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National Paralympic Heritage Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

on 24-03-2016 11:50

The newly formed National Paralympic Heritage Trust has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it was announced today. The Trust will safeguard, share and celebrate the heritage of the British Paralympic movement, bringing its stories of human endeavour to life. This will be achieved through exhibitions, online resources and educational programmes.

Development funding of £214,600 has been awarded to WheelPower, the national charity for British Wheelchair Sport based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, on behalf of the Trust to progress the plans and to enable the Trust to apply for a delivery grant at a later date.

In its first year the National Paralympic Heritage Trust will identify the collection of memorabilia and artefacts, held by a number of organisations and individuals, which tell the story of the British Paralympic movement. From the inspirational work of Dr Ludwig Guttmann and the birthplace of the Paralympic movement at Stoke Mandeville to the present day stories of the movement and the individual endeavour of the athletes involved.  A display for public involvement in developing ideas for the Trust will be created at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium to coincide with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Heritage Flame Ceremony on 2nd September.

This is the start of an exciting programme of activities over the next five years which, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funders, will establish a small, permanent heritage centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, nationwide satellite exhibitions and temporary exhibitions at major events, a virtual museum as part of the Trust’s website and other outreach and education programmes. All of these activities aim to raise awareness of the heritage of the British Paralympic movement and celebrate the achievements of the individuals who have contributed to its success. The Trust is also committed to promoting positive public perceptions and greater understanding of disability.

Stoke Mandeville is the birthplace of the Paralympic movement and was the home of the first Wheelchair Games in 1948, and co-hosted the Paralympic Games in 1984. Stoke Mandeville Stadium continues to be a focal point for disability sport, mainly due to the hard work of WheelPower, one of the founding members of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust and driving force behind the Heritage Lottery Fund bid. The other founding members of the Trust are the British Paralympic Association, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council.

Mr Paul Mainds BEM, former Trustee and Chief Executive of the River & Rowing Museum in Henley has been appointed as the independent Chair of the Trust. Paul said, “We are thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the Trust. We have worked hard over the past couple of years to establish the Trust and the HLF funding will enable us to transform our plans for a national heritage organisation for the British Paralympic movement into a reality. The timing is perfect as we can truly claim to be part of the legacy of London 2012, the moment when so many people, nationally and around the world, realised the tremendous impact of the Paralympic Games”. 

"London 2012 was a catalyst to considerable positive change across the Paralympic movement." Tim Hollingsworth

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association added,  “London 2012 was a catalyst to considerable positive change across the Paralympic movement, whether it be the increased celebration of the Games and our athletes’ achievements or an understanding of the fundamental role that this nation has played in its birth and development.  The BPA is delighted to be supportive and part of a Trust that will collect and celebrate this unique heritage and joins the other members in thanking the Heritage Lottery Fund for its support”.

Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive of WheelPower said, “The concept of a heritage organisation for the Paralympic movement has been an idea for many years. We are excited and delighted to be part of the new National Paralympic Heritage Trust and are now eager to develop our plans to share the inspiring legacy of Sir Ludwig Guttmann and the British Paralympic movement including a heritage centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, through touring exhibitions and a fully accessible Virtual Museum”.

Bucks County Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council representatives also added, “We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their grant. It is vital to the development of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, which will celebrate the unique heritage of the Paralympic movement which began in Stoke Mandeville”. 

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