Project members during an online heritage course.

UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) which runs every year from 18 November – 20 December is an annual event focusing on the history of the struggle for equality and human rights for disabled people. It is a chance to raise awareness of the history of inequalities disabled people have faced, and those they still face today.

This year’s theme is ‘Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go?’ Our local surroundings can have a big impact on our health Accessibility is a hugely important part of a person’s surroundings, which contributes significantly to health. Disabled people often face barriers to using local spaces because many buildings, events and day to day processes are still inaccessible. There are also barriers for people with learning disabilities, if information isn’t clear, or written in formats that aren’t accessible to all types of learning disabilities.

Many of the Trust’s funded partners work to address these barriers and inequalities that disabled people face, and will be using Disability History Month to raise greater awareness and understanding of disability rights in their local communities.

Cardiff People First and their two-year project ‘Come Together’ builds on existing work by the organisation helping people with learning disabilities in Cardiff to reduce isolation by involving them in their local community in a meaningful and sustainable way. Led by local people with learning disabilities, they support other local residents with learning disabilities to attend local community-based activities, supporting them to make important social connections and friendships in their neighbourhoods.

The project also works to help their local community create a more accessible inclusive space for disabled people, including holding a series of online training workshops during lockdown to provide guidance on how to properly communicate about the topic of disability.

During Disability History Month, Cardiff People First are examining the heritage and history of disability, and the group is running a training course on Zoom based on learning disability inclusion in heritage, based on the heritage and inclusion work the group have done over the years. The course 'sold' out of their free tickets within 24 hours and will include people from museums, archives and conservation in Cardiff, across Wales and even some international attendees.

Each year, the project has a ‘Take Over’ of the Museum of Cardiff and frequently works with Glamorgan Archives, including an award-winning project on Ely Hospital in 2013.

Joanna Jones, a member of staff at Cardiff People First, wrote a poem explaining the importance of Disability History Month.

“From the past, to the present into our tomorrows – gaze a little closer and discover we all have ability.

Listen to us when we “Stand up, and speak out” – we are changing History.

In past years our powerful voices silenced, don’t lock us away, we have a lot to say.

We cant turn back the clock to fight the discrimination and injustice of years gone by.

We JUST have the present and the future. Lets re-write History one voice heard at a time.

That is why UK Disability History Month is important.”

Cardiff People First are funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised by Health Lottery Wales.

To find out more about Disability History Month, click here.

Are you planning to do something for Disability History Month this year? If so, we would love to hear from you. To send us your pictures and stories, click here.

To read more news from the Trust, click here.

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