A new nationwide campaign has launched to encourage and support disabled people, along with their friends and families, to become more active.
The Together We Will campaign looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise as highlighted in the most recent Sport England Active People Survey.
Results show that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. As one in five people in England have an impairment or long-term health condition, disabled people are a large proportion of everyone’s community. However, research highlights often disabled people do not find the opportunities accessible or appealing enough, or do not know where to go to find the right information.
Other insight shows that disabled people are keen to involve family and friends when being active and do not necessarily take part with just other disabled people. Fun is also highlighted as a key motivator for disabled people to be active.
Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport to deliver the campaign, with backing from Sport England.
The Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active.
These stories all share a common theme – how being active has supported them to be healthier and stronger, while having fun along the way. NDSOs and EFDS will share disabled people’s experiences of sport and exercise, so others can learn more from the information and make choices about the activities they want to try.
Well-known actor, Will Mellor, is one of those championing the three-month campaign. He is extremely passionate about ensuring more opportunities exist for disabled people. With lived experience of disabled people in his family, Will wants to help make a difference and spread the Together We Will message. He is joining in the campaign by raising awareness of the opportunities and organisations that can support disabled people to be more active.
The eight NDSOs are British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower.
Each NDSO plays a valuable role in providing accessible opportunities and support for disabled people. The Together We Will campaign will help direct disabled people, their friends, family and supporters, to the recognised NDSOs for more guidance and information about being active.
Speaking about the campaign, Will Mellor said:
“I’m proud to be part of this campaign which helps to encourage disabled people to be more active. It’s about everyone coming together to have fun and become healthier.
“My sister had Marfan’s syndrome which affected her physically as well as with her learning. She sadly passed away in 2013, but I recall fondly how much we loved being active as a family together. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to meeting our ambassadors and hearing their stories. We can all make a positive change and support more people to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.”
Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight of Sport England, on behalf of all the campaign partners, said:
“We know that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. The National Disability Sports Organisations work with the sector to provide opportunities for a range of impairment groups to address this issue and encourage inactive people to get in to sport and physical activity.
“That’s why campaigns, like Together We Will, are so important. We need to put people and what they want and need at the very heart of everything we do. That includes supporting people to get active in places where they want to take part, in activities they want do and with people they want to be active with.
“We’re really excited about this campaign and are looking forward to working with all the National Disability Sports Organisations to help more disabled people to get active this summer.”
The campaign will run from July to September, as the nation embraces a summer of sport.
Activity organisers and providers can be involved in Together We Will. Encourage disabled people to take part in your events and share the local support available to disabled people looking to be more active on social media using #TogetherWeWill.
For more information about Together We Will and support on how you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page www.efds.co.uk/together.
Join the conversation on social media using #TogetherWeWill and share your personal stories and photos of being active this summer.