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£10.2 million legacy investment to deliver more sport for disabled people

Disabled people across the country will have more opportunities to get involved in sport after Sport England announced 44 projects that will benefit from £10.2 million of National Lottery funding from its Inclusive Sport fund.

Welcoming the news, Britain’s greatest Paralympian, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson joined Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price at Mile End Leisure Centre and Stadium to see first-hand how it will break down barriers to participation for disabled people.

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson said:

“This funding will go a long way to helping those inspired by the outstanding performances of our Paralympians this summer to get out and try sport for themselves. It’s fantastic to see such a wide range of organisations benefitting – all of them focused on helping more disabled people to discover how much sport has to offer.”

Responding to the high quality of bids, Sport England has increased the funding available through this Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme from £8 million to over £10 million. The Inclusive Sport fund will help tackle the opportunity gap that sees one in six disabled adults playing sport regularly, compared to one in three non-disabled adults[i].

Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said:

“We have one simple aim with this investment: to make sport a viable choice for disabled people, young or not, talented or not. It is a tribute to the organisations who bid for funding that we had so many high quality proposals we were able to increase the lottery funding available from £8 million to over £10 million.”

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said: 

“We want to continue the momentum from the London 2012 Paralympic Games and do all we can to increase opportunities for people with a disability to get involved in sport. The Paralympics was arguably the biggest success of the summer and we want to leave a real legacy from the Games.”

Among the projects to receive funding is Together East, which is receiving over £560,000 to deliver a series of initiatives designed to respond to the needs of disabled people in East London. A collaborative project between the London Legacy Development Corporation, Pro-Active East London, five of the Olympic and Paralympic Host Boroughs , Greenwich Leisure Limited, WheelPower and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Together East will deliver a multi-sport participation programme culminating in an annual festival of disability sport on  Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The funding will pay for sports equipment that can be taken to a variety of locations using bespoke designed portable surfaces in order to reach more than traditional sports facilities, giving disabled people new opportunities to get involved at times and places that are convenient to them.  The project will also recruit disabled people as ambassadors for sport as well as working directly with venues, facilities and clubs to support and improve the sports they have on offer.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, the lead applicant for the Together East bid, said:

“We are delighted that the Inclusive Sport fund will help East London to build on the most successful Paralympics in the history of the Games. Thousands of people will be inspired to get involved in sport in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and we want to make sure there are opportunities for everyone. Together with our partners, we are matching the funding from Sport England so that Together East will channel over a million pounds into sport for disabled people. With accessible venues on the Park and an annual festival of disability sport from 2013, there is a huge opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.”  

The Inclusive Sport fund builds on the work already being done by Sport England to make grassroots sport truly open to everyone, which is a key focus of the organisation’s Youth and Community strategy.

Other projects to receive funding include:

  • £352,381 for the Wheelchair Football Association to deliver hundreds of introductory and coaching sessions for Powerchair football. The funding will be used to recruit three development officers to promote and deliver opportunities right across the country. 
  • The Down’s Syndrome Association has been awarded £290,145 to build upon its successful DS Active programme, which provides children and young adults with Down’s syndrome the chance to get involved in sports, particularly football.  The programme will be expanded to include adults and give opportunities to play tennis.

Charles Reed, the Chair of English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), said:

“The number of applications and the increase in the fund made available highlights how many organisations have been inspired to increase inclusive sports participation at every level. It is fantastic to see such a wide range of successful projects, which will indeed make a wider impact on local and national provision for disabled people. We look forward to working with the project leaders to share better practices, promote the opportunities and ensure disabled people can be active for life”.

Inclusive Sport is part of Sport England’s Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities all over the country.

The British Paralympic Association is also building on the success of the Paralympic Games and looking to help those inspired by the London 2012 Games. 

Tim Hollinsgworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, said:

“Alongside this welcome announcement from Sport England, the British Paralympic Association is also building on the inspiration of the Games and the success of the ParalympicsGB team with a series of events designed to enable disabled people to try Paralympic sport. The inaugural ParalympicsGB Sport Fest takes place today and tomorrow at Surrey Sports Park and over 800 disabled people are expected to attend to 'meet the medallists, try the sports and get inspired'.”


[i] Active People Survey 6 shows that 18.2 % of adults aged 16 and over with a limiting disability or illness are playing sport at least once a week for at least 30 minutes. This compares to 38.9% of non-disabled adults.