BRIGHTON and Hove Albion’s official charity is tackling a worrying rise in hate crime aimed at people with a disability in Sussex by offering free disability awareness training to local schools.
Albion in the Community is the area’s largest provider of football opportunities for people with a disability, running dozens of sessions across the county each month and helping hundreds of people stay active and access vital support and mentoring.
It also provides disability awareness training to local business, schools, and colleges. In fact, in the last 12 months alone, more than 450 people have completed its training.
The charity’s disability awareness days include workshops on appropriate language, talks from Albion in the Community staff who themselves have a disability, and interactive sessions where people are challenged to imagine what it is like to have a disability by taking part in different impairment-specific sports and activities.
People taking part are also given the chance to hear from some of the many people who represent the charity on the pitch, such as players from Brighton & Hove Albion Cerebral Palsy FC, who talk openly about the challenges they have faced and overcome.
Recently released Home Office figures revealed Sussex Police recorded 320 disability hate crimes in 2019-20 – a 17% increase from the previous year. It was also the highest annual figure since comparable records began in 2011-12.
These crimes could include assault, harassment, or criminal damage against someone with a physical or learning disability or a mental health diagnosis.
In response to the figures being published, Albion in the Community has stepped in to offer free disability awareness training days and assemblies to local schools.
Paul Brackley, disability manager at the charity, said: “It is really concerning to see disability hate crime figures increase locally and as a charity which works with so many people with a disability, we want to do our bit to help.
“When we go into schools we find young people are always incredibly keen to engage in our workshops and really take on board what they learn.
“It is important to continue educating young people and challenging them to think about what it would be like to have a disability, what challenges those people who do have a disability face, and how we can all help create an inclusive society.
“By continuing to work with young people, hopefully, we can help make sure disability hate crime is less common in future because nobody should be being targeted because of their disability.”
Any school who would like to take up Albion in the Community’s offer of free disability awareness training should email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business which would like to hear more about the charity’s disability awareness training should also contact the same email address.