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Shortage of disability support leaves woman unable to compete in Paralympics

  • Sep 1, 2016
  • EmmaArnold

The shortage of disability support has left one wheelchair basketball player unable to compete in Rio Paralympics.

Twenty-year-old Freya Levy, who dreamed of playing for Great Britain this year, is now living in an old people's home after local council found no other accommodation with wheelchair access.

Freya, who has muscular dystrophy, has been playing wheelchair basketball for four years and had trials for the GB Paralympic Team.

Unable to find an alternative building with a ramp or a lift after Freya's family had to split up and leave their accessible home, she was left with no option other than to live in elderly housing.

Helen Shaw, Senior Litigation Manager at PotterReesDolan, said:

In a so-called civilised society, we continue to have a shamefully serious shortage of suitably accessible properties, which desperately needs to be remedied and properly prioritised

Freya was forced to pull out of the trials as the housing scheme put in place meant she had to sleep there every night, therefore unable to stay at the Paralympic programme based miles away in Worcester.

Not only was the location an issue but Freya felt the stress of her housing situation would have made it impossible for her to stay motivated enough to compete anyway.

After the London 2012 Paralympics, it was hoped the event would be a turning point to equality for the millions of disabled people in Britain.

However, although the charity Scope found most disabled people felt the London Games had a positive impact on the public's attitude to disability, basic rights were still out of reach.

The lack of appropriate housing for Freya is a prime example of this lack of support and accommodation for the disabled people in Britain.

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