The Art of Saying No: video created by NTU animation students

NTU students and Nottingham Mencap have created an awareness film to fight the hate crime that people with learning disabilities regularly endure.

As it’s coming close to the National Hate Crime Awareness Week (9th-16th October), Nottingham self-funded charity Mencap have founded a campaign called “Smile! Stop Hate Crime”.

The NTU animation students had a project to which the university reached out to many organisations in Nottingham, and they were supposed to pick their top three to work with.

A collaboration between the students Julia Wiza, Frankie Ward and Vicky Blemeneou and the coordinator of Notts Mencap Karen Aspley to create an animated film was born.

Animation students who created the animated video Frankie (left) and Julia (right)

The main aim of the video is to empower people with learning disabilities to say no when people are exploiting or treating them badly.

It is meant to encourage people to stand their ground and learn that they can say no and make decisions over their life in a fun and easily understandable way.

“Working with Mencap was honestly really cool. The process of making it was quite stressful as we had to do the animation in a very strict deadline.

Animation student Frankie Ward, 23

“And doing it for an actual company was too much pressure because it had to be good.”

The self-funded charity, who aims to give equal opportunities to people with disabilities, wanted to use the film to reach as many people as they possibly could, both locally and across the UK.

The Nottingham Police and Crime Commissioner has also helped Nottingham Mencap by giving them a small amount of money to spread “stop hate crime” messages to the wider public.

Sessions are being ran that support people with disabilities and to help the community understand what hate crime is, and how and when to report it.

The students who were involved in the project were interested in learning more about disabilities either for personal connections as friends with disabilities or self-growth.

Animation student Frankie said: “We learned new things. Like phone frauds, people ringing people with disabilities and pretending to be someone else just to take advantage of people in such a vulnerable state, it was really horrible.”

Karen Aspley, 55, has advised people who want to help in raising awareness to take control of themselves and if they see something wrong or feel uncomfortable to simply do something about it.

“Anybody can report a hate crime, so i encourage everybody to report, report and report.”

Notts Mencap co-ordinator Karen Aspley

It is hoped that the video reaches the community, to be shared among friends, family and organisations as it is hoped to cause an important impact on people and raise awareness.

The third-year animation student Julia Wiza, 22, said: “As long as it helps someone, that’s all that matters. If someone watches it and then hopefully not but if they encounter themselves in that kind of situation maybe that will ring a bell and that means we reached our goal!”

The video is available on social media twitter and YouTube and it is expected to impact people’s lives, help the ones around you by clicking share.