13th May 2020

The Paralympics: Digital explorations

With support from the Rothschild Foundation’s Impact Grants programme of £145,000 over two and half years the National Paralympic Heritage Trust will work with local disability organisations, individuals and participating schools to build their 3D digital, sports heritage research and investigative communication skills, leading to the creation of a virtual gallery of their collections and archives. Training will be free and lead to paid opportunities for those wishing to further their employment skills.

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 Rothschild Foundation Impact Grant will enable us to collaborate closely with disability sector to build professional heritage based digital and journalistic skills, in a way that benefits both the local community, wider heritage sector and the Trust as an individual organisation.

Ellie Stout, Head of Grants at the Rothschild Foundation said,

The Foundation is delighted to support NPHT enhance its celebration of the Paralympic movement. The museum is central to the Bucks’ cultural sector and through this digital innovation will open its doors to many more people who find access challenging. 

Nigel Purse, Chair of the NPHT said,

Accessibility is at the heart of our work and this innovative work with the support of the Rothschild Foundation will not only broaden accessibility to our collection digitally but it will make it more engaging.

Vicky Hope-Walker, CEO said,

Central to our work is breaking down negative attitudes to disability and our values are about equal opportunity through all our work. ‘Digital Explorations’ is a training opportunity for local disabled people who are interested in 3D photography and its application in the heritage sector. Not only will it build local skills and provide paid opportunities within the disability sector, it will also contribute more widely to the work of the trust, building community engagement, increasing public access, cataloguing collections in an innovative way and contributing to our long-term sustainability. We are delighted to have received this support enabling us to diversify our offer and build a lasting skills legacy.

More information about the project can be found on our webpage here

For Media Enquiries

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

Notes for Editors

Rothschild Foundation Impact Grants

The Rothschild Foundation was established in 2010 and allocates £10 million in grant making annually. This sum is shared equally between the preservation of Waddesdon Manor, where the Foundation is based, and grants for wider public benefit.

Lord (Jacob) Rothschild is Chair of the Rothschild Foundation and has been involved extensively in public service and philanthropic support of the arts throughout his lifetime. The Foundation is managed by a board of Trustees, including other members of the Rothschild family, and is run by a small professional staff team. Inspired by Waddesdon’s cultural heritage, the landscaped gardens and farmland of the Waddesdon Estate along with the Rothschild family tradition of support for the local community, the Foundation focuses on policy areas in the arts, the environment and social welfare.

The Foundation’s grant-making within Buckinghamshire supports the local third sector through a small grants programme and strategic philanthropy through higher value grants. There is much connection between the two programmes which are informed by the Foundation’s commitment to work collaboratively to increase access to opportunity within Buckinghamshire.

For more information about the Rothschild Foundation please contact [email protected] 

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.