On Sunday 5 September 2021, several local organisations including KVA, Kingston Eco-op, Mencap, Kingston Centre for Independent Living and Kingston Association for the Blind hosted activities and stalls in the Market Square in Kingston, as part of Disability Awareness Day. Kingston Council's adult social care team and Involve's peer mentors, who work with people with learning disabilities, also attended.
Kingston Council Chief Executive Ian Thomas said of the afternoon "It was a fantastic event, with many interested members of the public exploring the stalls and activities to learn more about the issues faced by people living with disabilities. Thank you to everybody who helped to make it happen, in particular Councillor Christine Stuart and all of our partners who got involved."
Before the event, Karen Penny, our Children and Young People Project Officer, took Ian on a wheelchair tour of the local area to help deepen his understanding of what it is like to have a disability in Kingston, and allow him to experience some of the issues wheelchair users face first hand. Ian reflected afterwards, "Although I spent just two hours using a wheelchair, guided by Karen, I found it an extremely enlightening experience. Even in that short period of time, my awareness of accessibility issues around our town centre increased massively, and I am grateful to Karen for her support and honest reflections."
Watch the video of their experiences below.