There have been major upgrades to the London transport system, as well as national rail and the major airports. This includes:
- increasing the number of London underground stations which will have step-free access to 65 by the time the Games start, and
- ensuring more than 80 national rail stations have accessible routes between platforms – more than two-thirds of these at key locations for the Games.
For disabled visitors, London authorities are working to make the capital more accessible for disabled people, particularly around key tourist destinations like the South Bank. Hotels and businesses have been adapting their facilities to support disabled people, and there are also websites to provide better information and advice for disabled visitors:
On the Park, an expert panel of disability groups were involved in all decisions about the venue’s design and build – examples of their input is evident in the wider pathways through the Park, slopes with gentle gradients and venues with wheelchair seating spread across the seating bowls to give disabled people more choice.
Employment and skills
The Olympic Delivery Authority’s jobs brokerage programme means more than 6 per cent of people working on the development of the Olympic Park were disabled people. LOCOG has also been running a dedicated recruitment programme for disabled people, and Games contractors are required to have Guaranteed Interview Schemes for disabled people.
The School Games, an Olympic and Paralympic-inspired sports programme involving 13,000 UK schools, includes a mandatory disability sport element. Meanwhile, SportEngland, the agency responsible for grassroots sport in England, is providing ring-fenced funding to break down barriers to participation and improve community projects, as well as working with national sports organisations to encourage more inclusive programmes across all sports.
Arts and culture
Unlimited, the UK’s largest arts programme for deaf and disabled people, has awarded about £2 million worth of commissions as part of the Cultural Olympiad, while disabled people will also figure prominently in the Torch Relay, in the Games Maker volunteer teams and the opening and closing ceremonies.
Launched in 2007, International Inspiration, the international legacy programme for London 2012, has reached more than 12 million people in 20 countries around the world, using sport to make a difference to communities. A number of projects are focused on reaching out to disabled children, displaced children and children living in institutions. Examples available under case studies.
Corporate and media
Media interest in the Paralympics is reflected in the landmark deal with UK broadcaster Channel 4 to provide 150 hours of coverage – their biggest ever live broadcast event. Corporate support includes the UK retailer Sainsbury’s, becoming the first ever Paralympics-only sponsor. Other major blue chip companies sponsoring the Games and Paralympic GB include Lloyds, EDF Energy, BT, Deloitte, Cadbury, P&G and Coca Cola.