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- 19 August 2014 00:00
- in Paralympics
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Lord Chris Holmes, who served as Director of Paralympic Integration for London 2012, feel that the Games has left a tangible legacy for disabled people two years on from when the Games took place.
Lord Holmes now sits on the Paralympic Legacy Advisory Group, which continues to help shape and steer the Paralympic Legacy, and feels that the Games has provided tangible benefits for disabled people.
"I definitely think that there has been a meaningful legacy for disabled people from the London 2012 Paralympics,” Lord Holmes told Community Sport Network.
"There has been a tangible legacy from the Games that includes increased awareness and understanding of disability, more investment and subsequently more participation in disability sport and more accessibility for disabled people across London, particularly in Stratford.
"I am aware that there are reports from a variety of different organisations and charities questioning the impact of the legacy but it is fair to say that in terms of disabled people and disability sport, there are things that have happened that would not have happened without the Paralympic Games.”
"London was ahead of many other previous host cities in that we considered legacy right from the start of our planning, long before the Paralympic Games ever took place.
"Thanks to the great team we had in place and the strong work that was done, I feel that there has been meaningful, tangible legacy for disabled people from London 2012.”
Lord Holmes, who also has nine Paralympic gold medals following a glittering swimming career, also explained that he is continuing to use his position in the House of Lords to raise awareness of disability and disability sport.
The visually-impaired former athlete was appointed to the House of Lords in September 2013 as the Lord Holmes of Richmond, where he serves alongside another high-profile Paralympian in former wheelchair racing icon Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
"The opportunity (to enter the House of Lords) was rather unexpected,” he explained.
"I received a telephone call completely out of the blue from Prime Minister David Cameron.
"He told me that he had enjoyed working with me during London 2012 and that he wanted me to join his team in the House of Lords.
"It was something I was very honored to accept because I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that I would ever have such an opportunity to serve in the House of Lords.
"Now that I am a Lord, it is something that I take very seriously and I do proactively look to raise awareness of disability and disability sport.
"I used my maiden speech in the House of Lords to talk about London 2012 and the impact that the Paralympic Games had.
"I have also discussed topics around broadcast where I have referenced the work that Channel 4 has done, and continues to do, in terms of promoting disability sport.
"So I see my role in the House of Lords as a huge privilege and also a huge responsibility to influence legislation that can enhance the lives of disabled people.”
To read the full "Catch Up” interview with Lord Chris Holmes, Click Here