People in Reading have expressed confusion over the naming of a planned event to celebrate people with disabilities and the contributions they make to the town.

At a recent council meeting, councillors and residents discussed plans for ‘Disability Pride Day’ to celebrate those living with disabilities and encourage inclusivity.

The day was meant to have taken place this year but got postponed because there was a lack of time to prepare.

A debate was sparked over the naming of the event, which caused confusion among some people on Reading Borough Council’s Access and Disabilities Working Group, which is made up of members with disabilities, councillors and officials.

Barbara McAlister asked on a few occasions whether it should take place on the same day as Reading Pride, an annual celebration for LGBT+ people on the first Saturday of September.

However councillor Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey) expressed worries that disability pride may be “subsumed” by the larger pride event, which attracts thousands of people to the town.

Cllr Rowland added that disability pride should be “visible” and therefore should be held on a different day.

READ MORE: Fun from Reading Pride 2022 in pictures 

This sparked a debate among members of the group about whether the event should be renamed to avoid confusion.

While some said the event should have ‘celebration’ in its name instead of ‘pride’ Helen Bryant, the council’s access officer, argued the name ‘disability pride’ for such events are quite well established elsewhere.

The council has been inspired to hold such an event from others held worldwide.

During the meeting, the group was shown videos from Disability Pride Brighton, which attracted big crowds when held at Brighton Seafront in 2019, and took place online in 2020.

Cllr Jan Gavin (Labour, Caversham), the chair of the group, said the aim of the event would be to “break down barriers” and asked those present to describe what they think should feature.

It was agreed that there should be music, preferably from musicians with disabilities and activities that people of all abilities and ages could get involved in.

Mrs McAlister said her and her husband were interested in going to the Henley Regatta for the Disabled but decided against it because it seemed too youth focused.

Therefore she asked for the Reading event to be age inclusive.

Cllr Brenda McGonigle (Green, Park) said there should be a quiet area for people with hearing difficulties and other disabilities to enjoy as well.

A working group will be formed to engage in planning for the event in the coming months.

READ MORE: Disabled Reading man gets £3k payout as council admits fault

Explaining why ‘disability pride’ did not happen this year, cllr Gavin said:”It just wasn’t possible to organise it in the time available.

“We agreed to move it to next year so we can get the right time, the right people and it can be done correctly.”

In comments made to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, cllr Gavin added: “The forum met online like most of the other groups so the opportunity to do that planning and the level of uncertainty last year made things difficult.

“When it became clear in late spring early summer last year that it could go ahead there wasn’t enough time to plan.

“It would have been absolutely rushed so the day was deferred so it could be done the right way.”

She explained planning for the event began in 2021 but there was not the time for detailed discussions, and that the decision to postpone was taken by the working group collectively.