I spoke to a wheelchair bound constituent last week who was eagerly awaiting the Paralympic Games. She said that it was important to see the contribution that people with disabilities can make. I wholeheartedly agree. My experience of disabilities from a Local Government view is not to patronise, but provide services to people with disabilities to help themselves. Take for example, the Juice Bar that operates on Saturday from the Finchley Youth Theatre on East Finchley High Road. This is a wonderful service, with an excellent produce, that is of huge benefit to it's users.
People with disabilities have always contributed and achieved, Great people like Sir Winston Churchill coped with depression, or Nelson with his one hand. In sport, BS Chandrasekhar was a great spinner for India, despite polio in his arm. Wally Hammond lost an inch off his arm during the war, and still played Test Cricket for England.
That isn't to say that people with disabilities don't need support, financial or physical. We need to make transport more accessible, we need to make sure there is no discrimination in the workplace.
But going back to the Paralympic games, people like Tanni Grey-Thompson can be real role models and heroes. They show what can be done by those who put their minds to it. They have helped to change the way disabilities are seen, and I hope this progress can be banked. Good luck to our athletes.