As the dust settles from another successful Paralympic Games, what is the ongoing reality for disabled people in the UK? Sam Milne, a wheelchair basketball player and former helper in an Urban Saints Group, has written a blog for The Additional Needs Blogfather. Sam featured in the recent BBC News broadcast about the Paralympics legacy, the Channel 4 'Superhero' series and the ‘WeThe15’ campaign representing the 15% of the world’s population that is disabled.
'My name is Samantha Milne, I am 33 years old and live in Leicestershire. I have a disability called Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a Neurological Condition that effects my movement, coordination, and speech. The effect of this means that everyday tasks, such as walking, use a lot more energy and I get tired much quicker.
My journey with Crusaders started in 2006, when I attended the Crusaders Centenary at the Royal Albert Hall; what a amazing experience! In 2011, after learning to drive, I became more involved in Crusaders, helping at the Group on a weekly basis. I also completed my ‘Insights’ training course for Christian youth and children’s leadership teams. I was also able to attend a few weekends away, first visiting Wales then going to Derbyshire. This was a big step in building my confidence and independence, I also enjoyed the opportunities to try different activities such as raft building and kayaking.
I have been playing wheelchair basketball for around five years, having first started at an inclusive sports club before joining my local wheelchair basketball club (Leicester Cobras); after initially just taking part in weekly training I then joined the women league. I really enjoy playing wheelchair basketball, having previously not being able to take part in group sport I really enjoy being part of a team.
The opportunity to take part in the filming for BBC News came when I was contacted by our Club Chairman. Having not had the chance to do much over the lockdown I jumped at the chance, not really knowing how much I would be filmed but really grateful for the chance to not only play basketball but to raise awareness of the issues many people with disabilities still face.
While I have witnessed many positive changes for people who have disability, I feel that more can still be done. One of the issues I face regularly is doors being too heavy for me to open, changing doors to power push button opening would make a huge difference to my independence. I feel that a lot has been made of making things step free, but steps are just one issues we face.'
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Mark Arnold (Additional Needs Ministry Director) is running different types of additional needs and disability training throughout the autumn. To find out more about what Mark and his team can offer to support churches, groups and individuals, please click here.