Published: Tuesday, 30th November 2021

In recognition and celebration of International Day of Disabled People on Friday 3 December, Royal Borough of Greenwich is putting on and promoting a range of events and services.

This year, the theme of IDPWD is “Fighting for rights in the post-COVID-19 era”, highlighting the challenges, barriers and opportunities for disabled people within the context of a global pandemic. Disabled people are one of the groups who have been most affected by COVID-19, which has reduced access to healthcare, rehabilitation and support services, and worsened social isolation. 

For IDPWD 2021, the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich and other partners are holding a day-long celebration event that features free inclusive fitness activities, sports taster sessions and a raffle – with the chance to win tickets to Charlton Athletic football match. The event runs from 10am to 3pm, and includes power chair football, inclusive cycling and dancercise. 

Later on the same day, at Sparkle in the Park, our immersive after-dark light trail and winter wonderland in Maryon Park, there will be special provision and events for children and adults with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families. This includes a workshop inspired by Trinity Laban’s Dance Ability group and the presence of a British Sign Language interpreter for the whole evening. Throughout the whole Sparkle in the Park event period, which runs from 1 to 5 December, there will be first-come-first served disabled parking available, as well as accessible toilets and wheelchair-accessible picnic benches. 

Councillor Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Equalities, said: “The pandemic has really shone a light on the inequalities, marginalisation and discrimination faced by different communities, and this includes disabled people. It’s fantastic that this year’s IDPWD is bringing this into everyone’s consciousness and encouraging us to think about the challenges faced by people living with disabilities, and what we can do to tackle them.” 

Councillor Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for Health and Adults’ Social Care, said: “Through initiatives such as our Equality and Equity Charter, our soon-to-be-launched vision for Health and Adults’ Services and by making sure that there’s a wealth of support and services available for and co-designed with people with special educational needs and disabilities, we hope to make Royal Greenwich as inclusive and as equitable a place as possible for disabled people to live, learn and work.” 

Councillor Anthony Okereke, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “As a person with Sickle Cell Disease, I know what it is like to live with a disability, and I have experienced first-hand the challenges it can bring. The COVID-19 pandemic has created much additional worry and has made things more difficult for many of us. However, as a community, we are resilient and capable of achieving all we aspire to. That is why I am proud of our achievements and the advocacy work we all undertake to raise awareness of our disabilities and the changes needed to make society and services more inclusive. I am excited about the events happening in the borough to celebrate IDPWD and I would like people to use the opportunity to get involved, reflect on the experiences of disabled people, and think about what we can all do to be an ally to and advocate for the community.” 

The Royal Borough of Greenwich sees the diversity of its residents as one of the borough’s greatest strengths, and continues to invest in accessible services for disabled people. For example, 10 percent of the affordable, council-owned homes built as part of the Greenwich Builds programme are wheelchair-friendly. Additionally, the council is currently co-producing an improved offering of day services with and for adults with learning disabilities. This involved the March to July 100 Day Challenge, where people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, voluntary sector, community groups and council staff came together to share their thoughts and ideas for the redesigned services. 

For information about the local services and support available for disabled people and their families, visit