Croydon student a national finalist

Akachi Mbakwe

Croydon student, Akachi Mbakwe, is among the finalists in a competition aiming to help disabled people. Twelve-year-old Akachi of Archbishop Tenison’s Church of England High School in Croydon, has reached the finals of the national Ready Willing & Mobile competition, encouraging young people to think of those less physically capable.

It is the seventh time national charity, Mobility Choice, has organized the competition.  This year a new outdoor theme was introduced, calling for bright ideas to help people with disabilities  gain easier access to and enjoyment from woodlands and forests.

Akachi’s inspiring idea, called Limitless Lives, is for an accessible secluded sanctuary in forests and woodlands that would make it possible for children with any disability to ‘escape and feel free’.

Limitless Lives asks for wide paths, guide ropes and audio and Braille descriptions, so visitors can explore all elements of the woodland: observe animals, smell the flowers and trees as well as visit a therapy zone to talk to a teddy bear.

Young people aged 7 to 11 and 12 to 16 from all over England entered the competition. As a finalist Akachi now has a chance to win prizes for her and the school, including a cash prize of £1,000 to renew school equipment.

The best ideas will be chosen from each category and an outright winner will be selected.

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Mobility Roadshow 2011 at the East of England Showground, Peterborough on National Young Disabled Person’s Day.

This year’s competition prizes will be presented by Desperados and EastEnders actor David Proud:

“I have been amazed at the creative thoughtfulness of young people today,” Proud said.

“Some of the ideas have been extremely simple but ingenious and have the potential to be life-changing for disabled people such as myself.”

Jacqui Jones, Executive Director at Mobility Choice, said: “There is no end to the creativity of young minds and the willingness of young people to help and care for those less fortunate than themselves. We are delighted that so many schools are using this competition to reinforce issues such as social integration, disability, awareness and inclusive communities”.