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Award-winning festival all about inclusivity

Words by Smiley Team

Thousands of people are expected to take part in an award-winning disability inclusion sports event and festival coming to Windsor in June.

Parallel Windsor will be taking over Windsor Great Park and the iconic Long Walk for the first time.

Organisers are aiming to celebrate difference and remove barriers to getting active by encouraging everyone to take part in a range of challenges, regardless of ability or age.

Challenges include a 10k, 5k, 1k and 100m while Parallel’s innovative Super Sensory 1k supports people with neurodiverse conditions and complex needs to engage their senses over a series of challenges responding to taste, sound and touch.

There are no cut-off times and the motto for the day, which takes place on Sunday 26 June, is “start together, finish whenever”.

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BBC sports commentator and award-winning Paralympic podcast host Andy Stevenson is one of the event's ambassadors. Andy, from Windsor, was born without hands and uses an artificial leg. He will be hosting the event.

“Growing up without a full complement of limbs, I was incredibly fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to always have a go at things and to believe that, with the right support, the right attitude and the help of the right equipment and technology, nothing should be dismissed as impossible," he said. 

“Parallel’s ethos of inclusion and integration seem to echo what my parents told me all those years ago and that’s why I fully support the organisation’s brilliant aims. I can’t wait for the Parallel event to be held on my doorstep in Windsor, in a beautiful location.”

Raising funds for chosen charities

All participants are encouraged to raise funds for their chosen charities and the last two Parallel events, held in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, helped almost 100 disability charities raise over £1 million. 

A free family festival on the day will champion and showcase music performances from a range of great acts including singer James Holt, The Adult Autistic Choir and Bader’s Big Band. There will also be a range of inclusive activities, a charity village, and food and drink from around the world.

The event was founded by Parallel’s CEO Andrew Douglass, and was held virtually last year due to the pandemic. This year is Parallel’s first visit to Windsor.

“We’re passionate about the power of live events and shared experience to change attitudes. Parallel Windsor is not about disability but inclusivity," said Andrew. "Our aim is to shine a brilliant light on inclusivity and showcase the benefits of diversity across all aspects which touch our society.

Inspired to act?

ATTEND: Parallel Windsor’s Festival of Inclusivity is free to attend – registrations for challenge events is on the website

WATCH: You can watch our Smiley Talk on disability for a happier community

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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