£8 million legacy investment fund announced

Britain’s greatest Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has teamed up with Sport England to launch an £8 million fund to get more disabled people playing sport.

From today – 100 days to the Paralympics - a wide range of organisations with the ideas and expertise to open up more sporting opportunities for disabled people will be able to bid £10,000 and over of National Lottery funding from Sport England.

The fund – Inclusive Sport - will help to tackle the opportunity gap that sees just one in six disabled adults playing sport regularly, compared to one in three non-disabled adults[i]. Currently 17.6% of disabled people play sport at least once a week, up from 15.1% in 2005/6 when the Olympic bid was won.

The investment is part of the Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities all over the country.

There are a number of challenges facing disabled people wanting to take part in sport. These include: lack of specialist equipment; transport issues; low self-confidence; deliverers who aren’t trained to offer sport inclusively; and poor information about the opportunities out there.

Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “It is an uncomfortable truth that disabled people enjoy fewer opportunities to get involved in sport. Sport England is committed to changing that, and making it easier for disabled people to fit sport into their daily lives.

“The Paralympic Games will put the sporting achievements of disabled people in the spotlight as never before. I want to make sure that Sport England's £8m lottery investment is a catalyst to help more disabled people get involved.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said: “I am delighted that this new allocation of funding is available and is specifically targeted at improving access to grassroots sport to more disabled people. I am confident that this will encourage people who don’t come from a traditional sporting background to participate.”

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, said: “We want more disabled people to have the opportunity to play sport. In the year the Paralympics come home, this £8 million investment will help breakdown some of the barriers to participation and make sport a more viable choice for disabled people.”

Inclusive Sport will build on recent investments by Sport England to improve the expertise offered by the disability sport sector to other organisations that want to get disabled people playing sport. It brings opportunities for new partnerships that bring together experts from both the sport and disability sectors.

It also heralds a greater focus on disabled people's participation throughout the sport sector. A large number of sports bodies are currently drawing up ambitious plans to increase participation levels among disabled people over the next four years. From football to fencing any sport seeking public investment for its disability plans will be required to sign up to targets for raising participation rates among disabled people.[ii]

Charles Reed, the Chair of English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), said: “This fund represents an important commitment by Sport England and Government to growing the number of disabled people who are active and playing sport. I encourage all those who share a passion for seeing disabled people gain the benefits of sport and physical activity to come forward with quality proposals which will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Tim Reddish, the Chair of the British Paralympic Association, said: "We are hoping that the performances of the ParalympicsGB team this summer will inspire lots of disabled people to get active and take up sport. We therefore welcome the news that Sport England will provide additional funds to create more opportunities for disabled people to take part in sport."

Bids to Inclusive Sport will be accepted until 5pm on 13 August 2012. The funding information will be live on Sport England’s website from 00:01 on Monday 21 May.

Places People Play is a £135 million National Lottery programme being delivered by Sport England, in partnership with the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA) with the backing of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the London 2012 Inspire mark.

Improving sporting opportunities for disabled people has been a key aspect of all elements of Places People Play. For example, our Inspired Facilities fund is helping to modernise clubhouses and make them fully accessible, while 4,761 young disabled people have been helped to take up sport in their own time through the Sportivate programme.

Sport England currently invest in disability sport through a range of programmes including School Games, Playground to Podium and organisations such as EFDS, Leonard Cheshire Disability and seven national disability sport organisations as well as sports governing bodies. They are also investing in the grassroots development of all the Paralympic sports.

Sport England is focused on helping people and communities across the country create a sporting habit for life.

Details of the fund can be found at www.sportengland.org/funding

[i] Active People Survey 5 shows that 17.6 % of adults aged 16 and over with a limiting disability or illness are playing sport at least once a week for at least 30 minutes. This compares to 37.6% of non-disabled adults.

[ii] Sport England plans to invest £450 million in up to 46 sports between 2013 and 2017. For the first time, sports’ plans for disabled participants will be assessed separately and specific funding will be allocated alongside agreed targets to increase the number of disabled people playing sport.