23rd November 2023

'Becoming Seamlessly Inclusive' - Celebrating Paralympic Sport for Sensory Needs, Cerebral Palsy, and Dwarfism

We are delighted to receive a grant of £240,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support this transformative project over the next three years, dedicated to preserving and celebrating the heritage of three National Disability Sports Organisations, British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, and Dwarf Sport Association UK. Titled 'Becoming Seamlessly Inclusive,' the initiative aims to make Paralympic heritage meaningful and accessible for all, engaging disabled communities and reaching national audiences through dedicated galleries in a new Virtual Museum.

The 'Becoming Seamlessly Inclusive' project is set to uncover, protect, and share the at-risk Paralympic heritage of three underrepresented National Disability Sports Organisations: British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, and Dwarf Sport Association UK. At the heart of this initiative is a commitment to placing the expertise, insights, and experiences of disabled individuals at the forefront of researching, interpreting, and sharing these compelling stories.

Over the course of three years, the grant will empower NPHT to support four disabled Museum Trainees, working collaboratively with heritage and learning experts. Together, they will employ innovative digital approaches to preserve uncovered heritage and engage new audiences through dedicated galleries within the new Virtual National Paralympic Heritage Trust Museum.

The grant will also enable NPHT to collaborate with British Blind Sport in the first year, followed by Cerebral Palsy Sport and Dwarf Sport Association UK. The focus will be on working closely with these communities to uncover and celebrate their inspirational heritage. This includes capturing films, photographs, and oral histories of Paralympians and the diverse array of individuals involved in the Games. Utilising cutting-edge technology, items from their sporting heritage collection will be digitally recorded in 2 and 3D, creating an immersive experience for visitors in the new Virtual Museum. Here, patrons can virtually handle Paralympic heritage objects and immerse themselves in the stories, narrated in the voices of disabled individuals.

Commenting on the grant, Victoria Hope Walker, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust said,

We are delighted to be working with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund again, and ensuring that the National Disability Sports Organisation's amazing histories and the individuals who developed them will be properly recorded and shared. This journey will also enable us to broaden accessibility for all.

Established in 2015, NPHT's mission is to preserve, celebrate, and share Britain's Paralympic heritage. Over the past six years, with substantial support from the Heritage Fund, NPHT has created a nationally styled accredited museum, amassed a collection of international importance, and inspired over 600,000 individuals across the UK and overseas with the story of national Paralympic heritage.

Based in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, recognised globally as the birthplace of the Paralympics, NPHT's museum pays homage to Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann's groundbreaking work. From 1944, he led the National Spinal Injuries Unit, transforming the treatment of spinal injury patients and pioneering rehabilitation through sport. The project that started in 1948 with a modest archery competition has evolved into the third-largest global sporting event, demonstrating that disabled sport can be as competitive and exciting as non-disabled sport.

While the first phase of NPHT's collections work focused on Stoke Mandeville, early Paralympic development, and predominantly wheelchair sport, the organisation is acutely aware of the urgent need to rescue, preserve, and share at-risk Paralympic heritage across all Paralympic sports. With the generous support of the Heritage Fund, NPHT is embarking on a new 5-year strategy, committed to developing collections across all five Paralympic National Disability Sports Organisations from 2023 to 2026.

The 'Becoming Seamlessly Inclusive' project represents a significant step towards realising this commitment and ensuring that the diverse heritage of Paralympic sports is preserved and celebrated for generations to come.

Read more about the project here

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in our strategic plan, Heritage 2033.  

Over the next ten years, we aim to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment.    

We help protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are.  

We are passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.