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Harpenden school learns about life in a wheelchair

26 June 2018
HAD's wheelchair awareness initiative, The Big Push, was rolled out recently at Roundwood Primary School in Harpenden. The initiative involves children and adults spending some time in a wheelchair and seeing life from a disabled person's perspective.

“Many wheelchair-users complain of being treated unfairly and even ignored by the public,” HAD's fundraiser Paul Bishop explained. “People will often talk to the carer rather than communicate with the person in the chair. Ultimately we are trying to change the public's perception of disabled people.”

Paul was inspired to do something positive after hearing Manchester-based media lawyer Mark Lewis, who has MS (multiple sclerosis) talk on the subject last year. “The timing behind the Big Push is significant as HAD is celebrating it's 60th year in 2018 and as well as raising awareness we are trying to raise much needed funds too.”

The money will come from participants being sponsored for every hour they spend in the wheelchair. Roundwood Primary students had a wheelchair for a fortnight in June and Livvy Mitson, 10, spent half a day in a chair: “At first it was very exciting but after a while my arms started to ache. In PE I noticed nobody wanted to be in my group, and later I wanted to go to the toilet and realised a disabled person wouldn't have been able to.

“I think this campaign helps build respect for disabled people and I feel more keen to talk to them now.”

The Big Push will resume in September with a number of roadshows, supported by Aktiv Wheelchairs, visiting schools county-wide. The charity are also keen to engage with local businesses and sports and rotary clubs too. If you would like to take part contact Paul Bishop on 07973 237162.
Some of the Roundwood Primary pupils get ready for the Big Push campaign