200 brightly coloured umbrellas have been suspended over a Liverpool city centre street, with the goal of raising awareness and understanding, encouraging discussion around Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism.
Devised and curated by Liverpool-based ADHD Foundation, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary as a charity, the Umbrella Project transforms Church Alley (leading up to the Bluecoat) into a sea of colour until the end of August.
The individual umbrellas have also been personally signed by children from St Oswald’s primary school in Old Swan and across Merseyside, many of whom have ADHD, autism and other neurodevelopment conditions.
The Umbrella Project has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from Equazen, makers of the scientifically developed omega-3 supplements, Liverpool City Council and the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, who has pledged to make Liverpool “a truly ADHD and autism-friendly city”.
Explaining the idea behind the Umbrella Project, Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of ADHD Foundation, commented:
‘The name for the project was actually chosen by the brilliant children who work with the foundation. ADHD and autism are ‘umbrella terms’ for a whole variety of neurodevelopment difficulties, and we want to highlight that fact and challenge the stigma of what can be ‘invisible’ disabilities. The Umbrella Project is about reminding adults – be it parents, teachers or potential employees – that young people with ADHD and other conditions possess many gifts, talents and skills to offer their communities.’
Local businesses are invited to get involved with the Umbrella Project by sponsoring an umbrella for just £250, which will buy a whole programme of support for families.
Individuals can sponsor £50 which will fund two therapy sessions for children affected.
ADHD Foundation works tirelessly to challenge the stigma and highlight ADHD as a mental health issue which now affects one in 20 children and one 60 adults in the UK. Its aim is to promote and improve the mental health outcomes, educational attainment, employability, social inclusion and life chances of children, young people and adults affected by ADHD through early intervention, with a range of training and therapies.