Vision, aims & values

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Our vision

Disabled people are active for life

Our purpose

To be the strategic lead for sport and physical activity for disabled people in England



We see two broad (wider than sport) outcomes which will result from increased participation in sport and physical activity by disabled people:

  • Enhanced health and wellbeing for all disabled people

This outcome focuses on the improved wellbeing and quality of life for disabled people.  It aspires to social, emotional and psychological wellbeing as well as physical health. 

  • A more equal society in which disabled people can achieve through increased opportunities and choice

 To achieve our vision where disabled people are active for life, the position of disabled people within society will need to become much more positive. This is a position where the physical, logistical and psychological barriers to participation are removed.  If disabled people are to exercise genuine choice, then the opportunities open to them need to be as comprehensive as those available to non-disabled people.

We have identified five sport and physical activity specific outcomes which will both guide our work and define how we will make a difference and these are: 

1.       Provider commitment

More people and organisations are supporting disabled people to participate in sport and physical activity

The supply of quality sport and physical activity opportunities for disabled people will need to expand rapidly if it is to respond to the growing demand from disabled people.  It must be recognised that the network of organisations and individuals involved in providing opportunities for disabled people is vast and not only includes National Governing Bodies of sport but also Disabled People’s Organisations, sports organisations, the media, volunteers and of course, disabled people themselves. 

Whilst all stakeholders are important, National Governing Bodies of sport will play a critical role in providing opportunities for people to participate in sport. Therefore EFDS will work closely with them and other providers of sport and physical activity to help strengthen their offers and ensure the relevance to a broader range of disabled people. 

 2.       Pathways and progress

Disabled people can access the sport of their choice throughout their lives and progress to the level they choose

 The focus here is on ensuring the opportunities are available for disabled people to initially engage with sport at the relevant level as well as providing opportunities and pathways to enable individuals to progress to the level they are willing and capable of achieving. 

For some people the choice may involve participating in relatively informal local sport, physical activity or exercise but where the potential and the desire exists, there must be the opportunity to progress to international competition (including but not exclusively through the Paralympics).

 3.       Personal development

The confidence and self-esteem of disabled people is enhanced through sport and physical activity

This focuses on the state of mind of individual disabled people.  It is based on the knowledge that low confidence and self-esteem can often prevent people seeking opportunities to become active.  However, evidence shows that participation in sport helps to drive a positive cycle of increased confidence and self esteem which in turn heightens the hunger for more active participation.

 4.       Public perception

Attitudes regarding disabled people and the sports they take part in are positive

This focuses on attitudes within society both towards disabled people in general but also to the sport and physical activity they take part in.  EFDS is passionate about seeing a change in attitudes across society towards disabled people and their participation in sport.  In an ideal world, sport and physical activity will be seen as being just as much a “normal” part of life for a disabled person as it is for a non-disabled person.  Sport would be seen as “just sport” whether it is a high profile “mainstream” sport like Premiership football or an inclusive game of sitting volleyball at a local school or community centre.  Won’t it be great when the coverage of sport involving disabled people is just as widespread in the media as any other sport!

5.       Participation for life

The experience of sport and physical activity is positive, beneficial and enjoyable

Throughout life and regardless of impairment, participating in sport or any physical activity will always be a choice rather than a requirement.  Like all things, the more positive, beneficial and enjoyable the experience (especially the first time), the greater the likelihood of an individual coming back for more and recommending the experience to others.

Strategic aims (2012-2017)

  • To realise the Vision and Outcomes set out above by 2017, EFDS will be recognised for having achieved the following aims:
  • Provide strategic leadership and direct support to get more disabled people participating in sport and physical activity.
  • Be recognised and respected as the authoritative voice for disabled people in sport and physical activity in England.
  • Be the central resource for research evidence relating to disabled people and sport.
  • Ensure that strong and effective engagement processes and partnerships are in place with NGBs, CSPs, NDSOs and other partners that lead to improvement in the infrastructure of sport and the products and services available for disabled people.
  • Work collaboratively with disabled people and develop an effective platform for their engagement with sport and physical activity.
  • Ensure the provision of pathways to participation for disabled people in sport and physical activity through a dedicated events programme.
  • Influence and support the health and fitness industry to provide high quality inclusive services and provision.
  • Promote and develop specific programmes and activities to support the growth in participation of young disabled people within sport and physical activity.
  • Generate significant additional income and funding opportunities to support the participation of disabled people in sport and physical activity.

Our Values

Values and ways of working

EFDS has agreed five clear values which will guide the way we work. In all that we do, EFDS will:

  • Place disabled people at the heart of our work.
  • Focus on how we influence the behaviour and actions of others.
  • Be a good partner, achieving greater impact through collaboration.
  • Inspire and innovate finding new and creative solutions.
  • Remain focused on outcomes – real world impact.