Make 2012 a Para-Christmas

Following a successful summer of sport, new research reveals that disabled people across the UK face fundamental fears around money and mobility this Christmas that call into question the lasting legacy of the Paralympics. Insight from charity Leonard Cheshire Disability has found that the biggest worry for up to 2.2 million disabled people in the UK is having enough money to heat their homes this Christmas. Over 10 million – or one in six – people in the UK live with a disability.

Leonard Cheshire Disability – the UK’s leading charity supporting disabled people – undertook the research to build a true picture of the hopes and fears of disabled people, as 2012 – a year celebrated for increasing awareness and understanding of issues of disability – comes to a close.

The charity’s research reveals that the top three fears faced by disabled people this Christmas are:

  1. Not having enough money to heat their home
  2. Not being able to buy presents for loved ones
  3. Not being able to get home or travel to see family, due to lack of funds or accessible transport

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Chief Executive, Clare Pelham, comments: “It’s upsetting to see that disabled people are facing such fundamental fears. Being able to heat your home or travel to see family at Christmas are not luxuries. In a year when our Paralympic legends were celebrated with the same enthusiasm as their Olympic counterparts, it’s devastating to see that this equivalence does not extend to day-to-day life outside the spotlight.”

Leonard Cheshire Disability is calling on everyone to support disabled people throughout the festive season with a simple three-step action plan, dubbed the Leonard Cheshire Disability “Chat. Check. Drive” scheme. The charity is urging people to chat with disabled members of their community, check whether they need support and offer to help with their travel arrangements.

Pelham continues: “These simple acts of courtesy stand to make a huge difference to our neighbours, many of whom make Paralympic achievements on a daily basis.”

British Paralympian, Ben Rushgrove, adds: “After an amazing summer of Paralympic sport, I hoped that disability would become better understood and accepted in society. To a large extent this has happened and I see it every day. However, it saddens me to realise that some of the most vulnerable citizens of this country are still faced with the possibility of having a Christmas without the joys and basics associated with this time of year. Looking out for disabled people in your community, chatting to them and helping them with travel plans would be a great way to end 2012.”

Leonard Cheshire Disability has also created a viral montage to celebrate the Paralympic achievements of both well and lesser-known disabled Brits and encourage the spread of the “Chat. Check. Drive” message and scheme.

About Leonard Cheshire Disability

To find out more about the Leonard Cheshire Disability “Chat. Check. Drive” scheme, please visit

Leonard Cheshire Disability is one of the UK’s largest voluntary sector providers of services to disabled people. We support thousands of people with physical and learning disabilities in the UK and we work with Cheshire partner organisations in 54 countries around the world. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. Visit

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