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Issue:- 1 November  2012

Survey reveals doubts over Paralympic legacy

JUST 2 months on from the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics, a new survey of people with disabilities and carers has found that the Paralympic legacy may not be as far-reaching as hoped.

In a survey by national disability charity Vitalise, which runs the Sandpipers respite break centre in Southport, 54% of the respondents thought that the public did not have a better understanding of the day to day lives of people with disabilities as a result of the Paralympics.

The findings have cast clear doubts on whether any profound change in the public's perception of the reality of disability has occurred and come a matter of weeks after the Prime Minister David Cameron talked about his hopes for a Paralympic legacy at the Conservative Party Conference.

Even though 82% of the people with disabilities and carers surveyed felt that the public was more aware and open-minded towards them as a result of the Paralympics, 40% expressed worries that any positive change would just be temporary.

The survey was conducted in September and early October among the people with disabilities and carers who have taken much-needed respite breaks with Vitalise. 65% of the respondents were people with disabilities.

In the light of the findings, Vitalise is urging society as a whole to help sustain the Paralympic legacy by engaging with the day to day lives of people with disabilities and helping them play a much more significant role in society.

Vitalise Chief Executive, Chris Simmonds, said:- "Earlier this month, in a moving reference to his son, David Cameron talked of how, thanks to the Paralympics, 'more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair...' We agree that the Paralympics has helped society view disability in a much more positive light.  But the feel good factor may not last forever, and our survey has highlighted the concerns of people with disabilities that they will fade from public view and become invisible to society once again. We must not let that happen. The real work to sustain the Paralympic legacy starts now. Unless we as a society permanently change the way we view and value the capabilities and aspirations of people with disabilities, the true potential of the UK's disabled population may never be realised."

Vitalise's call is being backed by Team GB paralympian and 7/7 survivor Martine Wright, who was recently named the Vitalise Woman of Achievement 2012.

Martine said:- "As someone who only recently acquired the label 'disabled', I have experienced this issue from both sides. I consider myself lucky in the sense that since 2005 I have managed to achieve many of my dreams, but I'm keenly aware that the reality of life for the vast majority of people with disabilities is very different.  People with disabilities have huge potential. They want to play a part in society, to make a contribution, but too often they are held back by the negative attitudes of others. The Games have done an enormous amount of good, but until we start thinking in terms of what people with disabilities can do, not what they can't, I'm worried that little will change in the long run."

Commenting on the high profile of people with disabilities in the wake of the Games, one respondent said:- "Para Olympics has made a lot more people realise what can be achieved, a lot of different people have told me they did not realise how much people like myself can do, so there is far greater awareness since the Olympics."

However, many respondents doubted whether the Paralympic 'feel good' factor would have any long-term effects. One respondent commented:- "I would like to think that the understanding and empathy towards people with disabilities would last. Unfortunately I believe that unless you know someone personally or have a disability yourself, there are many people who choose not to engage or understand those who are different."

  Trick or Treat & Recycle with Palm Recycling!

"RECYCLE Your Pumpkins" is the message to residents of Sefton this Halloween, who are being urged to place them in their kerbside food waste bins, provided by Ellesmere Port-based Palm Recycling Ltd, who undertake recycling on behalf of the Council.

The popularity of Halloween and of course the grizzly Pumpkin Lanterns, means there's never been a better time to kick-start your food waste recycling than by placing them in the food waste bins. Sefton's food waste recycling service, provided by Palm Recycling is a convenient and very environmentally friendly way of disposing of gruesome lanterns where you know they will have an ecologically sound journey into the afterlife.

Residents who have opted into the food waste collection scheme need only remove candles and tea lights, along with any metal handles, and cut the pumpkin up to fit in their food waste caddy. Recently deceased pumpkins, together with any glass bottles, jars and paper waste from ghoulish gatherings and Halloween parties, can be disposed of safe in the knowledge that they will meet a less than grizzly end, but instead recycled into new and useful reincarnations.

Cllr. Hardy, Cabinet Member, Communities and Environment, said:- "Sefton residents were the first in Merseyside to be able to recycle their food waste, and this weekly collection is the perfect service to recycle your pumpkins after Halloween.  It is amazing how much food we waste but now we can divert what was once thought of as waste,
away from landfill, where it can be recycled into something useful, which in this case is horticultural products."

Palm Recycling's North West Operations Manager for Sefton, Ruairi Holyoake, added:- "The weekly kerbside food waste collection scheme we run works in harmony with the collection of a wide range of materials for recycling, such as glass bottles and jars, paper, cans, tins, and textiles. The food waste goes to a special processing plant in West Yorkshire where it is treated in an enclosed vessel and the end product is used on local farms as a soil improver."

Residents who are not currently opted into the scheme can request a food waste bin for outside, an indoor kitchen-handy food caddy and an information pack, free of charge, by contacting Sefton Council on:- 0845 140 0845. Extra or replacement recycling bags and boxes can also be requested by calling this number.


SEFTON'S Coroner's Office is appealing for any information on the whereabouts of the next of kin of a 39 year old woman from Southport.  Deborah Louise Corless died at her home in Southport on Thursday, 18 October 2012. Her death is not being treated as suspicious. An Inquest has been opened and adjourned whilst further evidence is being gathered.  Deborah is originally from the Lancaster area and it is thought she may have family still living in the area.  Sefton Coroner's Office would like to hear from her family or anyone who can offer information that could help trace her family.  Anyone with information should call the Coroners Officer on:- 0151 777 3481.

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