18th June 2020

HS2 Community and Environment Fund logo

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust will bring local Paralympic history to life in communities and schools along the HS2 route in Buckinghamshire and south east Northamptonshire with support from a new grant.

London 2012 generated National and local interest and pride in the History of the Paralympic movement particularly in and around Stoke Mandeville and across Buckinghamshire. It showed us the power of the Games to break down negative attitudes to disability and it also highlighted that no one was looking after the early collections, or more recent collections, left in insecure offices, old stores and boiler rooms, and also in the personal memories of many local people who literally made the Paralympic Games happen through support and fundraising.

Starting a new charity to save this important and unique heritage in a climate of austerity has been a big challenge despite the massive groundswell of local support. The HS2 grant will enable us to outreach along the line of the HS2 phase 1 route, to capture these stories at risk of being lost, to share and promote them locally and nationally building valuable resources and skills across our communities, and instilling pride for what is truly a remarkable national achievement.

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust has secured a £250,000 grant over three years from the HS2 Community Fund: a multi-million pound fund that helps to build and support communities disrupted by the construction of HS2. Further funds have also been achieved through the Thriving Communities Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Trust will use the funding to outreach to communities to share the heritage, uncover and record new stories, for example the Finmere Show that raised funds for the Paralympics for over 30 years. There will be opportunities to meet Paralympians, host artist residencies, visit the permanent displays, create exhibitions drawing on the collections and volunteer to support this amazing story of international significance.

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd said

At HS2 we are keenly aware of the disruption that building the new railway can have on local communities, which is why these awards are so important as we support those affected, even before the main construction phase has begun. In these difficult times, HS2 will not only provide a boost to the UK economy, creating job and business opportunities across the country, but can also make an impact in giving back to the communities where we are working. This project is part of HS2 investing in the line of route communities and my hope is that it contributes to us creating a positive and lasting legacy.

Nigel Purse, Chair of the NPHT said

This is a marvellous way for the NPHT to extend its work and outreach more into the local communities, celebrating this remarkable local history and the role that the residents of the area had to play in it.

Vicky Hope-Walker, CEO said

We are delighted to have received this support because there are so many untold stories out there in these communities that we can uncover and share, stories that might otherwise be lost, and stories of real endurance that led to what we now know as the Paralympic Games, no ordinary feat. It is also an opportunity to share the history with young people who may not be aware of its local significance.

More information can be found on this webpage

If you would like further information please contact [email protected].   


For Media Enquiries

Vicky Hope-Walker, CEO, National Paralympic Heritage Trust: 07776 471066

Notes for Editors

HS2 Community Fund

Two funds, with a combined total of £40million, are available to local communities and businesses that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2 between London and the West Midlands; the Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF).

The independent administration of these funds is managed on behalf of HS2 Ltd by the charity Groundwork UK who will ensure both funds remain available for applications throughout the construction of Phase One. Read the Groundwork UK annual review.

Community and business groups interested in applying for the fund can find out more at www.hs2funds.org.uk  

About the National Paralympic Heritage Trust

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) has been established ‘to enlighten and inspire future generations by celebrating, cherishing and bringing the Paralympic heritage and its stories of human endeavour to life’. The heritage tells the history of a remarkable movement beginning with the arrival of Dr Guttmann as a Jewish refugee from Germany in 1943 through to the many individual who have been part of the movement. It is a journey that has had profound effects on the lives of many disabled people and their families. It has led the way in changing attitudes towards disabled people and influenced the development of new medical, scientific and engineering technologies to better support them. It is a tale still unfolding with further significant developments during and since the success of London 2012.

The four founding members of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust are the British Paralympic Association, WheelPower – British Wheelchair Sport, Aylesbury Vale District Council, and Buckinghamshire County Council. Contributing partners include the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation, the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Buckinghamshire County Museum Trust and the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies.

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