Saturday, 2 March 2013

With Paralympian Hannah Cockroft MBE backing disabled kids’ charity

I met Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft MBE and pledged my support for a manifesto launched by charity Whizz-Kidz, at the House of Commons yesterday.

The ‘Generation Inspired?’ manifesto is based on a late 2012 survey the charity conducted of its young Ambassadors and their parents - asking them about their hopes for a Paralympic legacy, and their ideas to improve opportunities for young disabled people. A copy of the report and a petition to affect its recommendations were also taken to No.10 Downing Street.

Supporting the charity was double gold medallist Hannah Cockroft MBE, who received her first sports wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz in 2007, as well as two of the charity’s young Ambassadors – both of whom aspire to compete in the Games in the future.


It was fantastic to meet Hannah and the Whizz-Kidz Ambassadors and hear about the charity’s valuable work providing mobility equipment and opportunities for young disabled people. They do fantastic work locally in providing disabled children and young people with wheelchairs and with life skills through their work placements programme and wheelchair skills training.

It’s so important that the views of young disabled people shape plans for the Paralympic legacy and I am delighted to back Whizz-Kidz’s Generation Inspired manifesto.
Hannah Cockroft MBE said:

‘The day I received my wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz changed my life. My hope for the legacy of the Paralympics is that more young disabled people will not just be inspired – but have the opportunities - to go for gold and succeed in whatever they want to do.’
In 2012, the charity transformed the lives of 2025 disabled children and youngsters in the UK by providing life-changing mobility equipment such as powered and lightweight wheelchairs, specialist sports wheelchairs and specially adapted bikes and trikes.

For more information about Whizz-Kidz’s work providing disabled children and young people a chance of a childhood and the skills for a bright future, visit www.whizz-kidz.org.uk.

For further information please contact Rhiannon Hughes on 020 7798 6101 or r.hughes@whizz-kidz.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

The Generation Inspired manifesto sets out five key recommendations, which Whizz-Kidz are calling for those tasked with delivering the Paralympic Legacy to implement:

1) Communities to work together, so that schools, disability sports clubs, parents and young people can share expertise, facilities and opportunities to play sport

2) Young people to play an active role in shaping decisions that affect their lives

3) Employers to offer accessible work placements and internships – helping create more disabled role models

4) Transport operators to treat young disabled people like any other passenger

5) More young disabled people visible in media, fashion and advertising

· Research for the Generation Inspired manifesto was undertaken between September 2012 and January 2013 through an online survey, focus groups and phone calls. We had 117 respondents, whose opinions, experiences and recommendations are reflected in the ‘Generation Inspired?’ manifesto. We also drew on anecdotal evidence from young disabled people and their parents obtained through the 1,000-strong Whizz-Kidz Ambassador Network, many of whom attend Whizz-Kidz Ambassador Clubs, Wheelchair Skills Training or other life skills services.

Whizz-Kidz has changed the lives of nearly 16,000 disabled children since 1990 - often literally overnight. The charity estimates there are still over 70,000 children in the UK waiting for the right equipment to fit their young lives.

The right wheelchair and mobility equipment is not automatically provided on the NHS. Whizz-Kidz aims to work where possible with local NHS services, and aims to ensure that much-needed improvements are made in delivering wheelchair services for children in the UK.