Walk to show that the learning disabled are welcome in town centre

Tracy Radford (left) and Karen Aspley promoting One Walk with five Mansfield ladies who have learning disabilities.
Tracy Radford (left) and Karen Aspley promoting One Walk with five Mansfield ladies who have learning disabilities.
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A short walk is to be held to ensure people with learning disabilities feel welcome in Mansfield town centre.

OneWalk has been arranged for Thursday, June 22 to mark Learning Disability Week and will be launched by Nottinghamshire’s police and crime commissioner, Paddy Tipping.

The organisers hope the unique event will be a celebration of inclusion, showing solidarity and support for people with learning disabilities and demonstrating that everyone is valued and belongs in Mansfield.

“What a brilliant idea this is!” declared Mr Tipping. “I am delighted to be able to offer my support to OneWalk. Mansfield has worked hard to make the town centre a safe and welcoming place for everyone over recent years.”

OneWalk has been organised by Tracy Radford and Karen Aspley, who have many years of experience working with the learning disabled community. It will start at 11 am outside the town hall and will follow a 1.2-kilometre route around the town centre. It is hoped it will attract about 200 people, creating an air of togetherness.

There are about 3,100 adults with learning disabilities in Mansfield. Tracy and Karen say they would like to send out a clear signal that their presence is as welcome as anyone else’s.

“They have a disjointed experience of community,” said Karen. “Many have been segregated through negative experiences or a lack of social confidence. All of this isolates them from everyday activities that most take for granted and makes them feel lonely. We want to encourage them to feel braver and safer.

“A successful walk will demonstrate the community spirit of the people of Mansfield and show that the town understands we all contribute to society in different ways.”