The British Polio Fellowship has announced that it is heading to Cardiff as part of its PPS Day 2015 celebrations on Thursday 22 October at the National Assembly for Wales estate. The day is aimed at drawing public attention to around 120,000 people still living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) across the UK. This figure is thought to be similar to the number of people suffering from Parkinson’s, yet there is little awareness in the public consciousness about Polio survivors, or indeed PPS. This year’s event will be opened by Mark Isherwood AM, main sponsor of the event and Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group on Neurological Conditions.
“I look forward to welcoming the British Polio Fellowship to the National Assembly on PPS Day 2015. Some of the most disenfranchised and disadvantaged are in Wales, made worse by the big issue of deep rural isolation. We need to contact people who have had Polio, to provide and raise awareness, and to deliver service user and community led services, bringing together the independent third sector and the public sector with the citizen and the community at the centre”, said Mr Isherwood.
In 2014 the charity was invited to hold its PPS Day celebrations at Westminster in what was its 75th Anniversary year. The opportunity for this year’s event to be held in Cardiff is part of an effort to tour Britain’s main political hubs in consecutive years. “We’re delighted to announce that the location of our official PPS Day 2015 celebrations will be Cardiff, and with it the opportunity to continue to raise awareness of the late effects of Polio and PPS in Parliaments across Britain,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “Last year we took the PPS message to Westminster and we were offered great support from a number of politicians, ensuring the charity’s message reached the heart of political power, where policy can be affected.”
The British Polio Fellowship is the leading voice for people living with the late effects of Polio and PPS in the UK. PPS is a neurological disorder that causes a number of symptoms including chronic fatigue, reduced mobility and a greater sensitivity to the cold.
Although it affects roughly the same amount of people as conditions such as Parkinson’s or Motor Neurone disease, it benefits from only a fraction of the public and medical awareness.
The charity first celebrated PPS Day in Winchester (the ancient capital of Wessex in its own right), as a smaller precursor to the first PPS Day proper, during British Polio’s successful 75th Anniversary celebrations. The Westminster event saw them hold a parliamentary reception; similar to the one expected in Cardiff, with a number of the charities key supporters delivering speeches, including charity Patron Andy Love (then MP). A special commemorative PPS Day pin badge was worn by members and attendee of the event.
“The last event at Westminster was a huge success, but with our charity’s members spread across the whole of Britain, we feel PPS Day should reach everyone,” concluded Ted Hill. “We look forward to heading to Cardiff and I’m sure we’ll be welcomed by our Welsh members, the National Assembly and the Welsh public in general.”