Drumming Up Change (Building, Belonging): bringing young people and people with learning disabilities together through community activities in Drumchapel

People with learning disabilities are one of the most socially marginalised groups in society (Scior et al, 2016) and vulnerable to bullying and social exclusion (Anti Bullying Alliance, 2010). Work is needed to make communities more welcoming to people with learning disabilities and remove barriers to community participation. We produced lessons to promote understanding of people with learning disabilities (www.talkingabout.org.uk). However, providing opportunities to have positive contact with people who have learning disabilities is a more effective way of achieving attitude change than classroom learning. Shared activities should also have a positive impact on people with learning disabilities’ views of young people, helping to overcome fears and strengthening their sense of community belonging.

What we will do
There are three phases to the delivery of the project:
• The first phase is a series of workshops for young people and people from Fortune works to identify a range of activities of mutual interest. The ideas may build on existing activities or be about initiating new opportunities in the community.
• The second phase consists of joint projects between school pupils and individuals from Fortune works. The joint activities will be informed by the ideas that emerge from the first phase workshops. This will be an iterative process over two school years, with the lessons learned from the first joint activities helping to influence what is done next.
• The third phase will involve the development and dissemination of online guidance, to help other areas use the same approach to community change. A film will be produced of how the activities were developed and carried out. The film will be made by professional filmmakers, working alongside individuals from Fortune Works and school pupils.

We have completed Phase One of the project, a progressive series of six 2-hour workshops which brought together eight young people from Drumchapel High and eight people from Fortune Works to identify and develop activities for people with learning disabilities and young people to do together. This group of people now call themselves the Drumming Up Change (DUC) group.

What we found
The progressive nature of the workshop programme allowed for the development of the DUC group’s skills and interests, both individually and collectively. The active participation and involvement of young people from Drumchapel High and people from Fortune works increased as the workshops progressed. They developed a sense of group identity and ownership of the project as they worked together, in mixed groups, to come up with their own ideas for activities and worked on plans to make the activities happen.

The workshops also provided an opportunity for the people with learning disabilities and the young people to share their lived experiences. Whilst they found they had much in common they could also see that their lives were different.

What these findings mean
Phase 1 of the project has shown how young people and people with learning disabilities can work successfully together to produce ideas, artwork and plans for activities and have fun together.

Find out more about the project at www.drummingupchange.co.uk or contact Roseann Maguire

Page updated February 2023