Disability Partnership is an internationally recognised user led pan-disability charity with nearly 30 years’ experience of developing and delivering a wide range of services focussed on mobility and independent living, and WDP also runs the world’s largest annual voluntary led pan disability event, Disability Awareness Day that was established in 1992.

The charity has a Disability Timeline spanning over 30 metres in the main corridor at their Centre for Independent Living, and together with BAS (NW) they have refurbished a 100 year old wheelchair that they display at local vintage car rallies.

The Board of Trustees at Warrington Disability Partnership have agreed that WDP should lead the debate on this development and a list of possible partners has been drawn up.

Anyone who would like to be involved in the discussion about the possible development of a National Disability Museum, please contact Dave Thompson, Chief Executive at Warrington Disability Partnership Email davethompson@disabilitypartnership.org.uk or call 01925 240064.

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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