By Kush Kanodia
Our London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic mottos were to ‘Inspire A Generation’ and keep our ‘Spirit in Motion’. In addition to audience research carried out for Channel 4, an Ipsos MORI poll reveals the impact of the games on the perceptions of disability in the UK:
- Eight in ten (81%) British adults say that the Paralympics 2012 has had a positive impact on the way disabled people are viewed by the public.
- The positivity of the Olympic games has carried on through the Paralympics with three in four Britons (76%) saying the games have had a positive effect on the mood of the British public. This follows from the 86% that said the same about the Olympics back in August.
- Britons also believe that the London Paralympics have been good for the image of Britain abroad with 75% saying it has had a positive impact on the way Britain is viewed by the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, the economic and political risks are still very real, and they will be getting far worse for disabled people in the future. A blanket cuts approach is jeopardising these legacy opportunities for London 2012 through a 3 pronged attack of:
- Cuts to benefits
- Cuts to services
- General lack of opportunities
A wonderful legacy goal after the Paralympics would be the active involvement and integration of disabled people in UK society. There are some wonderful social enterprises and charities that are bringing this about, and one idea to empower them would be to create a network of Olympic & Paralympic legacy partners including:
- Disability Rights UK and their Doing Sport Differently initiative.
- Choice International and their Diversity & Games 2012 Initiative.
- Level Playing Field and their accessibility objectives.
We are also fortunate to be blessed with a number of Olympic & Paralympic Ambassadors (from medal winners, torch bearers and volunteers, to the various Olympic & Paralympic associations). Would it not be wonderful if one of these stakeholders could visit every nursery, school and college in the UK as part of our London 2012 legacy vision to Inspire a Generation?
We also now have global recognition for being leaders in terms of equality, diversity, accessibility and disability rights after such a successful London 2012 Olympic & Paralympics games. We now have to market and leverage this expertise globally, through initiatives such as Choice International’s conference on Disability Equality & Accessibility in Bangalore, India on the 21st of December 2012.
We have created a sea change in the UK and the consciousness of the world. Now we need to make sure we harness that momentum to deliver real and permanent change both in the UK and globally. This can only really be achieved if we all take ownership of our legacy vision and strive to do all we can to overcome any barriers, just like our ‘Super Human’ Paralympians…