The Distant Voices was set up in 2008 by playwright Nikki Kenward, and her husband and carer Merv Kenward. The couple had become unhappy with the groups that existed for young disabled people. They strongly believed that ''high tides raise the ships'', and they did not want to see intelligent, capable young people having no better options than to be kept busy making pizzas, simply because they were disabled.
Nikki and Merv decided to set up an integrated group, where disabled, non-disabled and learning disabled young people, aged 16-25, could come together. It was the first group of its kind.
We meet once a month to workshop projects in the arts, and learn interpersonal skills. Early highlights included the art installation 'What's on your Mind?', where the group build a giant brain, using statements we'd gotten from passers-by about 'what was on their minds'. Or the poetry night we hosted at a local restaurant, where we all read one of our favourite poems (with some members even writing their own, original works).
In 2009, after the death of Daisy Healy, the group was devastated. We knew we had to do something to help increase awareness of the avoidable deaths of disabled and elderly people in hospitals. Ever since we have turned our creativity and drive towards public protests.
My personal adventures with The Distant Voices group created opportunities for me that I will be eternally grateful for. But I am even more grateful for the opportunity to come together and do something important. To be the voice for those who cannot be heard.
Former member of The Distant Voices (2009-2017)
Pictured above are some of the victims who you can read about in Death by Indifference
Meet The Distant Voices
The DISTANT VOICES exist because of the very sad death of Daisy Healy who was only 9 years old. She went to hospital with a treatable tooth infection, and never left. She never left because she was different. Because she looked different and had different needs. Little Daisy was just one of many victims who made their way into MENCAP'S Death by Indifference report.
Where it all started
Mencap's Death by Indifference Report
THE DISTANT VOICES
Working to improve End of Life Care