A new campaign looks to get more disabled people physically active by making sport and fitness activities more accessible.
Led by Sport England, ukactive and a number of leading disability organisations, the Everyone Can initiative aims to change perceptions around disabled people’s participation in physical activity and support the sector to become more inclusive.
As part of the drive, ukactive has this month launched a series of focus groups with disability champions across the retail, transport, music and hospitality sectors, exploring how to improve services for disabled people who want to undertake more physical activity.
The findings from the groups will feed into a new report as part of the Everyone Can programme.
The report will chart the current barriers for disabled people to being active, and set out a series of recommendations to improve engagement with disabled people, to be shared directly with Sport England.
Adam Blaze, Sport England's strategic lead for disability said: “It is great to see these focus groups being launched; it is critical that the changes that are needed in the physical activity sector are driven by the experiences and opinions of disabled people.
“We know that disabled people are less active that non-disabled people. This is not good enough and is something we are addressing through our Towards an Active Nation strategy.
“The Everyone Can programme will help the physical activity sector create a better, more attractive and accessible offer for disabled people.”
Among several focus groups will be a session with disability groups Activity Alliance, Alzheimer’s Society, Sport for Confidence, Aspire, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Mind and UK Deaf Sport, helping to establish a clearer picture of the current physical activity environment for disabled people.
The Everyone Can programme was first announced last year by former disabilities minister Penny Mordaunt at the ukactive National Summit.
Evidence shows that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive than non-disabled people, with nearly half (42 per cent) of disabled people inactive per week compared to 21 per cent of those with no disability.
Studies also show a clear appetite among disabled people to do more – four in five disabled people report they would like to do more physical activity, according to Public Health England.
Everyone Can will drive forward changes within the physical activity sector to ensure disabled people feel equipped and welcomed to be physically active.
The Government’s appointed disability champion for physical activity, ukactive's public affairs director Huw Edwards, said: “Research shows that disabled people are far less active than the rest of the public and we cannot afford to stand by while barriers to activity remain.
"The fitness and leisure sector has made it a priority to remove all barriers that cause this disparity.
“The Everyone Can programme is an opportunity to find solutions to the long-term barriers to physical activity for disabled people and to work with the fitness and leisure sector to implement these recommendations.
“Together, by sharing our expertise, experience and best practice, the fitness and leisure sector can become accessible, inclusive and welcoming to everyone.”