'˜Celebrate our differences rather than discriminate against us' say men with learning difficulties

A group of Co Antrim men with learning difficulties have made a charming film encouraging people to celebrate their differences.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 5:33 pm
The Fixers group from Ballymena

The friends, who all attend Ballymena Base – a drop-in facility for adults with learning disabilities to meet up with friends and take part in community activities - say they are discriminated against and treated differently.

So they have joined forces with the charity Fixers – the charity that gives young people a voice - to make their film and get their message heard.

Lead Fixer, 33-year-old Stephen McCann, says: “Often when we are in public, people act differently around us.

“It makes us feel alienated. Some think that because we have learning difficulties, we cannot do anything.

“Our aim is to highlight the fact that difference is good. If everyone was the same, the world would be a boring place.”

The short film features members of the team encouraging people to celebrate each other’s differences and to end prejudice.

Stephen, who works in a local pub, adds: “We would like the general public to respect people with learning difficulties.

“Sometimes, a difference that is perceived as negative by others is not viewed in the same light by the individual.”

The group screened their film to around 50 people at an event at Compass Advocacy Network Ballymoney, a charity for people with learning disabilities which is the Base’s Headquarters.

Fixers works with young people aged 16-25 across the UK by providing them with professional resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.

The charity has helped more than 20,000 youngsters across the UK to have a voice in their community on issues such as cyber-bullying, self-harm, suicide or transphobia.

For more information or to make a donation to fund more Fixer projects, visit www.fixers.org.uk