Don’t ever let anyone tell you there is something you can’t do! That should be a golden rule for all of us, but it is especially meaningful for those with added challenges and disabilities.
This article lists loads of organisations out there fighting the idea that there may be something you can’t do just because you have a disability. Read on and find out how you can start challenging your own limits!
- FREE Rough Guide to Accessible Britain
- Disabled-led Theatre
- Fancy a Dance?
- Making Beautiful Music Together
- Need a Break?
The lovely people at Rough Guides are giving away the guide to accessible Britain completely free to Blue Badge holders. The book contains over 175 ideas for days out in the UK with comprehensive reviews of activities all written by disabled visitors – perfect inspiration for your summer break.
An innovative disabled-led theatre company called Graeae – launched in 1980 – is changing the way people enjoy the theatre. It’s referred to as disabled-led because it uses the skills of actors, writers and directors with physical and sensory impairments.
Graeae is more than just theatre. It serves to “redress the exclusion of people with physical and sensory impairments”.
It has a great reputation for being truly creative, with the integration of sign language and audio description to create a “multi-sensory experience”.
It tours up to three major productions every year, both nationally and internationally.
And in its aim to employ disabled designers, actors, writers and directors whenever possible, the company has its own theatre training programme, including training disabled writers.
If you’re interested in becoming a writer or joining the course visit their site for all the information. And if you’re an artist looking for opportunities or training, there’s loads for you too.
Graeae is currently moving home and trying to raise some extra funds. Feeling generous? Click here to donate, or alternatively check out all their upcoming performances.
Many of us have a hard time meeting new people – and this can be even harder if you’re disabled and looking to meet people who can truly relate to your specific challenges and needs.
Day centres are terrific places to meet like-minded people who are interested in making the most of their time and day.
Many centres run art programmes and organise day trips. They are dedicated to providing stimulating days while promoting independence – so they’re a fantastic place to start networking and trying out new skills.
Here is a list of some day centres to help get you started.
- Neath Port Talbot
- Medway Council
- Up My Street (Scotland)
Interested in expressing yourself creatively? The good news is, there are plenty of people and places that want to help you get started!
Art is all about diversity and variety, with plenty of room for all sorts of ideas and expressions. This is why places like The Art House are committed to assisting artists both disabled and non-disabled in attaining access to opportunities within the world of visual arts.
With its accessible studios and training programmes, The Art House trains people into becoming working artists with commissions and workshop exhibitions. This isn’t just a fun place to paint in all day!
The Art House acts like your own personal agent, negotiating with funding and commissioning bodies, galleries, venues, and other training institutions. Their goal is to make you an artist who gets paid!
All you have to do is join their team. Membership is easy but it will cost you £15.00 per year for an individual artist, or £20 for two artists from the same address.
Fancy a Dance?
If you’re looking to get into dance, the CandoCo Dance Company is where you need to start. It’s one of the most successful and respected contemporary dance companies for disabled and non-disabled dancers in London.
Their main focus is to “push the boundaries of contemporary dance and broaden people’s perception of what dance is and who can dance.”
They have been making some impressive progress recently, including their very successful ADAPT (Accessing Dance and Performance Training) Education Project.
The project saw dancers from CandoCo working with Urdang Academy, one of London’s most prestigious Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) training institutions.
Young disabled people were able to learn skills needed for contemporary dance and musical theatre. Those who did well were also given the opportunity to receive a placement at the Urdang Academy Summer School.
Sadly this project only runs until the end of 2008 – but their site has loads more projects coming up.
They have a great site with loads of helpful information. Contact them with any enquiries, but be patient. This is a very popular dance company, so it may take them a little while to get back to you.
Making Beautiful Music Together
Another fantastic project working to redefine talent is the Drake Music Project.
This programme was established to support and teach disabled children and adults who were limited by conventional musical instruments.
The programme allows for an unconventional discovery of musical abilities and promotes the exploration, composition and performance of their own music. Anyone can learn how to make beautiful music with their help.
Pyramid of Arts is another really user friendly and inviting site. They run loads projects for everyone to enjoy. They create art for exhibitions, public showings and performances.
They also run fun days like Circus Day, complete with face painting and put on musical performances as part of their art exhibition. They are a well-rounded group of individuals that are having a great time enjoying art and entertaining people.
For a list of further art contacts, visit the Directgov website.
Need a Break?
How about a relaxing vacation? All the hassle of figuring out what attractions and hotels are accessible is done for you with Tourism for All.
Tourism for All is a not-for-profit organisation that is making tourism accessible, enjoyable and welcoming to all. Your next holiday planning must start here.
The site’s got lots of helpful information on where you can go, stay or visit without any hassle. The lists seem endless, with loads of places you can escape to this weekend in our own country.
Register as a member and you could have a trip to Italy – or India – all planned out for you.
Registering is free and gives you access to special offers and latest news and info. With a £25 a year membership you can also get discounts on hotels and some other freebie guide books.
If you don’t travel often, my advice is to stick to the free registration, and book your own trips online.
- British Institute of Learning Disabilities – loads of information on great books, courses and events for the disabled. This one needs to be saved onto your favourites!
- Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company – A dance company to keep your eye on. It integrates dance theatre with disabled and non-disabled dancers and has toured both nationally and internationally. It is an integrated dance company that has pioneered dance theatre for. It also has an outreach and training programme. Its site is under construction at the moment, but I thought it was one worth mentioning.
- Assist UK – if you need a more permanent place to stay, this is the site to help you locate your nearest centre.
- Paralympic Games
- Arts Council of England
- Every Disabled Child Matters
Do you have a tip for living with a disability? Share it with others in the forums.