Saturday, June 27, 2009

New view of life from Coventry's disabled people

COVENTRY people with learning disabilities have been busy catching their lives on camera to teach people about the challenges they face.

They teamed up with Coventry charity Grapevine and internet television station CentralVision to make the series of "eye-opening" videos.

The short films are being streamed on CentralVision as part of National Learning Disabilities Awareness Week.

Nearly a dozen people with learning disabilities spoke about their problems linked to finding paid work; trying to live a normal teenage life; a lack of support which stops them staying out late at night; parents who are not allowed to look after their children.

Rishard Beckett, aged 15, was interviewed about his life as an teenager with learning disabilities for the short film, Rishard's Story.

His mother Mel said: "For a long time, Rishard wasn't happy with who he was - he saw other teenagers who were able to do all sorts of things he couldn't do.

"It led to behavioural problems, stress and anxiety and he took it out on the people he knew best.

"But since he has been involved in the different projects and groups, it has changed his life; he has been much happier.

"I hope this video will let people see that Rishard is a very happy young person with learning disabilities and will break down the barriers because a lot of people don't know how to speak to people with learning disabilities."

The four videos were filmed on location and at CentralVision's studio in Courtaulds Way, Hillfields, over a period of five weeks.

Nicola Roper, senior journalist at CentralVision, said: "I had never worked with people with learning disabilities so I did think it was going to be really difficult but it was a real eye-opener; everyone was so positive and so happy to be involved in the project.

"I really enjoyed it. Now I want to show other people what I have seen and open other people's eyes."

To see the videos, log on to www.centralvision.tv  this week. National Learning Disability Week runs until Sunday June 28

Coventry Telegraph,  25th June 2009

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