29/07/2015

National Charity Calls For Greater Disability Awareness

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National charity The British Polio Fellowship has called for greater disability awareness. In light of the 24th annual Disability Awareness Day held in Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington, the fellowship has expressed the importance of keeping up the momentum of increasing awareness surrounding disabilities.

The event saw 20,000 visitors attend the tented village, and included a wheelchair basketball tournament, excerpts from 'Oliver the Musical', an Arts Marquee and family entertainment, and the opportunity to try scuba diving and fencing amongst many other sports in the Sports Zone. The largest volunteer-led disability exhibition gives space for 250 exhibitors to promote independent living and the theme of a 'can do' culture, whilst providing entertainment and activities for all.

Whilst being one of the most impressive and enjoyable dates in the disability calendar, Disability Awareness Day is one of the leading events in accessibility, implementing forward-thinking structures to enable the greatest level of independence for those with limited mobility, something that Ted Hill, CEO of the British Polio Fellowship, applauds and welcomes.

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"Not only is it great to see an event of this scale dedicated to disability awareness, the team at Disability Awareness Day follow through with their commitment to promoting independent living by making the event itself one of the most easily accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility"

The event organisers reserve all main front car park spaces for blue badge holders, have forty wheelchairs available for free loan, and fully trained enablers will push or guide around site those who require. Furthermore, the event offers permanent unisex wheelchair accessible toilets, and will offer support to those with special requirements such as leg elevators attendant or self-propel chairs.

"Accessibility and inclusion are important issues with us the British Polio Fellowship and we have enjoyed seeing progress being made this year, such as the announcement that Wimbledon will now feature a wheelchair tennis singles event. Events like the Disability Awareness Day are crucial to the Fellowship, as many of our members are living with a legacy of immobility as a result of Polio and/or Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). It has been truly impressive to see such a large-scale event focusing on promoting a 'can do' culture, whilst implementing the very structures to allow an independent experience of events of this size."

"However, we have to recognise that whilst progress is being made, the overall landscape of disability awareness and accessibility is still dire. The wellbeing of our members at the Fellowship, and the wider disabled community, is our priority, yet it's also worth considering the untapped commercial opportunities and missed-out business from the 'purple pound'.

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"£212 billion potential 'purple pound' means making businesses accessible for people with disabilities and their families can unlock a huge amount of profit. It can be as easy as training staff to help with mobility assistance, or printing menus in a larger font. There are many small changes that are straightforward to implement, regardless of the size of your business".

Next year's Disability Awareness Day will take place on Sunday 10 July at Walton Hall and Gardens. To find out more about The British Polio Fellowship and to learn about the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome visit the charity's website at www.britishpolio.org.uk

 

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