Leeds City Council and third sector organisations across the city are launching ‘Leeds For All’, a programme of free and inclusive activities to celebrate International Day of Disabled People this week.
The important day takes place annually on 3 December and is an opportunity for people across the world to celebrate the achievements and contributions of disabled people, as well as increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of disabilities.
This year in Leeds, local charity William Merritt Centre and Forum Central, a network of health and social care third sector organisations in Leeds, with the support of a planning group have put together an impressive series of accessible events part-funded by Leeds City Council. The Leeds For All programme kicks off on Tuesday 1 December and continues through to Friday 4 December, with both online events and offline activities taking place.
Learn the art of ink blowing, relax with a sound bath, or get moving with online and accessible fitness sessions. Other activities include baking Christmas biscuits at home, taking to the dance floor at an inclusive disco or attending an online art exhibition by Leeds-based disabled artists.
Leeds Libraries is hosting a session on digital inclusion for people with sensory impairment and another focusing on building the digital skills and confidence of people with a learning disability. There are also important discussions planned which focus on topics such as employment, public spaces and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people in Leeds. The council will also light up its iconic civic buildings in purple on Thursday 3 to mark the day.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for learning, skills, employment and equality said:
“The council is committed to supporting disabled people across the city and we are proud to sponsor such a fantastic and diverse programme of events. We know that disabled people continue to face increased difficulties during the pandemic and this programme provides opportunities to discuss the impact of this on their health and wellbeing, alongside dozens of fun and relaxing activities for people to enjoy. We are determined for Leeds to be the best city for everyone and it is our continued commitment to important events like these that will help us get there.”
Councillor Kevin Ritchie, Leeds City Council’s disability champion said:
“Thank you to Forum Central & the William Merritt Centre for putting together such a comprehensive program for the week. I’m looking forward to the packed agenda and learning about the successes achieved & challenges ahead, so we can develop our partnerships, to ensure we have a more accessible city.”
David Blythe, General Manager, William Merritt Disabled Living Centre said:
“The William Merritt Centre, in partnership with Forum Central are delighted to be hosting the Leeds For All event, to celebrate International Day of Disabled People in December 2020.
“Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic many third sector organisations have had to postpone or cancel many informative and supporting events that promote and inform people with disabilities of the services that are still available across Leeds.
“The Leeds For All event is a great opportunity for disabled people and community groups to interact with many third sector organisations who provide important healthcare services.
“We do hope you will be able to join us during the 4 day programme and have the opportunity to interact with disabled people and service providers. The event will be starting on 1st December 2020 and has a varied content of interactive topical discussions and demonstrations of service provision.”
Karen Fenton, Operations Manager, Volition, Forum Central said:
“Forum Central are delighted to be partnering with William Merritt Centre to bring together Leeds For All, to mark International Day of Disabled People in Leeds 2020. In 2019 we held a really successful face to face event at the Leeds City Museum, which was attended by over 300 people. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we haven’t been able to replicate that but instead have taken the opportunity to expand.
We’ve strengthened our connections with disabled led third sector organisations and disabled people in the city to bring together a fantastic programme of interactive, varied content. Leeds For All is an important statement. We want the programme to feel inclusive and accessible for everyone. To provide that space for connection, discussion, debate and enjoyment during these fragmented and often socially distant times.”