Team GB Paralympic swimmer Ollie Hynd is throwing his weight behind a campaign to improve access to sports and leisure facilities for young disabled people.
Despite a gruelling training schedule after successfully qualifying for the London Paralympic Games, Ollie (17), from Kirkby, will lend his support to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers, an award-wining 400-strong campaign group of young disabled people from across the UK.
He is also committed to raising awareness about muscular dystrophy, a condition which he and older brother Sam Hynd (20) are both affected by, and has vowed to work with Trailblazers’ parent charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, to help support others living with neuromuscular diseases.
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers was formed by young people who have muscular dystrophy or a related condition, which causes muscles to waste and weaken over time, leading to increasing disability.
The group campaign on issues ranging from access to higher education and employment for young disabled people to problems using social facilities such as sports and music venues, cinemas and restaurants.
A previous study by the Trailblazers found that young disabled people are struggling to access local sports and fitness facilities, including gyms, sports stadiums and leisure centres.
Ollie, who is keen to encourage more young disabled people to take up sport, said: “I’m really proud to be an ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and for Trailblazers.
“There are a huge range of sports that young disabled people in the UK have the opportunity to get involved with, and the Paralympics is really helping to show people this.
“It is really important that disabled people are able to use gyms, sports grounds, pools and leisure centres locally, and that the staff there are welcoming.
“I’ve always had positive experiences, but I know that other people aren’t so lucky.
“I want to work with Trailblazers to encourage more young people into sport and to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to get involved.”
Bobby Ancil, Project Manager of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Ollie is joining the Trailblazers.
“As someone with the drive and commitment to become a champion, he is an inspiration to young people with muscular dystrophy and related conditions.
“We are really grateful that he is lending his voice to the many campaigners who are helping to secure better opportunities in careers, education, health and leisure for young disabled people throughout the UK.”