City celebrates disability inclusion at Count Us In festival

City of Newcastle

With over 30 events and activities across the city, City of Newcastle’s Count Us In Newcastle festival, is a celebration of Newcastle’s inclusiveness and accessibility.

The month-long festival, delivered in partnership with local businesses and community groups, highlights the city’s disability inclusive community. A suite of curated events and activities in the festival program include a Goal Ball day facilitated by former Australian Paralympians, immersive art and dance experiences, as well as activations focused on education and awareness exploring topics such as discrimination in the workplace.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Count Us In is all about highlighting and celebrating the benefits of disability inclusion for the whole community.

“City of Newcastle prides itself on helping to make our city a more liveable and inclusive community for all people who live, visit and work here, by increasing social inclusion and community connections,” said Cr Nelmes.

“Count Us In is just one way we’re striving towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society. We want to be known as a disability confident city.

“The festival effectively and respectfully links people with disabilities to the broader community and breaks down the barriers to inclusion.”

A not-to-be-missed event will be the Stand Up Speak Up community mural painting event at 194 Maitland Road Islington, to be held on 13 and 14 March and delivered by Community Disability Alliance Hunter.

Community Disability Alliance Hunter executive director Andrew Vodic says the mural will empower those in our community living with a disability and create community conversation.

“The mural symbolises our experiences as people living with a disability in our community promoting inclusion,” Mr Vodic said.

“Pop by on 14 March to learn more about the meaning behind the mural and join in a community conversation around disability inclusion.”

Diversity is reflected in the broad range of activities on offer in the festival program, which have been curated to establish Newcastle as an inclusive community for people living with a disability, their families, carers and friends.

Newcastle Councillor Matthew Byrne and Chair of City of Newcastle’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, said the festival is for everyone and encouraged Novocastrians to come and join in the many events and activities on offer throughout March.

“The broader community is encouraged to join in the festival, as inclusion is everyone’s business and the entire community benefits when we celebrate all our abilities,” Cr Byrne said.

“Thank you to all our partners and members of the community who were part of the previous program and we look forward to delivering another exciting festival program throughout the entire month of March.”

Count Us in Newcastle will be held from 4 to 31 March 2021. For a full program of events and activities, visit City of Newcastle’s website.

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