Newcastle’s first disability inclusion festival has today been launched to increase engagement in the community of people with disabilities and break down long-held barriers and stigmas.
The month-long festival includes a range of events held throughout the local government area, including everything from inclusive games to educational opportunities.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Festival, which takes place between 26 September and 25 October would focus on engagement and highlight the benefits of inclusion in our community.
“City of Newcastle prides itself on accessibility and inclusion. Our community is warm, supportive and values diversity,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The Count Us In Festival
effectively and respectfully links people with disabilities with the broader community and breaks down the barriers to inclusion.
“We can all think about the role we play to help create a City that includes all people socially, culturally and in the workplace.”
Diversity is reflected in the broad range of activities in the program, which have been curated to establish Newcastle as an inclusive community for people with disability, their families, carers and significant others.
“From inclusive skateboarding, surfing, barbecues and comedy shows to board games, documentary screenings, low sensory museum experiences and picnics, there are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages and walks of life to get involved,” the Lord Mayor said.
Activations focus on education and awareness, such as the role local business can play in creating employment opportunities and making their workplaces more inclusive for people with disability, positive parenting sessions and workshops that focus on support networks for carers.
The Lord Mayor said there was no shortage of positive reasons to develop accessibility within our social and built environment.
“Recent research into the ‘accessible tourism’ dollar shows businesses are missing out on potential spending if their services and business spaces are not inclusive of people with disabilities.
“With the likelihood of disability increasing with age and with an ageing population, more of our residents, visitors and workers will require more inclusive services.
“What’s key is that attitudes and behaviours are reported as significant barriers to inclusion, often much greater than any physical barrier,” the Lord Mayor said.
For full details about the program of events and how to get involved, visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/count-us-in