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Make people with disabilities role models say public as Paralympic Effect takes hold – poll

29 August 2012

The Paralympic Games are already having a major impact on people’s attitudes to disability, according to a poll conducted on the eve of the Games opening ceremony.

Nearly three quarters of people (72%) believe that people with disabilities are not generally visible in the media outside the Paralympics, while nearly three quarters of people (74%) believe people with disabilities often experience prejudice or discrimination, according to the ComRes poll, commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations.

An overwhelming number of people (78%) believe the media should do more to promote people with disabilities as role models in society.

The survey suggests that the Paralympic effect will increase support for organisations which work with people with disabilities.

Nearly three quarters of people (72%) believe it is important to donate to charities which support people with disabilities, and nearly half (44%) say the Paralympic Games will make them more likely to give to charities which support people with disabilities.

Nearly two in five people (38%) say they have given money in the past year to charities working to support people with disabilities.

Overall, 68% of people said the Paralympic Games are making them feel more positive about the role of people with disabilities in society.

Some 35% of people said they did not know where the Paralympic movement started, although half knew the Games had its origins in Britain.

The survey found:

  • 72% of people believe it is important to donate to charities that work to support people with disabilities in the UK.
  • 44% of people think that the Paralympic Games will make them more likely to give to charities that support people with disabilities.
  • 68% of people believe that the Paralympic Games are making them feel more positive about the role of people with disabilities in society.
  • 78% of people agree that the UK media should do more to promote people with disabilities as role models in society
  • 74% believe that people with disabilities often experience prejudice or discrimination in society.
  • 72% believe that with the exception of the Paralympic Games, people with disabilities are not generally visible in the UK media.
  • 41% of people disagree that the Government does enough to support people with disabilities.
  • 38% of people say that in the past year they have donated money to charities that work to support people with disabilities.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“The Paralympic effect is already helping to change attitudes and make people think more positively about disabled people in society. That is great news.

“The overwhelming majority of the public believes it is important to donate to charities working with disabled people – and we can hope that one of the legacies of the Games will be to encourage more people to support these important organisations in the future.”

“The Games will be an exciting festival of sport. They are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to celebrate and get behind elite disabled athletes on British soil – surely this will change the way we think, and cause us to reappraise how we can give our time and money to support the causes we care about.”

* ComRes interviewed 2045 British adults online between 24th and 27th August 2012.  Data was weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults.

ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For full data tables visit the ComRes website.

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