Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, said: “We want the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to showcase a Britain without barriers."
Endorsed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), London 2012: A Legacy for Disabled People aims to improve the lives of 10 million people with a disability in the UK by increasing participation in sport and physical activity, improving business, transport and employment opportunities, and changing attitudes and perceptions of disability in society.
Sport England has given disability sport a further boost by announcing that it is investing £1.5 million of Exchequer funding in the English Federation of Disability Sport to help them deliver a new strategy to increase participation and opportunities for people with a disability.
They have also announced that they will be making £2 million of targeted National Lottery funding available, by application, to nine disability sports organizations including: British Blind Sport, Mencap Sport, Wheelpower and the Special Olympics, to help develop grassroots disability sports participation across the UK.
A further £8 million has also been ring-fenced by Sport England for investment in disability sport over the next two years.
Other initiatives included in the disability legacy plan are:
the development of a National Equality Framework so that businesses can assess their equality performance and improve their working conditions for employees with a disability
specialist events targeted at diverse businesses, including those owned by people with a disability, encouraging them to register on ‘CompeteFor’ so that they can apply for contracts opportunities from the Games. So far 1,327 businesses owned by disabled people have registered on CompeteFor;
work with the Accessible Tourism Stakeholder Forum to improve access to tourism services and provide businesses with training to help improve facilities, accessibility and information for people with a disability;
better access and information across the London transport system to enable people with a disability to travel confidently and independently and further the development of London 2012’s transport legacy; and
work with Channel 4, the official London 2012 Paralympic Games broadcaster, to ensure coverage is appropriate, accessible and extends beyond Games time. Over 150 hours of coverage will be delivered on their core channel, with subtitling and audio description forming part of the programming to ensure the widest possible audience can enjoy the Games.
London 2012 and Arts Council England have also officially announced today that £400,000 of funding has been awarded to ten commissions by artists with a disability as part of the Unlimited programme. The scheme which celebrates the arts, culture and sport by deaf people and people with a disability aims to help transform the disability arts movement in the UK and celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, said: “We want the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to showcase a Britain without barriers. By working to increase sports participation, improve employment opportunities amongst people with a disability and develop a greater appreciation of disability issues in society, our legacy plan for people with a disability aims to make a real difference to the way people with a disability live their lives everyday.
“The backing of the International Paralympic Committee is recognition of the scale of our ambition and our determination to ensure the benefits of London 2012 live long beyond the Games. With this strategy we have developed blueprint for other host nations looking to deliver a lasting legacy for disabled people from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, said: "It is vital that disabled people benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented by the Games. It's the opportunity to make a real and lasting change, to showcase disabled people’s talents, not just in the sporting field but through employment, through positive role models and through the 2012 disability arts programme. Such a legacy will live past 2012 and take us towards our vision of disability equality by 2025."
Xavier Gonzalez, International Paralympic Committee, CEO, said: “The ‘Disability Legacy Plan’ of the UK Government is the perfect fit for the IPC’s strategy in the field, and we are extremely happy to see this plan. With such a plan, the Paralympic Games can become the ‘springboard’ to push the agenda forward. It is also great to see that the plan is targeting really long term, far beyond the London 2012 Games.”
Ian Lucas, Business Minister, said: "I am asking all businesses, especially small businesses, to engage better with customers with a disability not just because it is fair but because this presents an excellent opportunity to expand into a market that is worth £80 billion per year."
More details on the winning Unlimited commissions can be found at www.london2012.com/unlimited.