“We are constantly striving to get more disabled people involved in sport and to do so we need to ensure that sport delivers what people want.”
Sport England is to invest GBP 2,319,000 in the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) over the next two years to support more disabled people to be active for life.
The announcement comes after successfully fulfilling the goals in the previous Sport England funding cycle. During this period, EFDS has worked hard with Sport England to support National Governing Bodies of sport, County Sports Partnerships and other organisations within the disability sector to engage more disabled people in sport and physical activity. In February, EFDS launched the Charter for Change, which is designed to increase opportunities for people with an impairment and change mindsets.
Previous successes include employing Engagement Advisors to cover the English regions and maximise local participation opportunities, publishing new research and insight on disability participation. EFDS has produced a wealth of resources to support partners in their work including a very well received guide to inclusive communications. Sport England’s renewed investment means the charity can continue to provide significant expertise to more organisations. For the next two years, EFDS will focus on insight, engagement and inclusive marketing communications.
The new funding also allows EFDS to support all the National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) in maximising their research, insight, marketing and communications. This complements Sport England’s investment in NDSOs through their Inclusive Sport Funding, which helps them to increase impairment specific knowledge and opportunities.
Sport England’s Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “We are constantly striving to get more disabled people involved in sport and to do so we need to ensure that sport delivers what people want. EFDS has a vital role to play in helping a wide range of sports open up opportunities to inspire disabled people to be active.”
EFDS’s Chief Executive, Barry Horne, said: “We are delighted to secure the next two years of National Partner funding. It highlights the positive relationship we have with Sport England and our shared passion to increase opportunities for disabled people as well as the determination to improve low participation rates.”
EFDS is especially keen to see more people with an impairment who are regularly active and improve on the recent results in Sport England’s Active People Survey, which showed a decrease in those taking part in the last year. Despite steady growth in the number of people playing sport since 2005, non-disabled people are still twice as likely to take part regularly.
Research shows that most people with an impairment are not as active as they would like to be and that demand is not being met. EFDS’s Lifestyle Report released in 2013 found that seven in 10 disabled people want to increase their physical activity.
Horne continued: “There is still a substantial amount of work to do to ensure more disabled people can be active for life. For many disabled people, there are still significant barriers to participating in sport and physical activity. We all need to work together to improve the number and types of activities available at every level. EFDS is looking forward to the new opportunities, challenges and partnerships ahead.”