Inclusion is a priority for London Youth and ensuring that young people with disabilities have the same opportunities as those without disabilities has been an organisational focus for the past three years. It builds on an existing commitment which has seen a series of residential and training opportunities reach twice as many people this year as last year.
As a result London Youth hosted its inaugural Inclusion Festival at the Salmon Youth Centre, Bermondsey on Wednesday 9th August. The festival approach enabled London Youth to reach out and engage with more young people and support more youth organisations.
It is also part of the legacy of the Paralympics in 2012 which was brought into focus again by the recent World Para Athletics Championships held back at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.
The Inclusion Festival covered not just sports but a wide range of activities and involved 60 young people aged 8-21 from seven youth organisations for a day focused on four key themes:
- Arts and Drama (led by Haringey Shed, Mousetrap Theatre and Wac Arts)
- Sport and Physical Activity (led by Activities 4 U and Watford Community Sports and Education Trust)
- Wellbeing (led by the Museum of Happiness)
- Youth Action and Leadership (led by the Rathbone Society)
London Youth Sports Development Officer John Jones said:
“What made the festival unique was that everything was delivered for London Youth members by London Youth members – showcasing the diversity and quality of youth work within the sector and the expertise that ensures all young people can access provision.
“During the day the young people got to try-out each of the activities as well as spend time socialising with their friends and building new relationships. The youth workers were able to build up new contacts to develop and expand their inclusive provision back at their organisation and the event was also a key summer holiday programme.”
During the lunch break Art Against Knives ran an inclusive nail bar service. This was extremely well received and something very different to what the young people had previously experienced. The event finished by showing a film produced and edited on the day by Wac Arts capturing the memories and achievements of the festival.
You can find out more about inclusion at London Youth on Twitter via #LYinclusion