VIDEO: Visit helps open up eyes to diversity

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The wonderful charity JustDifferent was delighted to welcome a group of young children to its Walberton office on Monday.

The pupils from Walberton Pre-School were invited by Toby Hewson, a young man with cerebral palsy who founded the charity, as part of JustDifferent’s work with the community.

JustDifferent founder Toby Hewson and bookings and community administrator Sarah Robinson with the children from Walberton Pre-School. Picture: Derek Martin DM17312190a

JustDifferent founder Toby Hewson and bookings and community administrator Sarah Robinson with the children from Walberton Pre-School. Picture: Derek Martin DM17312190a

The charity works to create positive social attitudes towards disability and difference among children and young people.

Toby has lived in Walberton all his life and started to visit the pre-school on a regular basis to talk to the children with the aid of his speech synthesiser.

He said: “They all enjoy playing a game of Toby Says.”

During the children’s visit to the office in Booker Yard, bookings and community administrator Sarah Robinson read to the children from the book Don’t Call Me Special by Pat Thomas.

Sarah said: “This was chosen specifically as an introduction to disability and difference suitable for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

“We had a great visit from the pre-school – 27 children came along with teachers, parents and a volunteer. We also accompanied the children on the short walk and Mother Nature was very kind with a glorious sunny morning.”

JustDifferent employs disabled adult workshop presenters to deliver workshops on disability and difference in schools and to community groups.

Since 2008, the dedicated team has reached more than 186,00 children and young people with their positive messages.

Helen Baxter, co-owner of Walberton Pre-School, said: “The children love Toby’s visits to see them in the Village Hall. At his last visit, one of the children asked if they could come and visit ‘my friend Toby’ in his home, so we worked with JustDifferent to arrange this visit to Toby’s office to see where he works.

“Our growing relationship with Toby and JustDifferent is invaluable to opening the children’s eyes to a diverse society.”

As the charity heads towards its tenth anniversary, Toby and the team are looking to build on their achievements in breaking down barriers.

Toby is a great inspirational speaker and often likened to Stephen Hawking, as he uses a speech synthesizer attached to his wheelchair. His most recent model allows him to control the electronic keyboard with his eyes.

Toby and his presenters deliver workshops covering the area from London down through West Sussex.

For more information, visit www.justdifferent.org or call 01243 778275.

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