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Disabled people feel left out of sport

disabled people playing hockey
disabled people playing hockey Image credit: activityalliance.org.uk

A national charity says disabled people are feeling ‘left out’ of the UK’s sporting Covid recovery.

Over 1,800 disabled and non-disabled people took part in an annual study run by Activity Alliance which implied there has been “slow progress” in making sport accessible for all coming out of the pandemic.

The survey said: "Disabled people are being left out as we return to activity.”

A statement from Activity Alliance said: "[They are] feeling less encouraged to be active. This is despite eight in 10 wanting to be more so [compared with 51% of non-disabled people]."

Results from the study revealed 78% of correspondents believe their health condition stops them from participating in sporting events because of health and safety concerns and the lack of “suitable activities”.

Just one in four disabled people feel they can “be as active as they want” and only 31% believe sport is for “someone like me”.

A total of 34% of disabled people are held back from sport because of financial needs, 33% say things need to be put in place to improve their mental health and 32% stressed they would like to see improved facilities and environments.

Other points raised in the study highlighted a number of classes did not return after lockdown, a lack of confidence asking for help and feeling a less of a priority for people organising sporting activities.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England's chief executive, said: "This report is an important and salutary reminder of the work still to do when it comes to making sport and physical activity genuinely welcoming and inclusive for all disabled people.

"I would urge all organisations in the sector to reflect on the report and its recommendations as part of a collective effort to break down the barriers to inclusion for disabled people."

Sam Orde, chair of Activity Alliance, added: "We must double our efforts and prioritise disabled people in the recovery.

"Whether this is through opportunities, strategy, or investment, we need leaders to play their part and drive change through their work."

Activity Alliance was launched in 1998 when it was previously known as the English Federation of Disability Sport.