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  1. ITV Report

Community group supporting young people with disabilities nominated for National Diversity Awards

A community group supporting disabled children, young people and their families in Hull has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards.

KIDS Yorkshire is a community organisation working with people and families across all disabilities and conditions.

Running since 1988, the organisation supports up to a thousand families a year.

In 2018, they started their Loud Mouths programme, a social event for group of young people aged 14-25 with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) to meet once every two weeks.

For some, it's become a lifeline.

James has Lennox Gastaut syndrome, which causes severe epilepsy.

He uses eye gaze to speak.

His mum Gina Walker says Loud Mouths was a lifeline for him, enabling him to be a more confident person in communicating with others.

Gina Walker says it's made a 'massive difference' to her son's life.

“He didn’t used to speak in front of strangers because I think he was shy. But now, he’ll speak to strangers in supermarkets and things, and it’s all because of his confidence,” she told ITV News.

“It’s made a massive, massive difference.”

For many others like James, Loud Mouths has also given them the opportunity to make friendships and create long-lasting bonds with other young people

Kaycee Hartley is a participant of the programme and says: “Being with other people who are kind of like me, it helps me be myself.”

Kaycee Hartley is a participant of the programme.

Jessica Hoodlass says she can be more open and comfortable with her disability at the fortnightly social event.

“[We talk about what] we want to talk about, like we talk a lot about hidden disabilities,” she said.

KIDS Yorkshire hasn't just helped those participating in the events, but also those who are involved in running them.

Laura Dixon is one of the project coordinators for KIDS Yorkshire, and says all the participants are “just incredible young people”.

Laura Dixon is one of the project coordinators for KIDS.

“They inspire me every day,” she said.

“I can come into work feeling down, I’ll come in and they’ll just cheer me right up.”

KIDS Yorkshire and Loud Mouths has been nominated for the Community Organisation Award For Age.

The National Diversity Awards will take place in Liverpool Cathedral on the evening of Friday, September 20.

The awards acknowledge the work of local everyday heroes who celebrate and encourage diversity, irrespective of race, faith religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and culture.

  • The National Diversity Awards will be streamed live on the ITV News website from 9pm on Friday September 20.