Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

'Few excited' by the Paralympics

Just 11 per cent of Britons say they are excited about the Paralympics

Less than a quarter of disabled people and just 11% of Britons overall are excited about the Paralympics, a poll has shown.

Apathy towards the Games is rife, according to the ComRes poll commissioned by disability charity Scope, with less than a third of disabled Britons and 18% of the nation planning on watching all or most Paralympic events.

A significant proportion of disabled Britons also believes the Paralympics is condescending to disabled people, while only one in five thinks it is inclusive.

A total of 22% believe it is patronising and 20% think it makes disabled people appear second class. Just 23% see it as empowering, while 61% think it is an opportunity for disabled people. And 9% think that the whole thing is a waste of money - compared to 5% of the nation as a whole.

The charity also found that two thirds of disabled people polled have experienced aggression, hostility or name calling - up from 41% in May. And 46% said that they experience discrimination on at least a weekly basis, compared to 50% in May.

Alice Maynard, chairwoman of Scope, said: "Changing attitudes is about visibility and increased familiarity in everyday life."

She added: "But if the only disabled people that get any profile out of the games are Paralympians - and their feats of sporting success - then it is unlikely that the games will do much to change people's perceptions of ordinary disabled people.

"The challenge for London 2012 is to make sure disabled people are involved not just on track and field but throughout the Games and the celebrations before and afterwards."

She also expressed concerns about provisions for the influx of disabled people into the capital during the Games. "It's just not clear how London will cope with having so many people and so many disabled people in the same place at the same time," she said.

Paralympics GB could not be contacted for comment.

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