Count Us In festival puts disability inclusion front and centre

13 May 2022

More than 30 free events and activities aimed at raising the profile of inclusion in our community will be held over the next two weeks as part of City of Newcastle’s Count Us In festival. 

Count Us In will run between 13 May – 28 May and features a wide range of activities including a nutrition wellbeing workshop, drumming workshop, accessible fishing experience, inclusive dance and art experiences, social and peer networking events, plus activations focused on education and awareness exploring topics such as workplace inclusion. 

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Count Us In festival will encourage conversations around inclusion across the city. 

“City of Newcastle prides itself on working collaboratively to ensure a more liveable and welcoming community for all people who live, visit and work here by increasing social inclusion and community connections,” the Lord Mayor said. 

Councillor Margaret Wood, co-chair of City of Newcastle’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, said Count Us In recognises and celebrates the contributions made by people living with disabilities. 

“The 2022 festival has a strong focus on working together towards solutions for employment and workplace inclusion for people with disability, which meets the actions of our recently adopted Disability Inclusion Action Plan,” Cr Wood said. 

“Count Us In effectively and respectfully brings people without disabilities into contact with people with disabilities, which builds awareness, reduces prejudice and helps create future opportunities.” 

This year, City of Newcastle (CN) has engaged Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH) to assist with the creation and delivery of a diverse range of inclusive events, all of which are delivered with local community partners. 

“We have taken a community-led approach to Count Us In festival by engaging CDAH to enhance the range of events within the program. This will highlight the skills and abilities of our local community and demonstrate a range of opportunities for participation beyond the program,” Cr Wood said. 

"This festival is for everyone, and I’d encourage all Novocastrians to come and join in the many events and activities on offer over the next two weeks.” 

Andrew Vodic Executive Director Community Disability Alliance Hunter says the organisation is proud to be partnering with CN on the design of the 2022 festival program. 

“At CDAH, we are committed to building the capacity of peers to develop, organise and lead peer groups and develop mentor relationships that enable them to share their experiences and learn together. Count Us In 2022 assists us to promote these peer lead groups and hopefully reach more people,” Mr Vodic said. 

“With over 90 per cent of CDAH staff living with a disability, the events and activities on offer have been designed by people with lived experience to create the best possible opportunities for inclusion and by reaching a more diverse mix of people." 

For a full program of events and activities, click here