Learning Disability Pride Day
1208. Thomas Haighton
Thomas Haighton, from Carrickfergus, set up ‘Learning Disability Pride Day’, the first event of its kind in the UK, to celebrate the contributions to society of people with learning disabilities.
Over 33,000 people in Northern Ireland have a learning disability, and Thomas was inspired to create a fun, inclusive and free event allowing people of all ages to come together to promote positive attitudes and challenge stereotypes. The event, taking place in Carrickfergus, involves a Parade showcasing flags, posters, banners, and floats created by people with learning disabilities, organisations, and schools in Northern Ireland, as well as featuring music, entertainment, sports activities and workshops. More than 5,000 people attended the first event in 2017. Carrickfergus Mencap Society is a proud supporter and recently donated £12,000 to the project.
Thomas’s award coincides with this year’s Learning Disability Pride Day and with Learning Disability Week.
In a personal letter to Thomas, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Learning Disability Pride Day’, you are bringing together our communities to celebrate the contribution of people with learning disabilities. Your work is so important, both by challenging perceptions and promoting the positive message of diversity and inclusion.”
“I’m delighted and honoured to have been awarded the UK’s 1208th Point of Light award for founding Learning Disability Pride. I would like to accept this award on behalf of the amazing team behind Learning Disability Pride who have supported me in making it a huge success. It’s great to see what started as a small idea celebrating the achievements and contributions of people with a Learning Disability through a day that brings everyone together has grown and moved across the UK. I hope that Learning Disability Pride continues to grow and people with a learning disability continue to be involved as valued and equal members of our community.”