Walney Island hosts Rio carnival as leading disability charity and mayor celebrate Paralympics

23 September 2016

  • Two people enjoying the carnivalBrazilian culture at inclusive youth club. 
  • Event part of Leonard Cheshire programme for Paralympic year.
  • Mayor of Barrow-In-Furness Cllr. Anita Husband officially unveils new, fully inclusive kitchens for youth club thanks to Howdens Joinery.

Rio came to Walney Island, Cumbria this week, as part of 10 nationwide carnivals organised by Leonard Cheshire Disability to celebrate the Paralympic Games.

The charity’s YouthAbility scheme, which delivers inclusive youth clubs for disabled people aged seven to 25 in Cumbria, enjoyed this taste of Rio at Walney Community Centre on Wednesday 21 September. 

The carnival band Furness Blast provided the entertainment for the Brazilian-themed celebrations, which also included a large barbecue for the youth club, their friends, family, local residents and the Mayor of Barrow-In-Furness, Councillor Anita Husband.

Youthability enjoying the new kitchenThe youth club was also celebrating the launch of their new inclusive kitchen, which was kindly donated by Howdens Joinery. The next part of the project will see another two kitchens, desks and flooring fitted — all donated by Howdens.

Councillor Husband said:

‘Thank you so much for the invite and many congratulations to you all for the amazing work you have done and are continuing to do.

Carnival band playing

‘It was fabulous to see everyone enjoying themselves, the band was wonderful. The new kitchen is fantastic and is going to be a great asset to so many.’

These fully inclusive kitchen facilities means YouthAbility will be adding cooking classes to their range of activities. This is latest donation from Howdens Joinery, which has given more than 70 kitchens to Leonard Cheshire to help disabled people retain their independence.

Leslie McLeese, the team leader for YouthAbility Cumbria, said:

‘As our Rio 2016 carnival party coincides with the grand opening of our new inclusive kitchen, we’ve got Brazilian food and drink on offer!

‘When the young people saw the kitchen for the first time, many couldn’t believe the transformation and one commented, "This is amazing; we can really start to use this now."’

Bill Everett, charities manager at Howdens Joinery, said: 

Everyone enjoying the carnival‘We’re delighted to have been able to donate these inclusive kitchens to YouthAbility. Everyone here has worked so hard to make this an amazing community space and I hope you all get many years of enjoyment from it. I’m looking forward to coming back to see Walney Community Centre when it’s completely finished!’

Also, as part of the celebrations was a generous donation from Lee Winter, who did a 27-hour non-stop run for the service. He has donated £500 to Leonard Cheshire Disability and a further £500 to the Friends of Adventures group, which supports the youth clubs in Barrow.

Leslie, along with the rest of the YouthAbility team, makes sure there is a variety of activities and opportunities for young disabled people in the area to ease their transition into adulthood.

He explained that sport plays an important role in this:

‘Sport is one of the easiest activities that can be adapted to the needs of our young people and enables all our young people to take part.

‘The general consensus is that taking part in sport will just make you healthier. However, we believe that people gain much more, such as learning how to work as a team, understanding how to cope with not winning at everything, setting goals, listening to rules and following them, and socialising in groups. 

‘These are just a few reasons we feel sport is a great tool to empower young people. 

‘There has been a lot of focus on the Paralympics since London 2012. Shortly after those games, we delivered a few disability awareness sessions in local schools and we could not believe how many young people knew who Ellie Simmonds was.

‘This shows that the growing publicity of these games is working.’

Building on the success of its long-running programmes supporting participation in everything from tennis to boccia to snooker, Leonard Cheshire Disability is currently looking at which sports and activities to run more widely post-Paralympics.

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Carnivals — our ‘Cheshire Carnivals’ — have been staged across Great Britain throughout August and September.

The Rio roadshows have also visited Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Inverness, Nottingham, Sutton Coldfield, Newport, London and Kent. 

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