Bournemouth People First, a charity run for and by people with learning disabilities, were delighted to be awarded a grant of £49,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support a new 18 month project called ‘Struggle for Equality’.
The ‘Struggle for Equality’ Project explores how throughout history people with learning disabilities have been shut out and ignored by mainstream society. With the introduction of disability rights and the self-advocacy movement there has been a gradual increase in inclusion for this group, with the closing of large scale institutions and more recently the long stay hospitals. The projectl explored the cultural heritage of people with learning disabilities from the mid-19th century to the present day looking at the changing perspectives of disability throughout this period, and presenting the results of this research in the form of a Time Line.
The information was presented in an accessible format using words and pictures in context with relevant world historical events such as the Nazi’s Eugenics and the Black Civil Rights Movements. A Time Line was produced for on-going learning and awareness. The Time Line and learning materials were exhibited at local places of interest throughout the county, as well as at Bournemouth People First’s own events.
It will be possible to access the Time Line online at www.struggleforequality.co.uk
Commenting on the award, Amanda Frost, staff member with learning disabilities from Bournemouth People First said “This is a fantastic opportunity to spread awareness of how things have changed for people with learning disabilities over the past century or so. We hope that it will help to change the public’s attitudes towards people with learning disabilities so they can have a greater understanding of the struggle for equality we have had. And that this struggle can be on-going at times. We hope it will lead to greater understanding of what we can do so we are seen as people first.”
Nerys Watts, Heritage Lottery Fund’s Head of South West, said: “The history of people with learning disabilities is largely one of marginalisation without the most basic freedom and rights. This project will enable people with learning disabilities to learn about their collective history and help to support their integration by promoting greater understanding and knowledge in the wider public. Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to support this important work.”
For further information about Bournemouth People First and the ‘Struggle for Equality’ project please visit our website on: www.bournemouthpeoplefirst.co.uk.