National Paralympic Heritage Trust crowdfunding efforts in advance of the opening of the new Heritage Center in Aylesbury at Stoke Mandeville

By spring 2019 there will be a brand new Paralympic Heritage Centre of 54sqm situated within Stoke Mandeville Stadium, close to the entrance and café. It will tell the story of Paralympic movement starting with its pioneer Dr Guttmann, followed by a timeline, the technical development of sports wheelchairs, celebrations and ceremonies and an area devoted to changing displays selected by the public from our growing collections. To enhance the visitor experience we wish to purchase a range of items and develop a range of activities that will enable our public to learn more and leave with a level of understanding about what makes a good inclusive society. We aim to make everything accessible, meeting a wide range of needs . Volunteers will be recruited to support this area of activity including the building of relationships with many communities, local schools, deaf and disabled groups.

What we’ll deliver:

  • 2 iPads for exploring additional information in more depth
  • An online tour of the Centre to help people with autism prepare for a visit, or the housebound to visit virtually
  • Purchase of sports wheelchair parts for technology exploration
  • Activity sheets design and print
  • A handling collection that relates to Dr Guttmann’s experience of being a war refugee
  • A handling collection that relates to equipment used in different summer Paralympic sports
  • A handling collection that relates to equipment used in different winter Paralympic Sports
  • An audio visual display that shows how the sports wheelchair has evolved.
  • Makaton software to enable greater access for people with learning needs and talking cans for visually impaired
  • Seating and tables for resting and handling items

Why it’s a great idea:

The Paralympic Movement is a story with unique British involvement; there is nothing comparable to it. As well as showing how disability sport has developed it also captures and tells the story of the prowess, courage and endeavour of hundreds of individual athletes over its 65-year history. It starts with the story of Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a German Jewish refugee, his success in keeping spinally injured people not only alive but also fit and active shows that one man can literally ‘change the world’. The athletes within the story are powerful and inspiring role models for people from all walks of life. They also provide particular resonance for the ten million disabled people in the UK who have very few ‘celebrity’ or ‘historical’ role models to refer to. The UK has continued to play a key leadership role in the development of the Paralympic movement, However, further attitudinal shift is still required with disabled people still experiencing societal barriers and discrimination.

Steps to get it done:

  • Purchase of furniture – End March 2019
  • Purchase of iPads – End March 2019
  • Commissioning of virtual display and audio – Early April 2019
  • Purchase of sports wheelchair parts – End March 2019
  • Purchase of items for Refugee handling collection – End March 2019
  • Purchase of items for summer sport handling collection – April 2019
  • Purchase of items for winter sports handling collection – May 2019
  • Audio Visual for technological development of the sports wheelchair
  • Makaton software – Early March 2019
  • Talking tins for audio description – May 2019
  • Activity sheets design and print


The interest from the general public in Britain in the Paralympic Games has grown enormously since London 2012 and engendered an interest in sports heritage. The national Cultural Olympiad project, ‘Our Sporting Life’, of which Stoke Mandeville was a part, included over one hundred exhibitions attracting over a million visitors in the run up to 2012. This, alongside the outcome of our extensive audience development work inspires confidence that an audience is ready and waiting to hear this story. Local pride has generated interest in the history of the Paralympic movement in and around the area where it began in Buckinghamshire and, evidenced through several local Cultural Olympiad projects involving the public and many local schools with the story, alongside on going audience development research in 2015-2018. The National Paralympic Heritage Trust was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and registered with the Charity Commissioners as a Charity in July 2015

Link to Crowdfunding page:


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