Poll suggests life with a disability has not improved in Britain since the London Paralympics

A new poll suggests four fifths of disabled people don't think Britain is a better place to be disabled since the London 2012 Paralympics.

In a poll of 1,000 disabled people more than 70% said there had been no change in the way people act towards them, including the way people talk to them, language people used, and the awareness people had of their needs.

Four in five thought the accessibility of public transport and pubs, restaurants, clubs and shops hadn't improved either. Meanwhile, just 19% of those polled believed disabled life in Britain had improved since the Paralympics and only 15% thought employer attitudes had got better.

Gold medalist Britain's David Weir sits with his son Mason in a wheelchair
Despite gold medallists like David Weir, daily life has not changed for many with disabilities (Matt Dunham/AP)

Despite this the poll found three quarters thought attitudes were improved by London 2012 and 82% thought the games generally changed negative assumptions.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of disability charity Scope who ran the poll, said: "Disabled people overwhelmingly believe in the positive power of the Paralympics to change attitudes for the better."

"But four years on from London 2012, in their day-to-day lives disabled people continue to face negative attitudes at work, in the playground and in the street."

Shelly Woods (left) crosses the line winning Silver in the Women's Marathon T54
(Chris Radburn/PA)

Charlie Willis, 25, has cerebral palsy: "They talk so much about the legacy of the Paralympics and how much money has gone into sport since London 2012, but perceptions don't change overnight" he said.

Less than a third of those polled said watching the Paralympics made them feel better about their body image, and only 29% said Paralympic coverage gave them a greater sense of belonging in society.

"Disabled people and their identity is individual" said Mr Willis.

"Even though two people may have the same impairment on paper their experiences are very different."

Charlie Willis, 25
"It is not because they have a disability that Paralympians are superhuman" said Charlie Willis (photo courtesy of Charlie Willis)

Of those polled 70% saw protecting disability benefits from further cuts as their top priority for new Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet.

Willis works for the charity Independent Lives and tried wheelchair racing for almost a year: "Not everyone gets that opportunity" he said. "Clubs are so few and far between and more funding for groups to set up their own would be a huge help.

"If you look online you will see there's lots of disabled people losing their entitlement to a vehicle too, which helps them get to these clubs and do their daily routine.

"Ultimately anything that challenges perceptions of disability is a good thing, but there needs to be other conversations about disability and ones which don't happen only every four years."

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