Help reignite the Par­a­lympic flame

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

WHAT a treat to see Team GB’s Par­a­lympians such as Han­nah Cock­roft and David Weir com­pet­ing once more in the Olympic Sta­dium on Na­tional Par­a­lympic Day.

It took me right back to the in­cred­i­ble eu­pho­ria of the Lon­don 2012 Games.

But three years on, has the Par­a­lympic legacy sur­vived? I work for the char­ity Re­vi­talise – we run the Ju­bilee Lodge cen­tre in Chig­well, which pro­vides respite hol­i­days for dis­abled peo­ple and car­ers.

We did a sur­vey of our guests di­rectly af­ter the 2012 Par­a­lympics and over half told us that they didn’t think the public had a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the lives of dis­abled peo­ple as a re­sult of the Games. I dread to think what they might say now.

Dis­abled peo­ple have enor­mous po­ten­tial. They want to play a part in so­ci­ety, to make a con­tri­bu­tion, but all too of­ten they are held back by the neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes of so­ci­ety it­self.

The 2012 Par­a­lympics did an enor­mous amount of good, but un­til we start think­ing in terms of what dis­abled peo­ple can do, not what they can’t, there is lit­tle prospect of any last­ing change. That’s why events like the An­niver­sary Games are so im­por­tant, be­cause they re­mind us of some­thing that is so of­ten hid­den from view.

So I’d like to ask your read­ers to help us reignite the Par­a­lympic flame. Please join us in call­ing for a so­ci­ety where dis­abled peo­ple have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties to pur­sue their dreams and make a mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion to their com­mu­ni­ties as ev­ery­body else.

For more in­for­ma­tion about our vi­tal work or to sup­port Re­vi­talise, visit www.re­vi­talise.org.uk or call 0303 303 0147. COLIN BROOK

Re­vi­talise www.re­vi­talise.org.uk

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