Ian Martin, young leader of the “Are you aware of disability” campaign, United Kingdom

YMCA Empowering Young People: Ian Martin, young leader of the “Are you aware of disability” campaign  from the YMCA in Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom

Ian Martin, 24, is a young leader of the “Are you aware of disability” campaign   from the YMCA in Sutton Coldfield, UK, and has been volunteering for the YMCA already for 3 years.

In December 2009 he started the project on disability. He realized the necessity to raise the awareness of the problem within the UK society both locally and nationally. His passion and a huge desire to bring some change into the society encourages Ian to lead the campaign.

The aim of the project is to encourage organizations to offer more opportunities for people with disabilities. The YMCA is not an expert on disability, but it is eager to provide the best services to people with disabilities who face the problem of the exclusion. Currently the work on the promotion of the campaign on the Internet is being done and a lobbying campaign on disability issues that seeks to involve members of the British Parliament has been launched.

The campaign has a lot of support and encouragement from the local YMCA in Sutton Coldfield. Regular meetings on topical questions of the campaign are held. Ian often participates in different conferences, including the ones on the national level, where he presents reports on the activities.

The project gets positive feedback by e-mail and Facebook page from all around the world. Ian is very satisfied with the results that the campaign has already brought. Plenty of new ideas came from various YMCAs on how to diversify the project and about what activities could be developed. Also as a result of the campaign, the disability issue is becoming more and more important and the reflection on the topic within the YMCAs and within the society in general, is constantly growing.

Ian envisions no end for the campaign “Are you aware of disability”. “It will continue and develop all the time”.

By Iryna Dzeshavitsyna  
Volunteer, Belarus/Switzerland