EFDS launch long term strategy to support more disabled people to be active for life

Today the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) launch a Strategic Plan to guide its work through to 2017. Called ‘Active for Life’- it sets out a clear vision that supports positive participation for all disabled people. The charity wants disabled people to be able to enjoy regular sport and physical activity, wherever and in whatever sport or activity they wish to.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired many disabled people across our nation. It proved a milestone in our sporting history and sparked lots of interest from disabled people looking for opportunities to take part. But the harsh fact is that four out of five disabled people are not active in England. Not every disabled person wants to or can be a Paralympian, so organisations like EFDS are crucial to raise awareness, support others to increase the opportunities and encourage disabled people themselves to be active.

EFDS believe disabled people have a value in and a right to be part of every area in sport. A strong strategic focus is on the real benefits for disabled people, starting from direct participation in sport and physical activity. However, we also actively encourage and enable disabled people to take part in all aspects of sport, whether as volunteers, or paid employees. This includes key roles as volunteers, leaders, coaches and teachers in the sector.

EFDS’s Honorary President, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, said about the new strategy:

“Disabled people deserve the same rights to be active as everybody else, no matter whether they want to make use of their local gym or become an elite athlete. This is why the English Federation of Disability Sport have such an important role to play. Our work towards equality in sport means disabled people will be able to access more positive opportunities in sport and physical activity.”

As well as a funded National Partner of Sport England, EFDS is a Federation which provides a platform for collaborative working across England and the main impairment groups. This strategy, backed by core values, lays out ambitious outcomes, which EFDS hope will be shared by the wider sectors. The document provides a clear route map to guide EFDS and the collective family’s focus and impact over the next five years.

EFDS strategy diagram


The strategy was launched at the EFDS’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 4 July. It outlines five outcomes as follows:

  • Provider commitment
  • Pathways and progress
  • Personal development
  • Public perception
  • Participation for life

Barry Horne, Chief Executive of the EFDS, said:

“We have worked hard to ensure our charity has an important role and purpose in England. Not all disabled people will want to become elite performers, so it’s important there is a vast amount of high quality opportunities from local to international level. Disabled people should have a memorable time taking part because positive experiences mean more will actually want to continue, as well as develop an active lifestyle.”


Charles Reed, Chair of the EFDS, said:

“This strategy is the start of an important journey for us as an organisation, as well as for disability sport in England. Importantly, disabled people are placed at the heart of our work, to ensure what we say and do is influenced by their needs. We will continue to work with our partners, funders and wider family, to ensure disabled people can truly be active for life.”


You can download a pdf version of our strategy here. There is also a text only version upon request.

To discuss the strategy in more detail, please contact Barry Horne, Chief Executive or telephone 01509 227750) or our Chair, Charles Reed.


For further information on EFDS please contact:

Sarah Marl, Marketing and Communications Manager- Mobile 07764 291671

Find us on Twitter @Eng_Dis_Sport, Facebook and LinkedIn


Notes to Editors:

The English Federation of Disability Sport has a vision that disabled people are active for life. EFDS is the national body for disabled people in sport throughout England. Key areas of expertise include:

  • Providing advice, guidance and information on sport for disabled people.
  • Working with partners to engage more disabled people in sport and physical activity. Partners include National Governing Bodies of sport, National Disability Sports Organisations, education networks, as well as local county sports partnerships, local authorities, disability charities and other third sector organisations.
  • Developing and rolling-out national programmes to improve access to sport and physical activity by disabled people, such as Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All PE training.
  • Providing a comprehensive calendar of participation opportunities through Disability Sport Events. These are delivered to increase the number of disabled people participating at all levels and support the identification and development of talented performers.
  • Managing the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) with a national coverage of 400 IFI Mark accredited gym facilities. The IFI Mark is fundamental in addressing inequality in physical activity; to reach inactive populations, raise awareness of the benefits of exercise and create demand. 
  • Influencing and supporting delivery partners to be more inclusive and to provide a greater range and quality of sporting opportunities for disabled people.
  • Providing a range of inclusive and high quality training opportunities to increase the number of disabled people involved in sport and physical activity.
  • Actively raising the profile of all disabled sportswomen and sportsmen, as well as increasing the opportunities available for disabled people to participate at all levels.
  • Fundraising to provide more opportunities through EFDS and attracting additional funds to sport for disabled people.
  • EFDS receives funding from Sport England as its national partner for disabled people in sport.