Sport England is to invest £2 million in the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) over the next two years to help make sport a practical lifestyle choice for disabled people.
The support for the charity will maximise the impact of Sport England’s wider investments in sport for disabled people, with announcements in the past month including:
44 projects benefiting from £10.2 million of National Lottery funding through its Inclusive Sport fund40 different sports receiving Sport England funding over the next four years for specific plans to get more disabled people taking partOver £13.6 million for specific disability participation and talent programmes across those sport in addition to inclusive programmes within the overall £493 million funding package.
Despite steady growth in the number of disabled people playing sport since 2005, non-disabled people are still twice as likely to take part regularly. Sport England’s funding for EFDS means the charity will be able to provide expertise and insight to even more sports’ organisations to help them motivate disabled people to take part. The charity will prioritise its work with athletics, cycling, swimming, cricket, gymnastics and badminton and is also being funded to provide bespoke support for tennis, football, table tennis, equestrian, golf and volleyball.
Sport England’s Director or Sport, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “This summer’s remarkable Paralympic Games put sport for disabled people in the spotlight as never before. EFDS has a vital role to play in helping a wide range of sports to build on this by doing more to open up opportunities and inspire disabled people to get involved. We need everyone in sport to work together to challenge the uncomfortable truth that disabled people are still far less likely to be taking part.”
Barry Horne, Chief Executive of EFDS, said: “This is fantastic news. We have worked really hard in recent years to ensure that more disabled people have greater access, more opportunities and a more meaningful experience of sport. But we are well aware that there is still a significant amount of work to do, so we are looking forward to the new opportunities, challenges and partnerships ahead.
“The EFDS team is focused now on building on the momentum of 2012 and working with sports’ organisations to support all their programmes to be more inclusive. Sport England have been and remain crucial to delivering our vision: ‘disabled people are active for life.”
At a local level, EFDS will continue to support the county sports partnerships and sports governing bodies to involve more disabled people in sport as well as continuing to work closely with the National Disability Sport Organisations, to increase impairment specific knowledge and opportunities.
After both the 2012 Games, EFDS undertook a survey, which captured public perception on the wider legacy and impact on disabled people in sport, findings showed disabled people’s desire to play more sport. It suggested that watching the Paralympics inspired eight out of ten disabled people to consider taking part in more sport or exercise. Sport England and EFDS are determined to ensure this desire to try sport includes everybody, no matter the level or ability.