Harrogate event will see Paralympian, deaf musician and sex therapist join rugby league legend

A gold medal-winning Paralympian, a deaf musician and a sex and disability expert will be among the keynote speakers sharing their experiences at a major Harrogate conference next month.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 2:58 pm
Slightly Alternative Seminar’ - Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive Jackie Snape, and Disability Action Yorkshire’s Financial Administration Officer, Hanne Jackson, outside Pavilions of Harrogate.

Disability Action Yorkshire’s ‘Slightly Alternative Seminar’, which is funded by the National Lottery, will examine the disabled community’s relationship with sport, arts and sexuality.

Being staged on Friday, December 3, at The Pavilions of Harrogate, it will also feature hands-on activities, expert advice, and an exhibition space featuring a wide range of commercial and voluntary sector organisations.

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In addition to headline speaker Jimmy Gittins, an ex-rugby player who suffered a life changing neck break injury in 2002 and now runs an award-winning specialist rehabilitation unit, his fellow speakers are Jason Wilsher-Mills, Lorraine Stanley, Dan Khan, Laurence Whiteley MBE, and Sean Chandler.

Jason is an award-winning artist who creates fully interactive sculptures, 3D prints and lightboxes, using augmented reality technology.

Dorset-based Lorraine founded SWAD after struggling to find support and guidance on the subject of sex and disability.

Dan started ASPECS to provide peer support for LGBTQ+ people with autism and wants to raise awareness of the needs of autistic people, and Laurence is a British Paralympian who took gold in the 2016 Rio Paralympics in rowing.

Bringing the curtain down on the event is professional musician, Sean, who will be teaching the audience how to sign the lyrics from the song ‘This is Me’ from the film, ‘The Greatest Showman’.

Jackie Snape, Disability Action Yorkshire’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to announce our list of keynote speakers who will be entertaining, educating and inspiring delegates at our Slightly Alternative Seminar.

"This event is for all disabled people and those who support them. Disabled people tell us that sport, arts and sexuality are areas that are often skirted over, and ones they feel underrepresented in. This event will address that!

“We have chosen Friday, December 3, to hold it as it is International Day of Disabled People.

“Its theme this year is ‘building back better towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities’.

“And for those still nervous of attending events and networking, we are ensuring that there is plenty of space to move around.”

Founded 84 years ago, Disability Action has its headquarters and training centre on the town’s Hornbeam Park, a residential care home on Claro Road, and a holiday lodge in Lincolnshire.

Its vision is to empower disabled people to live the lifestyle of their choosing, through its training, preparation and other living skills. And as a ‘Disability Confident Leader’, it celebrates and promotes diversity at every level of its organisation.

Further information about Jimmy Gittins is available from his website, https://jimmygittins.co.uk

Further information about Disability Action Yorkshire, is available from its website, www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk