SOUTH Tyneside Mayor Coun Ernest Gibson started a week-long programme of events to mark the beginning of Learning Disabilities Week in the borough.
The national campaign, led by charity Mencap, is aimed at raising awareness of learning disabilities.
Coun Gibson launched events in the People’s Cafe at South Shields Central Library, where charity Arts 4 Wellbeing unveiled its new book, Grace’s Day Out.
The Mayor said: “Learning Disabilities Week is a fantastic initiative raising awareness of the organisations supporting people with learning disabilities.”
Arts 4 Wellbeing, based in Derby Terrace, South Shields, is a charity supporting people with mental, physical and learning disabilities.
It enables its members to take part in the arts, to gain confidence and social skills.
Grace’s Day Out tells the story of a little girl with Down’s Syndrome, who has just turned eight.
During a shopping trip to spend her birthday money, she visits a charity shop where she chooses a scraggy teddy bear with parts missing and one eye, rather than a new one with a big red bow.
Dave Wood, project manager at Arts 4 Wellbeing, said: “There is still a stigma attached to learning disabilities, and through Grace’s Day Out we hope to encourage people not to judge others by what they look like, but who they are.”
South Tyneside Libraries has teamed up with local organisations to hold events. For details, visit www.southtyneside.info
Grace’s Day Out is available from Dave Wood on 454 4004. For details on Arts 4 Wellbeing, visit www.arts4wellbeing.org.uk