by Lisa Wild
This week is Learning Disability Week, a national awareness week that takes place every year in June. It’s a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness about the issues that are important to people with a learning disability and this year we’re so pleased that it’s all about sport and inclusion.
A recent survey by Mencap of 18-35 year olds with a learning disability found that 49% would like to spend more time outside their house and 18% feel alone and cut off from other people. Loneliness is a problem that affects people from all walks of life and it is becoming more difficult to build and maintain social connections. Sport and physical activity is a great way of bringing people together and reducing isolation.
Here at LD:NorthEast we work really hard to bring people together. We tackle isolation and feelings of loneliness by supporting people to have fun, spend time with friends and feel good by looking after their own health & well-being.
At the beginning of this year we were so excited to launch our Healthy Connections Project, supported by the Building Connections Fund. The project is designed for people who have little or no formal support, and encourages people to lead a healthy lifestyle and build social connections through a free ten week programme of activities.
We’re working with lots of different organisations across North Tyneside to put together our brilliant programme including the Newcastle United Foundation, Active North Tyneside, Badminton England and Northumbria University. We offer a full range of activities to suit all ages and abilities including football, badminton, walking and even kickboxing, which is proving to be our most popular session!
Now into its sixth month the project is going from strength to strength. People are definitely feeling the benefits of regular physical activity, but most importantly, meaningful connections and lasting friendships are being made.