Students spend the day in a wheelchair as part of Warrington Collegiate’s Difference & Diversity Week

Students have been finding out first-hand about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, after spending the day in a wheelchair.

Health & Social Care student Kasiya Francis takes part in the ‘Day in Someone Else’s Shoes’ challenge as part of Difference & Diversity Week.What should have been simple tasks, like moving from classroom to classroom, grabbing a Costa at break time, or using the toilet, became increasingly difficult for those taking part in the ‘Day in Someone Else’s Shoes’ challenge.

Organised as part of the College’s ‘Difference and Diversity Week’, the event aimed to change the perception of disabilities and give students a better understanding of the importance of inclusion.

Health & Social Care student Kasiya Francis was one of the students taking part in the event.

She said: “It has been a really good experience to be able to see what it’s like for wheelchair users. It has been pretty difficult, especially having to use the restroom. You’ve got to have a lot of upper body strength and my arms are really sore.

“The experience has made me appreciate being able to walk because it’s not fun being in a wheelchair. I’m lucky that I can get out of this, but people that have to use a wheelchair 24/7 have to face these challenges every day.”

Difference & Diversity WeekPublic Services student Leon Fisher also took part in the challenge. He said: “It was really difficult, just making my way around the classroom and trying to get through the tables and chairs. Not being able to use the stairs was difficult too. It’s a lot of hard work but it has been a good experience.”

The ‘Day in Someone Else’s Shoes’ challenge was just one of a whole series of events taking place throughout the week.

Among the others was a talk from Dave Kelly, from Daisy Inclusive UK. He spoke about his life without sight and how it is important for people of all ages to understand different disabilities, cultures, genders, and treat everyone equal.

Warrington Disability Partnership also played a crucial role in the week’s events, running a wheelchair basketball session during lunchtime.

Students were also able to attend talks on hate crime with Cheshire Police and learn British Sign Language.

Michael Smith, Head of Faculty for Creative & Digital Industries, Learning Manager and Equality & Diversity Co-ordinator, said: “Although we endeavour to celebrate diversity every day, the aim of the week was to further enhance staff and student awareness to encourage discussion and debate. Through the various activities, students now have a better understanding of what diversity is, and the importance of treating everyone equally, no matter their gender, race, sexuality or ability.”