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EYDP - young people in Europe

EYDP - Young People in Europe

As part of our work in the European Year of Disabled People, six young disabled people made a five-day visit to The Netherlands and Belgium to see how things were done differently, and to meet decison-makers in Brussels, with a view to sharing that information with other people on Merseyside.

Working closely with our partners from the North West Regional Assembly, a visit was arranged in February 2004 for six young disabled people from Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens. We had announced the free trip in the previous autumn, and selected James, Denis, Sophie, David, Rachel and Louise from a number of applicants.

With support workers and staff we flew to Amsterdam, travelled by train to Brussels, and then on to Paris for the return flight - a very practical test of accessibility arrangements in airports, airlines, railways and trams.

In the Netherlands we visited two schools for disabled young people and a housing project for independent living, which was in "Anfield Road" in Amsterdam.  We watched Ajax play football and tried out sledge hockey (ice hockey for disabled people played on small sledges).

In Belgium we visited an organisation promoting integration and independence in Charleroi, talked to the European Disability Forum, and toured the European Parliament. The young people were able to question half-a-dozen MEPs there (Members of the European Parliament), and on their return to Liverpool they were welcomed by local MP Maria Eagle, then Minister for Disabled People.