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LDDA - The Liberal Democrat Disability Association

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Inclusion not exclusion

October 16, 2014 11:04 PM
This week, I read the story of two brothers with Down's syndrome being excluded from a bowling club. They wanted to play, but they got turned away because they made other bowlers feel "uncomfortable".

I'm so sorry that in this day and age two brothers who just wanted to get involved in their community and have some fun weren't allowed to. I have a learning disability and I am fortunate enough to take part in lots of leisure activities where I feel welcome and supported, and it allows me to make new friends and learn new skills.

If people are excluded from their community then they are left to stay at home with nothing to do and can become very unhappy. I'm glad people have spoken out against this bowling club, it shows there is real support to give people with a learning disability the opportunity to take part in and enjoy the same fun activities as anyone else.

No one should ever be told they can't have fun because of their disability. I like watching TV and sometimes go to football matches. I also go to a Mencap Gateway club.

I recently I went to a drumming jam session at Morden Assembly Hall in Surrey with the Who frontman Roger Daltrey. He was a nice guy - what a perfect gentleman!

If I were excluded from any of these activities because of my disability, I would feel rotten.

I feel inclusion is so important, because I get to go everywhere with all of my friends from Mencap. It's very important because if I was excluded from my community, I'd be miserable, not going anywhere, just sat at home, being bored and lonely. I'd feel very upset.

Luckily I have lots of jobs and keep very busy and have the support to be included in my community. I help fundraise and volunteer for Mencap, I send publications out to people when they want them. I help run a group called 'Our health our hospital' at Saint George's Hospital in Tooting. I read at the Mencap's Carols by Candlelight service, and do many other things.

There have been lots of leisure clubs responding to this story to welcome the brothers to their clubs instead. I feel that these other leisure centres show real progress and I say to them, power to their elbow!