Peterborough organisations to visit House of Commons due to disability work

Ferry Meadows Country Park in the Nene Park, Peterborough. Photo: Paul Franks

Ferry Meadows Country Park in the Nene Park, Peterborough. Photo: Paul Franks

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Peterborough is leading the way in making Britain more accessible for disabled people after two local organisations were shortlisted for a top award.

Both the YMCA Community Gym, at The Cresset in Bretton, and the Nene Park Trust have been shortlisted for the Accessible Britain Awards 2015.

The awards recognise those making an outstanding contribution to inclusive and accessible communities for the 12.2 million disabled people across the UK.

Aspiring Paralympic athlete and former prisoner Craig Green (33) has been helped by the YMCA’s commitment to getting disabled people involved in their communities.

Craig was born with a rare condition called Poland syndrome. Affected individuals are born with missing or abnormal muscles on one side of the body.

For Craig, the condition affects his right hand and a pectoral muscle.

He started working at the YMCA as part of their work experience programme for prisoners and is now a fully qualified personal trainer at the gym.

The gym provides specialised equipment and tailored fitness programmes for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Craig has now set his sights on representing Team GB cycling at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

He said: “Training and now working at the YMCA gym has given me a new sense of purpose.

“It is so much more than a place to exercise – it’s a community where like-minded people can come together to overcome all sorts of different barriers they are facing.

“I hope we can inspire others to follow our lead because places like this really do change lives.”

The Nene Park Trust, which runs Ferry Meadows, has worked to make the park easier to access for disabled people including making improvements to the water sports centre, café and cycle hire facilities.

It also supports specialist organisations to provide accessible activities in the park, giving disabled people the chance to sail, row and cycle.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the House of Commons on March 12.