Francis (pictured) is one of the young people from HAFAD (Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability). The funding he gained from Starbucks Youth Action helped to produce a drama performance and the production of leaflets to raise awareness amongst local people.
Preparation is key
HAFAD is an independent organisation promoting equality for disabled people. John MacNeely, the Youth Coordination Manager at HAFAD takes up the story:
“The initial training day delivered by UK Youth prepared young people to deliver a funding pitch for real. While the pitch itself must have been a nerve-wracking experience, Francis seemed to just slide into it and into his performing persona! He did a marvelous job, but then he did put in the hours on prep work. I think the most significant thing for HAFAD was that Francis developed a sense of responsibility, a sense of pride and an enormous sense of achievement – and you can’t beat those feelings as a young person!”
Performance is powerful
“The performance piece set out to acknowledge, raise awareness and condemn disability hate crime. What we discovered was that hate crime may be the consequence of ignorance and that can stem from the failure to address bullying at a young age.
“We noticed that young people were increasingly becoming either victims or perpetrators of ‘virtual bullying’ online, through social networks. The young people decided that the drama should look at virtual bullying and how addressing this might reduce incidents of disability hate crime in adult life.
"The performance itself (in early September) was a fantastic success and received very positive feedback from audience and performers. The piece was written with a poetic, rhythmic narration and rehearsed throughout the 20 days of our summer programme.
"The Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Belinda Donovan, was present and commented on 'how proud we must be of these young people and their confidence to perform in such a public space'. She also spoke to Francis and congratulated him on obtaining the funding and taking on such responsibilities.
The start of something!
“Since the performance, our young people have had requests to tour the performance to selected audiences around the borough. As an organisation who have now delivered their very first drama performance, we feel we have put a flag in the sand and I suspect this means that what has become known as the HAFAD Youth players, will evolve, develop and grow!”
Click here for more about Starbucks Youth Action.
Click here for more about HAFAD.