200 multi-coloured umbrellas have been suspended high above Church Alley to raise awareness and understanding of ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions.

Back by popular demand, Church Alley (in front of the Bluecoat) is glowing with bright reds, blues, greens, yellows, and oranges thanks to a canopy of vibrant, uplifting, suspended umbrellas.

After a hiatus last year due to the pandemic, the ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity’s famous Umbrella Project has returned to Liverpool for the fourth year. The project launches today (Friday 25th June) and will remain in place until late September.

Schools across the Liverpool City Region have also signed up to create their own mini umbrella displays, highlighting neurodiversity in children and young people and educational settings. Participating schools include: St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, Alsop High School, Whitefield Primary School, St Anne’s Stanley Primary School, Lister Lane Primary School and Great Sankey High School.

Invented by Liverpool-based ADHD Foundation – the largest ‘user-led’ ADHD agency in Europe – the umbrella installation aims to flip the narrative of neurodiverse individuals, and instead, recognise the strengths and ability of those with cognitive differences.

ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia all sit under the “umbrella” term of neurodiversity – hence the idea for Umbrella Project was born.

Having launched in Liverpool in 2017, the umbrella project has achieved global recognition with further displays in Heathrow Airport and BBC’s Media City. More installations are set to launch throughout July in Switzerland, Gloucestershire and in over fifty national participating schools.

Dr Tony Lloyd, Chief Executive of ADHD Foundation, said:

 “Like the ADHD Foundation itself, the Umbrella Project first began right here in Liverpool. Whilst the campaign continues to receive global attention and grow beyond all expectation, we are proud to launch our 2021 Umbrella Project in our home city for the fourth year.

Through our work, we have seen first-hand how local schools are leading the way by championing a curriculum fit for the 21st century that celebrates the gifts and talents of every neurodiverse child and young person. Seeing so many schools across the Liverpool City Region take part in their own umbrella projects this year is testament to the strides that have been made.

The word ‘neurodiversity’ is an umbrella term for the many neurodiverse conditions that 1 in 5 people live with, hence how the idea for the Umbrella Project was born. When we first launched this small project back in 2017, we were unprepared for the massive impact it was going to have – nationally and internationally. By raising awareness and understanding, the project celebrates the remarkable contribution neurodiverse individuals make to our economy, our education system, our personal relationships and our lives.

ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity is actively working to change how the world views neurodiversity, and every Umbrella Project is yet another step forward in achieving this.”

Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Adult and Children’s Health and Social Care, Councillor Frazer Lake, said:

“I’m so pleased to see the Umbrella Project is returning to its home in the city centre.

“Not only is it visually impactful, it sends out a powerful message of the city’s support for neurodiverse people, and highlights the city council’s commitment to ensuring equal access to education, training, employment and mental health and wellbeing services.

“Our ambition is for Liverpool to be a leading, neurodiverse-friendly city which doesn’t discriminate, but instead supports, champions and celebrates those who think differently.”