Minister for Disabled People meets Manchester Arena bomb survivor  at Milton Keynes based charity

Three hour visit offered insight into work of charity in supporting people with spinal cord injures
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The Minister for Disabled People Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP visited the MK headquarters of the Spinal Injuries Association on Monday to meet its vice president Martin Hibbert, one of the closest survivors of the Manchester Arena bomb attack.

The charity which was established in 1974 and has been based at its current headquarters in Oldbrook since 2005, welcomed the Minister thanks to TV presenter Dan Walker.

Dan who came to know Martin following his inspirational climb of Mt Kilimanjaro in 2021 which raised almost a million pounds for the Spinal Injuries Association, told the Minister live on his Channel 5 news programme that if he wanted to make life better for disabled people he needed to meet Martin Hibbert.

From left Tom Pursglove MP,  Mark Ridler, Nik Harley, charity chief executive, and Martin HibbertFrom left Tom Pursglove MP,  Mark Ridler, Nik Harley, charity chief executive, and Martin Hibbert
From left Tom Pursglove MP, Mark Ridler, Nik Harley, charity chief executive, and Martin Hibbert

Martin who survived the Manchester Arena bomb attack was left paralysed due to a spinal cord injury and now campaigns on behalf of other spinal cord injured people. He is passionate about the work of the Spinal Injuries Association to which he credits with transforming his life post injury.

He said: “I hear lots of stories every week from disabled people struggling with some of the fundamentals of living and that’s completely unacceptable in 2023. How can it be right that someone is unable to leave their own home due to a lack of available carers or struggles to even access the correct wheelchair, let alone the barriers they face when they are in the outside world.”

During his three-hour visit the Minster was lead through the journey of support that the charity provides to a spinal cord injured person.

Mr Pursglove said: “It’s been inspirational to be here today at the Spinal Injuries Association with Martin, who is such a brilliant champion of this organisation. I was determined to see the care that SIA provides and what more we can do to scale that work nationally. We are currently working on a Disability Action Plan and today was a great opportunity to understand more about what the charity can do to help the Government achieve its objectives, so that people with a spinal cord injury go on to live rewarding and fulfilling lives.”