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  • Comments: 0
  • 03 February 2015 00:00
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  • Last Modified: 03 February 2015 07:12
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Is there a need to deliver more attractive and accessible opportunities for disabled people?

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Is there a need to deliver more attractive and accessible opportunities for disabled people?
Many concerns have come to light after the release of the latest Sport England Active People Survey (APS), which shows a decline in the number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport.

This came as a disappointment to the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and Sport England, especially after the successes and promising legacy of the Paralympic Games in London 2012.

The current figures show there are 121,700 fewer disabled people participating in the period October 2013 and October 2014 since the last recording, meaning a wider disparity between non-disabled and disabled peoples participation, with less than half the number of disabled people taking part in sport or physical activity for 30 minutes once a week compared to non-disabled people.

What is being done?

Further investigation into specific sports and impairments is to be carried out to gain a better understanding and depth of knowledge of particular target areas, and the appropriate action needed to rectify this decline.   
Swimming has recently been highlighted as a sport that is suffering considerable reductions in participants. This finding is causing many worries, especially to the physical activity levels of disabled people as swimming has consistently been the top participation sport for disabled people. 

However, EFDS’s 2013 Lifestyle Report showed that seven in ten disabled people want to be more active. 

What is preventing them?

Insight highlights, through EFDS’s Motivate Me and Talk to Me reports, that whilst many opportunities exist, the low participation level suggests that either disabled people are unaware of opportunities available to them or what they are offered is not appealing enough; reinforcing the need for proactive promotion and engagement of disability sporting opportunities.

Sport England stress the importance to sport’s National Governing Bodies that disabled people should be a key population within their Whole Sport Plans.

"Disabled people count for one in five of our population, so all providers have a responsibility to find new, exciting and accessible approaches that support inactive people with a wide range of impairments.” 
Barry Horne, EFDS’s Chief Executive said:
"The figures today confirm what EFDS and Sport England believe. To attract and engage more disabled people in to meaningful activity is not an easy task. It will take long term commitment to change the behaviours of both providers and disabled people.”
Can providers’ and disabled people’s attitudes and behaviours be changed?
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