Colour Walk Celebrates Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Colourful students take to the streets to show their support for Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

Hundreds of brightly dressed St Vincent College staff and students took to the streets of Gosport to mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

A colourful group of more than 200 set off from its campus in Mill Lane to walk via the Millennium Bridge, through the centre of Gosport and back to the college. The purpose of the walk was not just to mark the week, which challenges peoples’ stereotypes and misconceptions about those with neurological differences, but also to raise money.

Through sponsorship and donations it raised more than £400 for the charity Marvels and Meltdowns, which supports parents of children diagnosed with ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Condition from its base at The Phoenix Centre.

“The whole thing was just joyful, we couldn’t have asked for better weather and everyone enjoyed being out and seeing parts of Gosport some of the walkers had never seen before,” said Vice Principal Alison Kent.

“We had lots of people waving and chatting to us, coming out of their houses and beeping their horns. It was all wonderful.”

She said the idea to support Neurodiversity Celebration Week came from the fact many students and some of the staff are neurodiverse. “We have a lot of people with a whole range of neurodiversity, including autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia and dyscalculia,” she said.

“We wanted to celebrate their superpowers – we have some people with dyscalculia who are brilliant with words and some with dyslexia who are really creative. The walk was about celebrating them very publicly.”

The college runs regular park walks for students as an enrichment activity and Mrs Kent said adding colour and inviting others to take part seemed a logical expansion. “Colour is associated with neurodiversity so making a park walk into a colour walk worked really well,” she said.

St Vincent Principal Andy Grant and representatives from Marvels and Meltdowns started the walk, together with student Josh Bradley-Turner who helped organise it.

“We had wonderful support from our park walk students and some of our Uniformed Public Services students who acted as marshals, in all more than 20 staff and students gave up their time, for which we are very grateful,” said Mrs Kent.

“We also had great support from Gosport Police as well who joined us on the walk.”

Mr Grant said he had been impressed by the number of students who dressed up and carried placards with positive messages about neurodiversity. “It was a fantastic demonstration of how we value every student and member of staff,” he said.

“The students were a credit to the college and gave a very positive impression of what we do here. It was particularly important to me that we did this in such a visible way because we feel we are very much a part of the community here in Gosport. We touch a great many lives through the college, our adult education and our School of Personalised Learning and it was a wonderful experience to be out there shouting about what we do.”

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