From Seminar to Senedd. Supportive hands and a shared vision for equal opportunities leads to a Welsh Parliament takeover. 

Urban Circle youth worker Danielle Webb was among Little People UK delegates that hosted Wales first Dwarfism Awareness Day on Wednesday 25th October 2023 at the Senedd Welsh Parliament Building, sponsored by Jayne Bryant MS. 

Little People UK, established in 2012, is a registered charity that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families. They are dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with dwarfism while celebrating with great pride, little people’s contribution to social diversity.

25th October is International Dwarfism Awareness Day! 

On this day… People with dwarfism and their communities unite together to promote dwarfism awareness and challenge social and physical barriers that stand in the way of choices and opportunities facing people with Dwarfism day-to-day. 

Youth Worker, Danielle Webb who this year became the Vice Chair of Little People UK, took to the stand to host Wales first Dwarfism Awareness Day at the Welsh Parliament building on 25th October 2023, presenting to an audience of professionals from across Wales, of both public and private sectors. The event consisted of a presentation as well as a Q&A panel discussion with representatives from the Dwarfism charity.

“Dwarfism Awareness Day has never been recognised on this level here in Wales. It felt scary to be the first, but also I knew the time had come. Through my own personal experiences, I was able to share what I had learned- and I hope, help make a positive difference to future generations to come”.- Dan

Supportive hands 

In 2021, as a youth work BAHons student, Danielle hosted her first seminar under the guidance and facilitation of Urban Circle, at the University of South Wales. This was the first time Danielle shared with her community, her life experiences and the challenges faced for those who share her condition. Now two years later, this Welsh Parliament event was an opportunity to reflect on the impact and importance of not only the work of Little People UK, but also the huge value of Youth Work in Wales, and its key principles in action.

Loren Henry, CEO of Urban Circle, explained that this journey is a prime example of the purpose of youth work, meeting a young person where they are, and providing them with the tools- they require to reach their full potential- supporting them to shape their life however they choose. Through having access to learn for themselves, young people not only have the opportunity to better themselves, but also to give back to their communities. 

On 25th October, at the Welsh Senedd, Danielle shared her journey of the last two years- how one brave decision to share her story in her university lecture hall has led to now standing at the Welsh Parliament.

“I remember the first time I stood in front of my colleagues and did my first seminar back in 2021- so to look out and see them now sitting in the front row in the Senedd was such a huge moment. This whole event shows what having the right people in your life can lead to. Having people who believe in your visions, and empower you to go after your goals. That’s how I got here, and that’s the message I hope to share”-Dan

Urban Circle Newport, with its vision for a Wales that is anti-racist and anti-ableist, is proud to support the work of Little People UK and plans to develop this partnership further into 2024 and beyond. 

“ I had the pleasure of witnessing Danielle reach an incredible milestone, not only for herself but for her community she rightly so champions! Danielle is a force to be reckoned with and myself & her UC family will continue to support her on her life journey “ Loren

Whilst Dwarfism Awareness Month has now passed, the work to raise awareness and support individuals continues- and Urban Circle Newport are committed to continue the work of staff members, and the wider communities. 

As individuals, we all have a role to play in creating a community and society that is welcoming, accepting and embracing of all.

Danielle has gone on to be the winner of the Gwent Diversity in the community award as well!

All photos used in this blog were taken by Kamila Jarczak of Woman in Newport.

Did you know? 

→ Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. There are over 200 distinct types of dwarfism. Generally, a person with dwarfism is 4’ 10” or under

→ There are many reasons a person might be shorter than average. The most common reason is skeletal dysplasia, such as achondroplasia. However, sometimes a person is short due to other factors like enzyme processing functions or kidney disease. 

→ Eighty per cent (80%) of people with dwarfism have average-height parents and siblings. Also, people with dwarfism can have average-height children. 

→ A child with dwarfism is born 1 per 10,000 births. 

→ Terminology – in general, preferred terms are short stature, little person, LP, dwarfism. The most preferred terminology is always simply the person’s name. For people without dwarfism, the correct terminology is average height.