44 projects across England can now offer more opportunities for disabled people to play sport thanks to £8 million worth of funding announced by Sport England.
Sport England’s Inclusive Sport fund aims to give disabled people more opportunities to play sport by investing in organisations with the right expertise, partnerships and links to the disability sector to make this happen. This includes funding for development and start-up costs of new initiatives, and for education and training, so that groups can become more self-sufficient in providing sporting opportunities.
Sport England Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “Record numbers of disabled people now play sport and this is thanks to the tireless energy of organisations, coaches and volunteers across the country. We are delighted to be able to support them by awarding this funding, so that we can continue to improve opportunities and make a real difference in communities.”
One organisation to receive funding is Sense, the National Deafblind and Rubella Association. £250,000 of funding will allow Sense to pilot opportunities for 360 deafblind people to try out eight different sports in two regions across the country. It will also fund the training of 16 sports coaches, eight deafblind people and 120 local support workers to deliver sports activities to deafblind people.
The Rotherham United Community Sports Trust will also receive £168,141 to train support staff and carers to provide sporting opportunities for adults with mental health issues who have limited access to sport.
The number of disabled people playing sport regularly is on the rise. In December 2013, Sport England’s Active People Survey – an annual, in-depth measure of the nation’s sporting habits – revealed that a record number of disabled people in England now play sport each week. However, non-disabled people are still twice as likely to play sport as disabled people (39.2 per cent compared to 18.5 per cent), which is why Sport England continues to focus attention and investment to address this imbalance.
Since the Inclusive Sport fund launched, £17.1 million has been invested in 88 projects that make sport a viable lifestyle choice for disabled people. Sport England also funds disability sport equipment and recently awarded £1 million to 141 clubs to help them buy equipment that will allow disabled people to give sport a go.