The event is Europe's biggest volunteer-led, pan-disability exhibition supporting Sports, Arts, and both children's and family entertainment. The DAD attracts around three-hundred exhibitions and more than one-hundred charities. The DAD is expecting twenty-five thousand people to attend from across the United Kingdom.
The organizations present at this year's Disability Awareness Day will promote a variety of causes, to include employment and education, volunteer support services, health and social care, and the national, 'Time to Change,' anti-stigma campaign. The Northwest Regional Manager for mental health charity, Grainne Cuerden stated:
"It is fantastic that Disability Awareness Day is addressing issues facing people with mental health problems - one of our last great taboos. Even though one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some stage, the stigma and discrimination they face deny people relationships, work, education, hope, and the chance to live an ordinary life that others take for granted. Raising awareness through events such as this is a crucial step forward."
One of the highlights of this year's DAD is an on-site cinema and the, 'Slice of Life,' film festival. Inclusive Arts will present short films which have either been made by, or star persons with disabilities; or have been written based on a theme of disability. Ever since I saw the movie, 'The Theory of Flight,' I have fallen in love with movies that star people with disabilities; I wish that I could attend. If you are fortunate enough to be in the United Kingdom for Disability Awareness Day, I highly suggest that you attend.
Disability Awareness Day is one of the largest events in the North West; people volunteer in large numbers and participate by the thousands. The event is built around promotion of inclusion, and has received royal recognition. The DAD event continues to raise awareness of disability issues and promotion of the skills and talents people with disabilities have. The event of the day is only one part of the events surrounding Disability Awareness Day.
While Disability Awareness Day is the main event of the week-long celebration of Persons with Disabilities, it is not the only event. For the entire week there is a festival of activities that includes workshops related to carer support, learning disabilities, mental health, employment, children and young people, wheelchair skills, and a great deal more. The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has been, and continues to be, the principal sponsor of these events. Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA is quoted as saying:
"The NWDA continues to work hard to ensure people across all communities have access to the facilities and infrastructure that to contribute to a successful regional economy and enjoy a good quality of life. Disability Awareness Day has gone from strength to strength, raising awareness of disability issues and promoting the skills of the talented people within the region."
The motto of this year's Disability Awareness Day is, 'Promoting Independence Throughout Life and Work.' The perspective that is being promoted involves the things that people with disabilities can do - not what they can't. I personally would love to find events like this happening all across America and Canada. As people with disabilities we are a major part of the societies we are in, and we certainly are highly capable of participating.