Taking it to the next level: OCN Course in Disability Awareness

Disability awareness course run by DEGNI

Disability awareness course run by DEGNI

With the help of Supporting Communities, the Disability Equality Group NI (DEGNI) has secured funding from the NI Housing Executive to develop and deliver a Disability Awareness training project. Roisin Hamilton, Funding Officer at Supporting Communities, assisted the group in the development of the training, which is now accredited by the Open College Network, and aims to train 30 volunteers within the community & voluntary sector throughout the West.

The DEGNI group was formed in 2009 by a group of people who all attended the same human rights course. Intent on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities, this group of individuals decided to form an organisation dedicated to making sure our statutory authorities are aware of the needs of disabled people and that they abide by all the legislation in place. Since then, DEGNI has employed a dedicated research and policy officer and are currently focusing on transport issues and young people.

In order to help more people understand the challenges that the disabled community face and to dispel stereotypes that are often held, the group also facilitates Disability Awareness Training in schools and community groups. For example, working in partnership with the Housing Executive in Collon Terrace through the ‘Our Community Project’, DEGNI have already trained nearly 1,000 school children.  

With this new funding from the Housing Executive, DEGNI is taking their excellent work to the next level by offering an OCN accredited course to the community and voluntary sector.

The course aims to:

  • Raise understanding and meaning of the term “disability.”
  • Make clear the difference between the physical and social obstacles that people with disabilities face
  • Explore modes of disability
  • Dispel common stereotypes held in the community
  • Provide participants with knowledge regarding support services available to them

At the project launch this past October, Teresa McDonough, Chairperson for DEGNI commented, “The Disability Awareness Training is intended to promote disability awareness and act as an educational tool to increase knowledge about specific disabilities, address disability stereotypes, and empower participants to use positive language in their daily communication.”

Supporting Communities Liaison Officer for the West, Anita Doonan stated, “We are delighted to be working very closely with this group and value the impact they are having on their community. The development of this course has enabled the group to raise awareness of disability by educating people on how society has evolved and sharing their own experiences.”

For more information about the course, contact Anita Doonan at Supporting Communities.