More than 500 people with a learning disability met the people, machines and dogs of the emergency services, at the seventh annual Blue Light Day at the Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge this week.
The event is designed to break down barriers between people with learning disabilities and the emergency services, helping them to be more confident and independent in the community.
Staff from the police, ambulance, fire, coastguard, mountain rescue and other agencies were in attendance, together with a selection of their vehicles and equipment. Police dogs, a mountain rescue spaniel and Nelson the Fire Service dog were also there to meet people.
Highlights of the day included a live demonstration of a rescue of a casualty from a road traffic accident, and Falmouth police cadets brought along electric-powered police go-karts, built through the Cop Car Project, for people to try out.
The main stage hosted a variety of performances including many from people with a learning disability, and the Devon and Cornwall Police Pipes and Drums Band. A ‘sing and sign’ to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ involved many members of the emergency services and people with a learning disability, who had spent weeks learning to sign along with the Queen song.
Blue Light Day is organised by Devon and Cornwall Police in partnership with Cornwall People First, a user-led advocacy group for people with a learning disability, and Cornwall Council.
This event has been running for seven years, and has grown each time, with more organisations and emergency services keen to be involved.
Chief Superintendent Julie Fielding said: "This is a terrific event that has inspired Plymouth and Devon areas to create their own Blue Light Days.
"I see this as a great opportunity to meet and talk to members of the public and for them to meet their local public services and our partner agencies.
"It gives us an opportunity to talk about safety with the vulnerable and learning disability community groups in Cornwall and for them to share any local issues with the emergency services.’ Around sixty organisations which provide healthcare and support services for people with a learning disability were also be on hand to give information and advice. They included Cornwall Council’s Electoral Services Team, encouraging more people with a learning disability to register to vote.
Jim McKenna, cabinet member for health and adult care, said: "I really enjoyed meeting people and spending time with their families and carers, as well as the many partners organisations which support them. It’s been great to see how much this event is appreciated and just how much fun everyone has had.
"I would like to congratulate all the organisations who take part for the effort they put into making Blue Light Day such a success. I am already looking forward to next year’s event."