Sport challenged to increase participation for disabled people

The sport sector needs to up its game in attracting disabled people to sport, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said today at the Government’s first Disability Sport Summit, at the Emirates Stadium.

The UK has a strong tradition in Paralympic sport at the elite level, but more needs to be done to boost participation levels among disabled people. Just 17 per cent of disabled adults play sport every week.

Mr Hunt urged all governing bodies to use the unique opportunity created by the London 2012 Paralympics to integrate disabled people's provision into their Whole Sports Plans and boost participation.

“In the year that the Paralympic Games come home I want to see a transformation in sport for disabled people. Now is the time for everybody to up their game, creating real sporting opportunities for disabled people. That's why within the School Games I'm delighted that we now have disabled children playing competitive sport alongside their peers.”

Jeremy Hunt

Sport England will be investing £8m of funding from the Places People Play programme to help overcome some of the barriers that make it harder for disabled people to do sport.

This is the first summit of its kind to focus on disabled people in sport. It brings together disability sport bodies in the UK to set out the Government’s objective of making sport for disabled people a higher priority, to share good practice and to strengthen relationships between sports bodies and wider groups representing or working with disabled people in the community. The summit builds on work already done to integrate sport for disabled people into the mainstream in schools through the School Games, which includes a compulsory disability sport element.

The English Federation of Disability Sport Chief Executive, Barry Horne, was part of the panel of experts in the final session. Horne advised the audience of EFDS's important role in advising NGBs on inclusive programmes and the development required. The charity has a prominent place in supporting sport on integration, inclusivity and target audience marketing. Our success has included the Inclusive Fitness and events programme, as well as rolling out Playground to Podium.

For more information on how we can help increase disabled people playing your sport and developing your Whole Sport Plans, please contact our sports development department