" The individual is rarely going to be altered,
whereas the environment slowly but surely can "
- Tom Shakespeare
Why is Inclusion Zone needed?
One in three people in Northern Ireland are at risk of social isolation. Perhaps you are elderly, have a disability or medical condition, care for a loved one or live rurally. You may live below the poverty line or your family may experience a mixture of many of these things. A lack of friendship and ‘taking part’ has consequences for our well being and increases the risk of poor mental health. We need to create environments that are suited to our complex needs as individuals within society. Inclusion Zone introduces this new way of thinking and planning.
When is it happening?
Inclusion Zone is a ‘vision’ which we intend to build in stages – an inclusive ‘Participation Centre of Excellence’. For more details on our first phase – see Equi-Zone.
What can I expect?
Inclusion Zone will be a hub of opportunities to enjoy leisure time, both indoors and out. Additional resources, such as pre-bookable personal care provision, will mean you can enjoy leisure time independently on a day and time of your choice. With activities and quiet spaces, all abilities can ‘take part’ together. It’s only through being together that we learn mutual respect and value one another.
- Daily opening
- Pre-bookable one-to-one personal care support
- Indoor and outdoor space, suitable for multiple powered chairs
- Facilities, e.g. parking, toilets, etc., for large groups of disabled people
- Activities suited to differing abilities and ages
- Partnership with other service providers
- Mobility equipment hire options
Proposed facilities and resources
Eco-friendly building and grounds, low energy and in harmony with nature
- Arts & crafts
- All-ability gymnasium
- Conference room
- Further education suite
- Healthy eating zone
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Internet bar with adaptive technology
- Soft play area and sensory room
- Sensory garden
- Sports pitches
- Sand and water area
- Nature trail
- Party room for hire
- Horse Zone (Phase 1)
- Adventure playground
- Adapted holiday cabins
- Complementary therapies
- Befriending schemes
- Classes and courses
- School holiday schemes
- Assistive technology clubs
- Special interest talks and exhibitions
- Events ; Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Summer
- Evening youth/adult initiatives
- Multi-ability sports
- Mobility aids & adaptive equipment hire
Longer Term Goals
Inclusion Zone has the potential to offer a new holistic framework, suited to addressing the issues captured in the Northern Ireland Physical and Sensory Disability Strategy. Key factors affecting overall quality of life include:
- Impact of ongoing multiple health appointments in unsuitable locations
- Access to therapeutic intervention
- Emergency powered wheelchair replacement/complex prescriptions
- Access to transport
To create a stress-free Centre of Inclusive Excellence, which promotes independence and availability of resources for all abilities together, some solutions might include: Collaboration with Health Trusts to base routine clinics and Allied Health Professionals at N-cluzion Zone, for those with long-term conditions. A modernised approach to Further Education, plugging the gap between Supported and Inclusive Learning. Partnership with Community Transport Networks to build independent travel options.
Best practice and knowledge gained at Inclusion Zone could then be used to support local communities develop or improve local inclusive projects.
Here is a snapshot of what you’ve told us already:
"My teenage daughter plays power chair sport and my able-bodied nieces would love to join in with her. Wouldn't it be great if there was an environment where it was the norm for able-bodied people to adapt to join in with the disabled instead of the other way around?"
"At my local park, I never see another child, except my own, with complex nursing needs. Occasionally, people are friendly but generally they just stare or turn away, looking embarrassed."
"Lack of speech is no hindrance to communication with an animal. My daughter lights up! It's fantastic to watch. The power of having a friend who wants to spend time with you should never be underestimated."
"I'd like to meet up with other carers for a cuppa, but it's difficult to organise care for my husband. I want to take him with me, know that he is being well cared for and his brain is being stimulated whilst I'm having a break."
"I get so fed up with the way people talk down to me sympathetically - I have a 'masters' degree' for goodness sake! I know they don't mean any harm but it's so irritating. Concentrated and frequent mixing with differing abilities would create better understanding and a nicer environment for those of us that are often pre-judged."
"I'm a single mum to three children and I care for my aunt who suffers from dementia. I dream of waking up at the weekends and having a place to go which we all enjoy and can meet our needs."
"My son’s last birthday means he has entered ‘adult services’.... re-labelled ‘no services !’ His only regular activity is playing boccia, but we have to accompany him to manage his personal care. Understandably, as an adult he wants to be independent of us. He has a carer who takes him out two days per month but he gets very bored being pushed around the park or shops. We dream of a facility where he could interact with other young people every week at a time which suits him."
"Physically speaking, my brother is able and would love to use an activity centre. Unfortunately, in a confined space, he can't deal with lack of order and intense noise. It would be amazing if he could enjoy a quiet session with a small number of like-minded people."
"I'm 85 and live rurally alone. I've always been a big fan of gardening but my own garden doesn't have any raised beds. I've got access to a good community transport service. I'd like to spend a few mornings a week enjoying gardening in the company of other people, maybe get a cup of tea too!"
Equi-Zone is the first phase of N-cluzion Zone, being a smaller and 'horse specific' version of the overall vision,
'Inclusive Beaches' is a Mae Murray Foundation led initiative to create inclusion and increase participation in beach environments across Northern Ireland.
No one should be excluded from 'taking part' due to mobility or personal care requirements.
Let’s Get Local
We want to increase participation and independence by offering activity programmes, environments, for a broad range of differing ages and abilities