Julie teams up to play her part in Games legacy study

SCOTTISH academics will research the legacy of the Commonwealth Games for disabled ­people.

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Julie McElroy with Professor Gayle McPherson of UWS, Paisley
Julie McElroy with Professor Gayle McPherson of UWS, Paisley

And Evening Times para sports champion Julie McElroy is part of the team at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in Paisley which will with Canadian academics.

The three-year study will explore how Glasgow 2014 impacts on attitudes towards physical disability and involvement in para sports in the city and beyond.

This is the first time the social legacy of major sporting events has been researched.

The results from the ­Glasgow 2014 study will be combined with research conducted in Canada, looking at the Pan/ParapanAmerican Games in Toronto in 2015.

The Toronto Games will have separate able-bodied and para sports, on a similar model to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Meanwhile, Glasgow 2014 is a fully integrated ­programme meaning able bodied athletes compete alongside para athletes.

The impact of each event will be compared to determine if one has a longer lasting legacy than the other.

Heading up the UWS team is Professor Gayle McPherson, who will work with Professor David McGillivray and Julie.

Julie, who has cerebral palsy and is currently studying for a PhD in Assistive Technology, will be a ­research assistant on the project.

Professor McPherson, chairwoman in Events and Cultural Policy at UWS, worked on the cultural aspect of the Glasgow 2014 bid.

She said: "The purpose is to look at the role of sporting events and how they can be used for sustainable community participation.

"We talk a lot about legacy but there is not much evidence that there is a legacy after these events so this research will address this gap.

"What we want is to look at two different types of sporting events."

The project will include interviews with policy makers from Glasgow 2014, Glasgow Life and other major public bodies.

Sports fans will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire at some of the venues which will indicate their attitudes towards people with disabilities.

And the views of volunteers, spectators and other members of the community will also be gathered.

Julie, 26, who is testing out all five para-sports to be showcased at Glasgow 2014 for the Evening Times, said she was privileged to join the research team.

She said: "I am looking forward to assisting Professor Gayle and her team on this exciting research venture."



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