Earlier in the year I’d attended Belfast’s Disability Pride Day, which celebrated people with physical disabilities rather than learning disabilities. I thought it was great, but we thought doing our own Learning Disability pride (LDP) would be even better, and more relevant to the people we worked alongside.

I think anything we can do to raise awareness of learning disability, build friendships and relationships is hugely important. The first step was to try and get some funding.

We applied for grants from the Big Lottery, Carrickfergus and District Mencap and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and after successful applications we were finally able to start planning the event!

We set up a working group and met over a period of months sharing ideas and planning the event. We worked closely with Mencap and our local council who were very supportive.

Right from the start I could sense the excitement about the event, and everyone wanted to get involved!

We had a great team of people from a wide range of organisations who had shared similar values and passion; to ensure a society where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included.

Then finally the day arrived. We started with a parade which gave those with a learning disability, their families and friends the chance to stand up and be proud of who they are and their contribution to society. 5000 people attended the event, the atmosphere was immense and the day was a huge success! People came from far and wide to participate and support us.

I’m already excited for the next Learning Disability Pride in June 2019! It’d be amazing if it kept going year after year, I think this is a really exciting opportunity. Because of this, we have been creating a great event toolkit that has all the information needed to help those interested in planning their own Learning Disability Pride.

Our free tool kit for setting up your own event will be available shortly here.