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Farewell gig for learning disability punk band

. Heavy Load are to play tomorrow at the BT Live Site in Trafalgar Square as part of the Paralympic Games celebrations.  Unfortunately, it’s their final gig as they’ve decided to call it a day.  Over the years, the learning disability punk band have achieved much as they pushed for people with learning disabilities to […]

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Former Olympian confronts care home past

While I’m a bit jaded by the wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics, Channel 5 have a promising programme on tonight about life in care featuring Fatima Whitbread, Olympic javelin gold medallist. Fatima had a tough start in life. Shortly after her birth she was abandoned by her mother and it was only when a neighbour heard her […]

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Thankfully, it’s not all about sport

With only a few days to the Olympics it’s worth noting that, thankfully, it’s not all about sport and there are some great arts events happening as part of the Cultural Olympiad.In particular, I’m looking forward to Dean Rodney, a 22-year old rapper who performs with the disability arts charity HeartnSoul. Dean has recently been […]

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Painting with 14 Personalities

I’ve just seen a preview of a fascinating short documentary, Painting with 14 Personalities, about Kim Noble, an artist with dissociative identity disorder (DID).  Noble has multiple personalities, and it was during an art therapy session her therapist noticed a natural gift for painting and encouraged her to take up art seriously. 14 of these […]

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An Evening with Dementia

  A few years back I saw the excellent An Evening with Dementia.  The play, written and performed by Trevor T. Smith, is a humorous and poignant exploration of a sensitive subject and I’m glad to see it’s back at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. There’s a snippet above, but well worth watching the real […]

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Artists with learning disabilities showcase creativity

Pallant House Gallery is hosting a great exhibition showcasing over 30 artworks by artists with learning disabilities.  The Chichester gallery’s exhibition, A First Step into the Gallery, provides a unique insight into the lives of the talented artists who have taken part in the rolling programme of ten week courses.  The courses are run by […]

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Scottish singer pens tribute to raise Alzheimer’s awareness

Amy Macdonald has recorded a moving tribute to her late grandmother to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.  The Scottish singer-songwriter was devastated at the decline of her grandmother’s health. But this has inspired her to write Left that Body Long Ago, which features on her new album, Life in a Beautiful Light.  On BBC Breakfast […]

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Film captures Metallica fan’s journey to meet hero

My local Picturehouse cinema is screening Mission to Lars this week – a charming documentary that captures a unique road trip.  Tom Spicer dreamt of meeting his hero Lars Ulrich, drummer with heavy metal band Metallica.  Despite having autism and living in care, he set out, with his brother and sister, on a road trip […]

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Should mental health services fund arts projects in times of austerity?

 “Should mental health services fund arts projects in times of austerity?” That’s what someone asked me recently when they saw an advert for the Happy Soul Festival. Well, naturally, I replied “yes”.  This year’s free festival celebrates black and minority ethnic artforms exploring themes around mental health and wellbeing. The festival, which spans six London […]

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The Kid with a Bike – Review

Guest blog by Adrian Cross If you’re ever asked about the realities of life for children in care and their carers I recommend you steer the curious to Belgian film The Kid with a Bike. Directed by the Dardennes brothers, Luc and Jean Pierre, this profoundly affecting tale of 11 year old Cyril won the […]

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