Paul Maynard MP, who is leading the way in putting young disabled people in control of the decisions and politics that affect them, has been voted Westminster’s Charity Champion in honour of the remarkable difference his work has made to the lives of young disabled adults across the UK.
MPs and Peers backed Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard to win a prestigious Dods Charity Champion award, after being nominated by Trailblazers. The award follows Mr Maynard setting up and leading the first ever All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People, which gives disabled 16-30 year olds the opportunity to question and address social issues that affect them such as transport, housing, disability hate crime and education.
During a ceremony last night attended by scores of MPs, charity leaders and campaigners, Mr Maynard learned that he had pipped two other shortlisted MPs to the post to be named Dods Charity Champion for Society. Trailblazers says Mr Maynard has the backing of hundreds of disabled people from all areas of the country, who say that his campaign work has gone a long way to tackle the uphill struggle that young disabled people face to achieve goals in life taken for granted by non-disabled peers.
Since becoming Chair of the Parliamentary Group in early 2011, Mr Maynard has supported 400 young disabled people to run a committee inquiry into the major factors affecting the lives of young disabled people in Britain. Senior figures from train and bus companies, universities, cinemas, airports and employers have all been called into Parliament to face Mr Maynard and the Trailblazers, which will lead to a new report on how to tackles these the issues in the autumn
Trailblazer Catherine Alexander from the Wirral, said:
Paul is a fantastic role model for other young disabled people who want to play a part in the way we shape our country. By setting up and leading the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People he has shown that politics is for everyone and given us the chance to highlight the issues that can really restrict our opportunities. He has encouraged us to take control of the group and put the power in our hands, and by doing this he has helped to change the way companies and organisations see young disabled people.
Paul Maynard said:
I feel immensely proud to have been nominated for this award by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and Trailblazers. We have come a long way in how we view disability in this country, but physical and social barriers are a harsh reality still. It is not right or fair that a person should face a constant daily battle on everything from accessing higher education and employment to using public transport and socialising with friends and family.
Bobby Ancil, Trailblazers Project Manager said:
Paul Maynard has been a sincere and tireless voice in Parliament for young disabled people. In just 18 months he has helped us create a strong and powerful group that has given young disabled people a presence in Parliament for the first time.
Young disabled people can face many barriers to experiencing the same opportunities as their non disabled peers. Getting the education, employment, housing, transport or leisure activities that they need can be an arduous set of challenges. With Paul’s leadership Trailblazers are holding the service providers to account which is already changing the lives of young disabled people for the better.
We believe that there is no one more deserving than Paul for a Dods Charity Champion Award.
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign had a fantastic night last night as Baroness Celia Thomas also picked up the Health award for her campaigning work with the charity. Baroness Thomas has been a leading advocate for people with neuromuscular conditions for many years and was a very worthy winner of the award.