A campaign encouraging Wokingham Borough residents to find out what it is like to face difficulties due to impairment, disability or mental illness was launched last week (November 18).
A group of people with disabilities, mental health problems and carers came up with the idea of the Step into my Shoes campaign to raise the awareness of challenges disabled people face in everyday life. These difficulties range from people with restricted mobility and not being able to park next to shops, people in wheelchairs struggling to negotiate high kerbs, people with learning disabilities not being able to communicate easily and people with mental health problems finding it difficult to find employment.
The Step into my Shoes campaign was formally launched at the Mayor’s Market on Friday November 18 in Wokingham town centre. Eight people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health problems were on hand to talk to local residents about their disabilities and impairments and offered them an opportunity to find out for themselves what it is like to be disabled by sitting in a wheelchair, walking with crutches, and being blindfolded. Visitors to the stall were also able to take part in a quiz about disabilities and find out how to best communicate with people who have profound and multiple disabilities.
Following the successful launch at the Mayor’s Market, further local events are planned, including taking the campaign to local schools in the New Year to raise disability awareness amongst younger residents of the Wokingham Borough.
Cllr Annette Drake, Wokingham Borough Council’s disability champion, said: "The Step into my Shoes
campaign offers a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of challenges faced by disabled people. It aims to change attitude towards disability by making people aware that disabled people are like everyone else – they may just need a little bit more help and consideration."