Wave in a Box – encouraging and enabling mixed-ability socialising and friendships
Socially distanced with limited access to community activities. We’ve all experienced it this year. And it’s hard. For some people with learning disabilities, social exclusion has always been a challenge and will continue to be so post-Covid.
There is a need for
more opportunities for social mixing between people with and without learning disabilities – this is what helps us overcome the lack of understanding, confidence and unhelpful attitudes that currently exist.
Wave for Change wants to build on a decade of experience and see more places of genuine inclusion in the heart of communities – places where people with and without learning disabilities do things
with and not for each other. We can’t easily mix in person at the moment but we’re preparing for when we can, and in the meantime expanding our reach through online activities.
Places initiated to date include Wave Cafe (
), Challenge Group and Wave Church (
We have seen the positive impact that participation in Wave activities has on many people – from parents supporting each other as they adjust to having a child with additional needs, to adults with and without learning disabilities. We have socialised, created, worked and worshipped together, growing in confidence and friendship.
One participant at a Wave event said her perceptions changed when she saw one of our members with Downs Syndrome working as an organiser, clipboard in hand. Similarly, at the start of a Wave Cafe pop-up event, a venue manager was very anxious about working with our mixed-abilities team, but by the end of the evening he was totally chilled, laughing with our team and enjoying the experience.
In June 2020, Wave was awarded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s prestigious Langton Award for Community Service.
We are now looking to
raise £6,000 to develop ‘Wave in a Box’ – a fun and inclusive workshop tool that will help others to create ideas for genuinely inclusive activities in their own communities. We plan to develop ‘Wave in a Box’ with a mixed-abilities team, where individuals with learning disabilities will be involved as equal contributors, not just as service users (as is often the norm). Creating the tool will give those on the mixed-abilities team a positive focus over the next few months of continued Covid-19 restrictions and help build connections and friendship as they work together to create this resource.
The end result will be
more mixed-ability socialising for more people in more communities.
The exciting thing is that this benefits everyone: anxieties lessen, attitudes to difference are challenged and people’s behaviour changes when we do things with and not for each other.
If you believe, as we do, that all individuals have intrinsic value and should ideally have the choice and opportunity to participate fully in community life, then please will you support this project?