Help us celebrate the creativity of local people with learning disabilities this Learning Disability Week

We’re getting ready to celebrate Learning Disability Week in Barnsley later this month, shining a light on our learning disability community and challenging the barriers they may face.

Taking place from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 June, we’re working closely with organisations across Barnsley to celebrate the creativity of local people with learning disabilities.

Inspired by this year’s theme of being seen, heard and valued, we will be taking over the town centre throughout the week with a fun-filled, free programme of events.

Join us in the Library @ the Lightbox on Wednesday 19 June as we officially open our Learning Disability Week art exhibition. Working with local groups, we will be proudly displaying artwork, paintings and creative projects from local people with learning disabilities all week long.

Among them will be a piece being created in front of your eyes on the day by our Artist in Residence Niall Guite, a local artist, speaker and Special Olympics GB Athlete.

We will be displaying their creations for a limited time, so make sure to pop along during Learning Disability Week to see the artwork for yourself.

Outside the Library @ the Lightbox, you will also find our Autism Experience Bus. This unique, immersive experience is designed to help people better understand some of the challenges some people with autism face on a daily basis.

Across the road, Barnsley Civic’s Cross the Sky theatre company will be hosting a special screening of their award-winning documentary at Parkway Cinema. Marking the film’s return to Barnsley after touring international film festivals, this is not a showing to be missed.

After the screening, there will be a panel discussion with artists from Cross the Sky and the filmmaker John Slemensek-Thorne. Taking place at 1.30pm on Wednesday 19 June, you can book your tickets on the Parkway Cinema website.

Councillor John Clarke JP, the Mayor of Barnsley, will be joining us for Wednesday’s festivities, helping us mark the midway point of our Learning Disability Week celebrations.

We have lots of free events and workshops planned, which you can read more about below, including LEGO and craft sessions at the Library @ the Lightbox all week long.

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director for Place Health and Adult Social Care, said: “It was great to hear from people with learning disabilities, their families and carers earlier this year at our My Big Voice event, helping us to develop the right support and services in Barnsley.

“We’re really passionate about making sure everyone in our communities is seen, heard and valued, so it’s great to see so much planned to celebrate Learning Disability Week in Barnsley. Made possible by our brilliant health and care partnerships, pop along to our art exhibition in the Library @ the Lightbox and help us celebrate the creativity of our learning disability community.”

Everything else that’s planned for Learning Disability Week:

There are lots of ways for adults with learning disabilities, their families and carers to get involved in this year’s Learning Disability Week, including:

Date and time



Monday 17 June from 10.30am

Art for Wellness is hosting an  ‘Art in Your Hands’ workshop. People with learning disabilities are invited to express themselves through art.

Library @ the Lightbox

Monday 17 June from 11.30am

Join our 'Numbers with Northern' workshop, where guests will be invited to learn by playing maths games.

Library @ the Lightbox

Wednesday 19 June at 10am

Healthwatch Barnsley and Thursday’s Voice are hosting a banner-making workshop. Their creations will help us get ready for the opening of our art exhibition.

Library @ the Lightbox

Thursday 20 June, from 10am until 11.30am

Barnsley Civic will be hosting a road-signs making workshop. This session will help people with learning disabilities explore the barriers they face. Their creations will be inspired by  ‘The Way Ahead’ installation in Mandela Gardens.

The Hanson Room in Barnsley Civic

Thursday 20 June, from 11am until 1pm

Find out how you can stay safe during hot weather at our excess heat workshop. Adults with learning disabilities are invited to join us from 11am until 12pm to learn more. You can then stick around for Barnsley Civic’s pop-up mocktail making bar from 12pm until 1pm.

Barnsley Civic

Thursday 20 June from 1.30pm

Show off your musical side with Roger the Music Man. At this interactive workshop, you will be able to sign songs and play instruments with the Music Man.

Mandela Gardens outside Barnsley Civic

Friday 21 June, from 10am until 11am

Find out how the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) can help you at their informative workshop. Their team will talk you through their support and answer questions.

Library @ the Lightbox

Friday 21 June, from 11.30am

Hear Barnsley’s Hidden Talents group sing songs from Beauty and the Beast. Come down to support the group, singing and applauding along.

Library @ the Lightbox

Friday 21 June from 1.30pm

Join Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL) for some accessible tennis and indoor kurling. Get in the Wimbledon spirit and then try your hand at a unique version of curling as we wrap up our festivities.

Library @ the Lightbox

Organised by Mencap, we’re excited to join organisations across the country in proudly supporting this year’s Learning Disability Week. You can learn more about this year’s event, including its theme ‘Do you see me?’, on Mencap’s website.

Throughout the week, we will also be sharing the amazing stories of people with learning disabilities on our Healthy Barnsley Facebook page.

Any organisations and groups who are organising their own events during Learning Disability Week are encouraged to use #LearningDisabilityWeek on their social media channels.

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