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(UK) Aberdeen celebrates one in 5 with "neurodiverse condition"

Sept 23, 2022, Aberdeen Business News: Tens of thousands get involved in Aberdeen’s Umbrella Project

COLOURFUL canopies of umbrellas which have adorned Aberdeen’s Shiprow and Bon Accord Terrace this summer are set to bid a fond farewell to the city centre when the final installation on Shiprow comes down at the end of this month.

A huge hit with locals and visitors the multi-coloured displays have been seen, snapped and shared on social media by tens of thousands of people over the past few months and have helped raise awareness of the one in five of us who have a neurodevelopmental condition such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia which fall under the umbrella term of neurodiversity.

Brought to the city by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with the ADHD Foundation the project extended well beyond the city centre and inspired ‘mini installations’ at local schools and businesses from Ellon to Aberdeen resulting in more than 1,000 vibrant umbrellas being strung up.

As well as the two main installations on Shiprow and Bon Accord Terrace other locations where they were on show included 25 local schools, Aberdeen’s Central Library, Music Hall, several city centre restaurants, hotels and cafes as well as the city’s two Universities and the corporate offices of some of the leading businesses in the city.

Commenting on the project, Adrian Watson, Chief Executive at Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The installations have undoubtably been a hit with the public and the images have flooded social media raising awareness of the project, city and ADHD foundation across the UK and beyond.

The positive message they represent has encouraged people from all walks of life to come into Aberdeen city centre, enjoy all it has to offer and embrace the joy of the eye-catching displays.”…

Twenty five local schools created mini-installations in their reception halls, classrooms and assembly halls, many of which were made possible by sponsorship. This allowed thousands of local school children to get involved with the project decorating their school’s mini installation with messages and drawings that showcased their special talents and abilities.

Jenny Sim, Principal Teacher at Glashieburn Primary, said: “Glashieburn were delighted to be a part of the ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project. Our motto #justbeyou fits perfectly with the charity’s vision to ‘Celebrate Neurodiversity’. We are very grateful to Union Square Aberdeen for sponsoring our umbrella installation.”…

Mary Martin, owner of the Douglas Hotel commented: “We are overwhelmed at the extremely positive reaction to the ADHD Umbrella Project display on Shiprow. It has been wonderful to see the displays put a smile on everyone’s face as they walk by and the many photos that have been shared on social media.”

“The message of raising awareness and celebrating the ‘umbrella’ term of neurodiversity has such strong ties with community spirit, wellbeing, and support, all of which are dearly important to us here throughout the Shiprow Village and the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel.”

Funding for the project came from Harbour Energy, who were the principal sponsor a grant secured by Aberdeen Inspired of £12,500 through the Scottish Government’s Scotland Loves Local Fund II.

Mavis Anagboso, Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Harbour Energy, said: “We have been pleased to see the interest generated in the colourful Umbrella project in Aberdeen over the summer. The suspended umbrellas have triggered conversations around homes and workplaces in Aberdeen about neurodiversity and what it means in our daily lives. Harbour Energy is proud to have supported this wonderful initiative, raising awareness of neurodiversity and we congratulate Aberdeen Inspired for bringing this project to life”.

Commenting on the Umbrella Project, Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation, added:”Through the Umbrella Project across the city of Aberdeen, we can celebrate all the strengths and abilities of neurodiverse people. 1 in 5 of us are neurodiverse – we must stop thinking of those with dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia as somehow ‘less than’ or defining them by what they cannot do.”

“More and more we’re seeing society change how it views neurodiversity – business, education, entertainment – we’re finally beginning to shift away from associating neurodiversity with ‘low ability.'”

Part of the ADHD’s nationwide annual celebration of neurodiverse people this was the first year the umbrella installations landed in Scotland. Hailed as a huge success Aberdeen Inspired hope this will become an annual attraction.

Aberdeen’s Umbrella project extended well beyond the city centre and inspired ‘mini installations’ at local schools and businesses from Ellon to Aberdeen


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