Victoria (18) is a young disabled person who has been accessing The UVG since 2011. She is working on her Gold Arts Award and has chosen ‘inclusion in the arts’ as her area of interest.
In 2010 she suffered a brain haemorrhage which initially caused paralysis down one side of her body and left her partially sighted. It was also discovered she had a benign brain tumour which has caused her to lose the majority of her sight. Undeterred she worked hard to improve her strength and as Victoria says ‘to get her life back’. She continued to access mainstream activities and has been a Scout for 12 years in addition to being a singer with The UVG for 6 years. Victoria has had first-hand experience of accessing mainstream activities and has always felt comfortable and safe. However she did notice that this was fairly unusual and not the norm for others with additional needs. This led her to ask the question ‘why?' and to help answer she organised a symposium 'Meeting in the Middle' at the Guildhall in Portsmouth to discuss and document the barriers and perceptions regarding young people with SEN/D accessing mainstream arts activities. The aim was to create a dialogue between Arts providers, SEN/D providers, Parents and Carers to promote a greater understanding of the perceived barriers, and by working together how they can ‘meet in the middle’ and expand the bubble of inclusion.