A desire for a more active lifestyle and greater access to fitness facilities

Research reveals a desire for a more active lifestyle and greater access to fitness facilities amongst disabled people.

94% of people believe more should be done to provide disabled people with equal access to fitness and leisure facilities, according to findings released today from a poll commissioned by the organisers of Parallel London - the world’s first fully inclusive mass-participation run. The poll also found that:

• Over eight in ten (83%) disabled people say they would like to be more active and take part in more physical activity
• Almost seven in ten (69%) disabled people say they face barriers when it comes to being active or participating in physical/fitness activities
• Two thirds (66%) disabled people say they would be more active if these barriers were removed
• 69% of non-disabled people believe there is prejudice in Britain against disabled people,
compared to 82% of disabled people who believe there is prejudice


Parallel London ambassadors, paraplegic television personality Sophie Morgan, model Kelly Knox, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury Nick Ashley-Cooper and Tony Heaton, Chief Executive at Shape, attend the launch of Parallel London, a not-for-profit event, which aims to encourage disabled people to be more active and more independent, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 3, 2016. The major national event, which is backed by the Mayor of London, will take place on Sunday 4th September at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

Parallel London is a unique, not-for-profit event, that aims to encourage disabled people to be more active and more independent. It also wants to shine a light on inclusivity in everyday life, influencing greater accessibility in our society, whilst also helping to change public perceptions towards disability for the better. The research highlights why an event like Parallel London is needed in the national calendar, one that is purposely designed to encourage anyone to take part regardless of age, ability, impairment, mobility or health condition.

Backed by the Mayor of London and announced today by Founder Andrew Douglass, this major national event will take place on Sunday 4th September at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, a day after the Mayor of London’s Liberty festival. The format will include multiple running or walking distances, ranging from 100m to 10km to suit different levels of ability. The emphasis will be on shared experience and celebrating the spirit of togetherness; everyone will be able to participate in the run at the same time and at their own pace.

Founder of Parallel London, Andrew Douglass said:

“If prejudices can positively shift in the right direction and day to day barriers in life removed, there is little doubt that disabled people can be more independent, equal and enabled to positively engage in our society. My hope is that Parallel London will show that we are all stronger together.”

Patron of Parallel London Nick Ashley Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftsbury, is in no doubt of the importance of that mission:

“It’s really alarming that so many disabled people who want to lead more active lives still face barriers accessing facilities.

I’m thrilled to be involved in Parallel London, an exciting and innovative event where anyone, no matter what their ability, is able to take part. After my own spinal injury, I experienced first-hand the difficulties of trying to pursue an active lifestyle so I would urge anyone who either has an impairment or health condition, a lived experience of disability or just wants to be part of something really unique to sign up to support the event or their chosen disability charity.”

Entry to Parallel London is now open to all via a public ballot. Anyone with a disability or impairment is encouraged to enter. Those without a disability are also welcome to participate.

The results of the poll clearly show that it’s not just access to physical and fitness activities that are limited for disabled people as 58% said that they also face barriers when it comes to participating in cultural activities or attending cultural events. That’s why, alongside the run, Parallel London will also showcase a range of disability-led fun and interactive environments including: active lifestyle, family, culture, technology, food and drink.

Parallel London is launched today at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by Founder Andrew Douglass, Patron Nick Ashley-Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftsbury, and high profile supporters including Sophie Morgan, Kelly Knox, Martin Dougan and Baroness Jane Campbell. The event will also serve as a new and exciting way for the UK’s many disability charities to fundraise. Parallel London already has a number of disability charities on board, including Wings for Life, Action for Children, Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, who will all look to benefit from the money raised by participants, who choose to run on their behalf.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“Parallel London is an exciting new event for the capital, which we want people of all ages and abilities to be a part of. For Londoners with or without disabilities it's going to be a wonderful family-friendly day out, which I hope will help change attitudes as well as getting more of us to become more active. Coming in the same weekend as our Liberty disability arts festival, it promises to add to the building anticipation ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”

To find out more or to register for the UK’s most exciting and unique event of 2016, visit: ParallelLondon.com

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