DAD Virtual marquee image

Companies in the mobility and independent living sector are gearing up to showcase their range of products and services this week with the inaugural launch of Disability Awareness Day (DAD) Virtual.

Organised and managed by Warrington Disability Partnership (WDP), DAD is an annual pan disability event which promotes a culture that focuses on what disabled people can do.

Event Co-ordinator Dave Thompson MBE DL co-founded WDP in 1991 and DAD in 1992. Held in a tented village on the grounds of Walton Hall and Gardens Warrington, DAD provides a wide range of features including information, advice and guidance on products and services, a sports zone, a performing arts marquee, and entertainment for all.

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However, due to COVID-19 and the ongoing disruption it has caused to events, Dave took the difficult decision to cancel a physical event this year.

Refusing to let the pandemic stop its mission of providing vital information, advice and guidance to people, however, WDP has embarked on an exciting new project to bring its Disability Awareness Day to audiences virtually.

For 2020, DAD will be running virtually online at www.dadvirtual.org.uk for free and goes live at 10am on Sunday 25th October.

Over 200 virtual exhibitor stands have been booked, WDP has confirmed, with leading mobility and independent living companies such as Medequip, Abacus, Driving Mobility and Theraposture all gearing up to showcase their products and services on Sunday.

The exhibitors will be on hand to answer any questions and provide key information and guidance to visitors on the day.

A week of free, complementary workshops will also be available the following week between Monday 26th till Friday 30th. The website will remain available online for the year ahead.

DAD Virtual arts marquee image

Additionally, DAD Virtual boasts an impressive line-up of performers in the Arts Marquee, with 2018 Britain’s Got Talent winner, Lee Ridley, best known as Lost Voice Guy, heading the bill. Plus, over a dozen organisations will be promoting a wide variety of inclusive sports and activities such as scuba diving, cycling, wheelchair rugby and basketball, dance, angling and Tai Chi.

DADV2020 is dedicated to the memories of two members of the DAD team who have sadly died of COVID-19, Peter Ives and Colin Whitfield, who together contributed nearly 50 years of voluntary work to DAD and WDP.

Tony Brown, Managing Director at Expanse Learning Group, the event’s principal sponsors, said: “We are all excited about the potential impact of DAD Virtual. Here at Expanse we learn from other organisations who are delivering education and support to young disabled people, and we love to share our achievements across the industry. DAD Virtual provides us with the platform to do both.”

Exhibitors from across the region, the UK and as far afield as Israel and Australia will be showcasing their products and services, including disability and age-related support groups, health and social care, mobility and independent living equipment, education and employment, independent living options, magazines and exhibitions, arts, crafts and activities, sports and leisure, welfare benefits advice, housing and supported accommodation, rail travel, police and hate crime, and performing arts.

The event has been supported by United Utilities, Warrington & Halton NHS Teaching Hospitals FT Trust, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, Active Cheshire and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, with WDP thanking the Government for making this possible.

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