Join parkrun for learning disability week

Published: Wednesday, 19th June 2019

A series of events have been arranged to raise awareness about the information, advice and support available for people with learning disabilities in Stoke-on-Trent.

Learning Disability Awareness Week runs through to Sunday, June 23. Led by Mencap, this year’s national campaign is all about sport and inclusion, with the emphasis on using sport as a way of improving health and wellbeing and promoting greater social inclusion.

The city council is encouraging anybody with a learning disability to take part in Hanley parkrun on Saturday, June 22 at 9am. It’s a great opportunity for those taking part to meet new people and enjoy some physical activity.

Oscar Scholes-Furness, from Stoke-on-Trent, has a learning disability and started taking part in park runs three years ago. The 28-year-old said:

“I started taking part in 5km Hanley parkrun because I wanted to get healthier and start being more active.

“I didn’t run straight away, I started jogging and eventually managed to run 10km.

“I’ve met lots of new people through going to park runs and have made some good friends.

“It doesn’t matter if you walk, run or jog. Everybody can get involved either by taking part or volunteering.

“parkruns are great fun for everybody – with or without a learning disability.”

Councillor Ann James, deputy leader of the city council and cabinet member for health and social care, said: “This week is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the day-to-day issues faced by people with learning disabilities, as well as the successes of people using our services.

“This year, the theme for Learning Disability Awareness Week is inclusivity and sport. The Hanley parkrun is a brilliant way for people who have a learning disability to get involved in a weekly event that will support their health and wellbeing and give them the opportunity to socialise with new people.

“People with learning disabilities are more likely to experience poorer health and loneliness. Mencap’s most recent research showed that 18 per cent of 18 to 35-year-olds with a learning disability feel alone and cut off from other people. This year’s theme is all about using sport and physical activity to reduce loneliness and isolation.

“I hope that this week will help to promote the awareness that not all disabilities are visible and how everyone has an important part to play in society.”

Anybody – with or without a learning disability – is welcome to take part in Hanley parkrun. Participants must register prior to the event at  and are asked to meet at 8.30am at Hanley Park, Northern Car Park, off The Parkway.

City council staff will be on hand on the day to support anybody who needs it. If you require more information, please contact Gill O’Hare on 07920 087525.

The city council is taking part in and running a range of events to celebrate Learning Disability Awareness Week and we are encouraging those involved to use the hashtags  #LDSTOKE19  #LDWEEK19 in any social media posts throughout the week. These events include:

Wednesday, June 19

  • Multi Sports at Arena C, Fenton Manor Leisure Centre, from 12.30pm – 2.30pm. Participants can play badminton, table tennis and shoot the hoop. They will also have the opportunity to meet staff from the Riverside Centre and ABLE service. Healthy snacks and drinks and information leaflets will be available.
  • Boccia delivered by Stoke City FC Community Trust at Waterside Day Service, Waterside Drive, Blurton ST3 3LQ from 1.30pm – 2.30pm. Please ring 01782 233191 to book your place.
  • Multi Activity delivered by BE Active at St John’s, 30 Greasley Road, Abbey Hulton from 11.00am – 12.00pm. Please ring 01782 232 475 to book your place.

Thursday, June 20:

  • Learn to Fish at Sammie’s Fishing Pool, Off Sloane Way, Fenpark, Fenton, ST4 2PD – 10:00am – 1:00pm. Call Sonia Bee on 01782 311279 to book your place. Delivered by the GOGA Team, Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
  • Bottle Kiln Walk with the walkers from Portland House, taking in 15 bottle kilns – 10.20am – 12.30pm. Everyone is welcome but must have own transport to get to the meeting place and own support if needed. The walk will not take place if it is raining heavily – please ring 01782  237 742 to check if unsure on the day. Meet outside Meet outside: Longton Railway Station, King Street, Longton, ST3 1EZ.
  • Pilates at Maple West, Turnhurst Road, Chell, ST6 6SB – 11:00am – 12:00 pm. Delivered by the GOGA Team, Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Friday, June 21:

  • Exercise to Music at Longton Methodist Hall, The Strand, ST3 2JH – 11.30am – 12.30pm. Delivered by the GOGA Team and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
  • Gymnastics Taster Sessions at the Gymnastics Centre, Unit 2, 135 Newcastle Street, Burslem, ST6 3QT – 1:00pm – 2:00pm and 2:00pm – 3:00pm. Booking is essential, to reserve a place please call 01782 233104. Delivered by City of Stoke-on-Trent Gymnastics Club.
  • Football at Stoke City Dome, Stoke City FC Community Trust, Bet 365 Stadium, Stanley Matthews Way, ST5 4EG – 3.00pm – 4.00pm. Booking is essential, to reserve a place please call 01782 592 252.

Saturday, June 22:

  • Hanley parkrun – The run starts at 9am. Participants are invited to meet at 8.30am at Hanley Park, Northern Car Park, off The Parkway. Participants must register before the event here at

For all media enquiries please contact the press team at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232 395 (journalists only).