Friday 4 December 2015

Yesterday marked the 23rd International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This day is to raise awareness of critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.

This year’s theme is “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities”. With this in mind, we held our first meeting of our new project: The London Youth Inclusion Network. With the theme set, the group got stuck in discussing the definitions of the key words “access” and “empowerment” and the challenges that come with making their organisations inclusive.

One of the key ideas discussed about making services accessible was integration of young people with disabilities and mainstream young people. The group discussed using activities such as sports and technology to engage young people of all abilities and help them develop their relationships as a community.

Integration can be overwhelming for some young people especially in a busy youth club setting. Loud noises and large groups of people can be challenging for some but giving them the opportunity and choice to be included is giving them power.

Encouraging young people to challenge themselves in safe environments, developing team working skills, confidence and interpersonal skills help not only empower them but also supports their personal development. Life skills like this help with the transition into independence and ultimately adulthood.

The Inclusion Network will be formed of professionals from various London Youth member clubs from across the capital, such as Action on Disability, WAC Arts, Hackney Quest, Streatham Youth and Community Trust, Rathbone Society (Lambeth), Dragon Hall and Laburnum Boat Club. Partnership working will enable organisations to share ideas and develop their clubs to make them as accessible as possible for all.

Earlier in the year some of our members participated in a video about how they support ALL young people and make their services accessible. You can watch it at the link below:

https://youtu.be/CAf9v8Iqeqs

City Bridge Trust are helping London Youth to implement our current inclusion strategy and we really appreciate their support. For more information on how to get involved in the Inclusion Network, contact Rosa on rosa.palli@londonyouth.org.uk.