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Paralympians Changing the Fortunes of Those with Physical Disability

  • Published: 2012-09-19 (Revised/Updated 2016-06-11) : Author: United Response : Contact:
  • Synopsis: The immense success of the London 2012 Paralympic games was the platform that shone a positive light on those with physical disability.

This summer has been an immense success in many respects. For the impressive amount of medals Team GB and Paralympic GB took home; for the way our armed forces and waves of volunteers acquitted themselves in front of every other nation on earth. Though perhaps more importantly, it was the platform on which to shine a positive light on those with physical disability, showcasing just how much they can achieve with the right levels of support and determination behind them. And boy how they did.

United Response is a national charity that supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities to take control of their lives.

No sooner had the Olympic closing ceremony extinguished its final flame, than the general public exclaimed how much they were looking forward to the Paralympics starting. We saw dozens of Paralympic world records tumble, saw courage and grit the likes of which aren't seen too often, and we saw pride. We saw people with so much confidence in the distance they had brought themselves in their respective field that they came to compete on the world stage.

In addition to the individual dedication of the athletes themselves, every single medal-winner, and probably every single participant, thanked their own personal support networks. From trainers to families and friends, to the charities and organizations that helped them along the way - you could see just how much it meant to them.

Infinitely important, these support networks are so crucial to the happiness and well-being to those with physical disabilities that the amount of funding for various sporting support groups has gone through the roof in the wake of the games.

Sport England announced that £1.1million of National Lottery money will be going to organizations like British Blind Football, Cerebral Palsy Sport and British Wheelchair Sport - while a further £1.5 million of Exchequer funding will be going directly to the English Federation of Disability Sport.

This is much needed good news, especially after the recent abolition of the DLA and the cuts to financial support for around half a million disabled people in the UK. It's an opportunity to show just how much can be achieved with the proper funding, and it will hopefully pave the way for other areas of disability to receive a decent level of funding as well.

Leaders in the 70s, 80s and even 90s for disabled rights have moved out of sight and earshot, so the time for re-galvanizing those people with a physical disability is certainly overdue. We can only hope that the power and momentum of the Paralympic games is enough to encourage more funding, with more support being directed to the people and organizations that can make a big difference with it.

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