A burst of colour has hit Liverpool city centre in time for summer, as the ADHD Foundation’s famous Umbrella Project returns for the third consecutive year (from Wednesday, June 12).
Back by popular demand, Church Alley (in front of the Bluecoat) is once again glowing with bright reds, blues, greens and yellows, thanks to a canopy of dazzling, coloured, suspended umbrellas, part of an initiative to raise awareness – and celebrate – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and neurodiversity.
Devised by Liverpool-based ADHD Foundation – the largest user-led ADHD agency in Europe – each of the umbrellas have been signed and decorated by neurodiverse children from across the city, who have been asked to state their gifts, talents and abilities – their ‘super power’. The project aims to flip the disabling perception of neurodiverse individuals on its head, and instead, celebrate cognitive differences. Participating schools are St Cuthberts and Archbishop Blanch in Liverpool, and Overchurch on the Wirral.
Thanks to the huge success of the Umbrella Project since its launch in 2017, the project has also launched in Heathrow’s Terminal 5, marking the first time the artwork has been available to view in London or at an airport. It will also launch at BBC North at MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, later this month, where it debuted in 2018.
ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia all sit under the “umbrella” term of neurodiversity – hence the idea for Umbrella Project was born.
Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of ADHD Foundation, said:
“When we first launched this small project back in 2017, on a little known back street in Liverpool, we were unprepared for the massive impact it was going to have. In its short lifetime, the project has grown beyond all expectation, going viral on social media, attracting international media coverage, inspiring copycat projects around the world, and launching in other locations such as MediaCity, and for the first time in Heathrow this year.
“The campaign aims to celebrate the many strengths and advantages that come from thinking differently and perceiving the world differently, and raise awareness in order to reduce the stigma, myths and misconceptions associated with having these conditions, demonstrating how and why neurodiverse individuals contribute to our lives, our families and our economy.
“At school neurodiverse children can see themselves as somehow ‘less than’ or lacking in intelligence and employability. We want to change that with a curriculum for the 21st century that celebrates the gifts and talents of every neurodiverse individual, empowering and enabling the next generation of children for the 21st century economy and 21st century citizenship.”
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:
“Once again this inspiring initiative returns to the city – and we should all be very proud of how much this Liverpool-created project has grown in such a short space of time. The Umbrella Project continues to spark an international conversation, which is crucial to the public’s understanding of neurodiversity.
“Liverpool City Council is fully committed to supporting the education, mental health and employability of neurodiverse people, as also demonstrated in our support for Neurodiversity Celebration Week last month. I have always said that I want Liverpool to be a neurodiversity-friendly city; a city which doesn’t discriminate, but instead supports, champions and celebrates those who think differently.”
For further information about the Umbrella Project and ADHD Foundation visit www.adhdfoundation.org.uk. You can also follow on Twitter @ADHDFoundation and Facebook @adhdfoundation #UmbrellaProject