'Paralympics hasn't improved daily lives for disabled'

Bucks Free Press: 'Paralympics hasn't improved daily lives for disabled' 'Paralympics hasn't improved daily lives for disabled'

THE Paralympics has not helped improve the daily lives of disabled people, a leading Bucks campaign group says.

The event has been hailed as shifting public attitudes towards disability but Wycombe Area Access for All said while the achievements of Paralympic athletes were brilliant, the games have not led to significant changes to help the disabled in everyday life.

The organisation, representing people with disabilities in High Wycombe, Marlow and across the Wycombe district, said public transport in the area, in particular, remains a major problem.

Travelling to hospital, particularly now with services moving to Stoke Mandeville from Wycombe, has been highlighted as particularly hard.

The experience of shopping in a town centre like Marlow, especially the basics of getting inside a store without help, has not changed, WAAFA said.

Significant improvements have not happened despite the profile of Paralympians at London 2012 - and also Wycombe District Council's pledge to make the area the most disabled friendly nationwide - the pressure group said.

WAAFA told the Free Press: "Has the Paralympics meant we can get a bus to Stoke Mandeville? Has that meant the nitty gritty infrastructure is left in a better state?

"No, it hasn't. The Paralympics hasn't changed that."

Too many shops in towns around Wycombe still do not have ramps or wheelchair access and the internal layout is often difficult to navigate in a chair or a scooter, the organisation said.

The height of counters, for example at banks, or self service check outs at supermarkets, are also an issue, as are things such as switches for doors and electronic passes, WAAFA said.

It said: "It's all the little things that come together, it's the whole combination. We don't want wrapping in cotton wool, we don't want that. It's just about when we get into the bank for example, we want to be able to access the counter.

"It's not just the disability that disables us, it's society."

The organisation said people in wheelchairs just want to be able to get into a shop on their own without the embarrassment and inconvenience of having to be lifted in.

Buses, trains and other public transport continues to be a major concern.

"Public transport is not yet effective (in the Wycombe district) and not as effective as they (authorities) would like to think that it is," the group said.

For example, disabled people living in Marlow can not get directly to Bourne End or Beaconsfield by bus, the organisation pointed out.

A taxi fitted out to carry disabled passengers, from Marlow to High Wycombe, costs about £50 return and buses which say they are wheelchair friendly often are not, with ramps not in use, it added.

The council's Improvement and Review Commission will examine progress in the targets it set out last year to make it the most disabled friendly in the UK in September.

http://www.communigate.co.uk/bucks/wycombeareaaccessforall/

Comments (4)

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12:17pm Wed 14 Aug 13

Ivor'sbestfriend says...

Were the Paralympics meant to make catching a bus easier?
Were the Paralympics meant to make catching a bus easier? Ivor'sbestfriend

1:38pm Wed 14 Aug 13

buser says...

Perhaps, as a severely physically disabled person, I too misunderstood. I 'thought' that the idea of the Paralympics was to promote a positive public attitude towards disabled people.i.e. that disabled people could sometimes overcome their disabilities and achieve beyond public expectations. Of course it is annoying and inconvenient when you cannot easily access all the things you would wish but let's be realistic about this, over the last 50 years there have been amazing changes and developments which, with luck, are ongoing. We do have allowances to help with our mobility problems, we do have allowances to help with our care, and I certainly have learnt, to adapt and where possible, make the bests of life as it is. Most people I meet are are so very kind and helpful. Of course, campaign for improvements, but let's also be very grateful for what we do have, count our blessings and not expect one sporting event to change our world over night.
Perhaps, as a severely physically disabled person, I too misunderstood. I 'thought' that the idea of the Paralympics was to promote a positive public attitude towards disabled people.i.e. that disabled people could sometimes overcome their disabilities and achieve beyond public expectations. Of course it is annoying and inconvenient when you cannot easily access all the things you would wish but let's be realistic about this, over the last 50 years there have been amazing changes and developments which, with luck, are ongoing. We do have allowances to help with our mobility problems, we do have allowances to help with our care, and I certainly have learnt, to adapt and where possible, make the bests of life as it is. Most people I meet are are so very kind and helpful. Of course, campaign for improvements, but let's also be very grateful for what we do have, count our blessings and not expect one sporting event to change our world over night. buser

12:13pm Thu 15 Aug 13

aqm805 says...

Having served this society as a doctor, and now having become so very disabled myself, I've found people like NFH using racism and hatred as a major factor influencing many even in council....Travellin
g outside is big for people relying on others due to their physical illnesses, but never knew living within my own home would be made so very inaccessible for disabled. One hindrance, then another is created for us, all on instruction from rich NFH.
Having served this society as a doctor, and now having become so very disabled myself, I've found people like NFH using racism and hatred as a major factor influencing many even in council....Travellin g outside is big for people relying on others due to their physical illnesses, but never knew living within my own home would be made so very inaccessible for disabled. One hindrance, then another is created for us, all on instruction from rich NFH. aqm805

6:10pm Tue 20 Aug 13

piran says...

What ever did they expect? We have ramps everywhere, disabled parking everywhere, disabled benefits ete etc.
So what realistically did they think the Paralympics were going to do for them day-to-day apart from gaining admiration for the amazing athletes that overcame their disabilities and did not spend their time complaining.
What ever did they expect? We have ramps everywhere, disabled parking everywhere, disabled benefits ete etc. So what realistically did they think the Paralympics were going to do for them day-to-day apart from gaining admiration for the amazing athletes that overcame their disabilities and did not spend their time complaining. piran

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