London 2012: Government sets out plans for a ‘disability legacy’


The government has published a “legacy plan” aimed at bringing about “lasting changes” to the lives of disabled people through the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London 2012: A Legacy for Disabled People aims to increase disabled people’s participation in sport and physical activity, improve access to jobs, transport and other services, and change attitudes towards disabled people.

The government said it worked on the plan with Equality 2025, its network of disabled advisers on disability equality, and sought advice from 70 disabled people’s organisations.

It said the legacy plan was an “important milestone” on the journey to achieving full equality for disabled people.

The plan pledges that the Olympic Village and stadia will “set new standards of inclusive and sustainable design”, while the 2012 organising committee, LOCOG, is working on a scheme with hotels and 2012 venues to provide a “bespoke” service to ensure disabled people are given appropriate seating, advice on entering venues and any other assistance they need.

Among other legacy measures, there are plans to help schools teach pupils about the social model of disability, while the government is exploring the idea of introducing a disability equality week in schools and colleges.

There were also announcements of an £11.5 million funding boost for disability sport, and of the first 10 disability art projects to be commissioned for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The legacy plan also says the government will oversee the development of a national equality framework to allow businesses to “benchmark” their equality credentials, while companies owned by disabled people are being encouraged to register on the CompeteFor website to apply for 2012 contracts, and there will be a new national campaign to try to persuade businesses to improve access.

The government will work with Channel 4, which has won the broadcasting rights to the Paralympic Games, to ensure its coverage is “appropriate” and “accessible”.

And Channel 4 will conduct a talent search for new disabled presenters and develop disabled talent behind the camera, while the government and disabled people’s organisations will work with editors, programme-makers, columnists and broadcasters to examine the representation of disabled people in the media.

Tessa Jowell, minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, said the legacy plan would “make a real difference to the way disabled people live their lives every day”, while Jonathan Shaw, minister for disabled people, said it was “vital” that disabled people benefited from the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” of London 2012.

Meanwhile, the government announced access improvements worth £8.2 million at three railway stations that will be key to London 2012 transport plans.

It said that Slough – a vital link for spectators travelling to events at Eton Dorney Lake – Hackney Central and Wembley Central would all be step-free in time for the Games.

18 March 2010


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