Learn the history of disability rights in Saffron Walden: Special events to mark Disability History Month

PUBLISHED: 15:31 22 November 2011

Leo Capella

Leo Capella

Archant

The display was created by Uttlesford District Council employee Leo Capella as part of Disability History Month, which is a national event focusing on the history of the struggle for equality for people with disabilities.

Mr Capella has been working with a rang of organisations to support the display, including Uttlesford Area Access Group, the St Raphael Club, the Essex Record Office in Saffron Walden and the library.

In the library from Monday, a display of photos and articles researched and put together by Mr Capella will be on show for the public to visit. The focus of this display is the St Raphael Club, a club for people with physical disabilities which ran in Saffron Walden until last year.

Mr Capella, who works in the council’s environmental health department, said: “What this exhibition is about is looking at one charity – a local one – and connecting what people did with what was happening more widely.

“I spent time researching the St Raphael archives trying to find out key points in its history, what the club was doing and how that fitted in the wider context of disability history.”

Mr Capella, 25, has a keen interest in disability rights and as well as putting together the display is also involved in the district council’s Disability Access Group.

He said: “I have Asperger Syndrome and got into disability rights through student unions. I did two years at the University of Essex and then a year on the National Union of Students Disabled Students Campaign Committee.

“After that, I spent more than a year helping with a charity called Skill - the National Bureau of Students With Disabilities, which campaigned and helped people aged 16 to 25 with disabilities get into higher education, training and employment.”

As well as the display, the district council is also organising a special event next week at Saffron Walden Day Centre, where some of the founder members of the St Raphael Club will get together with the members of the Disability Access Group and other local disability groups.

This year is only the second UK Disability History Month and the district council is one of the first local authorities in the country to be involved.

Mr Capella’s display is at Saffron Walden Library in the Market Square from Monday November 28 to Saturday December 3.

For information on Disability History Month visit ukdisabilityhistorymonth.com

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