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John Lyon’s Charity highlights issues over accessible arts for all

Ealing’s largest grant-giving funder in supporting children and young people across the borough has issued a new report that highlights the need to better include and make more accessible arts and cultural programmes for deaf, disabled and neurodiverse individuals.

John Lyon’s Charity (JLC) supports a number of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) projects across Ealing including Log Cabin Charity, Ealing Anchor Foundation, Contact Ealing and Ealing Music Therapy. Over recent years, from 2019 to now, the amount of money the Charity has granted towards projects for young people with SEND is £1,868,900. From 2014 to 2018, the amount was £248,500.

It also helps fund other groups and organisations across the borough and its seven towns including Young Ealing Foundation , Acton Park Playcentre Leisure Events (A.P.P.L.E), Descendants, Ealing Primary Centre, Gifford Primary School, Znaniye Foundation.

The Charity’s A New Perspective report is the latest in its Perspective series of reports and calls for increased high-quality, accessible arts and cultural programmes for deaf, visually impaired, disabled, and neurodivergent young people.

The report, which involved talking to stakeholders including special schools, charities and arts organisations, revealed an urgent need for investment in employment opportunities and support systems for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities as they transition out of education and into the world of work, due to the significant barriers faced.

Among the findings:
42% of UK adults believe that the current education system is not effective for individuals who are either deaf, disabled and or neurodiverse.
58% of decision makers in the UK either do not offer or are unsure of the career opportunities for young people who are deaf, disabled or neurodivergent within their company.
Three key barriers that UK adults believe to affect the professional careers of individuals who are either deaf, disabled or neurodiverse are lack of understanding of appropriate needs (34%), lack of opportunities (33%) and discrimination from companies (28%).

Dr. Lynne Guyton, CEO of John Lyon’s Charity reflects on these figures and comments: “This just isn’t good enough. We want our new report to challenge policy makers, funders, arts organisations and businesses across the board to reevaluate their offering when it comes to people with learning and access needs. We want those who are able to implement vital changes to really ask themselves “are we doing enough?” because the sad reality is, the answer is no.”.

Ms Guyton added: “Through our funding opportunities we want to encourage more employers to use our new report, resources and initiatives as a guide to offer long term work placements and permanent job opportunities for disabled people.”

Since 1991, the charity says it has given £186m to organisations supporting children and young people in nine boroughs across London – Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster.

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