Disability Awareness Day 2015: Sunday, 12 July – Walton Hall Gardens


A Second World War Dakota flypast through clear blue skies is set to be among the highlights of Warrington Disability Partnership’s (WDP) internationally-recognised Disability Awareness Day (DAD) 2015 – now in its 24th year!

More than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the world’s largest not-for-profit, voluntary-led, pan-disability exhibition, which will once again be hosted at Walton Hall Gardens on Sunday, 12 July with the support of principal sponsor Your Housing Group.

The Royal Air Force spectacular, scheduled for 1.10pm, will be a must-see for anyone joining WDP for the annual celebration of the local, regional and national support services that enable disabled people, carers and families to stay independent.

A huge tented village housing 250 exhibitors – including equipment suppliers; transport; holidays; leisure and employment providers; and support groups and services – is set to inspire visitors to travel from all over the UK and beyond.

Kathy Cowell, Chair of Your Housing Group, said: “Your Housing Group is extremely proud to be the principal sponsor of Disability Awareness Day again this year. Our presence will have a strong focus on health and wellbeing. Visitors can have a go on our smoothie bikes and enjoy free smoothies, which will be given away throughout the day.

‘We have some very inspirational young people joining us, including Paralympic hopeful Shaun Burrows and members of the Ability Counts football club – both of whom we sponsor – to demonstrate that disability shouldn’t be a barrier to sport. I’m sure it will be a really memorable, fun-filled community event for everyone.”

The free, accessible park and ride service at Wilderspool Park; free bus service every 30 minutes as of 10am from Warrington Bus Interchange; British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters; trained assistants; and a scooter / wheelchair loans service promises to ensure DAD 2015 is 100 percent all-inclusive.

“The back-story to DAD is a great example of just how far a ‘can do’ attitude can take you,” says Event Founder and Co-ordinator, Dave Thompson MBE DL.

‘What started out 24 years ago as a one-off event is now the highlight of the international disabled community’s calendar – inspiring similar events as far afield as India and Cameroon!

‘There is no greater satisfaction for me than seeing ‘DAD’s Army’ of volunteers coming together to support people to enjoy and access our week-long programme of events – all of which are about awareness-raising, celebrating diversity and promoting independent living. Thanks to the support of our sponsors – including principal sponsor Your Housing Group – there is something for everyone during ‘DAD Week’ and I urge people of all ages to take the opportunity to join us at Walton Hall Gardens – especially as the weather forecast is looking good!”

Also on-site will be the fully accessible – and outdoor – Sports Zone, which is supported by Active Cheshire and will boast an impressive assortment of activities including a climbing wall and archery with full harness provided by Climb Hire Ltd; penalty shootout with Your Housing Group; small bore rifle shooting; new age curling; accessible rugby, football and tennis with Warrington Wolves Community Foundation; boxing with Phoenix Fire Boxing Club; golf – courtesy of Sutton Hall Golf Club; Cheshire Scuba Academy; martial arts; wheelchair basketball delivered by Let’s Play; and wheelchair fencing with WDP Trustee Adrian Derbyshire.

Players from Cheshire Phoenix basketball team, who are principally sponsored by Your Housing Group, will also be shooting hoops with the DAD basketball team.

Inclusive arts is just one of the highlights of the event – with disabled performers including Carly Ryan and Martin Finn from the BBC’s ‘Autistic Superstars’. There will also be an exhibition of artwork – produced by disabled artists – for visitors to enjoy.

Staff from Your Housing Group will be on hand to offer advice on housing needs and to talk about local work clubs and apprenticeships. Hive, the group’s new private rent company, will be showcasing to visitors the benefits of renting with Hive in Warrington. Using ‘Augmented Reality’ technology, visitors will be able to see inside a new Hive property before they have been built.

The big day – which will take place from 10am to 5pm – will be a fitting finale to a week comprising a variety of complementary events to savour, which are guaranteed to attract many more visitors.

The sheer number and variety of events ‘DAD Week’ has on offer is further proof that this event continues to grow in size and stature year after year.

For more details on DAD and ‘DAD Week’ and all the events listed, please contact Warrington Disability Partnership on 01925 240064 or visit www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk

Tickets can be purchased online by visiting

Warrington Disability Partnership (WDP) is a voluntary organisation run predominantly by disabled people with the aim of improving the quality of life for disabled people and their families through a range of direct and indirect services. For more information about WDP please call 01925 240064 or visit www.disabilitypartnership.org.uk

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