Learning Disability Week 2022: Same Journey, Different Road

Learning Disability Week (20-26 June 2022) is an annual campaign about making sure the world hears what life is like if you have a learning disability.

Learning Disability Week aims to raise awareness about important issues, fighting stigma and discrimination, and raising funds for outreach and support programs.

The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Living Life with a Learning Disability‘.

If you want to find out more about this year’s campaign, please click here to head to MENCAP’s website.

This year, we are highlighting the work of one of our committed HOME volunteers, Noel Fagan, who also works with Future Directions – one of the leading social care providers for people with learning disabilities and complex needs in the North West, and The Shaw Centre – a day support service for adults with a learning disability who live in the Manchester area.

Below, Noel talks about a recent creative writing project called “Same Journey, Different Road” a creative writing and music project created in response to isolation during the lockdown 2020.

In recent years we have built a Creative Writing group that supports its members, either individually or small groups to share their thoughts and ideas to produce unique pieces of written work.

The members have had two books of children’s stories published, “Unicorns, Zombies & Other Stories” as well as more recently “Christmas Dreams”.

Like everyone else during lockdown, members of the group faced isolation as the Centre had to close although there were lots of online sessions including music, dancing, Bingo and, of course, story writing.

On their return to the Shaw Centre, new creative writing opportunities were made with a focus on our experience of lockdown and our hopes for the future. Members of the group live in different parts of Manchester but were all keen to be together and get back out into the world.

Thus, together we wrote together “Same Journey, Different Road” that best reflect our individual experiences and hopes for the future. These words were then put to music to give them even more impact.

Click on the poems below to read (these will expand in a new window):

During 2021, the group wrote, refined, performed and recorded their new music, creating their very own album: Same Road, Different Journey with OmniMusic. This was their first project working with the organisation who use Assistive Music Technology (AMT) to enable disabled and non-disabled musicians to make and play music in ambitious, imaginative, and creative ways.

They began by trying out different kinds of Assistive Music Technology and various percussion instruments, seeing what sounds we could create and how we would put them together with the poems they had written.

Check out more tracks by OmniMusic and The Shaw Centre by clicking here.

Want to find out more about the organisations mentioned in this article? Visit their websites: