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MP opens groundbreaking new disabled route

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A Government minister has opened a unique disabled-friendly route between Stoke Mandeville Stadium and Aylesbury town centre.

Minister for disabled people Mike Penning MP opened the route between sporting and hospital facilities and the centre of Aylesbury as part of a visit to the birthplace of the Paralympics.

Mr Penning also attended the Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and visited the Waterside Theatre to learn more about the Buckinghamshire legacy and Aylesbury town centre development proposals.

He said: “It is great to see Stoke Mandeville - the birthplace of the Paralympic movement - continuing in the spirit of the games and supporting people with disabilities.

“The Buckinghamshire Legacy programme has done excellent work in breaking down the barriers faced by disabled people. I hope it inspires other communities to take similar action.”

The route was the brainchild of the Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDs), a charity run by disabled people who aspired to see a fully marked route linking the facilities at Stoke Mandeville with the town centre.

Andrew Clark, chairman of trustees for BuDs said: “The 5km route is suitable for use by most disabled or older people, especially wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments, and it runs almost entirely along public pavements which were brought up to a high standard of mobility accessibility.

“Additional seats were provided along the route for people who needed to rest for a while and clear signposting was installed to help people with less severe vision, impairment or learning difficulties.”

BuDs are currently monitoring the route with a view to further developing it to incorporate aditional features to make it easier to access.

Buckinghamshire legacy manager Ian Barham said: “The development of Stoke Mandeville Way is an example of the type of initiative we want to see much more of in Buckinghamshire as part of our Olympic and Paralympic legacy.

“As birthplace of the Paralympic movement it is important that this is reflected in the access standards available to be enjoyed by our communities and visitors.

“We have already achieved much here in Aylesbury through the development of new facilities such as the Waterside Theatre and in attracting major events such as the forthcoming World Junior Games in August, but we now have the opportunity to make significant improvements as part of the town centre vision and local growth plans helping to set new standards and deliver new and better opportunities for others to follow.”

 

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