Paralympian Takes On Politicians On Accessible
October 5, 2004
LONDON, ENGLAND--Last month, Andy Blake led Great Britain's Paralympic basketball team to a bronze medal. Now, he is helping to lead a campaign to increase awareness of the needs of people with disabilities, and, specifically the need for accessible housing.
In a guest commentary for Monday's Independent, Blake wrote about his own struggle to get a home where he could move around freely and independently, and could invite friends to visit. He noted that the United Kingdom has 300,000 too few accessible homes, and that people often wait 10 years for one of their own.
Blake's team is taking on politicians in an exhibition game this week.
Blake hopes the event helps lawmakers become more aware of accessible housing and other issues that concern the 9.8 million people with disabilities in the country.
"In the run-up to the general election, politicians will do well to remember that this is not a minority issue that can be brushed away," Blake wrote. "There are millions of votes up for grabs."
"With the welcome new anti-discrimination laws coming into force this month to improve access for disabled people, it is too easy to think that the job is now done. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go before disabled people will be able to say that they have access to adequate services and are allowed to do the things that non-disabled people take for granted."
"What use is a house if you can't get to the front door?" by Andy Blake (The Independent)
Life is a Lucky Dip for Disabled People (John Grooms Housing Association)