Friday 22 June 2018
By Iyiola Olafimiyan
parkrun are doing great things across the world and in the UK. Evidence shows their well-run weekend activities in parks across the country have benefited many people – including disabled people.
The organisation is teaming up with royal college of GPs and getting GP surgeries to encourage their patients, staff and carers to get active. This is a positive development and, as this article highlights, will save the NHS loads of money.
However, running and other physical activities bring more than just medical or wellbeing benefits to disabled people.
Whilst the good people at parkrun are doing great things getting more people running in parks across the country, it would be good if they could start forming alliances with projects and organisations that embed their practices in the social model of disability and equality.
‘Disability’ from the social model perspective is about an activity or environment that has been planned without involving disabled people.
We at GYA endorse this partnership with the GPs and the Royal College and indeed many disabled people will often visit their surgeries as patients. However, developing partnerships with organisations that speak up for disabled people and linking them in a 3 way relationship with GPs will have an impact that goes far beyond just organising events in parks.
The partnership will benefit everyone. Doctors and other health related professionals will understand the importance of listening to disabled people and not just making assumptions. Volunteers and organisers of park runs will understand that different impairment groups have different access needs and work with their organisations to offer practical solutions to these needs.
Finally, disabled people themselves will feel empowered and valued. They will not necessarily view themselves as patients who are always sick, but ordinary citizens who value the health and wellbeing benefits of being part of a community of active people in their local parks.