Published on: 22nd June 2023

A photo taken by Christopher Hardy, from our Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale community learning disability team has been chosen as a finalist in the Fujifilm NHS 75 photography competition, in the innovation category.

It features Ryan, a young man with learning and physical disabilities, enjoying a drink (in moderation) at his local pub assisted by Niamh, a speech and language therapist.

Niamh and Ryan.jpg

Ryan is using an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device to communicate with those around him, which helps to break down barriers and foster meaningful connections.

While being an outstanding photograph in general, it also challenges common misconceptions about people with learning disabilities. With support, Ryan is empowered and able to integrate into society and take part in activities of his choosing – in this case enjoying a pint.

People with learning disabilities have often faced limited access to some activities which seem normal to others, but the team in Rochdale are keen advocates of inclusivity and are at the forefront of driving change. The photo is one of many examples of this.

As we also celebrate Learning Disability Week (19-25 June 2023), it’s a fitting reminder of the ongoing efforts to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and promote understanding and acceptance.

The photo will be displayed at an exhibition at Fujifilm House of Photography in Covent Garden, London. The winners from each category will also be displayed at Westminster Abbey on 5 July (the NHS’ 75th birthday).

We’re proud that this recognition captures the hard work of the team, while serving as a powerful symbol of inclusivity and appreciation for the diverse abilities within our society.